WRiTE CLUB 2019 - The Finals


This journey began for 30 writers seven weeks ago and now as it draws to a close we should take a moment and reflect on all of the wonderful writing we've seen. To reach this point in WRiTE CLUB - having your work read and judged by a conglomerate of industry professionals - is no easy task. But then again, it's not supposed to be. Writing is a gift, perfected with hard work, and this contest plays only a small part in drawing that gift out into the light. A hearty WELL DONE to each of the contestants that made it into the ring this year.

The readers/voters have spoken and decided that IshYouNotIshMe and Sicaria will face off again (they went against each other in a very close bout during the Playoff round) for the opportunity to be crowned the 2019 WRiTE CLUB Champion. An interesting side-note, these are the two contestants our Slush Pile readers picked as the top two submissions in their voting as well. The winner of this final bout will be announced at next weeks DFW Conference in Dallas.  Both of our finalists have had their 1,000-word samples forwarded to our celebrity judges (listed below) and those samples are also displayed below. Although the votes/comments will not carry any weight towards deciding a winner, everyone is welcome to leave a vote/critique in the comments. Comments in this round do not count towards the gift card giveaway.

Chuck Wendig Author, comic book writer, screenwriter, and blogger. New York Times & USA Today bestseller.
Lisa Regan USA Today & Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author
Riley Sager International bestseller and New York Times bestselling Author 
Tiana Smith Copywriter turned novelist & 1st ever WRiTE CLUB Champion
Barbara Poelle Agent - Irene Goodman Literary Agency
Kristen Nelson Agent - Nelson Literary Agency
Shelly Stinchcomb Editor - Acorn Author Services
Melanie Newton Submissions Supervisor & Social Media Trailblazer - Clean Teen Publishing
Jennifer Grimaldi Agent - Chalberg & Sussman
Savannah Brooks  Agent - Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency
Ann Rose Agent - The Prospect Agency
Weronika Janczuk Agent - D4eo Literary Agency
Sandy Lu Agent - L. Perkins Agency
Eva Scalzo Agent - Speilburg Literary Agency
Trodayne Northern Agent - Prentis Literary
Kaitlyn Johnson Agent - Corvisiero Literary Agency
James McGowan Agent - BookEnds Literary Agency
Margaret Bail Agent - Fuse Literary
Lisa Dunn Previous WRiTE CLUB Winner
Aden Polydoros
Previous WRiTE CLUB Winner
Solange Hommel
Previous WRiTE CLUB Winner
Dan Koboldt
Previous WRiTE CLUB Winner
“Tex” Thompson
Previous WRiTE CLUB Winner
Mark Hough Previous WRiTE CLUB Winner

We will also announce the two winners of our random voter giveaways at the conference as well.

Without further ado, here are the last two submissions from our finalists.

IshYouNotIshMe

Mother pulled a tray of chocolate chip cookies out of the oven. Put her in a poofy dress and heels, and she’d pass for a Stepford Wife. Never a hair out of place or a smudge of lipstick on her teeth. Always gorgeous. God, I resented her.
“S’up, Susan!” Mother’s name felt foreign in my mouth.
Mother set the cookies down on a rack and turned to me, Barbie smile glued to her face. “Hello, dear. How was your sleepover?”
She didn’t even glance at my hair.
“Leslie and I did each other’s hair.” How could she ignore that I’d cut it and colored it taffy pink?
“Well, perhaps Leslie can come over here tomorrow and help you study for your Lit final.” She put another tray of cookies into the oven. “Would you like one? They’re still gooey.”
“I’m not hungry,” I mumbled as stomped to my room.
I stood at my locker, looking through my texts. Kids shouted and shoved each other. Lockers slammed. A highschool symphony.
“Hey, Regina, nice hair!” Greg’s locker was three down, but he’d never said a word to me.
“Thanks.” Heat spread across my chest, up my neck, and settled into my cheeks. I brought my hand up to my head. I really did love it.
“Why the change?” He reached up, but stopped just short of touching my hair. I swear I felt electricity run from his fingertips to my head. When he moved his hand away, disappointment gnawed at my heart.
Be cool, Geena, be cool!
“I just needed a change.” I pulled books out of my locker and hugged them. “And I was trying to piss off my parents.”
“Regina Cabot, honor student, yearbook editor, and student council president wanted to piss off her parents? Why?”
anger swirled in my belly. Hearing my accomplishments reminded me how much energy I always put into pleasing my parents instead of myself.
“I guess I wanted to control something for once, even if all I could control is getting in trouble. But they didn’t even notice.”
“I bet going out with me would work.” A crooked smile raised one corner of his lips and his green eyes sparkled.
No way could they ignore Greg. With his leather jacket and motorcycle; his long hair and attitude.
“That’s a good idea.” The bell rang but neither of us moved.
“Does seven work?” His hand came back up, and this time he ran his fingers through my  hair. I shivered when his finger brushed my ear.
“Perfect.”
I didn’t bother telling my parents I was going out. I didn’t want the same old lecture, I wanted World War III. Greg rumbled up my driveway at ten after seven. I ran down the hallway, past the den where my parents sat reading the paper. No joke, they still read the newspaper like it was 1965.
“Bye,” I shouted.
“Just a minute.” Father’s voice was stern. “Come in here.”
“Where are you going?” Mother asked without looking up.
“Out.” 
“With whom?” Father licked his thumb and turned the page.
“Greg. He’s waiting. Can I go?” Disrespect always triggered them. I prepared for battle.
Father took a deep breath. Outside, Greg revved his engine and honked. I could practically see anger rising in Father’s chest.
“It’s a school night,” he said.
“Yeah, I know.” I put a hand on my hip and sighed.
“Okay, then.”
Was this a trick? Mother turned the page and didn’t say anything.
“You look lovely.” He sipped his scotch.
“I don’t know when I’ll be back.”
“Then take your key.” Mother laid the newspaper in her lap and smiled. “Your father’s right, you look lovely. Now don’t keep your friend waiting.”
Greg wolf-whistled as I approached his bike. “You look—Wow.” He held a helmet out to me. “It’s a shame to cover up that hair, but better safe than sorry.”
 I slipped the helmet on and climbed behind him. As we roared past my house, I looked to see if my parents were watching. They weren’t. I don’t know why my parents suddenly stopped caring, but maybe it wasn’t so bad. If I didn’t have to worry about being perfect, I could live my own life.
Greg parked and helped me down. I handed him my helmet and floofed up my plastered-down hair.
“Don’t bother, you look great.” He tilted my chin up and kissed me lightly. My first kiss.
“Hungry?”
“Yeah.” My reply came out a whisper.
“This place has the best burgers. Let’s eat and figure out what to do with our night.” Greg wrapped his arm around my waist like he did it every day.
I wanted to skip the burger, get back on his bike, and take off. To be wild and reckless, but that’s not what I’d suggest.
“I have a Lit. test tomorrow. Will you take me home after this?”
“You’re serious?”
“Yes. Please don’t be mad.”
He smiled and took my hand. “If that’s what you want, that’s what we’ll do. But can we eat slowly?”
“My parents always complain that I’m a slow eater,” I replied.
“This was too good to be true, anyway.”
“What?”
“I’ve wanted to ask you out since I moved here, but I figured you wouldn’t give me the time of day.”
“What?” I studied him, looking for a crack in his lie. “Why would you think that?”
“You’re smart and busy perfect. I’m not the kind of guy your type goes for.”
“This is so weird.” I tried to hold back a giggle.
“What? Me?”
“This situation. I’ve been fan-girling over you for months, but you never even looked at me.”
He slid in next to me. “This is weirdly poetic, isn’t it? We could have been coming here for months if either one of us had taken charge and said something.”
“It’s weird, alright. But good.”
I looked into his green eyes and my heart soared. I lifted my face to his and kissed him.
“How’s that for taking charge?”


#################################################################



Sicaria


Damnit. I stare at the message from Des saying she’s broken her leg and can’t be my partner for the Dreor Scavenger Hunt. Without a partner, I can’t enter the hunt. Without the hunt, I can’t win the prize money and possibly redeem myself.
I glance around the dingy duplex that always smells like cheese. I’ve hidden out here for six months, never planning on making it, nor Earth, my permanent residence. At least I look human. Mostly.
My phone beeps again. I’m sorry.
Anger and defeat rush through me. “No you’re not.” I tighten my grip on my phone so I don’t hurl it across the room, but none of this is Des' fault. I’m the one who ran away after starting that fire. I was going to use the prize money to pay for all the damage I caused. And maybe even convince my family to forgive me. But now…I sink to the floor, the rough wall digging into my back. There’s no one else I trust to be my partner—to keep my location a secret.
“Kit!” my co-worker, Chase, calls from outside. “You there?”
Unless…an idea, a wonderfully crazy idea, pops into my head. I bolt off the floor and fling open the door, excitement and hope replacing my misery. “Hey!”
Chase takes a step back, startled. “Everything okay?”
I step onto the porch and immediately start sweating in the summer heat. “Of course. Why wouldn’t it be?”
I dunno.” Chase studies me, confusion etched on his face. “You seem, uh, strangely excited.”
“I just had the best idea.” I hook my arm through Chase’s and guide him down the driveway. “I have a favor to ask.”
“You can’t have my shift at the store.” Chase pulls his arm free. “I need the extra hours.”
“It has nothing to do with work. In fact, it’s something that’ll help us both.”
Chase cocks an eyebrow. “The last time you said you had something that would help me, I ended up with two dead fish.”
“That wasn’t my fault.”
Chase gives me a pointed look.
“Well, not entirely. But they were only fish. It’s not like I killed your dog or something.”
“I don’t have a dog.”
“Exactly. And I promise no fish will get hurt. Or anything else that breathes.” Probably.
Chase eyes me, his expression guarded. Which is to be expected, I guess. Some of my ideas haven’t turned out exactly as planned. But, then again, Earth’s very different from my home planet. I flash Chase my most winning smile. “So…?”
 He sighs. “Fine. What do you need help with?”
“A scavenger hunt.”
“Sure. What do you really need help with?”
“Just that, a scavenger hunt. One with a cash reward.”
Chase straightens, obviously interested. “How much?”
“Twenty-five grand. Each.”
Chase lets out a humorless laugh. “You may find it funny to make fun of my money problems, but I don’t.” He turns to leave.
“No, wait!” I grab his hand. “It’s not your normal type of scavenger hunt.”
Chase hesitates and then swivels to face me. “Go on.”
“It’s a scavenger hunt…in space!” I throw my arms up in a ta-da sort of motion.
“I’m going home.”
“I’m an alien,” I blurt out in desperation.
“Right.”
“No really, look, I’ll prove it to you.”
Frustration flashes across Chase’s face. “And how are you going to do that? Pull out a laser gun? Maybe reveal a second head?”
“No, something much better. Well, maybe not as great as a second head, I’m not Andullian after all, but still really good.” I sit on the sidewalk and pull off my shoe and sock.
“What’re you doing?”
I hold up my foot, wagging it in the direction of his face. “I have seven toes.”
“What?” Chase does a double take, his mouth moving silently as he counts. “So? What does that prove? It could be some sort of weird…genetic…thing.”
“That’s six toes, not seven.” At least according to the internet. “Anyway, I can show you my other foot if that’d help.” I reach for my other shoe.
“It’d only prove you have fourteen toes. Is there anything else? Do you have two hearts I can listen to? Or something else I can see?”
“No, but I do have three stomachs and two livers.”
Chase snorts. “What are you, exactly? An alien cow?”
Indignation sweeps through me. “No. There’s nothing cow-like about me if you haven’t noticed. I don’t even eat grass.” Although I did try it once. It wasn’t very delicious.
I scramble to my feet. “I swear, I’m telling the truth. And I’d let you see, but then you’d have to eviscerate me and there’s no way we’d win the scavenger hunt if my entrails were sprawled along the sidewalk.”
Chase glances at my bare foot and then back at me. “Let’s say I believe you. Then what?”
“Then we get on my spaceship and enter the hunt.”
“And where does it take place?”
“All over the Bitali Galaxy.”
“There’s no such place.”
“Of course there is!” Before he can answer, I reach into my pocket and pull out a small ship transporter. “I’ll show you.” I grab his hand and push a button. A second later, we materialize on my ship.
“Told you I was an alien.” I can’t keep the smug satisfaction out of my voice.
“What the hell?” Chase turns in a slow circle, mesmerized. “Where are we?”
“Rannjana, my ship.”
He walks over to the view screen as though in a trance, staring at Earth. “Is that, like, real?”
“Yup. And,” I fiddle with the console, changing the image, “that’s the Bitali Galaxy.”
“Whoa!” He glances at me. “Why didn’t you show me your ship in the first place?”
“Because everyone has spaceships, but not everyone has seven toes. That’s much more impressive.”
Chase looks incredulous. “You thought—”.
“Never mind what I thought—are you in?”
He grins. “Hell yeah I’m in.”
#################################################################

I'll be at the DFW Conference next weekend and have a vendor table to promote next years contest, so if you have the opportunity to attend the fabulous writer event and you have a free moment, please drop by and say hello!


23 comments

  1. Not sure either really grabbed me. The second one was a little more believable as far as the characters though. I vote Sicaria.

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  2. Congratulations to both finalists and good luck!

    IshYou—I loved your piece and the story of a girl desperate for her parents’ attention. I also loved the visual of her taffy pink hair and the use of Barbie smile and Stepford Wife. Great last line as well.

    Sicaria—I loved that you went for something entirely different this round. Your piece made me laugh and I enjoyed seeing things from Kit’s perspective.

    Great job to both contestants!

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  3. I expected a little more polished from Ish. Not a bad story, but disconnected with typing errors. Still, well-done getting to the finals!
    I laughed outright at Sicaria's fun take on Sci-Fi. Reminiscent of Hitchhiker's Guide, though absolutely its own voice. Very unique and charming, and unlike most of today's YA lit it pokes fun of itself with intentional trope and isn't full of angst. I'd love to read more!! If I could vote, it would be for you! bethanie.megan@yahoo.com

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  4. Oh, I'm so glad I don't have to vote for these!
    Oh, wait, maybe I do for the pop vote thingy. Um...
    No. I'm not going to vote... enough said :)

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  5. These are great.
    I enjoyed the voice in #1 and the setup - liked the interplay between the 2 at the end as well.
    In #2 I enjoyed the voice throughout and the setup was fun! Sounds like the beginning of a great adventure.
    Good luck to both!

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  6. Well done to both for reaching the finals!
    Hmm. Not sure where the first story is going. I kept expecting a hook, or an explanation of her parents' behaviour.
    To be honest, not sure where the second story is going, either. It might have been more intriguing from Chase's point of view. Intrigued about how she landed on Earth and got a job...
    I'd vote for IshYouNotIshMe.

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  7. They were both very entertaining and I'm glad I don't have to vote. I don't envy the judges.

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  8. Ish - This is the least polished of your entries, and also the least compelling story. That's a surprise since you had twice the word count to work with. None of the characters feel real. The Mother/Father thing was weird, and the dialog was unrealistic.

    Sicaria - Also surprised you couldn't do more with a longer entry. The setup is fun, but the story doesn't hang together. What good is twenty-five grand going to do an alien that doesn't want to be on Earth when he's already got a galaxy-hopping ship? Plausibility isn't everything, but in the finals, it would have been nice. Also, the inner monologue of the alien was a little cliche, and the dialog between him and Chase was flat.

    Overall, I couldn't get into either of these. It's a good thing I don't get a vote, but if I did, it would have to go to Sicaria, whose writing has been better throughout the competition. It's too bad the judges won't be seeing these writer's earlier entries.

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    Replies
    1. Based on feedback from other commenters, I have deleted my comment (re-posting below) as it was not my intention to sound negative, I was simply sharing my own honest thoughts. I can see in hindsight how they could have been construed, and I do apologize for that.

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  10. I would like to take a few minutes to address the negative responses here. If you have not been through a competition like this, you may have a difficult time putting yourself in the shoes of the finalists, so please be considerate of this.

    The fact is, this is their fourth "masterpiece". It makes perfect sense that it might not be as strong as the rest. And in particular, the first. This seems to be the nature of how this competition works, which is unfortunately. But judging by previous years, it seems to be a trend.

    We've seen the work from both of these authors thus far. It has been pretty darned good! I don't think it is fair to suggest that other, potentially more talented authors who were eliminated, should have made it this far instead. They didn't, and that's okay. It's the nature of a competition. That said, they would have been just as likely to find themselves in the same pattern of having a final piece that isn't quite as good. Keep in mind that these finalists have both been through what I have to imagine has been a very emotionally trying, yet exciting month. There's a lot of pressure to produce increasingly great work.

    So, this is really just a reminder to be kind to the two humans who WILL be reading your comments here, even if you feel the need to express that you don't believe that their work is as great as you would have liked it to be.

    To the finalists: I wish both of you the best of luck. And seriously, well done in making it as far as you have!

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  11. These two writers have talent and have done good work, however, these are not their best. It would be underestimating their abilities to just compliment them without trying to help with honest comments. There were typing errors in the first story that could have been eliminated with another edit before sending it on. We can never edit enough, and I value my alpha readers. The disinterest of the parents was a bit overdone. Perhaps a more normal scene of conflict between parents and daughter would have warmed the story. I found the family cold.

    I have to give Sicaria props for originality. I loved the fourteen toes. But the story lacked a good punch at the end. It fell flat, for me.

    Congrats to both of you for making it so far. If my vote counted, I would vote for Sicaria.

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  12. Constructive criticism is one thing. It’s always important and we need to be open to improvement. But the plain old negativity on a couple of these comments isn’t feedback.

    Ish, I don't understand Regina’s relationship with her parents. I thought they might’ve been replaced by robots or something, but then again I think this piece is contemporary. What’s going on? I like how Regina takes charge and pushes forward on her own terms.

    Sicaria, I already have a great idea of Kit’s personality. I’d keep reading to see what shenanigans she’s about to get into, of which I get the sense there will be plenty.

    Congratulations to both finalists!! I look forward to learning who the winner is on Saturday 😊

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  13. Congratulations to you both! I can't imagine the stress and excitement that this contest has put you through. I don't know how much time you had to write these entries and proof them before the deadline so any little spelling, punctuation etc errors wouldn't sway me either way. Even published authors on the bestsellers list have little things like that printed for everyone. It happens. *shrug*
    Sicaria, I enjoyed this happy story and would like to see what exactly the scavenger hunt entails! The toes being more impressive than a spaceship gave me a good laugh, puts a different perspective on what this alien finds normal compared to us.
    IshYou, you painted a great picture of this girls life of constantly working to please everyone but herself and that resonated with me. I like the boy admitting he's had a crush on her and didn't think he had a change. It's a nice addition that you don't often see with male characters admitting their feelings and showing them without thinking they're somehow "less of a man". I defintely want to read more and see why her parents are suddenly acting all not interested in what she's doing. You can tell that they wanted to say/do something when she went out but they held back.
    Two more great submissions and I wish you luck! If our votes counted this round I'd go with IshYou!

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  14. Well done writers making it to the final, and thank you DL, and your wife, for hosting another year of Write Club - I cannot imagine the work involved for you both.

    I would have a very hard time deciding which one to choose from these two entries (luckily I don't have to). I'd probably lean more towards Sicaria, if I did have to choose, as the writing feels very slightly more polished, but it would be literally be by a hair.

    Good luck to you both, and to all the other writers who were eliminated, many of which showed enormous potential imho. Also to all the writers who entered and did not make it into the ring this year - don't ever give up on your work. Keep writing and believing in your own talent, and be ready for Write Club 2020—it will be here before we know it!

    Many thanks again to DL and Mrs DL.

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  15. Congratulations to both finalists! Like the other commenters, I'm glad I don't have to vote and just enjoy reading both stories. I did prefer one over the other though :) All the best to both!

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  16. Though our voting may be over, I'm still leaving feedback! :) As per my norm, comments separated into two; one for each entry:

    IshYouNotIshMe
    The initial description of the mom feels a bit disjoint. Comparing her to a Stepford wife, but then having Regina says she's always gorgeous presents a bit of conflicting tone. The Stepford wives were perfect and unnatural, the whole point of that movie/metaphor being how truly horrible the desire to strip women down to strict roles is, so the first description of her gives us that sense that Regina finds her mother's complete assimilation into those classic roles off-putting. Works well given Regina's desperation to break out of her own mold of perfection. But by saying "always gorgeous" that introduces a sense of longing and jealousy from Regina, which is odd given that she doesn't want to be distilled down to an expectation--she wants to be seen for who she is. So consider axing the "Always gorgeous" line to keep the theme focused.

    "...Barbie smile glued to her face." Nice description!

    "She didn’t even glance at my hair." Try "She didn't even notice." Avoids the repetition of "hair" with the next line and underscores that the bigger issue is not seeing Regina, rather than just not seeing a change.

    Love the taffy pink imagery! Easy to imagine this.

    “Would you like one? They’re still gooey.” The second line feels off. Regina just watched her take these out of the oven, of course she knows they are gooey. This comes off as though Susan is talking to a much younger child. I don't get later that the issue is Susan babying her daughter so much as having high expectations of her. Her attitude and mannerism throughout don't support that ingrained pressure Regina feels. Maybe if her mother made these cookies for Regina's teachers to try to emphasize how much her daughter appreciates their guidance and to hammer into Regina how important her education is (so Regina doesn't even get one), that could work. Currently, we don't see at all where Regina is getting the idea that she must please her parents or that she is being controlled, so she comes off melodramatic and self-absorbed.

    Clever description with the high school symphony.

    There's a lot of emotions moving through body parts (chest, stomach, etc...) in this piece. Bit overloaded for such a short sample.

    Some typos throughout (missing words and capitalization).

    At first, I liked how Greg appeared to be atypical in that he comes off as a "bad boy" but he respected Regina's personal autonomy and space by not touching her hair without permission. And then the moment she says yes to a date, he immediately fits the "guy who now assumes it's totally cool and attractive to touch a girl anywhere he pleases without her permission" mold. It's disappointing and cheapens the ending when Regina "takes control" by kissing him. He's already set all the expectations, so her making the decision to kiss him when he's already kissed her and dictated how he'd like to proceed makes Regina's action not one of personal intention so much as going along with the flow of influence and assuming that means she's making a mature decision. A lot of young people do this, sure, but it doesn't make the action empowering because she's still taking cues from his lead.

    The dialogue at the end also feels very scripted and too mature for the ages of these kids who are still very new to relationships and hormones. I wish Regina had gotten her WWIII, but it doesn't go or end how she expects. Or Greg helps her see the fight in a different light afterwards that shifts her perspective on her parents. That would be a far more compelling and unique situation than a blossoming teen romance/coming of age.

    Bravo on making it to the finals! You've had some real intriguing ideas along the way. Keep exploring them as that is your strength. Best of luck!

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  17. Sicaria
    "I glance around the dingy duplex that always smells like cheese." Ew! This is such a wonderfully evocative sentence. Great appeal to sense of smell (gross though it may be).

    The info dump of the fire, family, and redemption feels very heavy handed. Honestly, I'm not sure we even need every little detail in this piece. The dialogue and scenario setup are delightful! Dial back all the info crammed together at once here. Spread it out and the flow and intrigue stay strong.

    Kit also verbalizing "No you're not" then immediately thinking it's not Des's fault diminishes the voice and tone. If she (my guess is Kit is female) sighs to herself and tries to rationalize how it's not Des's fault, but then wonders if she broke her leg on purpose, or something to that effect, not only could you work in more humor, but we'd get that she knows Des isn't to blame but is still super upset at the situation so looking to displace blame. She could also just curse the external forces of the universe, or conclude Des's leg is actually her fault due to the reverberations of her own bad karma. There's an opportunity for some stronger voice and character here.

    Is the immediate sweat in the summer heat due to Kit's alien physiology? I expected it to be since it's called out, but no further remark is made on it. Seems like that could be used to heighten her alien-ness.

    “You seem, uh, strangely excited.” I LOVE this line! Super charming.

    Also majorly dig that Chase's first thought is to protect his shift time. That conversation is humorous and very relatable.

    ""And I promise no fish will get hurt. Or anything else that breathes.” Probably." This made me chuckle. :)

    I also adore Chase's "I'm going home" to the revelation it's in space. Really the interchange between these characters is delightful. I was thoroughly entertained.

    Love the absurdly mundane proof of being an alien with 7 toes. Deeply amusing! Although, if she does have 7 toes, wouldn't she also have to have super wide shoes? I would expect Chase to say something like, "So that's why..." And mention the shoe size.

    Fantastic detail about trying to eat grass. Ha!

    I also thought the fun insight into what aliens find pedestrian was well done. "Space ship? Pssssshhh. That's nothing!" Brilliant.

    I assume Rannjana is a play off the Indian name meaning delightful or entertainment? If so, nice highlight of the quirky story tone.

    I think the final line would be stronger like so, "Hell, yeah. I'm in." All strung together it's read as a single flow, so the ending feels a bit incomplete and abrupt. Separating his exclamation from his decision to partake of the challenge tacks on a nice strong period to conclude.

    Bravo for branching out into humor! I greatly enjoyed it! Wonderful to see you can play in multiple genres with very different atmospheres. I'd definitely read more of Kit and Chase's adventures. I would say the setup of the scenario needs some more thinking. 25 grand does seem pretty small given Kit could just sell the spaceship for that amount, I imagine (certainly on Earth. Granted her assertion at the end that says ships aren't really impressive could explain why that thought didn't occur to her, but most readers will find it odd unless she addresses that directly, as well as why Earth in particular when she could be in any number of galaxies). And if she's been basically banished from her home to Earth (whether literally or through self-exile) a scavenger hunt with a relatively paltry prize seems like an odd choice. We either need to understand her situation a lot better here, or, as I mentioned, pull it out from this piece and focus more on establishing what the scavenger hunt involves--What makes it unique? How would she avoid revealing her participation so no one she knows figures out where she is? What are the stakes?

    Good luck!!!

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  19. IshYouNotIshMe Has some errors. But fun, easy to read story.

    Sicaria It sounds like an interesting story for YA readers, maybe younger. Is the 25 grand in Earth, American dollars?

    Congratulations to you both on making it to the finish!

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  20. Congratulations to Ish and Sicaria on making it to the finals

    If I had to pick a winner, I would go with Sicaria.

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  21. This was a fantastic contest and all writers did great.

    I was hopeful for ish...but i believe this one goes to Sicaria.

    Both story lines were great, but Sicaria had all grammer correctly and the story flowed better.

    Great job!

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  22. Congratulations to both of the finalists! I enjoyed both stories, but would give the edge to Sicaria if it were up to me to vote.

    Congratulations again!

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