Deathmatch 2013 Semifinals Round6

Deathmatch Moderator

Alison Lang is the assistant editor of Broken Pencil. This is her first year moderating Deathmatch. She likes horror movies and Korean food. Something she doesn’t like is yelling at people on the Internet, but she will do it if she has to……bitches.

 

 

 

 

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 | Round 5

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.

Muscle Man - REWRITE

By Brittany Smith

Muscle Man’s plastic hands are curled into fists. His chest muscles bulge. He wears yellow briefs over an orange bodysuit and his chiseled face is set in a confident smile.

Ever since his birthday, Carl has tried to destroy Muscle Man. He coiled a length of twine around Muscle Man’s ankles and strung him up by the feet. Then he buried him in the backyard. He even coated the toy with honey and watched ants cover his body in a writhing mass.

“Surrender, you coward,” Carl whispered. “Fine. You give me no choice.” Carl held a lighter to Muscle Man’s cheek. Instantly, the plastic sizzled and his features began to run. His face dried half-smeared, like he’d suffered a stroke.

Read on...
vs

The Offbeat - REWRITE

By Jeanie Keogh

I belly-flop onto the king-size hotel bed. Tomorrow we are on the road at eight. Tonight is still in its package.

Rich is next door talking incoherently to himself. His words are sounds trying to stand on new legs. He gets into the shower and falls. I expect to hear expletives but there is only silence.

The door to his room is wide open. A Hansel-and-Gretel trail of clothes leads from the bed to the bathroom. Today’s music festival pass is hung over the bathroom mirror. He is lying naked in the tub, dead drunk. An umbilical feeling of concern curdles to accusation in my voice.

Read on...
0vs0

143 Responses to “Deathmatch 2013 Semifinals Round6”

  1. Lee Noack says:

    First vote! Do I get a prize?

    • Tom says:

      …depends who you voted for…

    • Jeanie says:

      It’s okay, folks, Lee lives in his own personal time zone, much like Being John Malkovich, he operates according to the half hour clock…wait a second, don’t the NFLDers do that to? I think I’m on to something here. Lee are you a Newfie?

      • Brittany says:

        Yay, Jeanie! Is that you? (I’m also not signed in for the moment.) But I was very excited to see you here. Muscle Man wants to dance with you.

        • Jeanie says:

          Brittany! At long last, here we meet in the world of all things absurd and possible. You must know that you received at least a few votes from people who, by force of habit, were used to clicking on the left vote button because that’s where my story was in the first round.

          I get what you mean about missing Emily (your Round4 comment) I miss Graeme, but admittedly, I miss Annie the Moderator’s tough love the most. She was the only one who truly slammed my story and during the edits I understood was she was trying to tell me and I liked it. She’s pure sagesse, that one.

      • Lee Noack says:

        Sorry for jumping the gun. Given that the voting buttons were active (ie. I clicked vote and a little ’1′ appeared), I just assumed that voting had started. How very, very stupid of me.

      • Jeanie says:

        Oh! The Shame of the Spelling Error!
        *too

  2. Brittany says:

    uh…aren’t we waiting till midnight, folks?

  3. Brittany says:

    Alright, Jeanie. You and me. Here we gooooo!

  4. admintracy says:

    nothing counts till midnight!

  5. Alison says:

    It’s Jeanie vs. Brittany time and I am stoked to be moderating this particular round. I am a big fan of both your stories, and can’t wait to see what happens. LET’S PARTY.

  6. Alison Lang (Moderator) says:

    Oops, forgot to log in. Meow.

  7. sara henderson says:

    Here we go again! Your story is more complex this time – sadder too.

  8. Tom Stanley says:

    I’m pulling for you!

  9. Alison Lang (Moderator) says:

    Jeanie, I like that you didn’t mess with your story too much, as I personally really enjoyed the way it read the first time round. And Muscle Man packs much more of a punch (forgive the wording) with this edit. This deserves to be a tight race.

    • Brittany says:

      Thanks, Alison. I’m going do my best to ensure this is a tight race. Currently getting a bit trounced, but hoping I can muscle my way back in there. Wonder how many strongman jokes will be hurled around in this arena?

      • greg blee says:

        You started out behind in the last round too, Britt. That didn’t last long, did it? It takes a while to get the momentum going.

      • Jeanie says:

        The only thing that will be tight in this race will be Muscle Man’s banana hammock! (I went there)

      • Jeanie says:

        Brittany, I rather suspected you would have left me in dust by now…not really sure what’s happening here. I’m sure I’ll feel much more in touch with reality when I wake up tomorrow and you’re ahead 100 votes. It’s almost my bed time. Don’t pull a Nana on me now girl.

  10. Brian says:

    Be careful whoever wins this round. NANA who will be your opponent in the next round uses a TOR browser which allows him to generate multiple IP’s and vote as many times as he wants in an hour. His last battle which thrusted them into the finals saw him with 5000+ votes, and their story was horrible. Just sayin.

    • Tom says:

      Interesting.
      What do the moderators have to say about this?

    • Hal Niedzviecki (Moderator) says:

      We have looked into this accusation on our end and have not found any evidence that Nana or anyone else was cheating. If Brian or anyone else has evidence of vote rigging, they can send it our way and it will be investigated. Send to richardratbrokenpencil.com. In the meantime, as Richard said last round:

      “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?”

      • Rogatien says:

        Wow! I just tried it, and Brian’s right. I was able to vote twice within a minute or less. (I put a vote on each side … I will use my powers only for good.)

        Does the Broken Pencil website capture and store the IP addresses for every vote?

        If so, it should be easy to see when there’s a big wave of individual votes from IP addresses that only vote once …

        If not, why not? Seems like an easy way to ensure integrity of the process.

        • Tom says:

          Great news! The competition has no integrity! Prizes awarded to those who cheat the most! As in life, so it shall be at Broken Pencil.

        • Alison Lang (Moderator) says:

          want some cheese with your whine?

        • Tom says:

          Aha! Wordplay! Quality stuff there.

        • Jo says:

          This seems like a good and fair question that deserves a serious response, no?

        • Jo says:

          I was referring to Rogatien’s comment above…

        • Alison Lang (Moderator) says:

          And I was referring to Tom’s snarky comment above, not yours Jo.
          We are looking into all of this.

        • Anomy says:

          Sad … 10 hrs. gone by. This is losing the hope, the interest, … what’s wrong? Sorry, … but who cares right now? … Stop… what’s wrong … but something is wrong. … you just want to wrap your arms around and hold around tight. Just around tight … I love you … so much.

        • Mac says:

          Out of town for awhile, Jeanie. Don’t get this. What does it have to do with your challenge? Certainly understand the “???” Can you wipe this away? But then I read all the “stuff” that’s happening and absolutely love the intense talk. This is what the “comments” should be about. Love to read it all!

        • Jeanie says:

          Brittany,

          It seems I don’t know how to post a new comment thread and instead I ended up replying to something somewhere up the page. I hope you catch it and read it.

          Best,

          Jeanie

        • Brittany says:

          Thank you for your words, Jeanie. Thanks for being a formidable (and lovely) competitor. I wish you buckets of inspiration and a heart full of fire. I hope one day we actually get to meet in the three-dimensional world. We can share our mutual love for starfish. In the meantime, go get ‘em! Bring this baby home.
          Many, many thanks to all of my supporters. I wouldn’t have gotten this far without you. Hasta La Vista, Deathmatch! Until next time.

    • Reality says:

      To the writers and voters of this DM, please don’t follow Brian’s example. He keeps complaining about cheating and denying that he has a fanboy love for Terri. It’s easy to get a new IP through Tor sure but it is through any proxy. Just because Brian knows what Tor is does not mean that he is correct. Both stories were great and the writer who got more support won. I’m sure you guys here were following it since the winner of that round will face the winner of this one. Instead of complaining about how someone may have cheated (clearly they did not as it was a pretty close race), take the time to go rally support and encourage readers to vote. Complaining about losing and making false accusations of cheating will not get you any closer to winning but going out there and supporting the story you like will help.

      • Alison Lang (Moderator) says:

        I deleted Brian’s previous comment that basically encouraged people to cheat, and I will delete/block all subsequent comments he makes on the board. Not cool, guy. That’s quite enough.

    • Hippo says:

      LOL, really Brian? The way you’re on about this is really just pathetic at this point. NOBODY was cheating. Come on, man. You weren’t even competing and you’re being a real sore loser. You’re literally spouting nonsense, you know for a fact that there’s no evidence to support this claim but you’re saying it anyway. What gives? It’s not super hard to go through a proxy server, or use Tor browser; but in this instance, that would be way more trouble than it is worth for the friends and fans of either author.

      Also, the votes were incredibly close. You say it’s shenanigans that Cardigan got over 5k votes, but Cold Comfort had like, 4,999? Both authors had people in their corner, voting for them numerous times, supporting them. Stop invalidating someone else’s acheivement for your own satisfaction. All love, man.

    • Jerome says:

      It’s ok Brian. Terri’s story was alright … jut not good enough to win. Move on, sir.

  11. greg blee says:

    Ak! I read the first sentence of each story and they’re BOTH IN PRESENT TENSE. The immediacy … the breathlessness … the hyperdrama … i don’t know if i’m up to this round. I’ll have to revisit this later.

  12. Alison Lang (Moderator) says:

    Votes climbing for Brittany. I like it. I want to see some serious neck-and-neck shit happening here. I want the literary version of the Fast and the Furious. VROOM.

  13. Jennafey says:

    Jeanie, I enjoyed your tale on its first go around. I was transported. You manipulate words to paint pictures, with ease it seems. The subject matter was just a little… hrmm… ‘hipster’ (for lack of a better word)so I gave my vote to Brittany. I think that her content is more relate-able, but that’s subjective I suppose.

    With that being said, I’m loving the new take on Muscleman! Vastly improved since round one, most pointedly in providing ties between the older brother’s violent tendencies and Carl’s destruction of his miniature. I’m glad to see you rid the tale of the junkie. Most improved, hands down.

    • Brittany says:

      Thanks, Jennafey. Yeah, that junkie was darn clunky. I agreed with the feedback from the previous round on that one. Turns out he was clunking around the place cause he wanted to escape.

    • Jeanie says:

      Ouch Jennafey, hipster…what a brutal label! I am not even certain I know what this term means anymore. Being older than said generation, I am not even sure I ever knew but I do know that from the limited exposure I have had to this sub-culture (or has it now become ubiquitously mainstream) Does this mean that my story was akin to the trite superficiality and navel-gazing of the young alternative culture? How was the way I described band life alienating as a reader? Where did I lose you exactly?

      • Jeanie says:

        Oops, looks like I hit Submit comment before a proper edit. That should read differently but I’m sure you figured that out.

  14. [...] round two for my sister, author Brittany Smith’s story MUSCLE MAN at brokenpencil.com. Do check out her clever rewrite and VOTE VOTE VOTE! More than once, more than twice or if you are [...]

    • Jeanie says:

      Alison Barber, in the interest of the best story winning this competition, I would like to share something with you. It is a post that one of my family members put on his Facebook wall. He wrote: “Please visit this site (broken pencil + the link) and vote for the better story.” FYI: He does not share the same last name as me and my name on Facebook is not my real name so no one can make a connection between us. Does he believe in my story? (I assume so) But if I know him well, what he doesn’t want is to endorse something blindly without giving people the choice to think critically about which story they think is better. If you believe in your sister and her ability as a writer as wholeheartedly as you do, and I would because she is a good writer, then you are doing her a disservice by advertising her work this way. The way you’re going about spreading the word will probably lead to a more certain victory. (This is not an attack – many people I know on my side are doing exactly what you are doing. But I’m losing heart (and enthusiasm) because it all feels a little misguided.

      • Tom says:

        As established in previous rounds, this has nothing to do with literature. It’s a popularity contest! And what on earth are you doing up at this hour?

        • Jeanie says:

          Tom, how lude you are! This is a public forum and people may talk. What I am doing up at this hour is a discussion for behind closed chat room doors.

        • Jeanie says:

          Tom, I was being facetious, but I’m sure you caught that, yeah:?)

    • Jeanie says:

      The tone I was going for here was – “Food for Thought: why does this competition exist if we are only plugging our own?” And now I realize it just comes across as self-righteous. Forgive me, I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet. In the future, I will stick to dolphin punching. Alison, are you a dolphin puncher? Because if you are, you should probably be voting for my story. Dolphin punching is stronger than blood-lines, stronger even than clan association.

  15. Monica says:

    I love this line: “An umbilical feeling of concern curdles to accusation in my voice.”

    Closely followed by “The soundtrack to this fantasy is in E-flat major.”

  16. Heather says:

    Britt:
    This rewrite is more convincing. It doesn’t come across as 1) cute little boy 2)Mom’s screw up – dumping the kid 3) big brother – dumping and running. The first entry seemed to be all those maudlin stories but what you rewrote makes it more “today real” Good stuff.

    You read this and you want to grab the kid for a hug. But no… he’s going to do “his stuff”. Muscleman’s limbs back at the end … I love it because it represents the hope for everyone of us … the tomorrow. Again, good stuff.

  17. Krista says:

    Very glad to see the gap narrowing, Britt! Your rewrite took Muscle Man to a whole new depth. I really liked the weight you gave to the word pussy in your ending, leaving the reader to feel the scar it left on his innocence.

  18. Emily says:

    Hey Brittany. I hear you and Tom have been missing me! Thought I’d pop in. I must admit, I’m disappointed that you eliminated Clunky Junky and didn’t tackle him head on. I was interested to see your new take on it… But between the two versions I like this one better, it’s feels more authentic. You’re great at the kid POV. Jeanie, I can’t give you any criticism – you had me at, “tonight is still in its package.” For the record I think Cardigan Blues is an excellent story fully deserving of all its votes and a worthy opponent in the finals!

    • Brittany says:

      Yay! Emily, I’ve totally been missing you. For realz. I see what you mean about tackling the junkie head on, but I started to feel he belonged in another story. His addiction turned into a bit of a crutch, like, “how can I make this brother fall from grace in the kid’s eyes? Ooh, I’ll just give him an addiction!” Nah. Boo.

    • Jeanie says:

      Thanks again, Emily. Props to you for being engaged in everyone’s match.

  19. Alison Lang (Moderator) says:

    Out of curiosity, for both contestants – is there any one comment that really influenced you during the revising process? Or anything that haunted you in general from previous rounds (regarding your work, of course – although I must say the phrase “phallic minions” from Round 4 has stuck in my consciousness for awhile now….)

    • Jeanie says:

      I must say that the sucker punch that really got me was Annie’s synopsis of my story:

      “Right now I’m reading this lame-ass short story about some old chick with baby issues and her drunk ex-lover. The female voice is disappointingly weak – and worse the character falls within the “straight-and-narrow” repertoire of conventional female protagonists. Meanwhile, the incompetent douch’s got 99 problems, but that bitch ain’t one- and so this makes her sad.”

      (A scratch; marry, t’was enough)

      Loved it though, because she knew what she was doing when she wrote that and I appreciated the intelligence behind how she cut up my story. I like the way she was encouraging me to make it darker, to take away the pretty stuff. I like that she was tough about it; what she said was the kind of thing that people say behind someone’s back but don’t have the courage to say to their face. But then, I’m used to this method, and I like it. I once had a clown teacher who kicks you off the stage after 30 seconds and then spends 15 minutes making fun of you while everyone laughs hysterically. It is a brilliant method and makes you a very good performer. It’s a way of saying to creative people – don’t waste my time, keep my attention, tell me something I didn’t know. In short, make it good. I also have a brilliant friend who when I read something to her says – “Are you ready for me to tell you where I stopped listening and why I don’t care?” (Love you Jess!)

      • Brittany says:

        Ooh, thanks for answering this one, Jeanie. Alison’s question has been my favorite so far and I was hoping you’d answer it. I have one for you. What was it that sparked your interest in this particular competition? What’s driving you forward? Also, are you some kind of vote-generating super-hero? Cause every time I think I’m getting close, whammo! There you are with a fresh burst of votes.

        • Jeanie says:

          Definitely not super-human. Definitely more surprised than you are that the numbers are this high. I have to say I went into this competition thinking – just get passed Round One. The goal was a bit of money and publication. Then my plan was to lose gracefully because I wasn’t into the idea of three weeks of intense stress and psychotic self-promo. (I feel like a literary prostitute) Not because I don’t want the big win (I do), but because I don’t stand a chance against Nana so winning this round is really for naught – the prize is the same if I win this round and lose to him as it is to lose this round, so there isn’t much incentive, you follow? Amidst this, there are these people who keep voting for me. It’s almost like this has become a nebulous thing, more than it was supposed to be. I really would rather be writing.
          What’s driving me forward? Fear, blind fear.

          You?

        • Brittany says:

          Well I certainly read you on the whole competing against Nana thing. Crikey! He’s a force to be reckoned with. I’m pretty impressed that Terri gave him such a run for his money with those numbers. Props to you, Terri. You are a deathmatch tiger.
          As for what’s driving me…I’m just really hungry for a break. I’ve been slogging away for years, trying to open these doors. I feel like it’s time. I want to shake Sam Hiyate’s hand here in Toronto and say: “I’m Brittany and I’d love for you to see my work.” Course, we probably all feel like it’s time, which is why we’re here duking it out in the first place! Whatever happens, I think all eight of us are a bunch of brave souls to have even stepped into this circus.
          And for the record, Jeanie, I’ve loved your story since the get-go. I’m happy your numbers are so high. Okay…maybe not that happy.

  20. Jerome says:

    I miss the druggie brother and the suicide kid. I really thought that story line had potential. Now Muscle Man is weaker than before. I just can’t believe the kid would lose respect for his brother, whom he looks up to for being strong. I understand the anxiety he feels, but I think it would’ve been much more potent if his obro was passed out with a needle hanging from his arm and a bit of vomit when lbro walks into the room. Some PTSD fallout perhaps?
    So long Muscle Man.

    Nice work Jeanie. Similar to Nana you didn’t need to change much.

    • Alison Lang (Moderator) says:

      I disagree. The story feels much more credible without the druggie/suicide stuff…feels less dramatic, but the emotions still run deep. I think it works much better without that stuff, and I prefer the simplicity. Works better in a short piece.

    • Jeanie says:

      Thanks Jerome. I needed that vote.*

      *of confidence

      • Brittany says:

        Oomph. Jeanie, you’re not being sarcastic, are you?

        • Jeanie says:

          Absolutely not! It seems I must explain – I am not a confident person and I loath competition. I knew that when I did this it would be a test of strength to see if could I live through it and not fall to pieces in the process. The fact that I am ahead is like visiting the future – I don’t believe it and it’s a scary place to be. Or, I am rather like a zoo animal released into the wild – happy for its freedom but very vulnerable, lost and highly confused about what is happening. So when I say that I am thankful for Jerome’s vote of confidence, this is what matters to me – that someone cared enough to read my story, liked it, and commented on it. With all this talk of cheating/hacking, the numbers of votes have stopped meaning what they are supposed to mean.

  21. Brittany says:

    VOTE QUIMBY! err..

  22. Philip says:

    Both stories are effective in their own right…both address the psychology or a character and decision making…both ring true…
    In Brittany’s story I am looking in from the outside, an observer, responding to what the character does…I am left to imagine what his thoughts are…
    while in Jeanie’s story I am actually inside…inside the character’s head…thinking what she is thinking, seeing what she is seeing, and I still have imagination working for me: this time it is more than thinking, it is feeling, indeed reeling…
    All in all, the powerful effect of being inside and psychologically off balance the entire time by being there, as well as the poetic imagery, and the musical references that pepper the piece like seasoning, almost like word riffs, elevate Jeanie’s writing. “The Offbeat” gets my vote.

  23. Tom S. says:

    Yes, I meant you Jeanie…it’s been a long time since we saw each other but your Mom keeps me somewhat up to date.

    I’m still pulling for you!

  24. Anomy says:

    So many people from all over the place called me to say that while they were able to vote yesterday without problem (every hour) today they were denied. Even when they waited and tried fifteen minutes later, etc. Talk about frustrated and very concerned. What Moderator is happening? Some thought that Jeanie had figured out a way of blocking … but Brittany never thought that Jeanie would do such a thing. These people (and we’re talking about smart folks and not all at the same office place) are very, very frustrated. What’s the point in offering a chance to get in there, if they can’t? What can be said?

    • Alison Lang (Moderator) says:

      I voted throughout the day and had no problems doing it once an hour on my end. You can direct individuals to send an email to assisteditor@brokenpencil.com detailing the time and nature of the voting issue and I will forward it to our website administrator.

  25. Brittany says:

    Alison, that’s a good question. I’m almost scared to revisit the comments for fear of reliving the verbal thrashing. I’m still shell shocked. Ha ha!! To be totally honest, I think the comment that most stuck with me through the revision process was from Emily’s BFF. She asked me to consider why some of the readers just don’t care. And though you can’t please everybody, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion, blah, blah, I felt like I needed to get in there and figure out why people didn’t care. I still don’t think I’m totally there, but I’m closer than I was before.

  26. Jeanie says:

    I went to sleep and woke up and apparently there is a way to vote twice inside of minutes. Okay…What’s more, someone thought to suspect me of blocking people’s votes who were not able to. Wow. Brian’s comment, though deleted, left me thinking – how many people read this and are now using this method of hacking, (whatever it is). Broken Pencil – I know the comment is deleted but, I’m seriously losing faith in this contest. I’m not stressing out here qnd promoting my face off for someone to rig up a clever hacking system and make my efforts nul. That would make me a circus monkey. And those days are over for me.

    • Alison Lang (Moderator) says:

      Hey Jeanie (and Brittany, and everyone who participated in previous rounds)

      Please don’t lose faith. Please keep campaigning. Please keep reading and thinking and voting. Please do not forget the original reason that this contest exists, which is to give emerging writers a wider spotlight and a chance to absorb constructive criticism and re-evaluate your own work.

      I’ve scrolled down and seen loads of supportive comments from strangers and family members and friends and it’s clear that they are getting as much from this process as you are.

      Accusations of cheating occur every year, apparently (this is my first year involved with Deathmatch so I can’t speak about previous years) and I am told they have manifested themselves in various ways and forms, and there may or may not be truth to these claims. Again, we’re trying to keep on top of this stuff, but if everyone gives up now, this entire round is for naught, and that truly sucks, because it seems like both of the competitors have a lot of people getting excited about this process and gunning for you.

      I realize all these comments I’m posting are probably floating into an unread ether and people will still make accusations regardless of what we say, but I’ve really enjoyed this process and I think you are all too gutsy (and good) to be scared away and bow out.

      Now back to my day job, before I get fired. Smell ya later.

      • God says:

        Why does nobody pay attention to me? At the end of the last round, I posted Nana’s victory speech. He acknowledges no overt cheating, and I (of course) know this to be true. His winning technique was simply an all-too-human explosion of social networking. And all of you down on earth must get used to this.
        So here, again, is Nana’s victory speech from http://believertheory.blogspot.ca/:

        “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.”

    • Emily says:

      Did any of the writers go into this thinking it was the Algonquin Round Table? Did they check out the rounds in previous years? This is it – an imperfect online no-holds-barred voting frenzy of a writing contest with a poo-flinging peanut gallery. Suck it up buttercups and enjoy the sideshow ride!

  27. Marie says:

    done! Good luck on your contest ;o)

  28. I know I wade into this discussion at my peril, but I wonder if it’s go something to do with carriers? In my house (Bell) we experienced delays in voting in round 2 and other people let me know the same — up to 3 hours without being able to vote. In round 5 I also had a friend trying to vote on a Blackberry in northern Ontario (carrier unknown) who couldn’t vote at all (although no problem when she returned to the big city). This is just FYI. I’m happily back in my click-free life!

    • Joanne says:

      I found I could not vote using my iphone unless I was at home logged in through my wifi. You cannot vote through 3G as there is no IP address. At home, I could only use one device per hour for voting as the site recognizes the IP address, which is the same for each device.

  29. Judy - Lee's Mom says:

    Hey jeanie!
    We’re voting for you down here in Florida. Every daylight waking hour. As is your Aunt Nan! Good luck!

  30. I’m voting for both stories. Both are strong. I’ve lost the will to kill!

    • Brittany says:

      Thanks, Terri. The will to kill is a tough thing to maintain, isn’t it? Especially when you’re not really here to kill. I don’t know about you, but I’m only in this thing for a chance at these meetings with people I admire. I’m hungry for a “break”, not for blood. But I guess that’s not as entertaining, eh? On with the murder, death, kill!!

      • I suggest repeated viewings of “Gladiator”, “Kansas City Bomber” and “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome”. All great cage match movies. Gets the blood up. Yeah, interesting to have a prize mostly based on meeting people as opposed to, say, a meat locker full of raw steaks or a Sealy Posturpedic mattress. Now get back in there and fight!

    • Jeanie says:

      Thanks for seeing the merit in them, Terri.

  31. Chelsey says:

    Hey Jeanie – casting my vote from Central Africa. Loved the story, amused by the comment thread below…

  32. greg blee says:

    For the record, i’ve *tried* to cheat several times in the last day, voting both sides multiple times, and the system (ah, the beloved “system”) has not let me.

    I’ve no doubt it *can* be hacked or circumvented in a dozen ways, but i have to wonder whether any geek capable enough to do so would find it worthwhile enough to bother.

    So i’m just going to play it straight. To that end, i actually read the stories yesterday. With interest. Comments to follow.

  33. Brittany says:

    Okay. So…what else do you guys want to talk about?

    • Jeanie says:

      Starfish. They are anomalies. I don’t get it – who called that thing a fish. The star part, okay. They must have been named – along with the crayfish – BEFORE they named crustacions. Why not call the the starfish, a starcrab? The crayfish, a Mini-Me Lobster? What do you think? (What does Annie Wong think?)

      • Brittany says:

        Ah, the eternal starfish question. You know, I certainly don’t think starfish should be called starcrab. They don’t resemble a crab at all! But nor are they much like a fish, so I see your point. I do like them though. It makes me happy to see them suctioned onto rocks. Hope I’m not going to be encouraged to punch one. Plus, that would hurt.

        • Jeanie says:

          I KNOW right? They’re good huggers, that’s why I like them. Clinging to rocks like a rock climber with vertigo. Poor things are probably scared to death of rip tides and being buffeted about in the crashing waves. They also remind me of turtles in a way. Starfish punching?! Brittany, you underestimate me. I would never punch a starfish. EVER.

  34. Jeepers this is really different from my round! Much quieter. Maybe time for Deathmatch Spin-offs. Like, “Ultimate Deathmatch” — prose versus poetry, fiction versus non-fiction, haiku versus something-not-haiku. Or “Celebrity Deathmatch”. Put Robertson Davies in a cage match with William S. Burroughs. That could be scary.

  35. Francesca_D says:

    Where is everybody?

    • Brittany says:

      Yeah. I think I can hear crickets. A tumbleweed blows by. I’ve just got my head down, working on getting votes, to be honest. But I’m down for some mud slinging if anyone feels up for it. (Insert battle cry of Xena Warrior Princess here.)

  36. God says:

    Why does nobody pay attention to me? God is a nice guy. At the end of the last round, I posted Nana’s victory speech. He acknowledges no overt cheating, and I (of course) know this to be true. His winning technique was simply an all-too-human explosion of social networking. And all of you down on earth must simply get used to this.
    So here, again, is Nana’s victory speech from http://believertheory.blogspot.ca/:

    “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.”

  37. Frans says:

    Jeanie wins!

  38. Alison Lang (Moderator) says:

    In keeping with Terri’s comment about cage match films, I have written this week’s recap with the great Van Damme outing “Bloodsport” in mind. Please keep voting, and thanks for a great round. ‘Twas fun.

    http://www.brokenpencil.com/news/deathmatch-recap-semifinals-round-6-bloodsport

    • Jeanie says:

      Awesome recap, Alison. Glad our stories are of your favourites.

      • The recap is all well and good but Van Damme is a bit too ruthlessly exfoliated in that shot.

        Regarding the merit of a rewrite, I think it’s likely that any of the stories could always be improved with revision. Not sure how much it affects the outcome though. Unless you get a lot of fresh readers.

  39. Alison Lang (Moderator) says:

    Everybody’s working for the weekend – including me – but this round isn’t over yet guys…..how’s everyone feeling about the entire Deathmatch so far? Did Brittany and Jeanie’s (and Nana and Terri’s) stories deserve to be in the semifinals and get a chance for a re-write? Was there anyone in earlier rounds who deserved a second chance to revise? Furthermore, are you former contestants going to keep working on these pieces even though you’re no longer in the running for the prize?

    I’ll start – while I obviously love Brittany and Jeanie’s stories, I thought Emily Kendy’s story “Trying” could have used another shot at a re-write, and I would have liked to see what could have been done with it (I think a bit of trimming would have made it pop in interesting and unexpected ways.)

  40. I think I hear the soft sounds of loins being girded. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

  41. ClaytonR says:

    One of you ladies has got to take the whole thing. Nana is a great writer and storyteller, but for a Canadian magazine, funded by Canadian arts organizations, made and manufactured entirely in Canada to award the top prize to an American seems contradictory. Especially since the bulk of the prize involves connections with Canadian publishers, newspapers and literary agents.

    • Jeanie says:

      Clayton, I share your viewpoint entirely. Dual citizen, I could handle. But maybe that’s just cultural conditioning and patriotism talking. Or do I have a valid point and I’m seeing it from the perspective of the cultural preservation of Can Lit? Perhaps there will be enough voters that agree with us and will vote for the Canadian story based on this. We shall see. I should think that if you feel strongly about this you should share the link for next week’s contest around, see if you can’t drum up some national pride:)

      • Brittany says:

        Yeah, you know, Clayton and Jeanie, I’m with you too. And I respect both Americans, and Nana. I don’t think I’m being mindlessly patriotic either. Or a sore looser. But since you raised this question, I’d like to flesh it out a bit. Isn’t this partially our arts funding at work? How does Nana plan to take advantage of the connections and support offered in this prize if he does win? I’d love to hear what Nana, Broken Pencil and the peanut gallery think about this one.

        • Jeanie says:

          Tell you what Brittany, I’ll make you a deal – you win, I’ll keep promoting the hell out of your story, just as I did both our stories this week. I win, you do the same. We’ll team up coalition-like and go meet Sam together like creatively conjoined twins. Whaddya say girl?

        • Nana K. Adjei-Brenyah says:

          Just checking in and I guess I understand the sentiment. I get that you might want a Canadian to win but I do feel, of course, that to decide that way is completely unfair to me as a writer who didn’t create this story to carry my flag but wrote it because I am trying to grow as a writer. How I plan to use the competition to meaningfully benefit me? The terms of the reward are fairly fluid and concerning the “literary make-over” I would use the chance to show lit agents involved the entirety of what I consider my best work, ideas I have going forward, my goals, which absolutely include publishing and I would – absolutely be open to doing everything I had to do up up north.

          I have, for the last five years, been writing to get published and I think that the “literary makeover” would help me a lot.

          Also, once again I respect everyone that’s participated in this competition and I entered it because of who I am not because of the country I was born in. To decide a way to go this round, even before a winner has been chose is again really kinda unfair to me but it is what it is I suppose.

          No hard feelings, I get it, if it has to be a national thing, while I don’t think that is what it should be, I’m ready. As I write this I imagine My Country Tis of Thee… slowly growing louder and louder in the background.

          I do definitely think that a Canadian lit publisher/agent can help me even though I am an American.

    • Brittany says:

      Jeanie, you’re on. And I’m not just saying that cause I’m beeeehinnd. As I was sweeping my apartment this morning (I do a lot of good thinking while sweeping), I decided that if the tide doesn’t turn my way, I’m still gonna promote the bejesus out of your story. I don’t think there’s ever been an alliance in the history of the Deathmatch. Why not start now? Turn this thing on its head.

      • Jeanie says:

        Nana,

        Rest assured, there are many people who believe in you and what you can do for yourself, and how everything you have done in your life is leading to this moment. People are waiting in the wings for you to take centre stage as the next great American writer and I know this win will be good for you, and you deserve it, and Canada can serve as a springboard for your budding career so go for it, bud. All of us “up, up North” are rooting for you. In fact, we are all waiting at the border, hand in hand, desperate for you to cross the 49th parallel and show us how to write the stories we are not talented enough to write ourselves. The world needs more of YOU. Don’t you ever forget it. “Trust.”

        Brittany, would you like to enlighten him about why Canadians don’t take kindly to cultural colonialization or should I? Or do you think he gets it now? It seems the poor thing took it personally.

        PS. Nana, it’s really good of you to take the time and join our Deathmatch round to comment on the stories!

        • ClaytonR says:

          I would also like to hear back from Broken Pencil regarding the questions posed above.

      • Alison Lang (Moderator) says:

        I love the idea of an alliance. Why the fuck not? Go for it, ladies.

        As for the American stuff, I had nothing to do with the choosing for the stories so I might defer to one of our esteemed fiction editors to give a more detailed response. If any of you guys wanna weigh in, go for it.

        However, there is nothing in the Deathmatch rules that limits the contest solely to Canadians, and don’t quote me on this, but I believe other Americans have competed in the past.

  42. Deedi says:

    It seems the Deathmatch between these two talented writers has….died…
    Has Muscle Man been sizzled to a ‘poppy’, or is Drummer Boy just too hungover?
    Tell us please!

  43. Jessica says:

    Am I the only person who can just keep refreshing the page on their blackberry and voting? I’ve been doing it for a while, seems like a silly flaw in the system no?

  44. Jeanie says:

    Brittany,

    I hope you don’t think me uncouth for writing this pre-emptively but I’m about ready for bed here and tomorrow I must set my sights on winning a statistically impossible fight. (What an absurd thing to attempt to do, one might ask why I’m bothering). It has been a pleasure battling it out with you in this round. I would like to think of us both as Canada geese in two flocks heading north – my flock ahead of yours but only slightly, our followers keeping pace in perfect sychronicity, some geese taking the lead when we ourselves were too tired to keep it up. The margin between our flocks was consistent over most of the week. Wherever you and your flock land from here, I wish you (and your gaggle) the best.

    As a post script, I would like to share this with you. It is the story of an anthropoligist’s findings about children’s behaviour in an African tribe. He taught them a game, explained the rules and how to win. You might say he learned a thing or two:

    (Source unknown: Ubuntu legend)
    “An anthropologist studying the habits and customs of an African tribe found himself surrounded by children most days. So he decided to play a little game with them. He managed to get candy from the nearest town and put it all in a decorated basket at the foot of a tree.

    Then he called the children and suggested they play the game. When the anthropologist said “now”, the children had to run to the tree and the first one to get there could have all the candy to him/herself.

    So the children all lined up waiting for the signal. When the anthropologist said “now”, all of the children took each other by the hand ran together towards the tree. They all arrived at the same time, divided up the candy, sat down and began to happily munch away.

    The anthropologist went over to them and asked why they had all run together when any one of them could have had the candy all to themselves.

    The children responded: “Ubuntu. How could any one of us be happy if all the others were sad?”

    Ubuntu is a philosophy of African tribes that can be summed up as “I am what I am because of who we all are.”

  45. GBr says:

    Way to go Jeanie!

  46. cathy says:

    So I guess you have to almost rape a girl to win this? I’ve already read his story, it’s called American Psycho and Easton Ellis did it much better. Jeanie for the win. Her story is done with love, sympathy and honesty. I know this girl. The Cashmere army are still the intimidating frat boys who don’t deserve a second glance. Plus it’s repetitive and meek.

  47. cathy says:

    The cashmere army can suck it. Brett Easton Ellis already wrote this story, just replace Armani suit with Cashmere sweater. Win goes to Jeanie, who didn’t have to almost rape a woman to make her story have impact. It’s more honest, fluid, relatable and interesting. Cashmere feels like a cheap rag.

  48. Chazz says:

    Some fne reading here and such

  49. Chazz says:

    so is it too late to cast a vote?I dont see no vote button

  50. Jaiaquarian says:

    Trying to vote and you don’t make it easy. could be that i obnly get a half an hour online in this Costa Rican hotel, but jesus people, its the fucking internet, not a rubix cube. Put an icon or something.

  51. dalia says:

    You have my vote jeanie! Go girl! Congrats and all the best. Much success to you bella! Xoxo dalia

  52. dalia says:

    Congrats jeannie! Go girl Know em dead! wishing you all the best and Much success bella xoxo dalia

  53. butterrcup says:

    vote for Jeanie!!

Leave a Reply


seven + = 14