Duncan makes an assumption by Deryn Graham

  • : General fiction
  • : Thanks to Ben for the dream sequence idea!


  1. Marijo Thompson

    What the wha!!!
    “As long as Bernard and you are now an item!” These words–coming out of–Duncan’s mouth!!!
    OH MY GOD. I love this so much.
    The dream–the drive–the lodge–Fran on her own and then there’s Duncan laying on the charm–the whole scene is delightfully disarming and disorienting. I feel like I’m in a dream state.
    Great work, Deryn!

    1. Deryn Post author

      Thank you, Marijo
      Wait for what comes out of DUncan’s mouth in the next scene, if you aren’t already there!!

  2. Ben Hunt

    Hi Deryn, loved, loved, loved the dream sequence! You completely nailed that, both in its content but also the coming in and out of it – all absolutely perfect! And Duncan’s arrogance, that was so well done, what a d*ck! Great scene 🙂

  3. Becky

    Hi Deryn,
    This is wonderful as always, great scene here. I’ll stick to a few constructive thoughts to add:t
    I think having Fran fumble at the end is fine. She’s holding a lot together and we have to be reminded how melting-irresistible Duncan is after all he’s pulled.
    The dream sequence is an amazing way to show us Fran’s change of heart, or at least confirm it. I’m not sure I’d call it a stream of consciousness. Skipping that explicit reference might make the dream sequence more natural. That might just be me, though.
    When he says TIA, maybe you could describe what we are seeing more. Add some more details I know you are good at in the rewrite to make us love it!
    Excited for next week. I wonder if Duncan will get put in his place in some way before this is all over?

    1. Deryn Post author

      Hi , Becky – all comments in the plotter for review, so thank you for your suggestions as always! Not sure how much come uppance Duncan should get but need to decide pretty soon!

  4. Nonie McElroy

    I can’t really add much to what’s been said except you really capture the essence of Duncan’s real arrogance so well in just a few lines. I understand what others are saying about the laptop case but I think it’s Fran. So cool on one hand but she has just had a wonderful dream revealing to herself what she really wants…And Duncan is an ass about it. But has he heard through the grapevine or did Bernard say something?

    1. Deryn Post author

      Hi Nonie – Duncan more likely knows from the horse’s mouth even though of course nothing has happened yet. All of a sudden, after plotting like mad in the first part of the book, I’m pantsing the last few scenes before the ending, which at least I have in my head already!!!

  5. Jan

    Hi Deryn,

    Bravo for the dream sequence, I know that’s never easy but you got it perfect! I felt a little bit like I was a passenger in the car, with Hugh driving, taking us to the lodge. We know all to well what those drives feel like after the night flight from Europe 😉
    Hugh is really a lovely guy. Seems things are changing inside Fran, she is looking at things differently. Duncan’s description was so beautifully done that I could see him sitting there, cool and composed. And I am glad she did not say anything untowards, but calmy defined the boundaries.
    I think this is about to get very interesting! Well done Deryn, look at you go!

    1. Deryn Post author

      Haha, thanks again Jan- Ben’s idea of a dream sequece to introduce a change of heart was inspirational!! Hugh is solid, won’t fan Fran’s flames but will keep all around him calm. He came from nowhere and now is a bit more than a walk on character! Funny how the story guides us! D

  6. Michael

    You nailed that dream sequence so well I kind of half thought her meeting Duncan at the end was somehow part of it. Well handled car sequence – nice touch with the toll booth – that always wakes up sleeping people when I travel to KZN.
    Dropping her stuff. She needs to pull it together man. 😉
    This was a nice light scene, feels like something is changing.

    1. Deryn Post author

      Thanks, Michael – maybe I’ll take the spilt briefcase out and make her more bold and resolute. Sounds like it upset everyone!

  7. David

    Hi, Deryn-
    I like the near-rhyme of the title. 🙂
    A small thing: “it was her that made the first move” might be better as “it was she who….” And I could see Fran doing that, definitely.
    I have to disagree–respectfully–with the others about “Through the sludge of sleep….” When I’m dreaming, sleep doesn’t seem like sludge. It seems freeing and I can do things like breathe underwater, fly, or remake history. 🙂 I like that she’s aware that she’s asleep & dreaming, & even that she tries to shape the dream, which has its own agenda. Freud said dreams are wish fulfillment. Seems like that works here, especially with Bernard telling Duncan what he (Fran?) thinks of him. Congrats to Ben for he idea, but congrats to you for making it work so well.
    I’m a little disappointed that Duncan, as dashing as he may be, has the power to cause her to spill her briefcase. Not saying it’s wrong or out of place, just disappointed that a slug light that has that sort of influence over people, even those who have already seen behind the curtain. Ah, well, she’s a big girl, and I’m sure it will work out fine. Too bad she didn’t drool a little while she was asleep. (Did I say that out loud? 🙂 )
    Good scene. Can’t wait for the last few.

    1. Deryn Post author

      Hi David – Hmmm re the sleep – I just know that heavy feeling of deep sleep and dragging yourself to its surface – but there are many stages of sleep so your expereince and the sludge could equally apply!
      As for Fran dropping the briefcase, I need to make it more clear that it is the shock of Duncan’s saying out loud that she is now in a relationship with Bernard, something she is only just getting to grips with, that there is something there.
      As for the drooling…thought about it and just went with the lolling head!!! Could have been worse, she could have woken up with her head in Hugh’s lap!!!!

  8. Anne

    Hi Deryn
    The dream sequence was brilliant, I love the reworking of her encounters with Duncan and Bernard (was Brendan on the short-list of possible names for him, can’t remember).
    I found Duncan to be a complete creep here and I’d have liked Fran to be terse and smoothly dismissive. Her fulsome approach betrays some lingering feelings, and I wished she hadn’t dropped her briefcase! Cool contempt could be good, perhaps a lifted eyebrow, or a show of amusement.
    Her working relationship with Hugh is shaping up nicely, that was neatly drawn, and I hope he’s a good substitute for Guy if that’s the way it goes.
    So looking forward to the re-appearnace of Bernard!

    1. Deryn Post author

      Hi Anne – Brendan could work… much better than Bernard… thanks for the suggestion… I need to re look at the exchange between Fran and Duncan – but she drops the briefcase purely bc of Duncan’s assumption (and voicing out loud) that she and Bernard are an item. She is still running that through her brain and weighing up how she feels about him. Hugh has made an unexpected appearance – I don’t know much about him, but Guy has to resurface at some point (as does Bernard, of course!)
      Have you decided on what you’re doing next year?

      1. Anne

        Yes, rewrite in six months (OMG did I say that!!!). Weirdly looking forward to it, have saved up all comments and suggestions and after a rest from it all in January, will be keen to get going again.
        How about you?

        1. Deryn Post author

          Also the 6 months…I’m looking forward to printing everything off, adding notes and knocking it into better shape but am more stressed about reading everyone else – I can’t choose only 2 so will need to give up my real life to accommodate the read AND write!

  9. SM

    Hi Deryn,
    I loved the in and out of dream state–especially liked the line “Sludge of Sleep”—that was quite descriptive. I liked how she explored an alternative narrative and how she examined her feelings.
    The dialogue between Fran and Hugh was really well balanced in that it was so spare compared to the jumble that was going through her head.
    The dialogue at the end felt a little rushed and dense. Especially Duncan’s. I would intersperse his dialogue with either more body movement or Fran’s reactions to specific sentences.
    Also, we could see Duncan’s reactions to her words through her POV.
    I am happy to see Fran’s growth to not become a sucker to Duncan again. Also, the comment about Fran and Bernard being an item…looking forward to seeing Fran’s take on that.

  10. Nina

    Nice wafting in and out of her dream state. Great visuals as you tie those threads up. Of course Duncan would notice and remember her perfume. She might consider changing to a new scent? Nice touch his mentioning Brigitte’s catty comments. What a slick sob he is. Good for Bernard not showing up.

  11. Susanne

    HI Deryn, this is a great scene. Especially the end! It has me wondering if Fran spills her stuff because of Duncan’s irresistible smile or because he said that she and Bernard were an “item”…great. That’ll keep me holding on till next week.
    Another thing which is really well done in this scene is the dream sequence. You’ve shown us here that Fran does know that she is dreaming and she does use the dream to explore an alternative reality. However, she is unable to take charge and actively steer the sequence of events. I find this an extremely good way of showing us how the subconcious works. It also shows us that Bernard is not completely out of the picture for Fran while Duncan seems to be. Well done!
    One minor thing: I wonder whether Duncan is really attentive enough to notice Fran’s perfume….still have to think about it 😉 But maybe you just wanted to make him a little more likable now that he’s been such a disappointment…on to the next scene, please!

    1. Deryn Post author

      Thank you, Susanne – our Duncan is a bit of a charmer and remembering a perfume is the kind of thing he would notice, I think!! Thanks so much for the positive comments!