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WRiTE CLUB 2015 - Elimination Bout #4

Over the past two weeks twenty writers have stepped into the WRiTE CLUB ring and ten emerged victorious. But before we call upon the next twenty writers to do battle, first we must whittle our winners down to five. This is called the elimination round because it’s the first time winners face off against one another. Our ten winners will again be shuffled and -- like the first bouts -- randomly matched to compete against one another with their same submission. A writer who emerges victorious from this round will earn a spot in the play-offs and will be asked to submit a new 500 sample to use in the next round. Let me remind you that our competitors are not only scuffling for notoriety…recognition…a $75 Amazon gift card…but also free admission to the 2016 DFW WritersConference, who helps sponsor this contest.  

This week I’ll be holding daily bouts (M-F) between the Anonymous 500 word writing samples, submitted under a pen name by the winners of our first 10 rounds.  The writing can be any genre, any style (even poetry) with the word count being the only restriction. Today is Elimination Bout #4.  Read each sample carefully and then leave a vote in the comment section for the one that resonates with you the most.  If you didn’t have a chance before, please leave with a brief critique of both submissions as well.

As it was with the early bouts, voting for each will remain open for one week. The winner of each will be posted at the WRiTECLUB scoreboard. 

Are you ready?

Here are today's randomly selected WRiTER's.

Standing in this corner, please welcome back to the ring……..CJ Rage

Said she’d come for me, kill the liars, kill the liars dead.
I’m handcuffed to the shadow’s rage that’s tattooed on my bed.
Eyes of soot, soul is gone, dying to be free,
She’s calling out, screaming out, “no one buries me!”

Heavy feet, heavy feet, heavy feet, I sink.
To the bed, to the grass, and to the cold concrete.
She wakes me from my nightmare holding shovels stained in red,
“I said that I would come for you and kill the liars dead.”

Between the sheets, the liars’ suite, “don’t say a goddamned word,”
Not the first but now the last, my pleas she overheard.
The day she came to rescue me, the sky was black and grey,
She promised if the liars won she’d never go away.

The smoke it is arising from the lower level’s flames,
She set the house on fire after digging all their graves.
A rope is laced around my neck, her words etched in my ear,
“He’ll never touch you, never touch you, never touch you, dear.”

The liars tried to shut me up, tried to break me down,
She wouldn’t let them, couldn’t let them, make another sound.
Said she’d come for me, kill the liars, kill the liars dead.
She’s calling out, screaming out, “for all the truths unsaid.”

Her fingers tap along my back; they paint my shirt in red,
She promised me the liars gone, they burned up in my bed.
“They’ll never touch you, never touch you, never touch you, there.
I severed off their hands and tongues, then said a little prayer.”

She leaves a note pinned to my chest, the truth for all to see,
It was not her who set the blaze, she tells them it was me.
“For everything the liars did, the life I did not choose,
Eyes are soot, soul is gone, there’s nothing left to lose.”

I’m on the ledge , on the ledge, the house in charcoal smoke,
She tells me this will wrong the right, and right his every stroke.
The rope it falls, we’re dying now, dying to be free,
We’re calling out, screaming out, “no one buries me!”

My body hangs, waits for them, waits for them to see,
The note, the red that’s on our hands, the blood that covers me.
I killed the liars, killed the liars, killed the liars dead,
She isn’t real, isn’t real, a figment in my head.

And in the other corner, let me re-introduce to you……….Möbius

There was only water, and then, a small raft.

Essa hadnt realized that the Edge of the World would be so calm. Like the pause of heartbeat and lung at the end of an exhalation, there was that same kind of dead-air, of waiting, of uncertainty whether another breath could be drawn.

Far different from journey along the rocky coastline, the capricious currents, and the storms that shook and spun until her bearings were more tangled than a rogue fishing line dredged-up from the reef.

The water was still other than the ripple from her paddle and the bow of what had once been a boat, before the waves, before the dark, before the wind that scooped her like a gull scoops an oyster and dashes it to splinters.

This was an uneasy quiet.

For only gods and monsters lived at the end of the world, and Essa had come to beg and barter. To sacrifice, if necessary, if that was the price asked. Out here, or in the Wilds, there was no guarantee who would answer first: one who could be persuaded to help, or one who would devour with the swift ruthlessness of a winter gale.

She lay the paddle down and drew a whale-bone knife from her pack. The trick was where to cut, where it would bleed deep enough to summon, yet where it could easily be bound. Hands were definitely out. It would be impossible to make the long trek back.

If there was a long trek back.

Choosing where to cut, that was a small, manageable decision. Thinking about what would happen after...

Essa lurched back, the paddle knocked wide with a splash. It was the reflection of her own eyes that had spooked her. Too wide, too scared, too young-looking for a warrior, for the one chosen and blessed by her village.

Blood thrummed in her ears, pulled and pushed by the gravitational force of her fear. She shut her eyes and drew a breath.

This too was small. This too was manageable.

It was important to master what was in her reach, because so much was not. Not the ocean, not the sky, not the run of fish spawning in the rivers, and certainly not the gods and monsters at the end of the world.

Retrieving the paddle, yes, that was within her means. The seal-intestine towline was strong, supple, and still tied tightly to her ankle. Essa pulled it in, hand over hand, the paddle slicing a low wake until she fished it to safety.

She crept forward and stared past her reflection, past the surface, past what she could see and control, into the far-off deep. Each challenge, each step had been building to this moment. She was strong. She was brave. She was loved. Her blood would call a god, not a monster.

It had to.

And above her temple, along the hairline, she cut, and she bled.

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.  In the comments below leave your vote for the winner.  Which one tickled your fancy?  After you vote please tell all of your friends to stop by and make a selection as well.  Yes, it’s subjective, but so is the entire publishing world.  It’s as much about the readers as it is about the writers. 

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



  1. CJ - I commented last time :-)

    Mobius - I like the imagery in this scene, very vivid. I think it can be brought up one more notch through some editing and tightening. When you take a metaphor or simile too far, it takes away its impact. You don't need to spell it out for the reader completely. Leave some room, some holes for the reader to plug in and the subtlety will reward you.

  2. I still love CJ's entry, and today my vote goes there!

  3. I vote for möbius the writing is beautiful. Probably my favorite piece so far.

  4. I vote for CJ Rage.

    Mobius wrote a good story. I like the imagination behind it.

    CJ Rage's poem was a favorite of mine from the beginning.

  5. I''m voting for CJ Rage.

    I actually did vote for both of these last time.

    However, the cruelty/awesomefactor of this contest is who you are paired against. I don't think mobius could stand up for a minute against CJ Rage. It is just such a compact, dark, tight poem that makes you reflect your own demons. It hooks me by the first line. Mobius would make a great longer novel. But CJ Rage can stand all on its own. Great job to the both of you!

  6. CJ Rage all the way! I fell in love with this the first time, and plan to keep on loving it 'till the bitter end.

  7. Möbius - really like the storytelling.

  8. Vote for Mobius.

    Really couldn't get into CJ's poem.

  9. I still love CJ Rage, so have to go with that.

  10. Möbius - I really like the mood they've established and all the sensory details that plug me into their work.

  11. I vote for Mobius.

  12. CJ Rage. I just.. love that piece.

  13. Mobius, but I like them both.

  14. My vote goes to Möbius this round.

  15. I voted for both of these in the first round and hate that they're paired against each other now.

    CJ Rage is such a dark, beautiful piece. I love the poetry and tension of Mobius.

    I'm voting for Mobius because I want to read more.

  16. Möbius for me. Love the setting and imagery! I had a hard time with the italicized words in CJ Rage's.

  17. Mobius again, one of my favorites of the contest so far. Something I wish I'd written.

  18. I'm sorry but CJ's poem just doesn't strike me. Mobius pulls me in completely and has to get my vote.

  19. Möbius. I love the world and the feeling of vulnerability there.

  20. I vote for Mobius.

  21. Mobius. Can't wait to see a Great Old One.




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