WRiTE CLUB 2014 - Playoff Round One Winners

We are one step closer to crowning a new WRiTE CLUB champion.  Here are the writers who will be moving forward to Round Two

The Baron
petrichor
Cocktail Lion
Swick
NotAnna
A. Bard
Miss Drake
Twilight Sparkle
Lord Codpiece

And our Wildcard winner...with the most votes amongst the second place contestants, is...Nanato4. That writer will be moving on as well.

Congratulations to all ten of you and good luck going forward!


All ten writers have been contacted and asked for a new 500 word writing sample to be used in Round Two, which begins tomorrow morning (9/1).  The five bouts will be posted Mon - Fri and will remain open for voting until noon Sunday, September 7th. 

In this second round, as with the first, there will be a wildcard winner selected from the losing contestants by virtue of the one with most second place votes.

See you back here tomorrow! :)

WRiTE CLUB 2014 Play-offs - Round One / Bout 9









It's week #2 of the WRiTE CLUB play-off rounds – which I promised would come at a rapid fire pace -- and we have come to the end.  Last week I posted five bouts (Mon-Fri) and this week the last four (Mon-Thur) concluding today.  The voting for all nine bouts will remain open until noon on Sunday, August 31st.  Your task remains simple…read the submission from each WRiTER carefully and leave your vote for the sample that resonates with you the most.  If you haven’t already done so in the previous rounds, offer some critique if you have time.  Anyone reading this can vote, so blog, Tweet, Facebook, text, or smoke signal everyone you know and get them to take part in the fun.  Vote on as many bouts as you can get around to.  Whether that is one bout, or all nine, how much you participate is up to you. 

Here’s something else to keep in mind for this round...every vote counts. That’s because the contestant who doesn't win their bout but garners the most votes amongst all of the other losers, will become a wildcard winner and still advance to round 2. 

The winners will be posted late in the afternoon on August 31 and then round 2 will kick off the following Monday, September 1st, with all new 500 word submissions from the nine advancing contestants.

Good luck to all of the WRiTER’s!

And now…..

In this corner welcome back to the ring.....Lord Codpiece




I was ten steps from the ballroom door, my pockets stuffed with stolen jewelry, when I stepped on someone’s foot.

"Watch yourself, you oaf!" a man spat.

I tried to ignore it, but he grabbed my shoulder and spun me around. That shook something loose from the stash hidden in my jacket; it fell into my right boot. Felt like one of the sapphire earrings.

"I called you an oaf," he said.

He was a highborn noble of the worst sort, young and fat-cheeked and angry. I wore the plain dyed woolens of a servant. It made me an easy target.

"Apologies, m'lord," I said. I kept my body still, to minimize the clinking of coins in half-a dozen purses tied to my belt. “I was just-“

"Wipe it off,” he said.

Oh, wonderful. This flabby brat was actually looking to start a fight. I took his measure while pretending to think it over. Soft was the word for him. His hands were uncalloused, no surprise there. He hadn’t done a hard day of work in his life. But I noticed the tan lines at the wrists. A gloved swordsman, then. A showoff. Probably got his practice on the household servants, ones who were afraid to draw their master’s blood. The least-capable man in my crew would have gutted him like a deer. There was no time for that, though. And we certainly didn’t want the attention.

"Pardon, m'lord?" I asked.

"You scuffed my boot. Wipe it off." His breath carried the mingled smells of wine and spiced meat.

I couldn’t refuse outright, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to oblige him. Obfuscation seemed like the best option. I made my voice cheerful.

“Can’t say I see it, m’lord,” I said.

A girl in a silk-and-taffeta gown (recently relieved of the gems on her bodice) tittered with laughter. Ah, so that was why he was putting on this display. Sure enough, his cheeks reddened even further.

“It’s right there!” he said.

The pearl-and-silver necklace I’d nicked just five minutes ago was threatening to spill out of my left sleeve, so I thought it best to head him off.

“I’ll be sure to have my eyes checked, m’lord,” I said. “But right now I’m to fetch another bottle for my master.”

“Who’s that?” he demanded.

I needed him to back off. That was the only way this would end quietly. So I spoke the name of the meanest and most dangerous noble that came to mind. “Lord Peyton,” I said.

Recognition bloomed in his eyes. He wasn’t as drunk as he seemed, and even the most wine-addled fool would know to be cautious, here. Peyton had challenged and killed men for smaller offenses than quarreling with his servants.

“You’ve heard of him, I take it,” I said.

“I’ve more than heard of him,” he said. “He’s my father.”

Of course he was.


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And in the other corner, also anxious to return to the ring, let me re-introduce.... Sapphire Eyes



“Let me go.”

The words bounced mercilessly off the white tile floor and marble countertops.  Noah froze.  A scuffed multimeter was trapped within the confines of his white-knuckled hand. 

Those words meant one thing.  We have to start all over again.

Noah dropped the multimeter.  In his haste to reach his computer, he sent a cascade of microchips and wires crashing to the floor, but the resulting clatter didn’t faze him.  He had work to do.

When he first met Ariel, Noah knew she was unique.  Something worth exploring.  He never knew whether he believed in love before that.  No one else seemed to fit.  Unlike the components of a computer, people didn’t insert themselves into designated slots.  Unlike computer programs, they couldn’t be tweaked to suit his needs.  Companionship was messy.  Unpredictable.  How could he be expected to navigate the complexities of another person’s emotions when he barely understood his own?

With Ariel, something felt right.  She knew when not to push a subject that he didn’t feel comfortable with.  She listened to him talk about his work, and she asked intelligent questions.  She sat with him whilst he toiled away on a project, handing him a screwdriver or soldering gun when needed.  When he was in the midst of writing a complex program, she brought him plates of food so he didn’t go hungry.

For a short while, he had everything he needed.

Noah collapsed into his computer chair, his fingers grazing the keyboard purposefully.  He accessed the files he needed, searching out the lines of code to be erased.

Unbidden, his own problematic memories came to the surface.

“Stay with me.”  When Ariel spoke these words, they were laced with fear.  He’d been working on artificial intelligence software when the diagnosis came.  Terminal cancer.  She didn’t have much time.   

“Hold my hand.”  He’d been at a loss.  He couldn’t face it, nor could he comfort her.  Instead, he holed himself up in his lab, intent on saving her.  After Ariel’s body perished, she lived on in lines of code, maintained by a computer that he’d built with his own hands.

She chatted with him in the beginning, her beautiful voice projected through the best speakers he could build.  It truly did sound like her, and she seemed happy to be with him.

Then she began to feel trapped.  Even with the worlds Noah programmed for her to explore, she grew weary. 

“Let me go.”  The first time she pleaded with him to end it, tears leaked from his eyes.

He couldn’t do as she asked, so he did the only thing he could think to do.  He wiped away her memories of living inside the system, restoring her to the original elation she felt at having cheated death.

Now he had to do it again.

“I have to keep you happy,” Noah murmured as his nimble fingers worked.  Each keystroke eliminated another memory that reminded Ariel of her incorporeal nature.  “I have to keep you here!”


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Remember the WRiTE CLUB motto, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!

WRiTE CLUB 2014 Play-offs - Round One / Bout 8









It's week #2 of the WRiTE CLUB play-off rounds – which I promised would come at a rapid fire pace -- and we have four more bouts scheduled.  I must say I'm a little disappointed with the participation we've seen so far.  Last year we averaged 31 votes per round one bout in the playoffs, and this year we are averaging 27.  Yes, it is early, so the numbers could rebound, but it is also up to all of you to help make that happen.  Please help out in any way you can to ensure that the work from these wonderful writers is seen by as many readers as possible.  

Last week I posted five bouts (Mon-Fri) and this week are the last four (Mon-Thur).  The voting for all nine bouts will remain open until noon on Sunday, August 31st.  Your task remains simple…read the submission from each WRiTER carefully and leave your vote for the sample that resonates with you the most.  If you haven’t already done so in the previous rounds, offer some critique if you have time.  Anyone reading this can vote, so blog, Tweet, Facebook, text, or smoke signal everyone you know and get them to take part in the fun.  Vote on as many bouts as you can get around to.  Whether that is one bout, or all nine, how much you participate is up to you. 

Here’s something else to keep in mind for this round...every vote counts. That’s because the contestant who doesn't win their bout but garners the most votes amongst all of the other losers, will become a wildcard winner and still advance to round 2. 

The winners will be posted late in the afternoon on August 31 and then round 2 will kick off the following Monday, September 1st, with all new 500 word submissions from the nine advancing contestants.

Good luck to all of the WRiTER’s!

And now…..

In this corner welcome back to the ring.....Karmann Ghia



I’d come all this way looking for him, but now, standing this close, I’m at a loss. I had hoped we could just leave, but two women flank him while a small army stands nearby. They all look vaguely alike; tan skin, dingy brown pants and shirts, chestnut brown hair held back by makeshift hide bands.

“How did you find us?” the one on his left asks me. She steps forward, two long strides until she’s uncomfortably close. Her bright blue eyes search my face, and though I can tell she’s done this before, I’m not sure why I deserve this scrutiny. Didn’t he tell them about me, to let them know I existed, and that I would come for him?

My mouth is dry, the dehydration and exhaustion of my journey finally caught up with me. I try not to pull away, to step back from her – I can’t let her know how uncomfortable it is to have her so close. I swallow, hoping to moisten my mouth enough to speak.

“I found a traveler with a map,” I explain. “Another girl – she looked like you. She was headed in the opposite direction and said she wouldn’t need it anymore.” I don’t mention that the girl laughed, a relieved, bubbling laugh, and wished me luck. It was weird enough when it happened, I don’t like to think of what she could have or should have warned me about.

The leaves on the forest floor crinkle beneath my feet as I adjust my stance, my legs threatening to give out. Seemingly satisfied with my answer, she steps to the side, calling over her counterpart on his right. They bow their heads together, their voices incomprehensible against the sounds of the forest.

My eyes find Steven, finally relaxing enough to focus on him. His jet hair is chin length now, waving around the side of his face. His cerulean eyes, always kind, watch me, and as our eyes meet, he smiles hesitantly. I take a moment to relax – relieved that I finally made it to their compound, finally found Steven.

“Thank you,” he mouths, unwilling or afraid of speaking out loud I don’t know. I nod and look away – I know if I keep looking at him I’ll cry, and I can’t look weak, not in front of these girls. They can’t know that he’s all I have, that I’m terrified of losing him. My eyes shift to the forest canopy, watching the bright light of day dim as it filters through the leaves.

“We’ve decided,” the first girl says. She’s back at my side so quickly and silently it’s unsettling. “You can stay here with us.”

“And what if I don’t want to stay? What if I want to take him and leave?” I’m still faking bravado.

She grins, her lip peeling back over her teeth like a wild animal. “Then we’ll give you a six hour head start to run. And then we hunt.”
************************************************************************


And in the other corner, also anxious to return to the ring, let me re-introduce.... Twilight Sparkle



I fell ass-first onto the concrete, which sent a delightful sting up my spine, and the last few sparks disappeared into the closing rift above me. The ache in my arm faded since the crystal had finished its primary job.

In an alley between two tall buildings, rusted dumpsters straddled the narrow opening. The garbage hadn’t been emptied, and the sun baked the smell into a distinctive meld of leftover Chinese food and rotten fruit. It could be any city, looked American though.

I slid against the wall to the end of the alley. Pedestrians hurried down the sidewalks engrossed in their phones while drivers sped through a roundabout, hopefully not doing the same. Humans, that’s good. One jump to a world filled with lizard-people was more than enough for a lifetime.

A river of cars flowed around a familiar metal-work globe and concrete statue, Columbus Circle. So, good ol’ New York City after all, but the iconic skyline had reclaimed its missing crown…the towers. Nine-Eleven hadn’t happened here, or at least not yet.

On the sidewalk, the people passing by wore ordinary clothes; coats, scarves, and such. Not like some of the weirder realities that had spandex dress codes, my jeans and leather jacket wouldn’t stand out. To blend in, I joined a group and headed around the circle to the left till I reached the entrance to Central Park.

A young girl wearing a worn teal parka sat cross-legged, playing guitar for tips. Next to her an older woman peddled small bouquets of flowers, some mixes with lilies, but she had mostly roses. A twenty-something man with dusty hair and a trench coat bought one of the bundles of red roses. Some lucky woman would have a surprise tonight.

I passed by the girl playing guitar on my way into the park—not half bad. I bobbed my head to the music and then frowned. She grinned in return. She understood I didn’t have cash on me, not that I wasn’t sure my currency was good here. You never know who the right dead presidents are.

As I strolled down the pathway, footfalls scuffed behind me. I stopped.

The sound stopped.

I took a breath and walked forward, keeping a slow pace. If I ran, I’d lose my advantage; I knew they were there. Who would be following me anyway? I just got here.

The stalker gasped and muttered something. The tingle that precedes the adrenaline rush ran through me, pulling my stomach to my shoes and tickling my fingers. I took another careful step. Run in three, two—

“Kate?”

He knew me? That’s impossible. I pivoted to see the young man with his bouquet of roses. He looked a few years older, but I’d know that face anywhere—Quin. Not my Quin…not my world. He shouldn’t know me.

“Oh my God…how is it possible?” The roses slipped from his grip and he bent to catch them.

I turned and ran.


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Remember the WRiTE CLUB motto, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!
 

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