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WRiTE CLUB 2012 – Round 33

We’re almost there.  This is the last week and final four preliminary bouts before we heat things up in the play-off rounds.  Jade Kestrel captured round 30 and has now been added to the list of all of the winners on the WRiTE CLUB 2012 results page.  This week will see bouts posted today, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.  The voting for all four bouts must end by Sunday at noon, so you will not have a full week to make up your minds as before.  A list of all 36 winners will be posted Sunday evening just ahead of the first set of play-off bouts on Monday.  If you want a complete breakdown of how the play-offs will work and the format used, you can revisit last Monday’s post here.

Let the countdown begin!

Here are this rounds randomly selected WRiTER's.

Standing in the far corner, weighing in at 478 words, please welcome to the ring……..Jade.

About two floors down, Claire decided suicide was a mistake, but reality set in. She was a few moments from death. Conscious or not, her arms flew out like a bird. She flapped like mad, trying to fly.

Gravity pulled her down and pushed whatever last memories she expected to pass before her eyes. She never thought of Roman, how he asked her to prom on the same paper as the answers for the chemistry quiz. She never thought of her mother and the time they drove to Niagara Falls for the weekend, just because. Instead, she watched the sidewalk below come at her like a literal brick wall. Three floors before the end, she closed her eyes and waited for death.

Death came instantaneously. When she opened her eyes, instead of the ground, the sky approached. So that's it? No pain? Life's over and straight to heaven? No good-byes, no closure?

"No," she screamed towards the stars. "This is not what I want!"

And just like that, she stopped, midair. She tried to move her arms to regain balance, but couldn't move. Someone held her. When she tried to turn her head, the grip tightened. Within seconds, she was back on the roof and the grip loosened.

She turned and saw The Masked Paladino.

"I didn't ask to be saved," she told him, shaking the imaginary dust off her clothing.

Paladino said nothing. Instead, he paced, scratching at the tight mask on his head.

Fly, man, fly away. Leave me alone! With that, her violent sobs drowned all other sounds that filled her head. It felt wonderful, the release of pressure, her cries interrupted with intermittent bouts of laughter. Was she going crazy?

Paladino watched in horror. He approached and she backed away.

"Just leave me alone, go back to wherever you came from," she yelled. she hit the wall at the edge of the building. Peering over, she contemplated going over again to get away.

He grabbed her arms and pulled her away from the edge.

“Okay, okay, let go of me, I’ll be fine. I’m going home now.” She pulled her arm away and headed for the roof door. He didn’t move until she entered the building.

“Sorry I failed you, Chica,” he said and flew off.

She froze. The door slammed closed against her back. Quickly she turned and kicked the door. It landed with a crash on the roof.

“Wait!” she yelled towards the flying figure. “Dad, wait.”

She run and leapt off the roof’s edge towards him. She covered thirty feet before she no longer went forward. Down she went, arms and legs flailing.


However, within seconds, he saved her again.

“I wish you wouldn’t continue to jump off, dear.” Paladino gently lowered her to the roof.

With tears in her eyes, punched him in the chest with all her might.


And in the near corner, weighing in at 443 words, let me introduce to you ……..Rattle Yerdags.

As he sinks into the chair across from me, he looks just like a doctor should: greying hair, a well-trimmed beard with badger-stripes framing his lips, and wire rimmed glasses his wife must have chosen because they're too tasteful for the awful polyester shirt and pants he's wearing.

"How are you feeling today, Stacy?" His voice is too loud for the muted tones of the room -- all earthy browns and soft corners. It's his office, but he's tried to make it look like a living room, complete with a coffee table squatting between us and lamps on the varnished surfaces at our sides. Too bad the external door has a combination lock. Kind of kills the good-time vibe.

He's waiting for an answer. I start to shrug, then freeze in place until the razors of pain ease. My stitches are all out now, but the hard pink lines spider webbing  across most of my upper body are a pitiful excuse for healing. Underneath I am still many layers of mangled nerve endings and fractured flesh.

Doctor hears me catch my breath and his eyes snap to mine. All that beguiling disinterest is an act. He is measuring me.

"Pain?"he says, softly this time.

"Yes. But it's not bad. I just moved wrong."

It burns and crackles under my skin until I want to scream. But I won't tell him that. For him I will be untouched. Ready to face the world. Sane.

I will get out of here today.

His lips press together under his perfectly-trimmed mustache. But after a second he smiles again.

“I see you brought your bag.”

The duffel bag my mother packed when she shoved me in this place sits on the floor under the combination lock. I don’t plan on touching it again until he’s opening that door for me.


“So you’re confident about today?”

“I’m confident that I’m not crazy.”

Doctor’s smile twists up on one side. “You know we don’t use that word in here, Stacy.”

There are a lot of words they don’t use in here. See you later, for example.

I take a deep breath. Cold. Calm. Sane. “Sorry.”

Doctor meets my gaze for two full seconds. Then he plants his hands on his knees and eases to his feet, speaking as he turns to reach behind his chair.

“I’m glad you’re sure of yourself. But as the dean of this hospital, I have a responsibility to make sure it’s in your best interests to return to the rigors of daily life.

“I’ve read your file and spoken to your nurses, your therapist. Now I want to talk to you. About this.”


New voters must sign up on the Linky List found by clicking on the badge below.  Remember, the voting for all of this week’s bouts will only remain open until noon on Sunday, October 21st.

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


  1. My vote goes to Rattle. I wanted to know whether the Doctor was 'bad' which I suspected, and why Stacey is in the nuthouse and what sort of nuthouse it is and...well, you get the idea. Jade's piece didn't interest me as much.

  2. Both are good, but Rattle gets my vote.

  3. #2 - I want to know what he wants to talk about!

  4. Both pieces had some great lines and left me wanting more. Neither piece had major mistakes to help me make an easy decision.

    It was a close call, but I'm going with Jade on this one. The opening line was great and I loved how Claire didn't know Paladino was her father until he called her Chica.

    Rattle's piece had two things that pulled me out of the story. One, it was present tense - just a preference on my part that I prefer past tense. And the other was the repeated use of "Doctor" as if that were his name, rather than "the Doctor" or "Dr. X". Minor complaints for sure, so keep up the good writing.

  5. Rattle's was a bit more compelling to this reader. I liked how Jade's started out, but I felt a little annoyed at Claire for jumping off the building twice ... and getting rescued twice.

    I want to know a lot more about what happens to Stacey, and what the heck is behind that Doctor's chair, so it's Rattle Yerdags for me this Round.

  6. My vote's for Rattle.
    I have to keep this short. I don't want to sway anyone's vote or ramble on.
    Jade. it was too confusing. You tell us everything that she's NOT thinking? Then what IS she thinking? She dies... but not? She wants to die, she doesn't want to die, she's laughing, crying, feeling great, going crazy, dad?, then she wants to die again (or did she forget she can't fly? ... like Wily Coyote?)
    There are only so many emotions we can read about her cycling through in 478 words. You have to pick less than 5. thousand.
    Rattle, I would continue reading, but present tense would exhaust me soon.
    'Badger stripes' and 'coffee table squatting' are excellent visuals.
    I laughed at 'kills the good-times vibe' and 'see you later, for example'.
    I have to disagree with a previous voter. I think calling him simply Doctor adds a bit of distance between him and Stacy. I find it effective.
    An observation: I'm not the expert on labeling and destroying 'passive vs. aggressive(active)' voice, and those labels may not even apply here. BUT I believe the situation would be more immediate and intense if written:
    'I won't touch it again until he opens that door for me.'
    'I don’t plan on touching it again until he’s opening that door for me.'
    'He waits for an answer.'
    'He's waiting for an answer.'

  7. Jade captured me with his/her opening but then let me go. Rattle caught and hung on. Rattle gets my vote.

  8. Gonna vote for rattle, that piece drew me in more than the first :)

  9. Rattle even though the end was very unsatisfying.

  10. Rattle. Though the other had good moments, it was confusing.

  11. Rattle has my vote. The first piece captured my attention at first, but then lost it towards the end.

  12. I prefer the first half of both and became confused in the second half of both, feeling like the characters became more blurred instead of clearer. I have to go with Jade.

  13. My vote goes to Rattle. I had a slightly harder time connecting to Claire in the first entry.

  14. I vote for Rattle because that's a scary place to find oneself in.

  15. My vote goes to Rattle Yerdags - I felt the writing was better. Also, I'd keep reading :)

  16. My vote is for Rattle. You did the job of making me curious where the story is going. I do suggest you work on the first few paragraphs. You use your very precious first line to give five or six descriptors of someone who isn't even the main character. The second paragraph is much the same. All those details can be sprinkled throughout the first couple of pages. I'd rather the first few lines immerse me in the story rather than have just physical descriptions of a doctor and a room.

    Jade - it took me quite a while to figure out Claire wasn't committing suicide. I was getting annoyed since that wasn't believable, then I figured it out and had to reread so I could understand what was going on. So...bottom line, it doesn't do the piece any favors to be vague about this. My opinion only, but I think it would be better to back up a little - show Claire screwing herself up for the attempt, maybe as she's climbing the stairs. You can still make an actiony beginning, but perhaps not free fall. Let the reader get to know Claire before tossing her off a building.

  17. This is a tough bout -- both of these entries are good.

    I like Jade's quirky surrealistic piece -- a suicidal daughter gets saved by an implausibly-named "Masked Palidino" who turns out to be her father. That's an unique and creative intro to a superhero story, and I enjoy the humor elements -- there's some campy cartoonish fun at play here. But it also has some confusing elements. I'm too disconnected from Claire -- I have no idea why she wants to kill herself, and trying to follow her erratic emotions is more off-putting than endearing. And the interaction between the father and the daughter he saves from dying (twice) is also too distant. This should be the core emotional dynamic that pulls the reader in and it is minimized and fails to connect.

    I also like Rattle's piece. Stacy is a compelling character -- there are some nicely-developed layers to her. The setting is smoothly established, and it really helps add complexity to Stacy -- just how reliable are her perceptions? I like the interchange between her and "Doctor," and how her using that pronoun helps her keep him at a distance and fleshes out more characterization of Stacy. That's a nice touch, I think. I'm not a huge fan of present-tense, but it works here -- I think it also kind of helps understand a mc who's a mental patient because their perspective of time might be a bit skewed.

    It's a tough choice for me, but I think I have to go with Rattle Yerdags -- I think this piece had the stronger characterization and I connected a little better with Stacy than with Claire.

  18. I have to go with Rattle Yerdags. They're both very good. Jade's entry is weird and funky and I like it. But Rattle's piece felt a bit tighter, the descriptions of the doctor were awesome, and I really wanted to read on and find out what was in her file. Good luck to you both!

  19. I'm going for Rattle. I liked the first piece too but I got a little confused and had to re read parts, good idea though. Good luck in the contest.

  20. This is difficult, but I have to vote for Rattle. Great imagery (I especially like "mangled nerve endings and fractured flesh" and "It burns and crackles"). I could totally picture the scene. In Jade's I had to re-read to figure out what was happening (conscious or not?), though I loved that the superhero is her father, and I think you could work on this piece and emphasize this relationship.

    Rattle gets my vote mainly because the last line intrigues me and I want to know what "this" is.

  21. Jade's piece interested me, and I want to know more about her dad, the Masked Paladino. But something bothered me while I was reading it, and when I went back and looked again, I realized what it was. If you check how many sentences begin with "She," you'll understand why the repetition pulled me out of the story.

    So therefore, Rattle gets my vote. This story is also intriguing, and the writing is smoother.

  22. Hmm, not much of a fan of either, I'm sorry!
    Voting for Rattle because those kinds of scenes always creep me out, and I really want her to escape!

  23. I recognize Rattle's piece from other blog contests. The writing is strong and intriguing. Jade's writing is pretty flat/directiony to me and has typos like the missing subject in "With tears in her eyes, punched him in the chest with all her might." So Rattle gets my vote.

  24. Hey, first of all--apologies on being gone for a while. Life kicked in with illnesses and family emergencies and the like. I'm hoping to go through and vote on as many rounds as are still open, but I may not have time to do much more than vote!
    And today it's for Rattle.
    Good job on both pieces, though! Really, nothing for me to complain about, so keep up the good work both of you!

  25. Rattle gets my vote. I want to know what he's talking about.

  26. I vote for Rattle. The piece read smoothly and had nice, original descriptions.

    Jade's storyline was interesting, and I liked the snark of the MC, but the writing felt a little abrupt & I had to re-read several sentences to be able to follow.




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