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WRiTE CLUB – Round 9

Sorry for being late again.  The New Year decided to greet me with a nasty head cold and the drugs I’m taking to combat it make my head feel hollow, so I’ll be keeping this week’s installment short and sweet.

Our last winner for 2011was decided in one of the tightest matches yet, but SPECTRAL came out on top.  The official score ended up being:

SPECTRAL - 13 votes     DIRCH McGURKIN - 8 votes

SPECTRAL becomes our eighth semi-finalist!  He/She will join the other seven winners in the semi-finals which is quickly approaching.  As always, you can check my WRiTE CLUB page for a breakdown of all the winners along with links to all of the writing samples.

Since I’m behind this week and I’m a bit under the weather, this post will also serve as my January contribution to the Insecure Writers Support Group.  One of the best ways I’ve found to alleviate some of my insecurities is to let people read my work and listen to the resulting feedback.  I created WRiTE CLUB as a mechanism to generate these types of opinions in a totally anonymous environment to help protect fragile ego’s.  Do you want to chip away at your insecurity, submit a 250 word sample (see instructions below) and see how you do.  It’s that simple.

We had a few more new submissions last week, so one contestant will come from the newby pool and their opponent from the open group.  Here we go, without further ado....

Here are this week's randomly selected WRiTER's.

Standing in the far corner, weighing in at 248 words, please welcome to the ring……..


Mr. Griffin held out a lumpy gold paperweight the size of his palm. "This is all I have that'll hold a spell for an extended period of time.”

I plucked it from his palm and held it up to the light. A frog prince with a jewel-encrusted crown and two glittering emerald eyes returned my gaze. I smiled at it,  my stomach fluttering as the urge to kiss it overwhelmed me. Feeling silly, I gave him a quick peck on the lips.

Mr. Griffin gave me an amused look while Angie giggled.

"In the original fairytale, the princess threw the frog against a wall in disgust. Only then did it turn into the handsome prince and they lived happily ever after." Mr. Griffin said.

Angie scoffed. "She physically abused prince charming while he was a frog and he still married her? Jeez, what a loser."

The frog’s glittering eyes watched me and I narrowed my eyes at him. "So, I should throw this at the wall."

Angie lunged forward. "You’re already dating a frog, let me try."

I ducked and let the frog fly. He struck the wall and left a dent the size of my fist. It thunked to the floor and wobbled to a stop at my feet like a boomerang.

I looked sheepishly at Mr. Griffin, my apology barely bubbling out before the bell to the back door chimed. Angie answered it and her eyes widened in surprise.

My ex, Jesse, stepped through the door.

And in the other corner, weighing in at 250 words, let me introduce to you ……..


She’d parked in the glare of a lamp post as close to the main doors as possible, but the expanse of blacktop between her car and the building’s florescent sanctuary was the treadmill belt of childhood nightmares. She clutched the small gold cross on a chain around her neck as she trekked through the gloom. A twig snapped in the shadows to the right, bursting a balloon of fear in her chest. Screw this. She bolted for the doors.

Once safely inside, she collapsed against the doorframe. But her proximity triggered the sensor, and the doors swished open again. She stumbled deeper into the lobby, kneading her forehead with a shaky hand.

She’d thought surviving the rape would be the hardest part. But she’d been wrong. At the time, pinned under the weight of a masked man with crazed eyes, his hand clamped across her forehead, the back of her skull grinding into the gravel, she’d known her life was in his clutch. The knife blade that bit down into the taut skin under her chin with each brutal thrust confirmed and magnified her vulnerability. She’d laid there, pried open, pleading to God with silent screams. Don’t let him kill me. Please don’t let him kill me!

Now weeks later, she questioned God’s mercy. Life went on outside her duplex windows, while she sat behind a locked door. The postman stuffed the mailbox with bills, while her pottery shop stayed closed, dust covering the clay-caked wheel. The rent was overdue.

 Leave your vote for the winner of round 9 in the comments below, along with any sort of critique you would like to offer.  Please remind your friends to make a selection as well.  The voting will remain open until noon Sunday. Remember, you can throw your pen name into the hat anytime during these last six weeks by submitting your own 250 word sample.  Check out the rules by clicking on the badge below…then come out swinging!

Remember, here in WRiTE CLUB, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!

Where words are the true knockout!


  1. Both great entries! But I must cast my vote for #1. :)

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  3. As usual, it was a tough vote for me. My vote goes to Manon this week.

  4. Good set-up in both, but Lily Mason does it for me -


  5. My vote goes to #1 LILY MASON (the second one was a little too ... uncomfortable for me - that's nothing against the writing, it just wasn't my cup of tea).

    Also, I'm sorry you're sick. I've been sick all this week too, and today is the first day I've been able to go without drugs :( FEEL BETTER!!

  6. These are getting more difficult! Lily Mason, the first one.

  7. So sorry you've been sick! Feel better!!

    My vote goes to #2 this week. Great job to both authors!!

  8. Geez, DL...I think these are getting harder! :-) I seriously can't decide. Love them both. Okay...going with #2.

  9. The frog story is sweet! I vote for #1.

  10. Hey, man! Sorry you're under the weather. That sux. As for the entries, wow. Tough decision again!

    I guess I'll go with #1, but that's not to say #2 isn't interesting. It just felt too wordy getting started.

    Great job, guys!

  11. I enjoyed #1 but #2 worked for I've voting for Manon.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  12. This is really tough because they're so different. I'll go with number one today.

  13. Ooh, both are good, but I like #2, Manon, the best! What a fun contest!

  14. Lily Mason captured me right away, so she gets my vote.

    Manon LaMuse had so much description, I got kind of lost in the words.

  15. Wow, tough choices this week. Normally they are not this difficult. Number one is not a genre I normally read, number two is. However, the uniqueness of the story and the funny characters drew me into #1.

    So, I go with #1.

  16. I gotta go with #1 Lily Mason.

    #2 a little wordy and confusing right out of the box. It got better, much better and was actually gripping by the end, but that beginning threw me.

    Hope you feel better.Lots of OJ and Chicken Soup.

    Thanks for the 'Insecure' tip.It has helped me to allow others to read my work, but it's still hard.

  17. Lily Mason has my vote. It made me laugh.

    I hope you feel better soon!

  18. Thanks to both authors! I'm voting for Lily Mason. Nice clear writing and cute ending. What threw me about Manon LaMuse's piece was if the rape victim was so freaked out about the rape (and why wouldn't she be?) that she's not venturing outside (to work or to collect her mail), why is she running across an abandoned parking lot at night? Maybe there's an earlier section that explains why, but I couldn't understand it.

  19. Wow, I feel like I say the same thing every week. I like them both. I will go with Lily's.

  20. I'm going with #1 Lily Mason. The dialogue and descriptions were balanced nicely. What threw me off #2 was the similar sentence format throughout--"She'd parked," "She clutched," "She bolted," "She collapsed," "She'd thought," etc. Though I did like the feeling of terror the author brought across.

  21. Interesting stories, one is almost as dark as the other is light.

  22. Wow, this is the toughest one I've read yet. Can't they both win this time?? ARGH!! I'm gonna go with LILY MASON--but I love them both. :-)

  23. Nasty head colds are a pain!! Feel better. :)

  24. This is the toughest choice yet! I really want to read both stories. It would be easier if they were in the same genre.

    My vote goes to....

    #1 for the great dialogue and pacing.

    Hope you feel better, DL!

  25. Both of these are really well written. I've got no critiques to offer up and it's really tough to decide, but I'm going with #1 for originality and cuteness.

  26. P.S. Hope you're feeling better soon!

  27. They were both great. #2 made me squirm, and it's the one that kept me thinking the longest, so it gets my vote.

  28. The first one. I want to keep reading it!!!!!

    Hope you feel better soon, DL.

  29. Wow... those are 2 totally different snippets. The first one lighthearted and whimsical, the second gritty and raw.
    IMO the second is good, but needs some tweaking with sentence variation and flow to make those powerful sentences have even more of a punch.
    Loved the first one's voice and dialog.
    I vote for #1

    Nice job to both writers!

  30. My vote goes to #1 because that's the book/subject matter I would prefer to read. Hope you're feeling better, Don!




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