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WRiTE CLUB 2015 - Playoff Round Bout #2

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, representing the contemporary New Adult category and weighing in at 500 words, welcome.....Möbius

I was named after a dead rock star.  Not because my parents were tattoo-branded, stalker-level fans, and not for dark humour or in a memento mori mindset. Really, it was about the permanent marijuana haze of the mid-90s Seattle party scene.

Supposedly Heart Shaped Box was playing on the radio during my mothers epic taxi ride to the hospital, where after soaking the back seat in amniotic fluids, she pretended she couldnt speak English. She bolted up the hospital steps clutching a fire-brick sized cell phone like a weapon while the taxi driver screamed about calling the police. Shed forgotten to bring her wallet.

The way she tells the story, she cleverly hid in the mens bathroom until my father brought the insurance information. My father says she ugly-cried hysterically until the hospital staff sequestered her in a room with a sedative.

That is how two nineteen-year olds end up with a daughter called Cobain.

I dreaded this every time I applied for a job. Explaining my name. It was always the first question, prefaced by a startled-stiff expression on the interviewers face when they realized both my chromosomes had two legs to stand on. No crippled Y in the vicinity. I had to politely answer even though the decision to not hire me had already been made.

Despite being over six feet tall. Despite three black-belts. Despite a healed knee injury thwarting dreams of an Olympic gold medal.

But this next interview might be different. I needed this interview to be different.

Tucked into a booth near the bar, I smoothed a hand over the baggy black pants Id found on the mens clearance rack yesterday. No feminine coloured shirts, no flattering dress pants, no makeup or jewelry. I tried those. For an office job, sure. For a night job that paid enough for University of Washington classes, no. I wasnt a waitress or a bartender, but club bouncer I could do.

If anyone would hire me.

The guy at the bar, Mason, his eyebrows had shot north when I said I was there for the interview. Not surprising, but I kept hoping to be surprised. His arms were wrapped in tattoo sleeves and he was reading a cooking magazine as he waited. That was a little unexpected. He glanced at his phone and gave me a nod. You can go in.

My chest was tight from the sports-bra squashing me flat. The slim folder holding a copy of my resume was oil-slick in my hand. A fluttering impulse pressed me to touch the lucky lotus necklace Id left at home. Too pretty, too delicate. My throat was naked.

This time it had to be different.

I pushed my shoulders back and down. Relax. Smile. No, dont smile. Waitresses smile and Im no waitress. I knuckle-rapped twice and opened the office door.

My face froze in a started-stiff expression. This was certainly not what I expected.


And in the other corner, representing the YA historical genre with 494 words let me introduce to you………. Blythe

Mother’s ring was the ugliest of my scanty possessions. Hideous though it was, it nested upon the gaunt skin of my finger, festering like a dingy white boil. It was only when moonlight soaked its brittle surface that it looked beautiful, a luminous pool encased in silver. Sometimes, when I could not sleep, I hadn’t anything to do but gaze upon it, my elbow pillowed on the flesh shackling Emma and I together. We were not unlike that ring, she and I. We were but fractured souls held captive in prisons of wasted flesh, lovely only to those who cared to behold us in different light.

However, upon that night, it was not Mother’s ring that occupied my thoughts. Rather, I focused upon a ring of an entirely different sort, cocooned in a man’s handkerchief and hidden in the shadows beneath the bed. Emma hadn’t the faintest idea of its presence; it was the first time I had ever withheld anything from her. But, as the ring was in my possession for seventeen days, it was time I ignored my trepidation and unveiled the secret that could destroy my sister’s life.

My heart battered my ribs as I looked down at Emma, who stared blandly up at the ceiling. Her usually pale features were soiled by the bruise ringing her left eye, the result of our showman’s unforgiving knuckles. I too bore a similar bruise, for we were to always look alike, lest we not truly be identical twins.

“Whatever is the matter?” she murmured, her gaze finding mine. “Does your eye still ail you? I cannot close mine without tearing at the pain.”

I swallowed. “There is something I must show you.”

Her eyes sparkled. “Well, go on then! Where is it?”

My voice crumbled in a plaintive squeak. “Under the bed.”

She swatted lightly at my arm. “You sneaky thing!”

I watched as she wrestled aside the coverlet, a cunning smile on her lips. I draped a quavering arm around her back, our breaths tangling as we hefted ourselves up, our fingers rigid on each other’s spines. Agony ignited in my hip as I gritted my teeth, flinching as our jaws clashed clumsily together. Perspiration shimmered on Emma’s forehead as she wriggled forward, re-arranging her body so that we were seated side by side.

Rather than hastening for the bed’s edge, I froze in place, terror pervading my senses. After all, how was I to reveal the shoddy paste pearl and deliver news that would rob Emma of the meager freedom she possessed? For me to accept the proposal would be to condemn her, reducing her to a mournful shade imprisoned at the edges of my own happiness.

I could not accept Geordie’s proposal.

“I’ve a secret of my own,” Emma said abruptly, her soft voice shattering my thoughts.

I gaped at her, my own plight forgotten. “What is it?”

She gnawed her lower lip. “Braxton has asked me to marry 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. Both are super intriguing, I am more interested in the more modern voice and time. I vote for mobius

  2. I think I'm doomed to either feel relatively indifferent about the match ups or to despair at having to choose between them. Today is the latter. But I'm going with Mobius because I am completely on board reading the rest of this story, whether it be a short story or 100,000 words. I would look forward to her backstory, how she no doubt tried to get away with calling herself Cobie or the like, and how she ended up with a bum knee. The voice is fantastic.

    Blythe is an extremely talented wordsmith, and although I am also drawn to her story, I find that many times, instead of focusing on the actual story, I notice the writing and word choice, and not always in a good way. It becomes a distraction instead of a selling point. Because of this, I'd be less likely to stick with reading the rest of the piece.

  3. Both are really good pieces, but I am going to go with Mobius this round.

  4. Great submissions by both writers. I vote for Mobius. When I read a piece and do not pay attention to the writing itself, I know it is good. Mobius' story was clever and entertaining.
    I enjoyed Blythe's submission, too, but found a grammatical error and had to stop in places to understand the meaning.

  5. I vote for Blythe. Of the two, it piqued my interest more.

  6. Blythe for me today!

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  8. My vote is for Blythe.

    Because I read the earlier bout, I know upfront that these are twins literally (not figuratively) joined at the hip, who spend their days on display in a sideshow, where people pay to see freaks. I think someone just coming on board to vote in these late rounds might not pick up the basic situation just from "the flesh shackling Emma and I together" and a vague reference later to "our showman." The literal physical joining becomes clear later in the piece, but it's a bit too late for appreciating the difficulties from the start.

    But it is an artfully written piece that makes me wonder so much, such as how they each managed to receive a marriage proposal without the other one knowing about it. There is also a clear contrast in the attitudes of each twin and amount of sympathy for the other one. With all the things I wonder about, I feel like I'm in the hands of a master storyteller who will eventually unravel it all.

    With Möbius, I loved the story of how the young parents came up with the name Cobain for their baby. I would have like to see less space devoted to the usual responses to the name while job hunting, with no information of even the sorts of jobs Cobain had been turned down for and why turning out to be a tall female mattered to anyone. Instead of seeing Cobain act desperate and hopeful in her latest try for a job, we get these isolated sentences asserting abstractly that she would like things to be different this time. We know how she prepared -- the clothing, etc. but there's still too much reliance on the abstract and the ending just seems coy. It would be more interesting to see what she saw through her eyes and conclude that she was surprised or shocked, instead of just hearing about her surprise with no idea what she saw. Good descriptions of the tattoo guy out front, though.

  9. This is a hard one, as both pieces are strong, but I'll vote for Blythe. There were places that felt overwritten, but I'm intrigued by the sisters' relationship.

    Like Anonymous above, I enjoyed the story of Cobain's birth, but I think there was a little too much backstory between the birth, the name, the job search. I also wondered why Mom hid in the men's restroom until Dad brought the insurance papers. Unless I'm mistaken, hospitals MUST treat a woman in labor, regardless of ability to pay. When a woman comes in in the throes of labor, they're going to get her to Labor and Delivery pronto. Neither the sign on the bathroom door nor the lack of insurance papers would stop the hospital staff from getting this woman to L&D. Also, the uncommon phrase "startled stiff" threw me a bit, especially on the second use in such a short space.

    Congratulations to both writers. I think today is anyone's game!

  10. Wow!
    These are great!

    I'm choosing: Möbius.

    And....I really, really want to read more. Please write more!


  11. I'm voting for Blythe. Even without reading the prior entry, it became clear that these two are conjoined twins in a circus sideshow - just an amazing premise for YA. I think Blythe got the voice right for the time period I'm imagining, and she gave us a story that could stand alone, though I would read on.
    I think Mobius opened at the wrong point in time, too many words were spent on backstory, and the end felt contrived rather than complete. I can think, "yeah, no," so many times, and in this short piece I could not suspend my disbelief over hiding in the men's room, giving a woman in labor a sedative, or that the MC would have such a hard time finding a job only because of her height and an unusual name. An over-dependence on -ly adverbs. There were some great phrases, imaginative descriptions, and believable voice. Love fire-brick sized cell phone, 2 legged chromosomes,and oil-slick folder, but Blythe gets it overall.

  12. Oooh! This is a tough one. But I think I'm going with Blythe. It's overwritten in places, but I like these two characters very much!

  13. Mobius for me! I loved that voice.

    Blythe feels overwritten, but sounds interesting enough I'd have a hard time not reading it.

    Best of luck to both writers!

  14. Okay, third attempt to leave a comment, apparently this doesn't like my phone.

    I'm voting for Mobius because, just like in Blythe's earlier piece, I got pulled out by the illogic of the situation: if they are conjoined twins, I can't see any possible way one would be able to hide something like a proposal from the other one.

    Good luck to both.

  15. While the writing in Mobius' piece is a bit disjointed at times, Blythe's is way overwritten for my taste.

    I vote for Mobius.

  16. Blythe definitely!

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  18. Oh this is just cruel and unusual punishment. I love them both. I'd buy both of these books.
    Okay, so if I could only take one home today, and had to put the other on my Wish List for next time... oh man... DL, what are you doing to me! Dude...
    Okay, okay, I'd take Blythe's home with me. But I'd be back for that Heart Shaped Box. Oh yes... I'd be back.

    So Blythe gets my vote. But I honestly want BOTH.

    1. The reality is that you and I would be at that store together. I'd buy one (probably the less expensive) and you'd buy the other. And we'd trade later. Or end up buying another copy to give each other as a gift. (That's only happened, what, like 19 times this year? LOL) (This is why you're the best boss in the world! ♥ )

    2. Thanks. It is almost our birthdays. We should get more books.
      Maybe we'll get find out who these two are (after the grand prize winner is announced) and have the privilege of shopping for theirs.

  19. I have to go with the one I would actually read a whole book of although I found both pieces to be well written. Going with Mobius as I could definitely digest this kind of writing in a few sittings.

  20. Neither of these grabbed me. I have problems with "believability" sometimes, and both of these scenarios were not well set up.

    I liked the birth story of Mobius even though it was full of inconsistencies; but the rest didn't resonate. I just can't imagine a name like Cobain for a girl interfering with her ability to get a job. And it didn't seem specific to security type jobs.

    With Blythe: I liked the idea of conjoined twins, but as soon as that was apparent, it made it unbelievable that one could hide an object from the other. Situation got worse after all the work of sitting up side by side. I like the idea of how they will live after separation, but I'm worried the rest of the story will be as riddled with holes.

    Well, have to pick one, so I'll go with Mobius as the concept could be gritty enough to appeal to me.

  21. Mobius. Loved the humour!

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  23. Definitely Blythe!

  24. The voice in the first piece was great.

    Mobius for me.

  25. I vote for Blythe.

  26. I'm really into both. I hope they somehow tie!
    My vote is Blythe. But really, I love both, too!

  27. I vote for Primm. I liked the relationship between Chandler and Juan. Good and evil; friends and adversaries. I want to know more about their history and how they resolve the situation they find themselves in.

  28. I vote for Blythe. It probably helps that I know the backstory from her earlier entry, and the prospect of conjoined twins receiving separate marriage proposals is intriguing enough to overcome any minor quibbles about grammar.

  29. I vote for Blythe. It probably helps that I know the backstory from her earlier entry, and the prospect of conjoined twins receiving separate marriage proposals is intriguing enough to overcome any minor quibbles about grammar.

  30. I didn't read the earlier entry, but I vote for Blythe. It was easy enough to understand just from this entry. I just liked it and made me care about the characters.

  31. Voted for primrose in wrong round.

  32. Blythe!! What a great hook at the end. :)

  33. Mobius. The writing is great and not overly done as the Primrose piece. For the Primrose piece, the writing became the focus and not the story...And just how would joined twins keep proposals secret? It's a bit of a stretch.

    Mobius gets my vote!

  34. I vote for Blythe

  35. Blythe gets my vote




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