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WRiTE CLUB 2015 - Playoff Round Bout #3

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 500 words and representing the magical realism genre, welcome.....Quill Thrill

They’re lots of pros to being half-elf, but when no other elf is willing to lend humans their Senses, it results in me getting dragged to shitty places like Mr Akiyama’s Sushi bar.
Minh offered me some tissues.
“I’m good, it’s not snot. You got painkillers?” 
“Sorry,” he said, his smile fast and fake.
“I’m actually thinking of clipping my ears and going on the run,” I said.
“Interesting, but don’t bother. We’d still find you…”
I ignored the urge to present my middle finger and shadowed Minh over to a corridor. An officer handed him an evidence bag and on reaching Mr Akiyama’s office, my head pulsed and my sinuses ached with pressure. “Something big is here,” I said. “This place is dripping with energy.”
“As long as it’s dripping with more than teriyaki sauce,” said Minh. “We got this warrant based on your claims so you better be on point today. No half-human bullshit excuses, got it?”
“Hey, I had other plans, I  – ”
“Ex-druggie drop-outs don’t have plans. We’re your only plan.”
I rubbed the bridge of my nose and bit back the verbal assault itching to get past my lips.
“Now listen, so far Mr Akiyama has admitted he’s not Akiyama. He’s actually a Chinese guy called Hai who lived a short while in Japan. The officers also found this…” Minh held up the evidence bag and the white sand inside gave an iridescent sparkle. “No flour or paracetamol in there; it’s one hundred percent ground Alicorn.”
I took the bag and opened it, sniffing.
Minh snatched it back. “Are you deaf? That’s unicorn horn.”
“And? You scared I’ll start reading your thoughts?”
He snorted. “It doesn’t give you telepathy, you idiot. It gives you schizophrenia.”
Maybe for humans…
He went for the door. “Now get your mean face on.”
I followed but I wasn’t there to play good-cop-bad-cop. I was there because I had no choice...and because yeah, it paid well.
Minh threw the bag on the manager’s desk. “What else are you hiding, Hai?
Hai crossed his arms. “Why you do this? You scare abou’ the elf council saying ‘no more magic’?”
“Which could happen if we find you’ve been putting mermaid flesh in your sushi. So if you’re involved in – ”
“We all involve,” Hai yelled. “Elf too. They not want us to have magic from long time ago. Where you think nymph and dragon go? We not kill them. Elf people kill them and say we kill them so they can say ‘no more magic’.”
I laughed.
“You think I lie?!”
“Elves are hard-core eco warriors,” I said.
Hai stood and gave his desk a hefty push, revealing a small hatch.
My head pounded with the sensation of Death rising from the cellar door.
 “Come,” said Hai. “One alive. I cut off fin but mermaid still talking. You can ask who catch her for me…then you see who really involve.”

 I swallowed hard. What exactly were the pros to being half-elf anyway?

And in the other corner, representing the women's fiction genre with 499 words let me introduce to you………. Cloudwatcher

Finally, her heart stopped beating. Her brain hung on a bit longer. It sparked. It searched. It sent commands the rest of her could not obey. Finally it stopped, too. The particular atoms of bones, fluids and tissues that had been her would have to become something else. She climbed out of her aged walls and, ever so briefly, thanked the body on the bed.

“Ahmi!” she sang across the universe as she swung into his arms.

They swirled among stars. The glorious jewels were hers to string together or scatter as she pleased. They glided over transparent oceans. She understood the majesty of the whales and coral, the sharks and seaweed. Ahmi handed her color. It shot from her fingertips. She spun music out of it. Music so beautiful, the two of them merged into the highs that towered over space and time, and the lows that embraced the smallest particle of life. She snuggled in his arms. Ahmi. How she loved him.

He’d been with her all the time, of course. They were closest when she was an infant. Back then they still talked. They talked about how much she liked the woman holding her and the man looking in her eyes. He laughed at her efforts to walk flat-footed across a room and later to master jump rope in the school yard. He shared her joy when they placed the rhinestone crown on her head at prom. She’d recognized him when she kissed Jake, and called to him in the pain of childbirth.

He’d been with her too, when she did not remember him. His arms were around her shuddering shoulders as they buried the drowned four-year-old. He watched as she and Jake drank together to relieve their shared anguish, then as they drank together to stay within striking distance and, finally, as they drank apart to forget how much the other suffered. He moved her hand a centimeter as her car clipped the school bus. He sat next to her in the jail cell as the bourbon bubbled in her stomach. But when she drove into the vacant storefront, he did not interfere with her third arrest.

He’d whispered “Listen,” at the AA meeting in the women’s prison, and “Stay,” when she started to bolt from her first on the outside. He helped if she asked while she fought the bottle. When she met Jake at the park to make her amends, he stopped the rain. He smiled as they found their way back to each other and smiled at their children’s births. He whispered “Listen,” to the women she brought AA meetings to in prison, and “Stay,” at their first with her on the outside.

Then he waited. Waited while she slept and woke, worked and watched TV, bathed grandchildren and saw the Eiffel Tower. And he waited while the cancer cell grew from a pinprick to a baseball-sized mass.

“Ahmi!” she sang as she looked at the woman holding her in her arms. 

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. Well done and congratulations to both writers.

    I vote for Cloudwatcher. Rich, lovely description. The death to life journey is different. I especially liked the description of the married couple's drinking.

    Quill Thrill's entry is very good, too. But I preferred the first entry.

  2. Not another vote, just additional comment. I prefer Cloudwatcher's original story. Quill Thrill's scene reminded me of the cantina scene in Star Wars--good stuff but it has been done already.

  3. Not really sure about today. I will give my vote to Quill Thrill just because there is somewhere left for the story to go, questions left unanswered that I want to know.
    Quill Thrill had its issues, but I would keep reading this story just to see where it went. Cloudwatcher's was another one of those surreal, out-of-body things that seem to be in every YA book these days (even though this obviously isn't YA. I am merely making an observation). And the ending- was she holding herself all along? Was "he" actually "she," and her conscience? Was he a guardian angel? Not really my thing; I tend to skip parts of books like this. That being said, it was well-written.

  4. Like Rosie above, I was confused by the "woman holding her" at the end of Cloudwatcher's piece. Was "he" actually "she," or was this supposed to be a reunion with her mother. I didn't get it. That said, Cloudwatcher's piece was beautifully written, and I enjoyed reading it.

    Cloudwatcher for me.

  5. Vote for Cloudwatcher.

    I found Quill Thrill's was too dialogue heavy, so I didn't feel grounded while reading it. I would have liked a little bit more description/etc so I could 'see' what was going on and where they were, not just 'hear' what was going on.

  6. I liked the opening of Cloudwatcher better so it hooked me right away vs. Quill Thrill's. I agree with 1000th.monkey above me.

    My vote goes to Cloudwatcher

  7. One vote for Quill Thrill in spite of the off-putting Asian dialect and lack of description. There's an interesting premise, fleshed out characters and a lot happening in 500 words. Felt longer, which for me means every phrase was put to good use. Cloudwatcher's piece is artful and poetic, but has a tired premise and lacks meaty content. Beautiful writing, absolutely, but for me, story wins over style every time.

  8. Both are good. But Cloudwatcher... you have my vote.

  9. Cloudwatcher for me!

  10. I enjoyed both. But Cloudwatcher flowed his/her words so nicely. Cloudwatcher gets my vote!

  11. I'm going to have to go with Cloudwatcher on this one. Beautifully done piece. Quill Thrill just didn't capture my attention or draw me in.

  12. Didn't care for either in this round. Quill Thrill's didn't have any meat to draw you in and have you yearn for more. It seems the writer was more interested in imagining unique delicatessens and drugs. Cloudwatcher's story was more of a poetic sendoff than a story I would want to read. The second to last paragraph about bathing infants and cancer growth didn't blend. However, it was at least well written. Slight edge: Cloudwatcher.

  13. Neither appeal to me as a reader. Quill Thrill misused the word "They're" right off and that set me against it immediately. It was overloaded with information that did not anchor me to the characters; but still I was not sure what gender the perspective character was, despite the feminim voice. A very choppy start, but it did at least have some basic world building and characterization.

    Cloudwatcher's piece was all over the place. Not sure if this is a story start, or flash, or what. I am too confused.

    Quill gets my vote.

  14. Cloudwatcher for me ... I could 'see' the story unfold and hope my going is as happy and as long lived! I enjoyed the writing a great deal ... I couldn't get into Quill Thrill's story ...

    Interesting how varied we all are .. Hilary

  15. I don't read much women's fiction, but Cloudwatcher won me over this round.

  16. I liked Quill Thrill. Could use a bit of tightening though. But the concept won my vote.

  17. Cloudwatcher gets my vote

  18. Thank you!

    I'm choosing: Quill Thrill.





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