• Hi Marilyn, thanks for your comments! I hope the children will remember a Mom that is at peace and actually enjoying Christmas. Maybe they‘ll find out what the true spirit of Christmas is… I actually read a Christmas article in a women‘s magazine like the one I describe…I think we need to get back to the basics of this holiday…

  • Hi Nina, now you scare me. What exactly is my true calling? Writing weird advice columns or wrecking people‘s Christmas…or inventing new dinner events? 🤣actually this came out of one of Mia‘s short story writing sessions where we were to experiment with 2nd person POV….this came out, at the exact word count. I took this as a sign 🤣

  • Hi Andie, thanks for your lovely comment. This is the experiment from Mia‘s writing session and I was a bit scared that people might feel offended by my sarcasm…so glad you enjoyed it.

  • Hi Deryn, wow, the meeting at the airport would make such a good final scene in a movie! Please tell me this isn‘t the end yet….I am still waiting for a little more romance 😉 the scene itself is great. I had the feeling, though, that you might want to split this up into more scenes in the rewrite. There are quite a lot of different elements in her…[Read more]

  • Hi Becky, i like this scene because of the way you manage to uphold tension. For example, like you keep Maisie on hold – first Mom has to get the clue, the go find the glasses, but she come with Char. Later, you don‘t let us see Char discover the clue, no, you keep us stuck to the phone. Very clever!
    One thing I was wondering about: your last s…[Read more]

  • Hi Nina, Polly never fails to amuse me! The ending especially is great. I like how you let character shine through very subtly, for example Polly not shrinking back after she heard Arthur helped people cross Styx. This already lets us imagine what kind of woman she is.
    How old is Arthur? I could never figure this one out. One thing that made it…[Read more]

  • Hi Andie, i really like how you show the relationship between the two, how the first nagging slowly grinds away at them and turns their relationship dysfunctional. The way Eric cares for Attila more than for his wife makes him repulsive…I had a problem understanding all the references to South Africa, sometimes I could understand that it was the n…[Read more]

  • Hi Becky, we‘ve all been there! Your story was so relatable. I like how you show the back and forth of the feelings and ideas in your dialogue. Well done!

  • Hi Marilyn, what a clever Christmas story! You weave in elements of the classic Christmas stories and yet manage very well to make this your own. I liked all the descriptions, I could feel every Christmas. One question, though: why do you use the plural of Christmas for the past and future one? Lovely story!

  • Hi Sharon, this is a wonderful short story, it gives the reader a nice warm feeling of Leicestershire magic! I like how you have set up your characters, how you show episodes of their lives through dialogue and then gently weave Roger and Julie‘s paths together. very well done!

  • Hi Ben, this malarkey may have been difficult to write but you did so well! I have enjoyed this read thoroughly. I usually don’t like bad language but here it is so fitting to show Saleem’s nature. A tiny detail I really loved: Kate’s weak bladder. It’s a bit of comic relief in a high tension scene and so relatable to any woman! Only a female…[Read more]

  • Christmas – a lavishly decorated house, endless hours spent in the kitchen. Then, go to mass, sing some carols, have a jolly family dinner, open carefully chosen presents. Weeks of preparation to implement a c […]

    • A far cry from the usual seasonal saccharine. As a card-carrying member of the Clynics’ club, I applaud your trashed Christmas. And as a widowed pensioner, living alone, this is a fair approximation of the way I spend Christmas. Quiet. Peaceful. Solvent. Relaxed. Enjoying my solitary dinner, and a glass or three of my favourite wine, whilst listening to my favourite music. Thanks for making my reading day.

      • Hi Andie, thanks for your lovely comment. This is the experiment from Mia‘s writing session and I was a bit scared that people might feel offended by my sarcasm…so glad you enjoyed it.

    • I love this. My friend Moon McFarlane has set you on the path to your true calling. Here’s to Russian Routette Dinners and wrecking so-called Christmas in style.

      • Hi Nina, now you scare me. What exactly is my true calling? Writing weird advice columns or wrecking people‘s Christmas…or inventing new dinner events? 🤣actually this came out of one of Mia‘s short story writing sessions where we were to experiment with 2nd person POV….this came out, at the exact word count. I took this as a sign 🤣

    • A thoroughly delightful story….probably the dream of more people than you imagine.
      There have been times when I decided to nix the idea of the ‘traditional’ holiday.
      While a few askance eyebrows were raised, I smiled and went on enjoying the non-traditional dinner (with far less cholesterol and sugar) and after everyone went home….I laughed and applauded myself at my daring!
      I think you covered each and every ‘tradition’ well….and perhaps, maybe, you are starting a new tradition.
      Your writing was entertaining and totally relatable.
      My only hesitation is….the children….what will they remember?
      Perhaps a modern woman who dares to be different?
      You can always roast a turkey for Sunday dinner.
      Every now and then we do need a ‘breather’ and of course, it is vitally important to think about the real reason for the season.

      • Hi Marilyn, thanks for your comments! I hope the children will remember a Mom that is at peace and actually enjoying Christmas. Maybe they‘ll find out what the true spirit of Christmas is… I actually read a Christmas article in a women‘s magazine like the one I describe…I think we need to get back to the basics of this holiday…

    • Hi Susanne, I agree with Nina, this has some of the same Moon McFarlane sass. Well done! I would’ve experimented with 2nd person, after Mia’s class, too, if I didn’t already have something half-baked. Maybe for January. I think you could improve upon this by cutting out the we/us references (“Let’s”–for example), those place us back in 1st person, but other than that I think this piece of writing was perfect for 2nd person. I call it a success! I wish I could join with the no-presents idea. Gifts are definitely not my love language (giving or receiving). Happy Holidays to you and yours!

    • I really enjoyed your story Susanne. This was perfect for this time of year. I can certainly relate to wanting to ditch all the hype and enjoy a quiet holiday without frantic preparations. I liked that you took each tradition and skewered it. I do think it was reminiscent of Moon – the getting down to business approach. Very fun read!

  • 49_
    Uh-oh, the kids are planning something… Lilli chuckled. She probably could have grilled her students to the point when they would have spilled their secret plan. They’re so creative…I think I want to be surpr […]

    • Hi Susanne,
      I’m excited to see what Lilli’s students have planned! I like the playful banter between the couple.
      I like Lilli’s reflection on hair and makeup, it’s a good complement to her homemade dress. I wonder if some of those thoughts could go into a conversation with her sister or best friend?
      I have a thought–I wonder if you want to develop Bad Glauburg a bit more in the rewrite? I know you’ve mentioned it many times–and maybe you’ve given us more history and visuals of the city and I’ve missed it, but now I see it plays an important part in the story.
      Is wedding cake traditional for them as well? Just wondering if the guests will want it after all those yummy desserts!

  • Hi Becky, yes, I had meant to just to change the wording and make the visit clearer. I think it would be more in Maisie‘s character to visit. I think I remember her saying that she‘s not that good on the phone…also, she notices things you wouldn‘t notice when you call. I think I‘d stick to the visit. Hope that helps. 😊

  • Hi Deryn, I agree with the others, I think there’s lots going on here! You portray Duncan excellently here. He’s really toxic, pulling Fran to him to get what he wants, then pushing her away again but when she’s about to leave, he makes a romantic comment again. This push and shove we see in this scene, too: first being so arrogant in thinking he…[Read more]

  • HI Ben, great scene! I am amazed at all the detail in the descriptions of Saleem’s boat – do you have an existing boat in mind? It is so real. As to Saleem, I wondered why you describe his clothes but not his physique. Did I miss something in the earlier scenes? Anyway, I think it would be could if you could describe Saleem a bit more here. The…[Read more]

  • HI Melanie, I agree with Becky, this scene could very well fit into the novel. I had the same confusion about “Anne”. I know this is turkish for mother but the problem is here that it just happens to be the name of your MC. Unless this confision is an issue in the novel (and we already know it’s not 🙂 ) I suggest you use typography to set this…[Read more]

  • Hi Becky, in these two scenes we see how Maisie successfully communicates with her family and manages potential conflict. I think that’s important that we see her like this.
    In the first scene I also liked how you handled the topic of Dad having had a serious girlfriend before Mom. Eleanor,a s the oldest, had to ask that question. I just…[Read more]

  • 48_
    The lid of the mailbox closed with a metallic bang. Lilli felt light as a feather; she had made her decision. Her dream showed her that her mother would approve; all the Matrons would. Lilli felt truly […]

    • Great reflective piece, Susanne! Showing Lilli noticing the world anew makes me feel her relief.
      Here are a couple things to consider for the rewrite:
      –I assume she was so happy that she decided to call her sister, but I wonder if stopping at a coffee shop was also a rare treat for her, or was it merely an opportunity for her to make the call?
      –does anyone notice her drum roll, or is the coffee shop deserted?
      –does she roll the name Tinner around in her head when her students call her that? Thinking about how soon they will be calling her Mrs. Miller instead?
      And I’m glad she chose Tinner. This seems like the moment we’ve been waiting for in this story–Lilli’s happily ever after.
      Now I am eager to see if Danielle makes it to the wedding, and what surprise Anne has planned for her sister.
      This is the third time in a week I’ve heard about America’s tacky/over-the-top reputation 🙂
      Great job, Susanne.

    • Hi Susanne, I’m so glad Lilli has decided to both post the letter and chosen which name she’s going to take. You’ve described that feeling when you start the day on a positive so well, when the whole world takes that light, happy feel, I really enjoyed that entire part.
      I only have a couple of tiny suggestions. I got a little confused by the lid of the mailbox shutting right at the start. I really loved the detail and I first took it as the lid of the mailbox shutting as she was posting the letter to her dad but then realised, it couldn’t be because she hadn’t left the flat yet. Was it the postman delivering post and waking her up? I’m so sorry if I missed something.
      The other one is about Anne’s reaction. You indicate her voice was disappointed and angry. Disappointed, I can completely understand, but personally, I thought angry seemed a little strong when Lilli had made such a good argument as to why she chose the name and Anne has been so supportive so far. As I said, it could just be me, it just stuck out a bit. I did love this so much: “I need to shed my old name. It’s like skin I have outgrown.”
      Looking forward to the wedding now! 🙂

    • Hi Susanne – I loved the paragraph when Lilli catches sight of herself in the shop window, her coat tails flying – lovely imagery and am so happy her sense of confusion about her name, her father etc has receded leaving place for joy in the run up to her wedding, which of course we’re all looking forward to!!

  • NOTE:

    The letter from 12-year-old Lilli is a plothole. I plan to insert it much earlier in the novel in the rewrite. But I think you can imagine what Lilli wrote to her father.

    47_

    Once Lilli’s letter had d […]

    • Hi Susanne, hurrah, she’s posted the letter! Good for her! Now, I just hope she can truly let go of her dad and her expectations of him in her mind too. 🙂
      One tiny suggestion if you don’t mind. At the beginning of the scene, you’re telling us about Lilli telling John about her decision. I think it would be more impactful if we could read the actual dialogue they have from the start. Hearing Lilli’s words too would immerse us straight inside the conversation before hearing his response.
      It’s interesting that John felt so strongly about Godfrey but didn’t say anything before but I’m glad he is so supportive. It’s taken Lilli a long time to break free from her Dad but at least she’s chosen a partner who appears to be the complete opposite of her Dad. Six to go! 🙂

    • Great scene, Susanne! We get Lilli smashing the compass, that’s a big moment for the story. I like how you let her remain sleeping, and drift into another dream that would start the healing process. This isn’t going to be an easy journey for her.
      We also get to hear John talk more than he’s ever talked before. If you wanted to make him into a more complex character, you could have Lilli get annoyed by him (or vice versa). Not necessarily in this scene specifically. But I also see the value in keeping him a quiet, compassionate non-controversial character, too.
      One suggestion to consider, make it apparent when Lilli starts talking about the letter that she is still dreaming/remembering and this is her letter as a child. Also, is there a chance that Godfrey never got the letter from 12-year old Lilli? If not, show us how we know he saw the letter (Lilli’s half sister mentioned seeing the envelope in the mail? Something else?)
      Another suggestion, how does Lilli feel after seeing her mom in the dream/memory?
      Well done!

    • Hi Susanne – Lilli is resolute – sounds as if she has always been like that even since she was 12. This recent interaction with Godfrey must merely have cemented what she already knew about him. Now she has John, she can let her father go. Let’s see how he responds – if indeed he responds, to this, her 2nd letter.

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Susanne

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@susanne-bennett

Active 8 hours, 3 minutes ago
Short Story : 7
Poetry : 11
WTC : 0
52 Scenes : 48
Dialogue : 14
Flash Fiction : 30