• Adventures in Cooking by Mustang Patty

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    The dark days of winter were upon Western Oregon. If, by chance, Preston took the time to look out a window, he found the cloudy skies reflecting the darkness in his […]

    • Hi MP I am returning to this after a break and am wondering if I am supposed to start having sympathy for Preston, or not. Is his getting his act together meant to redeem a thoroughly selfish , spoiled man? I wonder. Although the image of the state of the apartment is well portrayed I do think you could have done the whole scene in a much shorter word count – ‘ the condo was strewn with the debris of days spent eating take aways and deliver ins. When the trash can over flowed, the floor and surfaces took on its job (then some detail of styrofoam, pizza boxes etc)’ that would adequately convey the mess. Then you could have had more time for introspection – Preston would start with sorting his diet out, then perhaps move on to cleaning the house, then make him dig a bit deeper emotionally – but all the elements are here.

    • Hi, enjoyed your scene. I don’t have much sympathy for Preston. He has made a mess of everything, let him stew for a little while. He will be forced to make some drastic changes when the money runs out. In the sentence: …the mess he’d made of things in over the past three months, check the wording. If he can access via the computer, the balance of the money in the account, he must be on the account which means he could GO to the bank and take out money. He wouldn’t need to transfer it. If you want him to be in dire straits later, you need to sew up that loophole. You have developed his character very well. Thanks for sharing.

  • Hi, Leona,
    Thank you for the time to read and comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the scene. Your comment about the maid was a good one – she may have a larger purpose later, but I’m not sure.

    I had to miss Week 7, but I posted something for Week 8.

    I hope you’ll stay tuned,

    ~MP~

  • Hi, Deryn,
    Thanks for stopping by to check on Jules and Preston. I appreciate your time to read and your great plot suggestions. In all honesty, I’m using the ‘And…’ prompt to do much of what you spoke to in the Dr appointment. I’m purposely keeping these scenes in the 1200 word count range, so I have room to add when I go back and start the…[Read more]

  • Hi, Sharon,

    Thank you for your time to read and comment.

    I’m glad you like the direction I’ve taken the story. I think the tension created by this pregnancy will enhance the rest of the scenes.

    ~MP~

  • Hi, Becky,

    Thanks for coming back to check on Jules – I will address the timing issue with Jules’ shower – when I reread, I saw exactly what you meant.

    My explanation for how she could miss 3 periods and not be aware is that she was living in extreme fear – while she was probably counting how many days it had been since a big blow out, she…[Read more]

  • Hi, Mia,
    Wow – your use of words add so many layers of texture. (Now I have a better idea of what you meant by ‘radiant’ words in your critique.)

    I went back to the beginning and read, but I’m only putting this one comment down.

    In this scene, I especially loved how Nell was able to pull herself back from her emotions and stay in the…[Read more]

  • Hi, Becky,
    You’ve done a great job with building tension and drawing the reader into the scene. I think we are all excited about a bunch of clues from ‘beyond.’
    I agree with the other comments about the one clunky sentence, and I know you will be able to fix it without any major problems. Most of the time, we just need fresh eyes to point us…[Read more]

  • One of the things I’ve had to teach myself is that my edit program wants everything to be in ‘perfect’ English. Most people and characters do NOT speak perfect English.

    Give it time,

    ~MP~

  • Hi, Glen,

    Nice use of dialogue to move the scene along. Your descriptions allowed me to ‘see’ the characters as they interacted with one another.

    Thank you for sharing,

    ~MP~

  • Hi, Sharon,

    Your story continues to build and bring us deeper into your MC’s world. I like your descriptive language about the supporting characters.

    On bit of constructive criticism: Your dialogue doesn’t sound the way people talk – use more contractions. One of the ways I write dialogue is to have a conversation in my head. I change the…[Read more]

  • Mustang and Profile picture of MichaelMichael are now friends 2 weeks, 3 days ago

  • Hi, Michael,
    This is a very interesting scene with some wonderful descriptive language. I love the way you’ve described Madison’s demeanor as she saw him –

    ‘Despite the flash of anger that lit her eyes, she looked amazing. Like some exotic deity, where one lingering stare could turn even the fiercest warrior to stone, or perhaps jelly. As he…[Read more]

  • Hi, Michael,
    Thank you for your time to read and your critique. I appreciate your constructive remarks – my hubby agrees with you. The father should always be taken into consideration when it comes to these things – but I wonder – is that still true in this case? (Just a different viewpoint.)

    Stay tuned,

    ~MP~

  • Hi, Michael,
    Thank you for your time to read and your critique. I appreciate your constructive remarks – my hubby agrees with you. The father should always be taken into consideration when it comes to these things – but I wonder – is that still true in this case? (Just a different viewpoint.)

    Stay tuned,

    ~MP~

  • Unpleasant Surprise by Mustang

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    Bright winter sun-flooded Jules’ large suite. The curtains were thrown wide, and the maid had just come to straighten the room. The sun played across the duvet cover pattern, a […]

    • That was a journey and a half. Very well done on many levels, all those small details you leave laying around, fill in the scene so well. I like how nothing feels forced or off with this.
      That receptionist question and thinking and reply was an interesting insight into keep the baby or not, it’s usually such a complex topic, but here you handled it well. She should tell the dad, but that’s just me. 😉

      • Hi, Michael,
        Thank you for your time to read and your critique. I appreciate your constructive remarks – my hubby agrees with you. The father should always be taken into consideration when it comes to these things – but I wonder – is that still true in this case? (Just a different viewpoint.)

        Stay tuned,

        ~MP~

    • Hi, Michael,
      Thank you for your time to read and your critique. I appreciate your constructive remarks – my hubby agrees with you. The father should always be taken into consideration when it comes to these things – but I wonder – is that still true in this case? (Just a different viewpoint.)

      Stay tuned,

      ~MP~

    • Patty, glad I jumped back into your story! I like seeing Jules safe in a hotel room. I hope she can stay away! A couple things to clear up: at the beginning my mind got stuck on the timing/dynamics of her just getting out of the shower and the maid just servicing the room. Maybe you can fix that to avoid pulling the reader out of the story–or maybe it’s just me. Also, I find it hard for a woman to not realize she had missed 3 periods. Was she super irregular? But if that’s the case, then she wouldn’t rely on the accuracy of the due date calculation… Maybe I missed something the last couple scenes.
      Congratulations, Jules! I’m excited for her. She says she’d have an abortion if she believed in them, but I don’t believe her–she seems excited about the prospect of having the baby. 🙂

      • Hi, Becky,

        Thanks for coming back to check on Jules – I will address the timing issue with Jules’ shower – when I reread, I saw exactly what you meant.

        My explanation for how she could miss 3 periods and not be aware is that she was living in extreme fear – while she was probably counting how many days it had been since a big blow out, she completely ignored her own health.

        I appreciate your fresh perspective and wonderful critiques,

        ~MP~

    • Hi, glad I got to catch up with your characters. It will cause a great deal of conflict if she decides not to tell her husband, but she is still worried about her our safety, so his knowing should not be her priority right now. It is easy to read, so nothing jumps out as needing editing. I look forward to your next scene.

      • Hi, Sharon,

        Thank you for your time to read and comment.

        I’m glad you like the direction I’ve taken the story. I think the tension created by this pregnancy will enhance the rest of the scenes.

        ~MP~

    • Hi MP – Dipping back in after missing a week , I think but was also happy to see Jules safe. I think there was a lot in here, and throwing the abortion comment in as one line could have had more anguish and made a longer reaction scene – maybe after she’s seen the dr. Maybe the dr senses her single parent hesitation or senses that there is more to her single status than meets the eye and he gives her a due date and outlines her options at the same time (but the 3 missed periods and how far she is along might peclude that) . Maybe she gives some serious consideration to a termination as she weighs up what the consequnces of keeping the pregnancy from Preston, or equally telling him will mean. Also when she was getting dressed, – you spend some time on her outfit, she could feel her clothes are getting tighter. It’s a great plot development but I think there are elements that deserve to be slowed down and given more attention. Greeat cliff hanger (although ‘mine, all mine’ was a little cliche ) maybe ‘mine and mine alone’ would be less hand rubbing in glee Machiavellian!!

      • Hi, Deryn,
        Thanks for stopping by to check on Jules and Preston. I appreciate your time to read and your great plot suggestions. In all honesty, I’m using the ‘And…’ prompt to do much of what you spoke to in the Dr appointment. I’m purposely keeping these scenes in the 1200 word count range, so I have room to add when I go back and start the editing process.
        Great critique – THANK YOU, again.

        ~MP~

    • Hi Mustang – you have ramped up the tension. I missed the scene from last week but am very curious how Jules will proceed. I like the dilemma between her pro-life beliefs and realising she’d make another choice if she weren’t. You’ve set up an internal conflict there and also it parallels with the external conflict with Preston around safety, a woman’s right to choose and does he have a right to know if it puts her back in the line of danger. I agree with Preston’s comments that using getting dressed and finding her clothes getting tighter around her middle might be the prompt to check her dates. Three missed periods would put her nearly into her second trimester! Two missed periods make a termination more of an option/but under time pressure to decide = inner conflict comes under more pressure. Unless the maid is going to serve a purpose in a later scene, I might skip that description. Was it Chekov who said “don’t put a gun on the mantelpiece unless it is going to be used at some point.”

      • Hi, Leona,
        Thank you for the time to read and comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the scene. Your comment about the maid was a good one – she may have a larger purpose later, but I’m not sure.

        I had to miss Week 7, but I posted something for Week 8.

        I hope you’ll stay tuned,

        ~MP~

  • Hi, Leona,
    Thank you so much for your time to read and comment. I appreciate your critique – and I can see what you’re saying about those few lines – and the shift in POV.

    I will make adjustments when I rewrite – I’m knee-deep in working on August.

    ~MP~

  • Mustang
    Hi, Sharon,
    Thank you for taking the time to read and give me some great advice. I’m not entirely sure how I will go in and change that aspect of the writing, but I will do my best – if not in an edit on this scene but moving forward with the rest. I’m glad you’re enjoying the story – stay tuned,

    ~MP~

  • Hi, Gretchen,
    Thank you for stopping by to read. I’m glad you enjoyed the scene and that Preston was ‘real enought’ that you could see someone you knew within his personality – sorry about that. I’m trying to make him endearing – like an abuser – but still unique in his role. I hopw you continue with the story.

    ~MP~

  • A Touch of Class by Mustang Patty

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    While Jules escaped to San Francisco, Preston was still in Seattle. He continued to live in their house while he did absolutely nothing to find somewhere else to live. Preston […]

    • Wow, great scene. It give us a scary insight into Preston’s distorted mind. I have an idea where you are going with this and it gives me the creeps which means I will continue to follow. The only suggestion would be to let the reader assume where you are going by themselves. Give the reader the chance to make those assumptions without telling them in the next sentence. Not sure I am making sense, but it took away from my “aha” moment. ( She would know he was serious about making all the changes she needed to stay with him. Preston didn’t realize he was missing the point. He couldn’t accept that it was him and his actions that needed to change.) The reader already knew that he was missing the point when he said “all the changes SHE needed to make. I know this is minor, but just wanted to point out how it affected me in this otherwise well written piece.

      • Mustang
        Hi, Sharon,
        Thank you for taking the time to read and give me some great advice. I’m not entirely sure how I will go in and change that aspect of the writing, but I will do my best – if not in an edit on this scene but moving forward with the rest. I’m glad you’re enjoying the story – stay tuned,

        ~MP~

    • Patty, nice scene. Emotional and hot. I think I was married to Preston, not sure, JK. It is an emotional scene from a narcissist who has assured himself that he is perfect. At first I was liking how thoughtful Preston was to want to style the house as Jules would like, but as it progressed you could almost taste the resentment he held for her. Like a narcissist, he blamed Jules for being sexy, his equal, a conquest. You drew us in and made us want more. I think he is going to turn out to be a real creep. Yeah, I was married to him. Good job, will look forward to reading more as you drew upon a reaction scene with much emotion.

      • Hi, Gretchen,
        Thank you for stopping by to read. I’m glad you enjoyed the scene and that Preston was ‘real enought’ that you could see someone you knew within his personality – sorry about that. I’m trying to make him endearing – like an abuser – but still unique in his role. I hopw you continue with the story.

        ~MP~

    • Loved this insight into the narcissistic machinations and distorted thinking of Preston and how you started the scene with his decision to redecorate and then moved to the history of the relationship. In particular how he is able to twist signals which might indicate he’s not important (the quick get away after the sex) into something he wants it to be. The whole scene was about him, as would be expected. I agree with Sharon. Sentences like this one – Preston didn’t realize he was missing the point. He couldn’t accept that it was him and his actions that needed to change. In Preston’s mind, he was the perfect husband. For some reason, Jules just couldn’t see it. – could be left out. It took me out of his mind and POV. I’ll be back to read more.

      • Hi, Leona,
        Thank you so much for your time to read and comment. I appreciate your critique – and I can see what you’re saying about those few lines – and the shift in POV.

        I will make adjustments when I rewrite – I’m knee-deep in working on August.

        ~MP~

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