We are down to just four and we've come to your last chance to impact who will become this years WRiTE CLUB champ. After this weeks bouts our two winners will stand before our celebrity judges with yet another 500 word sample, and then it will be on the judges shoulders to crown a new winner.
Several of you have asked or made mention of wanting to find out just who are these wonderful writers that you've been following over the course of several weeks. Apart from the two finalist...who are named when the competition concludes...revealing the identity of the writers is exclusively up to the contestants themselves. Shortly following the post where our champion is recognized, I will follow that up with a wrap-up in which I invite suggestions for improvements -- but also invite the contestants to remove their masks in the comment section if they choose to do so. I encourage everyone who is willing to step forward, but will not push. All 30 contestants deserve whatever recognition you can give them.
This week, four writers will again enter the ring brandishing another new 500 word writing sample. The voting will remain open for both until noon central time on Sunday, April 17th.
Here's a reminder of how everything works. Writing samples from two different writers, identified only by the craftily selected pen names of the respective submitters, are competing against one another today. 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 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 customary to leave a brief critique for all the 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.
What's at stake here? Other than bragging rights, there's also a chance to win free admission to the 2017 DFW Writers Conference.
Ready to help an aspiring writer make their mark? It's time to introduce our contestants and get this party started.
Writer #1 is representing the Flash Fiction genre with 482 words. Please give a warm welcome to BonsaiBabe.
"Girl! Get in here!" Amber pulled her into the warm glow of the party and leaned in to whisper, "He's here. Kitchen." She shoved a red plastic cup into Chandra's hand and disappeared into the crowd.
"Beer or booze?" someone asked. In response to Chandra's quizzical look he pointed to her cup, "Beer's in the living room and booze is in the kitchen."
"I guess that means I'm drinking beer tonight."
After filling her cup, she joined a group of slightly familiar faces—maybe from her Bio 101 lab—gathered in the hall. Chandra floated at the edge of their conversation, her attention focused on a voice coming from the kitchen.
"So there I am, knee deep in mud, and Sam's just laying on the gas."
Her heart thumped painfully in her ears. She knew that voice, that story. She had watched Jason flail in the mud trying to rescue Sam's truck. She watched him peel off his muddy clothes afterward, back in his apartment. That was the voice he used for telling stories and talking professors into extending deadlines; for coaxing her into staying for just one more drink. It was different from the voice he'd used later.
Don't be a cock-tease. You said you wanted to.
"Yo, Chan," Amber snapped her fingers. "Quit moping, girl. He's not worth it."
"Yes, you were. Like you have been for weeks now. I don't know what happened between you two, but you've got to let it go." Amber held up her own plastic cup. "No time like the present. Come with me while I refill."
At first, she didn't see him. Then the crowd shifted and there he was, his arm carelessly across the shoulders of the girl standing next to him. Her breath caught in her chest as she recognized first the blouse, and then the girl, both of which should have been tucked away safely at home.
"What the hell, Jackie?" It came out louder than she intended. Jason's story cut off mid-sentence and his audience turned in unison.
Her sister's eyes went round with surprise. Then they narrowed. "You told Mom you were working."
"And you told her you were studying in your room," Chandra said. "I guess we're both liars." She tried to keep her voice light, keep her panic hidden. She stepped forward to take Jackie's arm.
Jason pushed one hand against Chandra's chest.
Quit squirming, bitch.
The pressure of it—his palm on her sternum, fingers against her collarbone—was too familiar. It felt like being pinned down on a dirty couch, dizzy and unable to breathe. It felt like shame. It felt like terror.
It felt like something her baby sister should never have to feel.
She grabbed Jason's middle finger and jerked it back, twisting. Her knee connected with his groin and he went down with a thud.
She looked at Jackie. "C'mon. We're going home now."
Writer #2 represents the Science Fiction Short Story with 499 words. Please welcome back into the arena Helveticaw.
The LeSabre fishtailed across the virgin snow covering the employee parking lot behind Deluxe Cinemas. Dannie hit the brakes and steered hard right. The car slid diagonally across a couple of parking spots, the left rear tire bumping into the concrete curb.
She shifted into park and turned off the engine, her breathy giggles puffing out in white clouds as she opened the car door to the deep January chill. She pulled the duffle bag, with its bounty of clinking film cans, from the LeSabre's back seat and slammed the door shut, admiring the way the sound echoed over the empty lot and the dead highway in the distance. A layer of snow slid from the sign on the parking space, revealing a name: Martin Shoemaker, Mgr.
Dannie hefted the bag and headed for the employee entrance.
She would not wonder about Martin today. Today she would not think about his soft smile. Nor would she revisit the last time she saw him, standing on her parents' front porch, the question he came to ask never passing his lips. She'd wanted him to ask, and she hadn't. She'd been too aware of her parents, laid out in their bedroom at the back of the house, dreaming whatever dreams they chose, as the lights of their implants twinkled in the dark.
If they ever woke up, they would need her. Even if they never did, she could help prolong their lives. She could hope.
The employee entrance to Deluxe Cinemas, like the front door, was unlocked, the way she'd left it.
No one was going to try to break in. There was no one.
It was warm in the lobby. When she hit the switches, the lights in the vaulted ceiling flickered on, illuminating the ripe orange walls, the plush blue carpets. The power was still on.
She would not think about Martin, and his northern log cabin, and his gas generator and solar cells, and the wool tartan blanket he was probably tucked under right now. She would not think about sharing that blanket through this long, quiet winter.
Today was movie day. Maybe the last movie day.
Her fingers lingered on the film can's label after she set up the first reel: The Fray. Early reviews—the only reviews there'd been time for—called it the pinnacle of the superhero genre. She couldn't wait to see it. She wouldn't have to wait much longer.
On the drive back to her parents' house, she snapped her fingers as Sinatra crooned over the LeSabre's totally decent stereo system. Fred had been a crappy neighbour, always judging the state of their yard and the state of neighbourhood, but he had great taste in cars, and pretty good taste in music.
Fred had held out longer than most of the neighbours when the switch happened, but he'd gone over in the end, to that shiny utopia Dannie couldn't access. He hadn't warned her or apologized; he'd just installed the implant, and gone.
Enjoying a pair of 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 if you haven't already done so.
Please 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.
Remember, this is WRiTE CLUB, where it’s not about the last man/woman standing, but who knocks the audience out!