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WRiTE CLUB 2015 – Playoff Round Bout #1

WRiTE CLUB is a writing community sensation sponsored by the DFWWriters Conference that is loosely based on the popular movie Fight Club.  There are numerous versions of this concept floating around the internet, but nothing like we do it here.  This unique approach embodies simple, good-natured competition, with lots and lots of fun sprinkled on top.

We've narrowed the field down to ten and we're continuing on with the play-off rounds – which will continue to come at a rapid fire pace, Mon-Fri.  The voting for all five bouts will remain open until noon on Sunday, July 5th.  Your task remains simple…read the submission from each WRiTER carefully and leave your vote for the sample that resonates with you the most.  If you haven’t already done so in the previous rounds, 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.  Vote on as many bouts as you can get around to.  Whether that is one bout, or all five, how much you participate is up to you. 

Here’s something else to keep in mind for this round...every vote counts. That’s because 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 still advance to the quarterfinals. 

The winners will be posted on the WRiTE CLUB Scoreboard late in the afternoon on July 5th and then the quarterfinals will kick off the following Monday, July 6th, again with all new 500 word submissions from the six advancing contestants.

Good luck to all of the WRiTER’s!

And now…..

In this corner, weighing in at 493 words and representing the adult fiction genre, welcome back to the ring.....Primrose

When he woke it was nearly night, long shadows and double vision making him squint to see.  Chandler struggled to sit up, needing to pee, not sure he could make it to the bucket in the corner.  He swung his feet to the cold floor, rubbing his eyes in hopes it would clear the murky haze.  Christ, if he lived through this mess, would he end up able to see at all?  Blind photography, a whole new career.  The notion had a macabre humor, and he laughed through chattering teeth, the sound echoing around the small room.
“Glad you've kept your sense of humor, Señor Reid.”
The voice was accented, coming from the doorway.  Chandler squinted in that general direction. 
“Might as well laugh as cry,” he said. “You have me at a disadvantage.  I don't believe we've met.”
“It's been years, but we have.”  A man stepped from the shadows and dragged a chair to the bedside, flicking the wall switch to turn on the overhead bulb, then sat and faced Chandler.  He was dark-skinned, dressed in khakis, his black hair pulled into a ponytail. “A few years ago you came to the jungle encampment with Neal Christopher. Took my photograph for the magazine cover.  Best picture I ever had.  Mama still has it framed on her wall.  Right next to the Pope.”
“Juan Ravel?”  Chandler closed his left eye and concentrated on focusing the right one.  “What are you doing here?”
“I am afraid a couple of my lieutenants overstepped their orders to bring you to me for an interview and decided to shoot you instead.”  A frown marred Ravel's handsome face.  “They decided you could be ransomed to buy guns for the revolution.  It was safer for them to believe you were more valuable to keep alive than to kill.  That is why they brought you here instead of putting a final bullet in your brain.”
“Lot of work for nothing,” Chandler said.  “My government doesn't pay ransom.”
“Ah, but fortunately for you, your friend Señor Christopher does.”  Ravel leaned closer, his voice a whisper.  “We have made a plan to get you out of here, but we only have a day or two, at the most.”
“I'm not sure we have that long, Ravel.”  Chandler was feeling worse by the minute, his body twitching with pain and trembling with chills.  He leaned back against the dirty pillow, but couldn't lift his legs back on the bed.  “You aren't going to get money for a dead hostage.”
“I'm not going to let you die, Señor.”  With surprising gentleness, Ravel lifted Chandler's feet onto the bed and pulled the rough blanket up around him.  “I have antibiotics and medicine for the fever.  Consuelo is making you some soup.  You just have to make it a few hours more. Can you do that, amigo?  Just hang on?”
“I'll try, Ravel.  No promises.” The words came faintly, through numb lips.  “Just fucking hurry.”

And in the other corner, representing the fantasy genre with 467 words let me introduce to you………. Kim Patterson

Vasil stood staring at the target for a long time before he bothered with his daggers. It had become a sort of tradition for him, in an accidental sort of way. When he was a kid, he’d lacked the confidence to hit anything if he thought anyone was watching. So when he’d been in target practice with the other kids, he had stood and stared at the target until he was sure nobody was watching him. Then he would throw.

Now he had no reason for it, except that he’d always done it. It was a good luck ritual. So now he stood, staring at the target. After several long minutes of holding his daggers loose at his sides, he finally lifted one, wound up, and threw it. Then the other. Then he collected them and started again.

Rosica wanted him to leave Atanas—his home. The first time she’d suggested it, he’d scoffed at her, because she had suggested it for selfish reasons. But now he knew it would help fix his problem too, he was considering it. Was he a terrible person?

Thunk. Thunk. The daggers sank into the target one after the other again. Vasil stared at them for a long time before yanking them back out. He really was a terrible, selfish person, wasn’t he? He only did things if they were for his own good. He’d thought that he liked Rosica, but he hadn’t even supported her in fixing her own problems before he demanded her help in fixing his. If he expected anything to happen between them, didn’t he need to be supportive and make sure that he accepted her flaws and all that rubbish?

Rubbish? Look at you, Vasil! You can’t even think about doing the good things for her without calling it rubbish. She’s only even helping you because she owes you a favour. Otherwise you’d still be on your own.

“Get a grip on yourself, Vasil,” he muttered. Rage was building inside him, but he wasn’t entirely sure why. Sure, he was annoyed with himself for being an ass, but there was no need to be so freaking angry. And yet it bubbled at the surface until he couldn’t take it any longer. He let out a wild yell and threw a dagger again. It hit near the centre of the target. Then something changed.

He couldn’t explain exactly what it was, but Vasil dropped to his knees, feeling like his chest was about to explode. There was so much anger in him, and none of it was his.

It felt as if Vasil were being dragged backwards out of his own life, as if he were disappearing down a long tunnel so that he could see everything through just a small hole. What was happening to him?

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. I vote for Kim Patterson. While neither piece wowed me, KP's writing is richer. But I'm not sure I really care what happens to Vasil.
    Primrose has a solid premise and I can see where it is going but I disliked all of the gerunds in the first paragraph and the few run on sentences. Bit stereotypical, too.

  2. Never thought of counting gerunds. Lol. Both first paragraphs have three. Both are solid. Primrose gets my vote.

  3. I guess Primrose for me, although I thought it could use some tightening and editing-- mostly small things, like using "he" in the first sentence, and then "Chandler" in the second, which for a moment made me think there were two people in the room.

    With Kim Patterson, I just felt this guy did nothing but stare at things and sulk, so it was hard to get interested in him, and ending the piece on a question just didn't work for me.

    Congrats to both authors for making it this far, and good luck.

  4. I meant "already" two people in the room, since, obviously, there is a second person

  5. Primose gets my vote mainly because there's action hopefully leading somewhere. I would have liked a little more description or emotion to ground me to the scene, but it's a good start.

    The second one was mostly ruminating. That's not the way to hook a reader. My advise to Kim (not that you asked for it) is to maybe start with the argument with Rosita (you can show a lot about a person by the way they argue). Then show his anger as he throws his daggers or show him getting calm as he throws them so when he's hit with this other anger, it's more apparent.

  6. Kim Patterson for me again this round. Congrats to all for making the cut this far.

  7. Kim Patterson for me!

  8. I'm going to vote for Primrose, same reasons as Kim English.

    And yes, congrats to all the writers who got this far! This has been a really fun contest to read all the different submissions :)

  9. Kim Patterson's writing is rich, but I don't have any reason to care. A catalog can have beautiful writing and I still won't pick it up to read.

    On the other hand, Primrose's piece has things happening to draw me in. I want to know why Chandler is there, where "there" is and, most importantly, will he make it out alive? It is a story and that is what I want in the 500 words.

    Congratulations to both. This week's vote goes to Primrose.

  10. Kim Patterson becuase Primrose's entry was confusing to me.

  11. Primrose, for me. I was gripped by the language, and I love the mood.

  12. Kim Patterson definitely!

  13. Kim Patterson for me. I know not much happens, but I feel like I know the character by the end of the piece.

  14. Vote for Primrose. Got a good feel for the setting and characters right away, though much of the syntax needs polishing and tightening up, and the situation feels a bit old-school.
    Kim Patterson just did not hook me with all the internal rage. Hint-dropping -- talking about the argument and leaving home-- isn't the same as backstory or foreshadowing. Distracted by the needless repetition "stared...a long time" "but now" "so now" and "sort of" - plenty of words wasted on filler that could have been used to develop the scene, character, or plot.

  15. I choose primrose this round. This is a real story. I'm a little tired of fantasy.

  16. Primrose for me.

    Best of luck to both writers!

  17. KIM for me!

    Primrose had such a strong piece the first time as it said enough in the short word limit and really grounded me but this piece, although well written, feels out of context and I couldn't quite grasp what was going on.

    Despite Kim's piece being too melodramatic for my tastes, I felt there was more character development for me to hang onto which helped in grounding me to the story.

  18. Kim Patterson, Vasil seems like an intriguing character. Wouldn't mind reading more about his backstory.

  19. I really enjoyed them both almost equally. But I'm giving my vote to Kim, because I'm slightly more invested in the next line, and the ones after that. I can see how the character could evolve, and be interesting to follow for the next 90,000 words.

  20. Vote for Kim Patterson

  21. Primrose for me.

  22. Primrose completely hooked me.

  23. I vote for Kim Patterson.

  24. Primrose!!! For sure

  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

  26. My vote goes to Kim Patterson.

  27. I vote Kim Patterson

  28. Kim gets my vote

  29. I loved it! PRIMROSE. Great characters.




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