It’s been nearly two weeks since the Broken Pencil Indie Writers’ Deathmatch 2013 kicked off, with the second round of Quarterfinals wrapping up this weekend. Let’s take a look at how our competing writers have been doing so far, and do a round-up of the best and worst comments – and be sure to go vote for the winner of the Quarterfinals Round 2 while you still can!
The first week of Quarterfinals saw Mikael Raheem’s “Marie” squaring off against Nana K. Adjei-Brenyah’s “Cardigan Blues” — the former a story of violation, wayward divinity and conception and the latter a harrowing look at well-dressed bullies and the female victim upon which they focus their attention. Adjei-Brenyah’s won 1111 votes over Raheem’s 753, and he’ll be moving on to the semifinals on February 18th.
Some interesting discussion in this round, including the inevitable thematic comparisons between each story, both of which seem to be exploring notions of female violation and power – whether asserted or imagined, by real or spiritual entities.
“Cardigan Blues” was labeled as a hipster parable early on, and this label seemed to stick, despite the author’s protestations to the contrary (Ed. note – I just kept picturing Mr. Rogers.) More controversially, the story was dissected and accused of being a signifier of rape culture. However it received a lot of positive comments too – for its intensity, its constant use of the plural “we” and the overall feeling of anonymity, numbness and dread that seeps throughout the narrative. “Marie” was critiqued for being “gimmicky”, possessing a jumbled narrative and recycling the oldest story ever told – the birth of Jesus and the Immaculate Conception – while not inserting enough originality to make it memorable. However, the story was praised for its writing style, its effective build of suspense and reveal and interesting moments of dialogue. In the end, only one story can win, and “Cardigan Blues” took the crown.
From “Jenn” (aka ‘Mikael’s attack dog’): “You had me at drinking semen.”
Also from “Jenn”: “The way you set up your character makes me wonder if you don’t have a few rape fantasies of your own.”
Week 2 is still in effect til this coming Sunday, folks, so get on over to the page and VOTE! This round features Chris Kuriata’s “Little Cooking Hands,” which gives amusing instructions on how to summon a ghost through cooking a pizza, and Terri Favro’s “Cold Comfort,” about a fractured family and a beatnik Chatty Cathy doll. Favro’s piece is leading at 683 votes over Kuriata’s 301, but there’s still time to go and vote. Commenter discussions include: Who’s the better ghost-as-metaphor – Bruce Willis in the Sixth Sense, Casper or Patrick Swayze? Was Favro’s big reveal in “Cold Comfort” too clunky? Is “Little Cooking Hands” lacking in story? This round has been a little quiet and could use some stirring up, readers…..
Best comment (so far):
Kuriata’s real-life ghost story, shared in the comments section
When Round 1 finalist Mikael Raheem attempted to anonymously admonish a naysayer to “Shut the fuck up, hater!” while logged in as “Random Antagonist” – while not realizing that his author photo was still visible. LOL!