WRiTE CLUB 2015 - Quarterfinals Bout #2


Program Note - On yesterdays bout I forgot to mention the genre of each submission, which may have lead to some confusion about one of the entries. Please take a second look at those HERE and decide if you would like to change your vote. Thank you.

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 started off with 171 entries, from which 40 were selected, and now only six will remain. Four will get the opportunity to move forward into the next week.  The voting for these quarter-final bouts will remain open until noon on Monday, July 13th at 6PM CST.  This is the second bout, to be followed by the last one on Friday. Your task remains simple…read the submission below from each WRiTER carefully and leave your vote for the sample that resonates with you the most.  Please offer a mini-critique, if you have time.  After you vote, please blog/tweet/facebook/text/smoke signal everyone you know and get them to take part in the fun.

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 semi-finals.  

The winners will be posted after 6 PM on the WRiTE CLUB Scoreboard on July 13th and then the semi-finals will kick off the very next day on Tuesday July 14th. Winners of these quarter finals will need to have their next all new 500 word submission ready to go. Now is not the time to fall asleep at the wheel. :)
Good luck to all of the WRiTER’s!

In the near corner, please welcome back to the ring representing the Paranormal Fantasy genre with 406 words -- Kim Patterson




There was one last burst of wind and then it died down. In fact, it didn’t just die down. The air completely stilled, so much so that it was almost stifling. My heart pounded too loud in the sudden quietness.

Then he was there.

A figure, taller than me, but shorter than Nathan. Hair hung straight and limp several inches past his shoulders, the color of dying wood. His face was in shadow, hiding his eyes and expression from me. A simple black robe hung off his form in a way that made him seem gaunt, underfed, unhealthy. The aura he seemed to be radiating said anything but.

Power.

Anger.

Danger.

He didn’t have to say a word, or move even one step forward, for me to sense those things pouring off him in waves. Behind me, where Nathan had been laughing before, he was now silent. Undoubtedly, he could feel Runihura’s power also.

The ruler of the Shadowland took one step forward and Ezra and I moved back to allow him out of his homeland. He lifted his foot as if to take another step and then seemed to pause, as if uncertain he could really exit. Then his boot came down on the dirt of the path outside the gate, sending up a tiny puff of dust.

Silence filled the clearing even more heavily as we waited to see what he would do. His shoulders lifted in a huge breath that he let out, as if of relief. He lifted his head and I was finally able to see his face.

A large x-shaped scar slashed through each of his eyes and his face was the color of parchment. A smile twisted his lips, making the scars look even more gruesome. I swallowed hard, standing my ground. “Who was the one to release me?” he asked.

I opened my mouth, knowing my voice was going to tremble, but at that moment, another voice spoke up. “I did.” I whirled to see Nathan leaning against one of the boulders. He tossed his dagger casually into the air and caught it. His statement shocked me speechless.

Ezra sputtered, as if unable to physically get a word out of his mouth. I opened my mouth to say something, although I didn’t know what yet, but was interrupted before I could begin. Runihura lowered himself onto one knee in front of Nathan. “I am forever in your debt.”


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And in the far corner, making her own return to the ring in the Post-Apocalyptic genre with 495 words -- MissWriteNow.





This isn’t exactly how I expected to spend my sophomore year—squatting in cutoff overalls, wrist deep in soil, harvesting enough potatoes to keep my belly full during the winter. Sure, maybe if I’d been born a farmer’s daughter. But I wasn’t.

I grind my fingernails through the dirt. Nothing. Flipping pages in the stolen library book, I find the section on potatoes. My eyes skim the pictures, not bothering with the paragraph of information underneath. I’d give anything for a YouTube video right now. But no, that stupid pandemic took the internet away. Whatever, I’ll keep digging until I hit the potato mother-load.

Handfuls of dirt fly over my shoulder. Chunky dirt. Loose dirt. Brown dirt. Black dirt, which is likely the manure I mixed in months ago when I planted these non-potato-making spuds.

Grunts and sniffles sound next to me. “Beat it, Pork Chop,” I say to the hog. If he wasn’t my only company, I’d fry his ass up.

“I need a break.”

Distancing myself from the field, I stoop at the splashing stream. Cool water meets my lips, tickles my insides, and makes me forget the farming hell that’s become my every day. Pork Chop waddles over and digs his snout into my hip. He wants to swim. And what kind of friend would I be if I denied him?

I unfasten my shoulder straps. “Five minutes.”

Pork Chop’s tail thumps. He gallops into the flowing wetness, snorting and frolicking like only a pig can, effectively making my day better.

Butt naked, for everyone to see, if there was anyone left to see, I dip into the creek. My teeth clench when the cool water hits my lady parts. I force my hand across the water, sending sprays right at Pork Chop’s face. He huffs and shakes the liquid from his nose. Serves him right, tempting me into this cold water like he did.

My overgrown locks sink as I lay back. I let the stream consume me, holding myself under as long as my burning lungs will allow, only surfacing when death threatens.

When I rise, I hear them. Chickens. And they’re close.

“Come on, Pork Chop!”

Not bothering with my clothes, I sprint for the garden. I’ll be damned if those diseased birds get into my food. I’ll die if that happens. Pork Chop will die. And there won’t be anyone to give us a proper burial like I did for everyone else in town—everyone who thought nothing bad could come from eating eggs. Boy, were they wrong.

“Shoo! Get outta here! Go on!” I ferociously wave my arms, letting those chickens know I’m serious and I’ll straight up do some damage if necessary.

As soon as that big red rooster sees me, he bolts, taking his flock of hens with him.

I bend and put my hands on my knees, catching some air. And then I see it. It’s dirty. It’s round. And it’s unearthed.

Potato glory!
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No, the choice is not easy...but if it were, this wouldn't be WRiTE CLUB...where the audience gets clobbered!

29 comments

  1. They both had their qualities, which makes it difficult. I feel the second one had a stronger voice though. MissWriteNow gets my vote.

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  2. Kim Patterson gets my vote. The story intrigued me more than the second piece.

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  3. Wow, I loved these both. They are both strong voices with good writing behind them. As much as I loved her work in the earlier rounds, I am going to abandon Kim Patterson this round.

    MissWriteNow gets my vote.

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  4. Difficult choice this morning. Going to go with MissWriteNow. I liked the character. I wonder how long she will chose companionship over survival, however. Bacon or mashed potatoes...?

    Kim Patterson's piece is well-written and I liked the "I'm Spartacus" moment.

    Both good--congratulations to both writers for making it to the quarterfinals.

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  5. Voting for MissWriteNow. Although a bit overwritten, I really like the voice. It stands out, is very active and pulled me in right away.

    Kim Patterson's use of passive voice isn't my favorite style of writing and the word "seemed" was overused. I was intrigued to find out more though.

    Good luck to you both!

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  6. Ack! I hate days like this! Both piqued my interest. Based on genre and concept, I'd probably be more likely to pick up Kim Patterson, if these were two books on a shelf, but MissWriteNow wins my vote for cleaner writing and stronger voice. Like Shari above, MWN's voice pulled me into the story right away. It's an all-around solid piece.

    A couple notes to Kim Patterson, because I've really enjoyed what I've seen throughout the contest (You had my vote for every other round!)- Say it once, and say it strongly enough it doesn't need to be repeated. Unless you want to raise doubt, ditch "seemed" and any other word that might make your reader question if you really mean what you wrote. Check each word to see if it NEEDS to be there. Most of the time, "then" and "that" are nothing more than padding. Your story will be more forceful without them. This was a hard vote because you have some excellent descriptions (hair the color of dying wood), and I'd like to see where the story goes. Also, I love fantasy, and it hurts a little to vote outside my genre today...

    A vote for MissWriteNow, but kudos to both writers!

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  7. These were both really cool.

    My choice: MissWriteNow.

    Heather

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  8. My vote is for Miss Write Now.

    This story is able to convey quite a lot it this short space. There is the loneliness of a human being left to survive without other human companionship. There's the companionship, as well as the threat, of animals nearby. She has determination to go on no matter how isolated, difficult, or unplanned this sort of life is, but the tone is not bite the bullet or trudge gloomily through the day. There's some lightheartedness of spirit that comes off as believable, even in the midst of this hardship that doesn't show much promise of anything better any time soon.

    Kim Patterson, I have enjoyed your writing all along, and this piece has strong points too. Plotting is good with an interesting turning point that takes a direction contrary to what was apparently expected.

    I think too much space is devoted to anticipation and to waiting. Then, when we finally get to see this "figure" who comes out, we get to see his hair, robe, and basically physical trappings that make him look weak and gaunt, but we don't get to see what she sees that makes her sense power, anger, danger. We have to take her word for it. It would be more engaging for me as a reader to see something that make me realize for myself, along with the narrator, that he's not weak at all but . . . the way he carries himself, maybe . . . something.

    Congratulations to both writers for coming this far in the contest.

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  9. The choices do become harder. I think they were both interesting concepts and well written. Congratulations to both writers. I am voting for MissWriteNow.

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  10. I'm voting for Kim Patterson, but it was a tough decision. Both writers did a great job!

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  11. Miss WriteNow for me. They're both good, but this one engaged me more.

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  12. I'm voting for Kim Patterson. Overall, it grabbed me more, and switching back and forth between present and past tense in Miss Write Now's piece threw the rhythm off for me

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  13. Both pieces were enjoyable to read.

    The Patterson piece has some repetition and unnecessary words, space that could have been used to paint a fuller picture, but it was still a nice read. I can see why this author earned her place this far into the contest.

    My vote goes for MissWriteNow.

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  14. MissWriteNow for me. I normally go the paranormal stuff, but Miss's piece felt smoother.

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  15. Kim Patterson. I like the shadowy figure thing.but well done both of you.

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  16. Ooh, this is a tough one. I loved both. Both drew me in, both had lovely surprises in them, and both had great character development. I'm going to go with Kim Patterson, partly because I'm always in awe of someone who can handle multiple characters well in one scene.

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  17. Had a hard time getting into either of them, but I'll vote for MissWriteNow as Kim's piece was very repetitive/vague in parts.

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  18. I didn't especially care for Kim's.
    Misswritenow's, however, I loved. Great voice, relevant topic twisted into proper terror. Excellent. And I say that in a Mr. Burns finger-tenting tone. You have my vote.

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  19. Kim Patterson - Interesting.
    MissWriteNow - I would read more of this one. You get my vote.

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  20. Kim Patterson - This is very descriptive and moody, but felt like a scene out of context. I know nothing about the POV character or what the larger situation is. Who are these characters, what are they doing, and why? The introduction of Ezra as only a name, felt random.
    MissWriteNow answered those questions: who, what, & why efficiently, without a lot of backstory. I was fully drawn in to the story. (I think the term is "mother-lode.")
    My vote is fore MissWriteNow

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  21. Difficult choice, as both are written in much the same style and voice.

    I'll vote MissWriteNow.

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  22. Voting for Kim Patterson. I really liked the suspense.

    MissWriteNow's piece was also interesting and well-written. I had a hard time choosing.

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  23. I vote for MissWriteNow, although I don't buy the part about yearning for youtube to learn about potatoes the character has already planted. The appearance of the chickens presents a real conflict I can believe.

    Kim Patterson's story has dramatic atmosphere but very little happens.

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  24. I vote for Miss Write Now. I like the clean, strong writing and was more engaged in the character and plot.

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  25. Voting for MissWriteNow, but both were good. More happens in MRN's, while KP's keeps us waiting too long in two sections. I liked the characters in both.

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  26. Hi DL - I'm going for the first one - I was gripped into the story line ... and want to know what happens - now that Runnihura's been given the wrong information ... there has to be some recourse a-coming ... cheers Hilary

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