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WRiTE CLUB Play-Offs - Round Two - Bout #4

Only two matches left in the second round of the WRiTE CLUB play-offs.  In this round our ten contestants will be battling it out with a brand new writing sample, which could very easily turn the tide.  The bouts will be posted on Mon - Fri, but the voting will remain open for all bouts until Sunday at noon.

Once again...every vote counts. The contestant who doesn't win their bout...but garners the most votes amongst all of the other losers...will become a wildcard winner and advance to round 3.  

Whether you've been following along from the beginning or this is your first time's just a matter of choosing the one you feel deserves to move forward. Please offer some critique if you have time.  Anyone reading this can vote, so blog, tweet, facebook, text, smoke signal everyone you know and get them to take part in the fun. 

If a contestant should make it to round 3, their sample will be paired off against a different opponent.  

And now...stepping into the ring with a brand new story to is...Twilight Sparkle

The hanging TV had been tuned to the local channel for the morning newscast. The blonde anchor read the headline from the prompter. “The first trials of Graham’s Syndrome patients has promising results.”

A picture of me popped up, one from a few years ago. The girl with the bright skin and thick hair was a far cry from my reflection now.

The anchor continued, “Dr. Ellery Bale’s breakthrough treatment stalls the disease completely, and those affected can live normal lives. Last Thursday, she received an honor to recognize...” The voice faded into the symphony of sound around me, humming, beeping, and the breathy rhythmic whoosh of the pump.

I turned my face and a hard feeling prickled down my throat. The oxygen mask had been replaced with medical tape strapped over my mouth. With a knee-jerk reaction, I half-swallowed and shuddered against the uncomfortable stab of the invading plastic tube.

When I had decided to fight for Graham’s instead of my life, I knew this was coming. Nothing could have prepared me for the helplessness. I think when regular people die of old age, their minds blur and turn the scratchy prison of a bed into a comforting cloud. Not me. Like my thoughts, the Spark sharpened my senses, and I could feel my different organs function slower until they began to fail altogether.

“Morning Ells.” Will walked in and saw the headline posted at the bottom of the TV with my pretty portrait. “So you’ve seen the story. I thought it—” He frowned when he noticed my equipment change.

“They had to tube you again?” He scraped the metal chair over the tile to my bedside and sat. “Are they gonna come soon to take it out?”

That had been the routine the last two times. I’d recovered strength enough, and the nurse came to remove it so we could talk. I swiped my fingers over the tablet mounted just above my hand, and a lovely voice spoke for me, “Probably not.”

Will nodded, full of a bright smile he’d faked plenty of times. “Turn off the audio. It’s not you, and it sounds weird. I can read the text just fine.”

I tapped it off and typed out. “Okay.”

“Since you’re not using the creepy voice, I’ll do most of the talking. Let’s start with how terrible dinner went last night.” He started in on a crazy story, probably made up for entertainment value.


My eyes opened, Will hanging over with ten additional creases in his face. I’d fallen asleep again.

Sorry. Your story is riveting, I swear.” I tapped an extra sarcastic emoticon. “:-p.”

My little joke didn’t budge his frown.

“It wasn’t your responsibility.”

Why did he choose now to get mad at me again? I thought he dropped it. “I made the choice. My sacrifice.” My finger hovered over the tablet for a second. “What is a life without a legacy?

“One you live.” Will sighed.

And with their own brand new piece of writing, welcome back to the ring....Lord Codpiece.

Say what you will about smugglers, but they have a flair for creativity. I pondered this as I crouched in a hidden compartment, somewhere beneath the bilge of a leaking ship. The stench was like a living thing. It burned my lungs with each shallow breath. But I had to admit, it beat a prison cell any day.

The ship was a two-masted trader, bound for the port of New Kestani. If she made it, I'd be truly surprised. A thump and creaking noise announced the opening of a trapdoor overhead. Legato, the captain, poked his bearded face through.

"Get up on deck, and be quick about it," he said.

"Why? We're not even out of the harbor yet," I said.

"We're about to be boarded for inspection. And they've got a gods-damned witch with them."
I cursed. If her delving magic found me hiding, I'd be in real trouble.

"I'll need a shirt from one of your men," I said. "Something grubby, so she doesn't get too close."

"One whiff of you should do the trick," Legato said.

"Captain!" I said in falsetto. "You make me blush."

By the time I'd ditched my rumpled finery for sailor's garb, the inspection team had already boarded. I joined the line of sailors at the leeward rail.

Armed women in the deep blue tabards of the queen's guard crawled over the ship like angry termites. Which the ship already had aplenty, judging by what I'd seen below decks.

Legato made his displeasure known to the chief inspector, a severe-looking woman who stood on the wheel deck with an unmistakable air of authority. The woman beside her, though, was the one that drew my eye. She was short and dark-haired. Not unattractive, if you forgot what she was. No tabard in the queen's colors for this one. No, she wore a slate dress in some iridescent material. My eyes wandered down the neckline of their own accord. Until I saw the medallion, and I remembered.

I stared at her a moment too long. She caught me at it. I kept my eyes down as she glided over, stepping carelessly over the tarred ropes and other filth that covered the deck. Legato kept it that way while in port, to discourage inspections like these.

She stopped right in front of me, just as I feared. I tried to resist meeting her gaze. To no avail. Her eyes were slate, too, and they had me.

"See something you like?" she asked. Her voice was like a song.

I shook my head, not trusting myself to answer. She wrinkled her brow, and I realized my mistake. I was the only clean-shaven man on deck.

"You don't look like much of a sailor," she said.

"You don't look like much of a witch," I answered.

The next thing I knew, I was dangling boots-up over the rail, with gold and pilfered jewels raining from my pockets.

"How do I look now?" she asked.


Leave your vote and we'll see you back here tomorrow for the next match-up!

Remember the WRiTE CLUB motto, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!


  1. Lord Codpiece gets my vote. However, I would have liked there to be a bit more detail at the end, besides a "The next thing I knew..." That sounds like he'd been knocked unconscious. So... maybe instead you could say, "When I woke up..." (now that would be funny).

  2. Lord Codpiece for me. I had to re read the first one a few times to get the people straight and the piece from Lord Codpiece flowed a little better for me.

  3. Twilight Sparkle, had a bit more emotion that I liked.

  4. I like both but I'm afraid I have to recuse myself from the voting...

  5. Lord Codpiece. The other one took me a moment to figure out what was going on.

  6. Both great....tough call though I'm going with Twilight. The other does flow a bit better but Twilight's had more character and weight to the scene IMO.

  7. This is the toughest vote I've had to cast in WriteClub. Both entries work great as self-contained scenes. In Twilight, I wish the ages of Ells and Will were more obvious. Codpiece could be tightened a *little*...could probably stand to lose the "but I had to admit" and "the next thing I knew."

    My vote is for Lord Codpiece, but it's so close I'd be almost equally happy with either.

  8. Gah! Another really tough one. It could easily be either. But I think I'll go with Twilight Sparkle.

  9. Twilight Sparkle had a better premise, but Lord Codpiece was easier for me to follow and get into. I'll go with Lord Codpiece.

  10. Lord Codpiece. I didn't quite understand the other one.

  11. Both were good, but I liked the intriguing premise of Twilight Sparkle.

  12. Lord Codpiece. For me, the first one had a lot of repetitive sentence structure and could have benefited from additional editing.

  13. I got a laugh out of the end of Lord Cod Piece. But, I'm not sure its my style of reading overall. This and the last entry are very well written however.

    Twilight has my vote this round. The story just grabs me.

  14. Neither of these pieces were as good as the originals, but I'll give my vote to Lord Codpiece.

  15. This is a tough one! I liked the beginning of Lord Codpiece better, but the second part of Twilight Sparkle better. The edge goes to Lord Codpiece for me.

  16. His Lordship had me laughing at the end. But Twilight had my heart gripped in the author's warm little palm by the end. So Twilight Sparkle has my vote this round.

  17. I enjoyed both. But I think I'll go with Lord Codpiece.

  18. I vote for Lord Codpiece.

    Twilight's entry has some intriguing elements (though it also seems quite depressing!), but Lord Codpiece's is a bit more polished and consistent. With that playful, entertaining voice, it does a good job of pulling the reader into the story so it's easy to forget to take note of the writing itself -- in other words, although there's nothing really special about the writing, it doesn't get in the way either.




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