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WRiTE CLUB - Semi-Finals Round 5

If you’re here for the I’LL TUMBLE 4 YA Blogfest, that post is located HERE.

The semi-finals are almost complete and both the audience and the WRiTER’s are ragged!  Now it’s time for Round 5.

Here’s my spiel again…the winners will be announced at noon on Sunday and the next round will kick off next Tuesday (right after the ORIGINS blogfest).  Read the submission from each WRiTER carefully and leave your vote for the sample that resonates with you the most.  Don’t forget to offer some opinions if you have time.  Anyone reading this can vote, so blog / tweet / facebook / text / smoke signal everyone you know and get them to participate as well.  Good luck to both WRiTER’s!

And now…..

Stepping into the ring is the winner of round two, back for more is .....JAMIE STUART

Charlene Gentry didn't know what to expect when she died. She wasn't necessarily an evil person, so would heaven welcome her? She wasn't an angel, either, so would hell be her destination? Not that she had a choice, but she assumed those were her only two options.

Certainly not 5542 Sycamore Lane.

She must be dead. How else could she explain the view of her bedroom from above? She didn't own a mirror on the ceiling, as badly as she had dreamed of putting one up there. And the eyes of the body – her body – lying on the bed below were closed.

The front door slammed. "Charlie? You here?"

Robbie. Her big brother finally made it. Was he in time? How long had her body been lying there? Minutes? Hours?

"I'm in the bedroom!" She yelled, but did he hear her? Dammit! How could she move to him? Was she stuck up on the ceiling for all eternity?

The sliding door to the backyard opened. "Hey, fella. Whatcha doing out here?"

Barnaby's claws ticked, ticked, ticked, as they skittered across the kitchen floor. Soon the chocolate lab burst through the bedroom door, Robbie close behind.

"Charlie?" He rushed to her body and placed his fingers against the neck.

Did he get a pulse? Was she still alive? He pulled out his cell.

"It's my sister. I think she OD'd."

"No, I didn't," she said. "It's not what you think."

"Fifty-five forty-two Sycamore Lane… No… Yes… Okay. Please hurry." He dropped the phone on the bed and proceeded to perform CPR. Barnaby whined.

"That's it. Resuscitate me. Bring me back, Robbie!"

After several pumps on her chest, he blew air into her mouth. He repeated the process and checked her neck. "Dammit, Charlie. Come back! Don't leave me."

She willed herself to be by his side, and it happened. So that's how it worked! "I haven't left you," she said. "Don't give up!"

He didn't react to her words, but he continued with the CPR.

Where was the ambulance? They should have been here by now. She only lived a couple of blocks away.

Robbie checked her neck again and started to cry.

"No! I don't want to die!" She reached out for him and her hand went through his body.

He didn't feel her. She was nothing.

"How could you be so stupid? I trusted you!" He fell to his knees and placed his head on the bed.

His sobs wrenched her heart, if she even had one anymore. She couldn't blame him. She was stupid. Not for overdosing – she'd been clean for a year – but for trusting Carl. That bastard had killed her.

She had never believed in ghosts before. Looked like she was one now. Was she stuck inside the house forever? Oh crap. Maybe she was in hell.

And in the other corner is our round five winner...PANAMA RED

In the past, I done everything I could to stay out of their way, all of them. Especially when things get private. After more than a hundred years, I figure let the live ones live their lives. Soon enough they’ll see all the opportunities they missed. All the little things they thought were so unimportant that shoulda been done. Like those two. I wonder if he knows what her favorite color is, or if she can sing. Sure, he knows how she tastes, but does he take the time to hold her hand, lay awake at night and listen to her breathe. Does he listen to her talk? And does he hear what she says? Can he hold her when she cries and not say a word? Can he hold her gently and not be running his hands all over her? Don’t look like it.

There’s been plenty of time for me to watch folks. I only get to watch the ones come to live in this place or the ones come to visit their own dead. Neither are the happiest souls. For years this place sat empty. The ranch was all mine, but all I could do was sit and watch it rot.

Course, the rotting started long before that. I don’t know what Pa was thinking. After I was shot, he went to pieces. Emily been crazy for years. I think maybe she never was right in the head. Her being only six years old when I was born, our Ma dying, and then Pa giving me to her to tend, she raised me up more like a plaything than a person.

From the day my grand-daddy homesteaded this little valley, people thought it was cursed. The Williams, and now the Bakers, seem to have such incredible bad luck. There was a time when I myself woulda thought that a curse. Today, after so much time and so much watching of folks, I see clearly it ain’t no curse. It ain’t even bad luck. More like poor judgment and bad choices.

Take Miss Sandra Baker. She and that ranch kid were certainly about to make a bad choice out there in the barn. Not to say it ain’t one I woulda made myself. Especially with her being so willin’. In my time, if I’da met a girl like Sandra Baker and she was that willin’, we woulda been married by her fifteenth birthday. By now, she woulda had a baby on her hip or one in her belly for sure. I woulda been a little smarter than to be foolin’ with her in her daddy’s barn, though. It’s a good way to get shot. What do I know about women like Sandra Baker? I only got nineteen years with never an opportunity to be smart or foolish around women. Everything I know comes from watchin’.

Getting shot is something I know about. I still can’t figure out exactly what happened.

Now it's time for you to do your part, which includes getting all of your friends to come cast a vote as well. Remember the WRiTE CLUB motto, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!


  1. I had to read both of these twice to make a decision, but I'm going with number 2.

  2. I'm going with the first one - it's emotionally grabbing.

  3. AHHH why would you pit these two against each other?! I liked them BOTH in the earlier rounds and I still like them both :( Such a tough choice since both of them are terrific, but I felt more connected to #1.

  4. My vote is #1, but it was a hard choice. Really hard.

  5. This is a tough call, but I'm going with #1.

  6. They're both great, but I'm going to go with Jamie.

  7. This the toughest decision yet. I really love them both. I think I'm going to vote for #2, though - tht's a great voice.

  8. It's fun to see two "whoa, I'm dead!" stories up against each other, but it's difficult and frustrating to have to choose between them!

    There are things to like in both stories. They both raise interesting plot questions, they both have compelling MCs narrating their experiences, they both have distinct voices, and I enjoyed both of them.

    But I select #1. It seemed to have more immediate impact, more real-time drama, and the writing style pulled me in more. #2 was more back-story, description, and inner thoughts, and I felt a little more disconnected from it.

    Again -- very tough choice. Both were well-written and entertaining and enjoyable, but I go with #1 simply because it's more the style of writing I like.

  9. Ahh... Tough Bout! MAN! OK. So I would vote for BOTH of these. Both are very strong, both have little wobbly bits. (Don't we all!)

    #1--ditch all the questions. It sounds like you're just figuring out the story. If you must, one further in, but opening, it all should be strong statements. She didn't know, so perhaps heaven. She didn't know, maybe hell. But otherwise, good writing. I liked the tick tick tick and I was totally tearing up w/the brother. And why'd that jerk kill her?

    #2--You almost lost me in that first 'graph. You're trying to be voicey, but starting out, it reads like grammar errors. Get in there and embrace it like you do by the end. At the end of that bit, I was all in. I could see the boy, hear his voice, all of it. And I remembered liking this one very much the first time around.

    Opening 'graph needs a rewrite, but my vote goes for #2!

    Good stuff here! :o) <3

  10. I like the rapid pace of the first one best.

  11. Phooey! Another hard choice... Number 1 struck my heart instantly, so I'm going with that one.

  12. Wow, this was tough. Good job, both of you! I think I'll vote for # 1.

  13. Wow, it is so freaky how sometimes the random draw picks two pieces w/ similar themes. These are both excellent.

    I'm forcing myself to choose though, and I'll vote for number two, with my deciding factor being the original voice.

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  15. My vote goes to #1. It still had too many questions for my taste (like about double), but the writing was stronger over all. With the second one, I was lost right away since the first paragraph only confused me and didn't draw me in. The writing gets better as it goes along, but that first paragraph cost my vote.

  16. Very difficult choice. They are both terrific. I will vote for #1.

  17. My vote is for number 1... the writing was tight, grabbing. Definitely my kind of style. :D

  18. I know I'm repeating what everybody said, but this was a really hard choice! (I would have voted for either one of these over some of the ones that got my vote earlier in the week.)

    In the end, I'm going for #2 because it's got a VOICE that stands out. Although I like the premise of the first one, the voice is just like most other YA protagonists. There's nothing that distinguishes it for me.

    The voice of the narrator in #2 seems a little bumpy in spots, as if the dialect isn't quite pinned down, but that will come with revision and polishing. #2 is a winner.

    (If Panama Red is looking for a beta reader, he/she is welcome to look me up!)

  19. Both are nicely done - good voice and characters. My vote will go to #1 though.

  20. This has been the toughest choice. Both are excellent story-tellers; and I gotta say that in a book store, I would not choose. I would buy both.

    I'm voting for #1 (Jamie) because it had slightly more intimacy to the MC and the brother.

    But Panama; I love your setting, and I'm pretty sure your concept get more complicated and intriguing as the story progresses. Keep up this line of writing. It is intriguing.

    Jamie; absolutely brilliant emotional content. So many story threads are introduced here. This character is a mystery; but i think the real draw for me is the love the brother has. He is an excellent catalyst to whatever Charlie has fouled up.





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