• Grace arrived at home to find MacDaddy ready for breakfast.  Once the primary task was complete, she let Mac out for cat business and jumped into a quick shower and hair wash.  She dressed quickly, pulled her h […]

    • Hi Gretchen – again a great scene and your mastery of dialogue is outstanding. So in character for Grace to still be expecting/hoping-not hoping for contact from Eddie. .

      I was surprised by a couple of things that seemed a little out of character:
      1. Ryan texting even though they were going to be sitting next to each as soon as Grace got to work. I wondered if he could have whispered that to her?
      2. The Chief Auditor offering Grace a secondment in front of the team. In reality that is likely to be a private conversation. Having them talk about it in the corridor or outside the room might amplify the tension – with the rest of the team (esp. Ryan) wondering what the conversation is about?
      3. Ryan’s declaration about being gay followed by “I certainly would have tried to jump your bones.’ Wouldn’t that make him bisexual? And OUCH to ‘I’ve got something better at home’. Even if you know someone is gay that comment has gotta hurt but Grace didn’t flinch.

    • Hi, Grace-
      Lots of surprises here so near the end. Every ending is a new beginning?
      This – “Once the primary task was complete” – bothered me because I don’t like passive sentence constructions. Maybe something more like, “Once she completed her first job….” 🙂
      Being shot down because of sexual preference is a two-edged sword. Nothing bad happened, sure, but if it’s only because the other person could never be interested in you, that’s gotta sting. I’ll be interested to see where that goes, but at least Grace doesn’t have to worry about regulations & fraternizing with a superior officer.
      Looks like Grace has some real professional admirers, though. Doesn’t sound like she really wants to stay, either, or she’d have asked for time to talk it over with someone.
      Good scene!

  • This poem is more of a free verse, not much in alliteration or rhyming.  But having our temperatures drop from 115 degrees to the 90’s with the help of the monsoon, I thought I would try to capture my […]

    • Hi Gretchen
      A cheering song of praise for nature and its abundance. You don’t always need alliteration or rhyming. These technical aspects are sometimes a hindrance in the way of pronouncing the feeling or the idea. Very well done. Thank you.

    • Hello Gretchen,
      I can feel the relief in your poem as the rain poured down. Here in Wales, we tend to have the same sort of celebration when it doesn’t rain for a week…. but are grateful, of course, for our temperate climate. Well done with this poem.

    • Hi, Gretchen-
      A thunderstorm is a great take on the prompt. I can almost feel the ground soaking it up and the humidity rising. And I like the repetition of the word “red.” I’m not sure why, but it sounds right. Speaking of the ground, you may have noticed this already, but I think you meant “thirsty.”
      I’ve always enjoyed watching a desert awaken after a storm, especially those plants that sit & wait seemingly forever for just such a moment. This poem makes me hear the earth sigh in relief.

    • A lovely poem about the earth yearning for rain.
      I think you’ve got a teeny typo in there- thirty instead of thirsty. 🙂

  • At 0330 hours Grace slowly opened her eyes, momentarily lost, with a feeling of dread creeping over her.  Afraid to look around the room, she relaxed her shoulders, breathing deeply.  Yes, she was in Ryan’s bed […]

    • Hi Gretchen
      This scene doesn’t feel as alive as your other scenes for me. I wondered if you were trying to ‘explain’ things just in case the reader hasn’t pieced it together. Hope it’s ok to just say it as I found it 🙂
      -The spill all to Ryan caught me off-guard. It felt kind of out of character for Grace. If she’d spilled when drunk and tired I’d get it but she has woken up sober.
      -Even though Grace does have the pattern of behaviour in relationships, as she described it, it didnt feel right for her to a)spill the beans about that to Ryan, b) call herself a slut (ouch!) and c) get out of bed and just smooth herself down. I imagined she’d go to the bathroom, check out her appearance, talk to herself in the mirror (tell him/no, don’t tell him).
      -It didn’t feel like there was enough hesitation in her dialogue as she spills the beans. You’re dialogue usually feels very real.

      I’m not sure what the scene needs? Maybe more body language/gesture? More conflict? Grace strugglingwith the urge to talk vs her usual keeping her cards close to her chest. Maybe more frisson between her and Ryan somehow?

    • Hi, Gretchen-
      Wow, it’s really coming to a head now!
      I don’t think that this is as clear as you want it: “No, no. I go to the hospital where the family is gathered. Sgt. Rodriguez is there, and I think he is the department liaison. It seems, that somehow, both Eddie and Sgt. Rodriguez failed to disclose that Rodriguez is Eddie’s uncle.” Maybe something more like, “I figured he was there as the department liaison. It turns out, though, that he’s Eddie’s uncle. And neither of them disclosed that to the department.” If that’s what you meant, that is. 🙂
      Also, I wasn’t in the story that far back. Is Sgt. Rodriguez the uncle who punched Eddie and caused the hospital visit? In a way, he may have saved Eddie’s life, although it’s hard to look at it that way.
      Despite the way Eddie treated her & his possessiveness, he’s not really a bad guy, I don’t think. I hope he doesn’t get dragged down with his uncle. But that doesn’t make a reunion with Grace more likely, does it?
      Good scene!

  • She stood in the yard, shuffling her feet in anticipation or as if she were itching for something to happen.  At her regular post, she was half hidden by the stone wall around the vicarage, the fence not quite […]

    • great description of the dog tracking the potential intruder or hapless visitor – you totally drew me in .

      Nice work

    • Your story is well told through the eyes (and ears and nose) of the guard dog. A different point of view, thanks

  • Grace made her opening presentation to the auditors, her Finance department staff and to Major Malcolm. To the delight of the Rio Grande finance people, she utilized a “murder board” like investigators use on TV. […]

    • Hi, Gretchen-
      So, a date with a superior officer, and her direct supervisor to boot. Sounds like a problem to me.
      I’m wondering why she reacted so strongly to the revelation of Sgt. Rodriguez & Lt. Franklin having misappropriated funds. She knew that, didn’t she? And she’s not responsible for supervising her superiors, is she? I get that there is tension in the room, but she called for the audit. Anyway…
      Seems like Major Malcolm is pushing his luck with the Sheriff.
      Good scene. Hope the sheriff doesn’t stroke out, though. Or is that Malcolm’s aim? Hmm.

    • Hi Gretchen, I am getting to love Grace and her intelligent, sassy attitude, especially in the face of big, bluffing, over-full-of-themselves men. I wonder what her inner conflict is? Say yes to things she should say no to, like a date with a direct supervisor? Honestly, I think you have the makings of a character good for a series of books. The settings are powerful; the murder board, the Barbara Buns, including their flavours, the offices all help me the reader get the feel of these places even though I’ve never been there or hold no such experience in my own life. I have you on my list for re-reading if you are going to join the redrafting group next year!!!

  • Grace woke early the next morning with a new attitude, and more resolve than she had in several months.  The now-contrite Eddie had already started calling and had done so for the past sixteen hours but she […]

    • Hi Gretchen, I love your vocabulary. It’s pacy and sounds just like a cop would. Even Grace’s thoughts hold true. You have written a scene that moves along but interweaves backstory without any sense of interruption. This is very skilful. I also like the quirky details about people and places you pepper throughout this scene. Finally the characters are holding true to their nature. Grace knowing AA is what she needs, but not wanting to out herself as a copy. All very real and gritty. Loving it.

    • Hi, Gretchen-
      Hmm, incipient romance? (And the inevitable jealousy?)
      “Typical, he just doesn’t want me to be with anyone else.” Yeah, I heard it that way, too. She’s a possession. Men can be real sh….I mean, can be very trying. Interesting that she acknowledged her own double standard when the lieutenant called her “cutie.” I understand it, though. We let people we know well enough to trust get away with more.
      I admit I hadn’t thought about the vulnerability issue for an officer in an AA meeting. Really good point, though.
      I understand “most favorite column,” but it seems a bit redundant. Wouldn’t “favorite” do as well?
      I’m glad Grace got over her hangover enough to get it together and prepare to make a good impression for the audit. Having been through a few, I know how little fun they are. Maybe she could come work for me if she gets tired of police work. 🙂

  • This is a poem about Another, with some internal alliteration and an AABB rhyming scheme

    Another chance, another opportunity

    Another glance, more community

    Another dance, another heart ache

    Another romance, […]

    • Hi, Gretchen-
      Nice journey – almost a Songs of Innocence and Experience kind of growth.

    • Kim replied 3 months ago

      loved the connections you made with each ‘another’, thought this was really clever

      perhaps the only line that didnt work quite as well was : Another glance, more community. …hmmm trying to think what would fit with the pattern you’ve created in the rest of your poem…another glance, another affinity or another glance, more solidarity …tough one cos you need that connection.
      I really like how the story emerges out of all the lost opportunities and how finally , your narrator hits the jackpot and finds ‘the one’

      great piece!

    • Hello Gretchen,
      Your poem is quite philosophical about the repetitious nature of failure in love! The rhythm is good. I think Kim has put her finger on the problem with the word ‘community’. I’m sure you’ll find something more appropriate. Thanks for sharing the poem.

    • I like your repeat of another to show the pangs of growing stronger.. Thank you for sharing.

  • At 0140 hours Grace awoke, needing two especially important things.  In order of necessitate she plodded to the bathroom, aware her head was pounding from too many tears and too much tequila. Her second concern […]

    • Hi, Gretchen-
      I’m not sure how I missed this scene, but when I realized I must have missed something that came before scene 42, I looked and there it was. Sorry about that.
      Great description of a hangover. There’s a reason that I never touch tequila anymore.
      In this phrase, “the disgusting ability to review everything, she had eaten the day previous,” I don’t think you mean “ability.” I expect she’d always had the ability to see. “Opportunity,” maybe? Something more like that.
      And in this sentence, “Both women laughed, having had “bad ice” together in the past,” you had already told us that they’d shared some drinking adventures and you used the “both women laughed” phrase very recently as well.
      Bit of misdirection here, as well: “Putting her now sole housemate down, he went to his bowl and meowed.” The actor in the first phrase needs to be the same in the second phrase. This way, it looks like Grace turned into a “he” & is meowing. 🙂
      I hate to be unduly picky, but I don’t think Hammertime came in the 70s.
      I love the new Grace pushing back at the old Grace. Great image. Good scene. The woman with the plan will succeed.

  • The old woman shuffled behind her walker, her aging legs and feet struggling to receive the messages from the brain to move her feet. Or perhaps the old brain was only working part-time now and the messages it was […]

    • Hi Gretchen, thanks for sharing this touching story. They say old age is not for sissies and I think it is true. It requires courage and inner optimism. Carol has these traits in abundance. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die, is her motto I think. I love the relationship between the three characters. Clever how you wove in the colour blue.

    • My major caregivers when I was a child are all moving into this phase and I like the details of dressing her up for holidays in dollar store items and painting her nails and letting her have a glass of wine all to show that she is still very much alive, despite her reduction in mobility. very nice and uplifting. Thanks for sharing!

    • This is such a clever use of the of prompt. And I loved the character of Carol, reminded me of my own grandmother. She was exactly the same, especially before her last days. In a couple of places you have written ‘insure’, I think you my meant to right ‘ensure’, which would make more sense. Great writing though!

  • Grace strolled into Eddie’s aunt’s house and immediately felt her chest tighten.  She first thought it was from the cooking activity going on, but soon realized it was more than that.  One glance made her want […]

    • Hi, Gretchen-
      What a powerful scene. So much going on, yet Grace knows so little of it. I’m not sure what brought this on, but I’m guessing that it has to do with the involvement of Eddie’s uncle in the illegal activities of the lieutenant.
      When you started the paragraph with this, “She spoke softly, ‘I’m not the sharpest pencil in the drawer,'” I wasn’t sure if it was Grace or Eddie’s aunt who was speaking. Maybe a name at the start.
      Might also be “nice”–I use that word in a relative sense–to add some sensory details. A room where people have been shooting tequila sometimes has an odor, and then there are the aromas of cooking.
      I’m not sure what your dissatisfaction with the scene is from. I thought it was a good one. Certainly plenty of conflict.

  • Eddie Valenzuela, recovering from surgery for removal of a lesion on the left frontal lobe, walked slowly down the hospital hallway.  Holding his keycard to the reader, he heaved a sigh of relief hearing the door […]

    • Hi, Gretchen-
      Well, isn’t that interesting. So the lieutenant had help. I’m a little surprised that Eddie agreed to help his uncle with no explanation. While his uncle personally may be no danger to Grace, it seems possible that some of the conspirators might be. Grace better be a little more tight-lipped about what is going on. Of course, if DPS is conducting the investigation, she may be out of the loop.
      A couple of little things. This sentence – “I didn’t it or hear anything from you” – seems like it needs rearranging. And this one – “I never once that suicide is the way out” – maybe “thought” instead of “that”? Also, hospitals have such a distinctive smell, I would imagine that Eddie, being back for the first time in a while, would have noticed it since it scent is such a powerful memory prod.
      I really liked the discussion about dissecting spaghetti, etc. Really made it real. Good scene!

    • Hi Gretchen, this was a good scene with realistic and convincing dialogue between the characters. The morbid jokes about Franklin and the jelly were very fitting and effective!
      I agree with David about perhaps adding some more sensory detail at the start. A morgue is an unusual place to enter – even if it used to be your workplace – and especially since you mentioned the sweat on the back of his neck you could perhaps contrast that with the cold air found inside the building.
      It seems the plot is still thickening – I like the way the mystery and intrigue is building! 😀

  • The news was out – and it wasn’t good.  And, all of a sudden, everyone at the Sheriff’s Office was a news junkie.  Grace glanced at each person she passed in the admin hallways and everybody either raised their […]

    • Hi, Gretchen-
      HLS conducting an audit? Governor’s office calling? Yikes, indeed! (And I wouldn’t trust HLS to be straight about something like missing funds anymore than I’d necessarily believe everything a police officer said during an interrogation. I’ve seen too many government agencies come in all smiles and leave a knife in someone’s back on the way out the door.)
      When I read this – “Grace’s suspicious mind” – I wondered what she’d be suspicious of. Maybe “anxious” or “over-wrought”? Just a thought.
      Wow, what an end to the scene. I guess someone saw the handwriting on the wall. Great scene.

    • Hi Gretchen. You managed to keep the tension high throughout the scene, well done! And at the end came the real shocker, which was very unexpected. I think perhaps you could’ve slowed down the pace even a bit more after this sudden death to let it settle in a bit with the reader.
      The atmosphere between the characters is so well conveyed and tangible! Good scene! 😀

  • This poem has an unusual rhyming scheme of ABCB, with some alliteration.

    Smooth and sleek

    Cool to the touch

    Can hold little

    Can hold much.

    Decorative, humble, exotic, serene

    Nubby, inset, covered in […]

    • I really like this! What a nice job you did with this prompt. Directly addressing the bowl works well, and the short, snappy lines create a compatible mood.

    • The alliteration makes the poem fun to read. I really liked reading it. Good job.

    • Hello Gretchen,
      Your rhyming scheme gives the poem a catchy rhythm. I would be intrigued to find out more about the ‘many things’ the bowl knows. Well done.

    • Hi, Gretchen-
      I like the rhyming & alliteration elements. We have a bowl like that on the kitchen island. I try to put (some) of the stuff where it belongs once in a while, but it’s hopeless. Not sure why I keep trying.
      Your choice of words really brings the bowl alive–I can hear those items being tossed in. Nice.

  • Marilyn – well done. I suspected from your writing that the guy was a cop and appreciated that you called it a Sheriff’s Office and not department. You got this! Your story is intriguing, made me want to read more. You obviously had previously introduced tension and this scene intensifies it. Your writing creates future change and could…[Read more]

  • Sharon – nicely done. You made the reader want to keep turning the pages. I don’t know if I have read some of your work previously, vaguely familiar. You introduced conflict, you showed character flaws. You let us in on the feelings that Pan and Ben have, as well as the deep emotion being felt by Shelly. You write well and I was wondering…[Read more]

  • Riana – nice scene. You hit all the high points – introduced conflict, intensified it, left the reader wanting more. Your characters obviously are like real people, they have some flaws and you gave us hints at that. Are you a songwriter? I could almost hear the shuffle of the “step, step, side together” on the floor of the bar. You have…[Read more]

  • Lionel, I could tell by your writing you have some kind of law enforcement background. Nicely done. I don’t much like the two men who took the BMW and feel they have taken advantage of the grieving Mom. I see lots of stuff happening here as you introduce conflict and then intensify it. You have set the stage for some future resolution, but not…[Read more]

  • Aisling – you got this! Very well done, you had me at that first well-written descriptive sentence. Your scene accomplishes so much. It sets the time and place, introduces characters with enough information for people who haven’t read your work previously. There is conflict in this story, but we are unsure from where. The green room sounds…[Read more]

  • Hello, really enjoyed this story. You have me wanting to know more, I feel like I know these old ladies and they are not to be messed with! Your writing is good, I echo the comments above about pacing and I like the story written from the third person as they plot to get back at the old woman. Your writing created emotion and then intensified…[Read more]

  • Hello Will, lots going on here and you have us intrigued. Major accomplishment to have a reader want to know more. I am thinking that the red hair of the deceased and Annette is not a coincidence! You have described a magical place, I feel like I am in the south with moss-covered trees flanking the road. You are certainly off to a great start…[Read more]

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