This is it...the last of the preliminary bouts. I'm sorry if you submitted this year but your writing sample wasn't picked. Sometimes it came down to a single vote, but necessity requires that we draw the line somewhere. Please don't let that deter you from trying again next year. My wife tells me there are writers in the final 30 this year that didn't make it last time, so keep on trying.
All of the winners so far have been posted on the WRiTE CLUB Scorecard and even though our CAGE BOUTS begin on Monday, some of the voting for the preliminary bouts will still be open through Wednesday of next week. Please keep voting for those open bouts so we can make sure our 2nd & 3rd 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 #15 - remains open only until noon on Wednesday - March 30th.
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 Urban Fantasy genre with 454 words, welcome to the ring JavaInMe.
Silence strangled those gathered in the lecture hall when Agent Keystone entered. She looked over the twelve people gathered. There were four scientists in white lab coats. Five agents spread out in the first row. Two computer techs huddled together in the back. The artist sat alone. He was the only one who looked bored, the only one not on the edge of the seat.
"I don't like unsolved cases. My biggest pet peeve, however, is weird cases that lack plausible explanations." She pulled out her gun and set it on the table in front of her. It was for dramatic effect. "No one leaves this room until I hear a logical answer. Logical," she said the word again as she looked at the artist.
He yawned without covering his mouth. A piece of gum hung off his tongue piercing.
One of the agents helped pass out folders. CLASSIFIED was stamped in red, bold letters on each. Eleven sets of eyes shot wide open. All but the artist's. He flipped through the pages as if an old magazine were before him. Agent Keystone flexed her fingers as she resisted the urge to throttle him.
"Fingerprints, hair, saliva, and photographs— all solid evidence. This is proof that three people have been at crime scenes around the world. The same three people. For hundreds of years. And, though it isn't a crime, they left evidence of their existence in Egypt." She looked to the artist. "Ancient Egypt. A fingerprint in five-thousand-year-old facial cream."
"Beg your pardon?" Agent Keystone clenched her teeth.
The artist waved his hand nonchalantly. "Six-thousand-two-hundred-thirty-year-old cream, according to carbon dating."
"Regardless," Agent Keystone looked at the others, "no one lives that long. Heaven help me if any of you suggest vampires." She tapped her gun. The artist snickered.
A hand raised. "Is that why the new head of the Smithsonian is here? Because of the Egyptian find?" Barret, the only scientist she liked out of the bunch, asked.
"Yes." Agent Keystone looked at the artist. The reminder of his illustrious position sickened her. Having him here made her arms itch. Art freaks did not solve cases. The string of letters behind his name and title of doctor up front didn't impress her. "Someone care to postulate?"
"Reincarnation. A new body, but the same person in it." The artist smirked.
"I said logical ideas!"
He laughed as he closed the folder. "So ask them your real question. Ask how one of the three is a match for you. How could you have been at crimes scenes before you were born? Better yet," the artist stood, "ask them how I have a mummy that matches you right down to the cavities in your teeth."
And in the far corner, representing the YA Contemporary genre with 483 words, also welcome to the ring Saddleshoes.
Adults say there's no such thing as a dumb question. That's a lie. Anyone with a sense of shame knows that there are dumb questions. They also know that there are questions that make people uncomfortable, and anyone over the age of twelve knows when not to ask those.
I'm kind of nosy, so I ask a lot of uncomfortable questions. The first time this got me into trouble was during Vacation Bible School when I was eleven. For some reason, that year they decided to give us the puberty talk. Mrs. Johnson, youth choir director, was tasked with explaining the vagina and vas deferens to a room full of disgusted fifth graders. After we got through the torturous explanation of the Miracle of Life, she made the mistake of asking if anyone had questions.
My hand shot up.
"Eden? What do you wanna know, honey?" Imagine the nicest, sweetest church lady you can imagine, and you have Mrs. Johnson. Every Communion Sunday she goes to the altar with a white veil on her head, and she has a soft, lilting voice. At the time, she loved me.
"How can people have sex and not end up with a baby?"
I didn't expect the explosion that followed. The eight other kids in the room shrieked with laughter. I looked around, and then added, "I mean, 'cause, in movies and on TV people do it all the—"
"Enough," Mrs. Johnson said, using her Serious Church Lady voice. She stood with hands on her hips, glaring at us 'til the room grew silent. Once the snickering stopped, she waved a hand in front of her face and focused back on me. "Eden, that is not an appropriate question. Does anyone know why that's not a proper question?"
"Because God said you're only supposed to do it if you're married," said Shenae Lyon.
"I know," I said. "But I was just wondering…"
"And the people who do do it when they're not married are sinning," Shenae added. She sat up straight with a smug smile on her face. "Right, ma'am?"
"But…" I needed to know, because I wanted to figure out what had happened to Courtney. I knew that Aunt Thea loved Taryn but still grumbled to my mom about what a waste Courtney had made of her life. I also knew that Marco and Sophia on Aunt Thea's favorite soap opera would deep kiss and then end up in bed, and Sophia was, at the time, somehow not pregnant
Mrs. Johnson glared at me. "We just went over this. What does the Bible say?"
"But what if you're married and don't want a baby?"
Because I am the worst kind of opinionated, the kind that needs to have the final word, I yelled, "That's STUPID."
This is, by the way, the perfect thing to say to get expelled from Vacation Bible School.___________________________________________________________________________________
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 your weekend, 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.
CAGE BOUTS begin Monday!
Tell everyone about WRiTE CLUB, where it’s not about the last man/woman standing, but who knocks the audience out!