WRiTE CLUB 2015 – Bout #11



WRiTE CLUB is a writing community sensation sponsored by the DFW Writers Conference that is loosely based on the popular movie Fight Club.  There are numerous versions of this concept floating around the internet, but nothing like we do it here.  This unique approach embodies simple, good-natured competition, with lots and lots of fun sprinkled on top. 

Today we continue with the second phase of the contest which involves ten more daily bouts (M-F) over the next two weeks 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 #11.  Read each sample carefully and then leave a vote in the comment section for the one that resonates with you the most.  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 todays randomly selected WRiTER's.

Standing in this corner, representing the Sci-Fi/Thriller genre and weighing in at 500 words, please welcome to the ring……..Shibby




Derek rolled over, kicked the quilt off and looked at the clock. Three AM. Anna, his fiancé, tugged the covers exhaling heavily.

“What’s up?” She asked.

“It’s like a damn sauna in here.”

“Open the window or go watch TV. Just let me sleep,” she said and turned back over.

Derek climbed out of bed, made his way out of the bedroom and down the hallway. He flicked on the lights as he walked through the open plan living room to the kitchen.

“TV, on. News 24,” he said opening the fridge and grabbing the orange juice.

The television flashed on. A thin-faced woman with her hair tied back too tight sat reading the bulletins. In the bottom right hand corner a message read ‘Eight missed calls – Frank’.

Derek drained the contents of the orange juice carton and tossed it into the trash can.

“TV, call Frank,” he said heading toward the sofa. He slumped onto the black leather two-seater.

Frank answered immediately. His angular face appeared on the screen. The dim blue light of his television gave him a ghostly quality. “Hey Buddy. Thanks for calling back.”

“Do you ever sleep?”

“I’ll sleep when I’m dead. What's your excuse?"

“Too hot,” Derek said. “So what’s up?”

“I’ve got something to show you,” Frank said. “Here look at this.” He turned in his chair and hit a few keys on the computer on his desk.

A video replaced Frank’s face, it was a recording of the assassination attempt on President Ford last year. Edward Peters shot the President three times in the chest and abdomen but the wounds inflicted weren’t fatal.

“What am I looking for?” Derek said.

“Come on Buddy. Don’t you see?" Frank’s face reappeared. Somebody stood in the background, dressed in black, wearing a mask and holding a gun.

“Frank,” Derek stood and pointed. “Behind you.”

Frank turned in his chair. The masked assailant raised his arm. Gun pointed at Frank’s forehead.

“NO!” Derek yelled. The corpse of his best friend slid out of the chair and out of the picture. Derek fell to the sofa. The intruder stood with emotionless eyes staring straight through the television.

“Derek?” The voice was rough and deep. “Derek. Are you going to sit there all day?”

It took him a moment to respond but he managed to choke it out eventually. “No.”

“Good. Look-“

“I’m going to sit here until I figure out a plan to rip your face off with my teeth you son of a bitch!”

“No need for that Buddy!” The man raised his hands and lifted the mask up. Frank’s smile beamed back at him.

“What the fuck?”

“Pretty cool isn’t it?” Frank said and moved the camera down to show the body. “Derek, let me introduce you to my clone.”

“Your. What?”

“My clone. Not a bad looking fella, if you ignore the hole in his face.” Frank was grinning from ear to ear. “I think you should come over here. Now.”

“I’ll get dressed.”
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And in the other corner, representing the Urban Fantasy genre with 494 words let me introduce to you……….Jaegur




“Wow, that’s my third birthday this month,” Jordan said, stopping to stretch his long arms toward the cloudy sky. Anna heard bones crack, her brother sighing in relief as he turned to grin down at her. They stood on the sidewalk just outside the breakfast diner, men and women walking briskly past them. People in suits made sure to keep a few extra feet between them and Anna and Jordan, as if sensing poverty and afraid it would jump into their wallets.

“I think you wasted this one,” Anna said, slipping her hands into the pockets of her jean jacket. The straps of her backpack dug into her shoulders, but the ache was a familiar one. “Somehow a bowl of whip cream with a square of pancake at the bottom doesn’t really scream ‘happy birthday’ to me.” She started walking, falling easily into the flow of traffic.

Jordan caught up to her a second later, his own pack slung onto one shoulder. “Some whip cream is better than no whip cream, I always say,” he said. She was silent, so he bumped into her, knocking her slightly off balance so that she in turn bumped into an older man in a tracksuit, his arms pumping like pistons on a freight train. The old man glared at her, clutching his iPod or whatever it was in a grip that might have crushed the thing, had the man been capable of it.

Anna muttered an apology, and shot a glare of her own at her brother. He just smiled and shrugged, saying, “Looked like you needed to meet someone new, maybe someone cheerful.”

“And that guy seemed cheerful to you,” she said, glancing at the man’s retreating back. He was shaking his head and seemed to be talking to himself.

“You love old people,” Jordan said as they started walking again. She ignored the glances they’d attracted. She was good at that.

“Wrong,” Anna said. “I don’t feel an overwhelming desire to punch old people… there’s a difference.”

“Means they’re pretty damn special,” Jordan murmured under his breath, just loud enough for her to hear. He saw the look she was giving him and cringed. She would admit that she had a temper at times, but not that much of one. Really.

“Anyway, what are we doing today?” She asked.

“Union Station?”

“Sounds fine to me.” They came to a stop at the corner of Jackson and Adam’s street, the ‘don’t walk’ sign flashing its open palm at them. The smell of perfume and cologne from those standing around them swirled about her head, mingling with the smells of industry and chocolate that she was coming to associate with Chicago. She had no idea where the smell of chocolate came from, or if it was really even chocolate. For all she knew it could be some mixture of garbage and human refuse and her body just tricked her into believing it smelled like chocolate. Who knew?

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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.  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!


37 comments

  1. I'm voting for Shibby mainly because it felt like a mini story. I liked the flow, and it could stand on its own. It felt tight. I actually quite enjoyed it until the clone thing.

    Jageur was okay, but I didn't get hooked. At the end,I felt emotionless towards the characters. It's obviously setting up for a bigger story. Hopefully the fantasy part of urban fantasy comes in sometime.

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  2. I'm voting for Shibby this round. Pacing-wise, I felt like Shibby could use a little work. It seemed rushed, and I wanted more description in between all the dialogue. But the concept and action pulled me in.

    Jageur did great at setting the scene, I just wasn't hooked since there didn't seem to be much happening.

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  3. I'll go with Shibby this round, although there were a couple of rough moments (I think Derek falls into a sofa he was already sitting on?) and to make the best use of 500 words, the fiancée's role could have been cut. I liked the writing style in Jageur, but overall, it didn't pull me into the story and I didn't get any real sense of urgency about the characters or their conflict.

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  4. Shibby - I really enjoyed the scene. It was interesting and I wanted to see what was going to happen. However, the middle when the clone is holding the gun gets a little muddied and I was confused as to what was happening. I wasn't sure if it was still on the screen or in the room. A little more precise description during that could fix the confusion and really make it shine.

    Jageur - Well written segment there with some nice character development. However, flagging the genre as Urban Fantasy left me looking for where the fantasy element was going to show. I know it's a piece from a larger work, but it's still difficult to see where it fits within the genre.

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  5. I'm going for Jaegur. The writing felt a bit more complete than Shibby's.

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  6. My vote is for Jaegur as I found the writing to be smoother and more polished.

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  7. Great job, guys!

    I'm choosing: Shibby.

    Heather

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  8. While reading Shibby's, it pulled me in and had clean writing and dialogue. The part about falling on the couch confused me too. And then the clone thing was a bit abrupt, but would interest me enough to read more.

    Was hoping to enjoy Jaegur's piece more, but the sentences were soo longgg. This definitely needs to be tightened up. Plus for a 500 word glance at your novel, this didn't give us enough to get involved.

    My vote goes to Shibby.

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  9. Shibby wins my vote today.

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  10. I had a hard time getting into either one of these, so I'll choose Jaegur's because the writing was a bit more polished.

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  11. Bout 11! My lucky number. Okay, so my vote goes to Shibby because nothing is happening in Jaegur's entry. It's supposed to be urban fantasy, but I get no hint of any fantasy, unless the multiple birthdays and cracking bones is supposed to mean something. That was a tough one because I think the writing is actually better in Jaegur's, but for a contest entry something more intriguing needs to happen than a walk down the street.

    Shibby, watch your punctuation. For instance: "Anna, his fiancé, tugged the covers exhaling heavily." I would change this to "Anna, his fiancé, tugged the covers and exhaled heavily." or "Anna, his fiancé, tugged the covers, exhaling heavily." Also “Frank,” Derek stood and pointed. “Behind you.” If there's a masked assailant behind his friend we need an exclamation point there.

    Both are good, so good luck guys!

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  12. I vote for Shibby-- more for engaging me than anything. There were a lot of grammar errors (ie: "Anna, his fiancé, tugged the covers exhaling heavily" suggests the covers were exhaling).

    Like others, I agree that, while better written, Jaegur's entry didn't draw me in because I was looking for the urban fantasy element.

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  13. My vote is for Shibby, although the pacing was a little too fast for me.

    Jaegur wasn't bad, just didn't do it for me like Shibby's piece did.

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  14. Voting for Jaegur.

    Characters, setting, and language are given the attention fiction deserves. Shibby manages to give the feel of a completed action, but the writing is mundane and the setting and characters are much more vague. There was no requirement to make the 500 words feel like a completed action, so not doing that was not a strike against Jaegur. Jaegur's characters came off as real flesh-and-blood people and the overall writing quality is far more masterful. I didn't find it a problem that the fantasy element was not presented yet. That was not required.

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  15. I think both pieces coul use some work, but I found shibby's to be much more engaging.

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  16. Shibby, yours took me a second read. A good ending though. Jegur has a great line with the poverty jumping into wallets. Not sure where the story is going though.

    My vote is for Shibby.

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  17. Neither one really did it for me, but I'll vote for Shibby because I made it further into the piece although you lost me halfway through when there was an assailant. Not sure what was going on there. The writing in Jaegur's felt forced and stilted.

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  18. I vote for Shibby. The writing was rushed, but I forgive it because it was necessary to reach the reveal in the words allotted.

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  19. My vote goes for Jaegur. The writing was much better and easier to read, and I personally found the pacing to be good when it comes to being introduced to new characters. It made me want to learn more about the story and the setting. In fact, given that it is urban fantasy and yet it seemed so "normal," made me more curious as to how that will play into it in the future. There are many great fantasy works that doesn't reveal their fantasy elements until much much later in the book.

    Shibby, while somewhat intriguing, got very confusing for me and the interactions and reactions between characters felt forced and unrealistic. Overall, it felt really rushed. I also tend to pick up on grammar mistakes quickly when reading something (other than my own writing, apparently), so it made it hard for me to finish the story since it still needs some editing done.

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  20. These are both so close. Shibby - yours reads like my first drafts. I write the dialogue and then add the 'feelings' later. The reader needs to be in his head more. We need to know his emotional reaction to seeing his friend shot.
    Maybe you took them out to reach 500 words, I don't know.

    Jagegur - Good writing, but a bit boring for a contest. The sentence as it's written about poverty and the wallet - it confused me as to who was wary of poverty jumping in their wallet. The suits or the kids. I assume you meant the suits.

    Hard to chose, but I vote Shibby.

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  21. I'm going with Jaegur. The kids felt real to me and that was enough to pull me in.

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  22. I'm going with Jaegur. The kids felt real to me and that was enough to pull me in.

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  23. Since this is a writing competition, I'm going with Jaegur.

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  24. Shibby- Certainly in the genre. Good opening for a book. As a short story where only 500 words are available, the first 43 of this probably could have been cut. Other than that, it feels like a combo of two films with Arnold Schwarzenegger. (Which means probable sales. So good job.)

    Jaegur- Some very interesting characters. Certainly Urban, but I'm not sure what makes this Fantasy. "People in suits made sure to keep a few extra feet between them and Anna and Jordan, as if sensing poverty and afraid it would jump into their wallets." That is one of my favorite lines of all time of any book, story, or poem I've ever read (not just Writeclub- ever). And honestly, this is a close voting call for me. If I could find a hint of your genre in here (if the cloudy sky were purple, the suits had slits for wings, the backpack straps hurt because of her gills, the whipped cream and pancakes were made with elven bread and minotaur milk, or if the scents had a few more words to make it clear that she couldn't distinguish them properly because people from Atlantis didn't have chocolate...) ANYTHING at all that hinted at the fantasy in this Urban Fantasy, you'd get my vote. But I don't see it.

    And that is why, by a narrow margin, Shibby does get my vote.

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  25. Jaegur is the winner by knockout, for me. Love the jumpy dialogue, love the setting and the characters.

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  26. Voting for Shibby because the storyline is actually going someplace. The scene comes to a head. But I don't like the writing style as much. It's a bit too sparse and there isn't much spark to the prose that's there. It is very ordinary. But I do like that little snappy exchange: "Don't you ever sleep?" . . . "I'll sleep when I'm dead." Overall, though, this piece is strong on plot, but not so strong on style.

    Jaegur's prose has more meat on it, but the actions seem random and pointless, as if the characters are just killing time. The plotting needs to be tighter, in my opinion.

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  27. Jaeger has an awesome introduction of his characters. POV needs tightening.

    But I'm voting for Shibby because the story, voice, and set up completely hooked me.

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  28. Mmmm, Shibby. Jaegur had good dialog and more interesting characters, but Shibby had an more interesting premise and plot. That's always important to me.

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  29. Shibby gets my vote.
    I love thrillers.

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