Our next winner has been posted on the WRiTE CLUB Scorecard and it will continue to be updated as we move through the week. Let me remind everyone that voting for each bout remains live for one week. That way there's always time to catch up on bouts you may have missed.
As we continue through the second week of matches, the challenge becomes how do we keep interests high so people will continue coming back? For those of you who've been Tweeting (#WRiTECLUB2016) and/or updating Facebook - THANK YOU - but we need to step up our game. After six years of doing this I think I've finally figured out why we see this drop-off after the initial surge.VOTING IS HARD! Choosing between two quality writers is not easy, and after people struggle with it a couple of times they stop coming back because of they don't want to face a difficult choice. So why do it? Because in the end, the struggle...and the competition, makes us all better at our craft. At the end of it all maybe some aspiring writers will get the exposure they need.
Here's the obligatory reminder of how things work. This is the 2nd of three weeks of daily bouts (M-F) between writing samples that are identified only by the craftily selected pen names of the respective submitters. Once we get through the preliminary skirmishes, then the playoffs will immediately follow.
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.
The voting for each bout will remain open for one week, so even though a new bout will be posted every day, you don't miss out on anything if you miss a few days. You can always catch up on several bouts at once if you so desire. Once the voting period ends and the votes have been tabulated, the results will be posted HERE, on the WRiTE CLUB scorecard. At stake is a chance to win free admission to the 2017 DFW Writers Conference.
The voting for this bout - Bout #8 - remains open until noon on Tuesday - March 22nd.
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 Thriller genre with 493 words, welcome to the ring Vodka.
(Monday June 23rd 1:15 A.M.)
Sal stared at the wreckage. The body lay mangled under the front wheel, but she couldn’t take in the damage to her car, shivering as the cold rain drenched her spine. She wrapped her arms around herself, and when the first medic crew arrived on the scene seconds after the police, took a step back. The car door hung open with the seatbelt dangling out, just inches from the puddle she’d stepped in. Flashing lights bounced off the surrounding storefront windows and she jumped when someone touched her on the shoulder.
Blinking several times, Sal looked from the destroyed body into the face of a dark black man dressed in a Toledo police uniform. He was moving a flashlight in front of her eyes and she could barely make out his words. This wouldn’t be the first life she’d taken, but this hadn’t been deliberate. From her vantage, the dead man under her bumper looked like a boy.
“Ma’am? Ma’am? Did you see what happened? Were you the one driving?” The officer motioned to the car and again passed the flashlight beam in front of her. “Ma’am, are you injured?”
“I didn’t…” Sal started then looked from the boy to the officer and tried to compose herself. There were other officers moving about, people shouting, talking, flashing lights, rain. She couldn’t concentrate on them, unable to tear her eyes away from the carnage. “He just ran out in front of me and I…” Her soft tenor voice laced with the bayou and mixed with her French heritage, thicker when she wasn’t in control. She heard her own southern drawl in just those few words and tried to focus.
“I understand ma’am. Is this your car then?”
His voice was kind; she wouldn’t have been kind.
“Do you have your driver’s license? Registration?”
He touched her shoulder again when her attention drifted back to the body as the medics knelt beside it.
“Harvey,” someone called. Sal looked from the body to her car and the officer standing in the open door. He held up the Glock she left wedged between the front seats when she removed it during the long drive. She knew she shouldn’t have come. It’d been a hastily-made stupid decision.
“Ma’am,” this time the man’s voice held more authority and Sal stiffened. “Do you have a license for the gun? Are you carrying any other weapons? I’m going to need you step to the cruiser. Can you tell me your name?”
He led them from the main activity to a black and white Dodge with Toledo PD written on the side. When she went to go back needing to look at the body, he took a firm hold of her arm shoving her toward the cruiser. He placed one hand on his gun and the other, she felt in the middle of her upper back. He kicked her feet to shoulders width, before speaking again.___________________________________________________________________________________
And in the far corner, representing the Short Story genre with 480 words, also welcome to the ring BonsaiBabe.
He leaned in close to the glass, his breath creating a small patch of fog, and probed lightly at his left eye with a fingertip. Overnight, the skin had darkened considerably. His mother, already suspicious about his refusal to eat dinner with the family last night, would undoubtedly have questions he wasn't willing to answer.
Aaron sighed. It was still early. Maybe if he got his shit together quickly he could get out of the house before she made it to the kitchen. He'd better hurry. She'd be up to make breakfast before long. He slapped some water on his face and ran his damp hands over his hair. Pulling on a black t-shirt and his favorite hoodie in quick succession, he stuffed his feet into the ratty old sneakers his mother kept threatening to replace.
He grabbed his backpack, which already held the only item he needed, throwing in a few textbooks to give the bag the right shape. He considered putting on his sunglasses, but decided they would only draw attention to the rapidly spreading bruise around his eye. The weight in his backpack felt strange as he slung it over his shoulder. Strange, but powerful.
He took the stairs two at a time, avoiding the squeaky edge as best he could. THUNK. The nylon bag wasn't enough to muffle the sound of hard metal rebounding off wood paneling. He froze.
"Aaron? Is that you?" His mother's voice floated up the stairs. "Peek your head into the baby's room and see if she's up, would you?" He could hear water running and pans scraping across the stovetop.
He did as she asked. The baby still slept soundly, her legs tucked under her chest and her little toddler rear shoved high into the air. He pulled the blanket over her, causing her eyes to flutter momentarily. Giving him a little half smile, she turned away from the light and fell back to sleep. He patted her softly. He would miss her the most.
"She's fine, Ma," he called as he dashed past the kitchen door. "Gotta run!"
"Aaron? Where are you going? You haven't even had breakfast." He heard the irritation in her voice. He didn't want her to remember anger in her last words to him. Too late. If he went back, she might say something to change his mind.
He grabbed his bike and headed toward the school, pedaling hard to burn off some of the adrenaline pumping through his veins. The sun just reached over the trees. Most of his neighbors had yet to embark on their daily commutes; their cars still huddled in sleep masks of frost. He could picture his classmates burrowed under blankets, dreams about to be shattered by the sounds of alarm clocks. Would they think of that moment, the sudden switch from asleep to awake, when they heard the sirens later?___________________________________________________________________________________
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.
Now go 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!