This is it...the last week of preliminary bouts and a chance for some of you to finally find out if your writing sample was picked out of the one-hundred seventy one submitted this year. Needless to say, even those who are unable to claim victory in their match have nothing to hang their head about -- just getting into the ring was a feat in and of itself.
And kudo's to everyone who have helped drive interest in WRiTE CLUB these first two weeks. Week 1 bouts averaged 67 votes/comments (a new record) and a total of 3400+ views. WAY TO GO!! All of the winners have been posted on the WRiTE CLUB Scorecard and I'll continue to update it as we move through the contest. Unfortunately, voting has dropped off significantly during the second week, but there is still time to do something about that. Here's where I remind everyone that voting for every bout remains live for one week, so lets do everything we can to see that our 2nd week writers get the same amount of attention as the first.
For you newbies - here's a reminder of how this works. This is the 3rd and final week of daily bouts (M-F) between writing samples that are identified only by the craftily selected pen names of the respective submitters. The writing can be from any genre, any age group, taken either from a larger piece of work or simply a stand alone flash fiction. The focus is on the writing...not the writer...or its categorization. The two writing samples for each bout will be randomly matched and step into the ring for a chance to find out what they're made of.
The winner of each contest is chosen by you...the reader. Simply read each entry and leave your vote in the comment section below. Anyone can vote, as long as you have a Google ID or belong to Google Friend Connect. Anonymous voting is not allowed. It is also customary to leave a brief critique of both pieces. You see, the comments are where the true value of this contest makes itself known. Not only do the contestants gain valuable insight about their work from those remarks, but everybody can benefit from how each piece is received and what works...and what doesn't. Please remember to remain respectful with your comments. If you see an opportunity for improvement, make it known in the most positive way possible.
How do you choose a winner? What criteria should be used? The method by which you determine who to vote for is entirely up to you. Which one resonates with you the most? Which one makes you want to read more? Which one demonstrates a total command of the English language and how it can be used to elicit emotion or paint a mental picture you can't stop staring at. There is no hard and fast way rules for determining a winner -- and that's exactly what the publishing world is like. But today you get to decide. At stake is a chance to win free admission to the 2017 DFW Writers Conference and some bragging rights.
The voting for this bout - Bout #14 - is a little shorter because we are ending the near of the first round. You can vote for this bout up until noon on Tuesday - March 29th.
That's the bell...and its trying to tell us something.
Let me introduce to you the contestants for this bout. In the near corner, representing the Adult Psychological Thriller genre with 496 words, welcome to the ring Crash Override.
The sound a van makes when it hits a pedestrian is quieter than one would assume.
The last thing I ever thought would be going through my mind as said van slams into me is the toilet paper I’d forgotten to buy off my grocery list.
Everyone else gets their life flashing before their eyes, and I’m stuck with—Oh no, you forgot the damn TP, again!
Twisting metal against twisting flesh makes for one macabre dance. My luck being what it was, I don’t even get the visual relief of unconsciousness. No, I see every little infinitesimal moment go by in slow motion. The impact reverberates through my body, up into my soul, until the whole world is consumed by my anguished cries.
Or if not the whole world then at least, maybe, the two Asian girls holding umbrellas in the pouring LA rain who come to my rescue—once the accident is over. And possibly, the fabulously-fabulous man in his cutoff jean shorts who happens to have a pen and paper handy to write the whole incident down.
The screams of my sister, Rae, as she watched the whole thing take place just a few steps behind me in the crosswalk—well, they probably filled in where mine left off. Our voices intertwined as we wove a song of fear and terror—five short seconds and one unendingly long note.
Perhaps they feel the anguish.
Either way, they did help my sister get me off the middle of Melrose Ave. and onto the crowded sidewalk—somewhere between the Tokidoki store and Kid Robot.
With LA drivers being what they are, everyone agreed it was safer to move my broken body than leave it on the soaking asphalt. Unknown, blood-soaked, hands grasped my cold, wet limbs. Gingerly, they carried me to the sidewalk and I became the next installation of modern street art.
Gawking tourists hungry for a free show stand salivating at my demise, Instagram and Twitter documenting in real time. The kind girls with their umbrellas stand over me. They make sure I’m not getting soaked, while the fella in the booty shorts goes around asking everyone what they saw.
I lie there, thoughts fluttering through my mind like the flash of a camera: What’s the water doing to my brown leather boots? And, Did anyone look up my dress when I went flying through the air? Circling my head over and over like a vulture.
The man who hit me stands against a wall with a dumb look on his face.
No hint he even knows what just took place.
No remorse. Just a blank stare.
“Bri. Oh fuck, Bri, are you okay? I mean, you just got hit. By a van!” There goes Rae stating the obvious. My sis always knows the right things to say. Or, in this case, scream, but I won’t hold it against her. This time.
A weak laugh manages to escape. “Calm down. I’m still alive, right?”
And in the far corner, representing the YA Historical genre with 500 words, also welcome to the ring Animaybe.
My new-found source of confidence was the sample tube of lipstick in the drugstore. Now properly tinted, the sophisticated woman of the world that I was waited for her milkshake.
“Thank you, Bill,” I whispered as the soda jerk set the milkshake in front of me. It was all I could do to put my napkin in my lap and not fall off the stool- so much for my worldliness.
The bell over the drugstore door rang, followed by familiar voices.
“Mouse! Are you wearing makeup?”
I ducked my head.
Just like every day at school, the same girls were ruining my few stolen moments. Didn’t they take weekends off?
“Betty Jean! Come look at this! Did you ever see a mouse wearing lipstick?” Another girl laughed.
I ducked my head lower as their bodies pressed closer. I rolled my lips into my mouth and tried to hide the bright red stain. I wished I could hide, too.
“Is that the makeup your daddy uses on dead people, Mouse?”
The girls burst into shrieks.
“Mouse uses the funeral parlor makeup?”
“The undertaker’s daughter all made up for a funeral!”
“Oh, didn’t he do such a good job? She almost looks alive!”
I began trembling.
Bill walked around the counter, reached between the cackling girls, and picked up my milkshake.
“Mary Alice,” Bill tried to say in his most commanding voice. It might have worked, had his voice not cracked so badly.
He moved away from me to a booth where he set down my glass.
“Mary Alice,” Bill stood by the booth and held out his hand.
I hopped down from the stool- glad that my skirt didn’t catch on it this time- and went to the seat without making eye contact with Bill or taking the hand he offered. He took the seat across from me right at the edge, so no one else could scoot in with us. My heart raced, more from Bill than my tormentors.
“Oh, isn’t this rich,” laughed one of the girls, “the undertaker’s daughter and the bootlegger’s son!”
The girls all cackled.
“It’s a perfect match. Her daddy can pickle folks in whatever his daddy cooks up.” Betty Jean laughed at her own joke. Her friends laughed along with her.
“Come on, girls. I think they want to be alone.” One girl giggled. Another made kissy noises.
“Yeah, let’s go to my house.” Mary Alice turned and skirts swished as the pack turned to leave.
I kept my eyes on the milkshake long after they were gone, the drops of condensation running down the smooth glass.
I looked up at Bill, and for the first time met his gaze.
“I like that lipstick.”
I squeaked, “Jungle Red.”
He nodded and stood up but didn’t leave.
We stayed like that until I spoke.
“Thank you… for not calling me Mouse, and everything.”
Bill nodded again and went back to work.
In the mirror behind the soda fountain, I saw him grinning.
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. Read both pieces, choose the one you feel is superior, then say so in the comments below and provide a mini-critique for each.
Enjoy the rest of your week, but not before you tell all of your friends to stop by and make a selection as well. Tweet about it, and if you do please use the hashtag #WRiTECLUB2016. Tell everyone about WRiTE CLUB, where it’s not about the last man/woman standing, but who knocks the audience out!