• The phone rings at 5 am. Ezme knows this can only be her mother. She will never get the hang of the time difference between New Zealand and Hamburg.

    Ezme yawns and picks up the phone. “Merhaba A […]

    • Hi Melanie–nice character back story here. I think this would be useful in the story to help the reader understand Esme’s character. I liked her clever excuse to get off the phone. i wondered why she called her mother Anne. Was that already addressed within earlier scenes? I bet you feel in a good spot, already having written The END 🙂

    • 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 apart. You could write all foreign words in italics, for example. Which would kill, I grant that, the effect that bilinguals don’t differntiate between their mother tongues.
      Just checked Google. It suggests “ana” also as “mother”. Could that work for you?
      Did I congratulate you already on “THE END”? Twelve points from Germany! 🙂

  • “Mom and I thought we could do a vote, about how to proceed with the information we have,” Maisie explained.

    “Ooh, a vote. Like we used to do for family vacations!” said Katherine.

    “What family vacations […]

    • 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 wondered why she, being the oldest, didn’t add “How come I never knew about this?”It’s so relatable that Mom defelcts the question. This creates suspense till the end (or even a possible part 2 of the story).
      In the second scene I was a bit surprised to find out Maisie hadn’t called Dianne but visited her. For me, this would have been easier to understand if you had changd the first sentence like this “Maisie once again found herself reconciling her apple-kitchen memory with the reality of Dianne’s small condo, which she entered. ” Just a thought. Wait for the others, maybe that’s just me reading too quickly.
      I have read some wonderful phrases in this, like Dianne being able to brush away crumbs but not the uneasiness. This is so poetic! Whatever you do in the rewrite: do not touch that sentence, please 😉
      One thing I noticed: when they’re talking about the deer, do you mean to be in Dianne’s head? I thought you were writing in 3rd person attached (to Maisie) and that’s why it struck me as unusual. Did I get your POV wrong?
      All in all, two great scenes and I wonder if Frank does react next week….

    • Hi Becky, this scene flows very well, both in the family dialogue and the scene at Frank and Dianne’s house. As a counter-balance, I didn’t feel the same way as Susanne about the visit, in fact, quite the opposite. I was glad that Maisie went to visit them rather than call them. This is a big conversation to have with someone, potentially implying they were complicit in someone’s disappearance so, to me, it wouldn’t feel appropriate to be done over the phone. Additionally, the crumbs and the visuals of Frank between them were so good, you have to keep Maisie there in person.
      I did spot the POV thing too, however, when you took us into Dianne’s head. That’s something that I’m going to have to look at in my story too. It’s so tricky sometimes as it’s vital information but not always something the characters might want to voice out loud.
      My final comment might be just me, so please feel free to ignore it, but I did wonder at Dianne’s reaction. Maisie is implying that Frank might have done something that could create a lot of issues for them, especially if Maisie is about to shop him to the police, so I was a little surprised by how gracefully and calmly Dianne was taking this. As I said, it could just be me but I would have expected Frank’s wife to be a little more defensive and protective of him. Just a thought but it’s a great scene and the story is moving along towards those answers we are so looking forward to finding out. Congratulations 🙂 xx

    • Hi Becky – I agree with Ben that given Maisie’s discomfort with the phone and the gravity of what she wants to present to dianne that she would go in person to visit her aunt and uncle and it read really well as it is. Agree re the head hopping moment – it jumped out at me – amazing what we’ve learnt along the way this year – but you can re write that in a tone of voice or body language and show us her reaction. Great work.

  • “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

  • The Art of Misdirection by Anne Whitehead Scene 47/52


    I’ve taken note of the lack of detail around Melanie realising what’s happened to her, and these are bits that will need to be […]

    • Hi, Anne-
      I think that, appropriately placed, these bits will add a lot to the story. The slow boil is plain to see.
      I wondered about this: “Up in her room.” I don’t recall the layout of the flat. Is it more than one level? Or is that an idiomatic expression?
      I also wonder about the sudden interjection of the word “bitch.” Would she be shocked at herself for having thought it? Wonder if she was overreacting? And eventually come back to the conclusion that she’s justified? Just some thoughts.
      I’ll be very interested to see this assembled in one continuous narrative. Looking forward to it!

    • Hi Anne ,

      I enjoyed reading about Melanie and how she slowly came to boiling point and then did the inevitable. This is a key part of the story, and sets the scene for – The Art of Misdirection.
      Here are some ideas – please take what resonates and leave the rest (and then add those to my whiskey tab which I should come settle ;-))

      First part – great showing auntie pushing the food away. We need more of these moments, to show these act – so here I’d encourage you to not hold back. Have Melanie ask her why it’s bad, and then Barbs responds, O gosh I don’t know if bad’s really the right word, you know Mel, I’m not even sure the dog would eat this.

      Second and third part – there has to be something that snaps in Melanie’s mind that wants her to go after Auntie. Somehow that she needs to prove herself and show that she is better, so I am thinking that it would be a good idea to show Auntie insulting her over and over , you’re not good enough, you’ll never find a husband, your mother must have dropped you hard, what man would ever look at you, leave the room I can’t eat with you standing there, you’re worthless, etc.. and then Melanie crying in front of the mirror, “No, I am good enough you old bitch!” “people do like me”! etc. Show the rage, and then let’s add a bit of psychoses to it, violent mood swings, anxiety attacks, she freaks out and has a meltdown and then she says – “I’ll show you”. You can even tie it in with a quote from Barbs herself – O Mel, you can’t even boil water properly, how could you help me, plot a murder? And when Mel is on her own – “I’ll show you a murder plot you’ll never forget”
      This will constrast nicely with her apparent naivety and sweetness.

      I was also thinking of the reference to Uncle M. Why not have her remember something her said? e.g. O Mel, so sweet and simple minded, I know you’ll keep this between us. And then have Barbs tell her, “you’re such a simple mind…” to have her make the link between them like this?

      Just a few ideas, apologies I am getting carried away, but it’s because I like the story so much!

      Well done Anne! Nr 47! Can you believe it?!

    • Julie replied 2 days ago

      Hi Anne, I can’t really add much to what Jan and David have said. which are very useful comments. It is a little hard to feel the emotional motivation of the pieces when they are ‘snippets’ and not inserted into a narrative with an arc. It’s clear that you are really working hard on this and it’s going to be such fun when we’re able to read right through. Its great to tell us what the scenario is about beforehand but I wonder if this influences how we read it? i.e., the writing should reveal this to us. Please don’t think this a criticism as I know you are filling in gaps now and we can paste each week as we please, and if it ain’t broke for you then don’t fix it!

    • Hi Anne – Jan’s contribution /comments are very good, IMHO (and take him up on the whisk(e)y invitation when he’s there – he’s great company! ) I really like these ‘ slow boil’ moments – the use of ‘Auntie’ is soooo creepy (in a good way) – do we need to know what Barb’s motivation was in belittling Melanie or was it just sport for her? Pay back for how her parents treated her? Maybe an inkling in the journal to Barb’s thinking (if we haven’t already had it….sorry if I have forgotten) but I love these snippets. I might need to do a few between now and 52 as I’m missing like 2 of 5 scenes…gosh this is just as hard at the end as it was in the beginning…and the middle…D

  • Matt, Pierre and Kate hopped from Dream Weaver’s diving platform onto the yacht’s adjacent one, one after the other, Hector and his gun following them closely.

    Two curved staircases on the port and starboard sid […]

    • Hi Ben

      High tension indeed. You cover all the characteristics of each of the players so well in this scene. The story is menacing, threatening and intimidating and although I haven’t read many of your scenes, it was a pleasure to read as it stands. Nothing to change from where I’m reading.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • Hey Bene – another great scene. There was one aspect that didn’t sit quite right with me – I was wondering if Kate’s reaction to the slick and polished nature of the boat was a little too admiring? I thought perhaps given her down to earth nature, that she would have seen it for what it was, kind of like a somewhere without soul, sterile, a shiny veneer and clinical, built on the suffering of others. All pimped up with little to truly admire. Where people were made to have fun, under threat. And even the art doesn’t quite sit right – expensive, clearly but lacking any real taste. I always imagine Jamie Packer (an Aussie billionaire with no friends, multiple ex wives and a penchant for expensive motor yachts) having a vessel just like this. Anyway, enough of my pov thrust on your excellent story. The dialogue that follows is strong, great that the Captain is redeemed, but seems Kate now has a bigger problem and Matt and Pierre are in real strife. And who was the source of the tipoff? Hmmmm. Momo to the rescue? Yeah nah. Look forward to the final installments

      • Hi Adam, thank you for your spot-on thoughts about Kate’s admiration of the yacht. I have to completely agree with you. In the first draft, it was even worse so I tried to scale it back and make Kate yearn for the safety and cosiness of Dream Weaver but you’re right it needs to be much more than that. I’ll take a look at that in the rewrite, thank you.
        PS. I checked out James Packer after your comment and read he paid Mariah Carey a multi-million dollar ‘inconvenience fee’ after their very short relationship. The word inconvenience says it all…

        • He’s another truly gross man (who now is broken and sad – shows money cant buy you happiness) – we seem as a nation to be manufacturing men like him in large and endless volumes 🙁

    • Hi Ben, this is great, no need to be dubious. I don’t think it needs much reworking, and you’ve built lots of suspense here! I’m wondering who was the leak, and where the drugs went? And I’m hoping Anais is part of the plan and is safe somewhere with her set-up being part of the solution. I think Pierre knows more than he is letting on. I don’t think he’d be so dismissive about “his sister’s choices” otherwise. Well done!

      • Hi Becky, thank you so much. I’d been isolating with covid for the last 2 weeks so I was wondering whether the plot continuation in this scene would read as foggy as my brain was when I wrote it. I’m so relieved it didn’t. Five to go, I can’t believe it, neither do I know how I am going to make the end work, but one scene at a time…still 🙂

    • 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 way he talks makes it clear, he toys with people and I think I’d like to see that in his eyes, pantherlike movements etc. I can feel the suspense and really wonder how it will all be revealed in the end…

      • Hi Susanne, oh you know, I just took a little walk around my yacht, making some notes as I went 🤣 Only kidding of course. Youtube is a wonderful thing, I watched loads of sales videos of superyachts, picking out the elements I liked best – so thank you for the ‘real’ comment, that made my day.
        Good point about Saleem’s physique, in fact, very good point. I was wondering myself how old he is as I’m not sure that I’m clear myself on him as a person yet so I’ll make a note to do something about that. If I run out of story before completing the five remaining scenes, I might even to a character development one of him, so thank you so much 🙂

    • Deryn replied 1 day ago

      Hi Ben I can’t add anything to the comments already made – the descriptions of Saleem’s yacht are great, I want more wrought iron and gold plated taps and ‘ money can buy you everything except taste’ fixtures and fittings. I got Kate’s being impressed in a way but hating the ostentatiousness (ostentation?) of the boat but wonder if she would actually (under the curcumstances) long for the comfort of Dream Weaver – she longs for that because she’s unsafe not because she doesn’t like the decor of Sheeba. But a minor detail.
      I just KNOW Momo is waiting to save the day – or else he’s the real baddie and tipped the police off – so exciting. Super well done. x

      • Hi Deryn, thank you very much and really good point – I have made a note and will rewrite Kate’s whole attitude to the boat, and also make it more ostentatiously tasteless 🤣
        PS I knew you’d all be missing Momo and his dancing speedos… xx

    • Hi Ben,
      I had a tough time taking in the details of the overly decorated yacht with tasteless furnishings while Kate is being prodded along with a gun. Matt and Kate’s babbling is OK, but it made me think that they’ve had a gun pulled on them in the past. My suggestion is that Kate reviews the details of the boat as she appraises the possibility of escape or worries about where she could be stashed. That way we can take in the details of the appearance of the yacht but through the same lens of terror and rash planning that Kate would be using as she walks onto the yacht against her will.
      The tip-off and drugs being stolen are tantalizing mysteries. Great development.

  • CHAPTER 54


    In such a confined space calmness, clear-headedness, and shallow breaths were the order of the day. Or I could succumb to my claustrophobia, scream for […]

  • Photo: Ostrich Shell Bowl by Avoova

    “I have no idea what you mean, and cannot imagine how you came up with that scenario,” retorted Fran as she gathered the contents of her briefcase from the table top, chair sea […]

    • Hi Deryn, “You’re not the first woman I’ve paved the way with for him.” oh my gosh, that sentence riled me so much, it’s so despicable, it’s brilliant. I’m so glad Fran has realised what kind of guy is really is. I also liked how you got them to put the past behind them and bring some closure to their whole affair.
      I can’t believe Duncan’s parting comment though, he really is a thoughtless swine. Can’t wait to see what happens when she meets Bernard now… 🙂

      • Deryn replied 3 days ago

        Hi Ben – I know that comment, right? I actually wondered if to leave it in, as it doesn’t reflect too well on Bernard or perhaps he can rebut it when next he speaks to Fran and put it down to Duncan’s arrogance. Sounds too much like he always gets Duncan’s left overs or cast offs and he has to have a strong claim for himself… Thanks for the early read! x

        • Deryn
          Don’t you dare take that out. I read it as Duncan, smarmy bastard,being catty to ruin Bernard’s chances since Bernard held him accountable. It was a brilliant play on his/your end.
          This was a great scene, working toward tying things up without making it too easy. So many wonderful lines. And Fran did well through it all. Hoping she washed her hair after his last bit of smarm, whispering bittersweet nothings in her ear like that.

          • Thank you for the affirmation, Nina! So glad it all works – now I have ‘I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair’ playing in my head!!

        • I completely agree with Nina, don’t you dare take it out. It shows Duncan for what he is and makes the reader react – it’s perfect! 🙂

    • Hi, Deryn-
      Well, Duncan showed his true colors and probably doesn’t even realize how despicable he is. “You’re not the first woman I’ve paved the way with for him.” Hard to react to something so blatantly obnoxious because when you hear it, you can’t believe you heard right. And he follows it up with, “I wish it was you, but if I can’t have you, I want Bernard to have a fair chance. But don’t hurt him, please.” He kissed her temple. “Bye, Fran.”
      Gee, what a great guy, to get out of the way & let poor, pitiful Bernard have a chance. About as charming as a python.
      Nice job by Fran of stomping him a bit for his smart-ass remarks about repurposing. And the descriptions of the finishings was good. Plenty of stuff without being too specific. I can’t even imagine the work involved in carving a tub out of a rock–without cracking it! I’d be interested to know what kind of rock it is, but that’s hardly a big story point.
      You under-promised a bit, Deryn–plenty going on here.

      • Hi David! Thank you so much – those sinks/baths are a real thing – I will have to find out about what stone they are made of and will let you know!!! As far as under promising I just feel like I’m dilly dallying to fill around 4 scenes before the actual ending, but it seems to have worked and Duncan wrote himself. (funny, I never subscribed to that ‘the characters tell me what they want to do/say’ school of writing but it seems to be true!!!

    • Hi Deryn,
      What Nina said – don’t you dare take it out 😉
      These descriptions of her work in the bush always take me so far away – tu vends du rêve et j’adore! I was waiting for the moment between her and Duncan, his words are shocking and the icing on the cake is that his apology is conditional! That is just rich, but then, it’s Duncan and we’ve seen his true colours now. Not surprising that he’d have something to say to her at the very end about how he wished it could have been her.
      Now, have her call back to him – don’t worry Duncan, I’d never do to him what you did to me!
      Beautiful scene Deryn! Well done on Nr 47!

      • Yes, what a great come back!! Thank you, Jan!! I am going to write that in!! Love it!! Duncan started off so handsome , dashing and charming and then wrote himself as a real snake in the grass! Even I can’t wait for the end!!!

    • Hi Deryn,
      Perhaps Grant could use an earlier introduction in this scene to remind us that he is there?
      Misspelled Ducan once–it was almost fitting in that spot, like his wasn’t worth the full pronunciation of his name. ha!
      Duncan is unbelievable here–living up to his reputation (in other words, you did a good job writing him!) He riles her up in front of everyone, then quietly whispers too-late-apologies. I don’t know if he’s throw himself under the bus that much though, saying he doesn’t know what Brigette sees in him–maybe a bit to vulernable for his character. Or maybe it’s one last glimpse of his human side…
      Well done! You’ve only got a few scenes left to (hopefully) resolve things with Guy.

      • Thanks, Becky – I think the ‘ I don’t know what Brigette sees in me’ comment is sort of false bravado/fake self deprecation and not as much shoud be read into that as into the ‘ paving the way’ remark. By Grant I assume you mean Clint, the lodge manager?!! I think one of the key elements in the re write will be the smooth transition between scenes that we have been reading and writing for the most part week by week, but taken as a whole, we will know who’s who and where in the narrative.Thanks so much for making it this far with me!!

    • I like the way this was handled. It not common, but it does happen when the better-looking guy helps his less confident friend with the girls – it’s not a terrible thing. Just the way Duncan puts everything – a smarmy smear on everything he does.
      He did say sorry, I don’t believe he’s learnt anything, but he did say it – so we’ll take it from where it comes. I think you’ve left him in a good place. Slightly redeemed.
      It was funny that I was so interested in what Duncan and Fran were saying that I kind of skimmed over the hotel improvements. Great characters, this was a solid scene. 😉

      • Hi Michael – absolutely I get the ‘ paving the way’ thing, but just Duncan is a little too self congratulatory for everyone’s liking (including mine!) I also think he is more sorry that he can’t have his cake and eat it (ie Fran and a wife) and is more sorry for himself than for hurting Fran but that’s open to everyone’s own interpretation! I just wonder how weird it’s going to be for Fran and Bernard with Duncan around – or maybe they’ll go singly/severally their separate ways…Thanks for the read/comments. Nearly there.

    • 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 really paved the way for Bernard (as if he needed that…), like he’s sampling the women Bernard is then graciously allowed to have. Then apologizing so there wouldn’t be any hard feelings and then the final comment about him wishing it would be Fran instead of Brigette…Duncan is terrible! And you did a great job showing him like that.
      Hugh, on the other hand, is turning out to be quite a nice guy! He might also make a good partner for Fran…
      Stylistically, you’ve had some very nice language in here. let me just mention one phrase: “He’s just so backward in coming forward…”Waiting for the end!

      • Thank you, Susanne! I think Hugh is a little young (in my imagination!) and certainly no match for Fran, as nice as he is! He is more in counterpoint to Guy who I think I have to make a bit bitchier in the re write and not an altogether good influence on Fran, even tho he called her out a few times for poor behaviour. I’m also waiting (CAN’T WAIT) for the end!!! Thanks for coming this far with me!

    • Hi Deryn,
      I loved the view into Duncan’s personality. He likes to keep his satellites orbiting around him, even if he can’t return their affection. Classic Narcissist. Would love to hear whether Bernard’s version of his romantic live matches Duncan’s description (probably not). Your descriptions of the artifacts are great and I was fascinated. And in many ways we can see why Duncan is attracted to Fran–he appreciates her talent.
      That little parting comment was perfect–so many men let their insecurity show that way…I loved it.

      • Thank you, Sudha – I think I must have known too many men like Duncan as he truly wrote himself which is a little scary. Bernard is going to be harder to give life to as a good, decent, honest ‘bloke’ ….Haven’t met too many of those 🤦‍♀️

  • Bärbel rolls the blue pleat skirt tightly and adds it to the neat symmetry of the inside of her suitcase. She has no idea what the weather will be like in New Zealand. She holds up the possum fur socks to her […]

    • Becky replied 1 week ago

      Barbel is such a different character when we see her in her home setting. Almost normal. Although, the sister-in-law reminds me a bit of Anne’s mother-in-law. Ha! I didn’t picture Barbel so young, not sure why, Seeing her with young kids of her own was unexpected. I’d love to see how she interacts with her daughters–or is it revealing that she doesn’t give them much of a goodbye? I’m hoping she just really wanted to get away from Renate! Glad she remembered her comfort food for the suitcase. Well done!

  • Out of sequence. Melanie realises she must escape.

    Melanie thinks about her future

    “Goodnight, Melanie, have a nice weekend,” said Liz. She’d stopped at Melanie’s desk to collect the post and noticed how pal […]

    • Hi Anne, I’m so glad that Melanie is feeling the weight of her restricted life courtesy of Horton. Of course she would seem a snob to her colleagues. I think the conversation outside the chemist is very real sounding but not Melanie ‘hearing it ‘from so far across the street. Why not have her standing behind them in a queue in the chemist and overhearing then sneaking out before they look round or leave after being served. Poor Melanie, having a mother who lives from her daughters vicariously and won’t accept the truth that something is wrong. The dynamic between the parents is well done via their dialogue. One tiny, minor thing – in the 60s and 70s the bin men came into our gardens to collect the bins, put them on their shoulders (wearing donkey jackets) carried them to the cart , emptied and brought them back! Wheelie bins came in in the late 70 or eighties so unless Mel’s parents were very posh and hid there dustbin he wouldn’t put the bins out. This is so minor I feel ridiculous mentioning it but….I am really enjoying the way you are extending your story with this vignette type sections. Just so glad Melanie is facing up to the hard facts about the Demon Horton. Great stuff.

    • Hi Julie
      Thank you for your reminders about the bins (I now remember the donkey jackets so vividly), this is the type of error that undermines my writing, I’m really grateful.
      Also the unlikelihood of Melanie hearing her colleagues from across the street, I’ve obviously slipped a cog or two this week!
      Please, please keep on picking…..

    • Hi, Anne-
      This scene adds a lot of depth to Melanie’s character.
      I feel like we’ve read descriptions very like this before: “She’d been bowled over when the famous writer had offered her a home, and for a time it had been magical.”
      Writing this scene out of sequence is probably to blame. You’ll want continuity, but not repetition, I suspect. Once it is all in sequence & you can read it straight through, I’m sure that there will be plenty of opportunity to fine tune these references.
      Now that we see Melanie’s escape plan taking shape, I’ll be very interested to see how she works up the justification for going through with a double murder. After all, if she’s safely away…
      Good scene! Now for the home stretch!

      • Anne replied 1 week ago

        Hi David
        Yes, writing out of sequence does have its problems but I wanted to get these gaps filled while I have kind readers to comment on them!
        Melanie – getting away isn’t enough, she wants revenge. After Uncle Mitch, parents who don’t recognise her distress, isolation, no friends, forbidden to talk about her situation, she has flipped.
        Thanks for all your comments, so glad you’re hanging in there!

    • Hi Anne – that’s such an astute observation by Julie about the bin men – them and the milkman…ah, it were (sic) different back then, weren’t it, duck!!?? Anyway…back to the scene/s… Poor Melanie – you can see whay she would want revenge but maybe each time you show her suffering the slights of others you can make it clear how much more anger/hurt that heaps on her which is why she cracks in the end. She really has to fester to the point that she would do something so radical. But great work. D

      • Hi Deryn
        Yes, you’re dead right, Melanie must come to a slow boil. Will try a few fillers before we get to scene 52, thanks for that.
        Thanks for such consistent support!

    • I enjoyed this scene(s) which fill in some of the gaps in the story.
      Even out of order, it places a sort of order through the explanations and the emotions/feelings that Melanie is having.
      It made a lot of sense that even though the apartment sounded dreadful, it was her sanctuary.

      • Hi Marilyn
        Thanks for feeling that this makes sense! My Grand Plan unravelled some time ago but I’ll plug on to the end and stitch it up later.

  • CHAPTER 51Mike’s eyes narrowed. It was as if he had leashed his emotions so tightly the bonds were slicing his skin. His face had a stoic rigidity I’d only ever seen once before.One winter, still at uni […]

    • As always, beautiful prose — so exact and rich — yet doesn’t slow the plot down at all. Poor John! Frightening scene. Loved every word. Your descriptions are vivid, tactile, multi-dimensional. Well done!

  • 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.

  • “Okay guys, I called this meeting to order because—” Maisie began on Thursday evening, on the couch wedged between two sisters. She couldn’t imagine holding a family meeting over the phone, so here she was—abo […]

    • Hi Becky
      I’m a little confused by your story. I was looking forward to Maisie’s reveal. It’s definitely realistic that the conversation wanders and that the sisters interrupt. Also, Maisie is really excited to show them the journal that’s in the car outside. I don’t understand then, why we are reading so much about primary and secondary teeth including their embryonic development, and how that fits in with the mystery so far.
      Are you leading up to a clue that will be useful as the story goes on? If yes, perhaps we can get a little hint as to why this part of the conversation is something Maisie wants to pursue.
      I liked your characterizations of the sisters, the petty jealousies, and resentments. Very believable.

    • Hi Becky, I’m with Sudha on the long expostion of the teeth, it doesn’t really add anything that you havent already shown through the easy but sometimes pointed banter of the sisters and leaves this scene a little flat since the point is the reveal (or possibly the concealment) of facts by Maisie . I love the talking tscik by the way – me and my sisters had a pepper pot but we were all so keen to speak, it ended up a game of snatch and grab so didnt really work!!

    • Hi Becky, I enjoyed the reminiscing at the beginning about the talking stick and the Dad’s look – as always, the dynamics you show between the sisters are great. I have to agree with Sudha and Deryn about the teeth though. For me, it was the fact that we don’t know exactly how much Maisie revealed at this point so it felt a little frustrating that the attention was then somehow diverted away from the diary and what it revealed.
      Take it as a sign that you’ve set up the mystery in the right way – we want to know about the body! 🙂

  • Pierre turned on Dream Weaver’s floodlights and lowered the first cylindrical fenders to act as protective bumpers over the side of the aft deck. He turned around to face Kate.“Please, go upstairs with the gue […]

    • HI Ben, what an action-packed scene! I am glad that Saleem appears, I had been wondering if we’d get to see the archvillain behind it all. Seems like you are preparing for quite a finale! The end of this scene is quite a cliffhanger – I can’t wait till next week! I am amazed that Saleem obviously knew that Matt, Pierre and Kate were all aboard. But I guess that just goes to show what a drug lord he is if he has that kind of intel.
      One minor thing for a quick-fix. I think in this sentence “Kate knew that a hot drink was going to cut it this time, not unless she could throw it as Saleem” it should say”wasn’t going to cut it”. Great scene!

      • Hi Susanne, thank you for the early read and for the lovely feedback on the action! It’s new territory for me, so I appreciate it.
        Saleem did appear once before (scene 14 if my notes are correct) but that feels like a lifetime ago now 😉
        Your thought about how he knows all three of them are on board is very helpful. I thought I had revealed this but I might need to go back over the last few scenes and see how I can tweak things to make them clearer.
        Thank you so much for the typo too, I’ll fix that one right now! Six to go! 🙂

    • Oh my, poor Kate didn’t count on Colin’s eager curiosity, she obviously had no chance of keeping the guests upstairs and out of harms way. I loved the descriptions contrasting the Dream Weaver and the yacht, as well as the way you built the scene and mounted the tension, hearing Kate’s inner angst about Saleem, trying to keep the ‘guests’ corralled upstairs and the confrontation with Hector. The pace and dialogue are excellent, and the cliffhanger was perfect. Can’t wait for next week!!!

    • Yep, been a while since Saleem was on the scene so was wondering at his demand to have kate join them given she has been in no way part of the deal from what I can recall. Perhaps that slime bag on the other dive boat could be weaved in someway as that would explain it and provide a more recent bridge between Saleem and the make up of Pierre’s crew? Just a thought. That said, a flying scene that demands the next page. Bring it on.

      • Hi Adam, Saleem had given Kate an ultimatum – she had to come up with the money or she’ll have to work her debt off for him so whilst he’s here, he’s planning to collect his dues. This is why she’s so keen to avoid him. She’ll either be in Saleem or Matt’s debt depending on her choice. The scene where this happened was such a long time ago though, I’ll have to work out how to include reminders along the way or maybe rejig things…
        Same for the make-up of Pierre’s crew. Saleem knows that Pierre and Matt are here as he’d arranged for them to carry out the drug exchange on his behalf (their exact respective roles will hopefully become clear in the next scenes) but he’d also got JP to put Kate specifically onboard instead of the usual DM as he thought she was too naive to notice/ask questions (and also has her debt and passport as leverage in case she did).
        This is where everyone’s feedback is ever so invaluable in working out the elements that still need to be bridged, so thank you 🙂

        • Clearly I have a memory like a sieve – am sure in a standard reading all this would stay pretty top of mind but yes perhaps a few small indicators through the story, and Kate struggles with her plight (as that’s been all about romance and love rather than other shackles that bind her). Great stuff!

    • Hi Ben,
      Great action-packed scene. You really feel Kate’s anxiety and her desperation to hide it. Yes, I think it would be very helpful to find out how Saleem knew Kate was on the boat while she seems to think that he doesn’t. That would add conflict and urgency to an already very tense scene.
      You plotted this scene so well and the tension ramped up at a perfect pace.
      I would consider one more sentence or a bit of information in describing Kate’s reaction to the gun…that was a shock and I wanted to see a little more of Kate’s fear when it came out.
      Great scene and really looking forward to next week. What a cliffhanger!

      • Hi Sudha, thank you so much for this feedback. Yes, that’s really helpful. I do need to look at the whole situation there in the light of a continuous read. Saleem knows that Kate is on board because he engineered it through JP thinking her too naive to notice anything/ask questions about the tanks exchange (plus he has her passport and debt to use as leverage to keep her quiet) but of course Pierre messed that up on the very first night, mistakenly thinking she worked for Saleem and drawing her attention to the tanks. In my mind, Kate has worked out JP arranged to put her on board but she doesn’t realise yet Saleem was behind that decision and therefore thinks there’s no reason he should know she’s there. Anyway, that’s all very helpful and I’ll have to take a good look at this in the rewrite so thank you.
        Thank you also for the reaction to the gun, also noted for the rewrite. Thank you for all your help, I really appreciate it 🙂

    • Well done! Great move having Colin go off like that, right in character and perfect way to get Kate on scene. Lots of nice small touches building up to the dramatic finish. You aced it.

    • Finally! Saleem is in our midst. The big-bad antagonist will have his moment at last! I can’t wait to see what he wants with Kate and what will happen on the yacht with this cast of characters!
      I loved this line “Kate knew that a hot drink wasn’t going to cut it this time, not unless she could throw it as Saleem. ” and I loved how you had their heads tilt up to see the yacht, and the comparison to an iceberg and doomed boat. Well done!
      One thing to consider for the edit, I think Kate could do a better job of attempting to hold back the passengers. After the Captain told her “no matter what” she doesn’t seem to try to dispel their curiosity or distract them with something else, as I thought she might. Or maybe just show her flustered at her lack of time to come up with a distraction? Of course she’d be no match for Colin’s innocent curiosity and I agree that was a great way to get Kate onto the scene–chasing after Colin. Well done!

      • Hi Becky, thank you so so much for all the lovely comments. I’ll definitely take a better look as to how Colin slips past her, thank you 🙂

    • Hi Ben – excellent – craned necks trying to take in the enormity of Saleem’s boat, Kate trying to take in the enormity of the threat his being there represents, Colin like the proverbial bull in a china shop, Matt cool as a cucumber, Pierre trying to protect Kate – but where is Momo? Not looking for peace and quiet, that’s my bet. It’s all to play for. Such a great scene!

    • Tension filled scene, working up to a smashing finale!
      One thing just caught my eye and I didn’t understand…little thing, but here it is;
      “Do you think the owner will let us have a look around?” Willow asked, patting her joint hands in excitement.
      “Patting her joint hands?” Don’t know what that means?
      Scary how much Saaleem knows about the crew! But that’s why he’s the Drug Lord, I guess?
      Wish I could just keep reading!!!!!

      • Hi Marilyn, thank you so much for the lovely comments and for the pointer about the hand gesture. I find these tricky. I guess I meant she was clapping in excitement but I’ll give this some thought in the rewrite. Thank you for your help and for sticking with the story 🙂

  • Fran dozed on and off, rocked into bouts of deep sleep by the movement of the vehicle. Hugh’s driving was even and confident, she noted each time she surfaced from a series of vivid dreams that she rarely e […]

    • HI Deryn, this is a great scene. Especially the end! It has me wondering if Fran spills her stuff because of Duncan’s irresistible smile or because he said that she and Bernard were an “item”…great. That’ll keep me holding on till next week.
      Another thing which is really well done in this scene is the dream sequence. You’ve shown us here that Fran does know that she is dreaming and she does use the dream to explore an alternative reality. However, she is unable to take charge and actively steer the sequence of events. I find this an extremely good way of showing us how the subconcious works. It also shows us that Bernard is not completely out of the picture for Fran while Duncan seems to be. Well done!
      One minor thing: I wonder whether Duncan is really attentive enough to notice Fran’s perfume….still have to think about it 😉 But maybe you just wanted to make him a little more likable now that he’s been such a disappointment…on to the next scene, please!

      • Thank you, Susanne – our Duncan is a bit of a charmer and remembering a perfume is the kind of thing he would notice, I think!! Thanks so much for the positive comments!

    • Nice wafting in and out of her dream state. Great visuals as you tie those threads up. Of course Duncan would notice and remember her perfume. She might consider changing to a new scent? Nice touch his mentioning Brigitte’s catty comments. What a slick sob he is. Good for Bernard not showing up.

    • Hi Deryn,
      I loved the in and out of dream state–especially liked the line “Sludge of Sleep”—that was quite descriptive. I liked how she explored an alternative narrative and how she examined her feelings.
      The dialogue between Fran and Hugh was really well balanced in that it was so spare compared to the jumble that was going through her head.
      The dialogue at the end felt a little rushed and dense. Especially Duncan’s. I would intersperse his dialogue with either more body movement or Fran’s reactions to specific sentences.
      Also, we could see Duncan’s reactions to her words through her POV.
      I am happy to see Fran’s growth to not become a sucker to Duncan again. Also, the comment about Fran and Bernard being an item…looking forward to seeing Fran’s take on that.

      • Thanks, Sudha – the end was a little rushed so will work on that convo between Fran and Duncan.

    • Hi Deryn
      The dream sequence was brilliant, I love the reworking of her encounters with Duncan and Bernard (was Brendan on the short-list of possible names for him, can’t remember).
      I found Duncan to be a complete creep here and I’d have liked Fran to be terse and smoothly dismissive. Her fulsome approach betrays some lingering feelings, and I wished she hadn’t dropped her briefcase! Cool contempt could be good, perhaps a lifted eyebrow, or a show of amusement.
      Her working relationship with Hugh is shaping up nicely, that was neatly drawn, and I hope he’s a good substitute for Guy if that’s the way it goes.
      So looking forward to the re-appearnace of Bernard!

      • Hi Anne – Brendan could work… much better than Bernard… thanks for the suggestion… I need to re look at the exchange between Fran and Duncan – but she drops the briefcase purely bc of Duncan’s assumption (and voicing out loud) that she and Bernard are an item. She is still running that through her brain and weighing up how she feels about him. Hugh has made an unexpected appearance – I don’t know much about him, but Guy has to resurface at some point (as does Bernard, of course!)
        Have you decided on what you’re doing next year?

        • Yes, rewrite in six months (OMG did I say that!!!). Weirdly looking forward to it, have saved up all comments and suggestions and after a rest from it all in January, will be keen to get going again.
          How about you?

          • Also the 6 months…I’m looking forward to printing everything off, adding notes and knocking it into better shape but am more stressed about reading everyone else – I can’t choose only 2 so will need to give up my real life to accommodate the read AND write!

    • Hi, Deryn-
      I like the near-rhyme of the title. 🙂
      A small thing: “it was her that made the first move” might be better as “it was she who….” And I could see Fran doing that, definitely.
      I have to disagree–respectfully–with the others about “Through the sludge of sleep….” When I’m dreaming, sleep doesn’t seem like sludge. It seems freeing and I can do things like breathe underwater, fly, or remake history. 🙂 I like that she’s aware that she’s asleep & dreaming, & even that she tries to shape the dream, which has its own agenda. Freud said dreams are wish fulfillment. Seems like that works here, especially with Bernard telling Duncan what he (Fran?) thinks of him. Congrats to Ben for he idea, but congrats to you for making it work so well.
      I’m a little disappointed that Duncan, as dashing as he may be, has the power to cause her to spill her briefcase. Not saying it’s wrong or out of place, just disappointed that a slug light that has that sort of influence over people, even those who have already seen behind the curtain. Ah, well, she’s a big girl, and I’m sure it will work out fine. Too bad she didn’t drool a little while she was asleep. (Did I say that out loud? 🙂 )
      Good scene. Can’t wait for the last few.

      • Hi David – Hmmm re the sleep – I just know that heavy feeling of deep sleep and dragging yourself to its surface – but there are many stages of sleep so your expereince and the sludge could equally apply!
        As for Fran dropping the briefcase, I need to make it more clear that it is the shock of Duncan’s saying out loud that she is now in a relationship with Bernard, something she is only just getting to grips with, that there is something there.
        As for the drooling…thought about it and just went with the lolling head!!! Could have been worse, she could have woken up with her head in Hugh’s lap!!!!

    • You nailed that dream sequence so well I kind of half thought her meeting Duncan at the end was somehow part of it. Well handled car sequence – nice touch with the toll booth – that always wakes up sleeping people when I travel to KZN.
      Dropping her stuff. She needs to pull it together man. 😉
      This was a nice light scene, feels like something is changing.

      • Deryn replied 1 week ago

        Thanks, Michael – maybe I’ll take the spilt briefcase out and make her more bold and resolute. Sounds like it upset everyone!

    • Jan replied 6 days ago

      Hi Deryn,

      Bravo for the dream sequence, I know that’s never easy but you got it perfect! I felt a little bit like I was a passenger in the car, with Hugh driving, taking us to the lodge. We know all to well what those drives feel like after the night flight from Europe 😉
      Hugh is really a lovely guy. Seems things are changing inside Fran, she is looking at things differently. Duncan’s description was so beautifully done that I could see him sitting there, cool and composed. And I am glad she did not say anything untowards, but calmy defined the boundaries.
      I think this is about to get very interesting! Well done Deryn, look at you go!

      • Haha, thanks again Jan- Ben’s idea of a dream sequece to introduce a change of heart was inspirational!! Hugh is solid, won’t fan Fran’s flames but will keep all around him calm. He came from nowhere and now is a bit more than a walk on character! Funny how the story guides us! D

    • I can’t really add much to what’s been said except you really capture the essence of Duncan’s real arrogance so well in just a few lines. I understand what others are saying about the laptop case but I think it’s Fran. So cool on one hand but she has just had a wonderful dream revealing to herself what she really wants…And Duncan is an ass about it. But has he heard through the grapevine or did Bernard say something?

      • Hi Nonie – Duncan more likely knows from the horse’s mouth even though of course nothing has happened yet. All of a sudden, after plotting like mad in the first part of the book, I’m pantsing the last few scenes before the ending, which at least I have in my head already!!!

    • Hi Deryn,
      This is wonderful as always, great scene here. I’ll stick to a few constructive thoughts to add:t
      I think having Fran fumble at the end is fine. She’s holding a lot together and we have to be reminded how melting-irresistible Duncan is after all he’s pulled.
      The dream sequence is an amazing way to show us Fran’s change of heart, or at least confirm it. I’m not sure I’d call it a stream of consciousness. Skipping that explicit reference might make the dream sequence more natural. That might just be me, though.
      When he says TIA, maybe you could describe what we are seeing more. Add some more details I know you are good at in the rewrite to make us love it!
      Excited for next week. I wonder if Duncan will get put in his place in some way before this is all over?

      • Hi , Becky – all comments in the plotter for review, so thank you for your suggestions as always! Not sure how much come uppance Duncan should get but need to decide pretty soon!

    • Hi Deryn, loved, loved, loved the dream sequence! You completely nailed that, both in its content but also the coming in and out of it – all absolutely perfect! And Duncan’s arrogance, that was so well done, what a d*ck! Great scene 🙂

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