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  • Hendricks did not see the first punch coming but was ready when Carley kicked the table across the room, removing the only barrier between them. He took a decent attempt at throwing a punch, but Carley body […]

    • Good to see you back, Natasja! Your second scene was really action-packed at both the physical and emotional levels. I must say I was a bit shocked about Botha’s decision to send Carley into the interview room with Hendricks knowing what the outcome would be – I wouldn’t like to be in one of his cells! But then, maybe I’ve led a sheltered life! Having said that, I’m concerned for Carley if she’s going out to attend the robbery in her present condition.
      A small point about grammar/tense: Instead of saying “The honest truth is two of her three friends were here in this room with her.” I’d say “The honest truth was..” and instead of “And that she decided just makes her look even sadder and weaker.” I’d say “And that she decided just made her…”. I say this because the story is being told in the past.
      Otherwise, though, your language flowed well and was vivid – I could see the action as if I was there. I’ll be interested to see what happens next!

    • At first I was somewhat shocked and enraged by Carley’s attacking a prisoner, but when I got to this line: “Everyone knows it would have been her twenty-first birthday today,” I relaxed a little. There are forces moving under the surface that I don’t yet understand. I’m not sure what Carley’s backstory with Hendricks is, that she would choose him to vent her overwhelming rage, but I’m not writing her off now as mindlessly brutal — I have some compassion for her.

      Botha seems like a savvy manager. And again – another note of humour that I appreciated. “If you are lucky, he will swing past McDonald’s and throw a burger into the deal.” 

      I’m very curious about this backstory: “But, since Anahi, she had nothing to go home to, just her own guilt and remorse.”

      Another cliffhanger ending to this scene!

    • Hello Natasja. What a vibrant scene; The characters are rough and tough and well portrayed. You highlight the raw anger of heartsore Carley over the passing of her friend Anahi. She has noone to go home to unlike the others; how can they really understand her pain?

    • Hi Natasja,

      This was such a beefy power-packed scene! I thoroughly enjoyed it! You did a great job capturing all of Carley’s anger and the action sequences were straight out of a crime thriller show. This was brilliant! I liked how Botha and Tobias tried to calm Carley and I wonder what went wrong with Hendricks. The dialogue between Carley and Botha was interesting and as a reader, it helped me understand Carley’s life before and after Anahi.

      There are just a few small suggestions.

      “…Bothas’ back to get to Carley.” – In this line, I believe that the apostrophe should be before the ‘s’ in ‘Botha’.

      “And I booked you off, yet you still came into my station today….” – In this line, I think if you use just ‘yet’ and remove, ‘still’, it substantiates the expression your are trying to get across.

      “you and Botha always thinking you know what is best for me.” – In this line. I believe there will be an ‘are’ before ‘always’.

      I really loved how you ended the scene. Alarms going off for a robbery that is about to take place. Carley is coming across as the strongest character and a great female lead. Will be waiting for more! Thank you for sharing!

  • Hi Beverly
    I loved reading this, I hope that the waffle house in Ramsgate will make an appearance at some stage! Looking forward to reading your next scene.
    Natasja

  • Hi Nancy
    I enjoyed the scene. I did, however, struggle with some of the abbreviations; it might be good to write it out in the first scene for a new reader? On the other hand, your descriptions were perfect, and you used them well to convey your characters’ emotions. I got a bit lost as to who was speaking in the dialogue between Sam and her…[Read more]

  • Hi Rachel
    This scene was so real and rang very true, I’ve recently lost my father, and your description of the mother left me wondering if that is what my mom felt. I love how you painted the complexities of family lives. I think we are at the beginning of a great unraveling of a fantastic story.
    Natasja

  • Hi Barbara,
    I enjoyed reading your first scene. It flowed very well and was an easy read. I now have questions and cannot wait to read your next scene. There is only one area where I think the timeline changed too quickly for me (“I feel a sense of falling as a childhood memory – or was it a dream –” ). However, you have set your protagonist up…[Read more]

  • Thank you for taking the time to read. Even though it is not your cup of tea, I appreciate the time and the feedback.

  • Thank you, Frances. I am working hard on improving my grammar and punctuation. I appreciate the encouraging comments.

  • “If it does not change anything why are you busy phoning a shelter for him?” Tobias questioned her from across the dingy desk they shared.
    “Good question” she shrugged as she kept scrolling through her phone f […]

    • Not my cup of tea, but is ok.
      How did he end up (by) with you. With would work better.
      neighbor (of) off the streets, off would be better.
      the food did not even touch sides. This is unclear to me but I am American so some idioms escape me.
      get out of (the) this place, this sounds better
      I hope this helps.
      I found Grammerly web sight a big help. Also do word searches on you computer for words such as ‘was’, ‘and’.

      • Thank you for taking the time to read. Even though it is not your cup of tea, I appreciate the time and the feedback.

    • Hi Natashja,

      First of all, as an English teacher, I can tell you there are no major issues here; just a matter of adding commas and some full stops 🙂
      This opening scene really piques my curiosity. What’s going to happen next? I want to know! Carley and Shelley are already showing clear character traits…. Great.

    • Pleasure. Your opening scene dives right into the story which is great.

    • Hi Natasja – I like the way you’ve presented the characters and their relationships – especially the relationship between Carley and Shelley. And now I’m intrigued to know what it is about the date that makes Carley vulnerable. If I had one comment about the grammar it would be that you seem to mix present and past tenses in a way that doesn’t quite work for me. For example: “Technically she is lying Nkosi was not an informant -not yet”. It would read better as “Technically she was lying….”. Let me know if it would be helpful to have more detail! The ending was a real surprise and a cliff-hanger. Well done!

    • I thought that your scene captured your readers’ interest. Carley seems so tough, yet there is a suggestion of vulnerability, which is intriguing. Being South African (although I no longer live there) colloquialisms like ‘How did he end up by you’ didn’t bother me. It was direct speech and tells us something about Shelley and her background. I did notice that, on two occasions you used ‘to’ instead of ‘too’, but errors are minor in a first draft and will be picked up by an editor. What is important is to grab your reader and I think you did that. Good luck. You’re writing about a tough world.

    • Hi, Natasja I thought I had read everyone’s first scenes, but I must have missed yours. It is off to a good start and has the reader intrigued with Carley last action. I didn’t see that coming. You have interesting characters and the regional language phrases did not interfere with me understanding the story line.
      Good job, now I am headed to read scene #2. Thanks again, Sharon

    • I really enjoyed this introduction to your characters. I liked your writing style and the way you set the scene and gave information about the time of year and the personalities in a way that seemed effortless. Saw nothing wrong with your grammar. Ended on a cliffhanger too – makes me want to read more!

    • Hi Natasja I’m one of your assigned readers, so I thought I’d start with this first piece. I appreciated this introduction to this world. I get a sense of Tobias and Carley’s collegial relationship, and the way they both support and taunt each other. I like Carley — I appreciate both her toughness and her compassion for her potential informant. I also like the humour that I get from this line: “To be sure , so that I do not send you a crack head? Because I have foot fetish? Pick one that works for you.” Carley shrugged. I always appreciate a manuscript that has a light thread running through it, and characters who are trying to lighten their own dark worlds with their ironic resilience. And the ending is startling — I’m glad that the next entry is posted and I don’t have to wait.

    • Hi Natasja,

      I am one of your reading partners. You must have received a mail. Hope you are doing well. I checked your 52 scenes section earlier, but there were no entries. So, I was glad when I saw two entries, this time.

      Okay, I have a soft spot for crime thrillers and I can see you have some adrenaline spiking moments in your story. I was wondering if this is a continuation of some other bigger story? Because it felt like something has happened before when I started to read.

      I really enjoyed the camarederie between your characters. Tobias appears to be a tough guy and the girl-talk between Carley and Shelley was funny and interesting at the same time.

      I saw in your warning that you want suggestions on grammar. I will try to point out some that I came across.

      “You have a new one for me?”,Shelley responded – In this line, there is a comma after the closing inverted commas. I believe you don’t need one if you end with a question mark or exclamation mark.

      “You would be six months to late for that line….” – Here, I believe you meant ‘too late’?

      “Fair enough, I am not a great friend. Are we still grabbing a drink on Friday?” Carley admitted, knowing that her friend knew and understood their relationship. – I like this sentence as it establishes the kind of person Carley is. However, in my humble opinion, you could refrain saying that ‘her friend understood….’ It becomes more ‘showing’ then ‘telling’ if you leave out that part and stop at ‘admitted’. But it’s your call and story. 🙂

      ‘Technically she is lying Nkosi was not an informant -not….’ – I think there are a few commas missing here. i think one of them will be after ‘lying’.

      “Can you give him a week? I will cover five of the days. He is not violent just scared, (probably) and in need of a decent meal and a shower.” The shower is definitely high on the list of things he needed. – The last line here about the shower, it appears it was still a part of Carley’s dialogue. But it’s not within inverted commas. I am not sure if your intention was to include it in Carley’s dialogue or not. Am I missing something here?

      ‘Shelley took a young girl in less than a year ago.’ – I believe you can leave out ‘in’ here.

      ‘Johnathan is young and naive in Carley’s opinion even though he is two years older than her. He lacks life experience and knowledge to be honest.’ – So, I think you are introducing Carley’s love interest through this line? I really liked the vulnerable side to her that you expose through this line. But there is just one small thing. While most of your narration is in past tense, this sentence is suddenly in present tense. I think you might want to change it back to past tense so the continuity or flow of the story remains intact.

      ‘She already knew she the bruise on her cheek is going to turn an ugly purple.’ I think the ‘she’ before ‘the bruise’ is a typo. I believe she is into some sort of violent reationship? Please correct me if I am wrong.

      I think with a good round of proofreading, you can polish this work and make it sound even more intriguing. I thoroughly enjoyed this part and am looking forward to the next. Great story! Thank you for sharing!

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  • “Is Lukas permanently assigned to this case?” Carley asked staring out over the rim of her coffee cup.“Yes, we got incredibly lucky to get him. You know how good he is, remember that suicide case? The one where […]

    • Hi Natasja

      A lot of interesting info packed into this scene – I felt a bit overwhelmed with absorbing it all, but it does imply you have a clear idea of the complexity of the crime and therefore plot. I do like the action statements in between the dialogue, the simple rituals of ordering and how the characters eat, it breaks up the dialogue and gives a visual/sensory hook for me as I read the scene. I still get a bit confused who is talking now and again and perhaps you can contemporise the dialogue a bit more make ‘do nots’- ‘don’ts’ …or ‘It is’-‘it’s’…for eg.
      Loved how her casual observation of the chips on the plate helped unlock a clue for Tobias. Clever stuff.
      Lots of research ahead for them…and are they in danger the closer they get to uncovering the truth?
      Thank you
      xxxx

    • So much information! I really enjoyed the depth of the crime and mystery you are building. Intricately woven murder mysteries are the best. The history you are adding to this adds another layer of complexity. I agree I think the way you broke up the dialogue with the cafe motions was nice. I would suggest maybe playing on that a little more. It was hard at times to keep track of who was saying what. Great scene!

    • Hi Natasja. I feel you have a good balance of emotion, facts, thoughts and acts here. The information you added in about the Oromono is very interesting, as well as the religious symbol shown by the hand of the victim. These are intriguing clues and I am curious to see how they will expand on this!
      You’ve mentioned a lot of other characters so far which have made me quite curious about them! It would be nice to see some interaction with them as well to broaden the perspective and up the conflict!
      This was a fun scene! 😀 Well done.

  • She gave me a stern look pointing her finger at me, “You are the oldest. I am leaving you in charge, I don’t want any shenanigans while I am gone. Are we clear?”I dropped my head, looked at my feet and mumble “Ye […]

    • Great job. You show a lot about your characters in just 300 words.

    • Hello! Your story is well written and your characters are shown clearly. The kids sound adorable and my heart hurts for them. The last line was superbly put. Watch for punctuation in the last sentence, though. Should be,”One bitch’s ditch, another’s dream.” Other than that, I don’t see anything wrong with this story. Good job!

    • Loved the story and especially the characterisation using such a tight word count. Great use of conversations too. We’ll done

    • I agree with the others – you packed a lot of story into this short word count, but it doesn’t feel shortchanged in any way. Well done!

    • You wrapped quite a bit into merely 300 words.
      I have recently read White Oleander and that story is also based on a child in Foster Care, so this came to me and reminded me just a bit of Janet Fitch’s work.
      And that’s a compliment!
      I enjoyed your story.

    • Hi Natasja, welcome to the writing group. A great first story, especially for such a small word count. You also fit the prompt in beautifully. I did feel for the poor children, this lady certainly seems to have the children to look good to her church and to get the money.
      Two small editing suggestions:
      Tommy and I pulled the metal sheet away and to reveal our pool. – you need to delete the and here, it is not required.
      And I would also suggest adding a word to the last sentence and moving the comma as Cheryl suggested and putting one more comma in at the end of the speech:
      “One bitches, ditch another’s dream” Tommy muttered under his breath. – “One bitch’s ditch, is another’s dream,” Tommy muttered under his breath.
      Really well done:)

    • Hi Natasja,

      I believe you are new to the group. Welcome to this group! I am sure you will have a great time here as a writer. We all did. 🙂 I liked your story and your characters sounded believable. The lady who was ordering around sounded downright awful. The end was hilarious! For such a short word limit, it was a good start. Thank you for sharing!

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Natasja

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