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WRiTE CLUB 2012 Play-offs - Round One / Bout 10

We'll start the second week of Round 1 bouts by announcing the winners of the first weeks bouts. 

Bout 1 - Alondra Larkin
Bout 2 - Snivvy Crank
Bout 3 - Ravenclaw
Bout 4 - Sedney of the Castonod
Bout 5 - Rattle Yerdags
Bout 6 - Word Whittler
Bout 7 - Eleven
Bout 8 - Not Loretta Lynn
Bout 9 - Peanut Buttercup

Congratulations to the winning contestants.  In preparation for the second round of play-offs that begin next week you all should send in a revised version of your submission. How revised you ask?  That is totally up to you.  You can change as little as a single word, or you can choose to heed some of the critiques you received in the preliminary rounds, but this is your chance to fine tune your work. DL will need all of the revised submissions from the round one winners by 6 PM Sunday (Nov. 4th).

Let's get week two started! Today begins the last nine bouts that make up the initial round of the WRiTE CLUB play-offs.  They will be 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 (Nov. 4th) to vote.  . 

Good luck to both WRiTER’s!

And now…..

In this corner welcome back to the ring.....Wren Tyler.

I don't remember leaving London.  In fact I don't remember anything, except for the letter left on Charlie's pillow.  The moment I closed his bedroom door behind me, I must have drawn into myself, away from the sights, the sounds, the memories.  I didn't want to feel; I just wanted to walk.  My legs, fat and tender from a fortnight's furlough, screamed for me to stop.  Slow down.  Find an inn and stay there.  But my brain told them to keep on going, one foot in front of the other, even as the city fell away.  I think I walked through the night, and the next night too; but as I said, I don't remember.

I only stop when my legs crumble beneath me; I land on my knees in the middle of the road, and I don't care a bit that the mud has begun to seep through my muslin gown.  Charlie never should have bought it for me; he knew all along that I'd manage to soil it.  Dirt, ink, blood--they'd all find their way onto the dress eventually.  Stupid Charlie.

No, not stupid Charlie.  Stupid me, for letting him slip into my thoughts again.  Stupid me for letting him toy with my heart in the first place; I've known for years that he's going to marry Harriett, so why was I fool enough to believe that would change?  Especially when I'm...when I'm...Well, when I'm me.

"Stop it, Pippa.  You promised yourself you'd never think of him."  I say the words out loud.  A big mistake.  Without anybody to answer, they hang heavy in the air.  So stifling I can't breathe.  Great.  Now even my own words are trying to kill me.

My own words?  Who am I kidding? It's Charlie's words that strangle me.  Or rather, their absence.

"Stop it!  Stop it!  Stop it!"  I press my palms over my ears, slam my eyes shut.  Then I take deep breaths:  in, out, in, out.  After a minute I'm almost calm, lost in a dreamy haze through which I can see my little cottage, and next to it, Father's forge--until the ground starts to rumble and I jolt to my senses.  My hand flies to the knife in my skirt; my fingers wrap around the handle, and--

And it's just a carriage.  A simple coach passing along the road.  Nothing to worry abou--

A coach! I scramble to the side and duck behind the treeline, then fall flat on my stomach without putting away my knife. Three minutes later a black carriage rolls by, lurching with every bump in the road. None of the passengers take notice of me, so once its clatter fades, I push myself from the ground. Try to, at least. My arms wobble under my weight, until finally I give in and let my face rest in the leaves. They scratch at my skin and cling to my hair, but there's something comforting about them. Their warm colors, the earthy aroma. Not at all like the silk pillows on which the Woodwards had me rest my head, but...better. I've missed sleeping in the woods.


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

The mewling cry made Acacia’s heart pound and his eyes snapped open, breath coming in gasps to keep up with his pulse.

What was that?

He sat up on one elbow and crawled forward, pushing stray branches aside. The river opened up in front of him just in time to see the big man rise and stare down at the infant for long seconds.

It didn’t take long for Acacia to understand what he was seeing. The child was female, no doubt, and the father a poor man who could not afford another mouth to feed. The practice of leaving infants on riverbanks for the icy water to claim was not uncommon, but it was frowned upon, especially by the Church.

Acacia gulped. The baby’s cries had awakened his appetites, and his stomach clenched with fear when he realized the man was going to leave the infant there in the water. When the man hesitated, Acacia prayed he would reconsider and take the child back into the woods with him. When the man retreated without the baby, Acacia’s heart sank.

He lay back down on the frozen rocks, wringing his hands. He wished the water would carry the child away, out of his grasp, but the tiny, infantile cries persisted. He began to tremble. He told himself it was because of the cold, but he knew better.

One of the reasons he slept near the river, shivering most nights, was because it had the effect of cooling the passion in his blood. But this was too much. This was tempting fate too far.

He heard a loud gasp and sat up on his elbow again. A short, squat monk hurried into the river and gathered the baby into his arms. The noise of the river had masked the monk’s steps. While one part of Acacia cried out in anger at the sight, the more part of him sighed with relief. So the river had not carried the baby away, but the monk would, and Acacia would breathe easier.

The monk hurried away, probably hoping to save the infant, and Acacia sat listening until the child’s cries were swallowed up in the warbling of the river. Only then did he venture out onto the bank. He leaned over and splashed freezing water over his face and neck. It made his teeth chatter, but also cooled the passionate rhythm of his pulse that had been so unwittingly awakened. He righted his shirt, making sure the collar touched the nape of his neck in back so that his cursed tattoo was covered. If anyone saw that…

Shivering, he crawled back to his place on the cold rocks and wondered about what he’d just witnessed. If the child lived, it would be because she was meant to live; because God did not want her back yet. Acacia was not a church-going man, but he believed in God. Oh yes, that he did. That was why he slept by the river.


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. Hmmm, this is a tough one for me. Frankly, neither one really grabs me. Both give a scene with drama and hint at underlying story questions in the two outcast MC's, but I also think both suffer from a little too much telling and over-the-top emotional responses to the situations ("I can't breath," walking for days in a haze, "breath coming in gasps," "he began to tremble," etc).

    Still, overall I think I do connect a little better with the immediacy of Charlie's jilted "I" in Wren's piece than I do with the possibly-vampire-ish observer Acacia in Brookside's.

    So I vote for Wren Tyler today.

  2. My vote goes to Brookside.

    The thing about Wren's piece, which I mentioned in the last round, is that the modern voice of the narrator doesn't fit the historical setting suggested by the carriage and muslin gown.

  3. I'm going with Brookside. I agree with Chris, there is too much telling in both of these pieces, but Brookside's captured my attention better.

  4. I voted for Brookside the last time around, and will do so again today! GREAT piece.

  5. Brookside. And if you fix that awkward line about "the more part of him" it'll be even better!

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. I vote for both of these pieces and am not happy to now vote against either of them...
    But the promise of action from Brookside wins my vote.
    If this piece goes through, I suggest the author take into consideration the voters' critiques from when it was originally posted. (the misuse of the word 'infantile' for example)
    If Wren goes through, make it more obvious that this takes place in a time before our own. I think some of the things that stand out as modern are "stupid charlie", sarcastic use of the word "great", and the phrase "big mistake". Not sure why these lines stand out. Maybe it's just me.

  8. I vote for Brookside. Hey! I just "got" the penname. Good one. ;) Acacia's got me intrigued.

    But poor Pippa - I did feel for her.

  9. I vote for Brookside.

  10. I like both of these but I'm voting for Brookside again

  11. Brookside's submission interests me more.

  12. My vote goes to Wren. I was sucked in right from that excellent first sentence. Great job!

    Brookside's entry is very nice as well, and I'm curious what Acacia was thirsty for - blood?

  13. My vote today goes to Brookside. But it was not an easy choice. I loved both of these pieces the first time around.

  14. Voting for Wren because I like the narrator's voice.

  15. These both had really nice writing but I'm going with Brookside because the story pulled me in more.

  16. Oh, hey, WRiTE CLUB. I forgot. I keep forgetting things like those things...

    Anyway, Wren gets my vote. I partial to the first person and this disjointed first person is pretty good.




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