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WRiTE CLUB 2014 – Bout #7

How about we start things off by congratulating yet another winner? Our Bout #5 victor is none other than Fitzwilliam.  He/she will now have to wait  patiently with the others for the play-offs to begin in four weeks. The voting for Bout #6 remains open until noon on Wednesday, July 9th.

Before we move on I’d like to comment on the feedback offered in the previous rounds. In a word…exemplary! Reading these mini-critiques is an education in and of itself, and watching how a 500 word writing sample can be viewed so diversely with various elements impacting each reader differently can be truly enlightening. My goal for WRiTE CLUB (one of the may) is not to just provide an avenue for writers to display their work in a non-threatening environment, but ultimately help them improve it. For that to happen I put my faith in the fact that our reader/voters would speak up and offer their suggestions…and BOY…have you! Sometimes that opinion can be as simple as a vote, other times it can be almost as long as the submission itself.  Both are valuable, and valued. I want to thank you on behalf of the contestants (past, present, and future), for validating my trust in the nature of this blogosphere…and writers in general…and for helping mold their writing for the better.   

For anyone who's dropping by for the first time, here's a summary of what's going on. Back on May 3rd we began taking submissions from WRiTER’s far and wide, spanning the globe, representing all ages and multiple styles of WRiTING.  We received 167 entries in all! Those 500 word samples went under careful consideration by 11 judges and that panel narrowed the list down to 32…which are the ones that are pairing off in the ring over the course of eight weeks.  A rundown of past and current matches can be found right HERE.

Note: The submissions can be an excerpt from a larger work...or a standalone piece of flash fiction. The only rules are that they be 500 words or less, and never previously published or posted on a blog. Although I'll never instruct someone how they should choose a winner, I would recommend considering this when doing so. It shouldn't be about how much information is contained in those 500 words, but the way a contestant goes about communicating the information that is.

These illustrious WRiTER’s are not only from all walks of life, but they also occupy various levels of the publication world. But none of that matters here, because inside this ring everybody stands as equals. You know why?  Because no one uses their real name…the only identification you’ll ever see is their pen name. This is not a popularity contest.  The focus here is on the writing, where it should be.

Today is the seventh of sixteen bouts, two bouts per week, with a new one posted every Monday and Thursday. The winners are decided by votes left in the comment section and anyone can vote. The voting for each fight will last for one full week, so you can vote for a Monday battle all the way until midnight on Sunday, and you can vote for a Thursday brawl up until midnight the following Wednesday.  And when you do vote, please let the contestants know what you liked and disliked.

Now it's time to find your seat and get settled.  The fun's about to begin!

Here are this bout's two randomly selected WRiTER's.

Standing in this corner, representing the YA Fantasy/Paranormal genre and weighing in at 492 words, please welcome to the ring……..Pixie Moon.

“You alright Vi?” Laura asks.
I nod, but can’t meet her gaze. How can I tell my best friend that I am losing my mind?
“You look a little pale, are you sure you’re not sick?” Laura persists.
I look up and offer a weak smile. “I’m sure, just ran out of foundation this morning, going for the pale and interesting look today.”      
Laura’s no fool though. She gives me a sideways look from under her fringe.
The bell rings and I twitch.
“You’re as jumpy as a rabbit on a trampoline.” Laura furrows her brow. I know she doesn’t buy it.
“I’ve gotta go,” I mutter and start walking towards the school door.
“Hold it Brown,” Laura orders. “You don’t get away with it that easy. I’ll see you at break, by the canteen.”
I take a deep breath and spin back round. “Sure,” I smile. “See you at break.” I run up the stairs and join the jostling crowd in the corridor. Anonymity, that’s what I need. I don’t want to be different, but I know I am.           
“Here.” Laura hands me a can of soda.
“Thanks.” I pull the ring and take a slug. The fizz hits the back of my throat and I cough.
“So tell me, things not great at home?” My friend, my wonderful caring friend, places her hand on my arm. “Is it your mum?” she presses on. “Has she ... been drinking again?
“No, yes ... I mean, not much, not too much.”
Laura eases me onto a bench and for a minute all I can do is watch the chaos in the canteen. Serena Mayhew is causing the usual distraction for the boys, baby blonde hair and blue eyes flick and flutter for their entertainment. A rucksack wings its way across the room as Caleb Branning annoys the younger kids. This is normal.
“Violet?” Laura whispers. “Please talk to me.”
I face my friend and almost crumble. “I’m fine, honest. Mum just had a go at me this morning. Things suck since Dad disappeared.”
“All of you have been so brave,” Laura sniffs. “I’m never getting married,” she says firmly. “Guys are such a waste of space.” She squeezes her empty can.
“Never?” I smile. My friend is beautiful and isn’t short of male attention. I can’t see her sitting at home with a cat for company somehow.
Her auburn hair shines effortlessly, falling in natural waves to her shoulders. Huge green eyes are framed by long lashes and she rarely gets spots on her peachy complexion.
Whereas I have pale skin, hence the constant need for foundation, and my dark, poker straight hair, falls in a curtain either side of my square face. My one redeeming feature - my eyes. Violet had really been the obvious name choice. My full name is Violet Rose Brown, nickname, Rainbow Girl. An ironic choice for someone who would much rather fade into the background.

And in the other corner, representing the Historical Fiction genre with 500 words, let me introduce to you……….Miss Drake.

The last time Benjamin Marshall ate a corned beef sandwich was the same day he killed more than six hundred people. It was early afternoon, and the wind had been bitter, coming off the frozen shallows of the lake. It made Benjamin feel as if the fine hairs in his nose were freezing together, so he had ducked into The Berghoff to thaw. He hadn’t expected an interruption, so his hands were knuckle-deep in his corned beef sandwich, pulling off the strings of sauerkraut, wiping away as much of the bitterness as he could.

Someone called his name, and when Benjamin looked up, his fingers deep in his sandwich, Minnie Dorsey was running at him, her face drawn tight. Her hair was piled in a loose knot on the top of her head, golden curls frizzling out from the mass. Most of the women Benjamin knew kept their hair pinned tight, any curls revealing themselves in a calculated, cascading way, but not Minnie. Everything about Minnie was different than the other woman Benjamin knew.

It was well-known that women weren’t allowed in The Berghoff, a mostly unspoken rule. Benajmin glanced around and everyone’s eyes were on him. On Minnie, really. If it were anyone but Minnie, he would have prepared himself for a slap over something he’d done, but Minnie was one of the fun girls, never seeming to mind when she caught Benjamin out with a different girl on his arm, dizzy with champagne.

“Ben,” she gasped again.

“Benjamin,” he corrected her, as he always did. He had been Ben as a young boy, sometimes Bennie. He’d be drawing on a large sketch pad in the yard, trying to decipher the varying whistles from the train tracks a few miles away, and then his mother’s long, “Be-en!” to call him in for supper. Now, he went by Benjamin, only Benjamin.

As a boy he was constantly scolded by his school teacher for doodling instead of working on his arithmetic. “Our little artist,” his mother would say when company came over. The problem with being an artist was that Benjamin couldn’t draw faces—the shadows and expressions were lost when he sketched on paper. He never got the look of happiness or of despair quite right and his portraits would end up looking like chiseled stone: cold and solid. But lines he could manage—he drew squares and arches and rectangles that spoke to people more than any two-dimensional face did.

Still, it frustrated him that no matter how hard he tried, he would never be able to sum Minnie Dorsey up with lines on paper. Standing before him, her cheeks were flushed rosy. She looked so wild, so Minnie that Benjamin wanted to reach out and touch her face, but everyone was looking and it was The Berghoff after all. “What is it?” he asked her. “Benjamin Marshall,” she said, with an edge to her voice, a mix of urgency and now, annoyance. “Your beloved theatre is on fire.” 


Enjoying the words of two talented writers is only part of the price of admission, now it’s up to you to decide who moves forward to the playoffs.  In the comments below leave your vote for the winner of Bout #7.  Which one tickled your fancy?  After you vote please tell all of your friends to stop by and make a selection as well.  The voting for this round will remain open until noon Sunday.  Yes, it’s subjective, but so is the entire publishing world.  It’s as much about the readers as it is about the writers. 

Here in WRiTE CLUB, it’s not about the last man/woman standing -- it’s the audience that gets clobbered!


  1. Miss Drake for me. I'm immediately drawn in and curious about the world and the characters.

  2. Pixie Moon for me. It's not a genre I enjoy, but the writing fitted the genre expectations well, and was smooth to follow.
    Miss Drake's excerpt felt a little wordy for me. It could lose some of the words without losing the meaning of the piece.

  3. So hard to choose! Going with Miss Drake because I really like the way the 600 people in the first line (which sucks in the reader) link to the last line about the theatre.

  4. Pixie moon- I didn't get attached to the characters yet, or feel emerged in a fantasy or paranormal world. The physical descriptions were a bit of an info dump. And I'm unsure what shade "baby blonde" is. I like the voice though.

    Miss Drake- wow! What a hook! Bravo on the first line and final line. Exquisite work. Two possible grammar errors that I saw, tog. But, overall, a very strong entry. You have my vote.

    1. Baby blonde threw me, too - I've heard "baby blues" referring to eyes, but not baby for hair.

    2. I had to reread that. I mentally inserted "baby fine," like very thin hair. But as a shade of blonde, I also have no idea if baby would be light, dark, or somewhere in the middle.
      But "poker straight hair" also tripped me up. At first I thought it referred to the card game! A fire-poker dawned on me a moment later. (One of those "Ooohhh" moments. LOL.)

    3. I interpreted "baby blond" as really light blonde like "toe headed" children if that makes sense. Lots of babies are born blonde but then have their hair darken.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Pixie Moon is missing some commas. For instance in "You alright, Vi?" And I just didn't connect with those characters. I guess I didn't feel they were unique enough.

    I liked how Miss Drake gave us enough background to sketch a personality portrait of her two characters. It was different and interesting.

    I vote for Miss Drake.

  6. Another tough bout. I congratulate the contestants!

    There is a lot to like about the piece by Pixie Moon. It reads smoothly enough to keep the story moving forward, and has some nice touches of description (the cafeteria background, for instance). But there are a few hiccups (comma splices aplenty, for instance), and I don't think Laura's pestering really needs to span two separate scenes – it could definitely be streamlined a bit. However, my biggest issue is that the story feels like a gazillion other YA paranormal stories where the protagonist struggles to try and be normal when given special powers of some sort or other. True, this is only a short snippet, but it doesn't really grab me as much as it might, simply because it seems so familiar. It doesn't give many hints of something new, and unfortunately, I'm not that enticed to read on to discover whatever "secret-self" Violet will reveal. But perhaps that is just me, and a YA without the experience and familiarity of the genre will eagerly keep going.

    Miss Drake really grabbed me with that opening sentence. It's a great blend of quirky and captivating. It arouses a lot of curiosity, and Miss Drake does oblige by expanding on the "last time", but unfortunately, I found it bogging down as the flashback became awash with back-story. The writing is clean, and it has a great voice for the genre, with a nice comedic touch. But I would have liked that flashback scene streamlined – all the back-story about Ben and his history over his name and dabbling with art could be saved for later, I think. Still, it was surprising to learn that the 600 was associated with a theater fire, and this is definitely a piece of writing that promises a fun story ahead.

    So with a little cleaner writing, a great voice for the genre, and a little more captivating story, I'm going with Miss Drake.

  7. Congrats to Pixie Moon and Miss Drake! I really enjoyed reading both pieces, but my vote goes to Miss Drake. The opening line was killer - it drew me in and then at the end, I found myself wanting to read more.

  8. Congrats to both entries making it to the battle rounds! I really enjoyed both, but my vote goes to Pixie Moon. The piece wasn't perfect, but it made me want to read more.

  9. Miss Drake for me!

    It was one of my top favorite entries. I would definitely keep reading. I love the mention of him killing all those people and I love the little twist at the end.

    Pixie Moon for me was a close vote, but i feel like the writing could be tightened. There's a lot of buried dialogue which means it loses it's oomph, and there are spots with dialogue attribution followed by action, and you don't usually need both. One or the other will do (usually the action). Outside of that, though, i'm just not really grabbed. There's just two girls talking about one of them, and then there's a bit of an info dump regarding appearances. It's not bad or anything at all, it just doesn't WOW me like i hope these entries will.

  10. Miss Drake hooked me in with the great opening line. I want more! Miss Drake gets my vote.

  11. Miss Drake. A bit of telling, but liked the story and it had a great first line.

  12. I'm naming Miss Drake my winner, but Pixie Moon was definitely a contender. Congrats to the two of you. Both narrators had engaging voices and stories. Each also threw in leading lines that made me want to read more, although "killing six hundred people" seems gratuitous without any further explanation (I acknowledge that the 500 word makes it tough, but that's an awfully big gun to put on the wall without it going off...I'm presuming it will in the extended story. Also, the doodling/drawing appears to be a set-up but falls short on any pay-off in this short piece. It would have held together better as a whole if sketcher Benjamin's beloved art museum, say, were on fire, or if he were depicted as a film buff before introducing a burning cinema.) Pixie Moon seemed to pile on details (especially the last line—perhaps that should be the first line with everything that follows illustrating the point. Another example: no need to tell us that a friend is "loving, caring" when you've already illustrated this so well by showing her placing her hand on your MC's arm and acting so sympathetically.). Miss Drake weaves what we need to know in more skillfully, drawing (ahem) in the reader.

  13. I like the image Miss Drake cast with her piece, my vote is for her this week... once again we had 2 great pieces to chose from. Thanks to both authors.

  14. Both passages leave me wanting more! But my vote is for Miss Drake. She hooked me on the first sentance and I loved the description of Ben and Minnie - I could picture this scene in my mind.

  15. Mark down another one for Miss Drake! Both entries were great though.

  16. This is a very tough round! Congrats to both for making it hard to choose. In the end, though I have to go with Miss Drake for the killer first and last lines.

  17. Pixie Moon - On first read I am very impressed by this piece, which is remarkable since I usually don't care for present tense or stories about teenagers. But this one seemed to really imbue the characters with real feelings and a depth that I am not used to seeing in YA stories (not that I've read a ton of them). One question persisted throughout: Is she literally "losing her mind" as she says at the beginning? She seems pretty sane to me, just depressed. I kept waiting for her to display some evidence of a psychotic break with reality or something more serious. Having been told that she was losing her mind, I kept wondering if she was just making up her family problems to distract from the fact that she had a more serious mental issue, or if her family was her real problem.

    Miss Drake - This one paints a very interesting picture, with lots of colorful details. On the whole I feel it is well written, and that there is a good story brewing here. However, I think there may actually be too many different ideas thrown into this sample together, making it hard to focus on what is actually important. The sandwich seems to get a lot of coverage. Is it significant? Something tells me no. When Minnie shows up, he takes notice of her, then drifts off into a reverie about drawing when he was a child. It seemed an odd thing for him to think about at the moment and really dragged me away from the action happening in the present.

    On this round, I'll cast my vote for Pixie Moon.

  18. Both pieces were well written, and I'm having a hard time deciding. Despite a tendency toward info-dumping, I felt immersed in Miss Drake's world almost immediately, and I was drawn to both Benjamin and Minnie. Pixie Moon felt a little too contemporary for my tastes and not enough fantasy for me to be fully drawn in. Though there were hints of intrigue, nothing really piqued my interest and made me feel like I HAD to know more. Still, the voice and pacing were quite good...

    I'm voting for Miss Drake, because it pulled me in so well. And because, after only 500 words, I'm already rooting for Benjamin and Minnie.

  19. Congrats to both writers!

    In the first entry I had a hard time picturing what was happened. The dialogue felt like writing to me and I didn't get enough description to really picture what was happening in the first scene. So in my mind it was like talking heads and since the POV wasn't particularly deep I didn't have a lot of context for what was happening. I was left confused by the lack of world-building as to what was happening in the scene.

    Miss Drake, on the other hand, packs some serious punch with her opening line. Not only is it a great hook, but it sets the tone for what's happening. The writing feels much more intentional. and it flows so well. I felt in the middle that we lost some of that intensity with the introduction of Minnie, but it definitely picked back up at the end.

    My vote is for Miss Drake. Even though Pixie's genre is much more my style, the writing doesn't feel nearly as strong.

  20. Miss Drake for me! I'm a huge YA reader, but Pixie Moon's piece doesn't feel as focused or clear as Miss Drake's.

  21. I'm not crazy about either of these. That's the problem with a scene that appears to be from something larger; it has trouble connecting with readers. Both were well written, and if I has to chose one with which to continue, it would be the one from Miss Drake, so Miss Drake gets my vote.

  22. Miss Drake gets my vote! It was EXTRAORDINARY

  23. Not a whole lot happens in either of these pieces, IMO, but I wanted to know more (a good thing!). I was intrigued to know what was so different about Violet in the first, but we never find out. And the second is mostly backstory. But I felt the first and last lines of Miss Drake's were great, and the writing a bit tighter and possessing more voice, so that's where my vote goes. Some comments:

    Pixie Moon: watch the commas - they were lacking in a couple places in your dialogue, and then there was an extra in one sentence. I'm sensing from the Mum that you are British, so maybe it's a cultural thing, but I was not hearing a teen voice here. The dialogue seemed a bit too formal for teens. I think the writing is nice, and I was definitely intrigued to find out what is different about Violet.

    Miss Drake: a lot of telling, not showing. Reveal backstory in little snippets and find ways to work it into an action when you can. I feel like the pot calling the kettle black because I've gotten this feedback a lot with my own writing! I'm intrigued about this death of 600 people thing, and the tension between your characters, and then your cliffhanger with the fire. Nice job!

    Good luck to you both!

  24. Voting for Pixie Moon, even though it spun its wheels too long over getting Vi to admit something was bothering her. There was a clear connection between the two friends.

    In Miss Drake, I thought it was interesting to have an artist who couldn't draw faces in the usual way.

  25. Congratulations to both of you. My vote is for Miss Drake.

    I expect more of a fantasy story. As YA, it has a strong voice and is appealing. As fantasy, I have no idea what is remarkable, different, or unusual about the world of this story. Perhaps that comes later, but I have to judge on what I'm given.

    For historical fiction, this seems plausible and intriguing. Both the first and last sentence have me hungry for more.

  26. Although Miss Drake gets a bit sidetracked in the second-to-the-last paragraph flashback, it gets my vote. Pixie Moon takes wonderfully vivid descriptions and overdoes them a bit too much for me. Maybe it's the genre?

  27. My vote is for Miss Drake, but let me say, I did NOT get that this was a flash back. If it is indeed a flash back, you might want to make that a little clearer. But I did enjoy the piece and I am curious to know more.

    I could not tell what Pixie Moon's piece is about. There's just a whole lot of nothing going on. If this is the beginning, you're starting at the wrong place (start with the conflict). If this is in the middle, it needs to be tightened.

  28. I want to vote for both. I like pixie moon however didn't see a point in the scene shift so early. I wonder if the story is started in the right place.
    Miss who im voting for because it n it drew me in and im not one who usually reads historical

  29. I'm fascinated by Miss Drake's excerpt, despite not reading historical generally. I would want to read on with both and find out what happens next, but with Miss Drake's I'm really curious how the guy killed 600 people. So I would most want to read on with that one and find out what happened!

    My vote goes for Miss Drake.

  30. Both Pixie Moon and Miss Drake should be proud to make it to the knockout round!

    In Pixie Moon's submission, I like the contrast between the two friends. Laura's everything that the MC is not. And I loved the line about jumpy as a rabbit on a trampoline! That said, the writing had a lot of "beats" in it - furrowing brows, spinning around -- as well as attributions other than "said" (persisting, mumbling, whispering). These were a distraction. Also, and I admit this may be a matter of taste, there's nothing really *happening* in the scenes. I wanted more. Hints that the MC might be a vampire also worry me about an already-overdone kind of paranormal.

    Miss Drake offers a great opening line to hook the reader. The narration is very tight to the main character; we're in his head immediately. I admire how she's able to characterize not just one, but two characters fairly well in such a short space. That said, I was slightly irked at the side-story and back-story that keeps getting in the way of me finding out why Minnie came running, or how Ben killed so many people. That began to resolve with the ending bit of dialogue, to my considerable (if impatient) relief.

    My vote goes to Miss Drake.

  31. This was a tough one. I loved the first line of Miss Drake, but the rest of the piece felt like a lot of telling and then had the odd switch to a flashback scene. I'm definitely intrigued, by the 600 people killed, but I wanted more.

    I felt Pixie Moon's piece was a good start and though not much happened, I liked the set up. I can't wait to see what makes Vi different and why her father disappeared. I like the relationship between Vi and Laura.

    My vote goes to Pixie Moon.

  32. Miss Drake gets my vote today. Lively use of language and good movement to the overall piece.
    Pixie Moon has promise, but the movement gets stopped in a few places where the description seems misplaced--not bad description, just in the wrong place.

  33. Really tight this time. In the end, I think I'll vote for Miss Drake, but only by a hair.

    Pixie Moon really rocked the dialogue and the teenager's internal monologue. She earned a reprieve from my general distaste for paranormal story protagonists who just want to be normal because for Violet, "normal" sounds like an active improvement.

    I really liked Miss Drake's piece, though. The writing had a lot of flavor, and the set-up and spike of how Benjamin killed 600 people was adroitly done.

  34. Of the two miss drakes made me want to keep reading more so she gets my vote

  35. It's funny, Dan wrote above that he loved the line "you're as jumpy as a rabbit on a trampoline". That sentence threw me out of the story because I could never imagine a teen saying it. It sounds like something your grandmother would say which brings me to the real problem of the story - the characters seem older to me - not at all like teens.

    Miss Drake did a great job putting me in the story and she had a great hook in the first sentence, followed by another powerful hook in the last.

    Miss Drake wins it for me!

  36. I think Pixie Moon could have submitted the next 500 words of that story and maybe have gotten my attention. It just didn't go anywhere and nothing in it made me want to continue. It wasn't bad writing just seemed like filler.

    Miss Drake nailed me on the first line. I also liked the bit about the sandwich. I could see it in my mind, wiping away the sour. It went a bit stale with the art bit but I understood it at the end when the lines were used to set up the ending.

    Miss Drake gets my vote.

  37. I'm voting for Miss Drake. The voice is more well-defined and I was intrigued despite the fact that I'm usually not interested in historical fiction.

    For Pixie Moon: I don't think this was the right scene for the competition. Like someone before me had commented, I couldn't figure out what the protagonist's goal was other than she wanted be anonymous. Without knowing what she really wanted and without a tighter scene with conflict, it lost me. However, I love this genre and I like that she gave her character violet eyes and pale skin. I also like that the character appreciates her own unique eyes and doesn't self-loathe.

  38. Very touch choices. Pixie Moon has great dialogue while Miss Drake has good narrative voice and great descriptions. I'm intrigued by the narration and not bored. I will side with Miss Drake, only because Pixie Moon had an interrupt to go to a different scene and disconnected me from the immersion. While necessary to have in a story, for this kind of contest, it is enough for me to vote the other way.

    I vote for Miss Drake.

  39. Miss Drake has a great hook and smooth flow, while Pixie Moon felt cliche and too tropey. My vote goes to Miss Drake!

  40. My vote is for Miss Drake.
    I enjoyed Miss Drake's ability to create Minnie for us. The dept of this piece, connects images of lines and curves to personalities. Benjamin draws in lines, but he sees Minnie mostly in curvy loose curls. The geometry provides a new dynamic to her personality. Great job!

  41. Both were intriguing, but I'll have to go with Miss Drake.

  42. My vote also goes to Miss Drake.

    Once again, I find myself agreeing with much of what Chris Fries said -- it looks like we may have similar tastes! In this case, I also feel that the biggest problem with Pixie Moon's entry is that it sounds like something that's already been done many times, and there wasn't anything distinctive enough about it to really engage my interest. Also, there are quite a few punctuation errors in this excerpt, and the description of the girls is a tad awkward. (For instance, I don't see how hair can shine 'effortlessly'.) And, as others have mentioned, the dialogue is a little stiff at times, so it doesn't always sound natural for teenagers. On the plus side, the details about the activity in the cafeteria and the girls drinking soda are effective, helping to ground the scene in a real place.

    I really enjoyed the opening paragraph of Miss Drake's entry -- I could feel the cold and taste that sandwich. And while some might think that first sentence is a bit of a gimmick, I think it works here. And I like the characterization of Minnie that follows. One minor flaw I see is instances where the same word is used too close together -- for example, 'deep' in two successive references to his fingers in the sandwich, and 'tight' to describe Minnie's face and, immediately afterwards, how women style their hair.

    The only significant issue is that the passage about Benjamin's history as an artist should probably be moved to another point in the story. Considering the urgency conveyed by Minnie at the beginning of the scene (and even just by the fact that she's come into The Berghoff), that interlude takes a little too long, and interrupting what should be a moment of rising tension also disrupts the flow of this excerpt. But overall I think this story has a lot of potential. :)

  43. My vote this round goes to Pixie Moon. There were a couple little bits of wit in there that I could see coming from teenagers, and I think that feeling of not belonging anywhere is something everyone goes through during that time, so it's audience appropriate. I'm curious as to how it takes that turn into Fantasy/Paranormal. The violet eyes thing seems a little overused in the genre - maybe expand it a little? They were violet when she was born but now they've become more complex somehow?

    Miss Drake just didn't pull me in very much. I thought Minnie was interesting but like a couple others mentioned, the interlude to talk about the drawing was too long, in that spot. It was lovely, just not there. I lost the momentum of Minnie bursting in, during the description about being an artist. If he's an artist why does he care about a theatre? Maybe you could move the artist description to be part of the explanation of why he loves the theatre? (she says w/o knowing what is coming next and whether that would remotely work in the story... grain of salt!)

  44. Another tough one! My vote goes to Pixie Moon. The dialogue and the descriptions grabbed me, but what really won me over was the way it established the friendship between the two characters.

  45. pixie moon although was a easy read left me lacking something in the story. miss drake could have done without the extra paragraph of the backstory and used those words elsewhere. miss drake gets my vote

  46. Miss Drake gets my vote this round. I liked the characterisation of Minnie. I did think the scene was dragged out, considering Minnie has rushed into 'male only' territory to tell him the theatre is on fire. The cut to backstory about his mother and drawing seemed to be in the wrong place and took the urgency away.

    Pixie Moon gave me a good sense of the friendship between the two girls, but didn't leave me with any urgency to read on to see what was going to happen.

  47. This one is hard. I like them both. I was instantly drawn in by the description of Benjamin. But there wasn't much happening. I liked Violet, and I liked that there was something big going on. I think I enjoyed the interaction between people more, so I vote:

    Pixie Moon

  48. Congrats to you both for making it into the 32! And for being brave enough to put your work out there. There were elements of both that I liked, but I felt the writing was much stronger in Miss Drake's. The line in Pixie Moon's about being jumpy as a rabbit on a trampoline didn't ring true to me, as others have said above. And in Miss Drake's piece there's too much backstory, again as others have commented. Cut that out (except for maybe the most necessary line or two) and give us more of what's going on in the actual scene. Maybe the taste of that corned beef sandwich. Or how hungry he was before starting it. Still, I vote for Miss Drake.

  49. congrats to both writers for making it into the top 32!

    Yikes, tough one here... both had elements that I really liked, and both had areas of opportunity. The backstory in Miss Drake's piece weighed the plot down, but I want to keep reading. The first line was a killer hook! Pixie Moon's piece has a lot of potential but needs some serious editting to smooth it out. Miss Drake has my vote.

  50. going to go with miss drake on this one.

  51. Congratulations to both writers for making it to the battle rounds.

    My vote goes to Pixie Moon.

    Both pieces had pros and cons:

    Pixie Moon's piece needed editing but I was hooked at the very end i.e. last line.

    Miss Drake's writing while polished, had me hooked at the beginning but sagged in the middle because of backstory and I didn't make it to the end.

  52. I love the opening line in Miss Drake's piece, but after that it pretty much lost my interest. Too much backstory and personal introspective. Perhaps if it had been interspersed with more dialog or action, I would have kept up. Great writing, just not the best way to tell a story and holy MY interest.

    Pixie Moon, also had a lot of personal introspective, a most of that was self description, which I would rather see for myself than be told about. There was an effort to break this up with dialog and some action, but it seems it might have been left out entirely and shown to me through another means. Although I think Pixie Moon needs to rework this piece into a tighter piece of writing, I was more intrigues about what was going on and what would happen next.

    My vote goes to Pixie Moon.




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