Friday, November 8, 2013

Alien Vampire Bunny Contest - The top 2!

I decided to go with these two for a couple of reasons. I think both really demonstrate some creativity, but also give us something to work with when it comes to the writing craft.

1st Place "How To Escape Your Pet" - New Adult

BLURB: Twenty-year-old Christy Andrews has always thought a bunny lifestyle was the way to go, until she walks in on her favorite pet bunny talking on a radio transmitter. She gets bit and tied up, and learns the real reason behind bunnies’ quick reproduction: they’re not having sex and making babies, they’re biting other animals and turning them into an army of alien vampire bunnies ready to take over the world. But when she doesn’t change into one of them, she suddenly becomes their main target, and might have to break her no-strings-attached rule if she wants to get out of this alive.
The biggest disappointment of my life was the moment Alfred bit me. It wasn’t that I didn’t think my bunny would bite. It wasn’t about trust in my own pet, or even about the blinding pain. The most disappointing thing of all was to realize I had been living my life with a skewed perception of the world. This was why there were so many of them. Not from all the sex, but from biting other animals with their little vampire teeth so their alien race could take over the world. How does a girl get over that?
The thing is, bunnies were the reason I first got a lesson on reproduction. Dad wouldn’t let me keep the perfectly white little friend I’d won as a prize at the Carnival because, as he put it, “The damn things reproduce like crazy and I don’t want a hundred of these crapping all over my yard in six months.”
Of course he wouldn’t be there in six months anyway, since he left seven weeks later (and Mom bought me a bunny to ease the pain). But at the time, with all the innocence of my six years of age, the thought of multiplying furry friends was all that occupied my mind. “Mommy, how would he turn into a hundred in six months? How can we make that happen?”
             The lesson was awkward as it probably always is, and not that remarkable. But there was one thing I got from it: bunnies don’t live very long, and that’s why they reproduce faster than humans. Humans live long enough to screw things up. Bunnies just… Well, they just screw. They enjoy their short lives to the fullest by having as much sex as they can, all the time. That’s simply fantastic.
Their life style has been my goal all throughout my teens, and I thoroughly intended to keep it that way for the rest of my twenties. (Without the reproducing part, of course. The idea of a hundred of me does not sound very appealing.) I had my red-eyed pets in my dorm room and all sorts of guys in their dorm rooms. No strings attached. Life was simple. Until I walked on my favorite bunny talking into some fancy radio transmitter thing. Let me rephrase that: my alien vampire bunny. And now I’m bit and tied up in my room among the piles of laundry that litter my floor.
“Lieutenant Aldamon reporting to Mother Ship. We have a code four here. Repeating, Mother Ship, we have a code four here.” Albert sounds like Humphrey Bogart. I’d expected more of a Bugs Bunny voice, but my vampire alien pet sounds like the guy in Casablanca. I don’t think life gets any creepier than this.
He turns to Eleanor, my youngest one, who hasn’t taken her eyes off of me for a second. “Still nothing?” he asks. She shakes her head. Albert, who seems to be their leader, puts the radio thing down and studies me with narrow eyes. I smile. Maybe they’ll let me go if I’m nice.
“That’s not possible,” Albert (aka Aldamon) mumbles, taking a few steps in my direction. He scrunches his face as he inspects every part of me. Apparently unsatisfied with what he sees, he motions for Eleanor to come over. “You try.”
I scream as her pointy little teeth sink onto my thigh, and Albert slaps me hard on the face. “Shut up, Christy.”
I’m stunned. “Albie, come on. You can’t possibly think I’m going to turn into a vampire alien bunny. That doesn’t make any sense!” Because my pets talking on radios and tying me up? Yeah, that’s completely logical.
Albert brings his front paw to my nose. “Don’t. Call me. Albie,” he roars. “And I’m not explaining it to you again. You heard me the first three times. I’m not your bunny. ‘Eleanor’ is not my daughter.” He rolls his eyes as he exaggerates the air quotes. I always thought I’d picked clever names… “She’s someone I changed. Used to be your next door neighbor’s cat, actually.”
I gasp. Lilly was my accomplice, the only other person hiding a pet in the dorms. I can’t believe Albert took her cat.
“And you’ll change too. I don’t know what’s taking so long…”
The radio buzzes with static. “Lieutenant Aldamon, do you confirm a code four?”
“Yes, sir. It’s been three hours and twenty eight minutes since the human was first bit. She was bit again by a changed five minutes ago. Still not working.”
The voice on the other side curses. “Human? Your assigned human?”
Albert grimaces. “Yes, sir,” he says a lot less confidently. “Christy Andrews. She walked in on me and…”
He’s interrupted by more swearing. Who knew bunnies could be so brash. “If she doesn’t change in half an hour, eliminate the human. And try not to mess that up!”
All four bunnies in the room stare at me. Okay, that does not sound good at all. If this is a dream, this would be an excellent moment to wake up.
Each of the stories really had some positives and negatives. In the case of the first one, it was the dialogue that stood out. I did find that the opening narration tended to really drag and I think it would have been much stronger to start with the dialogue, and then, if we needed the narration, add it throughout. This is actually something I see a lot of writers doing - blocks of narration and then blocks of dialogue. Mixing it up every now and then gives the reader the insight they need at that moment, instead of trying to hold on to that block of narration in their head while they read the dialogue.
I would also say that we would need to know a bit more about these AVB's. These guys seem pretty cool but we need to know a bit more.
I would also add that I felt that Christy is reacting a bit too calm with this situation. If you were in a state like this, would you be calm?
2nd Place "Conejo Vampiro Extranjero" - Inspirational

Blurb: When Sister Beatrice discovers the parish priest of Presidio’s Good Shepherd Church has secretly been indoctrinated by a Mexican vampire cartel, she’s faced with a choice: unmask the deception or continue to quietly do the work of God in helping the immigrant alien vampire bunnies who flood across the border to escape the violence.
In the den near the church in Presidio, the refugee alien vampire bunnies gathered. Sweating through their thick fur in the west Texas sun, they were thankful to have escaped capture by the Mexican vampire cartel. The same couldn’t be said for several of their family members, who had been seized and skinned as a message to other evacuees. This brave warren did not heed the warning.
                The Texas-Mexico drug wars had created panic on both sides of the border, and the Mexican vampire cartel were out for more than blood. They had driven the frightened bunnies across the Rio Grande because there would not be enough blood to feed both groups. This salty Texas town at the end of highway 170, the bunnies thought, might be a sanctuary where they could make a fresh start. Now, these bunnies on the run were illegals: aliens on U.S. soil.
                Conservatives would cry, “That’s why we need a wall.” The bunnies could already hear the arguments in their heads as they ran. But there was no wall. The free soil around Presidio was a beacon. Thirsty tongues panted in exhaustion for sangre.
                The shadow of the limestone hewn crucifix outside Good Shepard Catholic Church cast cool shade, and the bunnies caught their breath. The congregation would provide a steady stream of nourishment for the alien vampire bunnies.
                But the cartel knew they couldn’t let the bunnies escape that easily, even on what seemed like refugee territory. Procreation by the bunnies was the biggest threat to the Mexican blood supply. The bunnies’ ever-increasing numbers would threaten the cartel’s very existence. Fear was the biggest motivator for driving the bunnies out.
                Inside the church, Sister Beatrice was finishing her last decade of the rosary. That morning, the congregation had offered prayers for an end to border violence; her rosary was prayed silently for that end as well.
                She made the sign of the cross, rose from the pew, and glanced at her watch: 2 p.m. The bunnies, she thought, should have arrived by now. She genuflected as she exited and stepped gingerly out the wooden double doors of the church’s foyer. Her hand shielded her eyes in reaction to the sun outside as she surveyed the drought-stricken grounds. She knew they had to be there somewhere.
                “My bunnies,” she mouthed with a relieved breath upon seeing a mass of fur protruding from the makeshift den near the crucifix. “God has brought them to me.” She knew, however, that she had to act quickly. She ducked back into the church so she could retrieve the supplies she had readied for their arrival. Father Alvarez stepped from the rectory and caught her arm in surprise.
                “May I help you with something?” he inquired, holding tight at her elbow. The fabric of her habit stretched taut under his sudden grasp.
                “They have arrived,” she whispered sheepishly, not meeting his eyes. “I must help them.”
                “Don’t bring them in this church,” Father Alvarez threatened. “We don’t know if they’ve been tainted by the cartels. I told you not to disrespect this house of God with their presence.”
                “But Father,” pleaded Beatrice. “They need refuge. They—” she stammered, searching frantically for words he’d understand. “They need us.”
                Es no importante!” spat Father Alvarez. “Let us no more enable their greed.”
                “Greed?” questioned Beatrice aloud. “Do you really think—,” and that’s when the inconsistencies of his pastoral leadership since his reassignment to Good Shepherd started to align. The missing checks from the collection plate, the cancellation of the adult education courses, the clandestine confessions held after dark: these were all in an attempt to support the very cartel from whom the alien vampire bunnies were fleeing.
                “The Mexican cartel,” Beatrice began with eyes locked to Father Alvarez in disbelief. “They’ve already gotten to you.”
                If ever Sister Beatrice needed the strength of God, it was now.
This one stands out mostly for the great writing. I put it second because this really doesn't come across as an inspirational story but more of something with a strong general fiction feel.
Like the first story, I do feel that I need to know a bit more about the characters and the situation. It seems like there was too much time spent on the Cartel side of things and not enough on the AVB's and why Beatrice has such an investment.
In this case, the balance between the narration and the dialogue that was missing in the first one showed up here.

Congratulations to both of you. Send me an email at the agency (the main email and not the contest one) and I can give you the guidelines on what to send and how to send the partial you want critiqued. In the subject line, simply write AVB Winner.

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