WRiTE CLUB 2016 - Bout #15



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."

"Six."

"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?"

"I'm not…"

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!


47 comments

  1. My vote goes to Java.
    Java – my favorite work during this whole competition!! Tell me you have more we can read! I loved Agent Keystone and the artist character. However, I did get confused when reference was made to the new head of the Smithsonian. I got the impression that person was the artist and if that is the case, it wasn’t very clear. Regardless this feels like a very unique story line. Congratulations!

    Saddleshoes – I liked your character but couldn’t buy into the discussion of sex occurring during a vacation bible school.

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  2. JavaInMe gets my vote. I really enjoy the story. Saddleshoes was interesting.

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  3. Voting for Java.
    Java i really enjoyed your story and i'd love to see more of your writing. I wonder what else Agent Keystone has in store in a future story (hopefully)!

    Saddleshoes- Your story was creative, however it fell flat for me. Having a birds n the bees discussion in a church setting is very strange, and creepy enough that after i post this comment i'm going to take a shower. With a different setting, it'd be much more enjoyable w/o coming across as "wow, they got RIGHT to the point!" or "This church needs some serious investigation to ensure the safety of the children going to that church.

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  4. I'm voting for Java.

    I liked the twist at the end of the story.

    Saddleshoes - My issue with your story was that Mrs. Johnson seemed two faced to me.

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  5. Java, in my book, has the best premise of the whole preliminary round. (I do have to say that I didn't get hooked until the final paragraph of the opening. Up to there, I was actually a bit put off by the "meet cute" set-up. It signaled romance more than urban fantasy to me. Of course it twists around cleverly by the end of the sequence, but in the meantime I think we could use a hint about the crimes themselves--are they gruesome? politically destructive? becoming more frequent? Putting a gun on the table and tapping it later didn't convey anything about the crimes; it doesn't feel credible in this situation, so to me it only conveyed that perhaps Keystone has a short fuse or an off-kilter sense of protocol.)

    Saddleshoes is such a different type of book. That makes it a tough match. I love the voice and the way we are being led into understanding this kid's forgivable flaw, and what her coming-of-age struggle is going to be. And I would love to read a more lighter-toned YA contemporary.

    May I mention that both stories have perfectly named MCs? :D

    Two great stories, but today I'm going to give it to Saddleshoes, because I'd read it for the voice as much as the plot.

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  6. Java: The writing could be smoother, and you could probably tone down the disdain for the artist, which borders on overdone, but I like the premise and the interaction between the characters and am interested in knowing where this story goes. In a full work, I'd like to see more building toward the bombshells, but I don't hold that against you today, given the 500 word limit.

    Saddleshoes: I don't know what denomination this is supposed to be, but in over three decades of going to various churches, I have never once encountered a sex education class. Purity talks, yes. Vaginas and vas deferens, never. VBS, which is often done as a community outreach to give unchurched kids an introduction to the Bible, is the last place I'd expect this conversation to occur. Maybe it happens, but It seems absurd to me. That disconnect took me so far out of your story, I almost stopped reading. On the technical side, the writing is clean, with a great balance of narrative and dialogue, but it could be a little tighter in places. "Imagine the nicest, sweetest church lady you can imagine" stands out as an example. Not only did you repeat "imagine," but "nicest" and "sweetest" are synonymous. I also felt like your characters were cliched - the prim church lady, the goody two shoes, and the spunky rebel who asks uncomfortable questions. You have a strong, consistent voice, but I'm not sure it's a new voice. I also don't know where this story is going, because all of this is backstory. I don't even know how old the protagonist is now. I am so sorry to be so harsh, but I think this will need some work to be believable and fresh. You clearly have the skills to write a good story, but I need to see fuller characters and a believable setting for this conversation.

    Java gets my vote.

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  7. Java gets my vote but still had moments that I didn't get the point, like the tapping the gun thing. The premise was very interesting and the artist was a great character.

    Saddleshoes was more what I would read, but the action is in the wrong setting. I have never heard of a VBS ever having a sex education class. Good writing, though. I liked the MC and would read more if this was in a different setting.

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  8. The last two to make it in. Congratulations to all 30 that made the cut, and everyone else who was brave enough to enter. I set a goal to vote in every bout-- I'm meeting that goal right now. (And yes, I'll be voting in the next rounds as well.)

    JavaInMe- I love this story. I get the feeling that Agent Keystone and "the artist with the illustrious position, string of letters behind his name, and title of doctor up" have some history.

    Saddleshoes- I'm not sure I understand the reaction to the question. "How can people have sex and not end up with a baby?" -- Because God doesn't want them to have one yet. And I'd imagine some of those people on tv and in movies play married characters. It's very possible to fail at actual impregnation. People spend millions every year on fertility treatments. No, that isn't what the character meant. But why wouldn't it be what church lady assumes? Why'd she right away think this was about condoms? A bit of tightening up could help. But there's humor hiding in the story, and that's the best part. The main character is probably interesting in other scenes.

    JavaInMe has my vote.

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  9. JavaInMe - I like the story. It caught my attention from the start so want to read more. There is some intrigue that made me want to know more about the centuries old mystery that constantly resurfaces. The twist ending was great.

    Saddleshoes- Your story about sex education in Church did not cut it for me. I've never heard of that happening in church vocational programs. Your main character is outspoken and seems the spunky type, so maybe if this was another setting her question would appear more normal for me.

    My vote goes to JavaInMe.

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  10. JavaInMe: I liked the voice of the characters but the end threw me way out. You tried to get to an end that I really didn't want to know yet to explain yourself and which really doesn't make sense. I could have gone with the identical finger prints as a duplication process but the cavaties just seemed rediculous.


    Saddleshoes: I can see where you are trying to go with this but the voice of the kids is not that of fifth graders. These days they wouldn't have been chiding her for the question but would probably already have ideas how that happens themselves and would be voicing these. Also, unless you have a fairly green teacher for this camp, she would have been able to come up with something for so easy as a question as that. This is not a topic for a green teacher.

    I'll have to go with JavaInMe this time.

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    1. Side note: I'd love to see what didn't make the cut out of curiosity.

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  11. My vote is for JavaInMe.

    I enjoyed both pieces. It was a good match up today, certainly!

    Saddleshoes, I couldn't vote for your piece because (in my [possibly limited] experience as a Preacher's Kid) churches simply don't do sex ed, and certainly not to 5th graders, and absolutely not at VBS. I LOVE the concept of getting kicked out of VBS because of this particular line of questioning, but the rest of it was just felt too out of place.

    JavaInMe, my only thought is GAW she is awful narrow minded about that artist. I hope there's a really good reason, because it's a little grating. Otherwise, MOAR.

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  12. I'm voting for JavaInMe, for much the same reasons that have already been stated.

    For Saddleshoes, there are ways to get that line of questioning into a church-group setting, but that was not it.

    One nitpicky suggestion for JavaInMe is to rework the first paragraph. You could delete the second sentence and not lose any meaning. Also, you could strengthen the sentence about the scientists in white lab coats. Maybe they are perched as if their chairs were stools and not folding metal? Or something better to give an image of them, and hint at Agent Keystone's opinions.

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  13. My vote goes to JavaInMe. I love Law & Order books/shows, but throw in time travel and ancient Egypt? Bring it on! But I thought the first sentence feels a bit forced compared to the tone in the rest of the narration.

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  14. They were both good, but it came down to the ending. It needed to zing. My vote goes to JavaInMe.

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  15. My vote goes to JavaInMe for many of the same reasons mentioned above. Great hook at the end! Any critique I would give has already been given, so I won't repeat. Good job, both of you.

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  16. My vote goes to JavaInMe for many of the same reasons mentioned above. Great hook at the end! Any critique I would give has already been given, so I won't repeat. Good job, both of you.

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  17. My vote goes to JavaInMe - loved it all the way through. The tension was great. The dialogue was snappy. The end made me want more!

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  18. I feel manipulated by JavaInMe, you know, the entire story is really just a series of facts being revealed to string you along and keep you interested, as opposed to an actual story arc. But the writing is well done regardless, so since the manipulative revelations aren't the only thing going for it, I'm voting for JavaInMe.

    The only thing that really bugged me is what appears to be a bad piece of logic (though the character speaking is being a smartass, so maybe he's not serious about it): if his theory is reincarnation, then why on earth would the new body have matching fingerprints, DNA, etc? That's not reincarnation, it's a clone. Although even that doesn't explain matching fingerprints. Especially cavities, but that comes out later.

    Saddleshoes was also well written. It didn't occur to me to be weirded out by the bible school sex class, but when I saw other people commenting on it, I realized that's very true. Creepy. But that doesn't really affect whether the writing is good or not. The other story is ALSO describing something that doesn't happen in the real world (and earlier we read about magic cast by vinyl records, a shapeshifting dog, time travel, an alien hiding in human skin, and an evil mist that sears flesh...), so faulting this story for not matching reality isn't fair. I thought it was well done, I just think JavaInMe did a little bit better.

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    1. Actually, not matching reality is a problem. Even in fantasy, you need to make sure your story is believable within whatever world you have built - and you need to make sure you've developed the world enough for the reader to accept your anomalies. If this were Urban Fantasy or Dystopia or if the author had established this church as a place where things that don't normally happen in churches might happen, sex ed VBS could work. But as YA Contemporary, it carries the burden of needing to be believable within our current world.

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    2. Frankly the use of a church camp to discuss sex ed to fifth graders makes perfect sense to me. I'd rather that than some strangers. Hopefully the parents know the people where they go at least to some extent. This especially seems fitting in a Biblical context. On top of that fifth grade is a good age to do this if not sooner. Reality for me wasn't a problem as much as poor characters.

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  19. Saddeshoes gets my vote, although I enjoyed both. I agree the writing in Java could be a bit tighter, but the 500 words was enough to pique my interest. A few phrases struck me as odd, like silence strangling the room, and I think with some editing, stronger verbs could be used at certain spots.

    For me, the VBS setting wasn't a problem at all, and certainly not enough to dissuade me from voting for the piece-- I had my fair share of Sunday School/parochial school (so many trips to the principal's office for asking inappropriate questions)/VBS experiences to find this scenario funny and not unrealistic, but even if the precise setting needed to be tweaked, so what- I enjoyed the voice.

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  20. JavaInMe gets my vote. Nice hook at the end. Although... I thought there were a bit too many people in that scene and it was hard to keep track of them. Hopefully, it wasn't the beginning of the story.

    Saddleshoes: I couldn't believe this discussion would take place during VBS, either.

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  21. I vote for JavaInMe, but only because of the very last paragraph. The twist is honestly what put this person ahead of Saddleshoes. I didn't like the constant references to the artist, it interrupted keeping me in the story.

    Saddleshoes was humorous and I did get a good laugh but I felt like I needed more than just a birds and the bees conversation. More about Courtney.

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  22. Vote to Saddleshoes. I know someone who grew up educated in Catholic schools and bible camps and, yes, periodically someone was tasked with teaching a sex ed unit, so the teacher's content and response to the MC's question did not seem implausible to me. I'd like to applaud the author for capturing a great young voice. I really, really enjoyed this piece!

    Java's story was also entertaining and I think Java's tag line about the fingerprints matching the agent's was outstanding! I got a very Castle TV show vibe about the whole exchange between Keystone and the artist. But double-check carbon dating: I don't think it's that precise. I think at best it can be used to narrow the dates down to within a 150 year margin of error, not to within a 30 year margin. Regardless, a lot of fun and I hope this is part of a bigger piece.

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  23. My vote goes to Saddleshoes. Love the protagonist's voice! JavaInMe's premise was intriguing but, I just didn't love the characters.

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  24. Saddleshoes gets my vote. Loved your voice and found the premise believable since I had a similar teacher experience. JavaInMe I don't think an agent would ever upholster her gun in a group of people - it's against protocol. Also, how could there be physical evidence if there was reincarnation involved. Different bodies, different finger prints, tweet, etc, The premise could be interesting if you solve these inconsistencies. I, also, was annoyed by your MC's hostility to the artist- and I wish she would have stopped referring to him as the artist. That being said, you have a very easy to read style to your writing.

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  25. My vote goes to Java. Interesting premise and I would definitely buy this book if this was the first chapter.

    Saddleshoes - I enjoyed the humor and I didn't think it was unrealistic but there wasn't much of a hook.

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  26. I feel terrible for Saddleshoes. Had a different setting been picked it could have been on top on votes easily and its sad so many people got caught up on this since their own experience might have differed. First off, it was COMPLETELY BELIEVABLE for me-especially capturing a child's innocence and void, great job! Not knowing too much about parochial schools I didn't get all caught up in whether this conversation could or couldn't be happening in this setting. To me, it was right on when it dealt with that one kid, the strange one(or extremely bright, however you want to see it) that always has the strange questions that no one else thought of and just had to know. I was that strange kid except I was too shy to ask a lot of the time. I felt the story was superb, flowed well, crisp and I could go on with praises. I can totally see this kid getting themselves into a pickle in the future due to their curiosity and I want to read more.

    Obviously, I vote for Saddleshoes.

    JaveInMe- I enjoyed this story as well. The few problems I saw weren't all that big either. For example, 'Silence strangled' was a bit over the top and seemed like you were trying to force the reader how to feel right off the bat. Also, you mention the titles for the artist but why was the artist there helping to solve a case? What kind of artist is this? These are not the type of questions that make me want to read more, these were more of the, had I known this I might have liked it even more. However, I am quite intrigued to know if there is some time travel involved and did love the ending. Overall it was very solid however this time because Saddleshoes wowed me I was just swayed that way.

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    1. *voice* not *void*. Stupid spell check.

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  27. Loved both pieces! My vote goes to Saddleshoes for voice!

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  28. Vote: Saddleshoes

    Saddle: Everything about the story drew me in. I didn't find the concept of talking about church disbelievable. I loved the voice, the character and the humor of it. I would have liked a little more imaginary maybe. I get a good visual of teacher but nothing else.

    Java: I liked the premise of the story, the idea is very intriguing and I would definitely read a book like this. I found the situation a bit cliche and Keystone to me came off as very unlikable. Don't know why she thinks threatening the people that are suppose to be working to help her solve a mystery/case is a good idea. Also, the unprofessional nature of the head of the Smithsonian, and her calling him an artist. People who spear head museums are more than 'artist'.

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    1. About church/about sex in vacation bible school

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  29. I liked both pieces quite a bit. Java for the mystery, and Saddleshoes for the voice. I would've continued reading either of these despite the issues mentioned above, but I have to go with Java because I want to know what happens next more.

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  30. Tough choice. I like Java's idea but couldn't really engage with the scene. I vote Saddleshoes because I connected with the humor.

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  31. I liked both stories, and only saw a few grammatical errors. Both writers did a great job, making it a difficult decision, so I'm going with the one that has more pull for me, and that is Java's. Congrats to you both!

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  32. JavaInMe: OoooooOOOOOoooo!!!! The setup is great, the animosity between Keystone and the artist, fabulous, and the twist at the end is very very cool. I like it! Part of me wonders what kind of agency Keystone could be part of, that would allow her to work a case that she is also apparently a subject of, but I expect that kind of question would be answered in the larger work. Very very nice!

    Saddleshoes: Your plucky heroine is adorable! I love that she asks the wrong questions, and I would love to know what kind of questions she's going to keep asking as the narrative continues. I stumbled a bit on the Aunt Thea / Courtney / Taryn paragraph. I couldn't figure out the relationships between them. I wondered how old the narrator is now. She seems to have a more adult perspective on this past incident. I'm guessing these are questions that would be answered in the rest of the story.

    Really nice writing on both parts. I feel more confident in where JavaInMe is going, however, so my vote is for Java.

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  33. JavaInMe: OoooooOOOOOoooo!!!! The setup is great, the animosity between Keystone and the artist, fabulous, and the twist at the end is very very cool. I like it! Part of me wonders what kind of agency Keystone could be part of, that would allow her to work a case that she is also apparently a subject of, but I expect that kind of question would be answered in the larger work. Very very nice!

    Saddleshoes: Your plucky heroine is adorable! I love that she asks the wrong questions, and I would love to know what kind of questions she's going to keep asking as the narrative continues. I stumbled a bit on the Aunt Thea / Courtney / Taryn paragraph. I couldn't figure out the relationships between them. I wondered how old the narrator is now. She seems to have a more adult perspective on this past incident. I'm guessing these are questions that would be answered in the rest of the story.

    Really nice writing on both parts. I feel more confident in where JavaInMe is going, however, so my vote is for Java.

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  34. I vote for Java.

    JavaInMe: I love the idea of this story. In 500 words, you managed to do some character development, establish a setting, and excite interest in a relatively novel story line.

    Saddleshoes: I, too was thrown by the VBS sex ed talk. That didn't ring true to me. Also, the dialogue and discussion felt flat and cliched. I can see that this was designed to establish the main character as a person who pushed the limits and asked difficult questions--I liked the opening paragraph.

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  35. I vote for Java. There is a good story building here that grabbed my attention.

    Saddleshoes- I could not get into this story. Sorry.

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  36. I liked both. But I vote for Java. While the setting in Saddleshoes seemed odd to some it's no different than kids asking tough questions about religious contexts in CCD or confirmation classes to me, so I get what it was going for, but the ending was predictable. Some may argue that teacher seemed two faced, she was for a reason, there's a passive aggressive midwest nice phenomenon. I get what Saddle was going for, but I get the critiques too. As far as polished writing goes, some of my favorite authors are anything but. I like being in a position where I can see myself in stories going along for the ride. Java's just happened to do more of that for me.

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  37. JavaInMe: I like the set-up here. I'm a sucker for murder mysteries in any form. I'm especially intrigued by the idea that the cop investigating is somehow involved in the crimes without knowing it. Curiouser and curiouser... Unfortunately, I got hung up on the passive tone of your story and once I noticed it I couldn't unnotice it. I was also confused by the suggestion that it could be reincarnation. Same soul, different body doesn't match the evidence (same fingerprints, saliva, hair, image, etc). Perhaps that was supposed to be funny, but that seems out of character for the Smithsonian director.


    Saddleshoes: I love the voice of your MC. She's funny and precocious. As a former teacher I could sympathize with the poor VBS teacher slowly losing control of the situation. However, I have a VERY hard time reconciling the sex ed with the bible study class. That might just be my lack of experience with VBS, but it just didn't work for me. If this same scene had happened in a public school setting, I would have bought it hook, line and sinker.


    My vote goes to JavaInMe, mostly because I am quite obsessed with knowing the backstory and resolution of this situation.

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  38. My vote goes to Saddleshoes.

    JavaInMe was very entertaining, but the attitude of "the artist" annoyed me. All the snickering, smirking and disinterest was overdone, particularly as it would appear he held a position of authority as the Head of the Smithsonian. Keystone's instance on calling him "the artist" also annoyed me.

    I didn't find the exchange in Saddleshoes unbelievable and the childlike instance on trying to get an answer for a perplexing problem made me smile.

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