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WRiTE CLUB 2012 Play-offs - Round One / Bout 1

Here we go!  Today begins the first of eighteen bouts that will make up the initial round of the WRiTE CLUB play-offs.  They will all span the next two weeks, posted on Mon-Wed-Fri, on this and two other blogs.  Here are the links to the blogs where the other bouts can be found.

DL Hammons @ Cruising Altitude 2.0
Julie Dao @ Silver Lining
 Your task is simple…read the submission from each WRiTER below carefully and leave your vote for the sample that resonates with you the most.  If you haven’t already done so in the preliminary rounds, offer some critique if you have time.  Anyone reading this can vote (after signing up on this Linky List) so blog/tweet/facebook/text/smoke signal everyone you know and get them to take part in the fun.  You will have until noon on Sunday (Oct. 28th) to vote on the first nine bouts, then noon Sunday (Nov. 4th) for the second nine.  Vote on as many bouts as you can get around to.  Whether that is one bout, or all eighteen, how much you participate is up to you. 

The eighteen winners will be posted on the afternoon of Nov. 4th and the next round will kick off the following Monday with edited versions of the winning writing samples.

Good luck to both WRiTER’s!

And now…..

In this corner welcome back to the ring.....Baxter Talltree.


I’m not sure if I said it, screamed it, or typed it. Possibly all three. I sat longer than I should have staring at three empty and hollow words, I love you. Each letter was a dagger ripping into my chest doing more damage than bullets ever could.

If you loved me, you wouldn’t do this!

My heart started pounding harder than using a sledgehammer for a small nail. It went through my chest, vibrated my hands. Find a phone, call her, my rational brain explained calmly. My eyes stung like acid was being poured into them. She’s going to do it, she’s actually going to do it this time. Please no. Please don’t. Wait, just wait for me.

Frantic, I found her picture in my phone, the one of her and Baxter, and jammed my finger into the little green send. Straight to voicemail. Fuck! Her phone is off, fuck, her phone is off! The coherent voice started screaming, and that’s when I knew, my best friend would kill herself.

Hyperventilating, I called her parents, my parents, and the cops. They told me to relax, they’d investigate. Nothing in their voices reassured me. Throwing on my five-finger running shoes, I tore off my shirt and sprinted the six mile run to her house.

Hours later, I was clutching a black stuffed dog that was missing an eye, and rocking back and forth when the house phone finally phone rang.

Please be her, please be her. “Hello?” I asked breathless from flying down the stairs. Liz hadn’t been home when I’d arrived at her house, anxiety and shakiness only filling me more. I couldn’t find a note, anything that would lead me to her.

It had been hours since our conversation, each minute that passed was a century of uncertainty. Please, Elizabeth, this better be you. This isn’t funny.

“Claire,” my sister spoke in my ear. My name was shaky on her lips, and a cold chill enveloped my body. Somehow, though she was a million miles away, someone found out before I did and called her to break the news.

“She’s dead isn’t she?” I asked in a cracking voice.

“I’m so sorry.”

Without another word, I hung up and threw the phone against the wall, exploding it into four different pieces.

I’d learn later that night that Elizabeth’s body was found in the river. Though everyone I’d called told me she was going through a phase, I knew it wasn’t, and now my best friend was dead. Not just dead, a suicide, a high school statistic.

Maybe if I’d tried to call her right away, maybe if I’d stolen a car to get to her house rather than run there she’d still be alive. But I didn’t. I fucking ran there, and I wasn’t there in time.

You love me, huh? I asked the girl who was no longer here. If you loved me, you never would have done this.


And in the other corner, also anxious to return to the ring, let me re-introduce.... Alondra Larkin.

Irovel walked through the busy streets of Yonden Hithis, looking for a place where she could stand to watch the execution. Word had come up to her in the hills – Barjuk, her sister's murderer, had stood trial and been found guilty. He would die today.

The crowd made Irovel uncomfortable. If these people knew what she was, knew that she was different … well, she might just end up as dead as the prisoner standing by the execution block was about to be. There had to be a place she could watch without being jostled so much.

She looked up at the buildings lining the street, and saw one with a roof sturdy enough to climb on top of. Hurriedly, Irovel went around back and climbed the rain barrel to get onto it. She had always preferred the high ground.

The roof was empty, and she slid across it until she could see the heads of the people below. From above, the crowd varied little as her eyes swept across it to the wooden riser upon which stood the prisoner and his guards. The people were all so dark of hair and skin that she could hardly tell one from another. She knew the prisoner, though. That one could never hide from her. Trees would grow old and die before she would forget what he had done.

The executioner was a killer himself – only a fool would sacrifice his freedom to wear the wooden soldier’s mask that hid his face – but one who had subjected himself to the law instead of fleeing from justice. The magistrate, a clear-eyed woman, stepped up to pronounce sentence. “This man has killed with his face bared to the world. Now he will so die. Let it be done!” she said.

Irovel heard a sound from beside her, and turned to see a man climb onto the next rooftop. He too was masked, and he held a bow in his hand. He nocked an arrow and drew back, aiming for the magistrate. The crowd, oblivious, cried out with one voice. "Kill him! Kill the murderer!" Barjuk cringed at the sound.

“Stop!” Irovel shouted at the archer. He stopped; he had no choice. People down below who heard her froze in place, then turned to see who had spoken. Irovel crouched to hide her face from them. Her voice always carried the ring of truth, but giving a direct command was much more dangerous than simply speaking. Somebody might figure out what she was.

Across the street, the sentence was carried out. Irovel’s cry alerted the guards to the presence of the archer, and the executioner hurriedly escorted the magistrate down from the block before the assassin could recover.

Seeing his plot foiled, the masked archer turned and loosed his bow at Irovel instead. Pain blossomed in her shoulder, and she felt more than heard a loud pop. The seething anger in his gaze filled her vision as she tumbled to the street.

Don’t forget to visit the other two sites and vote for your favorite in those bouts as well!  Remember the WRiTE CLUB motto, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!


  1. ARGH! Now things are getting REALLY tough! I am going to vote for Alondra Larkin. :D

  2. My vote goes to Alondra. The writing is smoother, more developed.

  3. Baxter. I found Alondra's piece confusing and muddled.

  4. Yep -- just as I figured, the second round bouts are going to be a LOT tougher...

    I voted for both of these in the prelims. I like the emotional impact of Baxter's piece, and Alondra's evokes good characterization and underlying story questions.

    But head-to-head, I think Alondra's is a little stronger. Baxter's has a much more erratic flow, while Alondra keeps the story progressing a little better.

    So Alondra for me today.

  5. DL - I went to Silver Lining and besides being very hard to read, I couldn't find where to comment. Is anyone else having trouble there?

  6. Have to vote for Baxter Talltree although these two pieces are pretty evenly matched.

    Stacy - I just left my comment at Silver Lining without trouble. A small window popped up with the comment form at the bottom.

  7. Hmmm...I'm gonna go with Alondra Larken. I really liked both pieces, but I the similes/metaphors in Baxter's, such as "My heart started pounding harder than using a sledgehammer for a small nail" and "My eyes stung like acid was being poured into them" drew me out of the story and slowed down the pace.

  8. Definitely Baxter Talltree. I could feel the urgency, the pain, the grief. Alondra's piece suffers from a lot of telling.

  9. I remember both of those - tough decision! Going with Alondra today.

  10. Baxter Talltree gets my vote today.

  11. Wow this one was tough. My vote goes to Alondra today.

  12. Now we're starting to call down the thunder in these matches big time. I enjoyed both but Baxter gets my vote.

  13. Alondra for me! It's one of my favorites.

  14. Ack! I thought it was tough before. Now I'm really having trouble deciding. I'll have to go with Alondra this time.

  15. Alondra for me. And yes, gonna get tougher from here on out. Yeesh.

    1. (P.S. Could someone direct me to the information on the skirmishes? I can't find anything, other then there will be skirmishes for the people who's stories didn't make it into the fight...wasn't sure how that was working.)

    2. I don't believe DL's said much more than that yet. Just that there will be skirmishe posts after Write club is completed so that the entries that didn't get randomly selected for write club bouts can still get anonymously posted for feedback and comments. Other than that, I don't think he's finalized anything yet.

  16. I like both pieces, but I'm going with Baxter. It was a more gripping piece for me. The sentence about her heart like a sledgehammer didn't work for me though - couldn't picture that metaphor with the small nail.

    Good luck both!

  17. This one was difficult, but I'm going with Alondra. But great job to both writers.

  18. I still love Baxter Talltree's piece. So intense!

  19. Yikes. Tough choice to start off this round! I like both pieces a lot.
    I think my vote will go to #2

  20. I'm voting for Alondra this time around.

    Baxter - your piece was gripping, but not as smooth a read for me.

  21. Ugh, I don't think voting for these rounds will be all that easy. I'm going with Baxter because the piece was more riveting to me.

  22. Both writers have vivid characters and high emotional content. I'm a little more drawn into Alondra's story however, so Alondra has my vote.


  23. My vote is for Baxter. This is getting tough. Great job to both writers.

  24. Both are well written and engaging--making you want to know more! My vote goes to Baxter though. Emotional stories always get me.

  25. Felt a little detached from the first one. Vote for Alondra.

  26. With three bouts a day, I'd better stay on top of this voting, eh? (Apparently a day late qualifies as staying on top of things for me.) Unless I have some new sort of insights, I'll just be voting with an indication of why I picked one over the other.

    This vote goes to Baxter Talltree because I connected more with that one emotionally.

  27. This is tough - but my vote goes to Baxter!

  28. Baxter's had the better emotion, Alondra drew me in more. I have no interest in seeing what happens next in Baxter's piece.

    I'm going with Alondra.

  29. Baxter's piece made me want to read faster, and thus gets my vote.

  30. My vote goes to Baxter. Alondra's piece seemed like a small part of a much bigger story, while Baxter's felt like a more complete piece despite the short length. Although Alondra's story was well written and used more interesting and varied vocabulary, it seemed to raise more questions than it resolved, which I found frustrating.

    Even though incredibly sad, Baxter's story made me hold my breath, hoping against hope for Claire to reach Elizabeth in time... Claire's anger, pain and helplessness was tangible. (The story also happens to strike a personal cord - fortunately in my case I was lucky enough to reach my friend in time.)




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