WRiTE CLUB 2015 - Bout #19


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 #19.  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 Paranormal genre and weighing in at 499 words, please welcome to the ring……..Eleanor McInnes




“Who’s next, boss?” Ross bounced in his seat.

“Damn, boy! We barely got the knife outta this one.” Raynard laughed.

“I’m just havin’ fun. It ain’t like they’re human or nothin’,” Ross looked at the rear-view mirror and watched the flickering car fire grow distant.

“No… they aren’t.”

Raynard fell silent. Ross turned on the radio and hummed as they drove.

Back at Raynard’s barn, Ross went through the rituals of dipping the blades in a mild acid bath, then scrubbing them. He was at the whet stone, sharpening for the next kill when he began to laugh.

“What’s so funny?” Raynard smirked at his apprentice.

“All them legends about the garlic and the wooden stakes and shit- ain’t none of that real. Hell, we just slice and dice with machetes from Jackson’s Hardware.” Ross held the newly sharpened blade up in the light. “Ain’t nothin’ special.”

“It becomes special. It becomes the sword of God,” Raynard’s voice grew deep and reverent. Ross nodded.

A nothing kind of night in the Delta became special when there was a dance at Oak Grove High School. Ross sat in Raynard’s Jeep under the canopy of ancient oaks watching teenagers wander in and out of the gym.

“A lot of bait.” Ross shifted in his seat.

“It’s perfect for their kind. Some kids get drunk and drive off a bridge or something, prefect to feed.” Raynard lit a cigarette.

“They feed off the accident, or they cause it?” Ross’ brows pulled together.

“Both,” Raynard exhaled smoke.

Along the edge of the lot, a shadow moved.

“There,” hissed Raynard, stabbing out his cigarette. “The one that got away. I knew there were more in this clutch.”

“You was right,” Ross whispered. He had never seen anything like Raynard’s perceptive hunter’s eyes.

Raynard got the crossbow ready, instructing Ross to walk toward the dance through the shadows. As he stepped under the cover of trees, a girl approached him.

“You wanna dance out here?” she winked at Ross. He grinned and pivoted, grabbing her and shielding himself just as the bolt skewered her.

Her shrieks turned inhuman as she flailed with every bolt Raynard fired. She slumped down the length of Ross’ body and he let her fall. Someone else’s blood drained from her.

Ross smirked down at her until a polished machete burst through his shirt.

“What? Why?” Ross gasped.

“You thought you could use the crazy vampire hunter to eliminate your competition? You thought I was too stupid to see through your act?” Raynard made sure no one noticed them and began dragging Ross backwards to the Jeep by his throat. A second machete joined the first.

“Please, no… just let me go. I’ll… never come back…” Ross was losing the human blood he had fought to conceal from Raynard. A third blade pierced him and the precious blood splattered at his feet.

“Pleasssssseee…” Ross collapsed. “I beg you.”

“I don’t grant forgiveness. I am merely the sword of God.”

Raynard smiled.
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And in the other corner, representing the Literary genre with 496 words let me introduce to you……….Dean Aye




It’s 4:03 in the morning. Cindy is asleep. Her breath just short of a snore. I’ve been awake all night. My bags, two suitcases, are packed and in the trunk. I wrote the note a week ago, just as a draft, thinking I’d sharpen it before this moment arrived, but I like what it says so I haven’t changed it.
I guess I’ll miss her. A lot of times I paint her as a horrible person, but probably she deserves better than to be dumped in the middle of the night by a coward who can’t even face her. I know that I’ll miss her daughter. She’s twelve and a mirror image of her mother but still, there’s something about her spunk that I really like. Hopefully she won’t end up bitter and angry at the world the way Cindy is.

I slip out of bed. My ankles creak as they hit the floor. It’s as loud as a stick of dynamite to me but Cindy doesn’t stir. Unfolding the note sounds just as noisy. I leave it on top of the closed toilet seat. She’ll probably read it while she’s pissing and just flush it down the sewer. It’ll be a fitting end to our short-lived marriage.

For a second I hesitate. I can’t let go of the letter. I think I should just rip it up and go back to bed. But then I picture Cassandra, her smile, her tanned skin, her red lips on mine, her black hair shining in sun. I set the note down.

The parking lot in front of Cassandra’s apartment is full. There’s a pickup in her guest spot. This frustrates me at first but then I recognize it. It’s her ex-boyfriend’s. Or I guess boyfriend now. Whatever.

The light is out in her apartment. She’s supposed to be up, packed and waiting for me. We plan to be in Colorado by evening. I look at her window again. It’s still dark. She’s not going. I turn around and slam the car into drive and race toward home. It’s not very far. Cindy will still be asleep.

There’s no one on the road and I’m driving fast but of course the first traffic light I come to turns red. I stop and thump my fingers on the steering wheel but still the light stays red.

It changes but I don’t move. If I go straight I’ll be home in fifteen minutes. My life will continue as it had.

The light turns yellow then red and back again to green. I turn left. There’s a McDonalds that never closes this way and I’ll get some coffee. After that it’s ten miles of sage and red dirt but then the road ascends to the top of the Point. Soon the sun will rise over the desert. It’s something I’ve always wanted to see.
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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!

 

52 comments

  1. Dean gets my vote. A life in turmoil minus the violence, expressed in a vision of words not blood wins for artistic reasons.

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  2. Both were good, but Eleanor McInnes' piece gets the edge. Literally!

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  3. Eleanor McInness gets my vote! Action packed!

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  4. Eleanor definitely gets my vote! What a twist! There's something very Jim Butcher-esque about the writing that I really liked, too. I liked Dean's, but I think for me as a personal choice, the short, curt, abrupt sentences are not my favorite style.

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  5. Dean gets my vote. It felt cleaner and was easier to follow.

    With more space to flesh out the story, Eleanor probably would have had my vote, but I felt like too much was left out - specifically a transition between the scenes and more description in the ending.

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  6. Eleanor gets my vote.

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  7. Eleanor gets my vote!

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  8. Eleanor McInnes gets my vote!

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  9. Although the subject matter of both entries isn't something I would choose to read, I preferred Eleanor's piece.
    I vote for Eleanor.

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  10. This was a difficult choice because I felt both were compelling for their genre, with few things to criticize. For mostly personal preference reasons, I'm voting for Eleanor. I will mention that I had to read dean's a couple of times to figure out the Cindy/Cassandra thing because Cindy is apparently "home" but the beginning reads like he's running out on his girlfriend, who has a daughter, and going home to his wife, who apparently has a boyfriend on the side. But I think Cassandra is actually the on the side girlfriend.

    Both writers did a great job-- congrats!

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  11. Nice entries!!!

    My choice: Eleanor McInnes.

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  12. Eleanor's story is very quick and riveting. Nice twist and stick( pardon the pun ) I didn't see that coming. Eleanor's use of local colloquial names and places made me feel like I knew the place and players. Nice job Eleanor, you definitely get my vote

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  13. I vote for Eleanor McInnes

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  14. While I enjoyed Eleanor's writing, I had to read some parts of it a few times to understand what was going on. For example, the machete "bursting" from Ross's shirt really threw me; I had this weird image of a machete bursting out of his stomach, which I'm sure the author didn't intend to portray. I'm also not a fan of vampires (unless they're of the gothic Count Dracula variety) so this is also partly why I struggled with this piece. However, I did enjoy the colloquial language and really got a sense of the power struggle between Ross and Raynard, which I found intriguing.

    On the other hand, Dean's piece actually reminded me a lot of Gone Girl, especially the parts about the side girlfriend and his intentions to grab a cup of coffee and watch the sunrise. The whole untrustworthy narrator trope is a great one, and I think this piece has enormous potential. This is a story I would definitely keep reading!

    That being said, Dean wins my vote today.

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    1. *and the MC's intentions to grab a cup of coffee and watch the sunrise. (My apologies!)

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  15. Dean Aye gets my vote. I was confused by the first piece even though it was well written. Dean's seems a bit cliche and predicatble but I wasn't confused.

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  16. Dean Aye- I love the ending. That's a great twist, and in so few words. Very impressive. You have my vote.
    Eleanor McInnes - It was a good story. I just liked the other more.

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  17. Dean gets my vote. I found it easy to follow and quickly finished with clarification. Eleanor's piece was good, but rereading for clarity shouldn't happen.

    Best of luck to both writers!

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  18. Eleanor McInnes!

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  19. Eleanor McInnes

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  20. I love vampire stories, but Eleanor McInnes' piece lacked a sense of time and place for me to enjoy it. I wasn't even sure whose POV we were in at first. Put in a few more details and I could easily keep on reading. I wasn't too fond of Dean Aye's piece (it's just not the type of story I read, not that it was written badly), but at least I got a picture of what was happening (and where), so that one gets my vote.

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  21. Eleanor gets my vote. Liked the twists. Makes me want to read more. The other just didn't get my interest up.

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  22. Dean all the way for me. Eleanor's piece has a twist, yes, but I always like twists where I can see something coming if not the exact details. It was too sudden for me, I'd rather have a lead in. Sly glances and clues to put together, which I know is hard to here. Dean though has those little pauses and situations that allows me to figure some stuff out myself before he does, but at the same time I didn't expect him to still leave. Though it makes sense. So yeah, I'm voting for Dean.

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  23. Eleanor's story.

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  25. I vote for Eleanor. It was very thought out and kept me wanting to read more. I did not expect the ending and thought that was very well executed.

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  27. My vote for Dean. Both had interesting twists but I felt the Eleanor story has a bit hard to follow.

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  28. Love the premise and the hook of Eleanor's story, so I"m voting for that one.
    The premise of Dean's just didn't feel very original. I'm sure it could get there, but it felt like a scene I've seen before.

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  29. I pick Eleanor! I really can't provide much feedback for these two. Once again, two very different pieces were pitted against each other and I had to pick based on preference. Someone else mentioned that Dean's had a Gone Girl vibe to it and I agree - and while most people in the world loved that book, I really, really did not like it. Once again, purely my preference.

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  30. Both stories struck me as having characters who don't care about anybody but themselves, and I don't think I'd read either of these stories for that reason.

    I do think Eleanor's plot should have given us some subtle hint of the way things could backfire on Ross, subtle enough for us not to guess what will happen, though, but something that prevents an absolute surprise. Seeing the ending, we could look back on and see that there was a hint of it all along.

    Dean is more skillfully plotted, so I'm voting for Dean.

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  31. Eleanor McInnes!

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  32. I vote for Eleanor. I really enjoyed this entry a lot! I thought it had outstanding voice, the writing was clean, the vernacular of the characters really well done. The first half was great. The second half fell apart a little bit for me. From Ross's POV, you reference Raynard's "perceptive hunter eyes." Considering how simple the language is, the phrasing didn't sound right. I also felt like Ross's reaction at the realization that Raynard knows he's a vampire isn't quite right - he asks why. It seems like instead of wondering why he's being stabbed, he should be reacting to Raynard knowing. At that point, the ruse is over, right? But the writing overall is great, was very engaging. And the phrase "A nothing kind of night?" Love.

    As for Dean Aye's piece, I thought the writing itself was very good. However, the piece was ambiguous and ambled around without a clear destination. He's leaving, his travel partner isn't leaving, so he's not leaving, then he's leaving anyway? I'm really not sure what is going on, what the MC's relationship is to any of the people mentioned, and I'm not clear on why I should care.

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  33. #19 Elanor McInnes's is great. I felt like I was right there with them. Stalking the vampires......what a creative mind. I love this writer and would love to read some more of her writings. Bet she could really write a very interesting book. She has my vote hands down

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  34. Eleanor McInnes has my vote. It was very interesting, just these few words had me wanting more. Must be a very creative person....

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  35. E.McInnes is a very interesting writer. This person uses words that are so real to the characters. I would love to read more of her work. I vote for her.

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  36. Never thought about hunting vampires. Not really my thing...but this writer made it feel so real. The language, the way they worked each character....I loved it. Eleanor McInnes has my vote .

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  37. McInnes has my vote. Very creative, used her imagination very well. Loved the way she had the characters talking....she has real talent.

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  38. Eleanor McInnes gets my vote!

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  39. Eleanor gets my vote

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