• Bob started taking the course 52 Scenes | 2022 12 hours, 4 minutes ago

  • Roy pulled into the parking lot behind Sargent Williams. He threw his car into park and was out the door without bothering to kill the ignition. The engine ran at a high idle, like the blood pulsing through his […]

    • Wow. I enjoyed piecing things together with Roy and Williams. This is a terrific reaction scene, allowing readers to catch their breath but not lose interest, with a nice nugget at the end to make sure we turn the page. Good job!

    • Great action and pacing around the building. This club under construction is a great setting in this story. It’s got so much of its own character. I guess you could develop it like that when you revise. Let the building start one way then end up another – like a living thing with moods and a personality.
      The action was great as they surrounded the building and did a sweep. Kept thinking about that other entrance from the street I think it was – near the bakery – I might be wrong. I did expect someone to call for paramedics, so perhaps add that if suitable.
      Nice ending too.
      This scene was sharp.

    • Peggy,
      Great job of reminding the reader of all that had gone before with this search of the building. I didn’t expect Wu Te to be alive! And the doctor lingering at the dock… foreboding. You are setting us up for a great ending!

    • HI Peggy,
      So intense. And yet a relief of a calm scene while we piece together what has happened and that responsible people are now walking around the New Moon…Your description of the abandoned building with only one unconscious person left behind is really well done, I can see the depressing, dimly lit place in my mind. The action has cooled a little which is great pacing and quite necessary.

  • Scene 47, Prompt ‘Pride’

    From her open window, Bridget heard a car pull up outside and scrambled out of bed. Not until dawn broke had her exhausted mind slowed down enough to drift off. She ran downstairs to ans […]

    • HI Julie,
      Poor Bridget. One thing after the other. Her troubles keep multiplying. One thing–she ran downstairs to open the door for the officers and then back up for her housecoat, but in the last scene, she had hurt her ankle quite seriously, so I wondered about that. I wasn’t sure what you were telling us about the younger officer’s discomfort and then snort. Was he unsympathetic or not wanting to deal with a case where someone has had an “episode” ?
      Also, I know we are running out of scenes, but I would love to see what it was like for Bridget to go to the hospital to pick up the frightened and exhausted Janek.
      As for the “Asylum” it is so scary that they could just perform ECT on people –and that Bridget had no input on that decision. That whole process does seem barbaric to me and Bridget has very little hope at this moment.
      Really good scene.

    • Hi SM, thank you so much for spotting the glaring error of inconsistency – that sort of continuity is so important. I hear what you say about Janek, he’s a bit left out of this and I’m sure I can complete the emotional arc of this section on draft two. 🙂

  • 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!

  • “Such a catch, Alden. You sly fox. You let me know if my sister gets tired of you. Or” Rachel winked, “if you tire of her.”

    Alden blushed. Rachel laughed and gave Clarissa a hug. The three of them stood to the […]

    • Hi, Nina-
      So Angus makes a return, just in time to learn that he’s too late…maybe. I always felt that there was mutual attraction there, so this is interesting.
      “After the shit he pulled? Come on. I’m better than that.” Rachel. After she helped him sink the boat for insurance money. Well, okay, if she says so.
      Not sure I understood this: “Clarissa touched Alden’s cheek with one hand while fending him off with the other.” Is he getting handsy? Not sure what she’s fending off here.
      I’m glad I was right about the check–not for being right but because it was the right thing to do. Alden needs to know what his family is feeling. He doesn’t seem to care much, though. Too smitten, I guess.
      Clarissa is right not to make any announcement until she’s talked to Amy, & good ol’ Michael keeps messing up the chance to do that. I expect we’ll see that soon, though. Looks like Amy is becoming resigned to no more dad.
      But if she’s going to renege on Alden, he needs to know sooner rather than later. It would be a shame, if only because Wilder would think he had won–and without his big check.
      Lots of threads to bring into a final knot. You’re looking good, though.

    • I do like that Amy (in a sad way) is kind of figuring out what kind of person/father Michael is. Not an easy thing for a kid of accept. Let’s hope Alden is better or finds a way to bond with her. They’ve kind of been at opposite ends with Clarissa in the middle.
      I need a reminder how Frank Monroe fits in again, it’s there somewhere in a foggy recess in my brain.
      This is an interesting way to look at it, “Maybe she felt free talking to me because I didn’t matter. I’m not anyone of consequence.” I like this line.
      Nice job – glad the cheque is out in the open.

      • Hi Michael
        I wanted to go gentle with Amy, let her see it herself. I think Clarissa did well and yay for Rachel, yes?
        Frank Monroe was the inmate at Lakeside Penitentiary who called Clarissa on Alden’s landline looking for Michael and scaring her (and Alden). Sortofcame out of nowhere, was convenient, and needed tying up.
        Yes, I like that line, too. I needed a reason Emyline would open up to Sheila, who was nobody in the Smythes’ world, when she married Wilder and that seemed to work.
        Thanks for staying with me here. Are you doing the next round?

        • I don’t know what I’m doing to be honest. I need to revise the current one. I like the deadline structure – keep me working. But don’t want to end up with too many projects under construction and none finished. But then if I don’t, will I do anything anyway. I’d like a 6 month break then start again in June perhaps. 🙂 You?

          • I am doing the scenes. I have a tucked-away novel, written in an unofficial nano- 28 days one February – and unearthed for an official 30-day nano and stuffed in a drawer. So scrabbled together without much thought or skill.
            Clarissa worked so well – and the feedback took me to another level as a writer – that I’m confident I’ll polish her up and send her out so I’m not doing the six-month rewrite.
            Hoping the new 52/52 – Gilly Falls – will ease the postpartum sure to follow our last scenes here.

    • Hey David
      We’ll see about Angus…but poor Rachel, she didn’t help sink the boat, wasn’t in on the planning though she did do her bit in front of the camera. A bitofa lark she thought, but she’s learning about consequences.
      You’re right about fending. I’ll cross it out. You need to do the next round of 52 scenes…barring that, I’ll need to keep your voice in my head 😉
      Thanks, as always.

      • Hi, Nina-
        Funny, I was thinking much the same about you. We seem to have lost a few people & I need some reliable voices in my head as well. I was looking back over early scenes, thinking, gee, I haven’t heard from that person in a while, either in a comment or a new scene. There used to be 4 pages of scenes, & now there are barely 2. 30-40% attrition rate.
        I’m planning to do the 6-month program. I think I need the break. Which one are you doing?
        And you’re welcome, as always. 🙂

        • Never mind, I see your answer below. Mine needs some major reworking. Some things I learned along the way need to be fixed. For all the research I’ve done, I still made some mistakes that I don’t think I can let go, even if no one else would notice them (& probably somebody at a publishing house would!). Lots more sensory images, especially early on. Straighten the story a little, although I stayed pretty true to my original concept. So I’m not ready to embark on a new one.
          I agree that Clarissa is ready to go out into the world. You’ve done a wonderful job with her. If I can’t read the new 52 scenes, maybe you could just send them to me direct. I would like to stay in touch. And I’ll probably stay with the poems.

    • Hey Nina I just want to tell you incase I forget at the end, in all the jubilation of finishing 52S, that this is really one of my favourite reads – apart from some of the OTT ribbons in previous scenes (🤣🤣) it is understated, excellently written, great story and characters and with such rich descriptions that we can see and feel exactly where we are , so truly well done and here’s to the last 5… x

  • Seyi's profile was updated 4 days, 19 hours ago

  • Julie posted an update 1 week, 2 days ago

    I’ve posted for my missing scene – Prompt 27 – when I was in hospital – I’ve posted character profiles for my novel ‘Norther Pole’. Hope my points go back up now 🙂

  • To replace my missing scene 27 (July 7th) I have posted a set of character profiles for my main characters. The template was given in an on-line lesson on Novel Writing in February this year. CHARACTER PROFILE […]

    • Your descriptions are quite clear a well-honed. This is a really good exercise. I’m going to try it.

    • Julie replied 1 week ago

      Hi SM, I shied away from this for a while but when I’d done it I found it gave me ideas for the scenes and for a while I pasted a summary in front of the scene I was writing to give me ideas. Afraid that discipline has slipped a little but I think it will be necessary for the rewrite. Thank you so much for reading this. I wasn’t sure anyone would have time or be interested . 🙂

    • This is a great exercise and a lovely way to make up for the missing scenes to ensure you achieve your badge. I enjoyed reading the details of your characters, I need to do this with a few of my own characters to help understand their motivations and backstory. I agree that it will help with the rewrite.

      • Julie replied 1 week ago

        Thanks so much for reading and commenting – I’m reaching the stage of this process where I realise I have to be more disciplined! As Mia warned us at the beginning, best to write things down as you will forget the more you write…..

    • Great exercise offering lovely insight. It may be a task I have to do before rewrite begins. Thanks for sharing this

      • I’m glad it was of some use to you! It really exercised my brain and extended my understanding of my characters. Its worth it – wait for that rainy day sunday 🙂

  • 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.


  • Scene 46 ‘Defiance’ Defiance: 1 Bridget’s POVJanek whimpered beside Bridget as she watched Bert and Gillian rush across the road. Roman crouched over her; held her shoulders and muttered, ‘Gowno, gowno, gowno.’ […]

    • Wow!! How traumatic for everyone involved. I had always thought that when a person suffers PTSD, it comes and goes, but here it appears that Roman cannot realize that the war is over and that the Germans are not coming.
      You did a fantastic job of showing Bridget’s agony, Roman’s desperation and Janek’s fear. It’s so terrible that the Police reacted the way they did without really looking out for Janek’s feelings. Poor Roman, it’s terrible how much he suffers as a casualty of war.
      You moved this scene along at a brisk pace except for the part about the nettles, which was a great way for us to see inside Roman’s mind and remind us about the lingering effects of his traumas.
      Fantastic scene!!

      • SM, thanks so much for your comments and praise. I agree with you about PTSD coming and going. I wasn’t sure when Roman would snap out of it, but on reflection I think when he wakes in the morning and the police arrive he should be back to his other self and wondering what is going on. I really appreciate your comments and I was much in doubt about how to handle this. I’m glad you appreciate the nettle incident I wanted to slow things down for a brief respite. I can hardly believe I’ve come this far and am getting more and more nervous about ending the story -its such a massive weight to not blow it. Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Julie
      Vivid writing in both scenes, Roman’s distress is hard to take and it reminds us of the lack of understanding around PTSD. I hope he gets appropriate treatment and returns to Bridget healed.
      Excellent detailing, we’re right in the moment with both Bridget and Roman and it provides a hook for the story going forward into a happier and more settled future for the couple. Once they both understand how damaged Roman is they can support each other, but what must happen to Roman for them to get to that point??
      Really moving stuff, and it’s a turning point for the story. Well done and here’s to more of it!!

      • Thank you so much. I’m so relieved the two mini-scenes are well received. I tried to plumb from my memories of when my first marriage erupted when Roger (you know who) went off the rails. As for Roman I have to use my imagination. There will be a happier time but there is still a little more emotional carnage to get through. I am so glad you’ve stayed with me as my worst fear all along this amazing journey has been that I would turn the reader away with the darkness of some of the story. But my readers are rooting so I have done something okay! 🙂

        • Julie, you’ve done loads of okay!! There are dark aspects to the story but there’s nothing gratuitous about them, and the contrast with the love story is brilliant.
          I wonder if we’re going to see Elouna again? The conclusion of her story with her German husband and whether Roman accepts that she did what she had to do to survive would be amazing to see, plus the relationship she could forge with Bridget.
          So many wonderful threads to still explore! You’re doing wonderful stuff.

          • Anne, yes Elouna is in poised in the wings and I will wrap up her story. Can’t say more as I don’t want to a spolier 🙂 x

    • Hide and seek, for sure. You’ve done such a good job setting this up that Roman’s behavior is completely understandable and I’m sure we all feel for him, as we feel for Bridget. I think he may well have snapped out of his terrors by morning. You already have lots of feedback so I’ll just say how impressed I was with the graceful way you showed each characters reaction to Roman’s actions. 🙏🏼

    • Julie,

      The dual perspective works very powerfully in this scene. I love that Bridget’s POV is mostly dialogue as she shares what’s going on with Roman and seeks help for her family. Her pain is very palpable here. I was so annoyed by the ambulance workers insisting that she come. I want them to go look for Roman and Janek NOW!
      I found Roman’s perspective equally compelling: how it’s all description as he’s vigilantly searching for a safe place to sleep and hide from the Germans. Poor, poor Roman.
      The only thing that threw me out of the scene for a moment was this line: “The earlier storm had given way to a freshness in the air.” It’s a lovely line, but if Roman doesn’t think the storm is a storm but the Germans’ bombs, I’m not sure if the line works. It gave me pause.
      EIther way, I read this scene teary-eyed because of how utterly devastating this is for this lovely family. Please get help, Roman. Please!

      • HI Marijo, thank you so much for pointing the description of after the storm as misplaced. Isn’t it easy to get carried away. Roman will get help but not before a little more dark night of the soul….it’s gruelling right now. 🙂

  • Things I Never Told You (1200 wc)

    How proud my parents were when I was accepted to the small private college with its ivy-clung gothic buildings laid out so there was plenty of green spaces.

    “Like castles,” my […]

  • Magda wafted into the kitchen, her open robe, with its pink peonies in a turquoise silk sea floating behind her, revealing a pearly-white satin short set and  long tan legs. She was waving her hands as if she’d ju […]

    • That last line was perfect. In another story or if you played this one out differently that would be an amazing way to end a book. Love it.
      Great scene, with all the build-up the funeral was rather short – but it didn’t need anything more. The essence of her.
      Then a cheque to go away, what a situation, I guess for them it’s kind of par for the course. Perhaps having done it before with last season girl. 🙂
      I also see you shot over your word count a bit, it’s funny when you get used to read these lengths when one goes a little over you notice it – not saying it was long – just noticed it.
      Anyway! This scene was good, and fun in a way.

      • Thanks, Michael. the funeral eve took the wind out of the funeral sails although there’s still a luncheon to come 🙂
        And yes, you caught me. A few scenes back, at a writing session, Mia said we could go over the count if we needed more words to get done by #52 and I’ve been pushing it. This week I was shameless.

    • I love the challenging flamboyance of Magda but I did trip over the first sentence a little. The cheek of these people trying to buy off Clarissa, what will she do? If she kept the money and married Alden that would piss-them off royally but they would have their revenge I’m sure. I admit I was hoping for some more histrionics at the funeral but you’ve given us enough already. However, after the Pre-funeral, then internment there’s go to be a wake. Will this be where the fireworks explode? Rachel is downright chilly in this scene I must say. Its not over yet is it! Lots of suspense and tension here. How serious is Alden I wonder, he drifts along so much he’s almost unknowable apart from his precision habits and speech patterns. It would be gratifying for him to loose his detachment for once….

      • Thanks, Julie. I should break that sentence into two. I’ll look at it. Not sure what you mean about Rachel. I’m not sure about fireworks – there won’t be a wake but there’s a family luncheon coming – but there’s stuff coming next week. maybe not what you’re expecting though. I guess we’ll see what Alden has in him.

        • Hi Nina, re: Rachel, I read it as though Rachel was taunting Clarissa by her conversation with Wilder about how to break her relationship off – text or email, which seemed really nasty under the circumstances as Clarissa has the same decision to make but it will be far more painful for Alden than Rachel’s bit on the side. Sorry if I’ve made bo bo! Can’t wait until next week 🙂

          • Whoa. No. Rachel was just playing with Wilder. She’d never do that to Clarissa.

    • Hi Nina,
      A very interesting scene. We had to work hard to connect dots which is always fun. When Rachel says, “Clarissa has some news.” at the beginning, I interpreted this to mean that she is playing a little with Clarissa in front of Magda for the fun of it. At the start of the second section, I am assuming that the end quote comes after this line, “Pretty, isn’t it?” but I’m not totally sure. The rest of it didn’t sound like everyday dialogue.
      The section for the Keep Away money was great. The facades are gone and the ugliness of the family reveals itself as they try to look civilized while manipulating behind Alden’s back. Classic and really great. Made me smile. Clarissa is a much smarter adversary than they’ve dealt with before.
      This line confused me a bit, ” Today was for family only. But, engaged or not, that wouldn’t matter to Magda, whose interpretations were unique.” I can’t figure out the connection between the two sentences. I understood that Clarissa doesn’t want her mother to know the situation because she would manipulate the truth to the version that suited herself best.
      The dialogues between Clarissa and Glenna and between Clarissa and Amy were great. You can see that these two are rocks in her life.
      Great scene.

      • Thanks, Sudha, for the copy notes.
        The pretty isn’t it was meant to be Sheila speaking but looking at it, after your comment, you’re right. I’ll change it to Clarissa saying to herself that it was pretty etc
        And I’ll cut the today was for family only bit.
        Yes, Clarissa isn’t your ordinary season’s girl 🙂
        Thanks so much. As always.

    • Hi, Nina-
      Weirder & weirder.
      Magda floating in on her peony-covered froth was fascinating. Obviously done for effect, is she upset that no one remarked? I think she just blows right by such inconvenient truths.
      Clarissa is still playing dangerous games. When she kept the check, I thought it might be to show to Alden. I’m not sure why she would do that, but I’m not sure why she does half of what she does–as it appears she is not, either. Actually, dangerous is a bit hyperbolic despite Wilder’s warning. But Alden really hasn’t done anything to deserve what appears to be about to happen to him. Clarissa is not uncaring, but she’s being thoughtless.
      “Why sell me at all?” I’d like to see that Clarissa take a little more control of the situation. (That was a great line, by the way. Too bad it saddened her grandmother.)
      So here we are, 6 scenes to go, Michael still in the wind (pardon the pun), Mel’s return promised, Wilder on the rampage, Alden giddy as a schoolboy (but not quite trusting it, it appears), Rachel & Glenna in the know, but Granmagda and Amy not, & Clarissa…where is Clarissa? She doesn’t seem quite present. Is she building another fire, only to put it out because she has never had any intention of staying long enough to enjoy it?
      Well, I’m enjoying being along for the ride. It will almost be a shame when it’s over.

      • Almost a shame? 🙂
        Magda likes making an entrance, and she likes an audience, but isn’t dependent on that.
        Giddy, perhaps, but…
        I’m glad you’re enjoying the ride. Bound to be some spins before Clarissa gains control.

    • Hi Nina, what a superb scene! Everything about it was enrapturing. Right from the off, I loved your description of Magda’s entrance and robe – simply stunning. This is such an interesting scene in terms of progressing the plot and so cleverly crafted. Clarissa not just keeping the cheque but the way she did it to wind up Wilder was perfect, as was Rachel also toying with him. Your characterisation is so, so good.
      And that last line…oh I cannot wait for the luncheon! 🙂

      • Magda would have a blast on the Dream Weaver (more and more it strikes me what a great name that is). This was a fun one. I’m glad you liked it.

    • Hi Nina what a magical scene with all your trademark descriptions, and all your characters playing their roles perfectly. Alden looking stricken for Clarissa’s support as the crowd of mourners mobs him, Wilder and Sheila trying to protect their inheritance from the gold digger, Rachel the p**** teaser , Glenna the one for solid sisterly advice, Magda being Magda and Amy delighting everyone with her innocence. Masterfully written. We have so much to look forward to still to come.

    • Ooooo, Magda rocks. Lovely day indeed. Bwahahahahahaha. Why sell me at all is a close second. Well done. Love the cheque. So drama waiting to happen.

      • we should all be Magda…well maybe not all of her 🙂 Drama for sure waiting to happen, banging on the door waiting.

  • Roy pulled his phone from his pocket to call Sargent Williams when the phone rang in his hand.

    “Dan, hey. I was just about to call you. Did you get your warrant?”

    “Ah, not yet. But I’ve just received reports […]

    • Oh no! Those poor girls.
      Why does Magera blame herself though?? if not for her, they’d all still be captive, or worse.
      This was so well written–i literally was on the edge of my seat. I can picture the movie….:)
      Great scene Peggy.

      • Thanks, Georgiana! Magera and Benji likely feel responsible because they were the ones that hatched the plan. It’s irrational, in that the girls would have had a far worse fate had they not been rescued, but nonetheless, their actions specifically led to the deaths of these girls. I love your comment about picturing the movie!!!

    • Awesome pacing with these two scenes – it’s like an action movie, skipping from scene to scene – all connected. Like the truck chase, felt crazy and out of control.
      Shame, three of them didn’t make it – must wonder if they would have chosen death over being some prize in a human trafficking business. Are they better off?
      I also liked the small touch with Roy and Helen, for a detective he sure is slow in picking up the signals. 😉
      Wondering why you call her “his assistant” instead of Helen?
      Sweet scene!

      • I like your question about whether they would have chosen death over the life they were otherwise destined for; in one of my later scenes as Magera and Benji discuss whether they should blame themselves or not, they will ponder this very point.
        As for why he refers to Helen as his assistant, it was either me putting labels on people or it was him putting distance and detachment on the relationship. the former, I believe.

    • Hi Peggy-
      That truck chase scene was really well done. I could feel the action and the lurching and tipping. I like the moral dilemma of Magera–Was she right or wrong? Did those three girls die because of her and Benji’s headstrong actions?
      Very murky, which of course makes for great storytelling.
      You’re also planting seeds between Roy and Helen that are important slow points of the scene before the jolting action takes over.
      You’re using Sgt Williams to pull threads together which is a clever way to do that.
      It was important to put in the deaths–they helped illustrate how bad the car chase was, bring up the moral quandary for Magera (and Benji) and because we can’t have everything work out when the stakes are so high at this point–it reminds us of how dangerous the situation still is.
      Really great scene!!

      • Thanks for these comments, Sudha, you’ve pointed out all the relevant points that I hoped to come across, and reinforced my plot choices!

    • Hi Peggy, the car chase was awesome with a wonderful escalation of the tension and the perfect fast and furious pace and I too loved the fact that Roy is starting to look at Helen in that way…
      I have a couple of quick questions if that’s ok. ‘Another explosion rocked the truck…’ It’s probably just me (and I apologise if it is – I have covid at the moment so my brain is pretty fuzzy) but that confused me a little. There was a bullet hole before so I took it that Shiva is shooting at them with a normal gun. Is the explosion the result of a tyre being shot at and blowing up? It would make sense as that would throw the truck over but as I said, it might just be my confusion. It’s a minor picky thing in any case but it slowed me down a little trying to work it out in that wonderfully gripping action.
      The other thing is that the fact that three girls have died is powerful, like Sudha said, to emphasise how bad the truck chase was and for the moral dilemma. I’m just wondering how Magera can tell that they’re dead and that Susu isn’t just by looking. Did Daria check for a pulse and make a sign perhaps?
      I hope you don’t mind. It’s a really great scene and what I really want to know is whether Shiva is still in that Merc… xx

      • I’m so sorry to hear you have covid, Ben, that’s awful. I hope and pray for a speedy recovery.
        Thanks for the great questions as well. The second explosion was the tire being shot, I hoped that would be clear, but it sounds like I should call it out as a definitive action.
        As well as the three girls who died. I don’t want to get too graphic, so maybe I could say something like ‘but for three others, she would soon learn, their struggle through life had ended…”

    • Julie replied 1 week ago

      Hi Peggy, your talent for powerful action scenes is awesome. I galloped through with your pacing techniques. I could see and feel everything in that truck chase. Poor Magera, I think her initial response is entirely in keeping with her character. And we do need carnage and collateral…. I was surprised that three of the girls were dead, rather than concussed but can imagine how this happened in such a violent chase. I did share Ben’s question about the last explosion though. My God, I hope Shiva is not still alive……I really do think you have a movie on your hands here. Fabulous. And yes, we so need the romance to calm us down from the adrenaline rush. 🙂

      • Thanks for the feedback, Julie, I appreciate it. I’ve added some details to the tire being blown out to take away the ambiguity, and I should probably have a clear indication that Shiva did indeed die in the crash.

    • Thanks, Georgiana! Magera and Benji likely feel responsible because they were the ones that hatched the plan. It’s irrational, in that the girls would have had a far worse fate had they not been rescued, but nonetheless, their actions specifically led to the deaths of these girls. I love your comment about picturing the movie!!!

    • Hi Peggy,

      Bravo! Your talent for writing action never fails to amaze and impress me! I was in the camion being tossed around in the chase, that was absolutely incredible, well done!
      So Roy and Williams are bringing the pieces together and on their way to the shoot out – I appreciated the mini recap here of what happened at the New Moon and it seems that Shiva is a known felon. You might have mentioned his record before (and I forgot the detail apologies) but I think it’d be a good idea here to remind us why this specific hunter is such a special prize himself, for the good guys.

      The ending is really sad – “their struggle through life had ended” – how are you able to move me so deeply with only six words? I understand their selfblame is irrational, but their feelings of guilt were the cherry on the melancholy cake.

      Beautiful Peggy, well done on Nr 46!

      • Here I am blushing and humbled by your praise! With six more scenes left most of the high action is finished, just a few bad guys and some loose ends to wrap up. It’s been one heck of a ride! I appreciate your comment about reinforcing why Shiva is wanted by the police – maybe that’ll make his death that much more impactful.

    • Oh wow, so many emotions and so much action. So good. The accident causes very public conflict. Really good.

    • Whew, my heart is pounding and I’m out of breath. That truck chase scene was so well written. I could see and feel it clearly. Was Shiva in the black Mercedes? I’d probably have remembered that if reading all at once. This is definitely a book I wouldn’t be able to put down.

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

  • Faya woke up at the crack of dawn and was disoriented for a moment about where she was. The hut was bare of decoration but had a decent bed. Despite her nervousness, she managed to get some rest after the long […]

    • I do wish it could this easy, and I quote. <> It’s a smart story device to prevent the players from watching each other. It would be smart to introduce this right at the start when they were practicing back home. I did like Faya’s trepidation before the fight.
      You do know you’ve got a few more fights – I hope you find your qi for them. Jokes aside – I know how you feel. Try watching something like Shaolin Soccer and even Crouching Tiger, clips on YouTube – then pause the action somewhere and start your fighting scenes based on that.
      I once built a whole scene just from a picture of a boat crossing a river.
      This craft is tricky sometimes. 😉

      • Thank you for the feedback and suggestions! I did think about watching some fight scene then try to describe – I’ll do so in rewrite – work has been crazy busy so don’t have much time and am a bit sleep deprived… not good execuses but…

        I haven’t forgotten Momo! It will make an apperance later, I promise 🙂

        I didn’t get to answering your earlier comment – I had planend this story as a trilogy from the get go. There is no cliffhanger so you will find out who wins the tournament at the end of this book, but some of the mysteries may not get resolved until later as they tie to the bigger overarching themes. Or at least that’s the plan. Book 1 is more about Faya’s personal growth. Book 2 about family. Book 3 about society. But we’ll see if I can pull it off. Still deciding whether to do 52S next year to start on Book 2 or do at my own pace… or focus on revising Book 1 first but I have a feeling things happened in Boo 2 or 3 may change things in Book 1 so who knows! Will think more later when I have time to think 🙂

    • Hi, Christa-
      I look forward to your description of the fight because you’ve always done so well with them before.
      When I read this, “She reached into her pocket to take out the grape-sized moonstone that Holt gifted her when they were kids. She always had this stone with her as a talisman all these years.”, I wished we had seen this talisman before. It might be something to turn to on other occasions as well, especially when she considered becoming Holt’s fiancé and when he died.
      I liked the introspection before the fight. But the vegan part is new. I’m a little surprised to see that ethic in your world, although not disappointed or feeling it is out of place. I am surprised, though, that it threw Faya for such a loop.
      Looking forward to the rest of the tournament!

    • Day one done! Nice bit about the first opponent being a familiar, though unexpected, face. Looking forward to the rest of the scenes!

  • Here we are again, you and me, Gathered ‘round a shining tree,For tales of hope from so long, long ago —We’ll make amends and make repairsRaise our glasses, like our prayersSing once more the songs of old we use […]

    • Hi Honey Mustard,
      A beautiful and interesting piece! Your poem depicts a special time in most lives where we come together and are reminded of what is important. Right now we need more of what you have written about. My favorite lines
      “A time for hate and fear to cease
      A time to find the ones we love and keep them near.”
      Well done!!

    • You say it’s a song, but it works well as a poem. Of course without the music (for me) it’s hard to hear the song in my head. You have Chorus : after the first stanza, but maybe a two line repeated refrain between them would give it more of a song like quality. The sentiments portrayed are touching. I like the lines “We’ll make amends and make repairs / Raise our glasses, like our prayers”. Thanks for sharing and good luck honing it to perfection.

    • Beautiful poem Hanri. I loved the imagery and I could feel the warmth of the time and the hopes.

      My favourite lines:
      Let us hang our hopes and dreams
      like blossoms on a baobab tree

      I am probably what you’d call a tree hugger, so this spoke to me. When we’re driving through the Kruger Park, I’ll ask to stop to take photos of trees and my girls just moan because they thought I’d spotted something interesting.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • Hello Hanri,
      What a lovely idea to create a new carol. I’m with Teresa about the chorus – that in its present form it’s more like a three verse poem because the lengths are the same (and of course we don’t have the tune in our heads). Perhaps a shorter chorus would work ok? But I imagine that will depend on the music. It’s great.

    • A wonderful poem, Honey Mustard! It conveys so beautifully the message that at times rifts in relations need to be forgotten and we need to focus more on peace, love and good times spent together. Well- written!

  • Benji held SuSu as she cried against his shoulder, rubbing her back in circular motions, hoping to calm the trembling that shook her body. All the while, his gaze moved about the room, taking in the miserable […]

    • The pace in these scenes is incredible, Peggy. Good job. Have you established that the foreman has a gun previously? That caught me off guard. Really well done here.

      • Way back in scene 22, Magera made an unannounced trip to the New Moon on Saturday afternoon, after she was first “hired” to manage the completion of the construction job there. She’d been warned not to go there until Monday, but curiosity got the best of her and she discovered workers being supervised by two violent men, one of whom had a gun. Then, in scene 43 Magera noticed the foreman again with his gun. I think these details get lost when we read the scenes so far apart from one another, but will still be in memory (I hope) if its read straight through. Thanks for reading!

    • David, now there’s a name I’ve not heard in an age. I forgot all about him and his missing girlfriend. That was like from scene 3 or 4. Feels so long ago I’m sure you can agree. 😉
      I noticed the light was low. I’ve always assumed this to mean – dark times. Is this your intention with the title – I really like it as the name for this story.
      This was an electric scene, it flashed past so fast – amazing pacing and action. I have a question about the men coming out the building and turning on the foreman – motive for them attacking the foreman. Also, like the arrival of the black car. Looks like this whole gross operation is going bang. Let’s hope they bring the boss to justice. But he’s always been a shadowy operator.

      • Yes, David made appearances in scenes 4 and 9, and again in 13, definitely a long time ago, but as it was the security footage showing Daria being taken by Cho that gave the key clues, it seemed like a loose end that needed to be tied up. I wonder if I ought to have Benji check in on David at some point, to keep the name alive in readers minds, but given that everything is happening in such a short time frame and very quickly, there never really seemed time.
        As for the name of the story, you have it exactly – lots of things nefarious happen in the dark, when the light is low. Funnily enough, we titled the story before we even began our family writing experiment, and it seemed to help define the story and plot. I didn’t really have anywhere specific where this phrase was originally used, so I’ve tried to add it in a few key places, but not sure if that’s worked well or not. I’ve toyed with the idea of re-titling the story to The New Moon, but I’m rather fond of The Light Is Low, pretty sure I’ll keep it as is. I’m encouraged by your reaction to it.
        As for the motive with the workers turning on the foreman, this was something that I just added, and which I’ll need to build up in my re-write. Back in scene, 22, Magera witnesses the violence that the workers are subjected to by the foreman, which gave me the idea for the revolt.

        • I am biased towards Light is Low because that’s all I’ve ever known it as. The New Moon, is a very good title too. It has a double meaning. Thankfully it’s not my problem. LOL. I don’t have any ideas for my one. Nothing. . 😉

    • Hi Peggy,

      Once again – you do incredible action scenes! This one was charged, hyped and it sped by with all the energy and conviction that the story had accumulated so far. And in between, your imagary is absolutely exquisite, like the wounded animal and then later on, the caged animals (lovely parallel). I also found the “some of the fright left her face” up there with the best.

      I’m happy for Susu and Benji’s reunion, and relieved Magera is there to manage Benji’s emotional reactions (impulses rather) she is truly the voice of reason. Also well done on tying up the story arc with David and Daria – I’d not forgotten about them.

      So Shiva has been scared off by Roy and ducket out, he arrives here to find a rebellion. I’m eagerly waiting to see how this is going to play out.

      Well done Peggy on Nr 45!

      • So I’ve pretty much figured out how the story ends, just not sure exactly in what order to present the action to have the most impact. There’s still a few surprises yet, but mostly just letting the action play out to it’s conclusion. It’s been a fun, wild ride (both the story and the writing), and I’ll be sad when it’s over!

    • Hi Peggy, another stunning action scene, I loved it and I’m so glad that the girls are safe. I agree with Michael about the men coming out and attacking the foreman, that made me pause too but reading your response, it makes complete sense and it works well. Maybe you could just have one of them venting their rage/retribution aloud as he kicks him to make it clearer perhaps? Just a thought.
      The only other tiny thing was ‘He ran to the vehicle he and the other movers had arrived in, while Tom got in the truck and the other mover set the ramp into place.’ It might just be me, but the repetition of ‘other movers/ other mover’ slowed me down a little trying to work out who was doing what.
      Those are tiny minor suggestions though, it’s a brilliant scene. I especially loved the part where Richard gets shot, not that I want him to get shot of course, but because of the tension it created, especially as it gave the opportunity for Magera to rush over to his side – that was so well done!
      And Shiva arriving at the end was perfect, I really don’t want to have to wait a whole week to find out what he’s going to do xx

      • I like your idea about having the men shouting at the foreman to give clarity as to why that’s happening. And I really struggled with showing the other workers/movers mostly because I wasn’t visualizing it in my head – perhaps if I gave them names it would make it more clear – maybe Pedro, Edgar and Freddy.

        • reading the notes before i comment…. if you give them names, try to make them more distinctive…pedro, edgar and freddy all have that ed sound that will make them interchangeable in the readers mind. Could be ethnic names too. Just my 2¢.

    • Hi, Peggy. I just read the last two scenes back to back and my heart is pounding! So much is happening! Wish I could read the next one right now!

    • Hi Peggy,
      Another jet-fueled action scene. Really well done with the pacing. Like Ben, I got a little surprised by the workers turning on the foreman, I didn’t remember that they were mistreated. It might be interesting if the foreman tries to get the workers to help him capture the girls and then they turn on him. And someone should take his gun away, I was worried about whether he would shoot one of them.
      I liked how you started the scene, right in the middle of the conversation–a great way to pull us in immediately.
      The part with Benji sneaking away and seeing the beaten owner was excellent. It reminded us why the girls would not meet resistance on the way out. But you didn’t make it easy and I was dying to see whether they would make it. Now that the Black Mercedes has arrived, we don’t know if the truck will get away.
      Great scene!

      • Hi Sudha, thanks for the feedback, I like you suggestion of having the foreman try to get the workers to capture the girls and then they turn on him. They did take his gun away before they started beating him. As for whether they will make it to freedom, there’s still just a few too many scenes left to not keep you guessing 🙂

    • Peggy,
      How would you like to write my hurricane scene!! i’ve been mulling it over for a few weeks and you have just the pacing I want! Of course, i’ve only got 3 characters and a hurricane, but ….Things have to get messy next week!!

      I love The Light is Low as title…. The New Moon reminds me too much of the twilight books. And I love this scene. I mentioned ethnic names for the workers ^ up there. If they could be immigrants… maybe other than the asian ones of the New Moon bent, you’ve got built in sympathy and appreciation for their need to fight back.

      You have really pulled the loose ends together! Bravo!

      • The only hurricane I’ve ever experienced was in a dream when I was twelve, so I probably wouldn’t do your scene justice! I still remember that dream, though, it was vivid and scary and has mostly kept me away from the gulf coast as well as the east coast. I’ve only ever been in hurricane territory twice and not during hurricane season, because I’m pretty sure that dream was a premonition. Ah, but dreams are for another time and another story!
        As for the ethnic names, you’re comment matches my thoughts exactly – I was thinking illegal immigrants, probably from Mexico, who have been taken advantage of and put into precarious position, almost as much enslaved as the girls upstairs. The question is whether these workers know about the girls or not – but that would have to be another sub plot and I’m not sure whether I will go too deeply into that. I like the idea and might throw in some subtle hints though.
        And thanks for the reinforcement for the title – I forgot about the twilight series and I am rather fond of the Light is Low as the title.
        Good luck with your scene, though – I’m sure you’ll pull it off admirably!

        • I think the suggestion of them being illegal will bring all the other baggage with them. Maybe some comment about them needing to get away before the police come… but it could springboard into another story….next year??? Check with your team, i bet they can come up with a draft over the holidays!
          Alas, my hurricane scene, like many hurricanes do, is dragging out… You can visit hurricane country any time… there are always DAYS of warning. So long as you pay attention!! You miss some delightful places otherwise!

    • I can’t add more to the excellent comments you have – you’re setting the bar right now. Great writing.

  • camera obscura shrieking banshee slitheringthrough the dark hole of the nighther loose-scuted arms flailing bellowingfanning the fires that pushed her onshe nears to fall across the hall landingtangles of gray […]

    • Hi Nina, you captured the atmosphere very well. The sensation of the bridge between the living and the dead really comes though. Thank you for your poem.

    • Hi, Nina-
      This is a very interesting take on the prompt. I love the last 5 lines…
      Except…I’m a that/which nut. I would make it “that bridge that might join us”. Sorry.
      Some really nice alliteration and internal rhyming. The image of the banshee and her loose-scuted arms flailing about is really rich in visual evocation and aural treats.
      Great poem.

      • Yes, David, you’re right and it’s funny because I’m more likely to use that rather than which. I’m glad you liked it. I actually thought of you with those lines.

    • Hi Nina, I find this an evocative poem. Slightly spooky. I love the form, the different sizes of your verses, and your two words – ‘all hallows’. A beautifully executed poem. Well done.

    • What great imagery you’ve evoked in this poem! I could see the banshee in my mind, and especially enjoyed the evocative last stanza. Nicely done!

    • I like the vivid imagery and the alliteration!

    • Hello Nina,
      Just the poem for all hallows! I like all the images of this frightening being and particularly liked your bridge between the lands of the living and the dead. Great poem.

      • Nina replied 2 weeks ago

        Thanks, Christian, I think I’ve seen this banshee and I wanted to build that bridge.

    • Banshees and dervishes (as opposed to elves and their ilk!) are my favourites and here they are in one poem. Loved it

      • Nina replied 2 weeks ago

        Haha,thanks, Deryn. I remember a while back you mentioning your distaste for elves and such 🙂

    • Hi Nina. I love the movement you’ve created in this poem. Eerie. Wonderful imagery. Thank you for sharing.

  • The house was lit up, the windows glaring in reflections of the setting sun, grinning like a Jack-o’-lantern. Cars lined both sides of the driveway. A few people might stop by the night before the funeral, Alden h […]

    • What better place for this kind of high drama but at a funeral. This was great, I can picture this scene perfectly because we’ve all experienced it ourselves one way or the other. Almost felt like a snapshot from some period piece movie. Agreeing to the marriage in such a reactionary way I didn’t see coming – clearly some buttons were pushed here.
      Great scene and I look forward to the aftermath next week or two. LOL. It really is a good hook, dropping a surprise like that. Especially after her reluctance.
      Nice touch her checking for Amy, she should really tell her before announcing it like that. Word will spread fast, and Amy will just see this as another attack on her dad and the end of any idle musings that her family would be reunited.

      • Thanks, Michael. Yeah, Wilder got to her and she seized a moment. Figuring outAmy us going to be tricky. But first there’s the actual funeral to live through, this being a cocktail party on the eve. Putting the fun in funeral.

    • Hi Nina, you did promise us fun at the funeral and oh my gosh, I loved this! This is a superb scene, from Wilder’s misguided anger at the ring to Clarissa’s fun revenge on him. It looks like Clarissa anticipated the ‘defiance’ prompt from next week, although I daresay she probably has much more of it in store for us. Mel is of course also fabulous – I just loved her answer to Wilder not believing her ‘Here nor there, Wilder.” – and the revelation that Clarissa’s dad helped Emyline sell her jewellery.
      Now the question is will Clarissa see this through…

    • Hi, Nina-
      Wow, the house will be one big crater after all those bombshells.
      I felt like this phrase, “And as is often the case,” was you entering the story. It doesn’t seem to come from Clarissa, anyway. I also wondered if you might drop the “too” from the description of layers.
      Unless I missed it in an early scene, I don’t think that we’ve met Mel before. She’s like a breath of fresh air in that family. Why on earth did she ever marry Wilder? More to the point, it seems late in the day to introduce a new, seemingly important character. I’ll be interested to see what happens with her.
      Okay, but I’m really confused. Is Clarissa going to marry Alden, or not? Did she just say yes? Certainly Alden thinks so. It would be really hard to back out now, I think. Did she just paint herself into a corner? And was it just to get Wilder’s goat? Not that doing so isn’t a worthy task, but at such a cost! I don’t see her enjoying being Mrs. Alden, even though he’d be very good to Amy.
      Speaking of which, I will be very interested to see the fireworks when she finds out what her mom is (apparently) going to do. No reunion with Dad! Yikes.
      Good scene! One of the biggest yet.

      • Oh, David, once again you’ve caught me. I’ll change those.
        Mel is fabulous. She has a purpose and she’ll serve it. She’s been mentioned but hasn’t appeared before, but she and Emyline were close years ago when she and Wilder were married. I think Wilder was the sort who grew stuffier and more withdrawn as he aged.
        Yes, Amy will be tricky.
        Thanks for your confusion graph. Sorry, not sorry.😉

    • Hi Nina,
      Loved the funeral scene and the dialogue shifting quickly from one set of characters to another. I did sometimes get lost about who was speaking but I figured it out when I went back. Wilder seemed to appear from nowhere when he grabs Clarissa’s wrist. I like the confusion over the ring and how Clarissa delights in perpetuating it. Good move on her part getting back at all of these snooty types.
      Great scene. Funerals are so surreal…anything goes.

      • Thanks, Sudha. Yes, Wilder swooped in like the predator he is. I wanted a sense of how overwhelming this room full of people at the pre-funeral cocktail party is for Clarissa, but I’ll look again at who’s who in the dialogue. Poor Clarissa. Grandmother Duncan said her temper and contrariness would get her in trouble…

    • Deryn replied 2 weeks ago

      Hi Nina – I seem to remember Clasrissa having flash back memories of having visited Alden’s house at the very beginning – to do with being brought there by her father so I was surprised she didn’t remember when promoted by Mel. I imagine C knew what she was doing wearing such a distinctive piece of jewellery on her ring finger, even if she didn’t know its provenance, – it was bound to provoke comment. And it elicited a great response, didn’t it? Great scene.

      • Yes, you’re right. Clarissa remembered going to the house with her father, but she never knew why so finding out her father helped Emyline sell her jewelry was a shock. She didn’t have time to worry about that though with Wilderand all. And yes, she wore the ring – she bought in the city with Michael’s money – on purpose though she wasn’t aware it resembled Emyline’s. Just lucky there, she was.

    • Oo, I like Mel is it Emmyline’s ring or am I grasping a straws? Well done. You’ve definitely set things into motion now.

      • Isn’t she wonderful? She even has a purpose. 😎 I don’t think we’ll get into provenance, but there’s a chance a telltale flaw in one of the stones might be detected. Galloping in slow motion toward the end.

    • Oh goodness, we felt every inch of Clarissa’s confusion and anger, the overwhelming nature of that family. I wasn’t sure who Mel was, the fact that she looked like Emyline was a killer – Wilder is awful and I can understand Clarissa’s urge to whack him one in the face with her announcement, but at what cost? This does feel like a moment of madness on her part, yet, she wore the ring on purpose and you hinted she was out for something. If this is the pre-funeral meet what the hell is going to happen at the funeral. I have visions of fights and guests falling into the grave. I know you won’t do such high melodrama but I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us. Although I don’t really warm to him I do feel sorry for Alden who seems hapless. Amy is a about to transform into a tornado. Excellent story telling.

      • Thanks, Julie. Yeah, Clarissa got herself in a pickle :). I like your visions. Hope the funeral doesn’t disappoint.

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