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WRiTE CLUB 2012 - The Finals

Here we are.  Two writers...but only one crown. Who will make a favorable impression on the judges and be left standing?

Let me start off by congratulating not only Ravenclaw and Snivvy Crank for surviving nineteen weeks of grueling competition and landing here in the final round, but every single writer who was brave enough to submit an entry to my contest.  This is the part of WRiTE CLUB where...if you so desire...the masks come off.  I encourage everybody (except our finalist) to use the comments below to let us see who the person behind the pen name is.  I know there are a lot of fans who really want to find out more about you and your writing story. It would also be helpful to us know what number you were on the linky list, so we can follow the link back to your own blog.

I've already emailed Ravenclaw's  and Snivvy Crank's new 500 word writing sample to our panel of judges (if you forgot who they were, check out the list HERE) and I'll post the results, along with any critiques they provide, next Monday (Dec. 10th).  But that doesn't mean you don't get a say.  I've also posted our two finalists pieces below so you can have one final chance to vote.  If by some remarkable chance our judges come up with a split decision, your votes in the comments below will decide the tie-breaker.

I will be back on Wednesday to post some takeaways from this season's WRiTE CLUB, and I'll also be asking for recommendations for what you'd like to see be different for next year. Make sure you stop by for that.

And now...for one last time this year....

In this corner, welcome to the ring our first finalist.....Ravenclaw. Here are links to his original entry, the edited version, his 2nd submission, and the edited 2nd.

The cilia on Overseer Moros's forelegs undulated in a display of arrogant irritation, and all six of his bulbous eyes rotated to focus their full attention on me. The piercing shaft of his whip-tail hardened; thick drops of neural poison forming at its tip. The deadly ooze glistened in the faint light of the Overseer's chamber.

His vocal aperture vibrated. "Please continue your report, Agent Dolos." His tone was gentle, but the underlying menace was palpable.

Trying to hide my terror, I chose my words carefully -- the previous agent had not lived long after admitting his failure.

"I have successfully infiltrated one of the planet's centers of power, Overseer. Our conquest is merely a matter of time."

"Yes, you have already expressed this opinion. But what facts do you present to corroborate it? I need more than empty promises."

The Overseer's whip-tail began to sway. The air of the chamber filled with the sharp, vile odor of his anger.

"Success is assured," I said, "although there are challenges. Our pre-landing information was..."

"Was what?"

"Insufficient, Overseer."

"In what way? Does the form you inhabit allow you to walk among the natives?"

"Yes, Overseer. The basic design is flawless. I am projected into the bio-shell with full control and I pass easily for an inhabitant of this planet."

"Is the shell in any danger while it is empty?"

"No. The inactivity of the bio-shell is taken as normal sleep by all who see it."

The whip-tail swayed wider, its dripping poison splattering onto the Overseer's command platform.

"Then I hear no reason for failure. You will succeed or suffer the consequences."

I fought the panic erupting in me. "But, you see, Overseer, the form we chose--"

Moros raised his voice, his vocal aperture throbbing in violent waves of sound. "The form seems sufficient to accomplish our goals, Agent Dolos. If there is failure, it will be because you are to blame."

The whip-tail swung past me, much too closely.

I stammered a reply. "Yes, Overseer."

Four of his eyes turned away, signaling my dismissal. I turned and fled, pushing my way through the membranes that surrounded the command chamber. My instincts screamed at me to keep going, to leave the ship immediately, but I knew it would only lead to a painful death in this world's oxygen-rich atmosphere.

I had no choice but to return to the projection chamber. There, I strapped myself into the projector and pressed my gripping digits onto the control pad. It glowed in response. The machinery whirred to life and I felt the disorienting tug as the process began.

Then I was swallowed in a burst of blinding light as my awareness shifted to the bio-shell.

I found myself curled up on top of the seated form of one of the planet's leaders, his giant hand almost covering my body.

Another native standing nearby spoke.

"Mr. President, I just don't understand why you allow that damn cat to sleep on your lap."


And in the far corner our other finalist, let me re-introduce.... Snivvy Crank. Here are links to his original entry, the edited version, his 2nd entry, and the edited 2nd entry.

Mr. Jaspers tossed the school board’s “parting” gift unopened onto the truck’s vinyl seat. The truck--a rather smart fellow for a pick-up--groaned a warning about the package...a warning that unfortunately went unnoticed by Mr. Jaspers. The Scotsman was busy feeling old and defeated, staring up at the school with a sadness only another ex-janitor could appreciate.

“I dinna understand,” he sighed. “Who’ll be watchin’ the windows an’ keeping the latches shut against the wee devils now, I wonder?”

Jaspers sighed again and turned his attention to the brown paper parcel, which sat tauntingly on the seat. The truck groaned again but Jaspers’ vein-streaked hands were already fumbling with the twine and delving through the mass of tissue paper.

“Well,” he said, pulling out a Scotch bottle, “at least the auld numpties know their liquor--but what is this?”

“This” happened to be a pocket watch.

Jaspers examined the thing, his wrinkled fingers brushing over the engraved surface. It was old--very old--and rather nice: not something you’d find in a typical trinkets-and-chains jewelry store. But Jaspers couldn’t help feeling there was something decidedly off about it, a sort of sensation it gave of--

The Scotsman frowned. That was the problem: he couldn’t give the sensation a name, but it felt akin to peering over the edge of a crag…when time seems to stop….

He examined the image on the lid more closely. It certainly was a strange picture to have engraved: the hooded figure of Death holding an hourglass.

“Well, that’s a cheery send-off, if I do say so. I wonder if they’ve written anything inside.” Mr. Jaspers clicked open the lid and noticed with some surprise that the face had no hands. It did, however, have eight words elegantly inscribed in a language Mr. Jaspers had not seen in a very, very long time:
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust--
Goodbye, Jaspers.

Mr. Jaspers’ frown deepened as a scorching cloud of ashen smoke began to billow out of the face.

“Well noo, that cannae be good…” he thought; and then Mr. Jaspers blinked.



Slowing time was a particular talent of Mr. Jaspers’. It was much easier than it seemed; like stretching a piece of silly putty. He did this, pulling and tugging with his mind until the seconds grew thin and wispy and seemed to stretch on and on. Then, at the very edge of infinity, Jaspers dropped the watch...and ran.

He could see the watch in his mind, floating where he’d left it, as he limped faster and faster, feeling time sway and bounce under his bad leg. From somewhere behind him there was a piercing blast of white light.

Jaspers knew he was in trouble long before the wall of light hit him. The thread of time, already stretched to its limit, snapped around him and in a flash Mr. Jaspers was gone, his last lingering thought echoing into perpetuity with him:

Ach! Should have opened the damned Scotch first…


Has anybody forgotten the WRiTE CLUB motto?  It’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!


  1. Hey DL,

    I'm just *SO* impressed you were able to keep this straight for the nineteen weeks...

    Man, you deserve some serious kudos...

    (Walks over to squirming bag, takes out two Kudos, looks them over, throws one back, picks another... lays them on a table, tells them a joke... neither Kudo laughs...throws one back in bag.)

    Here, DL, here's a serious Kudo.

  2. We get to vote one last time? Hooray for that, and hooray for all the writers who stepped up to the ring, and hooray for Don (and Kim!) for doing so much work to make this possible.
    As is fitting and expected, this round is definitely the most difficult. Ravenclaw, great job on the dialogue, excellent prosody and pacing. Snivvy, excellent humor, wonderful tension, and super twist. I'll vote for Snivvy this one last time.
    And finally, to take my mask off: I was (the, confusing) Scarlet Pimpernel. (From the last week in the preliminary rounds.) Thanks so much to all the writers who took the time to leave me a critique--much appreciated!!

  3. Snivvy for me. And has it been nineteen weeks? You've done a great job!

  4. Oh, I forgot to ask before, and maybe I just missed it: When will we know who the winner is, and discover our finalists' alter egos? :)

  5. Kudos to you, DL, for hosting and monitoring this event. Bravo, my friend. My vote is for Snivvy. Congrats to both writers. Excellent work!

    1. Forgot to reveal myself. I was D. Rose. Thanks to everyone who commented. This has been a great learning experience. Thanks again to DL and Kim.

  6. One last vote...Snivvy it is. Good luck to you both.

    Thanks DL for all the work and dedication. Sadly, my piece wasn't chosen this year, but I enjoyed reading all the entries. There are some fantastic writers out there.

  7. I'm going with Ravenclaw. I love the twist about the cat... I adore cats. I really do love the time/paranormal twist with Mr. Jaspers, though. He seemed just a normal janitor in the last piece, so this was a super fun and awesome twist. Both are fantastic entries, as they have been all along. Good luck guys!! You are both amazing!

    And to unveil myself, I am the writer behind code name Eleven. Thanks so much to everyone who voted me into the semi-finals! Eleven is actually the name of the MC from my current WIP, a middle grade fantasy which I just started querying. The excerpts I used for Write Club are from my urban fantasy novel Martinis with the Devil. If you want to keep up on the news about that, check out my website, where you'll find links to my blog and Twitter sites. I'd love to get linkage to your web presence too, so drop me a line!

    Hats off again to both of the finalists!! I'm excited for the final unveiling!

    1. Ever since your first entry, I loved the name Eleven for some reason. I'm glad to hear you're putting it to use!

  8. This has been one heck of a ride, thanks for making it possible DL. You and your wife and everyone who helped out during Write Club have been great. Snivvy gets my vote.

  9. Wow. I love both of these entries. I could read more from either but since I have to choose one... Snivvy. Because I really loved the way slowing time was described.

  10. *Cackles evilly* I'm excited that my vote will count this round :) I'll get back to you with my decision and my critique as soon as I can.

  11. I'm going to vote for Ravenclaw.

    Thanks DL for a fabulous contest!

    I was Penelope Clearwater.

  12. Don (and Kim!), to echo what everyone has been saying, THANK YOU for all of your hard work and dedication in hosting this contest. It was huge and no easy feat, and I just wanted you both to know how much your efforts were noticed and appreciated.

    Congrats to ALL of the writers, but particularly these two. They were super tough opponents. I'm thrilled that they both made it to the finals, but my vote is going to have to go to SNIVVY CRANK. I've loved all of the pieces that this writer submitted throughout the contest. All have great humor and voice.

    (My penname was Ring Girl. To everyone who commented on my pieces and gave me feedback - THANK YOU. Your criticism/comments did not go unnoticed and helped me improve vastly.)

  13. Going with Ravenclaw. That last line is awesome.

  14. Argh! Love the last line of both... But both felt a wee bit long in the build up.

    Congratulations to everyone who made it this far!

    Going with Ravenclaw :-)

  15. Snivvy Crank was my favourite today.

    I was Marquistar, the very brief.

    1. Your piece was so well-written! I still wish there had been more of it. :)

  16. I'm going with Snivvy Crank :)

    I was I Am Not Shakespeare

    1. I loved your piece!! You captured the emotion extremely well.

    2. I really liked your piece as well. Middle Grade writing is a lot harder than most writers realize. Neil Gaiman, having written both adult and mg bestsellers was asked what was harder. His response? "Writing for children is harder." You had just the right balance of flow, pacing, details, and voice in your piece and it was one of my favorites throughout. Good Job.

    3. Thank you for your kind words! It means a lot to me. DL, thank you for this amazing experience and venue to share my writing and thank you to everyone who voted and kept up voting through out.

  17. Forgot to reveal - I was A. Malcolm

  18. I didn't send in a piece so there's nothing to reveal... :)

    I've really enjoyed the Write Club again. It's a lot of fun and it's interesting to see people's styles! Well done everyone :)

  19. Both pieces had brilliant last lines, picking one is hard but as this is the last vote I'm going with Snivvy Crank. Best of luck to both of the finalists and congratulations on making it to the end of the epic contest!

    I was Sapphire River, thanks for all the comments/feedback/votes! It was fun to enter.

  20. I haven't been around in months, but figured I'd stop by for the finals. Ravenclaw's was more inventive and intriguing, so I will throw my vote that way.

    As for who I was when I was around (other than a voter who rankled a number of others), a couple participants figured that out or sought me out, and I'm still grateful they gave me the time. I went down in inglorious defeat in the fifteenth round as Satellite Heart.

    Although I stopped coming round these parts, I kept thinking about how I could use this experience to help me grow as a writer, and I came to the conclusion that I would use it more directly than I might have previously imagined. If you want to, visit my eponymous blog and check out something called Project Mayhem. Bonus points if you know how that title ties into DL's naming scheme.

    Which reminds me, even though I ended up being pretty grumpy about it, I'd like to thank DL again for doing this thing.

  21. Ooo, I love both of these! Most impressive. And both have excellent last lines. My vote is for Ravenclaw.

    I was Jenna Fox (taken from the YA novel ADORATION OF JENNA FOX). Thanks so much, whether you voted for me or not! It's been educational.

    Thanks, DL and Kim.

  22. Loved both pieces! I am going with Snivvy on this one though. But it was tough.

    I am Seaweed...a recently retired teacher who would like to pursue a dream of writing. Thank you for giving me an unbiased platform on which to safely and anonymously try out my new life!
    This was an awesome challenge and I appreciated the wonderful critiques and kind words during the challenge. You've each been a help and an encouragement! (

    1. Donna--I loved, LOVED your pieces. I was really hoping you'd make it to the finals because I wanted to see a third entry!! Good luck with the writing dream!

    2. Yea, yours were some of the best, Donna.

    3. Donna, your pieces were definitely great. Keep following your dream; you're very good at it!

    4. I was another enthusiastic supporter of your writing, Donna. Great writing.

    5. Thanks, everyone! I appreciate your to the pen - or keyboard. ;)

  23. DL, thanks for hosting this contest. I'm sure it was a lot of work. I think it did lots of good for more than just the winners.
    I was Sedney of the Castonod. In revising my piece I looked for all the comments I could find on it. Some of the comments were very complimenting. They put a smile on my face and made me believe I could maybe actually be a writer. The comments that weren't so flattering are what I used to edit my piece (and my writing even now). My entry did not make it past the revisions bout so I can't know for sure if it improved or got worse, but some of the quotes of the 'critiquers' still ring in my ears while I'm writing or editing. Even if they irked me when I read them, I tried to realized their validity.
    Point being, I appreciate all the feedback, and I won't let it go to waste.

    1. David, I thought your writing was excellent...and your critiques were always spot-on. You were one of the few people who voted for my piece, and your insights were invaluable. (Thank you!)

    2. Agreed. I really enjoyed your writing, David, and thank you for all the helpful comments/critique you left for my work.

    3. Hey David, I was also impressed with your writing. A good sense of voice and the confidence to approach scenes from different angles. Confident writing is one of those things writers seem to take the longest to develop and you've got. Good job.

  24. DL, thank you for putting on such a great contest. Raven Claw wins for me this round, although Snivvy was good. Honestly, it was a tough choice.

    I was Midnight Muse...and I rightly lost my playoff round to the wonderful Raven Claw.

  25. DL, thank you so much for all the work you and Kim put into this contest! It's been a lot of fun, and I have both enjoyed it and learned a lot from it!

    I've managed to comment on every single one of the 73 bouts up to now, from the prelims through the semis, and truthfully, that has helped me as a writer. Breaking down each piece to try and point out what works helps me understand things in my own writing that can be improved. Plus, I've tried to give more than just "I vote for X" because I want to give feedback that hopefully helps, the same as I would like to receive. That means that my comments have not always been "I love it!" but even when I've given negative feedback, I've tried to do it in the spirit of offering supportive help. And hey, I'm just one guy -- my opinion's really no more important than anyone else, so I hope I've never hurt or offended any writer in the feedback I've given.

    But I've really been impressed with the quality of the writing submissions, too! There have been some excellent pieces, and many times, it was very difficult to decide between two quality entries. I salute everyone who took the opportunity to submit to this contest -- it's NOT easy to have your work dissected and nit-picked on a public forum like this, even when its anonymous. I want to offer encouragement to each of you -- whether you won many rounds or were voted off in the preliminaries, hang in there and keep writing!

    1. Chris, I've enjoyed reading your critiques of all the pieces--you have a great way of breaking things down and providing insight. Thanks for putting so much time into it.

    2. I really appreciate all of your feedback on my pieces, Chris! They helped me immensely. I also enjoyed reading your comments for each writer.

    3. You left some excellent feedback and comments, Chris.

    4. Chris, I definitely used your comments while editing my piece. You've been consistently provided thorough reviews during the contest. I usually read at least your comments if no one else's!

    5. I really appreciated your comments on my writing! You were thorough and I took everything you said into serious consideration when editing. Thanks!

  26. What a great contest, DL. I had fun entering as I.B. Wrighton and I had fun voting, too - except sometimes it was so much harder than I thought it would be to make my choice. You attracted some very talented writers to your site and I learned a lot by thinking about what worked for me in each piece, and by reading the comments.

    It's so nice to find out who was who! Congratulations to Ravenclaw and Snivvy Crank for making it to the finals.

  27. I can't wait to find out who won! This has been so fun :)

  28. The judges shall get no help from me, only sympathy. These pieces are both fabulous, and this is going to be one touuuugh decision.

    It's strange finding out who was who, but also fun. I was Sissy Grimm. :)

    Thank you D.L. & lovely wife for everything. You give writers a chance to do what we love best - write & be read - and it was awesome to learn something along the way. Off to read the lessons learned post now...

  29. Wow, those judges sure have their work cut out for them. Both of these submissions are marvelous. Not that my vote really "counts" at this stage of the game, but if I had to pick one, I'd go with Snivvy. (But it honestly could've gone either way.) To see such excellent entries in this final round tells me the WriteClub judges knew what they were doing. Great job, all. Especially D.L. and his bride. Thanks for all their hard work.

    I'm almost ashamed to admit my alias. I was Ratz, who had the dubious honor of getting kicked out in the very first bout. And then dragged back into the ring later to get the stuffing kicked out of me again. (sigh) Y'all ripped my heart out and stomped that sucker flat... and rightly so.

    1. Susan, the fact that you stayed with it and kept voting is a testament to the fact that you SHOULD be a writer. Brava. You had to show twice as much gumption as the rest of us.

  30. New follower here....just found your blog through another contestant's referral. Thanks for hosting this contest. You have two great writers here, and it's a tough vote, but I'll go with Snivvy.




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