In the first round of the playoffs, our job was to write a 59-word story about revenge. I was contestant #2 this week.
Juror eight was quite proud. After days of exhausting effort, he finally organized a swing in the verdict.
“On the sole charge, attempted murder, how does the jury find?”
“Not guilty,” the foreman replied. Gasps filled the courtroom. The victim turned pale.
Juror eight knew the defendant was guilty. But the defendant didn’t run over Buster sixteen years ago.
MATTHEW: Story 2…I feel bad about this one. 12 Angry Men is one of my all-time favorite films (and plays, and Westinghouse Studio One teleplays), so I appreciate that you worked that reference into the story, and did so with a soft and nimble touch. But the reasoning you left us with, necessarily truncated by a need to adhere to the word-count, wound up lacking some needed heft. Arranging to sway the jury of an attempted murder charge is a pretty serious undertaking. The reasoning behind it feels barely there. WINNER: Story 1.
ANDY: I’m missing the subtlety in both these pieces. They both just kind of lay it out there for you and there’s not much between the lines, or any edge to either piece. Sorry. I’m going to give the win to #2 for at least trying for a twist ending, although I didn’t find it that compelling.
Novak – #2 is a strong story, with great showing vs. telling. The ultimate impact of the revenge being on the victim of the crime is a solid twist, but somehow the motivation felt like a let down. Still, it does everything else right, so for me #2 wins.
Result vs. Christina Pepper: WIN (2-1)
Semi-final Matchup: Sarah Johnson (#2 seed)
Whew. I agree with the judge’s critiques. My motivation for juror #8’s revenge is not fleshed out enough, and this story really needs 100 words. I rewrote the last paragraph several times and was never quite satisfied with it. Thankfully, the concept was strong enough to advance me to the semifinals.