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WRiTE CLUB 2012 Play-offs - Round Three / Bout 5

Today brings the fifth and final bout in the third round of the play-offs.  This round has seen our contestants face off against different competitors using brand new writing samples.  The bouts have been posted on a different day of the work week...and like the previous rounds you'll have until noon Sunday (Nov. 18) to vote on any or all of them, so please go back and vote in the previous four bouts.  Read the submission from each WRiTER below carefully and leave your vote for the sample that resonates with you the most.  If you can, 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.    

Remember...every vote counts. The contestant who doesn't win their bout but garners the most votes amongst the losers, will become a wildcard winner and advance to round 4. 

The five winners + 1 wildcard will be posted on Sunday afternoon round four (existing writing samples against new opponents) will kick off the following Monday.

Good luck to all the WRiTER’s!

And now…..

In this corner, welcome back to the ring.....Jason Andrews.

The portal was once again high in the air. A good summoner could make it easy. Mine apparently hadn't learned the right sigils to create a polite portal. I flew upwards and, unfortunately, towards Lisiki. She leapt up, her wings giving enough push to get her within reach of my leg. She gripped my calf, secreting acid into my scales.

"Get off. The portal won't be big enough."

"Come down here so I can show these imps what power is," she said.

"There's no power to stop a summoning. Mine's an amateur."

We floated higher. The acid felt like it was crawling up my leg. I kicked harder, even tried twisting, but it was no use. Lisiki flicked her wings to spin me even faster.

"Let go."


"Stupid mare."

"Lazy mule!"

The portal wrapped around me and closed around her arm. Lisiki's roar of pain cut off. I could feel it in my bones. The speed of rage is faster than the speed of a closing portal. I landed on my hooves, her hand still spewing acid from the stump. I kicked the hand off, and took a step away.

I recognized my summoner, Isaac William Peterson. He had been stretched taller but had grown no thicker.

"You're getting better," I said.

He stared at me.

"Shit almighty," he said. "It worked."

A summoner who is constantly surprised by his success doesn't deserve any.

I looked around. The magic circle was bigger, almost roomy. It was better made than the last one. Several marks had been re-drawn, but there was some latent ability stirring there. Outside the circle was nicer, too. I had a sense we were underground. The windows were small and high on the walls.

"Nice digs," I said, showing off my newly gained coldworld knowledge. He didn't understand the statement. I could tell because I had learned that the jaw hanging loosely from the skull happens when the astonished coldworlder brain can't cope with keeping the mouth closed and pay attention to what the eyes are reporting at the same time.

"Pad?" I tried again. "Habitat?"

"Oh," he said. "The room. It's new."

His face reddened, making him look normal to me. "How did the revenge go?"

"It didn't. I burned my house down. I wanted to practice. You didn't tell me how to stop it."

I interlaced my claws through my horns and gave them a shake.

"There's no stopping it. It consumes the object of your hate and dissipates."

"And now you're back."

"You summoned me. What do you want?" The floor beneath me cracked. Lisiki's hand continued dripping acid. The acid ate away at the floor. Underneath the floor was a closed portal, which meant what was really beneath this floor, while the magic circle was active, was the void between worlds.


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

Annie watched the headlights disappear, the beams flickering one last time before the trees swallowed them. Her breath hung in the air, draping the chain-link fence before her in a ghostly veil. Now that the other girls had driven off, the sounds of the night filled her ears with eerie precision: a rustling of leaves, a creaking of trees, an owl’s lonely voice.

She eyed the padlock on the other side, barely visible in the moonlight.

Gina, of course, had been the one to lock it. “Just to make sure you don’t chicken out,” she had said, tucking the key in her pocket. The others had clustered behind her, smiling at Annie from the other side of the fence, content in the knowledge that they had already earned their spot in the group.

“I won’t chicken out.” Annie had been proud of how certain her own voice had sounded. “I’ll stay here until you get me in the morning, just like you said.”

Gina had given her an approving nod. “Good girl. Happy initiation.” One flash of perfect teeth and then they were gone, the Jeep doors slamming, the engine roaring to life.

Annie turned away from the fence. The land stretched before her, a vast emptiness in which countless members of Pi Delta Epsilon had spent the blackest hours of the night, awaiting dawn and peer acceptance.

She shivered, rubbing her hands together for warmth. She decided to walk around to get her blood moving. Maybe she would find some shelter for the night, like a shed or something. She also didn’t want to be seen huddling like a coward at the fence, just in case the others crept back to spy on her.

Twigs crunched beneath her boots as she picked her way along the ground, the occasional pits making the walk tricky. She was so focused on her feet that she came to the house before she even realized it. It loomed before her, its shadowed gables and porches steeped in silence.

It was more like a mansion, really, Annie thought. The darkness had obscured it from view back at the fence, but she guessed that it would be visible in daylight. What was this place, anyway? Gina hadn’t mentioned anything about an abandoned house.

Annie had no desire to enter a creepy old house, but she approached the steps, thinking she could at least wait on the porch for morning.

But it seemed that someone had other plans, for when her foot hit the bottom stair, a light flickered on within.

“Hello?” she called. “Who’s there?”

The door creaked open, and what she saw within made her breath catch in her throat: a feast lit by pale candles, fruit and bread and a turkey with coils of steam rising from its surface. As she stared, she realized that the table had been set for one. One goblet, one plate, one set of utensils, one chair pulled back and ready. Someone had been expecting her.


That wraps up Round three. Remember the WRiTE CLUB motto, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!


  1. I really enjoyed the humorous banter of Jason Andrew's demon narrator, but it took too long for me to figure out what was going on.

    My vote goes to Ring Girl for a smoother read over all.

  2. Ring girl, for pretty much the same reasons as above.

  3. Ring Girl for me also, I want to know more.

  4. And yet another tough round!!! Nice work by both authors!

    I think Jason Andrews had one of the most unique first entries in the contest -- the deprogrammer addressing the girl on the bed ("you") was one of my favorites, and I voted for it in every bout. This entry shows the writer has command over a wide scope of material as now we're given a creative paranormal piece. Yet, while the genre is different, much of that characteristic edgy voice of the writer is still there, this time relayed through the first-person POV of the unnamed summoned being (maybe a demon?). There is a lot to like here. The characters are well-drawn and interesting, the situation evokes curiosity, and bottom line -- I would want to keep on reading. The writing is solid, and I find little to quibble about (the word "polite" seems an odd adjective to use for a portal, but I did look up "sigils" to make sure it wasn't a misspelled "signals" and now I've learned another interesting word, so I think that's a net gain). The only thing I might suggest for improvement is that I felt very ungrounded through much of the piece. I really like an 'in media res' entry into a story, but there is just so much unfamiliar here at the beginning -- the MC is unnamed, I have no idea what who or what it is, or where they are, I'm still lost as to who or what Lisiki is or why (s)he wanted the MC to "come down here", the 'portal' is at first unclear, I don't know what "the revenge" was, and so forth. Again, rousing curiosity is a wonderful thing in a story, and 500 words is a tough limit to get much into, but I think this borders on 'too much, too soon' for a contest like this. I found myself re-reading to try and answer some of the many questions that came up.

    RingGirl's first piece was entertaining, but I have to admit the scene of the girl meeting an old crush was really not one of my favorites from the earlier rounds, and I voted against it in the last two bouts. But this author also gives us a chance to see how wide their range is, and I must say that I'm impressed. Here we have an interesting scene in third-person with a definite hint of creepiness underneath it. The "MC-left-alone-in-a-scary-place-for-an-initiation-or-other-form-of-peer-pressure" is a well-trodden trope in horror stories and movies, but I think the writer pulls it off well here. However, so far, there's little that makes this really unique among the many other times I've been exposed to similar situations. Again, 500 words is not a lot of space to really expand on a scene to bring out that uniqueness. But the character of Annie is easy to identify with, the story is developed nicely, and I would definitely keep reading this entry, also. The writing was very smooth, the descriptions are excellent, and I really liked the flow and the voice.

    As in most of the bouts this week, the writing is very good in both of the submissions, and it is makes this not an easy choice. Jason's piece is interesting, smoothly written, and creative although a bit disorienting; RingGirls' piece is interesting, smoothly written, and entertaining although a bit cliched.

    I salute the writers and compliment you both for excellent work, but I think I'm going with RingGirl here. While it might have been a familiar scene, I was pulled in and kept there. I found myself having to stop and re-read in Jason's piece to try and orient myself.

  5. Tough today. I'm going to say Jason.
    And you've been mentioned many times today in the I Miss You Blogfest, DL. Your absence around the blogging world has been noticed.

  6. No time to read the entries right now. Just want to say "I miss you". While Fight Club is an awesome task that you have taken on and I'm sure all the writers getting their work noticed really and truly appreciate you, I miss you insightful, touching and funny posts. Come on back.

  7. Voting Jason. It's not even a question. We're dropped in the middle of both pieces it seems. Both have questions that go unanswered in the limited space. RingGirl's features an obtrusive memory of moments earlier that could have been clarified by simply writing it chronologically.
    Bottom line, I'm a sucker for fantastical. And action. (and magic, portals, summoners, winged creatures, imps, etc.)

  8. Interesting choices today. To be frank, these are two pieces I wouldn't normally read, just because of their genres, so reading them in this context made the writing quality stand out without any emotional preference on my part for one genre or the other.
    Jason--your writing is vivid and unique--I don't mean the topic, either, but the way you go about telling the story. Some of the humor was excellent, and that stemmed from your unique take on things as well. I did feel lost from time to time, as I was trying to figure out who/what the characters were and what world they inhabited.
    Ring Girl--your descriptions could have been a little more unique (maybe made use of some metaphors, for example), yet in and of themselves were perfectly written. You built and maintained tension, your character's worry was clear and the flow of each sentence was excellent. If you make it to the revision round, I'd think about changing the section in past perfect tense. It did diffuse the tension quite a bit for those paragraphs--it was like you were pulling us along with a rope which suddenly went slack.
    But I'm going to vote for Jason today. The humor and originality overcame my moments of confusion, and I would really love to see another piece by this author...especially if he wanted to do me a favor and avoid demons. ;)

  9. Oh, man. I love both of these. I love the whole demon summoning thing in Jason's. Scales and hooves and horns? Fantastic. And what was initially boredom with RingGirl (oh lord, not another sorority tale) turned deliciously exciting at the end. A decadent feast? You just know there's some hottie waiting in there to seduce her. Heck yeah.

    Anyways, I'm going with Jason just because I love the snarky demon. Both are excellent, guys, and I'd read on with both. Good luck!!

  10. Jason Andrews this time. I might not read the rest of the book, but I enjoyed the bits of humor in it, and it wasn't as predictable as the other. Can't say I didn't like the second one, just not quite as much. This is quite a difficult bout!

  11. Okay. I think I'm the only person on the internet who had never been on this site. I heard it mentioned in the How I Miss You Blogfest for like the billionth time and finally came to check it out.

    Loved the stories and I take it this is where I'm supposed to vote? Ring Girl caught me right away. I'd definitely keep reading. I really enjoyed the other one as well--but Ring Girl had a very simple--yet intriguing--premise.I found it easier to get sucked into. Good luck to both writers though, they both did great!

    Anyway, it's nice to finally "meet" you. Cool site and I'll definitely be back. :)

    1. Make sure you si in on the main page first so your vote counts.

  12. Jason Andrews gets my vote. I was intrigued.

  13. Voting for Ring Girl. Maybe I'm just tired after a long week, but I had trouble keeping up with Jason's piece. Both were well-written and engaging.

  14. Jason gets my vote this round. I just felt like I was in the hands of a confident writer in Jason's piece...and for me that probably the most important quality to get me to read on. Ring Girl was good but felt a less secure.

  15. #2 - although I was definitely drawn in by the voice in #1 as well.

  16. Both are excellent, and I enjoyed Jason's switch from his first Write Club piece, but I'm voting for RingGirl today. The premise is nothing unusual, but I found the piece easier to read. Jason's had too many unanswered questions. Kudos to both of you, though, on making it this far.

  17. I liked both, but my vote is for RingGirl.

  18. Ring Girl. Seriously - how dare you stop it right there.

  19. Ooh, RingGirl, if I'm not too late. I want to see what happens next!




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