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WRiTE CLUB 2014 Play-offs - Round One / Bout 4

We've narrowed the field down to eighteen and we're continuing on with the play-off rounds – which as promised will come at a rapid fire pace.  I will be posting one contest a day this week (Mon-Fri) and four next week (Mon-Thur).  The voting for all nine bouts will remain open until noon on Sunday, August 31st.  Your task remains simple…read the submission from each WRiTER carefully and leave your vote for the sample that resonates with you the most.  If you haven’t already done so in the previous rounds, offer some critique if you have time.  Anyone reading this can vote, so blog/tweet/facebook/text/smoke signal everyone you know and get them to take part in the fun.  Vote on as many bouts as you can get around to.  Whether that is one bout, or all nine, how much you participate is up to you. 

Here’s something else to keep in mind for this round...every vote counts. That’s because the contestant who doesn't win their bout but garners the most votes amongst all of the other losers, will become a wildcard winner and still advance to round 2. 

The winners will be posted late in the afternoon on August 31 and then round 2 will kick off the following Monday, September 1st, with all new 500 word submissions from the nine advancing contestants.

Good luck to all of the WRiTER’s!

And now…..

In this corner welcome back to the ring.....Swick

My favorite sound in the whole world is the swick of an arrow finding its target. It's like a powerful secret. And my arrows totally have secrets.

From a high branch in our neighbors’ oak, I close my left eye and aim at a groove between two roof tiles. The air is heady with Manzanita blossoms, but I block out the tickly scent, ignoring everything but that crevice. With a deep breath, I draw back my bowstring.


A sturdy rope slices through the floodlights like star-smoke. When it buries itself in our roof, I press a button on my bow and the arrowhead splits into a claw-like anchor. I test the rope, and triple check the end wrapped around this tree. My lips curl as I hook my sling to the line.

Then I fly over the yard like a human arrow.

I hoist myself onto the third-story ledge and watch the rope zip back to the neighbors’ tree. Gritting my teeth, I raise my window, praying it doesn’t squeak. The last thing I need is to get busted. Again.

The frame whispers up. I exhale a long breath, slink inside, and collapse on my bed.

The light snaps on.                      


"Do you like being grounded?"

Mom folds her arms and leans into the doorframe. Her glare is more intimidating when she's in one of her power suits, staring down Congress. To me, she's not Florence Nottingham, anti-immigration lobbyist. She’s just Mom: no makeup on her fair skin, ratty old Stanford sweatshirt, ash-blonde hair in a messy it’s-the-middle-of-the-night-and-I'm-stalking-my-teenager ponytail. She's got nothing on the creepers who crossed my path tonight.

Too bad I can't explain that to her.

I groan into my pillow. "Dios, can we do this in the morning?"

"Where were you?"

Yeah, she will totally freak if I answer that.

"What's my sentence? Two weeks? A month?" I slap my phone into her open palm and flop back on my bed. Tomorrow’s the first day of school. That requires at least an hour of sleep.

Two. Two hours would be sweet.

Mom throws her hands up. “I just grounded you for your little stunt this summer.”

She has a point. Last spring, I maybe, sort of, took advantage of Mom’s tendency to sign permission slips without reading them. The “summer mission trip” she signed off on was actually two months in a rural village just south of Tijuana. I left out the Mexico part until I texted her as our bus passed border security.

As a general principle, my mother is not a fan of Mexico.

She taps her slippered foot on the hardwood. "Where were you, Robyn?"

Robyn. A tiny flame flickers in my gut whenever she calls me that. My first name is Dalia. I've only gone by my middle name since Papi died. Not my choice.

I skirt my eyes away from Mom’s determined stare. She's not usually this invested in lecturing me.

"Who's the boy? Will Scarlet?"


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

I know what you’re thinking. Trolls; nasty, ugly creatures that live in caves and under bridges. And you’d be right, for the most part.

I come from a long line of proud, ugly bridge trolls. It’s what we do. We guard bridges, take tolls, and occasionally grind bones to make our bread.

I’m kidding.

Well, sort of.

See, I’m not really a normal troll. I guess you could call me the black sheep of the family. Maybe not a sheep though, since my family eats those. I’m pretty sure they don’t want to eat me. I’m a vegetarian, which doesn’t sit well with them at all because the main staple of troll life is bone-bread. Made from…you know…bones.

Truthfully, I prefer to eat things that didn’t scream in fear when they died. Like berries, mushrooms, and whatever I can poach from the farmer’s crops at the edge of the forest. I’m not proud of stealing the food, but at least I’m not trying to eat the farmer. One night I took my baby sister, Ivy, with me, and things got a little ugly. She’s three, and big for a troll of her age. Anyway, the farmer’s dogs chased us out of the tomato patch, and, well, my sister was hungry. Let’s just say the farmer has one less dog now.

I won’t make that mistake again.

I just wish I could say the same thing about my current situation. Unfortunately the mistake I keep repeating involves breathing, according to my exceptionally foul-tempered cousin, Rot.

“Line ‘em up, boys.” Rot’s deep, grumbling voice says maliciously.

As I look up at the sky, which is also in line with my feet, I wonder what I am to be used for today. The thick vine wrapped around said feet suggests something that involves swinging. Or torture. All the same, really.

“It’s a good day for bowling, eh, River?”

Great. I would reply, but he’s conveniently wrapped another vine around my mouth. I settle for rolling my eyes.

The bulky trolls with Rot gather nearby, placing something on the ground, trying to painstakingly place whatever they have in a small pile. I hope it’s mushrooms; something soft that won’t leave a mark on my face. I twist my head to get a better look, causing blood to rush even faster to my head. When they move, a patch of angry-looking forest gnomes stand glowering at me, tied up more tightly than I am. One of them bares his teeth at me. He looks rabid. Or hungry.

On second thought, maybe I could just pass out now and get this over with.

The gnome snaps his teeth eagerly and I cringe. This day is going downhill fast. The trolls line up on either side of the path I will take to collide with the captive gnomes. I see flashes of silver and gold. They’re taking bets and it’s not even past breakfast.

Rot pulls me back, his dark chuckle close to my ear.


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


  1. Both have great humor, but really liked the voice in the second one. Voting for ArwenWriter.

  2. I love both of these! Really great entries, really! I'm voting for Swick this round, still a favorite.

  3. Really love both, but have to go with Swick.

  4. Swick... But again, a really hard choice.

  5. While I do love the vegetarian troll, my vote goes to Swick!

  6. Swick. It's a more interesting plot line. While ArwenWriter has a good character voice, I feel like the piece is all with all the telling going one while there's a bit more action in Swick's piece.

  7. I go with ArwenWriter. The voice is awesome. I connected with the character. This promises a fun read, and most of all, the voice is consistent throughout the segment.

  8. Both are a lot of fun, but I'm going with ArwenWriter. Love the concept of the troll as protagonist and I loved the voice.

  9. super hard choice for me on this one. Swick

  10. Swick. Although ArwenWriter's excerpt is more fun, Swick's scene is more skillfully executed.

  11. Argh I love both of these, but I'm voting for Swick.

  12. Ooh, a toughie. Voting forArwenwriter

  13. ArwenWriter, another tough round. Good luck to you both.

  14. Swick has my vote. I think it would be huge.
    I can't get over how much ArwenWriter's piece reminds me of that Simpson's episode.




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