Our next winner has been posted on the WRiTE CLUB Scorecard and it will continue to be updated as we move through the contest. 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 I've said before, the challenge now 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 continue stepping up our game. VOTING IS HARD! Choosing between two quality writers is not easy, and after people do it a couple of times they stop coming back because of they don't want to face a difficult choice. So why do I make you 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 so richly deserve.
Here's a 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 Wednesday - March 23rd.
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 Science Fiction genre with 499 words, welcome to the ring Word Cupcake.
I know. I know. Losing an envelope doesn’t seem like it should be such a big deal. But think about what still goes into envelopes these days. Love letters. Large sums of money. Marriage licenses – like the one I’m supposed to be holding for my best friend. Look at them over there, her resplendent in red and gold, him more subdued in a plain black suit. International marriage paperwork takes forever, so they can’t just pop out and get another copy. Besides, the guests have already started making their way up the rose-petal scattered aisle, crushing the velvety red cup shapes under their shoes, releasing a heady perfume that mixes with the salt air coming in on the breeze.
This scent sparks a memory of standing in a garden with a girl wearing a hat made entirely of beads, the fringe of sparkly black strands clicking together against her forehead when she shook her head no, she didn’t want to go somewhere private to talk. Does that mean we visited the 1920s last night? Or just a costume party? I know. I. Know. You’re not supposed to time travel drunk, and you’re definitely not supposed to bring a dozen equally inebriated friends with you, but the bachelor party had been dying. it had seemed a brilliant idea at the time. Maybe one of the other guys remembers what happened. I make my way over to Gordon, who’s completely immersed in the world inside his VR goggles. I tap him on the shoulder, and he whirls around, swinging wildly. I duck his fist and wait. He takes off the goggles.
“Any idea when we went last night?” I ask.
“No so loud.” Gordon glances around to make sure we haven’t been heard. He’s right. We could probably lose our jobs. He draws me farther away from the crowd and takes a playbill that says It Pays to Advertise out of his pocket. “Opening night. February 2, 1924. I only got to see a few minutes, while you guys were-”
“We were in London last night?” My voice comes out squeaky. I run both hands across my face, wishing I’d taken a double dose of that hangover cure. Then maybe I’d be able to think. “How? We shouldn’t have had enough time.”
Gordon shrugs as he folds the playbill back into his pocket. “Glitch, maybe? We just showed up there.”
“And you didn’t think that was weird?” There’s no way I’m going to be able to retrace my steps. I couldn’t even get back to London in a single jump, let alone find the license. I approach Alan, ready to confess.
He reaches into his pocket and pulls out the envelope. “You were waving this around, telling everybody we passed that your best friend was getting married. I had to take it away from you.”
My shoulders slump with relief. But after the ceremony, I’m still going to have to explore this glitch. I know. That’s bound to cause more trouble. ___________________________________________________________________________________
And in the far corner, representing the YA Contemporary genre with 496 words, also welcome to the ring Chun-Li.
As Mrs. Pan left, my mother leaned over and whispered, “Hanwei isn’t good enough for you, Mei. He went to Northeastern! And, I heard from Mrs. Tian who heard from Mrs. Ahn—Remember Mrs. Ahn? Her son went to Princeton—that after Hanwei graduated, he threw his college degree away to pursue music. I bet you his nose is tiny—a nub. He’s now begging for money in exchange for guitar lessons.”
“You mean, he’s teaching music? Like many other normal people?”
“Not normal. Last resort. Soon, he’ll be just like Ying-Na.”
Poor Ying-Na. The Asian-American cautionary tale who chose happiness over honoring her parents and was cut off financially and emotionally. Now, she was the butt of every rumor, all created to support other parents’ warnings. Ying-Na decided to major in English and now is homeless. Ying-Na had an American boyfriend and he stole all her things. Ying-Na had one sip of alcohol in college and now she’s in a mental institution. And for my mother, Ying-Na veered off her parents’ career track and now takes off her clothes for money.
“I’m so glad you will be a doc-tor,” my mother continued, her pride overemphasizing each syllable in doctor. “Doctors always have a job. Never have to worry. So stable, so secure. And so respectable. That’s why we so happy to pay your tuition.”
I ducked my head in fear of her seeing the truth in my eyes—that bacteria-ridden patients made my skin crawl and biology put me to sleep. But unless I wanted to be Ying-Na 2.0, I didn’t have a choice.
The waiter set my father’s plum smoothie and my mother’s soy milk on the table along with three Wet-Naps which my mother immediately swept into her purse. We came so often we barely had to order. Before he could hand me my Diet Coke, my mother waved it away with a bony hand.
“She’ll have a papaya smoothie,” she told him, then poked my breast. “These are much too small, like mosquito bites.”
Because of a papaya-eating aboriginal village that churned out big-breasted women, my mother had been forcing mushy pink fruit down my throat since I hit puberty. Spoiler: it didn’t work.
Her inspection traveled to my waist, which she pinched. “You’re getting fat.”
My size six frame would never be good enough for my shallow mother, who wished I was a classic Chinese beauty that would “fall over when the wind blows.” I had missed the Asian skinny gene and instead inherited from my dad, whose college nickname was Lu Pang, or Fat Lu. I preferred not to look like a chopstick, but I was in the minority.
“Have you even been exercising?”
It had to be a trap. If I admitted how much time I’d spent dancing, she’d scold me for not studying enough. I pressed my lips into a hard line, choosing silence.
“You need to be careful, Mei. How will you ever get a man?”___________________________________________________________________________________
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!