WRiTE CLUB 2015 - Playoff Round Bout #4


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.


We've narrowed the field down to ten and we're continuing on with the play-off rounds – which will continue to come at a rapid fire pace, Mon-Fri.  The voting for all five bouts will remain open until noon on Sunday, July 5th.  Your task remains simple…read the submission from each WRiTER carefully and leave your vote for the sample that resonates with you the most.  If you haven’t already done so in the previous rounds, offer some critique if you have time.  Anyone reading this can vote, so blog/tweet/facebook/text/smoke signal everyone you know and get them to take part in the fun.  Vote on as many bouts as you can get around to.  Whether that is one bout, or all five, how much you participate is up to you. 

Here’s something else to keep in mind for this round...every vote counts. That’s because the contestant who doesn't win their bout…but garners the most votes amongst all of the other losers…will become a wildcard winner and still advance to the quarterfinals. 

The winners will be posted on the WRiTE CLUB Scoreboard late in the afternoon on July 5th and then the quarterfinals will kick off the following Monday, July 6th, again with all new 500 word submissions from the six advancing contestants.

Good luck to all of the WRiTER’s!

And now…..

In this corner, representing the contemporary YA genre and weighing in at 500 words, welcome.....MissWriteNow





Dancing with the devil is fun, but dangerous. Turns out, checking out some muscled guy’s girl can be just as dangerous.

Saying some sort of prayer or delivering my own last rights is what I should do. But no. I can’t. Because I haven’t the slightest idea what religion I am. But not for lack of trying—I’ve been auditioning religions since I was twelve, when protective services kicked Ma’s custody right out the door.

The Jewish Fosters were cool, but old as dirt and couldn’t keep me forever. Doesn’t matter anyway, those little hats didn’t go with my wardrobe.

I was nearly convinced after eight months with the Baptist Fosters. That true believer plunge down at Carver’s Creek had been so close. But Baptist Mom seized with embarrassment when I introduced the preacher’s daughter to an herb that made her giggle right off the church pew.

I’m certain I’m Catholic. This epiphany is compliments of the Catholic Fosters, who forced me to tuck my white shirt into a navy pair of slacks and strap a tie around my neck. I was okay with it after seeing plaid skirts and tall socks adorning the girls at my new school.

Prayers, hymns, rosaries. None of that matters anymore. Dead people don’t need any of that. Of course, I’m not dead yet, so I should try saving my sorry ass.

“Look, man, I didn’t know she was your girl,” I lie, pointing to the brunette in question. My eyes slip too far south, locking on the triangle material covering her chest.

Juice Head’s fist pulls back. “You’re dead!”

My head weaves to the side. Too late. Every ounce of Juice Head’s weight is pushed through his arm, into his fist, and crackles through my nose.

Sand cushions my collapse. Liquid copper spews from both nostrils and gurgles down my throat, reinforcing that my snout is definitely broken. Religious debates aside, I’m immediately thankful God is a fighter, because only a fighting God would give numbness with a broken nose.

Rolling on my side, I glimpse the biggest, slap-your-momma-ugly dog I’ve ever seen. I follow the leash with my eyes. A boy about my age tugs the snapping dog back. “Calm down, boy,” he says to the beast. His eyes bounce from Juice Head to his dog. “You better get out of here before my dog gets loose.”

Juice Head looks down on me. “I’ll see you again.” Bikini Brunette smirks and jiggles her backside extra hard as they walk away.

A naturally tan hand extends. “I’m Zahir,” dog boy says, pulling me from my sandy bed.
I tug my shirt to my nose, smudging the gallon of blood still flowing. “Zahir? Never heard that name before.”

“It’s Muslim.”

“Muslim, huh?” I bend to stroke the drooling dog. “Don’t know much about Muslims.”

Zahir shrugs. “Well, I’m sure I don’t know much about your religion.”

“Come on, man,” I say, walking away. “I’ll tell you about funny hats, river plunges, and plaid skirts.”

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And in the other corner, representing the historical genre with 500 words, welcome……….Eleanor McInnes




“Mama! Aunt Clarice’s tryin’ to get me!” Her pink cotton dress flew behind her as she ran to Mama’s chair.
 “Now, Sweetie, she gets confused. Her mind is worn out.” Mama put down the stack of receipts and looked at her angry, freckled face.
“Mama, are you worn out?” She asked when she saw the dark circles around Mama’s eyes that she got whenever she got grumpy.
“Unequivocally,” she stretched and smoothed her housedress, “but I have to finish my work.” Mama sighed as she looked from the dining room table covered in books to the window and the rain outside.
“Do I have to play with Aunt Clarice? She calls me the wrong name and she takes my baby dolls.” She shoved her hands into her dress pockets.
“I know, but she’s a sad old lady. Her babies died during a war when they needed the medicine for soldiers and there wasn’t any left for her sick babies.” Mama toyed with her curls.
“Soldiers? Like Daddy’s a soldier now?” She asked.
 “Different war.” Mama paused before she went on, “Sometimes Aunt Clarice thinks she is living back then and I need you to play like you are that little girl so she won’t be so sad. Do you think you can do that for Mama?”
Mama took her hands.  She liked how her hands got lost completely in Mama’s. She didn’t hold her hands as much as she used to, back before Daddy got drafted. They both just held on a while.
“Ok, but can we go to the picture show this week? And get popcorn? Just us?” She tapped her bare toes on the dining room floor.
“I’ll see what I can do. Can you go visit with her now?” Mama nodded her head until she returned the nod and let go of her. “Good girl, now go on.”
She tiptoed down the quiet hallway, the sound of the clock marking her steps, and froze at the parlor door.
“Annie! Come join me,” the white-haired woman patted the seat next to her on the settee.
“My name ain’t Annie,” she crossed her arms and planted her bare feet firmly on the rug.
“Now, let’s not play games. Come have tea and tell me about your day.” Aunt Clarice sipped from her china cup. “I have tea cakes today.”
She eyed the plate of tea cakes. At least today wasn’t cucumber sandwiches; she thought Daddy was right that the only good thing you could do with a cucumber was make pickles. She had told Aunt Clarice that, and even tried telling her to make pickle sandwiches, but she didn’t like that idea.
Settling next to the old woman, she took a tea cake off the plate and swung her feet.
“What have you done today, Annie?”
She took a bite that was too big and was still chewing while Aunt Clarice waited for her answer with one eyebrow cocked. She swallowed loudly.
“I played like I was someone else.”

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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!
 


57 comments

  1. My vote goes to MissWriteNow. This isn't a story I care to read on, though, and that's because I don't care for this style of writing. But the second piece confused me so much, I just couldn't vote for it. Eleanor McInnes - you might want to watch those pronouns. Too many shes and hers that don't seem to go with the last name mentioned. I had a hard time following who was doing what.

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    1. I read the revised version and my vote doesn't change.

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  2. Miss Write Now for me. I like Eleanor too, but being dropped into the scene, I found it harder to get engaged with the characters.

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  3. Miss Write Now - I really like the concept of boys exploring faith and friendship, but feel like this needs some fleshing out. The whole beat-up-for-looking-at-another-man's-girl has been done - many times - and I don't see anything to distinguish Juice Head and Bikini Brunette from their predecessors. Even in minor characters, I want real people, not flat props. I also felt like the descriptions of various faiths relied too much on stereotypes. Find something unique - something the average person wouldn't know - about each of these faiths. It will add a beautiful authenticity to your work. Also, try to cut down on the -ing words!

    Eleanor McInnes - You never named your main character, and I think you may have started in the wrong place - or maybe the conversation with Mama was a bit too long. I'm not sure. On the positive side, I got a clear picture of each of the characters in the scene. You did an excellent job portraying Mama's weariness and the girl's aversion to her aunt. I'm not sure how long I'd keep reading, but I would like to see how tea with Aunt Clarice goes. Despite my concerns with this piece, I feel like its characters are more original and more fleshed out than Miss Write Now's, so my vote goes to Eleanor.

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    1. My vote stays with Eleanor. LOVE the last line!

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  4. MissWriteNow gets my vote today :)

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  5. Eleanor on characterization and not relying upon stereotypes.

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  6. Eleanor wins my vote today! I felt sympathy for the little girl and would keep reading. (And, just a side note, her excerpt is definitely shorter than 500 words!)

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    1. My entry was 500 words. Only 390 appear here. I have been trying to contact DL Hammons and web support all morning with no success. The entire ending of the story I submitted is missing. Thanks for noticing. I am sure we will get it fixed soon.

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    2. Uh oh! Hopefully he will fix it soon. I would love to read more. :)

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    3. Thank you so much.

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  7. So sorry about that! I've updated the entry and will post a correction post alerting people to my mistake. Somehow when I copied the entry over, it only copied the first page.

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    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate it.

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  8. I'm voting MissWriteNow because it was easy to read and though a little annoying- was definitely more entertaining than Eleanor's. Sorry your story got cut short, but I still didn't get enthralled in the story.

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  9. Eleanor McInnes
    Sorry you got cut short, but I still liked your characters more.

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  10. MissWriteNow - There is a lot going on in this little entry.
    Eleanor McInnes - Excellent ending. I like the characters. I think this could be a stronger piece in first person.

    My vote is for MissWriteNow.

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  11. Eleanor- I like the characters, but I agree with the other post that this should have been in first person. You still get my vote, though.

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  12. Eleanor McInnes is getting my vote today.

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  13. Eleanor McInnes gets my vote!

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  14. MissWriteNow gets my vote. Interesting how this piece made religion a character as well.

    I enjoyed Eleanor's piece but I'd spend money on MissWriteNow.

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  15. Eleanor McInnes- I agree with the earlier post that MissWriteNow was a bit annoying. I wish that we knew Eleanor's character's name, but it was still the more compelling piece.

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  16. Vote for Eleanor McInnes.
    I don't like the stereotypes in MissWriteNow's piece.

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    1. Strange, K. Young, that your vote appears 3 times at the same clock time. This thread sure has its tech problems today.

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    2. Last week I went three days without being able to get a vote to post. I think there are a lot of tech problems.

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    3. I too was unable to vote for days last week. I emailed the issue and have yet to hear a response.

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    4. Blogger changed some things with their commenting algorithm that didn't allow people to post anonymously unless they were signed in with a Google account (even if they didn't display their name). This was an issue on Blogger's end that seems like they resolved. Sorry that Blogger's been having some technical difficulties, these are the sorts of things that we can't predict or do much about.

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  17. I just didn't care for MissWriteNow's piece. Seemed like I've heard it before, and it was too full of clichés. I didn't care for the characters. Eleanor drew me in with the sights and sounds. I can imagine what the family is going through and I want to read more. Eleanor gets my vote.

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  18. Eleanor McInnes. Her characters seemed real. Just don't care about the other piece. Needs more character work.

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  19. Eleanor McInnes!

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  20. Eleanor McInnes. Great story!! Would have voted for you before the rest got published anyways!

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  21. Another vote for Eleanor McInnes. Though I was very confused - so many pronouns without ever naming the MC. I did get an appreciation for the scene and the characters. It just skimmed the surface - Depth of character/situation preferable to back-story.
    MissWriteNow's piece, though it had some vivid descriptions, was one tired stereotype after another. I would have liked the story to begin with Zahir, exploring the potential of that relationship.

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  22. Wow... I'm not sure how Eleanor's piece is winning here. It's writhing with pronouns and heavy on dialogue. MissWriteNow ' s work has issues as well, but it's nothing that confuses or drags the story.

    MissWriteNow for me.

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  23. Eleanor McInnes

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  24. Not sure on this one. Neither entry really hooked me. I'll vote for MissWriteNow because I liked the concept of auditioning for different religions.

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  25. I vote for Miss Write Now.

    While I’m more interested in the situation in Eleanor’s piece, I see the same developmental gaps as in Eleanor’s piece in the earlier bouts. There is a twist ending that comes as a clever surprise. Nothing wrong with twists or surprises IF they grow out of who the characters are. But, once again, this ending is imposed onto a character. The little girl mainly whines to her mother about having to interact with her annoying old aunt. It’s the mother who thinks of everything.

    The child has not shown the kind of resourcefulness and cleverness it would take to come up with a punch line like this ending. It would take more careful plot development for her to say such a line on her own, rather than the author putting the words into her mouth.

    And, contrary to other opinions, I do see Eleanor’s piece just as having stereotypes. We have the child who pesters relentlessly and asks question after question. Mom, playing the peacemaker stereotypical mom’s do, is basically dismissive of the child’s complaints, cajoling her into doing what mom wants done. This sort of interplay of Mom and kid is pretty cliche. So is the demanding, nutty old lady a common type. The piece doesn’t delve into original, individual characters.

    There are a lot of grammar and punctuation errors in Eleanor’s piece. Not capitalizing where it’s needed and capitalizing where it isn’t needed. Commas where there should be periods and vice versa.

    The prose structure repeats monotonously: something in quotes followed by a statement in the same subject-verb order. Examples:
    “Annie! Come join me,” the white-haired woman patted the seat next to her on the settee.
    “My name ain’t Annie,” she crossed her arms and planted her bare feet firmly on the rug.

    So the piece does not show much creative command of language and the repeating structures grow tiresome.

    Stylistically, Miss Write’s prose shows more creativity and a greater command of language with its rich variety of sentence structures. Far more interesting to read.

    I agree that it would be better for MWN to go beyond the most familiar trappings of each religion though. MWN relies on the tried-and-true depictions typical of certain categories of people, and I find I don’t care about them very much, especially the cliche tough talk toward the end.

    So, content-wise, I’m not keen on either story. I vote for Miss Write Now for more convincing plotting and more creative prose with commendable cadence and variety.

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  26. My vote is for MissWriteNow. Her piece is better written, has better characterization, and is just better overall. The only thing that jumped out at me was that I believe the 'rights' in 2nd paragraph should be 'rites'.

    The Eleanor piece is a bit dry, there are punctuation and capitalization issues, and again, there is an issue with sentence clarity.

    Here is an example....Her babies died during a war when they needed the medicine for soldiers and there wasn’t any left for her sick babies..... This reads to me like the babies needed the medicine for the soldiers. A slight rearrange of ....Her babies died during the war WHEN medicine was needed for soldiers, etc.

    I agree with another commenter's comments that the last line seems out of character, too mature and clever, for the girl speaking, which makes the line seem authorial convenient to end a piece with more pizazz the material has as a whole.

    I do hope the triple vote for Eleanor by one person is fixed. I was already suspicious that some of her votes in the previous round came from friends who would vote Eleanor's way no matter how her piece compared to her competitor's because there were so many issues with the writing on various levels compared to her competition that it left a bad taste in my mouth when the better piece lost. This is a writing contest. It's not a popularity contest where the quality of writing has no bearing. Right?

    Again, my vote is for MissWriteNow. If there is justice to this contest, the more well-written piece will win this time.




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    1. The extra comments were deleted. We were never intending to count them towards the total votes, since they were obviously duplicates. Your other allegations are noted and we will look into it.

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    2. You might try taking a look at Bout #19 and referring to the email I wrote expressing my similar concerns before the elimination rounds were finished.

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  27. My vote is for the better piece, MissWriteNow.

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  28. Easy vote to make....MissWriteNow.

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  29. MissWriteNow gets my vote!

    Did I really see someone say they would have voted for the Eleanor piece still, even though it ended abruptly before the balance of the piece was displayed? That confirms my suspicion for Eleanor's last round and this round....friends voting for a friend regardless of the writing's merits. That is completely unfair.

    And someone complained about the stereotypes in the MRN piece but was okay with those in the Eleanor piece?

    I swear, if the lesser piece wins AGAIN, I will avoid this contest in the future.

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  30. I loved the vampire piece Eleanor did for the other rounds. I was hoping for more action and horror, but was disappointed with this story. If she goes on in this competition she needs to go back to what she's good at.

    MissWriteNow gets my vote, but I don't like this story any more than the other. The only reason she gets my vote is grammar.

    I think this has been the weakest round of any round yet.

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  31. Eleanor McInnes!

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  32. Eleanor, for sure.

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  33. Both of these have issues; but I will vote for Miss Write now as it was easier to follow the characters and the action.

    Eleanor, your concepts are intriguing, and I did like this bit of interplay between the mom and child, and the Aunt and child. It would have been easier to follow without all the pronouns, and if the child would have had a name. You write well in 3rd pov, and I enjoyed the old fashioned language and thinking.

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  34. MissWriteNow gets my vote

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  35. I have already voted, but I am just have to respond to some of the remarks that have been made here. Isn't this about opinions? I'm an avid reader, and I just voted for which piece I like here. Just like in the other bouts. I do not see the lack of civility in the others I see here. I expect more out of people who actually read, and this, too, is just one opinion. Thank you.

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    1. I can only answer for myself, but I looked at grammar, punctuation, sentence clarity, characterization, plotting, etc.

      I didn't see this contest as merely placing a subjective (opinion) vote, but I looked at the nuts and bolts of the writing as a whole since this is a 'writing' contest.

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