WRiTE CLUB 2015 - Bout #18


WRiTE CLUB is a writing community sensation sponsored by the DFWWriters 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 #18.  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 CLUBscoreboard.  Are you ready?

Here are todays randomly selected WRiTER's.

Standing in this corner, representing the Humor genre and weighing in at 491 words, please welcome to the ring……..Cloudwatcher



After clicking through fifty, age-appropriate profiles, there he was: tall (what I look for first), handsome (good photo), professional (doctor: jack pot!), and widowed (divorced people have baggage—I have a portable moving pod). An “adventurous,” man who cooks (!), is “extremely romantic,” enjoys movies, the theatre, reading, AND wants companionship as well as love. Sounds too good to be true!

So why haven’t I whipped out my credit card, filled in the bubbles, and sent him a wink? Because I have to wring the life out of this possibility by over-thinking, overanalyzing, assuming, judging, and ultimately concluding that he wouldn’t wink back. The man wants a “lady” (red flag) who is “beautiful”, “kind”, “educated”, and “loving.”

First, I hesitate because, while I’m attractive, I’m not man-ready beautiful like Michelle Pfeiffer or Betty White. Besides, I live in the south. I’ll never be a petite charmer. I have concluded—without asking—that he is looking for the stereotypical “Dallas bitch.” I only half-qualify.

As for “kind,” don’t ask my ex-husband (or his mother). Others, such as my children, call me warm-hearted, friendly and nice. I’d love to say, “Yup, “generous,” that’s me,” or “Considerate? Always!” But, honestly, if the good-looking physician wants warm-hearted and humane all the time, I can’t sustain it. I can be kind to some of the people all of the time (my kids and grandkids), all of the people some of the time (everyone else in the world), but I can’t be kind to all of the people all of the time.

Undoubtedly, I’m educated. I am a lawyer. (Did I just hear him click “no”? Doctors hate lawyers, right? Everybody hates lawyers, right? I’d defend my profession but enough of us have corrupted, embezzled, and lied under oath (“I did not have sex with that woman…”) that I can’t rehabilitate my fellow attorneys. In my own defense, I am an honest lawyer (not an oxymoron). I have helped people who needed my skills during difficult times in their lives. While dream doc has saved lives (probably, he’s that cute) and while the world needs doctors, the world needs lawyers, too. Damn it.)

Finally, he lists “loving.” By “loving” does he mean “affectionate” or “willing to have sex?” Heavy sigh…. Yes, I’m willing to have sex, not on the first date, but eventually. Remember the “beautiful” part above? Well, I’m not fat, but I have some padding around the middle and am “sufficient” in the thigh and buttock regions. And I seldom notice the skin that hangs down from my upper arms that can be waived like flags at a parade. Oh, and I snore. But, yes, I am willing to have sex. How about it?

So, am I beautiful, kind, educated, and loving enough for the tall, handsome, widowed, adventurous professional? Should I pay to get on the site so I can flirt with him and maybe get a date? Nah. I’ll save my money.
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And in the other corner, representing the Techno-Thriller genre with 479 words let me introduce to you……….Jae Lee Hunter




Fiona checked her texts, still no reply. She had hit up almost everyone and not one response, strange. The cellphone slid from her hand, and tumbled across the mattress. She shrugged, rolled onto her stomach, and began flipping through the latest issue of Vogue. Her leg bobbed in the air, eyebrow raised, as she eyed the upcoming spring line. A buzz shook the phone beside her, its flat screen lighting up.

As she glanced at the display, a smile lifted her lips. She scooped up the phone, and tapped the picture of her friend’s face to answer the call.

“Hey Bree, I was just drooling over this Dolce-Gabbana—”

“Fiona,” a meek voice interrupted. “I just want to let you know.”

There was a long pause, and Fiona sat up.

“Well, the thing is…the other night, at Troy's party, when I kissed you, Skylar made me do it.”

“Why would she do that?” Fiona’s legs draped over the side of her bed, the soft carpet brushing her toes.

“She wanted to get pictures, said it was time for you to get knocked off your high horse.”

Fiona jumped to her feet, glimpsing her red cheeks in the mirror. “And you just went along huh?” Coils of betrayal twisted inside her gut. She could just see them now; half the senior class, gathered around Skylar’s huge marble fireplace, laughing at her. Was she on speaker?

“Oh my god Fiona! This was a hard decision, but Skylar said I could hold her bags at Bergdorf’s. That’s just an opportunity I can’t pass up. I’m sorry but, I’m not into girls so…don’t ever call me again.”

As the line went dead, Fiona slowly lowered her hand. A wave of anger flooded her chest, mixing with the dread that already dwelled within. It all quickly turned to panic, rising, smothering, panic. It was only a matter of time. The whispers would start soon, spreading over the Upper East Side like a plague. Then, her parents would find out.

Suddenly, her wide-open room seemed cramped and suffocating. Fiona dashed to her closet, tossed on her sneakers, and grabbed a sweater. “I’ll just go for a little walk,” she muttered, pulling the velvety fleece over her head.
***

Fiona leaned against a brick wall, peering through a wide window. She stopped taking karate lessons almost two weeks ago but for some reason, she found her way back to this building every night.

A smile played on her lips as she watched the woman inside. Graceful hands that sliced through the air, light steps as she moved across the sparring mats, Isoko.

Her eyes dropped but only for a moment before Fiona returned to gawking. She barely knew the woman. A few weeks of lessons, and two awkward dates, that’s all they shared. Yet here she was–again–watching the sweat glisten on the woman’s shoulders.
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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!

 

24 comments

  1. Cloudwatcher for me. I liked and was rooting for this narrator.

    Jae Lee Hunter, I didn't get the techno thriller aspect of this piece. The scene break between the phone call and the street scene seemed oddly placed. I would also suggest looking for phrases/similes that are flat or clichéd, like "spreading like a plague." The "coils of betrayal" line, for me, didn't quite work, although, overall, I found Fiona to be an intriguing and sympathetic character.

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  2. So... I wrote a very long feedback that disappeared before I could hit send. A condensed version will just have to do now lest it happens again.

    1. Cloudwatcher's character really annoyed me at first. She came off whiny in my opinion and not likable. Maybe I wouldn't feel this way if it was me reading an entire novel versus this standalone, 500 word entry. THe writing was better than Jae Lee thogh.

    2. Jae Lee has an interesting premise. A techno thriller about a lesbian character! Maybe she kills the Queen B that needs a bag holder? Or mistakenly accused of killing her? However, her descriptions seemed very amateur and awkward. For example:

    "mixing with the dread that already dwelled within. It all quickly turned to panic, rising, smothering, panic. " - dread that dwelled within didn't feel quite right... I would also put a period between "panic, rising".

    "Fiona dashed to her closet, tossed on her sneakers, and grabbed a sweater." - i would switch tossed and grabbed around. Could be my personal preference rather than technicality.

    So... my vote goes to Jae Lee Hunter. While the writing needs work, I at least found the character potentially likable and interesting.

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  3. Cloudwatcher. I like a laugh in the morning. Liked the 'flags in a parade' comparison. Good writing

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  4. Cloudwatcher is my vote. This sits perfectly as a short story. You got to know the character by each explored characteristic, and it resolved quickly.. I thought it was funny, and true... a bit self deprecating, but sounds kind of familiar to my nit picking thoughts.

    I didn't care for Hunter's in the least. You don't really even know how old this character is. I assumed she was in High school, but if she's watching an instructor creepily through a window- how old is she? And why would it be horrible for people to know she was a lesbian? If she was dating girls already, and she is in fashion, that is pretty openly accepting. Melodramatic is my one word description for this one.

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  5. Voting for Cloudwatcher!

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  6. Cloudwatcher gets my vote, although I'm not really sure of the purpose of this story, since it seems the character's NOT going to do anything. But the second piece just felt disjointed. I would suggest that Jae Lee Hunter begin the story with Fiona staring through the windows at the dancer. That would make for a creepy beginning and maybe set up the story better.

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  7. My vote goes to Cloudwatcher.

    Cloudwatcher - I struggled through all the parentheses, and the story seemed to jump all over the place (perhaps because of the parentheses?). I loved the "man-ready beautiful like Michelle Pfeiffer or Betty White" line. Betty White. Awesome. I'd like to see this piece tightened and polished, because I think it could be very humorous with some editing for ease of reading.

    Jae Lee Hunter - The teen girl who gets blackmailed out of the "cool group" has been done. Also, Bree's motivation seems weak. Maybe it's the teenagers I know, but most of them are too smart to betray a friend just to hold some girl's shopping bag. The piece felt overwritten. This line in particular stopped me: Her leg bobbed in the air, eyebrow raised... (Her leg has an eyebrow????) Finally, this is totally subjective, but I'm not a fan of instructor/student relationships, which is what sounds like is going on in the last section.

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  8. My vote goes to Cloudwatcher. This is my first year voting during Write Club, and I'm discovering I enjoy the 500 words that can stand on their own, which this piece did. It was funny, but all those parentheses get a bit distracting. I'm sure you could work around those some.

    Jae Lee's piece didn't make much sense to me. It took an odd turn with her walk. I just didn't get it. The writing was fine, but the 500 was confusing.

    Best of luck to both writers!

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  9. Not a huge fan of either of these today, but since we have to pick one, I'll go with Cloudwatcher.

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  10. My vote goes to Cloudwatcher. I liked that it was light and realistic. Got a good feel for the narrator even though it was so brief.

    I appreciate what Jae Lee Hunter was trying to do but I was really confused about Fiona's age. Seemed to be high school, but then watching the instructor she'd dated, I couldn't tell if it was a case of a teacher dating a minor, illegally, or if Fiona was meant to be a college student.

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  11. My vote is for Cloudwatcher. Loved the self dialogue, and the situation was so perfect for a flash fiction. There was too many parenthesis for side remarks, but overall a good concept that flowed well.

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  12. Cloudwatcher didn't personally make me laugh, so I'm not sure humor-genre fits. But I felt some emotion for the character.
    Hunter's techno-thriller label is even worse! It's more like an episode of Gossip Girl. I didn't really feel an emotional connection.
    This is hard because I wasn't crazy for either today. But I guess Cloudwatcher will be my vote.

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  13. My vote goes for Eleanor McInnes. The wording was great, kept me interested in the story and wondering what was coming next. (Alice Berry)

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  14. My vote is for Eleanor McInnes.

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  15. My first impression of Cloudwatcher is that it reads more like a diary entry than a story, but I couldn't help but get sucked into the narrative. I like the character's voice and I like that we get to learn so much about her - not just from the fact that she overanalyzes things, but how she analyzes them. I'd be curious to see if this turned into a full-fledged story and how that would happen.

    I had a hard time connecting with Fiona in this very painful situation, but I don't think it was anything the writer did wrong. It's just the nature of the contest that you have to jump right into the conflict. But I think as a story length, if I were reading this as a book, I'd like to get to know Fiona and her friendship dynamics with Bree better in order to feel her pain better.

    My vote today goes to Cloudwatcher, but it was close.

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  16. Cloudwatcher - I've been saying for a while now that there should be a genre of fiction aimed for people over 65 (just like NA, YA, MG, etc). It's a unique part of life, not just a continuation of adulthood. What I love about your main character is that distinctiveness, that wisdom and appreciation that comes from age. Bravo. You have my vote.

    Jae Lee Hunter - I'm sorry, but in 2015 a phone and a mention of karate lessons does not a Techno-Thriller genre make. The inner workings of technology weren't even hinted at. The mechanics of karate were not thoroughly explored. As just a YA piece it might work, though I'm still not hooked.

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  17. My vote is for Cloudwatcher. I thought the story was clever and honest.

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  18. Jae, but only because I found Cloudwatcher's style with all the interjections annoying and pulling me out of the story consistently. It seems like others like it, but it was too much for me. I like smooth reads.

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  19. Another vote for Jae, here. The language could have used some tightening but stories about young people figuring themselves out are often fun to read.
    Maybe it's just because I can't identify with the MC, but I found Cloudwatcher's character to be whiny and I didn't come out of it with any curiosity about what happens next.

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  20. Voting for Cloudwatcher. I found this piece to be relatable and engaging.

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  21. Mervyn DejecacionJune 19, 2015 at 11:12 AM

    Cloudwatcher.

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