WRiTE CLUB 2015 - Bout #7



What is WRiTE CLUB?  It started off as a modest writing competition, inspiration loosely derived from the movie FIGHT CLUB, and it has since grown into a writing community sensation that is now sponsored by the DFWWriters Conference.  There are numerous versions of this concept floating around the internet, but nothing like we do it here.  Its essence embodies simple, good-natured competition, with lots and lots of fun sprinkled on top. 




Over the course of ten weeks I’ll be holding daily bouts (M-F) between Anonymous 500 word writing samples, submitted under a pen name.   The writing can be any genre, any style (even poetry) with the word count being the only restriction. Today is Bout #7.  Read each sample carefully and then leave a vote in the comment section for the one that resonates with you the most.  Anyone can vote... but only once per bout. Don’t forget to leave with a brief critique of both submissions as well.

Voting for each bout will remain open for one week. The winner of each will be posted HERE, at the WRiTE CLUB scoreboard.  Are you ready?


Here are the first two randomly selected WRiTER's.

Standing in this corner, representing the thriller genre and weighing in at 496 words, please welcome to the ring……..Risky



U.S. Heat wave - death toll hits 150

Charles aimed at the back of the jabbering man’s head.  Situations he once found mildly irritating now propelled him quickly into rage.  “I’ve had it,” he thought without removing his gaze from the unsuspecting idiot.  Charles checked his aim with both eyes open, and although the bus was crowded, he had a clear shot between the rows of passengers.  He was ready, his hands as steady as a surgeon’s.

“Should have been a doctor,” his mother nagged during their weekly phone conversations.  “You’d buy me a nice little condo in Miami…I’d be so proud of you.”  

The target bellowed with laughter.  Charles rolled his eyes in disgust.  It was time.  His finger twitched momentarily, and then in one smooth motion, eyes never leaving the back of the target's head, Charles pulled the trigger.  The recoil from the shot threw Charles back against the seat and he moaned with satisfaction.

The woman next to Charles stared openly at his fingers held stiffly in a gun-like position.  Charles smiled weakly and shook out his hand.  “That guy up there really gets on my nerves,” he said.  She raised her eyebrows in reply and pointedly returned to her newspaper.

Trade embargo with China declared
Bus commuter found dead at bus stop

Jerry pushed the knife past the resistance of his wife’s aerobicized muscles.  After sleepwalking through 23 years of marriage he wondered, had she changed or had he never realized what a nagging bitch she was? 

Jerry pulled the knife from the tendons’ grip and examined the bloody teardrops on the blade.  The knife felt like the handshake of an old friend.  His lip curled into a sneer as he swung downward once more.  This time the blade met no resistance.  “Practice makes perfect,” he said with satisfaction.

“What are you doing?!” Her coarse whine sent a ripple of despise up his spine.  His eyes rose slowly and steadily to meet hers.  Jerry grunted as he pulled the knife from the wounded steak.  He chuckled.  “Nothing…dear.”

China crisis escalates
Husband sought in stabbing death of wife

They knew he was out of control but were afraid to say it. 

“I want that goddamned reporter removed!”  His words spit through clenched jaws.

“We’ll bar him immed…”

“I want him eliminated, goddamn it!”  he growled.  “Do I have to fucking spell it out for you?!  That asshole ridiculed me on live t.v. for chrissakes!”  He stormed across the room and flung open the door with such force that it bounced off the door stop and slammed shut, all in one motion.  He roared.  The ferocity of the sound filled the room.  A spot of urine appeared on the crotch of one of the men standing near the door.

“Take care of it!”  he snapped over his shoulder as he opened the door and pushed past the guards.

“Yes sir, Mr. President,” someone mumbled.

UPI reporter found dead – drugs suspected
President declares war
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And in the other corner, representing the contemporary realistic genre with 408 words let me introduce to you……….Alex Preston




I never get caught.

Not since I set off the security alarm when I moved in with Dad and Kate. I’ve gotten pretty good in four years.

I hold the alarm sensor in place and slide the dormer window open. Adrenaline explodes in my veins. This never gets old. My bare feet easily follow the memorized route over the slate roof to the ridge—to the end near Cassie’s house.

At forty feet up, I’m invisible. I can see the whole neighborhood of stuffy mansions, and beyond, to downtown Dallas. A chilly breeze carries the crisp orange scent of spider lilies from Kate’s gardens.

My phone vibrates, and I click the ear bud. “Where are you?”

“Rigging the drone so your coffee won’t spill. You’re getting a mini. Anakin’s attempt to carry your grande mocha was a total fail.” In the background, Cassie’s brother calls her name. She lowers her voice. “Hold on. Let me get rid of him.”

I listen to Cassie yell at Logan to get out of her room.

Hearing them fight, I miss having a brother. A wave of guilt crashes against the longing.

A door slams and Cassie appears in the window, drone in hand. Something like a sock dangles from its legs.

It buzzes to life and ascends. Kind of. Up a foot before dipping back down. It’s coming closer, but not getting any higher.

“Are you sure it’s supposed to carry stuff?” I lean forward and watch it sway midair.

“If Amazon’s using these to deliver packages, coffee should be easy.” She grasps the controller in both hands, tilting it as she steers.

Cold coffee, delivered in a gym sock. Can’t wait. “That screechiness doesn’t sound right. Don’t ruin it.”

Cassie leans farther out the window as if getting closer will give it a power boost. The engine strains harder.

There’s no way. The thing’s still twenty feet below me. “Thanks for trying. That was sweet of you.”

Disappointment reflects on Cassie’s moonlit face. “Aborting the mission.” She steers the drone back toward her house and slams it into the brick wall beneath her window. It plummets and hangs in a bush. “Anakin, no!” Cassie watches it die. She shrugs. “I tried.”

“No biggie. We’ll go to Percs after school. You owe me a mocha.”

“Yeah, right. And you owe Logan a drone. Hey, Kade’s texting. I’ve gotta go.”

“Who’s Kade?”

But the phone clicks off, and Cassie closes her window.
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Enjoying two talented writers at work is only part of the price of admission, now it’s up to you to decide who moves forward to the playoffs.  In the comments below leave your vote for the winner.  Which one tickled your fancy?  After you vote please tell all of your friends to stop by and make a selection as well (but no coaching about who to vote for).  Yes, it’s subjective, but so is the entire publishing world.  It’s as much about the readers as it is about the writers. 

This is WRiTE CLUB – the contest where the audience gets clobbered!

42 comments

  1. I felt that both of today's offerings were too much part of the overall story they are taken from to drag me in. Stylistically, for me, Risky was interesting while Alex Preston gave an easier read. I'm not convinced either snippet would encourage me to read a novel, but I'd probably read a short story.
    On balance, and after debate with myself, I give it to Risky.

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  2. I vote for Risky.

    Alex Preston, Your story was about a very unique subject. Your strongest point is writing action. You have that nailed. I think that for a piece this short it worked against you having so many characters and roles for the reader to keep up with. I had to read it over twice before getting it. I really enjoyed your writing style.

    Risky, I liked your plot twist and the angle of going behind the headlines. The way you get into a killers head is clever and dark. Great work.

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  3. I actually had to rethink my vote on this one. On the surface, Risky pulled me. All the sensory details and visceral impact. But the more I considered it, I realized if I were to choose one as a whole to read it would be Alex Preston's. Thrillers are hard for me, but the Alex's characters interesting and I'd read more.
    So my vote goes to Alex Preston.

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  4. I have to vote for Alex Preston. The writing hooked me.

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  5. Risky was way more interesting. I wasn't in love with it, but it kept me engaged (which is more than I can say for Alex's).

    Alex's seemed... I'm sorry to say thrown together. I re-read this twice:
    "“Rigging the drone so your coffee won’t spill. You’re getting a mini. Anakin’s attempt to carry your grande mocha was a total fail.” In the background, Cassie’s brother calls her name. She lowers her voice. “Hold on. Let me get rid of him.”"

    And it wasn't until I went back after completing the story that it made any sense. A tiny sentence like: "Cassie was working on a drone she named Anakin." would have been a good lead.
    The first sentence gave me the hope that it was `from the perspective of a robber or something. A Teen vandalist.

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  6. While the writing and story of Alex Preston was good and genre appropriate, I vote for risky. It was more interesting and, well, risky.

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  7. Risky was tightly written and definitely suspenseful, but it felt disconnected and I couldn't latch onto any of the characters.

    Alex Preston could use some polishing, but I liked the characters and the way the author inserted snippets of information to give us an idea of backstory and how the characters relate to one another, and that made the difference.

    Alex Preston for me.

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  8. Both of them had things that didn't necessarily work for me, but my vote this round goes to Alex Preston. It's the one that I would keep reading.

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  9. Alex Preston for me today. I could totally see kids trying to pull off something like that :)

    I had trouble with the headlines in Risky's piece. I kindof see how they relate, but also.. don't. Trying to figure it out pulled me from the story.

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  10. Risky--I like the writing, and I also like the twist at the end of each section--clever. I didn't like the fact that it jumped from character to character so quickly. Also, the word "despise" can't be used as a noun

    Alex Preston--Your writing is good; I just didn't get into the scene. I didn't think the scene had much of an impact for a writing contest. I am willing to bet, however, that the rest of the story is really good. Again, I like your writing.

    For this round, I'm going with Risky--my vote.

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  11. Risky - The dialogue was good and believable, and the writing clean. The headlines were also a nice touch, but for some reason, the story just didn't pull me in. It could have just been because of the limited word count.

    Alex Preston - I actually like this one a lot. I could visually see what was happening as I read the scene. And using the drone for coffee was a nice touch.

    So overall, my vote is for Alex Preston.

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  12. My vote goes to Alex!

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  13. My vote goes to Alex Preston!

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  14. Risky gets my vote! Very interesting!

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  15. Alex gets my vote.
    Risky lost the parallelism with the third scene, and the misuse of "despise" yanked me right out of the story.I felt the headlines broke the flow.
    Alex, though I had to read the piece twice to fully comprehend the scene, nailed the voices and behavior of teens. There's enough hint of backstory to make me want more.

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  16. Risky gets my vote.
    Didn't get hooked by the Alex Preston one.

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  17. Congrats to both! Nice writing. Risky was clever although some headlines were distracting. Alex had good writing but story missing. I would like to know more about the brother, so I vote alex

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  18. Had a hard time with this because each had problems.

    Risky - When I first read this I thought it was very intense, but something I would never read. The titles in-between threw me out. Possibly flash fiction? Or short story?



    But when I read Alex's it was full of so many choppy sentences and I didn’t catch the Anakin reference until after I read it twice. Plus the mini reference??? (I’m quite old.) I especially didn’t know who was talking when he answered his cell phone and many other times. Please work on this more, it could be quite fun and entertaining.

    I vote Risky.


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  19. Risky... Indeed, this was a risky move for Write Club. I like it though.
    Alex's has me hooked more. Good visuals. Alex gets my vote.

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  20. Risky gets my vote.
    Love the ending.

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  21. Alex Preston's was a bit disjointed to me. Risky's is gripping. Cool premise right off the bat. My vote goes to Risky.

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  22. My vote is for Alex Preston

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  23. Alex Preston Please

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  24. My vote is for Risky. It was tightly written and interesting.

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  25. To be honest, I had a hard time getting into either of these entries. I'm not connecting with any of the characters, which I think is an important way to hook a reader. The first piece is a series of vignettes and I can't quite grasp the overall scheme or message; I wonder if this is part of a larger story or written merely for Write Club? The second piece has some nice imagery, but the writing is a bit abrupt and fragmented for my taste.

    In the end my vote goes to Alex Preston for the sake of continuity and story flow.

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  26. I enjoyed both of these. But I liked the one by Alex slightly more, so that has my vote.

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  27. I'm afraid Risky's dark side of Walter Mitty didn't work for me. I'd probably keep reading Alex Preston's story so that gets my vote.

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  28. Risky gets my vote.

    I don't know if this is a stand-alone piece or part of a larger story, but either way, I kind of think it works. It's very interesting. The writing is really good and it made me think and consider it, and I found it very engaging. I have no idea what's actually going on, of course, but for what is, I liked it.

    Alex Preston's piece had very nice writing and an easy, conversational flow to it, but I didn't know what I was supposed to take away from it. There is very little character development in it, nor anything that tells us why any of this matters to the character or to a larger story. Conflict is virtually absent, except that the drone doesn't work, and that is what makes it a bit bland.

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  29. Risky is my favorite.

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  30. Risky gets my vote.

    I enjoyed the twist! What's really going on in your head?

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  31. Risky is a winner and has my vote.

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  32. Risky beats the competition

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  33. risky gets my vote. it would be something I would want to read.

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  34. Alex gets my vote. I found Risky's jarring how it jumped around which made it really hard to focus/read through it

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  35. Risky.

    Not logged in because doing this from work...

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