WRiTE CLUB 2015 - Elimination Bout #2


Over the past two weeks twenty writers have stepped into the WRiTE CLUB ring and ten emerged victorious. But before we call upon the next twenty writers to do battle, first we must whittle our winners down to five. This is called the elimination round because it’s the first time winners face off against one another. Our ten winners will again be shuffled and -- like the first bouts -- randomly matched to compete against one another with their same submission. A writer who emerges victorious from this round will earn a spot in the play-offs and will be asked to submit a new 500 sample to use in the next round. Let me remind you that our competitors are not only scuffling for notoriety…recognition…a $75 Amazon gift card…but also free admission to the 2016 DFW WritersConference, who helps sponsor this contest.  



This week I’ll be holding daily bouts (M-F) between the Anonymous 500 word writing samples, submitted under a pen name by the winners of our first 10 rounds.  The writing can be any genre, any style (even poetry) with the word count being the only restriction. Today is Elimination Bout #2.  Read each sample carefully and then leave a vote in the comment section for the one that resonates with you the most.  If you didn’t have a chance before, please leave with a brief critique of both submissions as well.

As it was with the early bouts, voting for each will remain open for one week. The winner of each will be posted at the WRiTECLUB scoreboard. 

Are you ready?


Here are today's randomly selected WRiTER's.

Standing in this corner, please welcome back to the ring……..……..Primrose




I think the peaches were the wrong thing I noticed.  They were in a bag in the refrigerator, a plain plastic produce bag, tied in a knot at the top just like all the others.  Peaches.  Not nectarines, smooth and shiny, but three definitely fuzzy peaches.
I don’t like peaches.
It seemed a small thing at first, but it niggled at my mind.  Why would I have peaches in my fridge?  I moved things around, looking for any other strange vegetable kingdom materialization, but that was it.  At first.
Gregory--that’s my husband--said not to worry.  The doctors told us it would be some time before my brain was working normally.  Closed head trauma, they call it--severe closed head trauma with concussion.  Very scientific words to explain why my thoughts and memories are scrambled like eggs.
I like eggs.
God, I’ve been obsessed with food.  I think it’s because it is such a simple, available clue to who and what I was.  Am.  What I am.
There is a method to my thinking.  I call it Jennifer’s Scale of Order.  Food is simpler than clothes.  Clothes are simpler than work.  Work is simpler than friends.  I am simpler than I used to be.
I figured the scale out last week, scribbled it in my notebook in big, unfamiliar letters that crawled off the lines and up the page.  Gregory frowned and said my penmanship would probably improve along with my memory.  He was right; it’s a lot more even now, yet still not much like my old handwriting.
I don’t show my notebook to Gregory any more.  I’m beginning to think I don’t like him any better than I like peaches.
Doctor Carey, my psychiatrist, says, “Episodes of disorientation and emotional detachment aren’t rare with injuries like yours.  It will take time for everything to resolve.”  She really does sound that way.  She says the fog will clear.  Probably.  “Ninety-five percent of head injuries like yours are back to normal within a year.”
All I have to do is figure out how to fake everything until I get back to normal. How will I know I’m back to normal if I can’t remember what normal feels like?
Is it normal to look at a man I’ve been married to for four years and wonder how the two of us managed to stay together for so long?  I may be more than a little dysfunctional, but I’m pretty sure Gregory will be as pompous and overbearing in a year as he is now.
Did I always cringe every time he so much as touched me in passing?  Lord, I hope not.  That would mean I’m either an idiot or a masochist.  On the other hand, it’s more frightening to imagine making love to him and actually enjoying it.  I think I’d rather be one of the walking wounded than get naked with that man.  Wanting to be normal again is one thing, but there are limits.
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And in the other corner let me re-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.  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!

 


44 comments

  1. I'm voting for Primrose.

    I hadn't read Alex's before. I like it. It does a good job at laying questions instead of telling the reader 100% about the character right off. I think I just needed a little bit more pay-off in the scene though. The why of it all.

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  2. Primrose - I commented last round :-)

    Alex - I really enjoyed this scene. It was cute and had some nice touches of humor. I think my only complaint is that it lacks tension because I don't know the characters that this comes from. If you make it to a further round, maybe pick an excerpt that is more understandable with only what is there.

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  3. Primrose for me.

    I had a hard time jumping into Alex's piece and found myself stopping and re reading to figure out who was who and what exactly was happening. That said, it definitely intrigued me.

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  4. 1 Vote for Alex

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  5. My vote is for primrose, although I liked Alex's piece very much, as well.

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  6. I'm voting for Primrose. Actually loved the voice in Alex's piece, but it has too many gaps for me to follow easily.

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  7. My vote is for Primrose! I love the details and the depth of the character.

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  8. Definitely Primrose for me today!

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  9. Primrose! I so want to know what happens.

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  10. Alex's is well written and creates a real interest in the character but I'm a sucker for stories that explore the mind and Primrose completely grabbed me. I vote Primrose.

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  11. I'm voting for Primrose.

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  12. I voted for both of these in the previous round.

    Both could use some tightening, but on the positive side:

    Primrose - I love the snark of the narrator, and the struggle to reconcile herself to her life.
    Alex - There's something about this piece that feels really natural and draws me toward the characters.

    I'm so torn between these pieces that I literally counted the votes to see how close it is. My vote goes to Alex, just to even things up. Good luck to you both!

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  13. This time I'm voting for Alex Preston. Having read it before, it was easier to follow along. I'm wondering who Kade is too!

    Primrose- Unfortunately I just don't get caught up in it. I feel like this story has played out too many times. You didn't give me any insight into why this story might be different than the others already out there. I needed a twist to make it interesting.

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  14. Alex's is good--sounds a lot like something John Green would write.

    My vote is for Primrose, though. I want to know what happens next.

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  15. Alex Preston for sure. I am totally curious about where this is going. I always like reading about teenagers getting into mischief.
    Primrose's piece still just didn't sit right with me. I know the character is off kilter but the writing feels off, rather than intentional.

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  16. Primrose for me! I love this POV and the little details she shares with us.

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  17. I vote for Primrose because you could really feel the character.

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  18. I vote for Alex Preston. I like the action and suspense right off the bat, totally something I'd read. Both are great though!

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  19. This was really hard!
    I liked both.
    I'm choosing Alex Preston.
    :)
    Heather

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  20. I enjoyed both, but #1 stood out for me. Loved the voice

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  21. My problem with Alex Preston is the same as the first time around - it sounds too much like a hundred other YA stories. It may very well be the next big thing, but that snippet isn't giving me enough new vibe for the sale. Absolutely nothing "wrong" with it, just no SHAZAM! in it.

    Primrose, on the other hand, has me wondering WTH is going on- in a good way. I want more. This round to Primrose.

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  22. I'm going with Primrose on this one. The language creates very interesting imagery and I am intrigued by the deterioration of the relationship.

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  23. I'll vote for Primrose. Its a bit overwritten, but is engaging and I'm interested enough to read a few pages more.

    Alex is a good writer - especially with this YA 1st POV which doesn't seem at all mechanically narrated. The decent writing aside, it does not draw me in. I am uninterested in the drone technology, and the characters just are not intriguing. However, it is only 500 words, so maybe the next 500 will be more engaging.

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  24. Has to be Primrose, for me. I liked it the first time around, and I like it still. The opening line of Alex is excellent, but I don't get captivated by the rest of the story.

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  25. I like Alex. That's my vote. Congrats to both.

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  26. Primrose gets my vote. In the short amount of words the author has created a strong character and has built suspense regarding what will happen and perhaps what has already happened.

    I don't feel Alex's story was able to achieve the same depth.

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  27. I vote for Primrose.

    Alex Preston's story was good writing. While it has potential to be a good short story I felt it had too many characters for a 500 word submission.

    Primrose, your story is amazing. Can't wait to see what you will come up with for the next round and that's why I voted for you.

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  28. I vote for Primrose.

    Alex, I think your writing is strong and the story sounds possibly intriguing but there were just too many things going on in this short segment for me to grasp hold of the plot.

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  29. I vote for Primrose - good writing.

    Alex - this is a good scene but needs to be rewritten with more clarity. Probably a really fun story.

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  30. This is hard, because I voted for both of these in round 1.
    However, I think I'm going to give it to Alex, because I really want more of this story.

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  31. Primrose gets my vote. I identify with the character.

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  32. I vote for Alex Preston. Even though I'm not sure what's going on, I enjoy reading it.

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  33. I think Primrose's writing is better, but I dislike the tone of the story. It strikes me as a predictable feminist polemic. But, as this is a writing contest, that's my vote.

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  35. Tough, but I have to say Primrose. I think Alex has a more interesting situation and characters I can connect with better, but it doesn't read tightly. To many frayed edges to the story, I don't know where to focus.

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