WRiTE CLUB 2015 - Elimination Bout #7



Over the past five weeks forty writers have stepped into the WRiTE CLUB ring and twenty emerged victorious. We whittled our ten winners down to five in the first the elimination round (named that way because it’s the first time winners face off against one another), now its time to send home five more. Our ten winners from phase two 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 there will be 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 #7.  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.

This week, voting for each bout will remain open only until noon (central time) on Sunday, June 28th. 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……..Bookworm





“Can’t we get going, Mom? I don’t wanna be late,” I said, adjusting my seat belt.

She peered through the windshield. “There’s a lot of traffic,” she said. “Try to calm down.”
           
Our minivan bumped through a ditch. “How much farther? Maybe I should get out and run?”
           
“Don’t be silly,” Mom said. “You don’t want to show up on your first day all hot and sweaty.”
           
“I don’t wanna be the last one there,” I said. “Everyone will stare at me.”

I pulled the visor mirror down and checked myself out. No breakfast on my face. No new zits today. My blonde hair was under control. My eyes were like chocolate. Would the kids call me an ‘oddball’ because my eyes didn’t match my hair?

I quit worrying. I had bigger things to think about.
           
We turned into the driveway at the Chuckle Factory with its high stone wall topped with barbed wire. Large orange alarm buttons stood out. If I hadn’t known better, I would have thought it was a prison. I snatched the sheet of instructions from my backpack. “It says turn left at the big iron gates.” 

We followed the road uphill through the pine trees to the back of a white brick building. Chuckle Security Techs stood guard in their purple and gold uniforms. Their matching helmets reflected the morning sun. They each held a long pole with a net against their shoulders.

Clusters of kids ran into the factory ahead of me, chuckling. I had my seat belt off before the car stopped moving.
           
“Wait one minute, Norman,” Mom said, grabbing the sleeve of my blue jumpsuit. “Give me a kiss for luck and say good-bye to your brother, too.”
           
“Oh, gross, do I have to?”
           
“If you want to get out of this car, you do.”
           
As quick as I could, I gave Mom a peck on the cheek and then climbed between the seats to the back. Bill had his ear buds in and was staring at his phone.
           
“Bye, Stupid Head,” I said, putting my hand over his phone.
           
“Hey,” he said, looking up. “Do good, Squirt. If your team loses, everyone at school will hate you.”
           
I hated it when he called me, ‘Squirt,’ just because he was 13 and I was only 11. He was a bigger version of me and he thought he was hot stuff.

I hated it even more when he was right. Chuckletown Middle had won the junior internship trophy every summer for the last five years. Since I’d be going there in the fall, it was my turn to be on the team and show we were the best. If we lost, I wouldn’t have a single friend next year. Or maybe ever.
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Standing in this corner, representing the Contemporary genre and weighing in at 500 words, please welcome ……..Commando Grace




It shouldnt be hard for a girl to remember her underpants, but I almost left mine at home again. I guess thats what I get for taking my brothers bet to go commando my entire freshman year. That, six hundred dollars, and questionable bragging rights, but none of that helps on the first day of your sophomore year when youve told your brother how his girlfriend spent the summer while he was away. I probably deserve to be stuffed in this locker. I curl my fingers around the underwear in my pocket. At least Taylor and her fiends didnt find these. When the bell rings and the halls fill again, Ill get someone to let me out. If Im really lucky, Ill have time to run to the restroom before second period.

Is it true Wakefield High has a sophomore girl on the varsity soccer team? The boy must be new if he has to ask. Is she any good? Definitely a new kid.

Coach thinks so, but her six older brothers played for himone of them still does, actuallyso he might be biased. Jake Millers voice comes muffled through the locker door.

Is she you know?

Endowed? Jake asks.

Several of them laugh. I adjust my bra strap. Useless as it might be, at least I remembered one undergarment.

Hey, whats the big funny? At Petes voice, I shove my fist, undies and all, into my mouth to keep from screaming. If only the others would go away, I could call out.

New Boy doesnt seem to have an inside voice. I was just asking if Soccer Chick is ho—”

Soccer Chick is my sister, man. Pete doesnt sound amused.

New Boys answer is lost in the worst sound I can imagine. Metal squeaks, and then comes the unmistakable click of a released lock.The door swings open. New Boy steps back, his brown eyes wide as an owls, then crouches down and looks me in the eye. He must think hes some kind of hero.

I dont know who you are or how you got into my locker…” He cocks his head to one side. But is that a leopard print thong hanging from your braces?

I twist the loose thread out of the bracket, ball up the underwear, and slap them into his outstretched hand. I dont know who you are or why you left your locker unlocked this morning, but you really could stock it with better snacks. I crawl out of the locker and get to my feet. Ill see the rest of you boys at practice.

My legs are stiff, but theyll be loose enough to kick some butt by 3:30. I stride off with as much dignity as I can muster.

Grace, your underwear! Pete calls after me, but I ignore him.

His bet, his ex-girlfriend, his soccer buddies. Let him figure out what to with my underwear. I went commando for an entire year. Whats one more day?

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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!



27 comments

  1. Bookworm - I liked this little slice of life scene. It flowed well, had good setting, and was well written. One minor note is that I'd change the line about the kids chuckling since they're going to Chuckletown Middle. It pops out because the same word usage seems intentional and draws attention to the writing instead of the story.

    Commando - I loved the tension in this scene. Very good. My questions about what's happening would probably be answered by the surrounding text in the longer piece, but I'm not worried about it. I still understand enough in this self-contained snippet.

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  2. Commando Grace for me, too.

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  3. Hahaha! I will ALSO go Commando Grace. I really liked this piece!

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  4. Voting for Bookworm.
    Both have strong points, but I'm more interested in what becomes of the narrator of Bookworm.

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  5. Commando Grace. Had me from the very first line….

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  6. These were great.
    My choice: Commando Grace.
    Heather

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  7. Commando Grace :) I'm pretty sure I voted for you last time too :)

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  8. My vote goes to Bookworm.

    I just can't get into the dialogue in Commando's piece. It's funny, but the dialogue feels too old.

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  9. Voting for Bookworm.

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  10. Both really good. But Commando Grace still makes me laugh the most. So that's my vote.

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  11. Voting for Bookworm ... what happens next?

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  12. Voting for Commando Grace.

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  13. Commando Grace. Makes me smile.

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  14. Bookworm. Ordinary banter steps into singular vision and back again.

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  15. I liked them both, but Commando Grace won me over.

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  16. Definitely Commando Grace. Love the panties in the braces!

    Bookworm's piece is good, but not much is happening.

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  17. Commando Grace. It feel complete...and I like that!

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