This is where it all ends...with two writers...one ring...and a solitary crown. Who do you think will make an impression on the judges and be the one left standing? Here's an interesting note - last year all 12 of our preliminary judges included just one writer on all twelve ballots...and that writer ended up winning everything. This year 11 out of 12 judges included a single writer on each of their ballots...and that writer is in the finals. I wonder if our celebrity judges will agree with our preliminary judges...and you?
Let me start off by congratulating Commando Grace and MissWriteNow for surviving weeks of grueling competition and landing here in the final round. But additionally, every single writer who was brave enough to submit an entry to this contest also deserves a tip of the hat as well. This is the part of WRiTE CLUB where...if you so desire...the masks come off. I encourage everybody (except our finalist) who took place this year to use the comments below and let us meet the person behind the pen name. I know there are a lot of fans who really want to find out more about you and your writing story.
I've already emailed our two finalist new 500 word writing sample to our panel of celebrity judges (forgot who they were? check out the list HERE) and their decision will be made known during the DFW Conference in Dallas on Saturday. I'll also post the final results, along with any critiques the judges provides, next Monday (July 27th). But that doesn't mean you don't get a say. I've also posted their pieces below so you can have one final chance to vote. If by some remarkable chance our judges come up with a split decision, your votes in the comments below will decide the tie-breaker.
I will be back after announcing the winner to post some takeaways from this season's WRiTE CLUB, and I'll also be asking for recommendations for what you'd like to see be different for next year. Make sure you stop by for that.
And now...for one last time this year....
In this corner, welcome to the ring our first finalist.....Commando Grace. Here are links to her original entry, her playoff entry, her quarterfinal entry and semifinal entry. This time she represents the Contemporary YA genre with 500 words.
I hate pooping when someone's in the shower, but sometimes a girl can't wait. It wouldn't be so bad if Pete would turn on the fan, but he always goes for the sauna effect. In a house with one functional bathroom, there has to be a penalty for taking thirty-minute showers. I bear down for the grand finale.
Behind the shower curtain, Pete chokes, gasping as if he’s run out of oxygen. My dear brother’s melodramatics deserve a flush.
I yank my pants up and press the toilet handle. He screams like a cheerleader. The water stops, and he jerks the curtain aside.
“Are you trying to scald—” Trevor Langston glances at my unbuttoned jeans, then turns his head. “You’re not Pete.”
I drop the toilet lid, praying it wasn’t a two-flusher. “Neither are you.”
He eyes the curtain like he wants to pull it closed again, but that isn’t how we work. He’ll stand there, dripping wet and sucking in his gut, until one of us backs down.
It won’t be me. “Why are you here?”
“Went for a run with Pete. If I’d known I needed your permission to spend the night—”
“You’re sleeping here?”
“Yeah, so maybe warn me before you stink up the bathroom again.” He shifts his weight from one foot to the other. Water drips from his hair to his chest and continues down his abs. “It’s rude to stare, Grace.”
I hate to revisit the whole skinny-dipping fiasco, but I won’t have Trevor thinking I like the view. “We’re even now. In case you forgot, you saw me naked first.”
“I only caught a peek.” He clenches his fists. It must take all his willpower not to cover himself.
“Relax. Six brothers, and Pete still does the nakey-dance after most of his showers. You don’t have anything I haven’t seen.” It’s true, but it’s also a lie. I’m not sure what the difference is, except that Trevor isn’t my brother. “You’re an only child, aren’t you?”
He’s probably never been naked in front of a girl, sister or otherwise. It’s not a fair fight. “So, I was looking at your quads.”
He looks down. “My quads?”
“Forget it.” This is awkward enough without me saying idiotic things. I turn to wash my hands.
Trevor’s eyes meet mine in the mirror. His voice trembles. “Could you at least hand me a towel?”
I pull the only one off the rack. “Take mine.”
“Disney princesses?” He raises an eyebrow, but wastes no time securing my towel around his hips.
“When your childhood consists of boys stealing your towel, you make peace with Cinderella. If Pete catches you, tell him he’s still not allowed to touch her.”
I open the door just as Pete knocks. I stumble backward into Trevor. His hands grip my waist to steady me.
“Dude, that’s my sister!” As Trevor’s towel slips to the floor, Pete shakes his head at me. “You let him touch Cinderella?”
And in the far corner our other finalist, let me re-introduce.... MissWriteNow. Here are links to her original entry, her playoff entry, her quarterfinal entry and semifinal entry. Again she represents the YA Post-Apocalyptic genre with 495 words.
No mom or dad. No electricity. No cell phone. I ate the last chocolate bar two minutes ago. And this stupid pandemic is to blame. Too bad the virus failed to comprehend the Destroy PMS memo I sent last month.
“There has to be some Midol left,” I say to Pork Chop.
He snorts and knocks a row of toilet cleaner from a shelf with his big ass. He could care less about my female complaints, so long as I keep him stocked with rotten vegetables and a soggy mud hole. Bet he’d change his attitude real quick if he had a uterus.
I walk the medicine isle, reading random bottles in hopes something will dull the pain. “It’s no use,” I say. “We’ll have to search the homes.” Pork Chop flops across the warm linoleum. “No time for a nap, jerk! Get up. Let’s get this done.”
Two ovary-cramping blocks later, we land on Jefferson Avenue. I move toward Jana’s grandparents’ home, in hopes they kept their granddaughter well-stocked with cramping medicine. It’s worth a shot, because my lady organs can’t take much more walking.
I reach for the doorknob. My belly does this weird flip, like I’m breaking the law or something, even though I know the owners are dead and buried and they don’t need anything in here. Besides, there’s no law anymore.
Sun beats through lace curtains in the living room. Even after all these months, the house still smells like a gingerbread man on Christmas Eve. It’s sort of nice. If it wasn’t so far from the creek and the garden, I’d totally bunk here.
Pork Chop makes himself at home, jamming his nose into everything and anything. He budges a cabinet door open, sending a dozen old records across the floor. One slips from its cardboard sleeve, thumping against brown carpet, and landing face up. It reads, Bee Gees: Greatest.
“Ever heard of the Bee Gees?” I ask Pork Chop. He shoves his snout deeper in the pile of records. “Yeah, me neither. Let’s get to know them, shall we?”
Examining the player, my summer with Aunt Linda floods back—antique stores and too much boredom for anyone’s good. But I’m thankful I can use the old thing.
Black vinyl steadied, I use the side handle, cranking like it’ll produce Midol the faster I go. Fat chance of that happening. But hey, a girl can wish.
Cross legged in the floor, I listen. Music sprinkles the air and tickles someplace in me I forgot I had, forgot existed.
By the second chorus, I’m on my feet, singing along. “Feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’. And we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive. Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.”
My ratty hair bounces as I dance. Pork Chop’s tail wiggles harder the louder I sing and the crazier I move. He looks happy. And I feel happy.
I lean my head back and yell, “Suck a fat one, PMS!”
Has anybody forgotten the WRiTE CLUB motto? It’s not about the last man/woman standing, this is the contest where the audience gets clobbered!