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WRiTE CLUB 2016 - Bout #9

Our next winner has been posted on the WRiTE CLUB Scorecard and it will continue to be updated as we move through the contest. Let me remind everyone that voting for each bout remains live for one week. That way there's always time to catch up on bouts you may have missed.

As I've said before, the challenge now becomes how do we keep interests high so people will continue coming back? For those of you who've been Tweeting (#WRiTECLUB2016) and/or updating Facebook - THANK YOU - but we need to continue stepping up our game.  VOTING IS HARD! Choosing between two quality writers is not easy, and after people do it a couple of times they stop coming back because of they don't want to face a difficult choice. So why do I make you do it? Because in the end, the struggle...and the competition, makes us all better at our craft. At the end of it all maybe some aspiring writers will get the exposure they so richly deserve.

Here's a reminder of how things work. This is the 2nd of three weeks of daily bouts (M-F) between writing samples that are identified only by the craftily selected pen names of the respective submitters. Once we get through the preliminary skirmishes, then the playoffs will immediately follow.

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.

The voting for each bout will remain open for one week, so even though a new bout will be posted every day, you don't miss out on anything if you miss a few days.  You can always catch up on several bouts at once if you so desire.  Once the voting period ends and the votes have been tabulated, the results will be posted HERE, on the WRiTE CLUB scorecard. At stake is a chance to win free admission to the 2017 DFW Writers Conference.

The voting for this bout - Bout #8 - remains open until noon on Wednesday - March 23rd.

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 Science Fiction genre with 499 words, welcome to the ring Word Cupcake.

I know. I know. Losing an envelope doesn’t seem like it should be such a big deal. But think about what still goes into envelopes these days. Love letters. Large sums of money. Marriage licenses – like the one I’m supposed to be holding for my best friend. Look at them over there, her resplendent in red and gold, him more subdued in a plain black suit. International marriage paperwork takes forever, so they can’t just pop out and get another copy. Besides, the guests have already started making their way up the rose-petal scattered aisle, crushing the velvety red cup shapes under their shoes, releasing a heady perfume that mixes with the salt air coming in on the breeze.

This scent sparks a memory of standing in a garden with a girl wearing a hat made entirely of beads, the fringe of sparkly black strands clicking together against her forehead when she shook her head no, she didn’t want to go somewhere private to talk. Does that mean we visited the 1920s last night? Or just a costume party? I know. I. Know. You’re not supposed to time travel drunk, and you’re definitely not supposed to bring a dozen equally inebriated friends with you, but the bachelor party had been dying. it had seemed a brilliant idea at the time. Maybe one of the other guys remembers what happened. I make my way over to Gordon, who’s completely immersed in the world inside his VR goggles. I tap him on the shoulder, and he whirls around, swinging wildly. I duck his fist and wait. He takes off the goggles.

“Any idea when we went last night?” I ask.

“No so loud.” Gordon glances around to make sure we haven’t been heard. He’s right. We could probably lose our jobs. He draws me farther away from the crowd and takes a playbill that says It Pays to Advertise out of his pocket. “Opening night. February 2, 1924. I only got to see a few minutes, while you guys were-”

“We were in London last night?” My voice comes out squeaky. I run both hands across my face, wishing I’d taken a double dose of that hangover cure. Then maybe I’d be able to think. “How? We shouldn’t have had enough time.”

Gordon shrugs as he folds the playbill back into his pocket. “Glitch, maybe? We just showed up there.”

“And you didn’t think that was weird?” There’s no way I’m going to be able to retrace my steps. I couldn’t even get back to London in a single jump, let alone find the license. I approach Alan, ready to confess.

He reaches into his pocket and pulls out the envelope. “You were waving this around, telling everybody we passed that your best friend was getting married. I had to take it away from you.”

My shoulders slump with relief. But after the ceremony, I’m still going to have to explore this glitch. I know. That’s bound to cause more trouble. ___________________________________________________________________________________

And in the far corner, representing the YA Contemporary genre with 496 words, also welcome to the ring Chun-Li.

As Mrs. Pan left, my mother leaned over and whispered, “Hanwei isn’t good enough for you, Mei. He went to Northeastern! And, I heard from Mrs. Tian who heard from Mrs. Ahn—Remember Mrs. Ahn? Her son went to Princeton—that after Hanwei graduated, he threw his college degree away to pursue music. I bet you his nose is tiny—a nub. He’s now begging for money in exchange for guitar lessons.”

“You mean, he’s teaching music? Like many other normal people?”

“Not normal. Last resort. Soon, he’ll be just like Ying-Na.”

Poor Ying-Na. The Asian-American cautionary tale who chose happiness over honoring her parents and was cut off financially and emotionally. Now, she was the butt of every rumor, all created to support other parents’ warnings. Ying-Na decided to major in English and now is homeless. Ying-Na had an American boyfriend and he stole all her things. Ying-Na had one sip of alcohol in college and now she’s in a mental institution. And for my mother, Ying-Na veered off her parents’ career track and now takes off her clothes for money.

“I’m so glad you will be a doc-tor,” my mother continued, her pride overemphasizing each syllable in doctor. “Doctors always have a job. Never have to worry. So stable, so secure. And so respectable. That’s why we so happy to pay your tuition.”

I ducked my head in fear of her seeing the truth in my eyes—that bacteria-ridden patients made my skin crawl and biology put me to sleep. But unless I wanted to be Ying-Na 2.0, I didn’t have a choice.

The waiter set my father’s plum smoothie and my mother’s soy milk on the table along with three Wet-Naps which my mother immediately swept into her purse. We came so often we barely had to order. Before he could hand me my Diet Coke, my mother waved it away with a bony hand.

“She’ll have a papaya smoothie,” she told him, then poked my breast. “These are much too small, like mosquito bites.”

Because of a papaya-eating aboriginal village that churned out big-breasted women, my mother had been forcing mushy pink fruit down my throat since I hit puberty. Spoiler: it didn’t work.

Her inspection traveled to my waist, which she pinched. “You’re getting fat.”

My size six frame would never be good enough for my shallow mother, who wished I was a classic Chinese beauty that would “fall over when the wind blows.” I had missed the Asian skinny gene and instead inherited from my dad, whose college nickname was Lu Pang, or Fat Lu. I preferred not to look like a chopstick, but I was in the minority.

“Have you even been exercising?”

It had to be a trap. If I admitted how much time I’d spent dancing, she’d scold me for not studying enough. I pressed my lips into a hard line, choosing silence.

“You need to be careful, Mei. How will you ever get a man?”

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.

Now go 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. My vote goes to Word Cupcake.


    Chun-Li made me sympathize so hard with the main character! Moms that are never happy enough (even though they're obviously so proud) are universal, and Chun-Li captured it perfectly. I wanted to be the waiter so I could "accidentally" spill the Diet Coke on the mom. :)

    Word Cupcake gave me that little science-fictiony hook - what is the glitch? I have to know. Why shouldn't you have had time to visit London? I must know. Tell me more!

    *ahem* So yes. A difficult choice, and I would be interested in reading more of both, but I'd pick up Word Cupcake's first.

  2. Ahhh, another good morning read! I loved these so much. Today's are my favorites of the entire competition so far!! I'm a little upset that you two are facing each other because honestly, both subjects are right up my alley.

    Word Cupcake-I love the adult feel of your piece. I read/write so much YA, it's nice to hear a mature voice. I love the concept of time travel AND the 1920s AND London. My heart! I do wish you had combined the dialogue with the internal thought blocks in the beginning. Peppering in their conversation and remembering the bachelor party while quietly watching the ceremony would have been better, given the piece more tension. I'm not getting the sense of urgency one would expect with a glitch.

    Chun-Li -- Also loved this piece. I 100% relate to this. While I was reading, I thought to myself "HOW DO YOU KNOW MY LIFE". Afghan culture is the same way, so I found myself nodding and laughing as I read this. You made it feel fresh and relatable.

    My vote goes to Chun-Li. But I really wish I could choose both.

  3. I enjoyed both pieces, and would read more of each.
    Word Cupcake had a good bit of intrigue with the travel and a glitch. I'd like to know more.
    Chun-Li's writing gave us a good picture of a mother-daughter relationship that transcends the cultural setting differences. The decision not to answer because it was a lose-lose situation and the mother's critical views made for a quick connection to the characters for me. I was not connected to the characters in the Word Cupcake's, so...

    Chun-Li gets my vote.

  4. Initially I figured I should opt out of this round because of personal prejudice. I have recently developed a total disinterest in time travel stories because though I've enjoyed a couple, they have all created non-reconcilable circular reference loops which destroy any notion of logic or causality, leaving me lost; distanced. That said, I understand the desire to enter such a ripe literary playground which time-travel offers and confess I have done so myself!

    That said - I adore character development much more than plot and so I am comfortable giving Chun-Li my vote for doing this well!

    1. Forgot to mention - I thought that the actual writing was delightful in both pieces. I was quickly hooked into both stories.

  5. My vote is for Chun-Li
    Both were good but I felt that World Cupcake's voice felt very young/YA. Loved Chun-Li's cultural immersion.

  6. I found word cupcake to be a little messy- a little confusing. I thought by the end it was essentially the movie Jumper. You even used the term jump and glitch.

    Chun li I thought was a classic story. Its been told before. I still found your rendition funny and well done.

    I vote chun li. I know essentially both stories have been told- but I did find Chun more interesting this early in the morning.

  7. I vote for Chun Li...I enjoyed the insights into a culture that I'm not familiar with and made me want to read more.

    Cupcake was good, but as stated above, there were some mistakes that drew away from the story. I would also be interested in learning more, but for now I'll go with Chun Li.

  8. Word Cupcake's story felt too on-the-nose for me. Something about the voice was too... explanatory and familiar. Why is this guy talking to me like I'm his buddy? "I know, I know, you're not supposed to time-travel drunk" just throws all the secrets right out there rather than giving me anything to figure out. And the VR goggles just makes the story kind of shout "look, we're in the future!" Why is somebody flailing around at a public event with VR goggles on? That's just dangerous (as we see the main character duck his fist). This could have all been done with a lighter touch.

    In Chun-Li's story, I feel like there's a lack of empathy - the mother is just perfectly awful, which we know in reality can't be the case. So maybe it's a matter of perspective, and this is how the daughter views her. But it's always nice to have that hint of empathy or recognition, to understand WHY she might be so horrible, rather than sweeping it aside with "it's the culture".

    Maybe I didn't need to see another side of her mother so much as some content other than her mother haranguing her. It was too one-note - the entire excerpt is nothing but attacks by her mother.

    I did really like the idea of "begging people for money for guitar lessons" though, speaking of perspectives on things. That was a funny line.

    So between two stories that really didn't work for me personally, I think I'll go with Chun-Li on the tone and style. Word Cupcake's main character just bothered me. I'm not his pal!

    Vote: Chun-Li

  9. I'll have to go with World Cupcake here.

    Although I liked Chun Li's story, the voice of her mother was inconsistent which gave me more of a confused feeling. At first I couldn't put my finger on it. World Cupcake's story on the other hand had a consistent feel and unlike some others I was never confused.

  10. Word Cupcake: I'm a fan of time-travel stories, even though they inevitably disappoint with some failure of logic by the end. I am intrigued by the set-up here. There's enough mention of the mechanics/rules of this world (can't jump to 1920s London in that amount of time ... what they've done might cost them their jobs ...) that I want to see how this guy is going to untangle the mess he's made. The humor possible with a bachelor party running rampant through time is enough to catch my attention all by itself, although I'm slightly concerned that it will deteriorate into Hot Tub Time Machine level frat-boy potty humor. I was much less interested in the wedding aspect of this passage than in the "oh my, what did we do" aspect. I would definitely give this book a shot, though.

    Chun-Li: This passage reminds me very strongly of Amy Tan, one of my favorite authors. Perhaps because of that, I assigned the mother an undercurrent of good intentions - the abuse about weight and breast size and schooling is all symptomatic of her strong desire for her daughter's life to be better than her own - that maybe aren't there. I'm guessing that comes out later in the story as the daughter learns more about her mother's life.

    My vote goes to Chun-Li. I enjoyed them both very much, but Chun-Li's excerpt seems just a tad more polished.

  11. Chun Li gets my vote hands down. I loved the voice and the Ying Na 2.0 line. Funny, but with a real sense of what Mei is dealing with. I think you do a good job describing the mothers actions, but I really don't think you need the line about her being shallow. Let your story show us rather than you tell us.
    Word cupcake- while I enjoyed your story, I was distracted a bit by the spelling and punctuation errors. But I did love the concept and think this was a fun read. Great job from both of you!

  12. Cupcake: There is so much going on in 500 words. A wedding, a bachelor party gone wrong, time travel with a glitch, groomsmen playing with gadgets while the guests are entering... Very fast paced and pretty entertaining. I expected the mother of the bride to scuttle in and slap some sense into these bozos.

    Since the MC is a nameless, faceless 1st person, I was confused by the voice. The first paragraph reads like it's the maid of honor (resplendent, velvety red cups, heady perfume.) These don't seem like details a hungover best man would notice, especially with that vocabulary. I wish you had worked in a visual sense of character in first person through dialogue consistent with the character.

    Chun-Li: This is a well-rendered snapshot. The details make it come alive. Thank you for weaving in a bit of snark to lighten the tone. I like Mei's attitude. (She has a name and a face, too, in 1st person! Bravo.) However, like watching someone else's vacation slideshow, I didn't feel an emotional engagement. Challenging stereotyped Asian parental expectations can become a stereotype in itself. I hope you'll reveal Mei's unique *something* later in the work.

    Today, for giving us an identifiable, voicey 1st person character with a name, Chun-Li gets my vote.

  13. Wow, great selection today. That kind of stinks, because paired with any other entry in the competition I've seen so far, either one would win.
    There are a few typos, a grammar error or two, and a couple cliches in both works (Word Cupcake, I'm talking mainly about the "heady perfume." Chun-Li, I'm referring to certain Chinese cultural cliches that could potentially be offensive even if accurate to your characters, particularly the "we so happy," when otherwise the grammar is correct.)
    Today I'm voting on the one that most made me want to keep reading, and that is Chun-Li's. WordCupcake, you had me hooked until the marriage license suddenly appeared. The tension had been building and building, then suddenly evaporated at that moment.

  14. Hmm...

    Word Cupcake, I think you have a great concept. It feels like it might be a little Big Bang Theory meets Dr. Who meets The Hangover. There's the potential for wild adventures, high tension, and gut-splitting humor. However, there were a lot of typos and clunky phrasing, and, as others have said, the voice didn't seem to fit the protagonist.

    Chun-Li, this piece felt overdone, like you took every single Asian mother/daughter cliche and crammed it into one 500-word writing sample. While I got a clear, if stereotyped, image of the mother and daughter, I didn't get a sense that this story was going anywhere original. (I'm sure it is, but that didn't come across in THIS piece). The writing was tight, though, and I smiled a few times (cautionary tale and aboriginal village).

    Based on writing, I'm voting for Chun-Li.


    Both pieces were fun to read and the writing drew me in immediately. Time travel stories always interest me but I also liked Mei's thoughts and reactions to her mother's mothering. Would love to see how each story progresses but I can only choose one. My vote goes to Chun-Li.

  16. Chun-Li, I have just one question: how can I read the rest of it? Seriously, if this is part of a finished book, when is it hitting the stores, because I want to buy it. I love all of the entry. I laughed my head off.

    Word Cupcake: Not a bad entry, in my opinion, but neither the characters nor the situation they were in drew me in. I might feel differently if I'd read a longer excerpt, but who knows.

    One enthusiastic vote for Chun-Li.

  17. Chun-Li gets my vote.
    Chun-Li: while it’s not the type of content I would normally read, your characters did come to life. Like others who have commented, the universal struggle of meeting your parents’ expectations is a tale of woe most of us live through daily. It will take a strong hook to distinguish your story. I’m confident your hook is waiting for your readers in the words beyond #500!

    Word Cupcake: Your voice came across so strong to me as a female, that even when you referred to the Bachelor party, I was sure you meant Bachelorette party. I would definitely change the beginning to clarify the speaker is a man. If this is a future time, I’ll be curious to see how you carry through that letters are still sent in envelopes and that money of any quantity is still in a tangible form. I like your concept and the link of time travel to their jobs has my attention. I’d definitely read more!

  18. Chun-Li gets my vote!

    I instantly sympathized with Mei, and want to know more about her. She also made me laugh ("Spoiler: it didn't work."), which is always a plus! Even though her mom kind of seems like an asshole, I can tell there are good intentions there -- I feel like there will be lots of great tension down the line with these two.

  19. Chun-Li gets my vote. I'm not a fan of YA, but this was good and flowed really well. I could keep reading.

    Word Cupcake--the present tense kind of jarred me (I'm not a fan if I notice it right away and I noticed). Otherwise, it was an interesting story.

  20. My vote goes to word cupcake- I'm intrigued and love time travel stories

  21. Well done, both of you! Good characterization, setting. But Word Cupcake gets my vote. Time travel, yes; but with a fresh twist. Chun-Li's family drama doesn't promise anything new.

  22. I'm voting for Word Cupcake though the present tense is hard to read. I think mostly because so few write in present tense. You might play with tenses and see if past doesn't read better, but that's just a personal thing probably. As for Chun-li's it's the story line. the writing seems solid enough. Or perhaps look at where we are starting. if the story is more than girl trying to please her parents and find a husband or go against then, you might have started at the wrong place.

  23. I'm voting for Chun-Li today. I love the strong voice and snappy dialogue and I want to read more!

  24. Word Cupcake and Chun-Li both read well. I enjoyed the questions the sci-fi brought to mind and was relieved when the envelope showed up. I got a case of the feels from Chun-Li. I have no criticism for either of you and would happily pick both.
    But this is Write Club.
    My vote goes to Chun-Li. Though I don't have much in common, on the surface, with the character of a young adult Asian girl, I find myself relating all too well just the same. If only I ate or drank this or that instead, I'd be an entirely different person... ha ha ha, yeah, I know how the character feels. I should banish myself to a tree now, because if you're one with nature, you can never be homeless or purposeless. PAPAYA SMOOTHIE KOOL-AID FOR EVERYONE! ;)

  25. Two hapless MCs--what fun!

    But Chun-Li had me at "He went to Northeastern!" I will read this book!

    Word Cupcake made me laugh, and I think there's a good set-up here, but the MC didn't hook me the way Mei did.

  26. Both entries today were fantastic - but my vote goes to Chun-Li.

    Word Cupcake was a little disjointed for me. One moment we were wondering where the licence was and then we jumped to a girl wearing a hat made of beads. Reading on it all came together, but it pulled me out of the story. I also didn't feel the absolute horror I would expect if everyone is turning up for the wedding and you can't find the licence. The MC appeared very casual about it all.

    Chun-Li had me hooked from the first word. It flowed well and I could visualise every movement, every facial expression. Captivating writing.

  27. Two exciting entries here.

    Word Cupcake, you have a fun situation here and the plot cues are intriguing. I couldn't help but feel when reading it that it could use more revising. As was mentioned, there were some technical problems, but the problem for me was I felt like the narrator wasn't telling the story enough in his own voice. The first paragraph, for example, introduces his voice by saying things like "I know, I know" and "Look at them over there..." I like this way of telling the story; however, you are still telling us everything. Take away these two bits of voice and what's left is almost entirely exposition rather than a unique character's way of seeing a world and telling us the story. This is part of the difficulty of first person--you really need the voice to be consistent and consistently engaging...after all, he is going to be the story teller for the entire book. I feel like you have a great set-up for a comedic narrator and, while you do have funny situations going on, I think your main character needs to have a little more humor in the way he tells the story.

    How do he and the bride get along and how does he imagine she'll react if she finds out he lost the license?

    Was there a more humorous memory that reminds him of the time travel? Did a groomsman make a major faux pas? Is someone accidentally wearing a 1920's souvenir? The beads of the mystery woman are nice details but they're stagnant...I don't feel they propel the voice of the story enough.

    I know it's hard trying to introduce a fantasy setting and plot into a 500 word entry, and sometimes you can't get both across. (Finding the license and mention of the "Glitch" was a little clunky, released the tension too much, and felt like a hasty choice to squeeze the plot into the word count.) That's why getting the voice right is soooo important here. I'm sorry if I sound really picky but I only obsess about the ones I like. You've got a story that's intriguing and it's a shame you had to go up against Chun-Li because I'd have liked to read your next entry.

    Chun-Li, I enjoyed your entry quite a bit, good humor and tension. I felt the pattern of her mother saying something followed by an explanation was a little noticeable... maybe try changing up how some of the mother's notions get explained? Maybe some things don't need explaining if the mother is more detailed? But I enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to your next entry.

    1. Oh, I don't know if I'm allowed to vote on these early bouts or not. But if I can, in case it wasn't clear, Chun-Li gets my vote.

  28. Hmm...both stories presented an interesting set up, and have potential. Both also have some technical issues.

    Cupcake's story had me a bit confused, though curious. Generally, interesting concept, but it didn't successfully capture me. But I like the story idea...

    Chun-Li delivered a compelling view into a culture that is still universally recognizable. Yep, we've all see this set up before, but there is charm here that stands out.

    Vote is for Chun-Li

  29. Both were good. I'd rather read more of Word Cupcake's story though. It's more to my taste.

  30. World Cupcake. Concise, entertaining, a complete world in 500 words.

  31. My vote is for Chun-Li.

    Word cupcake: I love the concept of this piece, the way the science fiction parts are smoothly peppered throughout the piece. Unfortunately, the writing was a tad clunky at times and the denouement was too easy--a friend has the envelope, the glitch was quietly acknowledged but set aside easily. The pacing didn't quite work here.

    Chun-Li: Yes, it's a stereotyped mother/daughter relationship, but the writing, characterization, and pacing are perfectly lovely. This reads well; good job!

  32. These were both better-than-average in the contest so far, so it was very hard to choose. I'll go with Chun-Li because the beginning wasn't clear, but it managed to hook me regardless.

  33. Both great stories that are well written. I love the futuristic story being weaved by Word Cupcake, but I really connected with the main character in Chun-Li's story. She showed that mothers are the same in every culture. Chun-Li gets my vote.

  34. Word Cupcake: The situation in your piece is really cute and charming! I wonder if your genre ID should be Science Fiction Comedy? If the whole piece has the tone of the excerpt, you deserve to claim the comedy genre. It's hard to write the funny stuff, and the world needs more of it, in my opinion.

    This sentence: He reaches into his pocket and pulls out the envelope. “You were waving this around, telling everybody we passed that your best friend was getting married. I had to take it away from you.”

    I think "He" at the beginning should be "Gordon." I had trouble figuring out that it wasn't Alan (the groom, right?) who took out the envelope and said this line, because Alan is mentioned in the previous sentence.

    Chun-Li: I love how vivid the family dynamic is in your piece! Is it too much to say that I really want to know what actually happened to Ying-Na? I would pay good money for her to be a character in this story! Your writing is bright and flawless, moving from one mom gripe to the next.

    I feel again like this is comparing apples to oranges, but my vote is for Chun-Li, for the quality of the writing itself.

  35. My vote has to be for Chun-Li. I loved this story. I liked the mushy, fruity cure for flat-chestedness that ties right in with larger cultural idiosyncrasies.

    Word Cupcake had a great story, but there were too many issues with the writing to get my vote.

  36. I really wanted to vote for Word Cupcake right after reading it. It was a different way to present time travel that doesn't seem overly done. Good job.
    However...Chun-Li won me over immediately. Excellent way of presenting the pesky mother. I felt MC's pain.
    My vote is for Chun-Li.

  37. I vote for Word Cupcake. Very tough choice.

    Chun-Li - Your writing is wonderful. Very tight, clear, and to the point. On writing skill alone, you would have the vote, but I felt that the subject matter was just too cliche and you did nothing new with it. I think it needs a fresh twist.

    Word Cupcake - Your writing skills could use some polish, but I liked the voice, the tension, and the characters. The glitch makes a great MacGuffin and I would keep reading to see what comes next.

    Thanks and congrats to both great writers!

  38. What wonderful word weavers! I loved both pieces. However, my vote goes to Chun-Li.

  39. OK, my vote goes to Word Cupcake today. I loved the voice, the conflict right away, and related to the characters.

    BUT the same could be said of Chun-Li, too! The only reason it didn't get my vote was too many named characters in the first paragraph. I didn't know which character to follow or care about, but after the monologue from the mom, I really got hooked and would continue to read.

  40. I could really go either way, but that doesn't help the voting process, so my vote goes for Chun-Li. Word Cupcake pulled me in and hooked me, but I had to re-read the paragraphs whereas I followed Chun-Li's without that hitch. Maybe if Word Cupcake's second paragraph had been broken up?

  41. Darn. These are both good. I want to keep reading and see where each one goes. I don't want to vote!

    Okay, I have to vote. Voting for Word Cupcake. By a hair!

  42. Chun-Li for me! I love the humor. The opening was a bit slow with all the names and character information thrown in, and it also felt like we were getting chucked into the middle of a scene (rather than the beginning of a story). But I would definitely keep reading.




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