WRiTE CLUB 2020 - SAVE WEEK


One of the most common phrases used by the voters in our preliminary bouts was "This is so hard! I like them both."  Unfortunately, only one contestant could advance in every bout, which meant somebody had to lose. The luck of the draw can be a cruel beast sometimes. But here is your opportunity to reverse someone's fortune.

You now can give three contestants a lifeline to a second chance. Below is a list of the writers who came up short in their preliminary bouts. It is a partial list right now because some bouts are still being decided, so I'll be filling in the list as more bouts are finalized. That is why we give you all week to make up your mind.

Sometime before Sunday, May 31st (noon central time) post a comment below with the names of no more than THREE writers you feel deserve a second chance to advance. The names can be any of those listed below (once all fifteen names are filled in), regardless of when the bout took place. No critique is necessary for this round. To help refresh your memory I suggest clicking on the relevant name to be taken to their bout, or use the links embedded on the WRiTE CLUB Scoreboard located HERE. Remember, more names will be added to this list - so be patient.

Alexander Scribbler
Amber Guity
Annie Corvino
Brad Berry
Cornelius Keel
J.P. Devenish
Loft Letters
Peace and Quiet
R.K. Wyatt
Sweet Baby James
WT Woman
Wink N.A. Smile
Luxor
Lady Moonsong

Unfortunately, CaroleBaskinKilledHerHusband will be unable to continue in the contest so their name will not be placed for a SAVE consideration.

This is the last chance for some of these writers, so make it count.

Recap

WRiTE CLUB is a tournament-style competition that runs during the eight weeks prior to the DFW Conference (who is also a sponsor) and it provides writers the opportunity to compete against one another for a chance to win a host of prizes, topped off by free admission to the following year’s conference. Our writers submitted 500-word writing samples under pen names and have appeared in head-to-head in “bouts”, with the winner of each match determined by our readers—by voting for their favorites. Bout winners keep advancing until there are only two remaining and that’s when a panel of celebrity judges, who include well know authors, agents, editors, and other publishing folks, choose the ultimate champion.

Even though the contest is sponsored by DFW, anyone can vote (as long as you have a Google sign-in or verifiable email address), and when you do, we encourage you to leave a mini-critique for both writers. Oh, I forgot to mention that the voters have a chance to win a $60 Barnes and Noble gift card. Each time you vote in a bout your name will be placed in a hat and at the end of the contest, one name will be selected to receive the prize. And as an added incentive to keep readers coming back for more, we're upping the ante. Readers who place a vote in EVERY bout will have their names placed in a second hat and the name selected from that pool will win a $40 Barnes and Noble gift card. Double the chances of winning!

A few more rules –

1) One vote (with 3 names) per visitor per bout.
2) Although our contestants are anonymous, voters cannot be. Anonymous votes will not count, so if you do not have a Google account and are voting as a guest, be sure to include your name and email address.
3) Using any method (email, social media, text, etc) to solicit votes for a specific contestant will cause that contestant's immediate disqualification. It’s perfectly okay, in fact, it is encouraged to spread the word about the contest to get more people to vote, just not for a specific writer!
4) Although more of a suggestion than a rule - cast your vote before you read other comments. Do not let yourself be swayed by the opinions of others.

For those of you who are chasing after the Voting In Every Bout prize, casting a vote here is required.

NEXT WEEK - The Cage Bouts begin!

WRiTE CLUB 2020 - Preliminary Bout #15



Today we reveal the final two contestants stepping into the WRiTE CLUB ring and I want to take this opportunity to congratulate all 30 contestants. Win or lose, it was an achievement simply making it this far! But what about the other writers who took the risk and submitted their work? I know you're disappointed, but there is some good news.

Don't despair, we are able to offer writers who didn't make it to the ring some feedback. A dozen of our slushpile readers have generously volunteered to critique your submission (one per writer), provided you meet two criteria. The first, you must send an email to WRITECLUB2020@GMAIL.COM to formally request the critique. The second condition, you must have voted (before the deadline) in at least ten of the fifteen bouts. This 2nd condition may seem harsh, but I have a hard time offering feedback to anyone who is unwilling to support their fellow writers by registering a simple vote. Once we receive your email and verify participation by voting, your submission will be looked at by all 12 slushpile readers and those critiques will be emailed back to you. Because I'm not sure how many of you will take part in this, it's impossible for me to say how long it will take to get this input back to you. Stay tuned for more information.

Recap

WRiTE CLUB is a tournament-style competition that runs during the eight weeks prior to the DFW Conference (who is also a sponsor) and it provides writers the opportunity to compete against one another for a chance to win a host of prizes, topped off by a free admission to the following year’s conference. Our writers have submitted 500-word writing samples under pen names and they'll be appearing in head-to-head in “bouts”, with the winner of each match determined by you the reader—by voting for your favorites. Bout winners keep advancing until there are only two remaining and that’s when a panel of celebrity judges, who include well know authors, agents, editors, and other publishing folks, choose the ultimate champion.

Even though the contest is sponsored by DFW, anyone can vote (as long as you have a Google sign-in or verifiable email address), and when you do, we encourage you to leave a mini-critique for both writers. Oh, I forgot to mention that the voters have a chance to win a $60 Barnes and Noble gift card. Each time you vote in a bout your name will be placed in a hat and at the end of the contest, one name will be selected to receive the prize. And as an added incentive to keep readers coming back for more, we're upping the ante. Readers who place a vote in EVERY bout will have their names placed in a second hat and the name selected from that pool will win a $40 Barnes and Noble gift card. Double the chances of winning!

Even though there will be a different bout every day (M-F), the voting for each bout will remain open for seven days from the date I post it to give as many people as possible to have a say. Voting for today’s bout will close on Thursday, May 28th (noon central time). To help keep up with which bouts are open, you can follow along on the WRiTE CLUB Scoreboard updated right HERE.

It’s that simple. The writing piece that garnishes the most votes will move on to the next round where they’ll face a different opponent. In case of a tie, I’m the deciding vote. I can do that because, like all of you, I do not know the real names of our contestants either (my wife processes all the submissions).

A few more rules –

1) One vote per visitor per bout.
2) Although our contestants are anonymous, voters cannot be. Anonymous votes will not count, so if you do not have a Google account and are voting as a guest, be sure to include your name and email address.
3) Using any method (email, social media, text, etc) to solicit votes for a specific contestant will cause that contestant's immediate disqualification. It’s perfectly okay, in fact, it is encouraged to spread the word about the contest to get more people to vote, just not for a specific writer!
4) Although more of a suggestion than a rule - cast your vote before you read other comments. Do not let yourself be swayed by the opinions of others.



Our first contestant in the ring is Miss_Sunflower representing the YA Fantasy genre.



“Zaraina Mandolin, water singer?” Master Lyranch asked. The deep bass of his voice sent her trembling.

 

“Yes, sir.” Nerves made her voice small.

           

“Keyne Jiranos, windcaller for this exam?” Master Lyranch continued.

           

“Yes, sir.” The boy stood barefoot across the arena near a pool of clear water, a set of pipes held loosely in his hand.

           

“Show us what you can do.” A waiting silence fell.

           

Zaraina shifted slightly to face Keyne, digging her toes into the fine damp sand, lengthening her posture. Her breathing deepened, she caught the tang of salt from the sea on the air. No matter if this wind caller could keep up with her or not, she would sing her best. Her eyes met his dark ones. He raised the pipes to his lips.

           

Storm Songs had no lyrics. There was no need for them when you were singing to water and wind. Keyne began the melody and instantly Zaraina felt a breeze tug at hair she’d tucked behind her ear. She narrowed her eyes, catching the barest smirk in the quirk of his cheek, and took a fresh breath. Then she let out that first long clear note. She felt the water in the pool answer her in a rippling echo. The notes of Keyne’s pipes changed just so, meeting her tone,

strengthening it. She blinked. No one had ever been able to do that. The joy of the music lifted her voice into the first aria.

           

The soft patter of the notes as she released them began to pull water from the pool and into the air, a mist that slowly formed clouds above them. For this piece, it was up to her to carry the depth of the song. She met Keyne in perfect counterpoint, bringing the water out to play as breezes and gusts swirled. The harmonies sent a chill over her skin and a hum in her bones unlike any she’d felt before. The resonance built into a current pulling her off the pages of music drilled into her head. Wind and water danced around them growing into a storm.

 

The music and the magic flowed through her. She wept with the strength of it. On cue, a  warm rain began to fall. Her tears and the rain mixed, pooling at their feet. Her voice softened as she returned to the practiced piece. Her eyes closed as she breathed the last few notes. The music faded and she opened her eyes to see Keyne take the pipes from his lips. They stared at one another in a silence that still vibrated with power.

 

A door above them slammed open. Zaraina shot her gaze away from Keyne as a steward rushed in. “Master Lyranch sir, there was an unauthorized waterspout in the courtyard.”

 

“Was there?” The Master Singer never moved his eyes from the pair of them. “It dissipated moments ago?”

 

“Yes sir, no lasting damage.”

 

“Take them below.” He ordered.

 

Again, Zaraina trembled. “Did we pass?”

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On the other side of the ring, our final preliminary round contestant is Lady Moonsong who is representing the Adult Fantasy genre.



The prince was dead and the kingdom grieved.

 

A solemn procession escorted the flower-strewn wagon carrying the infant’s body through the narrow, cobbled streets. Weeping villagers lined the route, hoping for a glimpse of the ill-fated parents, whose child had passed from the realm of the living to the realm of the dead in one short day. With wailing and lamentation, the tiny body was sealed in a tomb, mourned by dignitaries and courtiers, by his young sister and his inconsolable father, but not by his mother, who knew the truth.

 

That night, a figure in dark robes unlocked the gate and stole down the narrow steps into the stone-walled crypt. The intruder, a wizard by talent and trade, crept to the tomb and mustering his strength, shoved aside the heavy lid. It landed on the dirt floor with an echoing thud.

 

The child, swaddled in white, just his tiny face visible, only appeared to be dead. A spell stifled his breathing and dampened his heartbeat, until both were undetectable. The wizard stared down at the boy, feeling only hate. As death’s shadow, he’d come to make the illusion reality.

 

The wizard craved a hot brew and the comfort of his warm bed, but the grim task could be entrusted to no one else. Hands shaking, he pulled a dagger from its sheath and raised it over the child.

 

“No! Stop!”

 

Startled, the wizard’s hand lurched and the dagger nicked the child’s throat, spilling crimson on the white shroud. A sobbing woman ran into the chamber and grabbed the wizard’s arm, preventing him from inflicting further harm.

 

“Your majesty, you should not be here,” the wizard cried.

 

Wearing a plain brown cloak over her silk gown, hair flowing loose down her back, the queen clutched the wizard’s robes. “You said you wouldn’t truly hurt him.”

 

“Alessendra, I must. He will always be a threat.”

 

“No. Not if no one knows who he is.”

 

The Wizard turned away, forcing himself not to look at her. “We cannot take that risk.”

 

She laid a trembling hand on his cheek.  “Please. For me.”

 

Unwillingly, he met her dark eyes and knew he was lost. He could never refuse her. If only he’d killed the brat in the womb. He exhaled a long breath. “Very well,” he said, sheathing the dagger.

 

“Swear you won’t.”

 

“I swear I won’t harm him. But for our daughter’s sake, he’ll be sent away, tonight.”

 

The queen nodded, eyes on the child, as if memorizing his face.

 

“If you care for our daughter and her claim to the throne, forget this boy ever existed. The world believes him dead. He must be dead to you too.”

 

She whispered, “He’ll live in my heart.”

 

The wizard passed a hand over the child’s face and the babe stirred with a weak cry. “Go back to bed before you injure yourself.” The wizard bundled the mewling infant under his arm and slipped into the night, leaving the heartbroken mother to grieve.

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As always, leave your votes and critiques in the comments below. Again, be respectful of your remarks and try to point out positives as well as detraction's.

We’ll be back next week with SAVE WEEK.  Did one of your favorite pieces lose their bout? Then you'll want to make sure you come back next week when everyone will be giving the opportunity to possibly SAVE three contestants from elimination. Don't miss it!

Please help all our writers out by telling everyone you know what is happening here and encourage them to come vote.

This is WRiTE CLUB—the contest where the audience gets clobbered!



 
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