• You have taken a simple daily activity, like making a meal and turned it into a gentle act of love. I like how Dorian takes such good care of her and the baby.. Love the baby’s name. I look forward to next week’s scene

  • I can’t wait until the next episode! You have done a wonderful job of building up suspense and leaving us with questions about the outcome of your characters on this journey. When I was reading I felt like I was right there with them. Great job.

  • I haven’t had the chance to read scene one of your story, but I take it Donny’s dad is in a band or is a singer/songwriter and is on tour. Donny sounds like a bit of a handful, and it appears that no one wants to watch him, except maybe Moody. I also got the impression that Donny’s dad doesn’t want Louise around any longer. You’re weaving an…[Read more]

  • That poor child! I hope there are some redeeming qualities in Great Aunt Violet. This feels so real and heartbreaking. It seems like Aunt Violet has made this decision and Sofia’s father had no choice in the matter. I can see all kinds of scenarios in the future for Sofia. You have done a great job in describing your characters. I’m anxious…[Read more]

  • I like how you carried this with the conversation between Lisa and Armaan. I see disaster coming in future scenes or at least broken friendships. I look forward to reading more of your story. Thanks for a good read.

  • The Village Diner was a teenage hangout when Maggie was in school.   Entering the diner was like walking back in time.  Forty-five records decked the  white walls, along rock and roll posters.  The floor was blac […]

    • Hi Sandy, I’m hopping in on this scene and haven’t read the first yet. I feel like you’re opening up some intertwining mysteries here, both Edwards and Reynolds seem a little untrustworthy. Especially considering how Edwards blamed Maggie twice “you weren’t”. Your descriptions of town slow the piece down, and I think it works because Maggie is grieving her mother (even if it was complicated), she’s home but not home, and seems lost in a place she should know so well. I’m looking forward to finding out what’s in those documents!

    • Enjoying this continuing mystery. The diner is very well described, a real trip down memory lane.

    • Hi Sandy,
      That was a really engrossing read and your narrative kept me hooked right from the start. I liked the small town curiosity surrounding Maggie’s disappearance and then her sudden arrival to the town. The suspense eges you to read on. There was just one small thing. In these lines, “ Just black is fine.” There is an extra space between the inverted comma and ‘Just’. But I am nitpicking really.
      I liked the aura of mystery surrounding the house. And the conversation between Mr. Edwards and Maggie really holds promise for something interesting in future. Waiting for more! Thank you for sharing!

    • I like Maggie. You have created a character with whom your reader can identify. Alarm bells went off in my head when she signed the paper without reading it. I feel that she is too trusting and vulnerable. You have also raised interesting questions: if Edwards has been renting the place out, why does Maggie have so much financial responsibility for her mother’s house? I look forward to finding out. I liked the frisson that Maggie experiencing when she and Joshua touched, a hint of things to come.

    • Hi, Sandy Nicely written scene. Dialogue is well done. Maggie is going through the motions, but I don’t think she is focusing very well. She seems to have her mind other places. Josh seems like a kind person, and I hope he can help with her finances. You have a smooth way of writing and it makes your story flow making them easy to read. Thanks, Sharon

    • You have done a great job in summoning up the small town feel. Lots of telling details about the surrounding and the people living there that suggest somewhere slightly shabby and behind the times, fitting in well with the suggestion of unhappy or unwelcome childhood memories that she is reluctant to revist. Lots of intriguing suggestions of mystery , potential threats, unpleasant experience, that encourage the reader to want to find out more.

    • So Edwards is creepier in the second scene than in the first. A lot sketchiness going on. Up in the air about Joshua.the old ladies at the diner were lovely. As was the moment it hit Maggie her mother was dead. Nice job with the fog she’s in. Things are sure to get worse before they get better.

  • I’m intrigued. I felt like I was on the boat with your MC.. I could feel her anxiety when she wanted him to turn back and he didn’t hear her. This is an intense beginning to your story . Surprisingly, the absence of quotation marks when they were talking, didn’t confuse me or take me out of the story. I especially liked how she used the prayer…[Read more]

  • Your description of the argument is wonderful. This story is a rollercoaster of emotions and you showed that beautifully. I can’t wait to read on. I hope Samantha is okay. Thank you .

  • I like the contrast between the raging thunderstorm and the quiet gentleness of the birth of the baby. It is obvious that your two main characters love each other very much, and that this baby is someone special. I’m anxious to see what happens next. Great introduction to your book.

  • Hi Kali,
    I think my favorite line in your story is this: ” in the secret of night, my family sits down next to me, and the ache of my separation squeezes my heart..” Squeezes my heart says so much. I didn’t read your story last year, but I know what is happening now. I like how you show an image in just a few words. Your scene left me with…[Read more]

  • Maggie stopped when she got out of the car and surveyed the front of her childhood home.  She slowly went up the steps to the porch, found the key hidden under a pot and opened the door. She gingerly stepped […]

    • Very nice work. You set up the situation beautifully, giving just little hints about what may be to come and giving enough questions about what has happened in the past to hold the reader’s interest and create the desire to keep reading and find out more. You have begun to create a likable character in Maggie. I just met her and I’m already rooting for her – hoping that things turn out well! Thanks for the good read, well done!

    • Intriguing scene, and already we have the main ingredients for a plot… secrets, trouble, hardship… I cannot help feel she is being tricked by someone. Look forward to reading more!

    • Hi Sandy,

      Good opening scene to a first draft. You have thrown several potential tension balls into the air. I’m not sure what you are looking for in a critique, so I’ll just say some general things. As far as scene structure goes, you have given her a goal of sorts (implied) that she’s come back to deal with her mom’s estate. You’ve thrown some good obstacles in her way. But the “collision” or problem at the end of the scene is lacking. Having her just go out to eat doesn’t keep the story tension going. Have her formulate a plan and leave the house to carry it out right then. And then end the scene with a “no” she didn’t get her goal, or a “yes, but” regarding the goal. Then you can segue into a brief emotional beat around that so she can formulate a new goal. Overall though, we get a good sense of what her story problem is and what potential challenges and obstacles she’ll face. Nice job.

    • Hi, Sandy I really liked your scene. It shows a determined woman that faces challenges head on. Great start. i hope that Josh can help her get things straightened out. Nice job describing the house and the kitchen. Everything was just right, not comments for improvement. Thanks, I will be back. Sharon

    • Poor Maggie. You’ve certainly set her up with enough problems an issues to explore and solve as you go along. I thought it curious that she’d just walked in the door when Mr. Edwards showed up without an appointment or even a phone call. His timing and the one paper she didn’t sign have me wondering if she didn’t trust him awfully fast. But maybe she k ew him? I’m also curious he referred her to a financial advisor and not an attorney. An intriguing and emotional first scene.

    • I appreciate the details in the first paragraph that beautifully show how profoundly something has changed since the last time Maggie was home. A sense of sadness pervades this, right from the beginning.
      And then things just go from sad to worse! Great inciting incidents – her mother’s death and the unexpected debt. Maggie is under a lot of pressure right from the beginning. The overarching dramatic question here for me is, “Will Maggie be able to resolve this without ending up in terrible financial trouble herself? And if so, how?” I wonder about Joshua Reynolds as an ally/romantic interest. His “gentle tenor voice” felt like a bit of a lifeline. And I’m not sure about Mr. Edwards. What attorney isn’t organized enough to get his client all signed sealed and delivered in a single meeting? He may be suspicious. I’m holding judgement for now, but I’m a bit worried about him.
      Thank you!

    • You have done the ‘inciting moment’ really well. I find that my mind is full of questions: why did she run away after her mom died? Why is she responsible for all the debt? How is she going to manage this? My sympathy is with Maggie and I like the sound of Josh, with his ‘gentle tenor’ voice. Your attention to detail and use of the senses in your descriptions draws the reader in. For example: ‘dust … like fine snow’ and ‘ A bird was singing in the maple tree in the front yard. It sounded so soothing that Maggie decided to stay on the porch for a while.’ I felt as if Mr Edwards’s news could have been introduced a little more slowly, although he did say that time was a constraint. I look forward to reading more.

    • Oh, what a place to start from. Poor Maggie. I’d love to see more sensory details of the house, and I’d love to know if she’s an avoider in general or the grief is particularly hard. I’m sure I’ll find out more as you go!

  • Love this story. Holiday romances are so free and unencumbered. If he hadn’t said I want you to have my babies, I would have wanted their romance to continue. Thank you for a great story.

  • Is this part of a bigger story? I want to know more, especially who belongs to those eyes. I love this description: “That tilt to the head and fierce features that made you want to make them happy.” While reading, I felt like I was in the same place as your MC. I thought you did a great job of keeping the suspense going throughout. I enjoyed…[Read more]

  • Workplace romances are tricky, especially when your heart gets broken,, and you still have to see the other person every day. I like how you interjected the Santa person and added a bit of magic to the story. Thank you for sharing.

  • Two lonely, hurting people put together by the love of a grandmother. I’ve always heard tragic stories of arranged marriages.. It’s nice to read a positive outcome. I thought you did a good job of spanning the time and bringing out the feelings of Ini and your MC. Thank you for sharing.


    As life throws us curves and

    Drastically changes our normal, we

    Align with the new path

    Praying we will find our way

    Through the trials that lie ahead.

  •  John watched the mail Every day, waiting for a letter from the DNR confirming he had the dates he requested to hunt turkey.  The notice came just before Easter. His hands shook as he opened the letter. He p […]

    • I really envy your ability to tell a story via dialogue. I wish someone would give me the recipe how to do it!
      This was really entertaining and yet I was waiting for some terrible thing to happen (my genre, I suppose).
      I think if I was to edit anything, it would be to split up the dialogue and action in the first part when he is looking for his boots. The sentences look a little cluttered in one batch – though they make perfect sense. It’s just a formatting preference of mine.
      I had a chuckle at several parts of this story and , how true it is that we often look forward to a holiday or occasion and end up not really enjoying it at all!
      By the was, why are they called ‘jakes’?
      Excellent use of prompt and title.

    • Seyi replied 1 month ago

      Hey Sandy, and howzit? You’ve got to be a prolific hunter yourself, or a keen researcher? I felt the vibe of the hunt, and for a piece largely transmitted through dialogue, that’s no mean feat. I loved the undercurrent of humor as well as the many learning moments (detail about camouflage, camp management for example.) The initials DNR took me out of the tale momentarily, perhaps you could have chosen a catchall phrase fr that instead? Really enjoyable writing, all the very best and regards, Seyi

  • Wow! This is an image I won’t soon forget. It played like a movie as I read it. Well done.

  • So sad and heartfelt. You described loss so well. It seems the smallest things trigger frustration and heartache. Well done.

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Sandy Menarek

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