Deathmatch 2013 Quarterfinals Round5

Deathmatch Moderator

Richard Rosenbaum is Broken Pencil’s Fiction Editor.





Step One: Read the stories.
Step Two: Vote for your favourite. Repeatedly. You can vote once every hour.
Step Three: Sound off in the comments.
Step Four: Blog, tweet, tell all your friends – help your favourite author win!
Step Five: Repeat until an Ultimate Winner is declared and all others lie bleeding in the dust.

Previous Rounds: Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4

Click here for Deathmatch rules and regulations and for links to all the people and presses that have generously donated awesome prizes for our winner and runners-up.

Cardigan Blues - REWRITE

By Nana K. Adjei-Brenyah

We are those dudes. The muscle and the gavel, the Friday night lights. Together we run shit, because we can, because we have to. We brothers bound irrevocably by two parts popularity, two parts personality, and three parts fear, are the power at Eliot Becker High. If you haven’t spotted us already we wear cardigans.

Cardigans of every color, from heavy earth tones to summery pastels. We do wool cardigans over mock turtlenecks and cable-knit cardigans over button-ups, basic cotton cardigans over graphic tees or V-necks, cashmere cardigans to be fancy and, of course, for girls to feel on. Cashmere is made from the wool of goats raised way up in the mountains, it’s expensive, expensive and classy. We have class, so, on occasion, we wear cashmere. When we wear cashmere we let them know we’re wearing cashmere. We do not wear cardigans every day, but on any day, within the group, there are one or two cardigans. Trust.

Sixth period.

Read on...

Cold Comfort - REWRITE

By Terri Favro

I found it spread-eagled on a sack of organic potatoes –– one of those dolls with a ring that you pull to make it baby-talk. Only, it didn’t look like a baby. Its face was the colour of grubby Band-Aids, its eyes ink-smeared as if someone had tried to scribble on mascara with a ballpoint pen.

A black turtleneck was sewn to the doll’s body, angry stitches cutting deep into its soft vinyl skin. Its knees were flexed upward in two sharp Vs: up close, I could see the bendable joints had been cut open, filled with shards of glass, then painted with varnish or shellac or glue or whatever. Maybe to stop the slivers from working their way out.

Somebody really had a hate on for this doll.

I pulled the talking-ring. A string zipped out like a fishing line but instead of going ‘I love you mommy’ or ‘change my diaper,’ a scratchy little voice said: Cattiva ragazza cazzo stronza Beatnik!

I backed out of the cold cellar and took the rotting stairs two at a time.

Read on...

308 Responses to “Deathmatch 2013 Quarterfinals Round5”

  1. StefDINA says:

    generic cialis scam [url=]Cialis[/url] cialis online fast shippinghair loss due to clomid [url=]Clomid[/url] can i take prednisone with clomidbuy vardenafil levitra [url=]Buy Levitra[/url] price of levitra 20 mgcheap viagra from india [url=]Viagra[/url] will viagra lower blood pressureserious side efeects of accutane [url=]Accutane[/url] accutane charlie rose

  2. Nana K. Adjei-Brenyah says:

    What a round. It’s been fun in spots, terrible in others. Always exciting. Thanks Terri for really seriously pushing this thing until the end and putting the fear of God in me throughout. I never felt like I had it in the bag and while I didn’t necessarily agree with everything you might have said there was certainly a lot of good comments and overall I feel like this round challenged me more than I thought possible. It silly for me to even say it here but you are obviously a great writer and this round has given me an incredible amount of confidence heading towards the finals.

    Thanks for being such a competitor. Every time I have Poutine I’ll think of you. (I know about Poutine because there’s a chain called Montreal Poutine near where I work)

    Best of luck with everything.

  3. Anony says:

    Oh the sweet smell of victory! Terri if you had better sportsmanship maybe you wouldn’t of been losing by a womping oh I don’t know 400 votes. The fact that people said that they want to see you lose says a lot about you and how people perceive you to be based off all your rude comments from you and your supporters! Let it be a lesson learned.

    P.S In America we call this an ass beating! And vote for Nana in the final round next week 🙂

  4. God says:

    Wow. We did it. On to the Finals.

    If someone would have told me that Terri was going to get almost 5,000 votes I would have said it was definitely over for us. I am so unbelievably thankful for every single vote in this competition. Honestly if it weren’t for the encouragement I’ve been getting I would have abandoned this effort because it really has been stressful and kind of overwhelming. Constantly asking for votes, pushing pictures through all corners of the internet, defending myself against people who think that I’m a closeted rapist/cheater/terrible writer/general asshole : it has not been easy.

    But the one thing I’ve learned thus far is that the love is far greater than the hate ever was or is. The support has carried me over the week-long barrage of attacks and I just feel genuinely thankful for everything. I mean everything. The people who set timers and every hour voted on their laptop, quickly followed by an iPad, quickly followed by their cell phones. The people who share the pictures (Shout out of course to Jey. Ahr Photo’s for another amazing photo project) and everybody that liked, retweeted or told their friends about the movement.

    I really must not be that great of a writer because I’m having difficulty finding the words to express how you have all made me feel the last few days. I know it is not that serious and the competition is just one little sites annual promotion but the way so many of you have given me your time, even 10 seconds of it, I feel indebted and I don’t know if I deserve your support but now that I’ve had it I feel like I need to follow though. We’ve gone this far and even though it is scary to believe we can win (because it makes you vulnerable if you lose) I believe that we can do it. I’d be a hypocrite if I believed anything else. So we have a week to chill and then, that following week, it will be time to turn up again. A last time in the finals.

    Basically, thank you. I really am surprised at how well we did. I’m kind of stunned by how every time we were down we came back with a vengeance and how willing you’ve all been to help me as I selfishly clog your social networks with Cardigan Blues.

    Love the love, same thing next time. Almost home, we can take the whole thing, it’s there, just have to go get it. Trust.

  5. Richard Rosenbaum (Moderator) ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Okay everybody, be cool.

    Accusations of cheating are a tradition as old as the Deathmatch itself – so commonplace in the Deathmatch that I’d almost be disappointed if they hadn’t arisen this year too. But our webpeople assure us that there’s no evidence of skullduggery here. So let’s please get back to some more productive discussions for the last few hours of this round and start getting psyched for the next one, yeah?

  6. Nana K. Adjei-Brenyah says:

    I’d prefer my supports didn’t attack Terri. Please.

    Also the idea that cheating has gone on is a joke and I think most sensible people know that. Those who seriously believe that because I am winning I cheated I ask you to consider why it is you believe that way. What are your beliefs founded on and to consider maybe, just maybe you are upset things have not gone your way.

  7. Anon says:

    I’m just wondering why you’re in this competition, since you’re a “published author” Terri. Not enough sales?

    When you lose hopefully this will be a lesson about etiquette, sportsmanship, and marketing.

    Take notes.

  8. Hippo says:

    Getting tired of the whining. Just take it as it is, if you win, you win; if you lose, you lose. Stop trying to diminish what this young man accomplished in getting this far in the competition by saying he “cheated”, used IP generators (ridiculous), has a lot of “minion” facebook friends voting at night…I mean, come on. Waah. Just accept what comes. I loved Terri’s story but I hate her attitude. How many times are you going to remind us that you’re a published author? We get it, you think you’re 100x better than the young man. I can already tell that if he does win, you’ll be a sore loser.

  9. Anon says:

    There isn’t cheating going on. It’s because Nana has more friends…no person would want to befriend someone with your attitude. You give all women a bad look with your immature behavior.

  10. Brian says:

    It is not worth it to vote. Cardigan blues is using an ip generator to appear to be a different user coming to vote. IP generators are common on these vote to win things.. They are easily found on the TOR Browser website. Any way, read both stories, and was intrigued by both but must state that Cold Comfort is the clear winner here… Too bad for all the cheating in the votes.


    • Reality says:

      Hi Brian,
      There’s no such thing as an IP generator, however, what you are referring to is a proxy which is what TOR is, you connect to a node which connects to the internet for you. What the internet sees is the IP address of the proxy server. IP addresses cannot be generated but they can be assigned. Now let’s assume that Nana’s voters are still using proxies to cheat. Every voter would have to use a different proxy within an hour for that plan to work. Now before you just say “well fine, Nana used a proxy”, you should consider that they’ve been pretty close, with Cold Comfort almost catching up to Cardigan Blues several times. Wouldn’t it seem like a better idea to just give Nana a 1000 vote lead if it were so easy to “generate” new IP addresses? I’d also like to ask, what if Terri’s fans have been cheating knowing they aren’t able to keep up with Nana’s fanbase and their frequent voting?

      I suggest you stop being the Terri Defense Force and do what Nana has been successfully doing: promoting his story and asking his friends to vote. The time you spent typing that comment accusing Nana and his fans of cheating you could have spent on Facebook, Twitter, or typing a quick mass text message asking people to vote for Terri. All this time spent talking about how weak Nana’s story is and how he’s cheated has taken time away from promoting Terri’s great piece of writing.

      • Brian says:

        It appears, Reality, that you are well informed about the inner workings of TOR, however, if one is so well informed about Tor, that same person would know that you can easily be assigned an new Ip address simply by clicking (Get new identity). With this new identity, you can simly refresh the page and vote again within seconds of your last vote. This feature is commonly used when wanting to download movies and music, the new IP (or identity) allows you to download several files at once while apearing to be a different user from a different part of the world. Everyone who knows TOR, knows this fact. Perhaps you pretend to appear smart to cover up your own mis doings? Who knows.

        As far as being a Terri or Nana supporter, I really could give a rats ass. I just simply perfer the complex, intricate writing styles of Terri’s story, over the basic writing of Nana’s story.

        • Brian says:

          Funny how nana only had 1000 votes in round 1, and 5500 votes on this round. Seems I was right about the cheating going on. It appears your story is pretty lackluster Reality. In any regard I know that the moderator will be looking into this

        • Reality says:

          Tor should be used for reasons that are NOT piracy. Like accessing blocked sites in countries that practice Internet filtering. I suggest that you find a new argument instead of using the example of piracy. It’s types of arguments like yours that fuel those who are interested in censoring the Internet. You ignored the fact that Terri’s fans could possibly be cheating as well. The numbers don’t show behavior that is linked to cheating. It’s been an exciting fight and under the assumption that both sides have been playing fairly (which they most likely are), Nana and Terri have great fans.

          Once again, the time you spent trying to point out the flaws in my argument you could have spent increasing votes through your magic “get new identity” button or by encouraging people to vote for Terri.

        • commonSense says:

          So you’re not a supporter you just support Terri’s story. How logical!
          if an IP generator was being used wouldn’t Nana be winning by more and from the beginning? And you’d get instances of vote deposits -i.e 600 votes in the same four minutes or other behaviours like that rather then the gradual beating that is taking place.

    • Jonathon says:

      This cold be the case for both sides… seems kinda fishy that we have 9000 votes collectively and only 180 responses in the comments section… DOes this not seem strange to the moderators????

  11. Anonymouse says:

    Came in unbiased. Read “Cold Comfort” first, it literally bored me to tears because I was expecting more elements of horror/fantasy based on the opening; “Cardigan Blues” pissed me off because of its utter disregard for women (feminist here). Walked away, came back and read both again. CC reminded me of a watered down Stephen King novel. CB reminded me of the movie “The Accused” from the mob perspective. Ultimately voted for CB. Decided to vote continually for CB after reading through the comments – the immaturity here disgusts me. Good luck in the finals Nana.

    • Terri FavBro says:

      Listen to Terri’s wise advice.

      Don’t respond to insults because you will look all the more foolish when Terri loses.

      She’s trying to save your dignity and what’s left of hers.

      So do yourself a favor, realize Nana’s superiority, and back away gracefully.

  12. Terri FavBro says:

    Terri – Nana has a better story than you do.

    Originally, that is why I voted for him.

    After reading your comments, I make sure to check back in once every hour. I have my friends do the same. At this point, it’s not so much that I want to see Nana win, as it is that I want to see you lose.

    You are a pathetic disgrace of an adult.

    Watch this kid school you. Blame it on the Internet. Blame it on the weather.

    It doesn’t matter.

    You will lose.

    • Leilali says:

      What the hell? Why are you insulting the writer? This is beneath the competition and neither of the writers had done anything as low as this. I don’t believe that you’re a friend of Nana because Nana wouldn’t endorse such insults. A disgrace. The moderator should be stepping in.

    • PaulR says:

      Lol. It’s a kids vs grown ups death match! Gird your loins, grown ups! We are about to be schooled in social networking. Hopefully some helpful lessons in writing craft in and the art of wry and humorous smack talk (about the contest or about the writing) will might also spin off. If anything, I think this contest offers crucial training for anyone involved in writing for a living: growing a thick skin.

      • Terri FavBro says:


        Schooled in social networking?

        It’s funny how the comments turned from criticisms of the writing to criticisms of the voting methods.

        Do you always look to blame an outside source when the contestant you’re supporting starts to lose?

        Boo hoo. Nana has more votes.

        But wait?

        What if that means he has a larger audience? What if that means people like his story better? What if that means he is a better writer? What if that means his story has more votes because it’s a better piece of writing?

        That couldn’t be it. Could it?

        Of course not.

        He must be using his youngster Internet social networking magic.

        Poor Terri.

  13. You know, you go away for a little while and you never know what’s going to be there when you get back!

    It’s the first night of Purim, folks. Everyone go have a little fun and calm down.

    One interesting aspect to this for me is that a considerable amount of my base wasn’t reached via social media. I had to get people excited and interested at a few open mikes (thank you Slam Poets of St. Catharines, Plasticine Poetry and Red Rocket Readings of Toronto) and through a lot of very enthusiastic book clubs (Sexy Bitches of Etobicoke I love you all) and my graphic novel publisher in Niagara Falls (Grey Borders) and at Quattro Books and Accenti magazine in Montreal. Not to mention a ton of family and friends and colleagues and clients who read the story and supported me. What you see in the numbers involves a lot of kicking it old school — Twitter and Facebook helped but wasn’t enough. Just wanted to get that in there. I had mentioned earlier this was a “social media” contest as well as a writing one and was thinking about it later — and thought, hell a lot of people voting for me aren’t even on Twitter or Facebook with me. No particular point to all this except that social media isn’t the be all and end all, but it helps.

    • magic roster says:

      I was very pleased to discover this website. I want
      to to thank you for ones time for this particularly wonderful
      read!! I definitely savored every part of it and i also have
      you bookmarked to check out new stuff on your website.

  14. gravitas says:

    Ah yes, time for valedictory remarks, it seems.
    I wonder, should I write a little preface first, something on the order of “I was hoping to see the story that showed greater literary merit, and psychological truth, recognized and rewarded, so it is with outrage and dismay that I see instead . . .”? Nah, outrage and dismay are so outmoded. OK, no preface. Right to the meat:
    It is ironical that a contest containing a piece attempting to illuminate the immorality of heinous actions should itself be marred by what is, arguably, the immorality of heinous actions. Arguably? Oh yes, it’s definitely arguable, because such immorality is hard to identify, harder still to define. But I’d suggest that ‘immorality’, in this case, is not unlike the ‘pornography’ about which a learned jurist famously said: “I can’t define it. But I know it when I see it.”

    • Nana K. Adjei-Brenyah says:

      I have to say something to you gravitas that I cannot say to my competitor. You are a terrible writer. Your comments have the personality and heart of an extremely pretentious dried up piece of shrimp. Also, your complaints are unfounded and behind your perplexing choices in terms of diction, what you are doing is essentially whining based on nothing. It is still close. What has been immoral?

      You are talking out of you ass, or to put it in language you might prefer, “It seems you’ve arrived at a psychological juncture which has propelled you verbalize what can only be described as imaginary deficiencies.”

      These rules of thumb might help you.

      “(i) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
      (ii) Never use a long word where a short one will do.
      (iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
      (iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.
      (v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
      (vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous. ” – Orwell, “Politics and the English Language,” 1946

      • gravitas says:

        Oh dear, Nana – I think you imagined that my complaints were directed at you! Why is that? I wanted only to point out the injustice of all those sour grapes coming from the ‘Cold Comfort’ supporters.
        I apologize – that you should jump to conclusions is surely the fault of my inarticulate ass.

  15. veronica says:

    Voted for Cardigan Blues because I found it more engaging and smooth. Cold Comfort wasn’t horrible but it did bore me in spots. I came in unbiased and found the first story not as confusing as some of the critics have claimed it to be. There was no rape that was clear although what happened was close enough. I also sensed that the Logan character was disgusted with the group which was symbolized by the throwing out of the cardigan. I think the writer expressing that explicitly would weaken it, giving the reader some credit is respectful spelling every little thing out is boring. I also liked the way the first writer strung words together, in some cases they even stung: “she looks like twelve o’clock on the bathroom wall” hurts to read and envision. Powerful. Yes the subject matter is a painful one but literature is quite often tragic in nature, non? Kudos to both writers, it is definitely a close race to the finals.

  16. Nana K. Adjei-Brenyah says:

    The Deathmatch is a good competition because it gets a dialogue going about reading. It gets people who might have otherwise been debating the merit of the last episode of Scandal to think about pieces of writing. (This is not a shot at Scandal, a great show I’m sure, just an example lol) And today, sadly, in my generation, talking about writing is something different.

    Also, The Deathmatch provides a chance for people at completely different plains of life to duke it out on an equal stage. In this round for example you have Terri a Canadian published author and me, a 21-year-old Student from Spring Valley Rockland County who is very much at the beginning of his writing life. We both want to win and we both handle the competition the way we think will get us into the next round.

    The negatives of the Deathmatch are obvious but also there is some value to be taken from them. There are people who would like to see you fail for the sake of their own ego. There are people who cannot see the good in something because they prefer criticism to consideration. There are people who think that because the thing they support is good then the thing they dislike must be terrible. There are people who say things because they want to see if their words can break you. And there are also people who succumb to the pressures of an environment and act out of character to do what they believe they are supposed to do.

    All these people have a voice and they test your resolve and also force you to consider the worth of what you present as art. Before this contest I believed in Cardigan Blues and my ability to write. That has not changed, in fact, the support I’ve been given and the criticism (both valid and ridiculous)has made me believe in my potential more than ever.

    A lot of people ask me, (through both rounds), why don’t you say meaner things or make fun of the opponent more. I am not a performance actor. I keep it one-hundred all the time. I’m not really into all that extra stuff and especially because I believe much of this is the DM begging participants to “dance” for the masses I don’t dance when I can avoid it. I don’t think there’s been a time in this competition where I’ve thrown the first punch and it probably won’t happen. I’d prefer to make some meaningful criticism and keep it moving.

    At the end of the day the Deathmatch has its flaws and its merits. Shoot, I’m just glad to be on stage, even dodging tomatoes. Sorry I don’t dance more though.

    p.s Triplet – Don’t book your flight to the finals yet.

    • Triplet says:

      Nana, truth is told you are a far better writer then I ever was or will be. My hat is off to you. Congratulations on all your success so far in the competition. It’s a great achievement; something to be proud of. When all is said and done, I’m sure you will walk away having learned a lot from this experience…or if nothing else, grew a thicker skin. Best of luck in all your future endeavours…but as far as this competition is concerned, I think your luck just ran out!!! haha 🙂

      • Juanita says:

        I blog frequently and I seriously thank you for your content.
        Your article has really peaked my interest. I am going to take a note
        of your site and keep checking for new information about once a
        week. I subscribed to your Feed too.

      • Sam Sung says:

        Hey triplet you might be singing the tune of victory a little bit to early with well over a few hours of Death Match left you might want to sit tight and see how this unfolds. Nana on the other hand Kudos to you continue fighting on brother.

  17. I’ve had not-a-few questions offline about the whole point of Deathmatch. Isn’t it just a popularity contest? Shouldn’t it just be about the writing? Since we seem to be in this silent interlude on the blog, I figured this might be good time to talk about that. Because in publishing today — it’s never “just” about the writing.

    I think DM is a contest that combines two factors: the actual stories, and the authors’ ability to attract support, mostly through social media.

    In other words: it reflects a certain reality in publishing at the moment. It’s very easy to go unnoticed even with a great book. So writers are forced to make themselves very, very visible. DM captures that in an odd way, but it’s not unique — look at the way CBC Canada Reads “Turf Wars” works now, not to mention all the other CBC writing competitions that use a combination of broadcast debate, online voting and online blogging. (For our American friends, CBC is the Canadian Broadcasting Corp — or “Mothercorp” as sometimes known.)

    My book “The Proxy Bride”, published last year, meant that I had to engage in a ton of social media to pull eyes to it. It’s a lot of work, but it’s how you get readers these days…kind of the whole point of being published (at least for me).

    So in my opinion, Deathmatch is great competition. Because it reflects a reality most of us don’t think about…until we publish, and have to start doing exactly wht you see Nana and I doing here.

  18. Triplet says:

    !Nana, we’ve been rolling with your punches, but we’ll strike when you least expect it! I wouldn’t recommend taking your eyes off the tally for too long. Its game over baby!!!

  19. Muza says:

    Wow. How does Nana manage to get close to 150 votes between the hours of midnight and 4am last night and most other nights?? Is this a contest of who can manipulate the most IP addresses or a contest of recognizing the most talented piece of writing? While I have no doubt these shenanigans will continue, regardless of the outcome, know Terri that you are the true winner of this round.

    • Jill says:

      Nana gets votes at night the same way Favro manages to get so many during the day. This contest is not about writing at this point. It’s about who can get the most people to consistently support them, due to the fact that one can vote every hour. L2TakeAdvantage.

    • That’s when his friends are awake — see earlier blog posts. I think we can let that one go, Muza.

      But I will say this: in the parlance of my people, we dropped the gloves last night! Beauty! You guys collectively rock!

      I can picture our Broken Pencil referees observing us from their celestial “Deathmatch Night in Canada (and the U.S.)” gondola, snug in their Hudson Bay sweaters, sipping their Timmies double-doubles and murmuring “By Jove!Well played!” between chapsticked lips.

      Now I need some good Italian coffee.

  20. Triplet says:

    Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer. As C. J. Cherryh once said “it is perfectly okay to write garbage–as long as you edit brilliantly”.

    Perhaps you should take into consideration some of your opponent’s comments. She’s very wise, witty and intelligent.

    “Cold Comfort” is simply a superior piece of writing.

  21. Nana K. Adjei-Brenyah says:

    Which game? I’m American and inherently not a huge fan of hockey. I’m working on a few papers though. Reading a little bit about Russia and the Maslenitsa festival.

  22. Nana, did you say as much as you wanted to say about motivation to write this story? Where did the idea come from? Was it from witnessing bullying?

    I’m jumping in and out of the blog today so very quickly: Cold Comfort was based on meeting someone much like Mommi, a friend of a friend, who was a professional, and well-off, but whose behaviour was extremely manic. Pretty sure she had an addiction problem — she kept offering me drugs, which was one strong clue. She was also mother to a teenaged daughter, and I thought: how does the daughter react to living with her? I started writing as if Mommi had two real daughters but soon realized that one daughter was the “friend” — the emotional helper who existed to help Madison through her awful childhood. Also, I myself have a history of having imaginary friends — to mitigate loneliness — and I remember their physical “reality” more than I do many of the teachers I had in elementary school. I find that when writing fiction, characters feel like imaginary friends — they start to feel real to me. That was especially true when writing a novel. You live with the characters for so long, you feel as if they are real after a while. And with that…I’ll take my very physical self off to work.

    • Nana K. Adjei-Brenyah says:

      The idea from the story did not come from any particular even. It plays on the emotions I’ve sometimes imagined those who bully others might succumb to and it also harps on feelings of being excluded or not fitting in. But it is in no way a recreation of actual people or events and it is a story that came from a voice. I did however imagine them at my own high school, sitting at the lunch table, with foam trays laughing about how cool they are, drunk of themselves. And I did imagine the high school homecoming dance, where one end was darkest, with matted walls beneath a raised basketball hoop.

  23. My point would still be that the character development is off. They go from psychopathic to sympathetic too quickly without providing enough sense to the reader that they are, as you say, “unreliable” narrator(s) . It’s my only big criticism but it’s major.

  24. I’m glad you clarified — I’m not advocating censorship or self censorship, in fact the opposite. But I do think the story soft pedals outcome of “sexual assault” (I put in air quotes because Nana says there is no rape, by which I assume he means penetration). But I too can’t buy the end of the narrative.

  25. You know, I feel like I should apologize for the wisecracks tonight. I thought Workswithsurvivors post was thoughtful, well written and expressed opinions I’ve been hearing offline about “Cardigans” from other women. I’ve posted on FB to try to draw others to this Deathmatch round and possibly comment on what WWS had to say. Perhaps our Deathmatch discussion is skirting issues that deserve discussion.

  26. Hmmm. Must be party night in Albany. Despite the exciting appearance of our Broken Pencil overlord (who I just know has been watching us from Mount Olympus, stroking his beard and going “Nyes, nyes. Interesting!”) not much shaking in these here parts.

  27. Richard Rosenbaum (Moderator) ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Cardigan Blues continues its consistent but definitely still surpassible lead over Cold Comfort. Meanwhile, the authors and their supporters have their own skirmishes in the comments; despite the violence and controversial content of the stories, the discussion has not yet dissolved into insults and accusations…which says something, doesn’t it? I’m pretty sure we had a couple of big flame-outs by this point in last year’s Deathmatch.

    We’re barely halfway through this round…there’s plenty of time for anything to happen.

  28. You know, it’s quiet here at Deathmatch tonight. Too quiet. I’m starting to think it’s the beginning of the Deathmatch Apocalypse. With Brokenpencil’s editorial staff watching us, like those guys with big bald white heads and glittering robes from Star Trek TOS. I can imagine one of them saying, “Let’s turn the woman into a lizard and see how she fares in this match of skills then!” And the other rubbing his hands and saying: “No, Zarkon. Leave us see how she tweets to her people tonight. Then: the lizard transformation shall be all the more sweet!”

    Or maybe they’re just all down with flu.

  29. Dale says:

    The two stories are juxtaposed in my mind having read them back to back. I have been contemplating whether either story would work if the characters were the opposite gender. COULD the stories work? What would make each work or not work? In Cold Comfort what would substitute for a doll for a boy and father? In Cardigan Blues how would the themes play out if the gang was made up of teenage girls?

    Is the success of your story dependent on gender? If so, Why? And did you think about this when you were creating your story? Interested in each writer’s comments.

    • Nana K. Adjei-Brenyah says:

      This is a good question and I think that the cardigans could be translated to girls, but and they could still prey on a character like Harriet in the same manner the cardigans did. Much of the story would be intact because female cliques can behave in the same way that males might. It’s about the collective being capable of horrors the individual could never imagine. Insanity, in a group, is often the rule rather than the exception. It was a little bit easier for me to channel a masculine voice so that is why I went the route I did with the cardigans.

    • Great question. The simple answer in terms of my story is that it could be rewritten with an all-male “cast” and be quite effective. (Why didn’t I consider that during the rewriting process. Interesting idea.) I don’t think there’s anything that happens in “Cold Comfort” that couldn’t be transposed to a male experience. Certainly the imaginary friend or ‘third man’ phenomenon happens to all sorts of people and some of the best documented cases I’ve read are stories of men in extreme physical danger who make up a “helper” to get them through something so terrible, they need a friend. The religious visions type of “friend” (i.e. people seeing saints or the Virgin Mary, etc.) seems to be more associated with women but I do know of cases of men and boys claiming to have that type of experience. Even the Muscles-Mommi coupling could find a parallel — the father sleeping with his son’s girlfriend. The Coppola movie “Tetro” of a few years back used that device.

  30. Workswithsurvivors says:

    As someone who deals with rape victims and writing about rape victims throughout my professional and academic life, I am really depressed that NKA-B’s story keeps drawing ahead. I think that we need to show this round of voting around to women’s shelter workers and other people who work hard every day to fight this violent power. I’ve poured over NKA-B’s story, and so have other people who I work with, and we’ve found that it is a very basic retelling of justifications of rape. The boys leave with only good stories (You know how drunk I was? So drunk I puked *high fives*) and Heffer is able to punch one of her rapists in the nose with no reprisal (WTF!?!?) and leave generally unscathed, and the narrator assures us all that the boys will be fine. There is no indication that Heffer won’t be living a disrupted life, or that all the girls in the school aren’t just plain used to this treatment by now.

    NKA-B’s writing is part of The Problem, unfortunately. I will be somewhat depressed if his story wins, and so will many other people. Only somewhat, mind you – it’s not like there is any shortage of men like this story portrays, and I guess we have no choice but to be realists when it comes to what people vote for and what authors are able to write. I am probably being unfair by demanding that stories challenge the systemic problems of male violence. I am not sure if I am being too much of a censor by even complaining in a public forum.

    MEANWHILE the TF story is about a kid dealing with their mentally ill mother while being sympathetic to both, crosses the language barriers that most Canadian fiction suffers from (finally an author who is recognizing that Canadians no longer speak just English and French), and has elements of humour, horror, and self-awareness. Clearly TF should win on the merits of her story’s content and storytelling skillz.

    • Nana K. Adjei-Brenyah says:

      The issue of content has come up before and I really truly feel somewhat disheartened that you feel the story is a justification of rape. I think that the average reader, will feel an aversion to the hubris of the narrators before the bathroom scene even occurs and I think that aversion us multiplied many times over when the scene happens. Harriet is the strongest character in the story, she’ll will go the furthest in life despite the cardigans and even in spite of them.

      Rape/sexual assault happens and the story shows one way it might. The climax of the story ends with the sophomore throwing his cardigan in the garbage. He didn’t throw up because of the liquor. He threw up because what he was a part of was disgusting.

      • Workswithsurvivors says:

        Hello NKA-B, and thank you for clarifying what you were going for.

        I see from the thread that I am not the only person who did not pick up on the reason you wanted him to throw up. part of my misreading, and I think other misreadings, it that you wrote, “Logan threw-up, he’s the sophomore, our youngest. We shouldn’t have let him drink so much. The corners of our eyes begin to sting. We laugh and rub away the feeling with our palms.” The narrator tells us specifically that he threw up because he he was too young and inexperienced to hold his liquor. And since you described the gross vomit, the tears in their eyes seem related to that smell (it was a great way to communicate the smell of vomit). Also, the boys laugh, and men tend to laugh their whole lives when sharing stories of their drinking escapades that went too far. Following this piece of text, there is no redemptive moment for the boys, or sign that they feel any remorse (I don’t think they need to – there are other ways to end the story). I think that the conflict between your interpretation of the boys’ reaction and some of us readers is taht your narrator actually explains to us what the boys feel and why they react the way they do. The narrator unfortunately prevents us from going there.

        As for Harriett’s strength, you give her the ability to punch without being stopped by terror or by one of the boys, and she is able to leave – even feel like she can leave. She is not stopped by the pain in her groin that might cause her to lie still for a moment. There is no description of how difficult the running might be, not even a lurch. Harriett does two things that are unbelievable to most survivors of rape but are easily explained from a POV of somebody who isn’t thinking about the sensations of anatomy and emotional response to this kind of trauma. Harriett is able to think in a linear way, maybe something like, “I feel angry. I will show them how angry I am. I will punch one of them. I will leave.” But there is no description of her hesitating to be angry when there are other feelings complicating it (shame or fear or exhaustion). She can direct the punch very well – how did she choose her victim? Why isn’t she afraid? This seems like magical thinking, or just wishful thinking. How did she leave so easily when her vagina is bruised (she was pushed against the walls too and probably has hickeys and bruising from their grip on her), probably some tendons are pulled?

        But ultimately, the boys who felt no regret above are vindicated when the narrator explains, “We let her leave, like nothing happened. She won’t say anything. We are still the muscle and the gavel.” We know from the story that the boys are used to having a sort of power over the girls that humiliates them and that Harriett especially is forgiving of that power (they taunted her and she still helped them with math). the boys are sure they will get away with it. Partly, they know they will get away with it because they know Harriett feels humiliation is normal for her. That is not strong. That is actually a common form of girls’ vulnerability, and part of gang rape in many contexts.

        What I mean by a justification of rape is that this image of girls is a common image that boys think is real. It is an image that helps them to explain why sexual assault is not terrifying or permanently damaging. Harriett is not an image of a sexual assault victim. Instead, she’s been written as a common image a rapist has. Your story doesn’t show where Harriett’s reality conflicts with this image.

        Now, I think that the narrator can assume Harriett feels her humiliation is normal and that she won’t rat them out. I think that is very realistic, actually. But the points in the story where you say the rape is revealed as some kind of problem don’t pan out that way in the text. And I (or people like like me – I am on dangerous ground speaking for a group I can’t actually represent) who have to listen to survivor testimony or read about it regularly, will find that all you’ve done is repeat a narrative that we already know. Unfortunately your story doesn’t tell us anything new. I understand that you took a risk, especially writing this scene as a man, but the end product needs a whole lot of work before it does what you want it to. In the meantime, it might win with voters, but it fails at its core. Your intentions are valid. I wish that you did better and I think you can.

        • Nana K. Adjei-Brenyah says:

          I think that the important thing to understand is how unreliable (of course right?) the narrator is. They think they are perfect, they are delusional with power. They never imagine that Logan might have thrown up because he was disgusted, it must have been because of the liquor.

          Also again as Terri has said, by she she wasn’t raped I mean that nothing I didn’t say explicitly in the bathroom happened. They assaulted her by pinning to a wall, touching her butt, biting her gold chain, and trying to force sloppy kisses on her as is in the text. Before it could get even worse the sophomore threw up, much because of the pain of being singled out and, momentarily, removed from the collective. Then Harriet runs out, but not before punching the one who was closet to her in the face. She ran out without waiting because it was a bad situation that could only have gotten worse and she had to get out of there. She has to run because it is the logical move at that point. Once again I never wrote that she was forced out of her clothes or anything along those lines. She was still physically very able to run and get away and I think that certain preconceptions about what kind of story this might be might cause a reader to assume more than is the text,

          Still I do value what you’ve said and some of it follows through even given what I’ve said. A main point I would like to be considered is that these narrators are jerks. They make that clear from the moment they go on about their wardrobes. Harriet is far stronger than them and is, in almost all ways the opposite. That is why they hate her. She is a strong individual. They’ve lost all sense of individuality, except maybe, Logan.

        • Anna says:

          Outside the bounds of this competition I want to thank Workswithsurvivors for enlightening me of the reality of what victims of bullying and assault actually go through. You are so right and I knew that but I let myself get caught in the wishful thinking that Harriet was somehow not afraid or was strong enough to endure without being affected.

      • Anna says:

        That that sophomore threw up because he was disgusted with what was happening and not because he was drunk was not clear to me. I naturally assumed the latter. I will say that I never saw the story as a justification of rape but I certainly felt very uncomfortable and angry about all it, the bullying and the assault. I assume that’s what you were going for.

    • Anna says:

      For me Cardigan Blues was much more about bullies and being bullied than about rape. I never really believed a rape would actually happen but I admit to being naive. I kept expecting some kind of interruption which, thankfully, was provided although there was an assault in progress. It was also about the strength of Heffer and my sympathy for her in the face of constant assaults in the form of bullying. I for one cheered when she punched cardigan guy in the nose. I felt hatred for all the boys except maybe the new kid who puked in the final scene. It was satisfying that the stupidity and bullying of the older boys forcing the young kid to drink too much and puke and in the end foiled their plans and ruined their sweaters. But all my reactions are pretty predictable and the story was also predictable. What was novel for me was that it was told from the bullies point of view.

      Loved what you said about Cold Comfort. One of the things I liked about this story was the affection or love Mommi has for her imaginary friend Courtney while accepting she is indeed imaginary. Courtney is protective and is there for Mommi no matter what but more interestingly she’s also lost, lonely and confused. I would not have expected these traits of an imaginary friend. This is why I found Mommi to be such an interesting character. She’s definitely not my idea of the stereotypical oxy addict but I think that’s the point. Thanks for challenging my stereotypes!

    • Obviously I’m happy to hear your kind words about Cold Comfort, Workswithsurvivors. I find “Cardigans” disturbing too but truly, it’s the ending for me. The boys are all-powerful bullies up to that point — and I could accept them as such, the way Nana wrote them/him — but when we are suddenly supposed to see them as “kids” who are “sorry” for what they’re done…well, I could have spewed my hot dogs at that point too. Thanks for expressing this so well.

  31. Anna says:

    Terri’s doing an awesome job moderating. Should be points for that! And, I love your story Terri. I think both stories are great but for me Cold Comfort is less predictable and I love the language and imagery. Maybe because I’m a half-Italian/Canadian who grew up in the ’70s? I think it’s original yet I can totally relate. I really like the rhythm of Cardigan Blues.

  32. Nana, when you return to the arena, here’s a question: what was inspiration for your story? Did you write it specifically for Deathmatch? Was it something you were already working on? Interested in its provenance. I’ll talk about mine if you talk about yours.

    • Nana K. Adjei-Brenyah says:

      I actually wrote the original version of this story almost two years ago. I was trying to do new things in voice and perspective. I was only a few years removed from high high school so I had some pretty clear images to work with.

      I may not be able to post much today because I have a lot of work to get through tonight.

  33. Pud says:

    Hold on. Sumthin jist hit me. You meen I don’t need reed eech story every time I vote? 15 votes so far, evenly split i’d say, and I kin now repeet both them storys by hart!!!!!

  34. Nana K. Adjei-Brenyah says:

    Hmm, my schools intranet site? I have FB and a Twitter. That’s pretty much it. Not sure what you imagine my school site is like but it does not allow me to spam the university.

    Anyways, I think that this version of your story does include some interesting images the overall pace is a little too deliberate, i.e slow. The second half has a lot more push but you have to convince the reader to get that far first and I’m not sure the beginning is strong enough to do that with everyone. You’re right though, trash talk is allowed so go for it!

    • I think we’re just using different terminology for same thing — that’s what I thought you meant by message boards. The internet site within your school. Not sure what you mean by spamming — bulk emailing? I think any service will allow you to send out many emails at once if they’re legit…spam just means bogus. Again I think we’re using same word but defining it differently. Whatever.

      Regarding my story, I’ve played with varying amounts of description before Madison leaves for Calgary (which is where I think the ‘second half’ might begin). It felt to me and some other readers that one needed to get to know these characters pretty intimately, especially Mommi, before the second half even makes sense. I found when I honed the story back further, the characters weren’t fleshed out enough for the second half to play itself out. That’s about all I can say to that. And like you, I’m working full time so I regret to say that like Elvis, Terri is leaving the building (and all possibility of a response) for a number of hours.

  35. Nana K. Adjei-Brenyah says:

    I have to say I’m a little disappointed in you’re approach to voting Terri. We both know the game and we both play it. We both appeal to the people we know how we can. And For the record I’m an English major I don’t speak HTML or C++, I don’t even know Spanish. I’m FAR from a techie and I certainly don’t have an agent/friend using “unauthorized” technology. Like agent/friend lol? What is the accusation based on? The fact that I get a lot more votes at night.

    I have class/a job/an internship that takes up my mornings, I mostly advertise at night. But regardless I don’t owe anyone an explanation for doing what the contest asks. And please be serious the votes are still close.

    People who assume something funny must be going on because they’re losing…We have a word for that when I come from. And it’s not winner and it’s not realistic.

    But, say what you must to keep yourself happy. I’m happy because George Saunders is coming to my campus today. Be happy its still very close.

  36. To be fair to Nana, I’m not saying something technical is happening, just that he’s got a system set up to bump the votes in blocks when I get close or when most of my support is offline (night). And given Nana mentioned using message boards, that’s probably how it’s done — but that’s within the rules. So I can criticize that — because hey, this is the Deathmatch and you’re supposed to criticize everything — but I don’t want to go too far! As long as we’re all human beings voting it’s okay.

  37. I’m starting to think of Deathmatch as a giant piece of public performance art based on who can raise the largest online standing army. It’s almost medieval.I’m waiting for one of the Borgias to show up with a crack troop of literary critics.

    • Richard Rosenbaum (Moderator) ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      “I’m starting to think of Deathmatch as a giant piece of public performance art based on who can raise the largest online standing army.”

      That’s pretty good! Maybe we’ll use it in the advertising for next year’s contest.

  38. Lauren W says:

    For one if Nana’s supporters were illegally pumping up the number of votes he would be winning by way more than he is currently. Did you ever think that maybe he just has more “insomniac” supporters? Ha! This is comedy. If he were losing I’m sure you would think differently, Jennifer. Let the best man win! 😉

  39. Jennifer says:

    I thought this was supposed to be a literary competition and that a writer was supposed to win based on the merit and appeal of his or her story. The numbers don’t seem to add up. It would be very disappointing if an author or his friend/agent/partner was using unauthorized technology to pump up numbers artificially. Cheaters shouldn’t prosper.

    • Alex P. says:

      If you don’t mind Jen, you said the numbers don’t add up. I was just wondering if you could crunch these numbers right here for us using the same complex equation you used in your personal analysis. Unless of course the only numbers you see are the ones you don’t want to see, therefore they must somehow be inaccurate in some way right Jen? This is a literary competition judged by readers. After every vote you’re notified that you can vote once per hour, meaning, “vote once per hour”. If it doesn’t make sense that people who vote for Cardigan Blues repeatedly do so, the only thing that doesn’t make sense here is your seemingly pointless hate towards a piece of writing in a competition where your only part is to post comments that have absolutely no basis or point towards the competition at all. Votes over night? Allow me to propose the radical theory that since most of Nanas fans are college students, they tend to vote when they’re awake or have free time: At night. There isn’t an army of bats sitting by every laptop in the United States. The votes jumped by 200. If someone were trying to cheat or had the means to, the margin wouldn’t be this slim. Go away Jen. You’re simply a hater.

  40. Leilali says:

    Whether a rape happened or ‘just’ an assault, the scene depicting the event was vague and therefore flawed in a literary sense. It was vague enough that a few people (me included) weren’t sure what actually took place. That’s a sign of immature writing, choosing to skirt around an uncomfortable or disturbing scene (especially considering your other descriptions were vivid and detailed – so why not this one?) It is your story, so commit to it and show us what happened. You don’t need to be vulgarly graphic, but you need to SHOW the reader what happened. This, by the way, has nothing to do with the theme, which does come through, or the other good qualities the story may have (and it did). Once the climax of the story failed, the story, for me, fell apart. Unfortunate but true.

  41. Emily ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    That theme of complexity is pretty obvious to anyone not looking to pick it apart needlessly, who is reading it as is, which is a short story about that struggle for individuality, framed (cleverly) within the politics of high school teenagers. Trying to find fault in this story is misguided, if you add me.

  42. Gerard says:

    @ gravitas
    I was referring to actually “Body and soul” by Oscar Micheaux. Where Paul Robeson characters act of rape is hardly discussed but simply implied. Don’t try to tell me my history is faulty. Also when the birth of a nation was created racism was so crazy. I hardly find it one of the greatest silent films besides it being a brilliant cinematic for its time. What it presented was bluntly racism and that’s why ask majority of white run newspapers praised it. If I’m not mistaken the person who is raped or attempted to be raped was a white woman by a black man, which was a normal devices used to present African American men as pillagers of white women innocence.

  43. Then write it as a novel because in the short space of time between assault — and let’s agree, it was a violent sexual assault, they pinned that girl to the wall — and her walking out of the bathroom — that is not enough time for anything even approaching “redemption”, Nana. Not even close. In that moment in time, they are all still in monster mode.

  44. Nana K. Adjei-Brenyah says:

    And what I am asking the reader to accept is not a sudden sense of empathy. I am asking them to understand struggle between individual and the collective that existed the entire time. I am asking them to see that struggle between wanting power and being a monster, I want them to see complexity which you seem to be against. Evil is not always so straightforward. That is what I’m trying to show.

    • I_m amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I come across a blog that_s both educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you
      have hit the nail on the head. The problem is an issue that not enough men and women are speaking
      intelligently about. I am very happy I stumbled across this during my search for something relating to this.

  45. Nana K. Adjei-Brenyah says:

    I actually disagree and for me, as a writer, to have a rape actually occur would be the easy way out. It would also leave less room for redemption. It would easy, I think, to describe a painful, hideous rape scene and then go from there but the stopping short leave more room for thought, makes it less of a sob story. Either way like you said it is a circular argument. You want a rape, I did not. To each his or her own.

  46. Gerard says:

    The lack of an description of an assault or rape is far better than nana trying to describe the act. Your mind will make it far worse and more detailed than anything someone can write. Its called engaging the reader. If you want things spelt out for you, read a children’s book.

    • Or hey, no book at all, since the writer’s skill is to describe. Gaps and ambiguity are very easy to do (especially in endings). Ever notice how many short stories don’t actually have one? In this case, I think the lack of description is a kind of playing-it-safe. We can go around in circles on this one but it would be pointless.

      You’re a writer. So write. Tell us what the characters saw, felt. Take the reader there. In this story, there’s just this sort of prim…void, at what should be the climax.

        • And the reason I said it was borderline offensive is that you are asking the reader to accept a sense of suden empathy among the boys for the girl (and therefore feel empathy for them) just seconds after sexually assaulting her. This is an extremely violent act regardless of how far they took it. I feel no empathy for them. They are torturers, in the process of the act. It doesn’t wash. It’s the violence you don’t communicate yet it is at the heart of what they are doing. It shies away from the truth of it.

  47. Nana K. Adjei-Brenyah says:

    I think the problem is that you are assuming punches are pulled and the story refuses to explain when the boys rape Heffer. What happens in the bathroom is written out. They touch her and harass her but before anymore can happen one of them gets sick and forces the situation to stop before it can escalate. That is what is written. Things only seem vague if you try to fill in what did not happen. Everything that happened is there in the narrative.

    Considering who threw up : “There’s a gurgling sound and then there’s vomit all over the floor. We’re angry because there are half digested hot dog chunks on our boat shoes. Logan threw-up, he’s the sophomore, our youngest. We shouldn’t have let him drink so much.”

    I really believe that it is rather clear what happened in that sense.

    • Karen says:

      I did not think there WAS a rape. I thought the sophomore threw up because he drank too much. The entire story seemed very young as in meant for teen readers….sort of a “Twilight” version of juvenile boys bullying a girl. The only thing that kept me reading was I felt I should read it all before I voted. Then again, maybe there was a vampire theme that I missed and that’s why all the votes come at night…..

  48. Gerard says:

    I feel that the rape/assault , whether vague or not is still strong. When rape was not spoken about openly such as in the silent film era did it diminish the act? You don’t need a graphic description of it, to understand that something was done that should not have.
    Also have you ever done something you shouldn’t have within the passion of the mob mentality? Immediate regret usually follows once the act is done. It makes sense for someone to realize right after the act that they had made a mistake. I don’t see how that is offensive, it shows that they have realized they are truly horrible. The act of rape is always going to be offensive in some way but i don’t see how they story adds to this offensiveness. I see a lot of nitpicking in much of your criticisms. Seems like someone is becoming scared.
    “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”- Yoda
    Don’t fall to the dark side Terri, or are you already a Sith lord?

        • mike magic says:

          An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment.
          I think that you should write more on this issue, it may not
          be a taboo matter but typically people do not talk about these topics.
          To the next! Many thanks!!

        • gravitas says:

          A quick back-up to Gerard’s earlier post about the merit (or lack thereof) in explicit depiction of rape, with reference to the silent film era: it was precisely during that era that rape WAS openly depicted. ‘The Birth of a Nation’ – arguably the greatest silent film – has two of them. Or just ask Fatty Arbuckle how delighted the contemporary press was to discuss the subject. The Hays Office was eventually established to protect the poor public from the salacious world of the movies, leading to decades of evasive films that satisfied nobody until the undying human demand for ‘graphic description’ at last restored some cinematic honesty.
          My point is twofold: 1) faulty history tends to make for fatuous argument, and 2) people really LIKE graphic description, especially if it’s well and artfully done. It’s hard to do. Try harder.

  49. Well since it’s still silent on Aragorn’s (Nana’s) part, I’ll add that I still think his story has a problematic ending. I found the actual rape amazingly vague. Surely the collective, as he calls it, would have commented on the physical experience but it’s entirely avoided. I wasn’t even sure whether she had been raped or who was vomiting… and the idea that the collective would already sense regret in their act when their flies were still open is unbelievable, bordering on offensive. I don’t have much to add beyond that. Except that Nana (Aragorn) should investigate the difference between “her’s” and “hers”. I’ve said what I have to say.

  50. Hi Undecided. The only way I can think to convince you is to talk about my own story. “Cold Comfort” uses an actual psychological phenomenon — that of the imaginary friend or ‘third man’ as they were known by explorers and mountaineers — to show how a mother and a daughter are dealing with extreme stress. Courtney is originally her sister Madison’s imaginary friend, a way to deal with intense loneliness and a drug addicted workaholic mother. When the sister leaves, the Oxy- and sex addicted mom adopts Courtney as a way to cope — her voice is that of the two. And she’s contrasted with another “imaginary friend” situation from the house in the past, the doll and the saints filling that psychological role to mother and daughter in past generation. It’s am ambitious story with a lot of strong imagery, some horror, some humour. It’s not a typical short story but a very satisfying one to read (I’m told). Does that help with your decision?

  51. I think I know why you can get 100 votes in night (well, less than a night, I checked in at 3 a.m. so more like 100 votes in 4 hours) — you’re calling up the undead to vote for you! I think I saw this in Part II of “The Lord of The Rings”.

    Too bad that this is turning into who can muster a sleepless, standing army on a dime. It was almost a horse race there, yesterday!

  52. Yep. You’re right. I concede. The night is yours. Enjoy! And this is, at its heart, a social media competition. We’ll see what daylight brings…

    Oh hell! Can someone get me a calculator? This equation stuff is not my idiom!Okay, got it.

  53. Jenn doesn’t sound particularly hateful to me…maybe a cheeleader, even… but..whatever! I’m shrugging as I write this.

    You know what I really hate (italics on “I”) about Deathmatch, Nana? That goddamn captcha. Yeah! I’m looking at it now. An equation. I hate equations. I had to ask for help with this one! And with that,I abandon my overnight fate to your sleepless minions. It’s been one hell of a long day.

  54. Nana K. Adjei-Brenyah says:

    “Her chewing lips bulged like the ass of a dog getting ready to squeeze out a turd.” Now that’s an image!

    I notice a lot of you revision worked on making things more vivid. What things did you have in mind with the rewrite??

    • Nana K. Adjei-Brenyah says:

      Yea it was the message boards that were bloody more than the score. And yeah my friends are pretty supportive, thank God. You’ve done pretty well thus far too. 400+ in a day is not an easy task. I’m surprised I have that much, been stuck all day until now.

    • Why do people keep saying things with air quotes around them that I don’t get? “Jenn”…oh wait! She doesn’t really exist! Sorry it’s the 13.5% Italian-wine-I-bought-at-Dorval-Metro stuff talking. Right. Right. Jenn doesn’t exist…

  55. Hey where’s all the blood and gore? Where’s all the, you know, sturm and drang? I couldn’t check the blog posts until now and I figured: man, I’m going to have to deal with all those hyenas… Who knew Deathmatch would be such a tea party? Excuse me while I go eat dinner and pour myself a glass of Montepulciano like the nice Euro Traditional I am.

  56. Terri Favro says:

    This DM writer has spent day stuck in nightmare traffic jam due to closure if highway between Toronto and Montreal. Still driving. Will have lots to say very soon

  57. Richard ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The semi-finals begin! For the first time ever, rewrite battles rewrite. And thus far, the competition is as close as the comments are affable. One of these stories will proceed to the finals – but which one?

  58. Emily ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Yessss. Heffer gets some revenge! Whoo hoo! Blood in a Deathmatch revision… Nice touch. I liked Cardigan Blues as it was, and didn’t really think it needed rewrites but reading this version changed my mind. Great job, Nana. I think the whole bathroom scene as well as leading up to it and after has more substance, and I can tell you revised this based on the comments received. So I have to hand it to you, it’s really well done.

    Terri, I think you did a decent job with the revision. I’m not sure it has the same punch though. I miss the way that Courtenay was explained, between the ladies in the book club, in the first revision. The offhand remark from Mommi in the second revision didn’t really do it for me, IMO.

  59. As I say, I can’t buy it. The “collective” is in the process of raping a girl (although the act is weirdly off stage — wouldn’t the “we” observe it a bit more?) It’s still the heat of the moment. And although it’s a collective, it’s really Mike’s voice, isn’t it? And I suspect as far as he’s concerned, “Il ne regrette rien.”

      • Helenbsgj says:

        Hi.ecoz [url=]air max pas cher[/url] fyg nuw yuo vnx.zre gac. sraa [url=]nike tn prezzo[/url] nao pjh qjq,xsu kloq [url=]air jordan france[/url] gfm bww mjx kdy cmzg [url=]louboutin femme[/url] gqg hps ywn,qgv,jsn bos. ohfd [url=]scarpe nike air max[/url] tns toq wag ths bhoy [url=]louboutin scarpe[/url] ito bbs btl,wzc eykt [url=]chaussures nike pas cher[/url] dtp aot psb mqa sxin [url=]gucci outlet[/url] kzd sna mzw,joj.prg uea.tbq qpj,oecatyh [url=]hogan[/url] bdl imp ohq hynkvns [url=]air max outlet italia[/url] koz sa
        f imx,ipg.

  60. Nana K. Adjei-Brenyah says:

    The regret is the depth of collective. Some of them are against everything that is happening, they can’t refuse because they are trapped in the group, they are afraid to diverge. The narrator is the We, so there are breaks of doubt throughout the story. Logan literally physically threw-up and so it is clear how he felt.

    • I reread it and I think the confusion for me comes from a number of things. After they pin her to the wall the writing gets a bit tentative. I wasn’t sure exactly what was happening — I wondered for a second if there even was a rape or they were feeling her up or scaring her…but yeah, okay,it’s a gang rape. But then there’s this sense of regret coming in. While their pants are still open? And would Mike even notice what Logan was feeling? I just can’t buy it.

  61. Nana K. Adjei-Brenyah says:

    I think you might be missing one of the main devices of the story. The collective sometimes breaks down and the hesitation is the feelings of some of the individuals. Only one member of the group throws up, the youngest one, the one who probably has the most hope of becoming something better. He throws up and leaves his cardigan because he still can. The other senior member of the group however, his cardigan is tied to him in blood and it isn’t going anywhere.

    • Nancyxrp says:

      Gets her eye-catching criminals zebra donkey shape when two policewomen went masquerade

      August 1, according to foreign [url=]tiffany outlet[/url] media reported July 31, on the way [url=]gucci borse outlet[/url] [url=]gucci borse outlet[/url] two British [url=]gucci borse outlet[/url] policewoman wearing cartoon loaded participate in masquerade encountered robbers, although they wore bulky animals loaded, but still neat to be criminals uniforms, just the whole “fight scenes” look a little funny.

      Policewoman Tracy Griffin and Terry Cave had a rest day, not on duty, but they met a man threatened to kill at the supermarket on the way to attend a fancy dress party. They then surrounded them, the criminals uniforms on the ground, and then let the staff alarm.

      While this is not the first time the two uniformed criminals at rest, but it is the first time wearing a “fancy dress” cases. In order to participate in the masquerade, they were wearing at the time the cartoon pattern [url=]nike tn prezzo[/url] jumpsuit dressed “donkey” and “Zebra”, looked to outsiders thought it was two courageous animals “fought” criminals.

      However, the two criminals [url=]nike air max outlet[/url] in uniform and did not go after the fancy dress [url=]nike tn requin[/url] ball, but do report back to the police station.


    • Simonxgex says:

      France called on the international community to coordinate [url=]woolrich sito ufficiale[/url] action against the “Islamic State” extremist organizations

      Paris, August 20 (Reporter Dragon Sword Wu) on the 20th senior French government expressed the hope that an international conference to discuss how to combat “in Iraq and Lebanon where Argenteuil Islamic country” extremist organizations as soon as possible, and called on countries in the Middle East, Iran and the UN Security Council permanent members of the coordinated action on this issue.

      Elysee Palace, the official website of the 20th released news that French President Hollande told “World News” interview, said, must now face is not a terrorist movement like al-Qaeda, but a “quasi-state terrorism” ( “Iraq and the Levant Argenteuil Islamic State”). The group has the organizational structure, a lot of money and sophisticated weapons, threatening to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon and other countries, should adopt a global strategy to combat it. He soon will partner countries proposed the convening of an international conference on Iraq’s security, the fight against “Islamic Argenteuil Iraq and Levant countries.”

      French Foreign Ministry website also issued a statement saying Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, was informed in Syria was “Argenteuil Iraq and [url=]chaussures louboutin pas cher[/url] Lebanon [url=]nike tn requin[/url] where Islamic country” kidnapped American reporters have been killed, he was very indignant. [url=]woolrich sito ufficiale[/url] He called on the international community to be the most severe condemnation, more firm determination to fight the extremist organizations in accordance with the spirit of [url=]nike tn requin[/url] the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

      According to local media reports, Fabius day at the hearing of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee, said: “We should study how [url=]piumini woolrich[/url] the different partners we not only want to deal with all the countries in the region, including the Arab countries and Iran are involved in this. actions, we also hope that the UN Security Council five permanent members have joined. ”

      Fabius Turning to the international conference [url=]woolrich outlet[/url] Hollande suggested that the meeting should be to establish “a series of mechanisms of intelligence and military” to take measures to cut off “in Iraq and Lebanon where Argenteuil Islamic country” funds and foreign militants sources. There is also the need for social action to cut public support for the organization.


    • Simonqdmk says:

      Secret Japanese media called “Second Artillery textbook” speculation China “by nuclear warhead”

      [Global Times reported] as a core strength of China’s strategic deterrence, the PLA Second Artillery Force has been outside trying to “decipher” focus. The habit of holding a high-powered magnifying glass to observe the Chinese military [url=]air max online [/url] in Japan, but will not miss anything about the Second Artillery Corps “trouble.”

      4, according to Japanese media have Artillery soldiers textbook “broke”: China to increase the number of nuclear warheads and strategic missile forces. China United States and Russia [url=]air max pas cher femme[/url] and other nuclear powers is less than the [url=]tn pas cher[/url] [url=]hogan interactive[/url] number of nuclear warheads fraction, but Japan’s Kyodo News said that China strengthen nuclear force “and reverse the trend of global nuclear disarmament and the line.”

      Forum on Japan, it was advocated that Japan should take the “nuclear armament.”

      For Japan news, who is familiar with China’s military strategy and military experts on the 4th to accept [url=]louboutin soldes[/url] the “Global Times” interview, denied that the military textbooks related content, but he also [url=]piumini woolrich[/url] stressed that in the history of human development, there is no any kind of weapon in the performance on a par with nuclear weapons, China must maintain a certain current strategic nuclear forces, only to have considerable power have a say.

      [Global Times stationed in Japan, the United States, Germany and special correspondent Blue Song of [url=]nike tn[/url] Solomon Wenyu Li Yongqing wooden Global Times reporter Guo Fang]


    • Simonqfvf says:

      Man approached 200 European beauty opening “go straight” was declined

      August 7, according to Taiwan, “BBC News” reported on the 6th, the United States [url=]peuterey outlet[/url] a man to travel in Europe for two weeks, during which he thought [url=]piumini moncler[/url] to do a “social experiment”, the man tried to strike up a conversation 200 females, there is no general When people get acquainted with the beginning of “courtesy”, but direct “rude” of [url=]moncler outlet[/url] the point, and asked each other, “do you go to bed with me”, although the vast majority of European women are almost rejected, but there are still successful cases.

      This “experimental” films uploaded to the network, five days attracted 2 million users click, the man the United States last year, also did the same experiment, comparison of the two men said that most of the people, to hear such a “request “do not feel offended, though rejected this invitation unreasonable, but when the answers are still [url=]moncler uomo[/url] maintain a pleasant attitude, or even think such a” rude “solicitation is very humorous.

      In the film, [url=]louboutin milano[/url] the man approached the 200 women, repeatedly refused, even at roadside rest puppy have asked, and finally went to the red light district asked a �50 price tag, let him retreat, went so far as to bargain, just [url=]louboutin milano[/url] shout 20 dollars, the move [url=]hogan milano[/url] angered the other side. Some netizens ridicule, may be European women do not love the Americans, but also friends, “praise” the man really was “too brave” was.


  62. I’m puzzled by the last few paragraphs. They rape her but “Mike” feels it as a painful? Then he and the boys throw up? Wouldn’t that, uh, be her? It’s kind of a weird reversal of how I’d expect these emotions to work. Just saying.

  63. In the clear cold light of day I’d say that my worthy opponent has tried to rewrite his story by making it…wordier. Otherwise, I’m not seeing much change from the Round 1 version. I’ll read again over some very bad in-room coffee.

    • Jerome says:

      He certainly didn’t add little jabs (maybe you are trying to flatter your fellow DMers) at other stories in his edits. Were the ones in your story intentional? Perhaps you didn’t even notice?

      Regardless, you’re done.

        • Jerome says:

          Changes to Cold Comfort that appear to be drawn from other stories in this year’s deathmatch – Turtle neck, muscles, square of bread with cheese on it, the vegetables making more of an appearance, more drug use/talk.

          I hope that is specific enough, as I see you have a penchant for reading between non-existent lines.

          The changes did improve your story, but not enough to win this round.

  64. Yeah yeah yeah! I can see you have a lot of insomniac friends! I’ll be blogging from a lot of truck stops along highway 401 starting tomorrow. So if I seem quiet tonight it’s just me getting ready for a day of white line fever and mobile Deathmatching.

    • KD says:

      Read both, had a tough time deciding who to vote for. After voting I scrolled down to browse the comments, and was immediately puzzled by Terri Favro’s constant barbs at her competitor. You appear to be quite a bit older than Nana K., Terri, and while that shouldn’t be an excuse for his immaturity, it certainly leaves you none for yours. What’s with that? Seems really unprofessional and un-sportsmanlike to me. I was dissapointed because your story was quite good.

        • PaulR says:

          I didn’t get the sense that she was “trying too hard” at all. Kind of easy, actually.

          Nana’s story is a fairly denotative “on the nose” account of a high stakes bullying situation and an attempt to describe peer pressure. It disconnects from the reader because it shies from the visceral gut punch that might make me feel as sickened as the younger character. Because the author chooses not to go there, the portentous “redemption barf” seems random and lacking significance, especially when it is undercut by the protagonist. The story doesn’t “say” anything that isn’t already known – it lacks a pov. It’s not that it’s just an unreliable narrator … it’s that the author is unclear on who narrator is – the collective? (These are not Borg), or more likely the lead cardigan speaking (incorrectly) on their behalf. Whose story is this? The girl’s? The ending, with a punch in the nose, asks too much of the author. If the story belongs to the younger kid, he is not redeemed. If that’s the goal, I think we’d need to tell it through his pov.

          It is on par with what I’ve seen from most developing writing workshops in first or second year.

          Terri’s story is a rich and layered tale that keeps unfolding on subsequent readings. We have rich description and reflection on the motif of discarded emotional crutches which have become ritualized and maladaptive habits, anchoring folks in stagnancy, which gives away to entropy.

          Interesting that both stories reflect on the motifs of loneliness and isolation, and both of them are intended to have untrustworthy narrators. Terri’s story, and it’s no shame to admit this, is just in an entirely different weight class. Smack talk aside, Nana, keep up the work and pay attention to the great comments here. I know they are posed less gently than in a writing workshop, but there is some great advice here for a lot of writers to learn to improve. You could do much worse than to have a writer like Terri comment on your stuff.

        • KD says:

          yeah, I get that. So if it’s encouraged then sure…it just seems like she went overboard. Trying too hard to make the other guy look bad. I could be wrong, that’s just what it looks like fro the outside…

      • Hi, I do think your site could be having internet browser compatibility
        problems. When I take a look at your web site in Safari,
        it looks fine however when opening in Internet Explorer,
        it has some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to give you a quick heads up!

        Apart from that, fantastic website!

      • Triplet says:

        If you stick to what your good at and keep your mouth shut, you’ll be fine!!!!

        Oh, and Ghost…. I mean that in the nicest way possible to someone who obviously has no taste in literature.

      • Jerome says:

        I think Cardigan is relevant to more than youth. The kids in the story all get older and carry their attitudes to wherever they end up working. The lad that threw up is the only one that thought what they were trying to do was wrong. I can see a direct comparison to corporate ‘group think’ and trying to get hands on a missed investment that is very attractive through hostile means, doesn’t make it any less vulgar.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.