• Bob started taking the course 52 Scenes | 2022 13 hours, 10 minutes ago

  • When I woke up the next morning, my apartment was still. The air wasn’t moving. Outside there were very few cars. Mr. Tipps was snoozing at the foot of my bed. The silence was a heavy blanket that enveloped and w […]

    • Becky replied 2 days ago

      Gary is scary, and he’s making the whole church be cast in an unfortunate light. The Bingo event is realistic and draining.
      THis was a great line: “Feeling very much like I was being called to the principal’s office, I dragged my tail down the hall.
      “For the rewrite I suggest adding some transitions or section breaks, such as before she puts her pajamas on, and after her nap with Mr Tipps.
      Well done! Are you close to The End? I’m worried more heartbreak may be in Jen’s future…

    • What an unfortunate surprise for Jen. I did think of her parents, though, when she had the internal “reflective peacenik shit” thought. It reminded me of them and how they must have influenced her thought patterns despite her best attempts at resistance. Al couldn’t be any more mysterious. I hope his return is a good thing!

      • Hi Kathy,
        Yes, I did think of that briefly with the peacenik line. I wondered whether she reacts in a more negative way when her defenses are down. I hope his return is a good thing too.
        Thanks for your feedback!!

    • Hi Sudha Sounds like Jen needs the well deserved break and I hope she spends it wisely. I also think you need to make the transitions a little more clear, but that’s just a stylistic thing and doesn’t affect the great story and unravelling. Almost time to start putting Jen and all the pieces back together again!! Well done.

      • sorry about that. The spaces between got erased when I uploaded. I put some scene breaks in. Yes, still figuring out how the pieces go together…Thanks for your feedback!!

    • Yes, trying my best to end by Scene 52…I put in the requested scene breaks, I didn’t realize that the upload would erase the spaces.
      Thanks for the feedback. Do you still celebrate Thanksgiving if you ‘re not living in the US?
      Just curious.

  • Note to regulars – this is just the beginning of the end part. I need to tell this from three perspectives, so it is probably going to eat up my word limit for a few weeks. 

    Sorry – as is it is not really a […]

    • Hi Hanri,

      I am a big fan of scenes that weave into one another like this where first we are in the court room and then we are with Alma and EL in the kitchen, watching the proceedings. There’s the power of writing to give an almost magic and really personal quality to these ‘circumferences’ that film fails to achieve (in my opinion).

      I appreciate that here you are laying the table (and making the salad) while the main course is being prepared, and from what you have put out, I know it will be sumptuous and spectacular.

      The descriptions of the room where Mike has his interview are really well done, to show a classic constrast with the modern, I really liked that. One observation – the example of the minister “because when you zol” (which is both hilarious and terrifying at the same time) is from last year so everyone would be masked and sitting far apart in this setting, non?

      Then I like the change in EL – it is a natural change for me that people like her evolve into once they learn to manage their sensitivity. The quick wit, the interest and curiousity in things around her make complete sense. And her calming down seems to have had a positive impact on Alma as well. Not that I’m surprised that EL’s vibes would do that 😉

      Well done on Nr 47! Can you believe it!

  • Brianna stood and stepped across the mattress. James was finished in the bathroom and had moved an armchair to the end of the hall. He sat where he could technically see the storm from the windows in the living […]

  • “Mom and I thought we could do a vote, about how to proceed with the information we have,” Maisie explained.

    “Ooh, a vote. Like we used to do for family vacations!” said Katherine.

    “What family vacations […]

    • Hi Becky, in these two scenes we see how Maisie successfully communicates with her family and manages potential conflict. I think that’s important that we see her like this.
      In the first scene I also liked how you handled the topic of Dad having had a serious girlfriend before Mom. Eleanor,a s the oldest, had to ask that question. I just wondered why she, being the oldest, didn’t add “How come I never knew about this?”It’s so relatable that Mom defelcts the question. This creates suspense till the end (or even a possible part 2 of the story).
      In the second scene I was a bit surprised to find out Maisie hadn’t called Dianne but visited her. For me, this would have been easier to understand if you had changd the first sentence like this “Maisie once again found herself reconciling her apple-kitchen memory with the reality of Dianne’s small condo, which she entered. ” Just a thought. Wait for the others, maybe that’s just me reading too quickly.
      I have read some wonderful phrases in this, like Dianne being able to brush away crumbs but not the uneasiness. This is so poetic! Whatever you do in the rewrite: do not touch that sentence, please 😉
      One thing I noticed: when they’re talking about the deer, do you mean to be in Dianne’s head? I thought you were writing in 3rd person attached (to Maisie) and that’s why it struck me as unusual. Did I get your POV wrong?
      All in all, two great scenes and I wonder if Frank does react next week….

    • Hi Becky, this scene flows very well, both in the family dialogue and the scene at Frank and Dianne’s house. As a counter-balance, I didn’t feel the same way as Susanne about the visit, in fact, quite the opposite. I was glad that Maisie went to visit them rather than call them. This is a big conversation to have with someone, potentially implying they were complicit in someone’s disappearance so, to me, it wouldn’t feel appropriate to be done over the phone. Additionally, the crumbs and the visuals of Frank between them were so good, you have to keep Maisie there in person.
      I did spot the POV thing too, however, when you took us into Dianne’s head. That’s something that I’m going to have to look at in my story too. It’s so tricky sometimes as it’s vital information but not always something the characters might want to voice out loud.
      My final comment might be just me, so please feel free to ignore it, but I did wonder at Dianne’s reaction. Maisie is implying that Frank might have done something that could create a lot of issues for them, especially if Maisie is about to shop him to the police, so I was a little surprised by how gracefully and calmly Dianne was taking this. As I said, it could just be me but I would have expected Frank’s wife to be a little more defensive and protective of him. Just a thought but it’s a great scene and the story is moving along towards those answers we are so looking forward to finding out. Congratulations 🙂 xx

    • Hi Becky – I agree with Ben that given Maisie’s discomfort with the phone and the gravity of what she wants to present to dianne that she would go in person to visit her aunt and uncle and it read really well as it is. Agree re the head hopping moment – it jumped out at me – amazing what we’ve learnt along the way this year – but you can re write that in a tone of voice or body language and show us her reaction. Great work.

  • Matt, Pierre and Kate hopped from Dream Weaver’s diving platform onto the yacht’s adjacent one, one after the other, Hector and his gun following them closely.

    Two curved staircases on the port and starboard sid […]

    • Hi Ben

      High tension indeed. You cover all the characteristics of each of the players so well in this scene. The story is menacing, threatening and intimidating and although I haven’t read many of your scenes, it was a pleasure to read as it stands. Nothing to change from where I’m reading.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • Hey Bene – another great scene. There was one aspect that didn’t sit quite right with me – I was wondering if Kate’s reaction to the slick and polished nature of the boat was a little too admiring? I thought perhaps given her down to earth nature, that she would have seen it for what it was, kind of like a somewhere without soul, sterile, a shiny veneer and clinical, built on the suffering of others. All pimped up with little to truly admire. Where people were made to have fun, under threat. And even the art doesn’t quite sit right – expensive, clearly but lacking any real taste. I always imagine Jamie Packer (an Aussie billionaire with no friends, multiple ex wives and a penchant for expensive motor yachts) having a vessel just like this. Anyway, enough of my pov thrust on your excellent story. The dialogue that follows is strong, great that the Captain is redeemed, but seems Kate now has a bigger problem and Matt and Pierre are in real strife. And who was the source of the tipoff? Hmmmm. Momo to the rescue? Yeah nah. Look forward to the final installments

      • Hi Adam, thank you for your spot-on thoughts about Kate’s admiration of the yacht. I have to completely agree with you. In the first draft, it was even worse so I tried to scale it back and make Kate yearn for the safety and cosiness of Dream Weaver but you’re right it needs to be much more than that. I’ll take a look at that in the rewrite, thank you.
        PS. I checked out James Packer after your comment and read he paid Mariah Carey a multi-million dollar ‘inconvenience fee’ after their very short relationship. The word inconvenience says it all…

        • He’s another truly gross man (who now is broken and sad – shows money cant buy you happiness) – we seem as a nation to be manufacturing men like him in large and endless volumes 🙁

    • Becky replied 2 days ago

      Hi Ben, this is great, no need to be dubious. I don’t think it needs much reworking, and you’ve built lots of suspense here! I’m wondering who was the leak, and where the drugs went? And I’m hoping Anais is part of the plan and is safe somewhere with her set-up being part of the solution. I think Pierre knows more than he is letting on. I don’t think he’d be so dismissive about “his sister’s choices” otherwise. Well done!

      • Hi Becky, thank you so much. I’d been isolating with covid for the last 2 weeks so I was wondering whether the plot continuation in this scene would read as foggy as my brain was when I wrote it. I’m so relieved it didn’t. Five to go, I can’t believe it, neither do I know how I am going to make the end work, but one scene at a time…still 🙂

    • HI Ben, great scene! I am amazed at all the detail in the descriptions of Saleem’s boat – do you have an existing boat in mind? It is so real. As to Saleem, I wondered why you describe his clothes but not his physique. Did I miss something in the earlier scenes? Anyway, I think it would be could if you could describe Saleem a bit more here. The way he talks makes it clear, he toys with people and I think I’d like to see that in his eyes, pantherlike movements etc. I can feel the suspense and really wonder how it will all be revealed in the end…

      • Hi Susanne, oh you know, I just took a little walk around my yacht, making some notes as I went 🤣 Only kidding of course. Youtube is a wonderful thing, I watched loads of sales videos of superyachts, picking out the elements I liked best – so thank you for the ‘real’ comment, that made my day.
        Good point about Saleem’s physique, in fact, very good point. I was wondering myself how old he is as I’m not sure that I’m clear myself on him as a person yet so I’ll make a note to do something about that. If I run out of story before completing the five remaining scenes, I might even to a character development one of him, so thank you so much 🙂

    • Hi Ben I can’t add anything to the comments already made – the descriptions of Saleem’s yacht are great, I want more wrought iron and gold plated taps and ‘ money can buy you everything except taste’ fixtures and fittings. I got Kate’s being impressed in a way but hating the ostentatiousness (ostentation?) of the boat but wonder if she would actually (under the curcumstances) long for the comfort of Dream Weaver – she longs for that because she’s unsafe not because she doesn’t like the decor of Sheeba. But a minor detail.
      I just KNOW Momo is waiting to save the day – or else he’s the real baddie and tipped the police off – so exciting. Super well done. x

      • Hi Deryn, thank you very much and really good point – I have made a note and will rewrite Kate’s whole attitude to the boat, and also make it more ostentatiously tasteless 🤣
        PS I knew you’d all be missing Momo and his dancing speedos… xx

    • Hi Ben,
      I had a tough time taking in the details of the overly decorated yacht with tasteless furnishings while Kate is being prodded along with a gun. Matt and Kate’s babbling is OK, but it made me think that they’ve had a gun pulled on them in the past. My suggestion is that Kate reviews the details of the boat as she appraises the possibility of escape or worries about where she could be stashed. That way we can take in the details of the appearance of the yacht but through the same lens of terror and rash planning that Kate would be using as she walks onto the yacht against her will.
      The tip-off and drugs being stolen are tantalizing mysteries. Great development.

  • CHAPTER 54


    In such a confined space calmness, clear-headedness, and shallow breaths were the order of the day. Or I could succumb to my claustrophobia, scream for […]

  • Time seemed to drag on, and Helen’s ‘little while’ became a 15 minutes edging towards half an hour. Each of the three in the room looked at the clock from time to time. They stretched their legs, checked their […]

    • Hi, Martin-
      Well, doesn’t feel like we made a lot of progress here. The scene is well written, but I want to know what’s going on! 🙂
      Nice image: “The dragging delay was as if the energy was being sucked from the room and losing itself in the drops of rain harrying each other down the glass.” I also liked the sound of the stewed coffee. (I’m not a coffee drinker, but I know that it doesn’t age well.)
      While this: “considering the slip a little unprofessional” is true, it may also be a breach of attorney-client privilege. And not knowing who she was talking to just before she reentered the room, there is the possibility of a conflict of interest. But let’s leave that alone for now.
      I’ve been left sitting by people when I had an appointment before. It is very frustrating. They apparently think that their time is more valuable than mine. So that may help account for the frustration, especially given that Laoise is there to help with what presumably is an important case.
      The “Let me tell you about that, Laoise” confused me a bit. Laoise was, I thought, talking. Is she talking to herself? Calling someone else Laoise? Repeating something someone told her? Hopefully that will get cleared up later.
      Well, you win. The suspense is killing me.

    • Hi David

      Thank you for your support to the bitter end. I am still going to keep you in suspense – and I promise to have a resolution by the end of the book. That said, I think you have an inkling!


    • Hi Martin, this scene read so smoothly. You’re teasing us with a little information but I sense there’s still much to be answered and even without knowing the full background, I find myself compelled to read on to find out what the story of the pond is all about. Really well done.
      I also loved how you brought the weather in throughout this scene to create an atmospheric background. ‘losing itself in the drops of rain harrying each other down the glass.’ was such a great image but also the loud squall of rain lashing the windows interrupting the narration. I really enjoyed this one!

  • I stumbled into the dimly lit, dark chestnut paneled bar with faded stained-glass lights hanging from the ceiling. The smell of stale beer was like rotting leaves in the woods after a massive downpour.  The […]

    • Oh poor broken hearted Jen. The indignity of ordering two drinks for herself alone in a bar is so awful. And then being hit on by a leery barfly, ughh – I was a bit confused at the floor dropping as Jen slid in…but it might just be me. You captured the feeling of being depressed and alone in a bar where everyone else seems to be having a rewarding, intimate evening. Jen’s description of her stew was a little too sharp for someone whose getting lost in the haze of alcohol. I am so glad the Gerry has her back and acted to paternal, she needs it as she’s temporarily lost her rudder. What on earth is happening with Al? Poor Jen will be at her wits end if she has to wait to seem him any longer. Lovely scene of hurt, longing and then sheer confusion.

      • Hi Julie,
        Thanks so much for the feedback. The floor dropping was how she felt as she slid towards the barfly and almost kissed him. I’ll see if I can clear that up. I’ve promised myself to avoid using “feel” or “think” as much as possible but I might have to break my rule. As for the stew, I changed that last night and you make a good point–about the accuracy of the vegetables (can you tell I love to cook?)–it’s kind of weird and takes you out of the story. I will revise that now back to what I had before. This scene came out of nowhere and was way off the plan. Thanks for your feedback, I really appreciate it. BTW, since you’re writing about Bridget’s Irish background, check out the song Tir Na Nog on youtube–has a very haunting sound.

        • Julie replied 1 week ago

          I will check out the song – Thanks for that. 🙂 I love the way scenes ‘come from nowhere’ its so true that our subconscious is doing its work while we think we’re off duty!

    • Poor Jen, you put her through the wringer here. I’m not sure about the song at the end. I wonder if you could sneak it in somewhere else? Maybe while she’s sad and lonely sitting at the bar to reinforce that? Letting the tears freeze on the walk home is such a fabulous and powerful image to end this evening with. I also wondered if you tweak the opening paragraph so the stench of the bar hits her first. Nice setting in this scene. Made me think of Doyle’s in Jamaica Plain. Good job drawing out her pain and suffering and the mystery surrounding Al.

      • Hi NIna,
        The song was an afterthought. I like the idea of weaving in lines as you suggested. Maybe a bit at a time? That would be a more subtle way to work in the song. I like the idea of the stench hitting her before the appearance of it. Great ideas for the next draft!!! Thank you. I think I’ve been to Doyle’s in JP–my kids definitely have.

    • Hi Sudha, this is a great scene, your description of the bar, of Jen’s state, the kindness of Gerry and Nuala, all of it is so well written!
      I agree with Nina that the song at the end comes a little out of the blue but it’s a beautiful song and it fits Jen’s mood so well. Maybe she could have heard it on the jukebox in the bar and it’s stuck in her head?
      I loved that line: ‘My stomach gurgled a warning, but I ignored it. My stomach was not in crisis right now.’ and the fact that that vile bar fly looks over her head for an easier prey whilst chatting her up.
      Great scene and I’m keeping my fingers crossed, she’ll be reunited with Al soon. For now, she at least has his message to hold close to her heart xx

      • SM replied 1 week ago

        HI Ben,
        I understand what you mean about the song lyrics popping up out of nowhere. It makes sense that there should be some reference to it earlier so it doesn’t blindside the reader. I just found the song online the night before i posted the story. The name of the bar is a real one in NYC that I know but I’d never known about the meaning or the song before.
        Thanks so much for the feedback, it’s much appreciated!!

    • Becky replied 1 week ago

      HI Sudha, Great imagery with the bar, I can picture it well. I like how Gerry is helping Jen, she needs it. I like how you described him as a bough of support in a windstorm.
      For a suggestion, if you don’t mind, Nuala could use a better introduction. Perhaps she was introduced earlier in the story and I’ve forgotten.
      That must’ve been one huge carrot chunk, lol. Good way to get the barfly of her tail. That soup was just what Jen needed, for multiple purposes!
      Were all of the song lyrics written on the receipt? Was the message for her specifically–the one from Al? So intrigued by if/how/when they’ll be reunited! Well done!

      • SM replied 1 week ago

        Hi Becky,
        thanks for the feedback about the waitress. I didn’t want to introduce a new character so late in the story- I might just take away her name and go back to waitress in the next draft.
        I”m sorry I wasn’t clear about the lyrics…no the receipt had just the three words on it.
        The song lyrics were just an ending for the scene, but in the next version, I’ll either axe them or I’ll weave them in somehow.
        Was the message for Jen specifically? We don’t know yet.

    • Lots of great imagery in the bar, while Jen drowns her misery yet again. I’m glad she has someone (Gerry) to look after her, as she sure isn’t looking after herself. Jen’s character has really spun out of control throughout this story, from that first moment when she sprang the flash dance on Al, only to be spurned by him and then later to find out he’s really undercover and still unavailable to her. She’s gone from someone seemingly in control of her life to this fragile, broken character and I hope she gains some of her self security and inner strength back before the story ends – does she rely on Al for that, or will she realize her own self-worth?

      I wonder what the words on the receipt mean, and look forward to seeing where you take this.

      I like the song lyrics. You could have her read them on a plaque on the wall behind the bar as she eats her stew, and then ponder the meaning as she leaves the bar.

      another great scene, Sudha!

      • HI Peggy,
        I really appreciate your comments about the themes that you see. They weren’t so clear to me when I was first starting the story, but yes, I see that we need to go this way to make the story work. You have a wonderful memory of what has happened so far and it’s really useful to see what has made an impression on you.
        Jen has really unraveled and she needs to figure out what happened and why.
        Thanks so much for your insight here.

    • Hi Sudha – so many comments above I agree with – in particular the setting. I think one description of the smell would hold my attention more. I love the rotten leaves. That dank, earthy smell which stale beer can have. Her stomach gurgling a warning which she ignores is also powerful and if you could link it to both drinking on an empty stomach plus a signal she’s not in a good place you make very good use of this metaphor. Drinking quickly to drown her sorrows. Has she been introduced as a beer drinker in earlier scenes. Its just women don’t normally drink beer to drown their sorrows; they are more likely to go for the quick impact of spirits. That way they don’t feel overly full. This scene really captures her emotional world; jaded and flattened by life but the little uptick of hope at the end created a forward momentum for this part of the story.

      • Hi Leona,
        She’s an indiscriminate drinker. I’ve had her drinking wine before and very regrettable actions took place. She’s trying not to become a drinker but she’s run out of options on how to drown her sorrows.
        I definitely have friends who drink way too much beer but I will take your observation about women and beer into account.

    • Hi Sudha,

      As always your beautiful millefeuille layering of the imagery puts us right there with her in the bar, I can smell the deep fried chips and I loved the rotting leaves. I also felt her on the rickety chair as the beer started to numb her senses. From there, the sequencing seemed somewhat uncoherent, but from her inebriated viewpoint it made perfect sense.

      One detail – I agree with Leona that beer seems somewhat out of place for someone like Jen, I’m thinking back on how she polished that bottle of red by herself and that felt right.

      I don’t know if I’ve ever told you, when I see Jen, I think of Agent van Pelt in the Mentalist – she would definitely be able to knock back a few pints with the boys at the pub, but then if she were nursing her sorrows wine or G and T or something like that works better.

      I liked the larger story of how they met in the bar. And often when people meet, they write their numbers on napkins or something like that, and here he had, in the present day, written something for her. I found that really lovely!

      Beautiful scene Sudha! Well done on Nr 46!

      • Hi Jan
        Thanks for your feedback. I am definitely going to meditate on her choice of drink. –I guess I see G and T and even red wine as sort of genteel and maybe a little embarrassing to order at an Irish bar. Maybe she downs some Guinness? or Bloody Mary’s ? (my favorite drink). So I will definitely go back to revise that in the next draft. I just looked up Agent Van Pelt and I agree, she looks like how I have pictured Jen.
        Thanks so much for telling me your reactions…it really helps!!

    • Hi Sudha – poor unravelled Jen. A night in nursing a bottle might have been safer but wouldn;t have served your plot – so a dive of a bar where it all started with Al is as good as anywhere! I could feel her discomfort, churning stomach, hungry/not hungry – she narrowly averted a full blown fall from gra,ce (fall from the stool!) and can thank Gerry and the waitress for saving her from herself. And Al lives and breathes – somwhere. Suspenseful. Well done!

      • Hi Deryn,
        Thanks so much for reading and leaving your feedback. I’m glad that the setting worked well for you. A pub is such a great space.

    • Good scene….lots of description.
      The image of the place matches her emotions right about now.
      I keep thinking back to the first scene and the mall with the acoustics and how far she has fallen….
      Will there be a point when Al shows up and sweeps her off on a white stallion to his castle in the sky?
      Guess I have to stay tuned.
      Not every love story ends with ‘They lived happily ever after.”

      • Hi Marilyn,
        No –happily ever after is sometimes qualified, right.? Thanks for reading and leaving your feedback!

    • Hi Sudha, and I’m caught up at last! I loved this scene. I was right in that pub with Jen. Oh man, will she ever see Al again? I was about to hate him when the waitress said she had spotted him, until she handed her the note. Well done, Sudha! Can you believe that the end is in sight??? – Rachel

      • Hey Rachel,
        Yes I can believe it but its still pretty daunting. My favorite part of the pub was when Jen pushed a huge piece of carrot in her mouth and scared off the barfly. I giggle whenever I read that. Thanks for catching up–I really appreciate it!

    • Great scene. Was confused by the poem at the end. Loved this paragraph: The bar was buzzing with laughter, loud voices, shouting, and clinking balls from the pool table in the other room. Every table had a clear, membranous, protective dome over it and the people inside were unaware of any other conversations in the room. And here I was again, on the outside looking in, slithering around in the ether, not fitting in anywhere.

      • Hi Kathy!!
        Yes, I will deal with the lyrics from the song in the next draft. Thanks for pointing out what worked for you.

  • With an accusatory slam of the door, Peony had left.

    Michael remained on the couch, elbows resting on his knees to prop up his head.

    He tried not to think. There was a strange reassurance in numbness. When he […]

    • hi Hanri,
      I really like Mona. I hope you find a way to work her into some earlier scenes in your next draft. The last line was great because there are so many ways to interpret it.
      Also, it’s great that Michael stops himself from answering. She’s not really the truth seeker although at first it’s tempting to see her as such.
      Curious what effect hearing the recording that Peony made will have on Mona.
      Michael’s fear, detachment and shock are described very well. His PA is very kind to him, so we get to see that there is mutual respect there and probably he has been very kind to her in the past.
      Also, with Mona walking in, Michael doesn’t have a chance to wallow in self-pity–you’re setting us up for some kind of showdown–Really great scene!

    • Hi Hanri – adding Mona to this story adds another level of drama and conflict and she is a great counterfoil for Peony. I’ll be interested to see how you handle the Peony/Michael relationship in the era of #metoo and given the age/power differential. I like the use of an chaotic and confused mess in his normally tidy office space/clothing as a metaphor for his state of mind and emotions. You are showing Mona to be a force to be reckoned with and it will be interesting to see if Peony realises that her ally may not be easy to manipulate. Throughout this story Peony has presented as a young woman on a mission to further herself by whatever means she has at hand (her youth, her relationships, her sexuality) and I do wonder if she is really aware she is playing with fire given her age and inexperience. What, in her past, has carved this path for her?

    • Hi Hanri,

      Indeed a boulder of a woman, blocking and crushing, obliterating everything in her path. When she’ll listen to the recording she might realise that things did not exaclty play out the way her young protegée had her believe. I’m looking forward to that – ultimately, it will end badly for both Mike and Peony, of that I am fairly certain.

      I loved the little details you wove in, “he felt violated”, he cleans his desk – he wants to restore order to his life, put those pens where they are within reach – have the familiarity closeby, and keeping the toga on – being defeated as the man Mike and embarrassed, he dons the shield of Mike the attorney in order to have an point of anchor to come back after the chaos that just played out.

      And silence is indeed an answer, maybe even more telling than anything else. He’s not really admitting guilt, but it’s written all over his face.

      Beautiful scene, very powerful! Well done on Nr 46!

    • Hi Hanri

      This is a compelling scene, where the progress of the dialogue drew me along with it. I like how well you interpret the interplay between them, both vying for a victory. I think they both handle the accusation well, though it’s clear to see who is taken aback. I can see that this is heading somewhere next and there is a compulsion to turn the page.

      Which, I hope, says it all.


  • CHAPTER 51Mike’s eyes narrowed. It was as if he had leashed his emotions so tightly the bonds were slicing his skin. His face had a stoic rigidity I’d only ever seen once before.One winter, still at uni […]

    • As always, beautiful prose — so exact and rich — yet doesn’t slow the plot down at all. Poor John! Frightening scene. Loved every word. Your descriptions are vivid, tactile, multi-dimensional. Well done!

  •             Together they wrestled two twin mattresses from the beds in what Nana had called the Dorm room and drug them into the hall. It was a tight fit, and to get through the hall they had to step on the mat […]

    • It just seems like they’re still being too nice to Liam. It makes sense that they would need to move him, and that it would be a struggle, especially for Brianna having to carry his weight. I like the way their attitude came across, ‘we are going to move you and we don’t care if you hurt in the process’ but it seems like they should take a little guilty pleasure in his pain, because certainly he deserves it. Maybe that’s just my own character flaw coming to the surface, wanting to mete out a little intentional, underhanded punishment for the past pain he’s caused them.
      I really liked the reference to Brianna’s grandfather, caring for the enemy soldiers, and to Florence Nightingale. It rounded out the scene nicely, especially her quip bout the water tasting bad, but it’s all he gets.
      The scene is well written, I’m enjoying the story and can’t wait to see what happens next. Well done!

      • Thanks Peggy! I have plot points for the last six scenes…. It am winging it now. My draft ended at 50k, soivebeen consciously slowing down. Wishi could write and post them all before Christmas!

    • Good scene.
      Every time Liam opens his mouth I keep wondering why they are trying to save him.
      He is a big waste of skin!
      But, the description and the explanation of Brianna’s grandfather does help place her mindset in the right location.
      I keep thinkiing, “Let the buzzard die already!” but then I realize, that might be the ending?
      Sorry to sound so mean!
      Keep writing….only a few more to go…..

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  • “Okay guys, I called this meeting to order because—” Maisie began on Thursday evening, on the couch wedged between two sisters. She couldn’t imagine holding a family meeting over the phone, so here she was—abo […]

    • Hi Becky
      I’m a little confused by your story. I was looking forward to Maisie’s reveal. It’s definitely realistic that the conversation wanders and that the sisters interrupt. Also, Maisie is really excited to show them the journal that’s in the car outside. I don’t understand then, why we are reading so much about primary and secondary teeth including their embryonic development, and how that fits in with the mystery so far.
      Are you leading up to a clue that will be useful as the story goes on? If yes, perhaps we can get a little hint as to why this part of the conversation is something Maisie wants to pursue.
      I liked your characterizations of the sisters, the petty jealousies, and resentments. Very believable.

    • Hi Becky, I’m with Sudha on the long expostion of the teeth, it doesn’t really add anything that you havent already shown through the easy but sometimes pointed banter of the sisters and leaves this scene a little flat since the point is the reveal (or possibly the concealment) of facts by Maisie . I love the talking tscik by the way – me and my sisters had a pepper pot but we were all so keen to speak, it ended up a game of snatch and grab so didnt really work!!

    • Hi Becky, I enjoyed the reminiscing at the beginning about the talking stick and the Dad’s look – as always, the dynamics you show between the sisters are great. I have to agree with Sudha and Deryn about the teeth though. For me, it was the fact that we don’t know exactly how much Maisie revealed at this point so it felt a little frustrating that the attention was then somehow diverted away from the diary and what it revealed.
      Take it as a sign that you’ve set up the mystery in the right way – we want to know about the body! 🙂

  • Pierre turned on Dream Weaver’s floodlights and lowered the first cylindrical fenders to act as protective bumpers over the side of the aft deck. He turned around to face Kate.“Please, go upstairs with the gue […]

    • HI Ben, what an action-packed scene! I am glad that Saleem appears, I had been wondering if we’d get to see the archvillain behind it all. Seems like you are preparing for quite a finale! The end of this scene is quite a cliffhanger – I can’t wait till next week! I am amazed that Saleem obviously knew that Matt, Pierre and Kate were all aboard. But I guess that just goes to show what a drug lord he is if he has that kind of intel.
      One minor thing for a quick-fix. I think in this sentence “Kate knew that a hot drink was going to cut it this time, not unless she could throw it as Saleem” it should say”wasn’t going to cut it”. Great scene!

      • Hi Susanne, thank you for the early read and for the lovely feedback on the action! It’s new territory for me, so I appreciate it.
        Saleem did appear once before (scene 14 if my notes are correct) but that feels like a lifetime ago now 😉
        Your thought about how he knows all three of them are on board is very helpful. I thought I had revealed this but I might need to go back over the last few scenes and see how I can tweak things to make them clearer.
        Thank you so much for the typo too, I’ll fix that one right now! Six to go! 🙂

    • Oh my, poor Kate didn’t count on Colin’s eager curiosity, she obviously had no chance of keeping the guests upstairs and out of harms way. I loved the descriptions contrasting the Dream Weaver and the yacht, as well as the way you built the scene and mounted the tension, hearing Kate’s inner angst about Saleem, trying to keep the ‘guests’ corralled upstairs and the confrontation with Hector. The pace and dialogue are excellent, and the cliffhanger was perfect. Can’t wait for next week!!!

    • Yep, been a while since Saleem was on the scene so was wondering at his demand to have kate join them given she has been in no way part of the deal from what I can recall. Perhaps that slime bag on the other dive boat could be weaved in someway as that would explain it and provide a more recent bridge between Saleem and the make up of Pierre’s crew? Just a thought. That said, a flying scene that demands the next page. Bring it on.

      • Hi Adam, Saleem had given Kate an ultimatum – she had to come up with the money or she’ll have to work her debt off for him so whilst he’s here, he’s planning to collect his dues. This is why she’s so keen to avoid him. She’ll either be in Saleem or Matt’s debt depending on her choice. The scene where this happened was such a long time ago though, I’ll have to work out how to include reminders along the way or maybe rejig things…
        Same for the make-up of Pierre’s crew. Saleem knows that Pierre and Matt are here as he’d arranged for them to carry out the drug exchange on his behalf (their exact respective roles will hopefully become clear in the next scenes) but he’d also got JP to put Kate specifically onboard instead of the usual DM as he thought she was too naive to notice/ask questions (and also has her debt and passport as leverage in case she did).
        This is where everyone’s feedback is ever so invaluable in working out the elements that still need to be bridged, so thank you 🙂

        • Clearly I have a memory like a sieve – am sure in a standard reading all this would stay pretty top of mind but yes perhaps a few small indicators through the story, and Kate struggles with her plight (as that’s been all about romance and love rather than other shackles that bind her). Great stuff!

    • Hi Ben,
      Great action-packed scene. You really feel Kate’s anxiety and her desperation to hide it. Yes, I think it would be very helpful to find out how Saleem knew Kate was on the boat while she seems to think that he doesn’t. That would add conflict and urgency to an already very tense scene.
      You plotted this scene so well and the tension ramped up at a perfect pace.
      I would consider one more sentence or a bit of information in describing Kate’s reaction to the gun…that was a shock and I wanted to see a little more of Kate’s fear when it came out.
      Great scene and really looking forward to next week. What a cliffhanger!

      • Hi Sudha, thank you so much for this feedback. Yes, that’s really helpful. I do need to look at the whole situation there in the light of a continuous read. Saleem knows that Kate is on board because he engineered it through JP thinking her too naive to notice anything/ask questions about the tanks exchange (plus he has her passport and debt to use as leverage to keep her quiet) but of course Pierre messed that up on the very first night, mistakenly thinking she worked for Saleem and drawing her attention to the tanks. In my mind, Kate has worked out JP arranged to put her on board but she doesn’t realise yet Saleem was behind that decision and therefore thinks there’s no reason he should know she’s there. Anyway, that’s all very helpful and I’ll have to take a good look at this in the rewrite so thank you.
        Thank you also for the reaction to the gun, also noted for the rewrite. Thank you for all your help, I really appreciate it 🙂

    • Well done! Great move having Colin go off like that, right in character and perfect way to get Kate on scene. Lots of nice small touches building up to the dramatic finish. You aced it.

    • Finally! Saleem is in our midst. The big-bad antagonist will have his moment at last! I can’t wait to see what he wants with Kate and what will happen on the yacht with this cast of characters!
      I loved this line “Kate knew that a hot drink wasn’t going to cut it this time, not unless she could throw it as Saleem. ” and I loved how you had their heads tilt up to see the yacht, and the comparison to an iceberg and doomed boat. Well done!
      One thing to consider for the edit, I think Kate could do a better job of attempting to hold back the passengers. After the Captain told her “no matter what” she doesn’t seem to try to dispel their curiosity or distract them with something else, as I thought she might. Or maybe just show her flustered at her lack of time to come up with a distraction? Of course she’d be no match for Colin’s innocent curiosity and I agree that was a great way to get Kate onto the scene–chasing after Colin. Well done!

      • Hi Becky, thank you so so much for all the lovely comments. I’ll definitely take a better look as to how Colin slips past her, thank you 🙂

    • Hi Ben – excellent – craned necks trying to take in the enormity of Saleem’s boat, Kate trying to take in the enormity of the threat his being there represents, Colin like the proverbial bull in a china shop, Matt cool as a cucumber, Pierre trying to protect Kate – but where is Momo? Not looking for peace and quiet, that’s my bet. It’s all to play for. Such a great scene!

    • Tension filled scene, working up to a smashing finale!
      One thing just caught my eye and I didn’t understand…little thing, but here it is;
      “Do you think the owner will let us have a look around?” Willow asked, patting her joint hands in excitement.
      “Patting her joint hands?” Don’t know what that means?
      Scary how much Saaleem knows about the crew! But that’s why he’s the Drug Lord, I guess?
      Wish I could just keep reading!!!!!

      • Hi Marilyn, thank you so much for the lovely comments and for the pointer about the hand gesture. I find these tricky. I guess I meant she was clapping in excitement but I’ll give this some thought in the rewrite. Thank you for your help and for sticking with the story 🙂

  • “I think I was about six when we moved there,” she began. “Even at that age, I knew they were excited about the house.” She took a sip of the water the assistant poured for her on request.

    “We drove by so many t […]

    • Martin, I’ve missed reading some of your scenes recently, and so find it hard to remember exactly what’s happening in your novel. Nonetheless, this scene is well done. The dialogue really carries the story along nicely. I am very interested in what may lay beneath the pond, or what it may signify. Also, I’m intrigued by the significance of the jewellery. Now I want to read more. Well done!

    • Hi Linda

      Thanks for taking the time to read. Yes, I hope there’s something in the pond too!


    • Hi, Martin-
      Ha! I was right. This alternate Laoise has the locket. I still want to know whether there are still two in the drawer, though!
      Laoise must feel like a comedian who just told a joke, & no one gets it. Or like a magician who performs a trick, but no one understands that anything remarkable occurred.
      So is Hector outside the door? I guess we’ll find out, but this tension is getting terrific. 🙂

      • Martin replied 1 week ago

        Hi David.

        Thanks again for reading. Who knows? The plan is unfolding!


        • David replied 1 week ago

          I didn’t really expect an answer, just raising the questions & showing that I want to see the plan unfold. 🙂

    • Hi Martin, this sounds like such an intriguing story. Even without having the background to it, you managed to draw me in with the mystery of the locket and the pond. And the unexpected visitor…I’m off to find the next scene straight away.

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  • Wailana and Profile picture of AnnalieAnnalie are now friends 2 weeks ago

  • Friends and Lovers by SM Prasad

    Bernadine and Wheeler had finished their reports, paperwork, and strategy team meetings with their superiors. It had been an exhausting day. They sat in a warm bagel store […]

    • Poor Jen. So, I’m back and forth on Bernadine not telling Jen about Al’s message without prodding. I can see she wouldn’t want to lay it on Jen, but it makes me wonder about her allegiances. Nice job upping the misery though with the Facebook post showing Bernadine and Tom living it up on the rooftop. Still curious about Camille. Sad bit of realism with dropping the YB probe.

      • Hi Nina,
        Yes, I think Bernadine walks a fine line with her allegiances. And perhaps her desire to protect Jen is sometimes misguided. Something Jen has to figure out. Thanks!

    • I liked the opening scene with Bernadine and Agent Wheeler, summing up events and all. it seems the YBs are just going to fade away, even though they were such a big part of the story in the beginning. I liked Agent Wheeler’s sad smile – like he has a thing for Bernadine but knows it’ll never be returned.
      The second half of the scene made me feel bad for Jen. So much is out of her control, she’s not being told anything, and yet she’s been involved on the periphery all this time. The facebook post with Bernadine and Tom was classic – I wonder what (or who) she’ll encounter at the Irish pub?

      • HI Peggy,
        Thanks so much for your comments. Man, this build-up to the dark night of the soul is taxing. Yes, I was very tempted to put in Agent Wheeler’s sad smile so that we could see a reason for why he hangs with her. Yes, I ‘m curious about the Irish Pub as well.
        Thanks so much for your feedback!! Having a very tough week but hopefully can get some reading in this weekend!!

    • Hi Nina,
      It’s interesting you took it that way. I was trying to show that Bernadine wanted to break the news gently which is why she stopped at the apartment with food. Yes, it’s a shame about the YB probe. Camille will have to be better placed in the next draft.

    • Hi Sudha,

      I liked Wheeler, he looks like an awesome guy and the end of that part left me a little sad for him – you know, he’s got things going, everything is fine, then there’s that one thing he misses and in the next scene Jen talks about it.
      The case is almost over, I loved working with you, I learned so much. (read, I hope I’ll see you again)

      Jen’s emotions are also running strong, we feel for her, in particular her frustration and irritation at the situation. It’s awful to be excluded, left out in the cold. Like Nina, I also did not understand that Bernie was going to tell Jenn about her and Tom, so the FB posts are a real kick in the guy. It illustrates her isolation beautifully, and you make a good point – social media in general does not give one happy feelings, on the contrary.

      So the trust in Bernie has taken a knock. How to recover now?

      Beautiful scene Sudha, well done on Nr 45!

      • HI Jan,
        Like you, I’ve had big plans for the ending and I’ve got to cut it or it will actually be too much. So I’m trying to make it more gradual but effective. Yes, social media can be so insidious if you are not in the right frame of mind and if you don’t cultivate the right people to be on it. Thanks for your comments on Jen’s isolation, that is very important here.
        Thanks for your feedback.

    • Deryn replied 2 weeks ago

      Hi Sudha – the girls’ friendship has been sorely tested along the way and I hope they can withstand all that is happening around them. It seems inconceivable that Al is out there, after finding Camille and he hasn’t ‘ come in’ – maybe he doesn’t know where is safe and who to trust…nail biting stuff. And the YBs…are they a spent force and irrelevant now? That’s a bit of an anomaly…you built such a great underground movement – and now their story has petered out. Otherwise, I admire the complexity of your story and all the interwoven threads…Well done.

      • Hi Deryn,
        I really appreciate your feedback and it helps with gauging how the story is progressing. Al is definitely running scared.

    • Becky replied 2 weeks ago

      Good job using natural dialogue to show to review and summarize the current situation in the beginning.
      I really hope Jen can turn things around. It seems like she has been a bit of a tragic character, wonder if her overall change will be positive or negative? Must be so hard for her to “see” Bern and Tom enjoying their date. Her tantrum seems over-the-top, but I think she is showing us misplaced frustration with the situation, and unfortunately targeting her friend. And maybe its the alcoholism showing its ugly face as well. Wheeler is likewise sad.
      I feel like in his own way, Mr Tipps grounds us in this scene a little bit–I like how you show Jen envying him in Al’s shoes–maybe have him reappear near the end?

      • HI Becky, I like your suggestion about Mr. Tipps. Yes, we’re in a special place whenever we envy our pets’ lives. I like the themes that you are commenting on and I appreciate your feedback. Very very useful.
        Thank you.

    • Hi Sudha, Jen is definitely having her dark night of the soul and it’s so sad that she’s lashing out at her friend and turning to drink for it, especially as that’s not really worked out well for her in the past.
      I loved the Facebook part. It’s definitely not the place to go when you already feel as isolated and down as she does – you’ve captured that so well. I was just wondering whether Bernardine would post something like that. She strikes me as being more sensitive to Jen’s situation, but I guess it could have been Tom posting, and tagging Bernardine…
      I can’t wait to see what happens at the Irish Pub and I hope Jen will turn things around…

      • Hi Ben,
        Yes, scrolling and looking at everyone’s magically happy lives when we don’t feel that way is pretty tough. And ironically “social” media is so isolating. The dark night for Jen is difficult.
        Thanks for your feedback.

    • I got behind and just read the last two scenes back to back. Some things are being settled while others are still keeping us guessing. I feel for Jen. Bernadine left right when she needed her and then showed up on Facebook having a great time. Can’t wait to see what happens at the Irish pub and I’m really wanting Al to finally show up!

      • You may just see some of the things you asked for. Thanks so much for your feedback!! You helped me decide next week’s scene.

    • Oh I feel so sad for Jen, Bernadine was being kind with the food and non-alcoholic drink but Jen is so emotionally exhausted that whatever was done would be the wrong thing. What on earth is happening with Tom, I can’t hold my breath any longer.! I really hope the YBs are not out of the picture, there story was such a strong one. I saw a documentary on TV recently about the siege of Capitol Hill and they all dresses as you’d described the YBs – horrible slobs. The Dark Night of the Soul is a really tough one but you can do it with so much going on in your story. Great read as always.

      • Hi, sorry I meant Al not tom and excuse the the other spelling mistakes. 🙁

        • HI Julie,
          Don’t worry about the mistakes, I got it. Thanks so much for your reactions, it helps to see whether my story is moving the way it should.

    • I’ve been playing catch up again. And I just want to tell you that when the scenes are read back to back? It reads like a novel. I hope that you intend to get this published!? – Rachel

      • Hi Rachel,
        So very kind of you to say. Right now I just want to be able to finish!!

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