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WRiTE CLUB 2015 - The Finals

This is where it all ends...with two ring...and a solitary crown. Who do you think will make an impression on the judges and be the one left standing? Here's an interesting note - last year all 12 of our preliminary judges included just one writer on all twelve ballots...and that writer ended up winning everything. This year 11 out of 12 judges included a single writer on each of their ballots...and that writer is in the finals. I wonder if our celebrity judges will agree with our preliminary judges...and you?
Let me start off by congratulating Commando Grace and MissWriteNow for surviving weeks of grueling competition and landing here in the final round. But additionally, every single writer who was brave enough to submit an entry to this contest also deserves a tip of the hat as well.  This is the part of WRiTE CLUB where...if you so desire...the masks come off.  I encourage everybody (except our finalist) who took place this year to use the comments below and let us meet the person behind the pen name.  I know there are a lot of fans who really want to find out more about you and your writing story.

I've already emailed our two finalist new 500 word writing sample to our panel of celebrity judges (forgot who they were? check out the list HERE) and their decision will be made known during the DFW Conference in Dallas on Saturday.  I'll also post the final results, along with any critiques the judges provides, next Monday (July 27th).  But that doesn't mean you don't get a say.  I've also posted their pieces below so you can have one final chance to vote.  If by some remarkable chance our judges come up with a split decision, your votes in the comments below will decide the tie-breaker.

I will be back after announcing the winner to post some takeaways from this season's WRiTE CLUB, and I'll also be asking for recommendations for what you'd like to see be different for next year. Make sure you stop by for that.

And now...for one last time this year....

In this corner, welcome to the ring our first finalist.....Commando Grace. Here are links to her original entry, her playoff entry, her quarterfinal entry and semifinal entry. This time she represents the Contemporary YA genre with 500 words.

I hate pooping when someone's in the shower, but sometimes a girl can't wait. It wouldn't be so bad if Pete would turn on the fan, but he always goes for the sauna effect. In a house with one functional bathroom, there has to be a penalty for taking thirty-minute showers. I bear down for the grand finale.

Behind the shower curtain, Pete chokes, gasping as if hes run out of oxygen. My dear brothers melodramatics deserve a flush.

I yank my pants up and press the toilet handle. He screams like a cheerleader. The water stops, and he jerks the curtain aside. 

Are you trying to scald—” Trevor Langston glances at my unbuttoned jeans, then turns his head. Youre not Pete.

I drop the toilet lid, praying it wasnt a two-flusher. Neither are you.

He eyes the curtain like he wants to pull it closed again, but that isnt how we work. Hell stand there, dripping wet and sucking in his gut, until one of us backs down.

It wont be me. Why are you here?

Went for a run with Pete. If Id known I needed your permission to spend the night—”

Youre sleeping here?

Yeah, so maybe warn me before you stink up the bathroom again.He shifts his weight from one foot to the other. Water drips from his hair to his chest and continues down his abs. Its rude to stare, Grace.

I hate to revisit the whole skinny-dipping fiasco, but I wont have Trevor thinking I like the view. Were even now. In case you forgot, you saw me naked first.” 

I only caught a peek.He clenches his fists. It must take all his willpower not to cover himself.

Relax. Six brothers, and Pete still does the nakey-dance after most of his showers. You dont have anything I havent seen.Its true, but its also a lie. Im not sure what the difference is, except that Trevor isnt my brother. Youre an only child, arent you?

Yeah, so?

Hes probably never been naked in front of a girl, sister or otherwise. Its not a fair fight. So, I was looking at your quads.

He looks down. My quads?

Forget it.This is awkward enough without me saying idiotic things. I turn to wash my hands.

Trevors eyes meet mine in the mirror. His voice trembles. Could you at least hand me a towel?

I pull the only one off the rack. Take mine.

Disney princesses?He raises an eyebrow, but wastes no time securing my towel around his hips.

When your childhood consists of boys stealing your towel, you make peace with Cinderella. If Pete catches you, tell him hes still not allowed to touch her.

I open the door just as Pete knocks. I stumble backward into Trevor. His hands grip my waist to steady me.

Dude, thats my sister!As Trevors towel slips to the floor, Pete shakes his head at me. You let him touch Cinderella?


And in the far corner our other finalist, let me re-introduce.... MissWriteNow. Here are links to her original entry, her playoff entry, her quarterfinal entry and semifinal entry. Again she represents the YA Post-Apocalyptic genre with 495 words.

No mom or dad. No electricity. No cell phone. I ate the last chocolate bar two minutes ago. And this stupid pandemic is to blame. Too bad the virus failed to comprehend the Destroy PMS memo I sent last month.

“There has to be some Midol left,” I say to Pork Chop.

He snorts and knocks a row of toilet cleaner from a shelf with his big ass. He could care less about my female complaints, so long as I keep him stocked with rotten vegetables and a soggy mud hole. Bet he’d change his attitude real quick if he had a uterus.

I walk the medicine isle, reading random bottles in hopes something will dull the pain. “It’s no use,” I say. “We’ll have to search the homes.” Pork Chop flops across the warm linoleum. “No time for a nap, jerk! Get up. Let’s get this done.”

Two ovary-cramping blocks later, we land on Jefferson Avenue. I move toward Jana’s grandparents’ home, in hopes they kept their granddaughter well-stocked with cramping medicine. It’s worth a shot, because my lady organs can’t take much more walking.

I reach for the doorknob. My belly does this weird flip, like I’m breaking the law or something, even though I know the owners are dead and buried and they don’t need anything in here. Besides, there’s no law anymore.

Sun beats through lace curtains in the living room. Even after all these months, the house still smells like a gingerbread man on Christmas Eve. It’s sort of nice. If it wasn’t so far from the creek and the garden, I’d totally bunk here.

Pork Chop makes himself at home, jamming his nose into everything and anything. He budges a cabinet door open, sending a dozen old records across the floor. One slips from its cardboard sleeve, thumping against brown carpet, and landing face up. It reads, Bee Gees: Greatest.

“Ever heard of the Bee Gees?” I ask Pork Chop. He shoves his snout deeper in the pile of records. “Yeah, me neither. Let’s get to know them, shall we?”

Examining the player, my summer with Aunt Linda floods back—antique stores and too much boredom for anyone’s good. But I’m thankful I can use the old thing.

Black vinyl steadied, I use the side handle, cranking like it’ll produce Midol the faster I go. Fat chance of that happening. But hey, a girl can wish.

Cross legged in the floor, I listen. Music sprinkles the air and tickles someplace in me I forgot I had, forgot existed.

By the second chorus, I’m on my feet, singing along. “Feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’. And we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive. Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.”

My ratty hair bounces as I dance. Pork Chop’s tail wiggles harder the louder I sing and the crazier I move. He looks happy. And I feel happy.

I lean my head back and yell, “Suck a fat one, PMS!” 

Has anybody forgotten the WRiTE CLUB motto?  It’s not about the last man/woman standing, this is the contest where the audience gets clobbered!


  1. Again, it comes down to the small details. I'm not a fan of potty humor, but Commando Grace has stayed true to her characters in a situation that epitomizes awkward. The small details (unbuttoned jeans, Cinderella towel) were used to great effect, and I like that we got a tiny peek into Grace's better nature here.
    I am a fan of post-apocs, and I'm really sympathizing with the MC (and her pig) but "isle" where it should have been "aisle," this far along in a competition, yikes. I'm not convinced that playing the BeeGee's on an antique cranked player she'd ever have been able to decipher those presto falsetto lyrics.(My "Greatest" didn't come with liner notes, or I've lost them.)
    For those two picky issues, my last vote has to go to Commando Grace.
    Congrats to both these fine writers and best wishes for the panel round! I want to read both of these finished pieces.

  2. Huge congrats to both of you for making it to the finals! I enjoyed both of these a lot.

    I really love Commando Grace's prose; it is very readable and sucked me in right away! I especially enjoyed the detail of the Disney princess towel. However, I was a bit thrown by the illogical nature of the situation; I found it difficult to believe that a teen girl would use the bathroom when she thought her brother was in the shower. Also, I did find the some of the dialogue to be inauthentic and too eloquent to be coming from a teen's mouth ("When your childhood consists of boys stealing your towel..." But, I did enjoy the tension between the three characters and would read on.

    I think I previously mentioned that I'm usually not a fan of post-apocs, but I did find MissWriteNow's piece very intriguing! I found myself rooting for the protagonist and wanting her to find a safe place to stay. I especially loved the image of Pork Chop "dancing" to the music. Too funny! The only nitpick I have with this excerpt is that, had I not read this writer's previous entries, I wouldn't have been 100% certain what animal Pork Chop was, despite the porky name.

    My final vote of this competition goes to MissWriteNow, but both writers did a great job and should be very proud of their work! :)

  3. Commando Grace-- Once again I find myself laughing so hard that I can barely breathe. I was worried at the first paragraph, thinking it wouldn't be as good. But by the ending... Cinderella... OMG- worship this writer!

    MissWriteNow- An amazing story. I feel transported.

    Congratulations to you both. The cliche "there are no losers here" feels appropriate. I'd read both of these. I'd buy both of these. But I think it's CG that I'd end up recommending to the most amount of friends. (Maybe because I have more friends that need a good laugh?) So I'm voting Commando Grace.

  4. MWN I must have missed a piece along the line where you explained who Pork Chop was, and that left me confused for the whole time today. That was really the only nitpicky thing for me. It just wasn't quite a contained story bit. I can totally see music alleviating cramps :) Well played throughout!

    Grace - dang you've made me laugh through the whole competition. Well done :) Also, having grown up with three brothers and only one bathroom, I totally understood this situation. Sometimes a gal just has to go! And, sometimes glittery things are the only way to not end up sharing...

    My final vote goes to Grace, though again I have to say that I really really want to read both of these books, so authors please publish them and make DL advertise them for you! :) I'm entertained that both pieces were about bodily functions today, similar to a couple days ago where both pieces were about feet. Congratulations WRiTErs!

  5. I went back and read all the entries from these two writers. They're both very talented, and I applaud them for putting their work out for the world to see.

    Commando Grace - You've stayed consistent throughout this competition. I've enjoyed reading Grace's story very much. You seem to have a knack for the funny stuff! Today's piece was good, but far-fetched for my liking--one bathroom for seven children and her being in the bathroom to begin with seems unlikely.

    MissWriteNow -You've submitted very different pieces during your bouts. The voice you bring through in your writing is amazing, whether female or male point of view. In today's piece, you've misused the word "isle". If you don't have a critique partner, I'd suggest seeking one out. This will eliminate the silly oversights you make with your work.

    As my final vote, I'm voting for MissWriteNow, for voice and variety. And again, both writers should be proud to stand in this ring, no matter the outcome. Congrats to you both!

  6. Amazing job to both of you!
    I've enjoyed everything you guys have written. You are both very entertaining authors and I can't wait to read these stories as a whole.

    Congrats to all the writer's and KEEP WRITING!

    My final choice: Commando Grace.

    Great job, DL!


  7. I came by on a great day - the finals! I've done Write Club in the past and it's tough, so congrats to everyone for your bravery! Both of these pieces are really fun. I don't have anything really to critique about either, and I'll cast my final vote to Miss Write Now, on personal preference alone. Cramps still happen, even after the end of the world, LOL. So true.

  8. No critique today, just a final vote for Commando Grace. Great job to DL and all the combatants!

  9. My final vote goes to Commando Grace.

  10. I did recall who Pork Chop was from a previous one, but thought it odd that it wasn't noted here. I'm sure the Internet feminist police will be on me for this one, but Misswritenow's character is no longer someone I'd want to spend a whole book with. Yes, I know it's real. I had a friend with cysts or something who got hospital-admitting-cramps. And she was psycho the week before because of pms. So basically she was a person for 2 weeks, and a crazed psycho who could have legally gotten away with murder for how screwed up she was the next 2 weeks. Her health has only gotten worse, and 70% of her Facebook posts are about that. And she flips out at anyone who doesn't say the right thing. (Feel better? I will never feel better! ) See, I'm already dealing with that in real life. An apocalyptic book with a character who is going to fall apart every month? No, I'll pass. Give me Katniss, Hermione, Tris, ... I think even Bella managed to hold it together, and she was lusting on a vampire. Maybe I'm wrong for feeling this way. Maybe I'm unsympathetic. I don't know. But this is where I'd put the book down and be done with it.

    Commando Grace, on the other hand... stick that girl in the most awkward situation, and she rocks it time and time again. She's tough. She's relatable. And it's funny as hell. I love it. ♥ It's ★★★★★ 5-star worthy. And it has my vote.

  11. I wish more people were revealing who they were in the competition! Robin Hood here...Congrats to both writers! It's been fun following your writing.

    I'm totally torn on who to vote for today. I like the optimism of the mc in MissWriteNow's. I like the awkward tension in Comando Grace's. I would be more apt to read the post-apocalypse story. I guess that tips it in favor of MissWriteNow's.

    Best of luck to you both!!!

    1. Amazing writing! I felt like I was right there with your MC.

    2. I think people usually wait until it's over to reveal who they were. I mean, there are 2 writers in this round who certainly can't reveal.

    3. J Lenni Dorner, yes, those two will have to wait, and I can't wait to see who they are! Up in the second paragraph, DL encourages us to "take our masks off" now except for those two. :) No worries, though!

    4. Oh, right you are. I missed that somehow. A bit too eager to read the final two enteries. LOL.

  12. I'm for Commando Grace in this final round. It was close. Congratulations to both finalists!

  13. I vote for Commando Grace. The dialogue, the conflict, the awkward tension - it's just so well done. Congrats to both writers on making the finals! You both have written some dynamite things throughout this contest!

    I was Sarasota Jenkins back in week 3. That piece was a rewrite of an opening that, as it turned out, worked much better than the one posted here. There was one comment, though, that really made me rethink my opening entirely - when Julie Dao pointed out the lack of an immediate hook. Since the piece posted I've completely revamped the opening and it's in a much better place. So, I guess that's what it's all about - using these critiques to make your writing better. :)

    1. Melanie, it's so true. I learned so much from this competition, too! Keep on writing!!

  14. I have to vote for Commando Grace one last time. She has earned my attention for the bulk of this competition.

    That being said, I wish I could read both these books. I write my own post-ap pieces and live the inclusion of the pig!

    1. Errr.... LOVE the pig... Or long live Pork Chop! Sorry!

  15. Congratulations DL on setting this all up and getting to this point ... and to the two winners here ... I prefer Commando Grace - so I now await to see the result ...

    Cheers Hilary

  16. I vote for Commando Grace, think I've voted for her each time I've read her piece. Love the humour in the writing :)

    I was Mobius in previous rounds.

    1. I really loved your writing - probably my favorite in this whole competition.

    2. Thanks :) I had a lot of fun joining in :)

    3. I was a fan of yours, Mobius! Keep on writing!!

    4. Awww, thanks :) You guys are so nice!

      I really enjoyed being a first-time participant in this contest. It was so much fun to read everyone's writing. Thanks again to everyone involved.

  17. By a fingernail, my vote goes to miss write now.


  18. Congrats to the finalists. Been a tough battle.

  19. Congratulations to the finalists! Both great snips. Voting for Commando Grace, especially cos of that last line!




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