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WRiTE CLUB 2016 - Bout #14

This is it...the last week of preliminary bouts and a chance for some of you to finally find out if your writing sample was picked out of the one-hundred seventy one submitted this year.  Needless to say, even those who are unable to claim victory in their match have nothing to hang their head about -- just getting into the ring was a feat in and of itself.

And kudo's to everyone who have helped drive interest in WRiTE CLUB these first two weeks.  Week 1 bouts averaged 67 votes/comments (a new record) and a total of 3400+ views.  WAY TO GO!! All of the winners have been posted on the WRiTE CLUB Scorecard and I'll continue to update it as we move through the contest. Unfortunately, voting has dropped off significantly during the second week, but there is still time to do something about that. Here's where I remind everyone that voting for every bout remains live for one week, so lets do everything we can to see that our 2nd week writers get the same amount of attention as the first.

For you newbies - here's a reminder of how this works. This is the 3rd and final week of daily bouts (M-F) between writing samples that are identified only by the craftily selected pen names of the respective submitters. The writing can be from any genre, any age group, taken either from a larger piece of work or simply a stand alone flash fiction. The focus is on the writing...not the writer...or its categorization. The two writing samples for each bout will be randomly matched and step into the ring for a chance to find out what they're made of.

The winner of each contest is chosen by you...the reader.  Simply read each entry and leave your vote in the comment section below.  Anyone can vote, as long as you have a Google ID or belong to Google Friend Connect. Anonymous voting is not allowed. It is also customary to leave a brief critique of both pieces. You see, the comments are where the true value of this contest makes itself known. Not only do the contestants gain valuable insight about their work from those remarks, but everybody can benefit from how each piece is received and what works...and what doesn't. Please remember to remain respectful with your comments. If you see an opportunity for improvement, make it known in the most positive way possible.

How do you choose a winner? What criteria should be used? The method by which you determine who to vote for is entirely up to you.  Which one resonates with you the most? Which one makes you want to read more? Which one demonstrates a total command of the English language and how it can be used to elicit emotion or paint a mental picture you can't stop staring at. There is no hard and fast way rules for determining a winner -- and that's exactly what the publishing world is like. But today you get to decide.  At stake is a chance to win free admission to the 2017 DFW Writers Conference and some bragging rights.

The voting for this bout - Bout #14 - is a little shorter because we are ending the near of the first round.  You can vote for this bout up until noon on Tuesday - March 29th.

That's the bell...and its trying to tell us something.

Let me introduce to you the contestants for this bout.  In the near corner, representing the Adult Psychological Thriller genre with 496 words, welcome to the ring Crash Override.

The sound a van makes when it hits a pedestrian is quieter than one would assume.
The last thing I ever thought would be going through my mind as said van slams into me is the toilet paper I’d forgotten to buy off my grocery list.
Everyone else gets their life flashing before their eyes, and I’m stuck with—Oh no, you forgot the damn TP, again!
Go figure.
Twisting metal against twisting flesh makes for one macabre dance. My luck being what it was, I don’t even get the visual relief of unconsciousness. No, I see every little infinitesimal moment go by in slow motion. The impact reverberates through my body, up into my soul, until the whole world is consumed by my anguished cries.
Or if not the whole world then at least, maybe, the two Asian girls holding umbrellas in the pouring LA rain who come to my rescue—once the accident is over. And possibly, the fabulously-fabulous man in his cutoff jean shorts who happens to have a pen and paper handy to write the whole incident down.
The screams of my sister, Rae, as she watched the whole thing take place just a few steps behind me in the crosswalk—well, they probably filled in where mine left off. Our voices intertwined as we wove a song of fear and terror—five short seconds and one unendingly long note.
Perhaps they feel the anguish.
Either way, they did help my sister get me off the middle of Melrose Ave. and onto the crowded sidewalk—somewhere between the Tokidoki store and Kid Robot.
With LA drivers being what they are, everyone agreed it was safer to move my broken body than leave it on the soaking asphalt. Unknown, blood-soaked, hands grasped my cold, wet limbs. Gingerly, they carried me to the sidewalk and I became the next installation of modern street art.
Gawking tourists hungry for a free show stand salivating at my demise, Instagram and Twitter documenting in real time. The kind girls with their umbrellas stand over me. They make sure I’m not getting soaked, while the fella in the booty shorts goes around asking everyone what they saw.
I lie there, thoughts fluttering through my mind like the flash of a camera: What’s the water doing to my brown leather boots? And, Did anyone look up my dress when I went flying through the air? Circling my head over and over like a vulture.
The man who hit me stands against a wall with a dumb look on his face.
No apology.
No hint he even knows what just took place.
No remorse. Just a blank stare.
“Bri. Oh fuck, Bri, are you okay? I mean, you just got hit. By a van!” There goes Rae stating the obvious. My sis always knows the right things to say. Or, in this case, scream, but I won’t hold it against her. This time.
A weak laugh manages to escape. “Calm down. I’m still alive, right?”


And in the far corner, representing the YA Historical genre with 500 words, also welcome to the ring Animaybe.

My new-found source of confidence was the sample tube of lipstick in the drugstore. Now properly tinted, the sophisticated woman of the world that I was waited for her milkshake.

“Thank you, Bill,” I whispered as the soda jerk set the milkshake in front of me. It was all I could do to put my napkin in my lap and not fall off the stool- so much for my worldliness.

The bell over the drugstore door rang, followed by familiar voices.

“Mouse! Are you wearing makeup?”

I ducked my head.

Just like every day at school, the same girls were ruining my few stolen moments. Didn’t they take weekends off?

“Betty Jean! Come look at this! Did you ever see a mouse wearing lipstick?” Another girl laughed.

I ducked my head lower as their bodies pressed closer. I rolled my lips into my mouth and tried to hide the bright red stain. I wished I could hide, too.

“Is that the makeup your daddy uses on dead people, Mouse?”

The girls burst into shrieks.


“Mouse uses the funeral parlor makeup?”

“The undertaker’s daughter all made up for a funeral!”

“Oh, didn’t he do such a good job? She almost looks alive!”

I began trembling.

Bill walked around the counter, reached between the cackling girls, and picked up my milkshake.

“Mary Alice,” Bill tried to say in his most commanding voice. It might have worked, had his voice not cracked so badly.

He moved away from me to a booth where he set down my glass.

“Mary Alice,” Bill stood by the booth and held out his hand.

I hopped down from the stool- glad that my skirt didn’t catch on it this time- and went to the seat without making eye contact with Bill or taking the hand he offered. He took the seat across from me right at the edge, so no one else could scoot in with us. My heart raced, more from Bill than my tormentors.

“Oh, isn’t this rich,” laughed one of the girls, “the undertaker’s daughter and the bootlegger’s son!”

The girls all cackled.

“It’s a perfect match. Her daddy can pickle folks in whatever his daddy cooks up.” Betty Jean laughed at her own joke. Her friends laughed along with her.

“Come on, girls. I think they want to be alone.” One girl giggled. Another made kissy noises.

“Yeah, let’s go to my house.” Mary Alice turned and skirts swished as the pack turned to leave.

I kept my eyes on the milkshake long after they were gone, the drops of condensation running down the smooth glass.

“Mary Alice?”

I looked up at Bill, and for the first time met his gaze.

“I like that lipstick.”

I squeaked, “Jungle Red.”

He nodded and stood up but didn’t leave.

We stayed like that until I spoke.

“Thank you… for not calling me Mouse, and everything.”

Bill nodded again and went back to work.

In the mirror behind the soda fountain, I saw him grinning.

Enjoying two talented writers at work is only part of the price of admission, now it’s up to you to decide who moves forward.  Read both pieces, choose the one you feel is superior, then say so in the comments below and provide a mini-critique for each.

Enjoy the rest of your week, but not before you tell all of your friends to stop by and make a selection as well.  Tweet about it, and if you do please use the hashtag #WRiTECLUB2016. Tell everyone about WRiTE CLUB, where it’s not about the last man/woman standing, but who knocks the audience out!


  1. These are really hard to choose between. Both have amazing strengths.

    Crash Override- I really liked your opening line and the scene in general. I think the voice of Bri was spot on. Slightly sarcastic to make light of a terrible accident. The only thing that pulled me out of the story is my incessant need to have interaction with other characters. Bri's inner thoughts are good (and needed!) but I think it went on a little long for my tastes. I would have loved to have seen her thoughts peppered in with her sister. I think she came in too late for a 500. In a longer work, this isn't a problem. But 500 is all I get and waiting til the last line to actually hear Bri speak was too long to wait.

    Animaybe- I'm such a sucker for historical. I love being transported to different times and places. Your 500 has the interaction I crave. But, maybe a tad too much. While I loved seeing the differences between Mary's tormentors and Bill, I think there was too much of the girls cackling. The point was made and I felt myself skimming to want to move forward in the story. My interest was most definitely in the end with Mary and Bills interaction. I was confused as to who he was/his age in relation to hers.

    My vote goes to Crash Override. It boiled down to main character temperament. Bri's toughness won over Mary's mouse-like qualities.

  2. Crash Override was a little too jolting in tone for me. I had a hard time figuring out when we were in the present and when the narrator was offering a side observation
    Animaybe's piece struck me as slightly cliched--there's so much room for adding depth to a mean girl scene, and I kind of felt as though this one could be switched out for a dozen or so I've seen in teen movies. Still, I found it easier and pleasant to read, and Bill was a lovable character. So I vote Animaybe.

  3. Crash Override had a good hook but I don't buy that the person wasn't thinking about pain at all or worrying about their body being ruined. Animaybe gets my vote bc that scene was unrelentingly awkward and it made me feel for the character.

  4. Crash was exactly that- a crash. I was finding myself rereadng bits to figure out if I was still in the present action or her thoughts or what. I did like that she was thinking about the toilet paper in a crisis (unfortunately, I can identify with that).

    Animaybe- I love historical and being a fairly shy person myself I like shy characters that bloom. I can feel a bloom coming for her and I like Bill, the knight in shining armor with the cracking voice. And I didn't find anything out of time to pull me out of the story.

    I vote for Animaybe.

  5. Crash Override: Maybe it's just me but every accident I've been in has been more of a quick change of scenery. One moment I'm going long and the next I'm looking at who knows what. No passing out, just they hapen that quickly. Is he a cyborg that he's twisting the metal of the van? Slight dent maybe... He seems a bit lucid for being hit by a van. This also doesn't sound like a Psychological Thriller, adult or otherwise. If this is an excertp then you might have been better off with something that reflected it. On the plus side, not bad writing.

    Animaybe: You need to research the soda jerk a bit more. There was an air of respect for soda jerks and instead of the "mean girls" chiding her about his dad they would more likely be jealous. Any other customers would have also looked down on their remarks as well as his boss. This feels small townish and their parents would have soon heard about such open talk. That aside she doesn't seem to have the so called confidence mentioned at the start. Show it. historical isn't just a setting, it's a whole framework of speech and social understandings too.

    This week I wouldn't continue reading either story but in the end I think Animaybe is more convincing, though not by a lot.

    Vote: Animaybe

  6. I vote for Animaybe.

    Crash Override: I like the tone and the character's voice. The writing also reflects the chaos of the accident scene. I found that I wasn't really interested in what happened next, though--more about the driver might help. I, too, was confused about the anguished cries with no real mention of physical pain or injury, especially since her body was moved.

    Animaybe: The scene is a bit cliched, but I love the lipstick reference framing the scene and being part of the mean girls' focus. I got a bit Mary Alice the main character or one of the mean girls (perhaps Betty Jean turns and shirts swish?) Overall, the piece flows well and creates the desired emotion.

  7. Animaybe gets my vote.

    Crash Overide: I'm torn between appreciating the slow-motion, almost out-of-body tone of this piece and feeling like it was too slow and not physical enough. (There's no mention of how much this hurt, beside the screaming). Your tense changes are a bit confusing, as is the line, "The screams of my sister, Rae, as she watched the whole thing take place just a few steps behind me in the crosswalk." It sounds like the whole thing took place behind the narrator (which is clearly not what you meant), instead of that the sister was behind the narrator (in which case, I wonder why these sisters aren't walking side-by-side as my sister and I would if we were galavanting around town). Words like "maybe," "probably," "perhaps," and "possibly" often trip me up, making me wonder if the writer is afraid to come out and just state things as fact. In the context of WriteClub especially, they feel like wasted words. Be bold. I think you'd have a great piece if you could tweak the pacing (maybe...), add some physical pain, and tighten the writing just a bit. The voice is fun, with just the right amount of sarcasm (loved the toilet paper thoughts). I love the interaction between the sisters at the end. Their conversation and Bri's internal thoughts work well to show their personalities and relationship.

    Animaybe: This was awkwardly sweet. I agree that it's a bit cliched with too much laughing from cookie-cutter mean girls. I'd like you to give them a reason to enter the store, though. It feels like they were only there to pick on Mary Alice. I assume that one "Mary Alice" was supposed to be "Betty Jean." Mary Alice and Bill were believable and likable, so good work with them! I'm curious to know what happens with the undertaker's daughter and the bootlegger's son. I'd work on making your opening line pop. As it is, you're giving a definition more than stirring intrigue. I think something like "The sample tube of drugstore lipstick (strong verb to finish the thought)..." would be more powerful than "My new-found source of confidence was..." I'd rather see how the lipstick transforms her than have her tell me that she finally has confidence, if that makes sense. Maybe go with something like "The sample tube of drugstore lipstick worked like whiskey to the coward..." or something alcoholic to tie into the whole bootlegger's son thing. :) I don't know. Just throwing out ideas... Enough critique, though! You get my vote and the more I think on this piece, the more I adore your main characters! Good work!

    1. Oh, grief. I hope no one's critiquing comments, because I am all over the place today! :)

  8. I vote Crash Override.

    Both pieces were strong. I feel as if Crash Override had a lot more going on in a short piece and wasn't as predictable as Animaybe. Also, in Crash I appreciated Bri's inner dialogue and humorous undertones. I do agree with everyone else that adding elements of physical pain would make the piece stronger. The names in Animaybe got a bit confusing, and I think the mean girl scene could be a little more fleshed out then just a lot of giggles. The lipstick center was very cute though, and the relationship between her and the guy was entertaining.

  9. Animaybe: I couldn't help seeing "It's a Wonderful Life," but thanks for the strong visual. I like the movie, and I could really see these characters, but mouse vs mean girls has been done & done again. The writing is strong, but for this competition, a more unique scene would have served you better.

    Crash: You've got some great lines - I love the one about street art. But as many awkward tense shifts and strange similes - fluttering like camera flashes? Up until you mention "dress," I was thinking the victim was male, especially with all the attention paid to the fabulous guy in cut-offs. I had a much better picture of him - appearance and character - than I did of Bri and Rae.

    Crash gets my vote today, simply because based on these excerpts, I think the premise has more chance of going somewhere interesting.

  10. Both of these had good lines and kept my interest. However they both seemed a bit clique at times.
    I voted for Animaybe because I felt like I understood who the character was more.

  11. Vote: Animaybe
    Not from the writing - they both were on equal footing there - but for the emotional connection. I sympathized with Mary Alice's pain, but not with Bri's. I finished that piece just thinking that she didn't like her sister much. Plus I thought mixing up an undertaker’s daughter with a bootlegger’s son sounded like it had interesting possibilities. Crash Override - I think I couldn't relate because I wasn't experiencing the moment with Bri, but rather looking at it from a distance even though it was from her perspective. It was almost as though she was remembering the incident.

  12. Another close one - Crash Override is the one I'd keep reading...personal preference! The internal reaction and setting is so vivid.

  13. Crash Override could do with some editing. But man, what an ending hook! Animaybe gave me a serious case of the ♡feels♡! It's a tough call, but Animaybe's story is more polished, so it has my vote.

  14. My vote goes to Animaybe.
    Crash Override just needs to add some polish... the beginning of the story had me remembering Stephen King's description of his own "accident" with a van in On Writing so that was a little distracting for me.

    Animaybe's submission was tighter although I agree with the other critique that the girls cackling got a little stale.

    Nice job, both!

  15. It's hard when two VERY different pieces go up against each other. I've given it a lot of thought and today my vote goes to Crash because it's the piece I want to keep reading. I did wonder why the character isn't in pain at all or thinking about how much being hit hurts, but I liked the descriptions of how it all happened. Watch the descriptions of the man who hit her... when you used the word "dumb," I thought perhaps he was so shocked and guilty that he'd been struck dumb, and then you use the words "no remorse" and you're now telling us he's blank-faced because he doesn't care. So watch out for the mixed messages there... with a thriller, every word counts.

    I enjoyed Animaybe's entry a lot, but it isn't anything I haven't seen before - the shy quiet girl being bullied by a pack of mean girls, then rescued by a love interest who's also socially isolated.

  16. Animaybe gets my vote today. I did the like voice of Crash's piece too, but overall, the writing style of animaybe and the protagonist appealed to me a bit more.

  17. Crash override is the one i'd be most interested in reading. I'm a bigger fan of stronger women characters, and Mary Alice's mouse-like qualities were a big turnoff. Just personal preference though.

  18. Crash Override for me today! Piqued my interest much more, and I would continue reading. I agree with the above comments that the giggling got stale with animaybe. Also title is for animaybe...not sure how it fits, but I like the historical setting you've given it. That said, it's important to remember back then all of the social and racial issues back then, so I hope the full has a more complex context. Just some musings.

  19. Crash Override has my vote today. I would definitely keep reading. Historical usually is my jam, and there were a few interesting concepts, but this piece just wasn't for me.

  20. Crash Override!!! Having been in a car accident myself, I know how mesmerizing the actual experience can be. The pain factor is definitely there, which could be expressed more in the story, but I feel there's a reason behind the lack of pain and I would definitely be excited to read more.

  21. My vote goes to Animaybe. I could be wrong but I felt there was a creepy current underneath the story surface...maybe it was from the undertaker's daughter and jungle red lipstick bits. I like creepy. Those mean girls better watch out for Mouse!

    Crash Override - your descriptions drew me in but ultimately I didn't feel like Bri's reaction was realistic enough. Just my opinion.

  22. Crash: There's a real mix of tone here that is confusing, with "voices wove a song of terror" - something straight out of Clive Barker - right up against "fabulous guy in booty shorts". I'm not sure if it's trying too hard to be descriptive and becoming overwrought, or if it's trying too hard to lighten the mood and making the emotive stuff seem overwrought by comparison.

    Animaybe: There's nothing that really bothers me about this story (except the name problem, where Mary Alice appears to be harassing herself), but because it's almost entirely dialogue, there's not much there to show your writing skill, which is what the contest is about. Not that it doesn't take skill to make good dialogue, but it isn't quite the same as weaving a description that sucks the reader in.

    It is a very hard choice, but I guess I have to pick which one seems the work of a more accomplished writer... I actually think I'm gonna have to vote for Crash Override on gut instinct.

  23. Vote: Crash Override
    I enjoyed both these pieces for very different reasons, and this was a difficult decision.

    Crash Override: You’re a lovely writer. You kept me engaged the entire time, and I love your voice. The toilet paper, the vivid descriptions of the bystanders, the macabre dance—beautiful. It was a unique way to present an action-packed scene, and I loved it. Because of your originality, my vote goes to you.

    Animaybe: I love your characters and voice. You made me feel for your protagonist, and your premise had a fresh twist. I liked the Mouse taunt, the lipstick, and the father’s unique job. Unfortunately, Crash Override held my attention more by just a hair.

  24. Crash Override: What a great opening line! But I had a hard time telling just how bad off your MC was. At first I thought -- dying and in pieces, definitely! Then at the end I thought, "OK, just just banged up a bit?" There was a lot of clever, and funny, snark but I had mixed feelings about how I should be feeling as I read. I kept wondering -- does the author want me to laugh over this accident? If so, then I hope the MC is ok! I think it's possible the snark was meant to be a tension breaker for the horror of the scene, but I can't be sure, and that doubt followed me through the story.

    Animaybe: The thing about bullies is that they are, despite how they act, real people with feelings and motivations. These cackling girls felt more like props who conveniently appeared to give Mouse something to be nervous about. Bullies leave when they no longer have an audience so it also felt strange that they would just desire to leave out of the blue -- again -- as if the author just needed them to go away. A line or two giving these girls history with Mouse would have made the scene more effective. Mouse was fully realized as a character and I liked the lipstick line.

    I'm giving my vote to Animaybe.

  25. Animaybe gets my vote today. I love the awkward romance, and her knight in shining armor. But...are there two Mary Alice characters? Because I thought Mary Alice was the shy girl, except then Mary Alice seemed to be the leader of the bully pack.

    Crash Override, I like your piece, too. Honestly, though I thought the MC was dead, and then suddenly she wasn't, which confused me. In a good way, but not good enough to get my vote.

    I'd still love to see more of both pieces.

  26. This is so hard! But my vote goes to Crash Override. I loved how there was realism and a bit of comedy at such a bad scenario. I could see all those things flashing before my eyes.
    I also liked Animaybe, interested to see where the story goes with the cackling girls. But if I was to read more between the two ode choose Crash, how difficult to choose because they're both so great!

  27. Animaybe was predictable. Shy girl, bullies and knight in shining armour, but the story flowed better to me and I liked Mary Alice's persona.

    Crash Override: Nice opening line. My reactions would have been different if a van hit me so Bri's reactions seemed unrealistic. I just did not feel the visuals I got when reading.

    Animaybe gets my vote.

  28. For some reason, both of these stories confused me initially. Crash - I thought your MC was a man at first, so I was confused at the end. Also, you're NEVER supposed to move someone who is hurt. You could do permanent damage, but then maybe I'm missing something about the MC. Does she have special healing powers? Others have given excellent suggestions that I completely agree with. I'm not sure someone who's just been in a major accident would be picking up on all these added details, like the man in the bootie shorts, etc. It didn't ring true for me, but I like your descriptions and word choices. Be choosier with each word and whether you need it to move the story forward.
    Animaybe gets my vote today, but I had major issues with the mean girls being way too cliche. Perhaps, let us get invested in Mary Alice's personality before you introduce the girls? Let us see a little more interaction between Bill and her first? Less girls cackling and making fun. A little goes a long way and takes out of a sweet story.

  29. Animaybe because I felt it was more focused on story as opposed to shock value. Both were stories I would read.

  30. My vote goes to Animaybe.

    In Crash's piece I couldn't understand the tense and spent so much time trying to figure it out that I had to stop reading. I'd been lost and I don't like being frustrated when reading.

    Animaybe's piece was cliched, but I connected with the characters and wanted to know more about them by the end.

  31. Voting for crash b/c wow! what a way to suck a reader into a story. there were a few ambiguous parts but was still enjoyable.

    Animaybe- with so much of the mean girls taunting outcast who's trying desperately to find a hole to crawl into despite said earlier confidence. I found myself wishing the mean girl scene wasn't so boring and predictable. Maybe have main character drawn on that new found self confidence and get a slight backbone? before crawling into that awkward hole?

  32. Crash Override- As I read, my curiosity grew. Then BAM, the last line.
    Animaybe- It was a good story. Nice of him to come to her rescue. I'd hope that she learns how to stick up for herself in the long run, assuming this is part of a story and not the whole thing.

    Crash Override has my vote.

  33. Gonna go with Crash Override. It would have pulled me on further.

  34. I liked both entries. I thought both writers depicted their settings, characters, nd desired mood well. The situations are so different here and each is aiming at different goals, making it difficult to choose a winner--for me.
    In the end, I have to go with Crashoveride for the humor aspect. I think it was well executed in when and how humor was used--and I'm a sucker for comedy.

  35. I vote for Crash Override. Both stories were well written, but having been in a few serious accidents I completely understood what was going on. In response to some of the comments above, you don't feel the pain immediately, adrenaline and shock keep it away for a while. I was in a head on crash with a car that was driving in the wrong lane, and I did not even realize I needed medical attention until hours later.

  36. I vote crash override. Loved how her mind was working concerned for others. I wanted to hear more

  37. Crash override, felt more of a connection between what was being emoted and character, wanted to read more.

  38. Crash Override gets my vote. A great voice always gets to me, and I loved the scene setting.

  39. These stories aren't really my style, personally, but I will vote Animaybe because I felt a potential to connect with the main character.

  40. This one is hard. Both are really good, in different ways. I'm voting for Crash, because I really loved the setting and character.

  41. Crash Override: I'm having a tough time with your scene because what you're describing literally happened to me, so I can speak directly to what that's like. In my case I was quite injured, which seems to be what you're going for in this scene. I think you need to either say that your mc is basically okay, i.e., not seriously injured, or stay with her immediate pov much more closely. If she's actually broken and bleeding, she's not going to be able to make ironic quips about the other people, and moving her is a giant, potentially life-threatening mistake. If you're injured and in shock, it's like being in an altered state. You're sort of disconnected from your body, but aware of what you're saying (or yelling), and not so aware of everyone else? If she's just rattled and somehow has managed to be simply bumped to the pavement, then everything you're describing here works very well, and would fit, I think, with the sort of surreal humour you're developing.

    Animaybe: I like Mary Alice! And her brave lipstick moves! And Bill! And his bootlegging background! I kind of wish that we could have seen a bit more of her personality in this piece. I wanted to see how the same girl who chooses to put on lipstick on the sly (for Bill? or even better, for herself?) responds to the mean girls who are after her, even if it's just an internal response. Your writing is crisp and smooth.

    My vote is for Animaybe.

  42. Crash override for me! Animaybe had some shining spots, but like other commenters have said, I couldn't get past the cliche feel of the mean girls. Also Crash captured my attention more.

  43. I vote for Animaybe. The scene might be something I have seen before, but the writing is tight and polished.

    Other commenters have mentioned the humor in Crash, but I just didn't find it humorous. I couldn't identify with the characters.

  44. My vote goes to Crash Override. It has a better voice and I like that the thoughts don't follow the expected stream of thought. I've been in situations where I should be thinking one thing but end up thinking something else completely random, and so I think that's relatable. I do think there should be mention of pain as other commenters have suggested.

  45. Crash Override. I liked both stories. Well-depicted characters and settings, but subjectively I like CO better.

  46. My vote is with Crash Override. Looking to read more from this writer. :)

  47. Crash Override!!! Hands down :)

  48. Crash Override!!! Hands down :)

  49. Crash Override: I love your first sentence. Totally hooked me. I like the slightly snarky humorous feel of many of the MC's thoughts. I'm left confused as to whether your character is really broken and screaming from pain or just slightly bruised.

    Animaybe: I can see myself getting very invested in this mousey character with the newly blossoming urge to find some courage. And I already have a little crush on the soda jerk. The mix-up with the name was unfortunate and I'm a little disappointed that we didn't get to see some of the lipstick courage mentioned in the beginning.

    My vote goes to Animaybe.

  50. Animaybe gets my vote today - I liked Bill's character. The thing that annoyed me was all the double names. It's like you end up with double the characters in 500 words.

    Crash Override seemed a bit too disengaged from the scene - I liked the TP reference but after that where was the pain?




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