Duncan bows out by Deryn Graham

  • : General fiction
  • : For the near end, not much happens!!


  1. Marijo Thompson

    Why do I feel the urge to crack the cracked ostrich egg over Duncan’s head?
    He’s so gross. Hate him.
    I like how the universe is hitting Fran over the head with the idea of Bernard. She’s so obtuse she needs all these signs. All of them.
    That line Ben commented on stuck with me too. What a great line! Character-defining. Please leave it in.
    I spotted the same typo as Becky–you call Hugh, Grant. (Does Hugh look like Hugh Grant in your mind?) lol
    Everyone of your scenes is SO MUCH FUN.

    1. Deryn Post author

      Haha I didn;t see the Grant typo, possibly Hugh has floppy hair and a plummy accent like the eponymous Hugh Grant – that must be where it came from! Thanks for you enjoyment! D

  2. Anne

    Hi Deryn
    Wow, Duncan is such an oleaginous, obnoxious, self-satisfied, patronising slimeball, well done! I hope he develops smelly breath and his handshake is noted somewhere as ineffectual.
    I think Fran is far too conciliatory, I’d have liked her to offer him minor violence! Can he go home to Brigitte to find her gone? That he’s not the dad? Could he have forgotten a vital bag o’nails and a project falls down? Grrr.
    Sorry, rant over, just like to say this was a blast. Hugh is definitely too young, in my mind, and I’ll be sad if Guy turns out to be iffy, but life is never perfect.
    Rooting for Fran and Bernard, it has to be!

    1. Deryn Post author

      Hahaha Anne so glad I have elicited such strong (anti) feelings for Duncan!! Have toyed with having Brigette upset his apple cart but think I might just leave him to it and hope the baby is colicky and keeps him awake every night, he loses his looks ….an entire book 2 dedicated to his fall from grace..?! As for Fran and Bernard…foregone conclusion…!

  3. SM

    Hi Deryn,
    I loved the view into Duncan’s personality. He likes to keep his satellites orbiting around him, even if he can’t return their affection. Classic Narcissist. Would love to hear whether Bernard’s version of his romantic live matches Duncan’s description (probably not). Your descriptions of the artifacts are great and I was fascinated. And in many ways we can see why Duncan is attracted to Fran–he appreciates her talent.
    That little parting comment was perfect–so many men let their insecurity show that way…I loved it.

    1. Deryn Post author

      Thank you, Sudha – I think I must have known too many men like Duncan as he truly wrote himself which is a little scary. Bernard is going to be harder to give life to as a good, decent, honest ‘bloke’ ….Haven’t met too many of those 🤦‍♀️

  4. Susanne

    Hi Deryn, I agree with the others, I think there’s lots going on here! You portray Duncan excellently here. He’s really toxic, pulling Fran to him to get what he wants, then pushing her away again but when she’s about to leave, he makes a romantic comment again. This push and shove we see in this scene, too: first being so arrogant in thinking he really paved the way for Bernard (as if he needed that…), like he’s sampling the women Bernard is then graciously allowed to have. Then apologizing so there wouldn’t be any hard feelings and then the final comment about him wishing it would be Fran instead of Brigette…Duncan is terrible! And you did a great job showing him like that.
    Hugh, on the other hand, is turning out to be quite a nice guy! He might also make a good partner for Fran…
    Stylistically, you’ve had some very nice language in here. let me just mention one phrase: “He’s just so backward in coming forward…”Waiting for the end!

    1. Deryn Post author

      Thank you, Susanne! I think Hugh is a little young (in my imagination!) and certainly no match for Fran, as nice as he is! He is more in counterpoint to Guy who I think I have to make a bit bitchier in the re write and not an altogether good influence on Fran, even tho he called her out a few times for poor behaviour. I’m also waiting (CAN’T WAIT) for the end!!! Thanks for coming this far with me!

  5. Michael

    I like the way this was handled. It not common, but it does happen when the better-looking guy helps his less confident friend with the girls – it’s not a terrible thing. Just the way Duncan puts everything – a smarmy smear on everything he does.
    He did say sorry, I don’t believe he’s learnt anything, but he did say it – so we’ll take it from where it comes. I think you’ve left him in a good place. Slightly redeemed.
    It was funny that I was so interested in what Duncan and Fran were saying that I kind of skimmed over the hotel improvements. Great characters, this was a solid scene. 😉

    1. Deryn Post author

      Hi Michael – absolutely I get the ‘ paving the way’ thing, but just Duncan is a little too self congratulatory for everyone’s liking (including mine!) I also think he is more sorry that he can’t have his cake and eat it (ie Fran and a wife) and is more sorry for himself than for hurting Fran but that’s open to everyone’s own interpretation! I just wonder how weird it’s going to be for Fran and Bernard with Duncan around – or maybe they’ll go singly/severally their separate ways…Thanks for the read/comments. Nearly there.

  6. Becky

    Hi Deryn,
    Perhaps Grant could use an earlier introduction in this scene to remind us that he is there?
    Misspelled Ducan once–it was almost fitting in that spot, like his wasn’t worth the full pronunciation of his name. ha!
    Duncan is unbelievable here–living up to his reputation (in other words, you did a good job writing him!) He riles her up in front of everyone, then quietly whispers too-late-apologies. I don’t know if he’s throw himself under the bus that much though, saying he doesn’t know what Brigette sees in him–maybe a bit to vulernable for his character. Or maybe it’s one last glimpse of his human side…
    Well done! You’ve only got a few scenes left to (hopefully) resolve things with Guy.

    1. Deryn Post author

      Thanks, Becky – I think the ‘ I don’t know what Brigette sees in me’ comment is sort of false bravado/fake self deprecation and not as much shoud be read into that as into the ‘ paving the way’ remark. By Grant I assume you mean Clint, the lodge manager?!! I think one of the key elements in the re write will be the smooth transition between scenes that we have been reading and writing for the most part week by week, but taken as a whole, we will know who’s who and where in the narrative.Thanks so much for making it this far with me!!

  7. Jan

    Hi Deryn,
    What Nina said – don’t you dare take it out 😉
    These descriptions of her work in the bush always take me so far away – tu vends du rêve et j’adore! I was waiting for the moment between her and Duncan, his words are shocking and the icing on the cake is that his apology is conditional! That is just rich, but then, it’s Duncan and we’ve seen his true colours now. Not surprising that he’d have something to say to her at the very end about how he wished it could have been her.
    Now, have her call back to him – don’t worry Duncan, I’d never do to him what you did to me!
    Beautiful scene Deryn! Well done on Nr 47!

    1. Deryn Post author

      Yes, what a great come back!! Thank you, Jan!! I am going to write that in!! Love it!! Duncan started off so handsome , dashing and charming and then wrote himself as a real snake in the grass! Even I can’t wait for the end!!!

  8. David

    Hi, Deryn-
    Well, Duncan showed his true colors and probably doesn’t even realize how despicable he is. “You’re not the first woman I’ve paved the way with for him.” Hard to react to something so blatantly obnoxious because when you hear it, you can’t believe you heard right. And he follows it up with, “I wish it was you, but if I can’t have you, I want Bernard to have a fair chance. But don’t hurt him, please.” He kissed her temple. “Bye, Fran.”
    Gee, what a great guy, to get out of the way & let poor, pitiful Bernard have a chance. About as charming as a python.
    Nice job by Fran of stomping him a bit for his smart-ass remarks about repurposing. And the descriptions of the finishings was good. Plenty of stuff without being too specific. I can’t even imagine the work involved in carving a tub out of a rock–without cracking it! I’d be interested to know what kind of rock it is, but that’s hardly a big story point.
    You under-promised a bit, Deryn–plenty going on here.

    1. Deryn Post author

      Hi David! Thank you so much – those sinks/baths are a real thing – I will have to find out about what stone they are made of and will let you know!!! As far as under promising I just feel like I’m dilly dallying to fill around 4 scenes before the actual ending, but it seems to have worked and Duncan wrote himself. (funny, I never subscribed to that ‘the characters tell me what they want to do/say’ school of writing but it seems to be true!!!

  9. Ben Hunt

    Hi Deryn, “You’re not the first woman I’ve paved the way with for him.” oh my gosh, that sentence riled me so much, it’s so despicable, it’s brilliant. I’m so glad Fran has realised what kind of guy is really is. I also liked how you got them to put the past behind them and bring some closure to their whole affair.
    I can’t believe Duncan’s parting comment though, he really is a thoughtless swine. Can’t wait to see what happens when she meets Bernard now… 🙂

    1. Deryn Post author

      Hi Ben – I know that comment, right? I actually wondered if to leave it in, as it doesn’t reflect too well on Bernard or perhaps he can rebut it when next he speaks to Fran and put it down to Duncan’s arrogance. Sounds too much like he always gets Duncan’s left overs or cast offs and he has to have a strong claim for himself… Thanks for the early read! x

      1. Nina

        Don’t you dare take that out. I read it as Duncan, smarmy bastard,being catty to ruin Bernard’s chances since Bernard held him accountable. It was a brilliant play on his/your end.
        This was a great scene, working toward tying things up without making it too easy. So many wonderful lines. And Fran did well through it all. Hoping she washed her hair after his last bit of smarm, whispering bittersweet nothings in her ear like that.

        1. Deryn Post author

          Thank you for the affirmation, Nina! So glad it all works – now I have ‘I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair’ playing in my head!!

      2. Ben Hunt

        I completely agree with Nina, don’t you dare take it out. It shows Duncan for what he is and makes the reader react – it’s perfect! 🙂