WRiTE CLUB 2015 - Playoff Round Bout #2


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 New Adult category and weighing in at 500 words, welcome.....Möbius




I was named after a dead rock star.  Not because my parents were tattoo-branded, stalker-level fans, and not for dark humour or in a memento mori mindset. Really, it was about the permanent marijuana haze of the mid-90s Seattle party scene.

Supposedly Heart Shaped Box was playing on the radio during my mothers epic taxi ride to the hospital, where after soaking the back seat in amniotic fluids, she pretended she couldnt speak English. She bolted up the hospital steps clutching a fire-brick sized cell phone like a weapon while the taxi driver screamed about calling the police. Shed forgotten to bring her wallet.

The way she tells the story, she cleverly hid in the mens bathroom until my father brought the insurance information. My father says she ugly-cried hysterically until the hospital staff sequestered her in a room with a sedative.

That is how two nineteen-year olds end up with a daughter called Cobain.

I dreaded this every time I applied for a job. Explaining my name. It was always the first question, prefaced by a startled-stiff expression on the interviewers face when they realized both my chromosomes had two legs to stand on. No crippled Y in the vicinity. I had to politely answer even though the decision to not hire me had already been made.

Despite being over six feet tall. Despite three black-belts. Despite a healed knee injury thwarting dreams of an Olympic gold medal.

But this next interview might be different. I needed this interview to be different.

Tucked into a booth near the bar, I smoothed a hand over the baggy black pants Id found on the mens clearance rack yesterday. No feminine coloured shirts, no flattering dress pants, no makeup or jewelry. I tried those. For an office job, sure. For a night job that paid enough for University of Washington classes, no. I wasnt a waitress or a bartender, but club bouncer I could do.

If anyone would hire me.

The guy at the bar, Mason, his eyebrows had shot north when I said I was there for the interview. Not surprising, but I kept hoping to be surprised. His arms were wrapped in tattoo sleeves and he was reading a cooking magazine as he waited. That was a little unexpected. He glanced at his phone and gave me a nod. You can go in.

My chest was tight from the sports-bra squashing me flat. The slim folder holding a copy of my resume was oil-slick in my hand. A fluttering impulse pressed me to touch the lucky lotus necklace Id left at home. Too pretty, too delicate. My throat was naked.

This time it had to be different.

I pushed my shoulders back and down. Relax. Smile. No, dont smile. Waitresses smile and Im no waitress. I knuckle-rapped twice and opened the office door.

My face froze in a started-stiff expression. This was certainly not what I expected.


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And in the other corner, representing the YA historical genre with 494 words let me introduce to you………. Blythe




Mother’s ring was the ugliest of my scanty possessions. Hideous though it was, it nested upon the gaunt skin of my finger, festering like a dingy white boil. It was only when moonlight soaked its brittle surface that it looked beautiful, a luminous pool encased in silver. Sometimes, when I could not sleep, I hadn’t anything to do but gaze upon it, my elbow pillowed on the flesh shackling Emma and I together. We were not unlike that ring, she and I. We were but fractured souls held captive in prisons of wasted flesh, lovely only to those who cared to behold us in different light.

However, upon that night, it was not Mother’s ring that occupied my thoughts. Rather, I focused upon a ring of an entirely different sort, cocooned in a man’s handkerchief and hidden in the shadows beneath the bed. Emma hadn’t the faintest idea of its presence; it was the first time I had ever withheld anything from her. But, as the ring was in my possession for seventeen days, it was time I ignored my trepidation and unveiled the secret that could destroy my sister’s life.

My heart battered my ribs as I looked down at Emma, who stared blandly up at the ceiling. Her usually pale features were soiled by the bruise ringing her left eye, the result of our showman’s unforgiving knuckles. I too bore a similar bruise, for we were to always look alike, lest we not truly be identical twins.

“Whatever is the matter?” she murmured, her gaze finding mine. “Does your eye still ail you? I cannot close mine without tearing at the pain.”

I swallowed. “There is something I must show you.”

Her eyes sparkled. “Well, go on then! Where is it?”

My voice crumbled in a plaintive squeak. “Under the bed.”

She swatted lightly at my arm. “You sneaky thing!”

I watched as she wrestled aside the coverlet, a cunning smile on her lips. I draped a quavering arm around her back, our breaths tangling as we hefted ourselves up, our fingers rigid on each other’s spines. Agony ignited in my hip as I gritted my teeth, flinching as our jaws clashed clumsily together. Perspiration shimmered on Emma’s forehead as she wriggled forward, re-arranging her body so that we were seated side by side.

Rather than hastening for the bed’s edge, I froze in place, terror pervading my senses. After all, how was I to reveal the shoddy paste pearl and deliver news that would rob Emma of the meager freedom she possessed? For me to accept the proposal would be to condemn her, reducing her to a mournful shade imprisoned at the edges of my own happiness.

I could not accept Geordie’s proposal.

“I’ve a secret of my own,” Emma said abruptly, her soft voice shattering my thoughts.

I gaped at her, my own plight forgotten. “What is it?”

She gnawed her lower lip. “Braxton has asked me to marry him.”
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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!
 


WRiTE CLUB 2015 – Playoff Round Bout #1



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, weighing in at 493 words and representing the adult fiction genre, welcome back to the ring.....Primrose




When he woke it was nearly night, long shadows and double vision making him squint to see.  Chandler struggled to sit up, needing to pee, not sure he could make it to the bucket in the corner.  He swung his feet to the cold floor, rubbing his eyes in hopes it would clear the murky haze.  Christ, if he lived through this mess, would he end up able to see at all?  Blind photography, a whole new career.  The notion had a macabre humor, and he laughed through chattering teeth, the sound echoing around the small room.
“Glad you've kept your sense of humor, Señor Reid.”
The voice was accented, coming from the doorway.  Chandler squinted in that general direction. 
“Might as well laugh as cry,” he said. “You have me at a disadvantage.  I don't believe we've met.”
“It's been years, but we have.”  A man stepped from the shadows and dragged a chair to the bedside, flicking the wall switch to turn on the overhead bulb, then sat and faced Chandler.  He was dark-skinned, dressed in khakis, his black hair pulled into a ponytail. “A few years ago you came to the jungle encampment with Neal Christopher. Took my photograph for the magazine cover.  Best picture I ever had.  Mama still has it framed on her wall.  Right next to the Pope.”
“Juan Ravel?”  Chandler closed his left eye and concentrated on focusing the right one.  “What are you doing here?”
“I am afraid a couple of my lieutenants overstepped their orders to bring you to me for an interview and decided to shoot you instead.”  A frown marred Ravel's handsome face.  “They decided you could be ransomed to buy guns for the revolution.  It was safer for them to believe you were more valuable to keep alive than to kill.  That is why they brought you here instead of putting a final bullet in your brain.”
“Lot of work for nothing,” Chandler said.  “My government doesn't pay ransom.”
“Ah, but fortunately for you, your friend Señor Christopher does.”  Ravel leaned closer, his voice a whisper.  “We have made a plan to get you out of here, but we only have a day or two, at the most.”
“I'm not sure we have that long, Ravel.”  Chandler was feeling worse by the minute, his body twitching with pain and trembling with chills.  He leaned back against the dirty pillow, but couldn't lift his legs back on the bed.  “You aren't going to get money for a dead hostage.”
“I'm not going to let you die, Señor.”  With surprising gentleness, Ravel lifted Chandler's feet onto the bed and pulled the rough blanket up around him.  “I have antibiotics and medicine for the fever.  Consuelo is making you some soup.  You just have to make it a few hours more. Can you do that, amigo?  Just hang on?”
“I'll try, Ravel.  No promises.” The words came faintly, through numb lips.  “Just fucking hurry.”
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And in the other corner, representing the fantasy genre with 467 words let me introduce to you………. Kim Patterson




Vasil stood staring at the target for a long time before he bothered with his daggers. It had become a sort of tradition for him, in an accidental sort of way. When he was a kid, he’d lacked the confidence to hit anything if he thought anyone was watching. So when he’d been in target practice with the other kids, he had stood and stared at the target until he was sure nobody was watching him. Then he would throw.

Now he had no reason for it, except that he’d always done it. It was a good luck ritual. So now he stood, staring at the target. After several long minutes of holding his daggers loose at his sides, he finally lifted one, wound up, and threw it. Then the other. Then he collected them and started again.

Rosica wanted him to leave Atanas—his home. The first time she’d suggested it, he’d scoffed at her, because she had suggested it for selfish reasons. But now he knew it would help fix his problem too, he was considering it. Was he a terrible person?

Thunk. Thunk. The daggers sank into the target one after the other again. Vasil stared at them for a long time before yanking them back out. He really was a terrible, selfish person, wasn’t he? He only did things if they were for his own good. He’d thought that he liked Rosica, but he hadn’t even supported her in fixing her own problems before he demanded her help in fixing his. If he expected anything to happen between them, didn’t he need to be supportive and make sure that he accepted her flaws and all that rubbish?

Rubbish? Look at you, Vasil! You can’t even think about doing the good things for her without calling it rubbish. She’s only even helping you because she owes you a favour. Otherwise you’d still be on your own.

“Get a grip on yourself, Vasil,” he muttered. Rage was building inside him, but he wasn’t entirely sure why. Sure, he was annoyed with himself for being an ass, but there was no need to be so freaking angry. And yet it bubbled at the surface until he couldn’t take it any longer. He let out a wild yell and threw a dagger again. It hit near the centre of the target. Then something changed.

He couldn’t explain exactly what it was, but Vasil dropped to his knees, feeling like his chest was about to explode. There was so much anger in him, and none of it was his.

It felt as if Vasil were being dragged backwards out of his own life, as if he were disappearing down a long tunnel so that he could see everything through just a small hole. What was happening to him?
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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!


 

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