• SM and Profile picture of NinaNina are now friends 4 days, 10 hours ago

  • The Mather Blather by SM Prasad#Bernadine sat at her desk and rewrote her task list. There were so many phone calls and emails that her list was a joke. Every couple of hours she added to it, so by the end of the […]

    • I really enjoyed reading this, and last weeks with the clever cat! I don’t feel Bernadine can trust Mather, even though on the surface he seems a little scatter-brained. Did he really not know what cases she was working on? That’s not very encouraging for his position is it. And Tom, can he be trusted? I loved the way you described Mather lounging at Bernadine’s desk and the others laughing behind his back. Really liked the phone scam too. Your writing is smooth and flows very well through the scene and there’s lots to keep track of. 🙂

      • Hi Julie,
        Thanks for reading. I’m not sure yet whether Mather is harmless or not. There are certain people who get a free pass based on their innocent appearing mannerisms. And some people are more injurious to you because of their foibles rather than any malicious intent. As for not knowing who is assigned to which case, I don’t think the DA would know. District Attorney is an elected position, so he’s got a lot bigger fish to fry than knowing what the ADAs are working on. The phone scam is truly a fantasy of mine!! I’m glad you enjoyed the scene, I felt like I needed to lighten up a little. Thanks for your supportive comments!!

    • This scene was easy to pick up even though I haven’t read the previous scenes. Good writing! Loved this line: “This was hardly the experience she’d expected from the procedural legal TV shows that she’d gobbled up as a kid while she lay on her stomach and took notes. Her parents would giggle at her fascination, but she’d always been a serious kid with a mission.
      I suggest using commas or em-dashes in place of the parenthesis when the DA is talking–though maybe that’s just a personal preference.
      I was a bit confused about the “meeting” with the IT guy happening at that moment. Does this DA abandon him for that long (more than 7 minutes) and start reminiscing about multiple people (judge then prosecutor) when there seems to be a significant finding in the case? I understand Mathers drones on, just not sure if it was intentional (on his part or your part) to keep Tom waiting and prolong telling Bernadine the news.

      The detail about her using a timer on her phone was excellent! Good pacing within this scene.

      • Hi Becky!
        Thanks for venturing in. This character hasn’t got enough attention so I wanted to focus on her. She’s the bf of the main character. I went back and forth with the em dashes vs the parentheses–I decided that parentheses were a little more annoying and I wanted them to feel Bernadine’s pain a little bit. 🙂 I should have explained about Tom. He was walking away because he needed Tom, but Tom was also doing some research while he sat there and had told Mr. Mather to come back. And yes, this is a municipal bureacracy and from what little contact I’ve had, they’re never in a rush to go anywhere…

    • I could really feel Bernadine’s annoyance and impatience with Mather. I was rather annoyed myself! The timer idea was brilliant, since she knew Mather’s penchant for long winded chats. I wonder if she would rather have it set for 3 or 5 minutes, as seven can be excruciating in these situations.

      I didn’t understand why he was asking about her cases, it sounded as if he was suggesting they be reassigned “let others bathe in the lime light” as he says, but since he was asking about these particular cases, it makes him seem suspect. I suspect your intention, really, was simply to introduce the reader to Bernadine, in her POV, while showcasing her involvement in the story.

      Overall, I enjoyed the scene. Bernadine is a complex character and I’m happy to see things from her POV from time to time.

      • HI Peggy, 7 minutes is a long time, but she knew that he must have something to say to her and that she had to give some “intro”time before he started on the main topic. Can you tell that I currently work with someone like this?

        Mather was reassigning cases because it seemed that Bernadine had most of the cases that had political importance and he wanted to make sure that those got preference over the others. One person wouldn’t be able to give these special cases the attention they deserved. So his sliminess was based on his political interests. I will have to add in those facts in the next draft, so thanks for asking those questions.

    • Hi Sudha,

      Well done on another exciting,compelling and funny scene. You paint Mather as quite the character – seven minute alarm and earphones to dodge him. How did he ever get to be DA? How can one ever take someone like that seriously? And why is he pushing her towards Tom?

      Overall, he comes across as a slimy guy – and I wondered if the Y boys don’t have him in their pocket. I thought this because it was weird how he asked her to hand over her cases to the others, and share some of her “limelight” Also how he dismisses the bug information at the end.. mmm something is definitely coming.

      I liked in this scene that we got to spend some time with Bernadine and get to know her better and I loved how you layered her fears of a monotonous job into her management of her boss during a usual day at the office, working, having bergamot tea.

      Well done on a great nr 14!

      P.S love the part out the P(case ruling = favourable | number of refills asked)

      • Hi Jan,
        Loved the math equation. I knew you’d be able to supply it!! Thanks for spelling it out for me. Yes, Mather is annoying, but he’s an elected official so he’s got the schmooze factor down really well. I think he asked Bernadine to share the cases because some of the other ADAs were getting jealous. Boss management is key in a succesful career.
        Thanks so much for reading and commenting!!

    • H Sudha I join everyone else in congratulating you on a great scene (another great scene) I loved the description of the reality of the work of the DA’s office vs the fictionalised tv version, (would her parents have ‘ giggled’ at her childhood fascination, tho? Maybe ‘ marvelled’/ ‘ admired’ ?) You have so many threads to work with – this story has lots of legs!!

      • Hi Deryn,
        Thanks for the comments. I take your point about parents giggling, I guess I thought the parents found it funny watching her take notes on a tv drama-but yes, there was probably some admiration as well–so that’s a great point. Yes, there are a lot of threads and it’s getting overwhelming. Something to think about in the next draft!

        • I have to confess that I have a personal antipathy to the word ‘Giggled’ – it is so girly and specific, like ‘tittering’. The parents could however, have ‘laughed’ which shows they didn’t entirely believe she would ever act on her childhood fascination but which isn’t juvenile which for me ‘ giggle’ is. A man should NEVER giggle, for example!!! Funny how we all have our trigger words!!

    • It was nice to see Bernadette at work. Like Deryn, I was stopped by the giggling parents. And, like Becky, confused about Tom being in the boss’s office waiting. And I wasn’t totally sure who was talking at the end. Nice job moving the Vargas thread along, while creating more stumbling blocks for Bernadette. And the boss…good portrait of a bumbling bureaucrat.

      • SM replied 2 days ago

        Hi Nina,
        Thanks for the insight into the giggling. As for Tom waiting,he’s doing work in the DA’s office until the DA gets there. I will look to clarify further on the next draft. At the end, Bernadine is thinking to herself. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Hi Sudha, gosh, I absolutely loved the paragraph where you described the reality of being an assistant DA, that was so good, especially how you compared it to the romancitised tv version of the job – great writing there and very astute!
      I got a bit confused at the Tom from IT part. Bernardine asks Mather “What’s the meeting about?” but he doesn’t answer her question and instead she then asks ‘Do you mean Tom from IT security?”. The lack of answer to the first question and the fact that she asks if it’s Tom when Mather already told her it was threw me a bit.
      It’s a great scene though and I absolutely loved the cat picture, what a face! 🙂

      • Hi Ben,
        I didn’t realize that happened with Bernadine asking two questions in a row. it’s likely that I deleted something and then didn’t go back to fix that. Thanks for noticing. I will take care of it in the next draft.
        Thanks for reading and commenting!!

    • Hi Sudha! That first paragraph – man! That’s me. That’s my list! So relatable.
      This is the first time (I think) we’re into Bernadine’s head, and I’m glad you’re giving her POV scenes. I think she deserves them. Interesting also that Jen is 1st person, and Bernadine gets 3rd person POV. It might be hard to pull that off in one book, but it has been done (I’m just reading Marian Keyes’ That Charming Man, where she’s got three narrators, each with their own very distinctive voices, and each written from a different POV and perspective – it might be a suitable model for how you want to structure your story too.)
      Some real gems in here. Apart form the great observations in first para, e.g. the thoughts around being an ADA with unfulfilled dreams, and the whole parent dynamic.
      Well done! Keep writing!

  • Kehdira by Kali Goodenough


    I awake to sunlight streaming through the windows, despite the grim coating the glass. The ceiling above me is steeply sloped, and the attic room jumbled with forgotten mementos of […]

    • Wow, I like it. This is the first of reading your work and I don’t know the genre. I noticed the slight variations of the names and that was crafty relating it to obviously a bad person. Your scene has accomplished its goal to move the story along, leave us something to think about. I used to write in first person present tense, I find it invigorating – as if it is happening now. Thank you Kali.

    • I need to catch up to get back on track with the plot, but I do like this scene. I always love that scene in a fantasy novel when the tired and bedraggled heroes get to enjoy a good night’s rest in a safe place. It feels like we get to enjoy it too. As always, your names really establish the setting and make this world feel very real.

  • The Light is Low by Peggy Rockey – Scene 14 – Minsang


    Minsang stares at the old woman, finding courage in defiance. They are alone in the dressing room, with the familiar rack of formal dressing gowns before […]

    • What a cliff-hanger you’ve given us, led-up-to by the most sumptuous and menacing description of the very scary function room. This is a beautifully controlled piece of writing and I can’t offer any comments other than I loved reading it.

    • Wow, this scene is so evocative I felt like I was watching this on a screen. I would have expected Minsang to think she could never think of the old woman as Mother (instead of no longer, which implies she once did). I’m anxious to find out what’s going on here!

    • Hi Peggy,
      You’ve got a creepy, menacing scene here. I’m really afraid for Minsang. The old lady, “MOTHER” is a horrible woman and she knows how to push around Minsang. The interaction with Cho is puzzling, why did his cheeks redden? I am very curious about what is supposed to happen in this room of the New Moon Restaurant.

      This line seems to break the tense mood, “Minsang favors the turquoise, but after holding both dresses against her skin, the old woman selects the dark blue.”
      She is shackled to a wall as a prisoner and its hard to think that she would have a preference for the dress that she will be forced to wear. And also here, “The dress fits like a dream,” it seems weird that she would think about how nice the dress is after she has been slapped and threatened and has tears in her eyes.
      I would suggest, The dress fits her body and Minsang is relieved that the Old lady doesn’t seem to have a reason to yell at her at the moment…(or something better than that. That way, we get the idea, but you maintain the mood–it’s such an awful one and I have dread in the pit of my stomach and then the merits of a dress are being discussed.
      Unless, you want to go in that direction to show that Minsang is detaching from the horrifying situation around her and is focusing on the dress as an escape. That’s another option.
      Perhaps, once she has her blue slippers on, MInsang thinks about how such a beautiful reflection has taken a grisly turn.
      The details of her reactions to the lights are great and go a long way toward building up anticipation about what is going to happen.
      Getting chills…

      • Thanks for the great feedback, Sudha. Minsang’s personality is a bit off. On one hand, she knows that she’s being held against her will and she knows that at some point something bad will likely happen to her, but on the other hand she hasn’t been hurt, yet, and she rather enjoys playing dress up. It’s a contradiction, or perhaps a lie she tells herself to keep her insulated and detached.

    • Oh Minsang…. that’s not a throne, its a bidding floor! I’m so scared for her and so mad at Cho.Your setting is very well done, and I like remembering that it was only last night Min was free, and that she has the red dress and jewelry hidden away.

      Looking forward to Min’s ad lib when the time comes! I hope she gets away with it!


    • Hi Peggy,

      I like her spirit! I didn’t feel her being that scared in this scene – it’s almost like she decided that fear won’t serve her and she is going to fight, defiant as you say (is that deliberate?)
      What performance is she excepted to give? Are they going to workship her or sacrifice her to some thirsty bloodgod who lives on the dark side of the new moon? Or harvest her organs and sell them to sick, wealthy individuals on the black market – only the freshest will do so we certify all goods with the “new moon” stamp of approval?

      Loved your mention here of the title of your novel!

      Lots of tension here and your use of the present tense accentuates that beautifully (I remember you mentioned always using present tense for Minsang)

      Where she is presented with dresses was slightly confusing – I don’t think “dream” is the right word unless it’s a nightmare, it somehow feels out of place. But I see Sudha also mentions this and suggested an another approach.

      Loving this story and looking forward to seeing where you take us every week Peggy! Well done on Nr 14 🙂

      • Minsang definitely has spirit! And yes, she was deliberately being defiant, looking to see how far she could push the old woman. Glad I’ve got your interest piqued in the New Moon Ceremonies, I hope it lives up to the mystery and mystique that I seem to be building up to. The mention to the title was not intentional, but it seemed fitting, and will be used in a few places throughout. I hope to find a more significant place for it, but this felt like a good place to add it. I still have a bit of work to do for my next scene (and I have a SS coming due soon – yikes), so I’d better get to writing! “See you” next week!

    • Great scene, I think you’re going to have to state her mindset. You do after a while but in the beginning, she is choosing colours and reflecting on the fit. Unless the whole point here is to paint it so that she seems detached from reality. It’s not a serious issue, just a small thing.
      I like the name Mother. Rather good choice, it makes her seem less intimidating, and more (LOL) motherly.
      The light is low – was this intended, it feels significant, but I don’t know why.
      So, a bidding floor perhaps, then why is Cho dressed up for something like that or is this more sinister.
      You’re doing a great job drip feeding this part of the book, I think the balance is great, it’ll have people flipping through the other character’s chapters/scenes just to get back to this.

      • You pick up on a few really good points, Michael. Minsang doesn’t seem to realize the danger she’s in, she enjoys playing dress up even though she’s being held captive. I think she does it to insulate herself from her situation, and I definitely need to make her motivations for her actions more clear to the reader.

        We’ll learn more about Mother in future scenes, as well as Cho.

        As for the having the title in the scene, it was really just a coincidental addition. I do plan to reference it in various scenes, but I will definitely want a more significant use at some point.

    • Hi Peggy, what a great scene!
      The mix of tension and dread is just perfect. I think the fact that Min is quite naive about what’s about to happen and how much danger she’s in makes the reader all the more anxious for her, really well done. The mother character is also fascinating and I really enjoyed the dialogue between her and Min. One minute I thought she was going to soften when she started giving Min a little info, but then she hardened again and slapped her – that was such an effective way of keeping the reader on their toes. Loved it! 🙂

  • La Rage – Scene 14 Bessie Dwaba by Jan


    Lieutenant Bessie Dwaba shifted gears and pushed her foot down on the gas pedal of her new silver Volkswagen Polo. As car accelerated and she took in the views of the t […]

    • Hi Jan – a bit of a mixed bag this week, some lovely sections and others I found a bit clunky. The opening para commenting on the racial mix of the suburb, I would just leave that alone and have her merely aspire to a grand house in a fancy suburb. The gear changes after the first one, the direction of the steering wheel and engaging the clutch and brake were a bit showy – you can just make her as confident/competent a driver as she is at everything else – she is self assured in everything she does – (I like that her colleague underestimated her and she gave him a black eye!!) I just hope Grizelda lives long enough to unravel the mysteries you have given us… I like the tenderness of the friendship between these 2 women. Well done on no. 14!

      • Hi Deryn,

        Thank you for the read and for the feedback. I rushed this one (not that it’s an excuse – read: I left it till the last minute) and with the haste shoved it into the oven, only to realise that I didn’t mix my batter well – so now there’s some clumps in there and my little loaf may have to go to the birds! Fortunately I’ve got enough ingredients to start this one again 😉

        Thank you for the points you highlighted – I completely agree and will fix those. Also I can reassure you that Grizelda will solve all the mysteries before we say goodbye to her.
        Thank you for following me and for coming back every week!

        • Haha love that analogy with a lumpy dough mixture!! And…EVERYTHING is fixable!

          • Thank you Deryn, yes it is! And there’s the beauty and value of the weekly feedback and support from this group.
            I’ve no confidence in the kitchen, but I’ll fake it until I can make it! 🙂

    • Hi Jan! So Bessie Dwaba – she’s set up to become a kick-ass character. I liked that you steered clear of any of the obvious physical stereotypes with her. But you’ve sketched an upwardly mobile born-free / millennial South African, and I wouldn’t be able to deduct that if it wasn’t for some subtle stereotyping. Here’s what made it work: the teeth that had dental work done. That’s a big deal. Along with the VW Polo – the wheels of the young, up and coming. And of course, it’s got to be silver. Like everyone else, but not just a bland white car.
      I’m with Deryn on the para about the suburb. It feels as if that needs to come from Bessie herself, not from the narrator. And just getting her to think that directly would put us readers closer to her.
      Jan, very important : You’ve described Bessie to the T, but you’ve left out any reference to her hair. A woman is nothing without her hair! Based on the rest of what you describe, I picture Bessie with very, very short, very natural African hair, and a long elegant neck.
      The detailed description of Bessie that leads this section (also named after her) dominates, and the dialogue with Zelda seems like a little add-on at the end – an important add-on, because here is where you tie this line of the story back to the other storylines. Something we know by now you are a master at. Perhaps that dialogue part could be more subtly used for some of Bessie’s character description as well? It’d be great for getting some of the “tell-y” parts converted into “show-y” parts (like the aspirations of a house in the suburb). Of course, Zelda is not someone that would notice any of the material-girl paraphernalia and that might at once intrigue and exasperate Bessie, wouldn’t you say? Bessie seems to have unexplored attraction towards Zelda, and there’s a lot one can do with that and the cross of cultures to create a crackling of tension also in this scene. Although you’re already doing that with Vihaan and the evasive doctor, so maybe this here between Bessie and Zelda shouldn’t also be sexual attraction. I don’t know though – just thinking with my fingers here…

      • Hi Hanri!

        OMG THE HAIR!!!! You’re so right, how could I miss that #theshame #lahonte!!!!

        Thank you for the detailed analysis, this is very helpful. As I mentioned to Deryn, I left this one a bit late and so the deadline got me bad this week.

        I am stoked about the details you spotted and then correlated back to her generation, this is very reassuring. And I agree also that the first and second part are not well balanced – the second part needs to be developed more ( having Bessie exasperated at Grizelda’s indifference to material and telling more about the nice houses etc will do the trick) Thank you for these ideas!

        Another point which I will need to fix – the relationship between these girls is strickly friendly (like sisters almost), so if it comes across as there being a sexual undercurrent I’ll move a few things so that it’s presented as such – Bessie plays in part the “friend” role. I love that you say ‘kickass” character for Bessie, when I love her and just want her to go out kicking bad-guy ass, but in time.

        Thank you for the constant support Hanri, it is much appreciated!

    • Hi Jan
      I totally synpathise with the written-i-in-a-hurry scenario, and I hope you’ll tidy up the “clumps” as you describe them rather than ditch because this scene has loads going on. I’ve learnt that Zelda’s gifts are noticed and appreciated by professionals who might otherwise be dismissive, and we have a new character who could knock spots off some of your other stars. She’s energetci, ambitious and is clearly going to sort the McCrae stuff out.
      I think this sentence may be a bit long and could do with being chopped in two “As car accelerated and she took in the views of the tall trees that flanked the roadside and the massive walls that hid their equally massive houses and gardens that whirred by”. Also it doesn’t read right, I think the “and” leads to an expectation of something that doesn’t happen.
      I’m not going to comment in much detail as it’s clear you’re not entirely happy with the scene, but I look forward to seeing it again in second draft next year! Or sooner – is there a problem with rewriting a first draft if it moves things along?

      • Hi Anne,

        Thank you for the sympathy 🙂 I took last week off and went off exploring le Finistère and came back home on sunday in time for another lockdown (Nr 3 in France – le confinement as they say this side..) and that took the wind out of my sails somewhat. The days of working from home and then curfews are getting long…On Tuesday I realised I didn’t have anything and quickly threw this together. The priority is to keep writing and as Deryn says, we can fix anything later on.

        Thank you for reading me and for coming back every week – I really appreciate it and take all you say on board. In particular the sentences that are clunky and too long, please don’t hold back and always nitpick. When I’ve cleaned this one up I’ll check in with you and email you a “no clumps” and freshly baked (fully cooked also) scene?

        • Now that’s what I call a positive note, great! Would love to see the rewrite, as I said, there’s a ton of stuff in there to be mined. Oh, and by the way, you’re allowed time off!

    • Hi Jan,
      I like how strong and powerful Bessie is. And yes, the narrator’s commentary about the racial divide in the neighborhoods sticks out and takes away from the introducton of Bessie. . She and Grizelda make an interesting team with complementary skills. I too thought you were hinting at the beginning of a romantic relationship between Zelda and Bessie, especially when Grizelda kisses her on the cheek.
      Also, I found that there was a bit too much detail about the car–I tried to figure out what you meant as metaphors from the driving, but I couldn’t get it. And yes Bessie’s hair is important. You described Grizelda as blonde and Bessie is black. So it would be weird for Bessie to offer makeup to Grizelda, it seems that there woudl be very little overlap in the color range of the makeup that both of them needs.
      I particularly liked this description of Grizelda, “Grizelda saw ‘things’ in the details and drew links between different elements in a case – unlikely elements and so often presented new avenues where most investigators firmly believed that all avenues had been thoroughly explored, and abandoned.   “
      This is the kind of investigator everyone wished they had.
      Great scene and compelling characters.

      • Hi Sudha,

        Thank you for reading and commenting, despite all the wholes in this scene – it is much appreciated 🙂 I’m glad you like Bessie and team Bessie-Grizelda will work on solving the McCrae family mess.

        Thank you for the details you point out – I am taking all of this on board. Apart from the hair, I can’t believe I missed that about the makeup too… o well! The car métaphore is meant to show her in control, but it’s completely overdone so I’ll think of other ways to make that point, or just tone it done – as it stands she does come across as a tough cookie who won’t be pushed into a corner, so it’s probably not necessary to give to many details.

        Thank you for reading me and for your constant support, I really value that!

    • I’m so far behind on my reading this week, sorry for the late response, Jan.

      I see you’ve gotten a lot of good comments, so I won’t repeat what others have already pointed out, except to say that I really like the way you’ve portrayed Bessie. Add in the description from Hanri and I can clearly picture her in my mind. She’s badass and likely doesn’t put up with sh*t from others, as the constable learned to his dismay! I like the friendship between Bessie and Zelda, I didn’t pick up on sexual attraction, just the closeness of two women who respect and admire each other.
      The ominous ending you left this scene has just the right amount of tension to leave the reader wanting more! Come on Wednesday!!!

  • Kali and Profile picture of Sean JohnsonSean Johnson are now friends 6 days, 12 hours ago

  • Mr. Tipps and his subjects by SM Prasad#I rushed into my car and threw the groceries into the back without taking time to sort the fragile from the heavy like I usually did. I slammed the car door, backed out of […]

    • Ok, so it seems suspicious that Al would call just as the bug was found (and destroyed), but maybe that’s just me reading more into the story. I hope that’s the case, because I want to like Al and I want Jen to be happy again. But I still have my suspicions about him, so I’m reserving judgement. I enjoyed the interaction with Mr. Tibbs, anyone with a cat knows that they do indeed rule the house, and I’m rather envious of Jen and Bernadine’s friendship, having never really had a close friend that I could just call whenever, who would bring hot chocolate and bagels, or offer to install cameras and do a new bug sweep. I say this by way of telling you that you’ve created two endearing characters whom I have come to care for and now am completely invested in the outcome of this story!
      Normally, I don’t point out nitpicky errors, but there were two that bugged me, so here goes:
      – “There was a hole in my consciousness, and I couldn’t shake the feeling of feeling incomplete.” the repetition of feeling throws off the rhythm of the sentence. Maybe you could just say “I couldn’t shake the incomplete feeling” or the “feeling of being incomplete.”
      – “…imagine that Al was in the bathroom brushing his teeth and that he would emerge back to bed any minute” – I get that he would emerge from the bathroom, but he wouldn’t emerge back to bed – he’d return to the bed.
      As I said, nit picky things that didn’t detract from the story, which overall is developing very nicely, I can’t wait to see what happens next!

    • Hi Sudha,
      I’d never have guessed that you were writing this in the last hours, and that on top of a hectic week! Well done on getting in Nr 13 and on moving this story on nicely.

      I felt that there was an important point in your story that you touched on in this scene – where the character asks herself “why me? why am I special?” etc and so I found this scene had a nice balance between her feelings and what is happening around her. Also liked the cognitive association at the start – she is seeing Yonder boys and their work all around her.

      So their “salad” is hot chocolate and bagels? LOL – the girls are always drinking hot chocolate, I find that so funny 🙂

      The conversation between the girls while they were having and their drinks with the cat playing at their feet was very nicely done. And a nice escalation of her feelings of helplessness when she discovers that her privacy has been violated yet again. Like Peggy mentions – I though it funny that Al would call right after the bug was disabled. I also really liked the code word with Al at the end – My dad told me to do something similar when I was little and I find it so simple and at the same time brilliant!

      One thing – you mentioned that it has been a month since Al’s and her “breakup” which confused me – I had felt that the story was moving very fast and we were in the same week after this, but I may have missed something somewhere.

      I am enjoying this very much – Well done!

      • Hi Jan,
        Thanks so much. Yes, I still don’t have a picture up and I just edited some errors out. Even the title was hastily done because I was falling asleep. I don’t want to do that again. Thanks so much for your comments and reactions. They really help me understand how to proceed. I had thought it felt like a month had passed by the stuff that they are doing, but I’ll have to go back and see if i’ve given more clues. We know at least a weekend has passed because she visited her mother over the weekend.
        Thanks for prompting me to look.

    • I just can’t make up my mind about Al! Odd that he would call as soon as they destroyed the bug. I liked being back in Jen’s apartment where it all started. So much has happened, yet the original mystery is still a mystery. Thank you for writing this story.

      • Hi Kathy,
        Yes, it’s really hard to make sure that you don’t finish the mystery too soon. That’s why I’m really looking forward to Mia’s next class. I think its going to be really useful!!
        Thanks so much!

    • Hi Sudha, I’m sorry that your week has been awful. I hope it’s looking up now. I know one comes to the end of submission day always with some measure of surprise that one has yet again managed to make it. Don’t you also find yourself wondering “now where did that come from?” when you see your post up on the site?
      So yes, this is an important scene for pushing forward the plot, like the others say – but there is also another relevance to it: here one sees for the first time how strong the connection between Al and Jen really is – that they can communicate non-verbally over the phone is a big deal. I didn’t get this kind of “soul mate” vibe earlier – Al was just the boyfriend who went from being a jerk by leaving Jen hanging, to a riddle who couldn’t speak about his work. But here there is another dimension coming out – we’re getting to know your characters better.

      • Hi Hanri,
        I can totally relate to the idea of looking at the story on deadline day and saying, how did that happen? I’m glad that you appreciated the connection with Al a bit better and that he is really such a good guy for Jen. Thanks so much for following along!

    • Hi Sudha, I’m so sorry to hear you’ve had an awful week so massive congratulations on still posting a great scene. Gosh, I’m so intrigued by the bug – can’t wait to find out if it’s a new one or one that was overlooked.
      I just have a couple of tiny suggestions for the editing stage. I think the ‘loose wire’ under the cupboard gives the game away too soon and I was wondering whether you should mislead the reader more at that point by maybe having Jen describing it as the tail of one Mr Tipps toy mice instead of actually using the word wire – what do you think?
      The second thing is at the end, where she throws herself in bed to cry herself to sleep, isn’t Bernardine still there with her?
      Those are minor editing issues though – I really enjoyed the scene and Mr Tipps’s appearance 🙂

      • Hi Ben,
        Thanks for your editing suggestions. It was developing as I wrote it and the edit was quite minimal. You’re right that the wire is a little obvious. I like your suggestion to make it a little harder for her to discover. As for the end, I had her crying but not sleeping–she is getting ready to go to Bernadine’s house so that another sweep can be done on her place.
        I don’t have a cat because I’m terribly allergic, but I am fascinated by them.
        Thanks so much for the comments!!

    • Hi Sudha – I hope you have had a better week and perhaps time to relax over this long weekend…I can’t add much to the comments already made, just to check in and say I’m here and reading with increased interest!

      • Hi Deryn,
        Thanks for the well wishes for the week, which has unfortunately gotten worse, but I can see my way out. thanks so much for following along with the reading.

  • The Light is Low by Peggy Rockey – Scene 13 – Magera
    Scene 13.1 – Wen Tong
    Just before his shift ended and the night guard was due to arrive, Wen Tong left his station at the front desk. He took a quick look a […]

    • Hi Peggy, sorry I’ve missed the last couple of weeks so I’ll have to go and find 11 and 12 when I can but this is such an excellent scene on its own. I loved how the pace increased, along with the tension, as they started watching the video footage. When I got to the end, I realised I’d been holding my breath since the guy outside the bathroom! The description of the view from the apartment at the beginning was also really well done – I could picture it so well. Loved it all 🙂

    • Peggy!
      This was all information we, as readers knew, but it was still surprising as Magera watched. Benji was so excited…you did a great job of portraying his anxiety…but even I was surprised when he spit his beer out. How does he know Minsang??

      I hope we can get Roy in the act so we can find those poor girls!!

      wonderful scene… your pacing and dialogue are excellent and could we sent something to Magera to eat??

      • In the last scene when Roy met with Mr. Chang, he found Minsang’s yearbook that had been signed by Benji and SuSu. In the scene where Benji was out looking for SuSu, he was reminiscing about his friend Mike who is Benji’s best friend, and Mike’s sister, Min who is SuSu’s best friend, and how they always formed a foursome. I’ve tried to work clues in here and there so when we learn that Benji also knows Minsang it wouldn’t come as a complete surprise. I suppose, since we’re reading each scene weeks apart that these little facts don’t carry through.
        And poor Magera, she must be starving by now 🙂

    • Hi Peggy,
      This was great! I admit, for a minute I had to try to remember who Benji was, but as I read on there were enough clues. Also, the book is meant to be read all chapters in a row, so that might not be an issue at that point. I liked the touches of the little brother vibe, the fact that he probably didn’t have a taste for beer, and his excitement at finding a key piece of information. You dropped some great hints like the bug in Roy’s office…I’m now really worried about where she will meet Roy with this information and the fact that Benji knows who Minsang is…also quite interesting.
      I liked the fact that she was just trying to relax and then life crept up on her. That was a very relatable moment.
      Great scene!

      • Thanks so much Sudha! I worried in the beginning that there were too many characters doing their own thing, and that the reader would get confused by who was who, but I’m pretty much at the point where they’re starting to connect and hopefully they’ll become more memorable as the weeks pass.

    • I love all the small details in this, the smells from the window, her trying to just sit down and have a sip of wine and the warm thumb drive. They all make the scene so much larger and complete.
      I’m a little lost on this character, I know the name – but I can’t place her. It doesn’t matter because I’m not reading this of the course of a week or however long it would take. You are right there are a lot of character coming and going and keeping track is tricky.
      You know what an idea for this group might be, is to have a cheat sheet somewhere on the site with a short list of characters and where they fit in for each story. I’m following I’d say 80% of your character with ease. Magera is in the other 20%. 😉
      But this is not a negative – the scene itself is solid (high quality as usual).

      • I like your suggestion, Michael, about that cheat sheet of characters, but not sure how practical or how often it would be used. I did worry about whether there were too many characters and if I should cut one or two out, but they each have a part to play in the overall story, and hopefully if you were to read it start to finish it won’t be so confusing. Thanks for reading, I appreciate your feedback.

        • It’s definitely due to the staggered way we’re doing this. I had no trouble with the Game of Thrones books. So don’t take this as any kind of negative.

    • Whew! Just caught up with the last three scenes and I want to read more right now! The connections forming are very interesting, as is the discovery of Minsang’s real father. I sense there is a lot more going on than you’ve allowed us to guess. Great job!

    • Hi Peggy,

      Poor girl just wants to sit down and have a sip of wine and enjoy a quiet moment by herself! Instead she gets more work (will this new club be somehow linked to what’s going on – I put my money on yes ;-)) and gets tummy-growls from the neighbours’ cooking and get to be the pillar for Benji again.

      Well done on how you’ve linked the other scenes to this one and how you’ve deepened the mystery yet again!

      I had my reservations about the security guard, and now wondering who boss man might be, although I have a good idea 🙂

      Beautiful descriptions of her apartment and the breathtaking views! Also Benji’s excitement and energy make the words want to jump of the page (screen) – masterfully captured. Her reactions also paint a rich picture of her fatigue and desire to rest – groaning at her boss’ message, not reacting immediately to Benji’s visit, then warming up etc.

      One observation on a minor detail – if she is an only child, how can she know what it’s like to have a younger brother?

      I don’t know if I’ve told you Peggy, of all your cast my favourite is Magera, so I knew I was in for a treat this week when I saw her name in the title.

      Well done on Nr13!

      • Magera is my favorite also, although she really does just have a minor role in the story, I relate to her the most and see alot of myself in this character. The apartment loosely resembles the one my Dad & Stepmom lived in for a few years in San Francisco, with that spectacular view and the redwood bar (which I inherited and is now a treasured feature in my basement). Thanks for reading and sticking with me through the weeks. This is such a great challenge!

    • Hello Peggy, this is a nice scene, Well done on the details in between. The body lang etc. I like it well done. The good food smells made my tummy rumble. This is a huge piece of evidence. What happens next?

  • Arrival by Chantelle Turner


    Thinking of the moment of arrival
    I watch the flashing landscape from the car window.
    Purple, grey, in twilight
    the smudged country stretches away from me
    until it collides with […]

    • Hi Chantelle, you really took me on a ride with this poem, pun intended. I was left thinking of whether it was someone returning home from a trip, from work, or is it someone returning home – as in heaven…..
      So many things to ponder.
      There was some great descriptive lines, here are a few of my favourites:
      the smudged country stretches away from me
      until it collides with pop-up mountains.
      and the yawning land, and the mountains.
      mingled with the disappointment
      of the sameness. The realness.
      The homeness. The end.
      Well done and thanks for sharing:)

    • Hi Chantelle,

      You made good use of the prompt. The title “Arrival” is enigmatic in the sense that the poem is about the journey. But it is also about imagining the arrival back to “homeness” (love that) with all that waits for the traveller. Wanting to be home but not wanting the drive to end. Some lovely imagery. I was imagining this poem set to music, like Joni Mitchell’s songs.

    • Hi Chantelle. It’s great to see you back here again. What a great poem! You have some excellent images here – the ‘pop up mountains’ and the image of ‘too white’ hands in the darkness. I’m wondering if the ‘loss of the journey’ refers to a journey you long to take, but can’t at the moment? Well done and thanks for sharing.

    • Hello Chantelle,
      I like the way the poem varies in pace, matching the variation in speed on the journey. It’s that age-old problem (Buddha’s) of whether it is better to travel well than to arrive. Well done for encapsulating it in the poem. Have you used a particular poetic form here with the several repetitions of words?

    • I really like the idea that there is so much possibility in the journey that evaporates with “the Sameness” of home, and yet that in itself is the enigma. Wow!

  • The elevator stopped ascending. A soft chime preceded the mechanical announcement – second floor – before the doors opened with a delicate swoosh.Vihaan walked into the patient’s ward, leaving the elevator doors […]

    • Hi Jan – I loved the dialogue in this – excellently done. But if it’s not rabies, then what is it…?? I am enjoying the swings between plots and subplots…Keeping us all on our toes!

      • Thank you Deryn! I was very worried about the dialogue here, that it wouldn’t come across right. Regarding the disease – it’s coming 🙂
        Thank you for coming back to my story every week – it means a lot.

    • Hi Jan
      Creepy creepy, brilliant stuff. Is this a local disaster in the making or a global pandemic?
      I’m a bit concerned about the security guard not asking for ID, not asking Vihaan to remove his visor goggles so he can get a good look at him and believing he’s a doctor because he’s wearing a lab coat. Did the guard know him?
      A couple of things:
      Near the beginning I think there’s a word missing , ‘leaving the elevator doors to enclose the behind him’.? Or maybe it’s just ‘close behind him’?
      “slapping his feet together in attention,” There’s something about the verb. Is he snapping his heels together, stamping his feet down? Slapping sounds a bit amusing rather than authoritative. Please feel free to ignore!
      I love the way Vihaan turns aside questions with a light touch and so much humour – it reassures Dan and helps build rapport between them but it really ramped up the tension for me. What’s he hiding?
      Picky – if Dan’s lying down, how did he drink the water?
      So, as Deryn asks, if not rabies, what is it? A great demonstration in how to get people returning to the story, well done (again).

      • Hi Anne,

        Big Thank You 🙂 no, not global pandemic – someone already went with that one last year…

        I botched my edits (like I do every week) in my haste to finish. With the elevator – the image that he was the only person in the elevator, he gets out – so it should just be “close behind him” but I want something more and I don’t know how to get it yet..

        I like what you point out about the security guard – I could develop this to show a greater familiarity and that the guard does recognise the staff, which is why Vihaan is acting like a clown in front of him. (snapping – indeed- his heels together in attention)
        Also I imagined Dan’s bed being inclined somewhat so he can sit up – that is how he drank the water – or I should have Vihaan put a straw in it. I’ll fix this, thank you for getting this detail also.

        Big thank you for staying with me Anne, you’re helping me a great deal and giving me lots to work with!

    • Oh my, Jan! I know we’ve only met Vihaan once before, but I don’t think that encounter was enough to really get to know him, because this Vihaan was quite different from the one we met before. I like the rapport he is able to establish with Dan, er Danny, the ease in which he communicates and get’s Danny to respond. His humor is quite apparent, but perhaps also his resentment of (and attraction to) rich white boys shines through as well, which does carry over from our first meeting of this character.
      When you first mentioned the envelop, I was afraid it would be a threatening letter, and was glad that it was not (too soon for that kind of thing, and anyway, I rather think the letters would still be directed to his parents).
      I’m not ruling out rabies yet… I think there’s a lot more to this plot, that just keeps thickening with each installment.
      So, Anne pointed out a few typos, and you’ll find a few more when you edit, but knowing that this is not meant to be a final draft, they’re easily overlooked and do not detract from your wonderful storytelling. Well done on #13 – can’t wait for more.

      • Hi Peggy,

        Not wanting to give anything away, I’d say again – your intuition is spot on!
        This is the first scene where we are with Vihaan from his POV, so it’s important that it ties up with what we saw before and there may be some inconsistencies – thank you for bringing my attention to it.
        We will be spending a lot of time with him and we will also get to know him really well – on the surface he’s really a nice guy 😉

        Thank you so much for the read and the kind words, and for coming back to my story every week.

    • Hi Jan,
      I liked this scene with a very close eye on this clinical encounter. Vihaan’s very light touch, humorous tricks during which he is making very careful observations are done really well and the mark of a seasoned clinician. It is the type of doctor that you have to be if you want to be successful. We also see that Vihaan is good at misdirecting, should he need to.
      This phrase was a little awkward in its flow, “So this is what a rich kid looks like that has everything,”. You could switch the last two phrases for better flow, “So this is what a rich kid that has everything looks like.” It’s probably a bit redundant as a sentence. Perhaps something like, “So, this is the rich kid.” as he looks around the room, would convey the same idea. We got very little personal thoughts from Vihaan, just clinical conclusions. So this is a story from Vihaan’s point of view, but limited. That’s very clever.
      Fun scene to read!!

      • Hi Sudha,

        I’m very grateful for that close eye of yours – and very appreciative of your medical point of view. You keep me honest in this regard and that is very reassuring.

        As I mentioned to Deryn, I was worried about the dialogue here as I was looking for exactly that – a doctor that can quickly put the patient at ease, and at the same time he takes in all the details. I’d have liked to add more feelings, but have decided to save them for when he have “Private Vihaan”, as here we have more “Professional Vihaan” where I wanted to paint him as a blend of ‘not too serious’ and ‘attention to detail’. Underneath the surface there is a lot of insecurities that I will unpack later on when he is not at work, or alone.
        Thank you for the suggestion on the sentence, I like “So this is the rich kid.” And this also suggests that I need a few thoughts on this subject throughout the scene to strengthen this thread because as it stands, it’s a bit lost – thank you for highlighting this.

        Thank you always.

    • Hi Jan, hope all is well. I’m late with comments, huge apologies. It’s been quite a hectic few weeks on my end.
      You do humour so well! I loved the little bites of laughter we got from Vihaan. Yet I can’t help thinking that V is insincere. Why – maybe something very personal, but he keeps calling Daniel by his name at the beginning of each speech line, or at the end. And it goes from formal to informal to familiar, but the point is, there’s a constant ge-Danny / Dan etc. I used to know someone who did this in pretty much the same way, and I never felt at ease around that person. Somehow the “name-calling” gave me the impression of either condescension or false camaraderie (or both). Of course, you may well have given Vihaan the same “tick” – constant naming of dialogue partners – for all sorts of reasons. Maybe precisely to be polite yet light-hearted.
      Anyway, I suspect Vihaan is not who he want us to think he is…

      Just this one thing:  sighed at the sunlight and the softly flapping curtains and held his hands crossed under his chin in a pathetic gesture.
      I couldn’t picture how this would look – the move seems quite impossible unless Dan sits up at a table, not so?

      Write on, Jan, you’re on a roll!

      • Hi Hanri,

        Please don’t apologise and thank you for taking the time to read and to comment. I hope the hectic weeks have eased on your side.

        I like that you think that Vihaan might be insincere – I want to hold back at this point and not show us his heart and his head (apart from his professional side) and we’ll hopefully understand why later on. Suffice to say, and you picked this up, it that Vihaan is polite and light hearted to do what he needs to do, do his job, and there’s someone else beneath the surface.

        Thank you for pointing out the image that doesn’t work – I will fix this so that it’s understandable.

        Thank you for your continued support and for coming back every week Hanri, I reall appreciate that!

  • The main gate by Kali Goodenough


    The pounding of horse hooves on the ground and my body in the saddle sends a deep ache through my bones. I’ve twined the reins in between my fingers, my hands too stiff to h […]

    • Nina replied 1 week ago

      Since I have just dropped in to your story, I have little idea of its context (though you manage to fill in a lot without breaking the scene’s flow) but I enjoyed this scene. You use the imagery and the horses well. The tension at the gate felt just right.

      • Thank you, Nina! I have not written my scenes in chronological order, so every scene is sort of like dropping into the middle right now. Glad that it still pulled you in, despite not having any prior context!

    • I thought you did a good job with building the tension at the gate, and not letting go of all of it. Sure, they got in, but I get the feeling Maturuous isn’t going to let go of his suspicions that easily.

      • Thanks, Sean! And yes, you are right. Maturuous is going to come back and be in the rest of the story. This was his debut.

    • Your first paragraph is magnificent. I can really see and feel the landscape and the way the MC (sorry, I forget her name) moves through it. Pure poetry. There’s a lot going on in the dialogue at the gate and I feel like the guards would be more succinct with their summaries as they fill each other in. I also question the ease at which the party finally enters considering the tension you’ve built up and that the guards still very clearly have doubts up until Galiahn bluffs his way through. Maybe just cast your eye over the pacing and the wordiness of each character, including the guards.

      • Thanks for the suggestion, Michael! I will take that to heart when I review and revise in the future. The succinctness of the guards is a really good thing for my to keep in mind. Thank you!!

  • Waiting In Line At the Grocery Store by SM Prasad#I stood in line three people deep at the deli counter. The weekend was coming, and people were stocking up.“I knew it! And he’s not aged well, has he?”!” An olde […]

    • Hi Sudha A very thorough background to the friendship between the 2 women – I guess so many start like that, in the school yard, one kid sticking up for the other. I liked the sequence of coincidences in the ‘ now’ – Jen’s recognition of the scar and being in the queue just at the right moment to overhear the nice white gentleman (!) – I wonder what Bernadine – who seems to be the more pragmatic of the 2 – will say? Well done, tick off another week!

    • A good revealing background scene.
      Gives a good look into the character of Bernadine.
      Interesting coincidence at the supermarket and I’m wondering who was making the call and what it was about.
      Everything seems to be tying together well.
      Can’t wait for next week.

      • Hi Marilyn
        Thanks so much for your feedback. I’m interested in how people let their guard down so much at a grocery store. It seems to be a universal experience.
        Thanks so much for reading and staying along.

    • Hey Sudha, I looooooove how the pieces are falling in place! You are keeping me riveted week after week. I really enjoyed the background on how Jen and Bernadine became such good friends. And so the Yonderboys plot thickens! Well done on writing another excellent scene! – Rachel

      • Hi Rachel,
        Thanks so much for the encouragement. It’s pretty tough to keep these pieces straight so I appreciate that you like how they are coming together. Thank you so much for reading and leaving feedback.

    • Hi Sudha,

      I enjoyed learning about how Bernadine’s and Jen’s frienship started. I made me think back on school days – how mean kids can be, especially when you’re a little different and don’t fit in easily with the rest. I read an article recently about why it’s a good idea that kids wear uniforms to school and precisely this was one of the arguments for.
      But I digress – yes, indeed the cashiers must hear a lot of stories and so also hairdressers – a lot cheaper that paying someone 40€ an hour.. And yes, the only time I’ve been grocery shopping with friends was on holiday (LOL). But I digress again.

      I think all kids meet their ‘Ally’ at some point. How you describe her is quite vivid – it left me thinking that she probably has a successful career now as a bouncer at a trashy night-club on the wrong side of town. I like that Jen stood up for Bernadine and the explanation in the principal’s office was quite funny. She is very factual! So they were about 10-11 when this happened?

      With this sentence – “Ally snickered as she ran off” – I’m wondering if it wouldn’t be more impactful if you put “stomped” off (given those redwood thighs), or even have her gloating over poor Bernadine while she towers over her. (and Bernadine probably scared to death that Ally will fall on her and she will lose the use of her legs forever.)

      Interesting development also with the provelone guy – I remembered the scarred hand of the cell-phone thief, and that Manny was their mule. I was surprised he came across as so slow?
      What I also appreciate, that shows the depth of their friendship, is as soon as Jen’s in the pickle, she calls Bernadine. That’s indeed very special.

      I feel that things are about to explode. The Ken guy gave me the chills – I reread the ‘right to be white’ a couple of time as it is just so incredibly unbelievable. What’s he going to say to Manny? And as a white supremacist, how will he say it?

      Looking forward to more Sudha millefeuille next week! Well done on Nr 12 🙂

      • Hi Jan,
        I love how you take off from the characters and project more about them. It’s actually quite helpful and gives me ideas about where else to take the characters. Yes, I’ve actually seen the right to be white shirts as funny (not so funny) T shirts for sale. Thanks so much for your comments on the scene.

    • What a great way to bring all the pieces together and set up for the next round of action. It truly is amazing the things you overhear in the grocery store, or the unexpected people you might encounter. I very much enjoyed the backstory of how Jen and Bernadine became friends, and I suspect Bernadine would say the same about Jen, fiercely loyal and always there when needed. You bring to mind my own school days, the Allie’s didn’t mess with me so much because I always hung out with two older brothers and their friends, and we made a pretty insulated group that wasn’t easily bullied. I especially enjoyed Bernadine’s explanation to the principle, even then she was quite observant and ready to defend.
      I remembered the guy with the scar, and Ken is the one who came up with the logo for the yonderboys. I wonder who he was talking to on the phone, and what he might have to say to Manny Vargas. That’ll be an interesting scene, which I will look forward to in the coming weeks. Another great scene, Sudha, keep up the great work!

      • Hi Peggy,
        Thank you so so much for such incredible encouragement. I love the backstory you gave about yourself growing up in school and being in an insulated group. I find stories like that so interesting. One of my kids has been incredibly observant from the age of 8 or so and so I thought about him when I was writing that scene – he would definitely have noticed that as he walked through a cafeteria.
        Of course in that flashback scene, Bernadine and Jen are about 10 years old.
        Thanks so much for sharing a personal story.
        Will work hard for next Wednesday!

    • Hi Deryn
      Thanks so much for the encouragement. I appreciate your read and your feedback.

    • ‘Ally was disturbed when she saw my salad’ had me laughing out loud. The school scene is so realistic and I was so glad Ally got it from Jen. I really enjoyed the weaving together of the scenes and the lively grocery store…that t-shirt is truly offensive – someone wearing that would scare the shit out of me as well as plunge me into despair. Great story and looking forward to more.

      • Hi Julie,
        Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Yes, that’s an offensive shirt pretending not to be. There’s a lot of that going around in the US (not sure if you’re from the US) and it is quite worrying.
        Thanks for your comments about the school scene.

    • Nice job with backstory and bringing the ProudBoys back in. Bernadette as a kid really adds dimension to her character. I like the kite image, but I’d move the best friend line to the end if the paragraph. And what if you moved the first mention of Ally to after she shows up? Maybe right after the hey new girl? The way it is kind of floats her and then let’s her go. Seems like the plot is thickening 🙂

      • Hi Nina,
        I really like the advice that you gave about the sentences and where they should go. I think the flow would be smoother.
        Thanks for writing and giving your feedback!

    • Hi Sudha – it’s a strong friendship Jen and Bernadine has, and we’ve been given a glimpse into where it all started. I liked that. I thought it might be a bit too much of a luck for Jen to spot the guy with the scar behind the deli counter. How one might fix that (if you think it needs fixing) is to make much less of the scar when it comes up the first time around, and make the scene in the grocery store a bit more deja vous, mysterious, brain-wracking “now where have I seen that before” – you know? And then she overhears the pone call and starts putting two and two together …

      • Hi Hanri,
        Yes, it’s so hard to know what to emphasize and when to pull back. I appreciate your input on that very point!
        Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

    • Hi, Sudha! What I love about this is that Jen is just doing the one of the mundane tasks of everyday life when danger appears around her. And you’ve told the story so well to this point that the reader recognizes it right away. It’s a fitting commentary, too, about how this menace truly is all around us.

      • Hi Kathy!
        I really hope you’re doing better.
        I liked the idea of the danger rearing its ugly head in the middle of a routine task.
        Thanks so much for reading and commenting!!

  • The Dancing Maidens Part 3 by SM Prasad


    Continuation from the last scene: “Anita was perched on the edge of the fountain, eyes transfixed on the dancing maidens. Toni grabbed her by the shoulders and s […]

    • Oh my word, Sudha, that was fantastic! I really liked the interaction with Anita and Toni, they’re becoming great friends, despite their age difference, and having such an amazing impact on each other’s lives and perspectives. I liked that Anita was hesitant to continue delving into the mystery, yet drawn to it at the same time, and the moment when she choked and Toni was “there” to help seemed like the perfect moment when things changed for Anita. I loved the clues and hints you gave along the way, the research into the fountain, learning about their great-grandmothers, and finally the dream where they were given a glimpse into the past – such excellent storytelling! This may be my favorite story/scene of all that I’ve read of yours, so let me say Brava!!!
      Will you continue this story, do you think? It has great potential for more.

    • Ok, SM I smell ‘Trilogy’ here 😀. This is a storyline that has so many possibilities, and I am anxious to know if you knew anything about the history of the fountain before you got going or the sometimes-scary history that is unfolding, is a happy coincidence? It matters not, you’re doing it justice. As much as I enjoyed this chapter, I’d suggest (and I know it sounds counter-intuitive,) that you slow down the action a little bit. You’ve moved the story along magnificently here, and I feel we know Toni and Anita better, but we still haven’t met Toni’s parents, and we’ve lost sight of Anita’s bullying boss and her apathetic work-mates. It’s great for 12SS and your many readers as we are all swept along in the action, but for the sake of the fully joined-up story, I think you may need a bit more going on the both their lives. I hope this makes sense and do note I enjoyed the dialogue, the backstory, and the introduction of the two grandmother’s and their connection with the Dancing Girls (epic idea, by the way) but details like the ‘former class bully’ made that scene feel a little rushed. I must mention I really like the boring, protective big sister / pesky, smart little sister vibe that you continue to develop between them and how each is changing the other for the better. I really hope these comments help, and do know I will be following this story whichever way you decide to go. Well done, and all the very best, Seyi

    • Hi Sudha,
      I am glad you have taken your story forward and this is shaping up pretty nicely. When you had started this story I had thought of it as a very real, ‘slice of life’ kind of fiction. But these twists and turns are really giving a new dimension to the story. Good work there! I liked the elements of magical realism that you have introduced here. This strange connection between the two girls is really suspenseful and I will be waiting for more. I really like how detailed and well-researched your story was. You brought in the WW2, a strange sculptor with possible malicious intent and a group of girls who stock with each other in a 2500-word story. That’s commendable. The only thing I felt was that there was too much happening and it was a little tedious to follow. But maybe, that’s just me.
      Also, when I read these lines – ‘Toni’ss face darkened. “He went home with some skank. .” Tears rolled down her face.’ I felt Toni’s reaction was a little sudden. I mean she appears to be this positive optimistic person, confident too. I feel that if you would have described her sadness a little more subtly, it would have been more effective. But it’s your call really.
      The descriptions, the tension of saving oneself from the soldiers, it all was ‘edge of the seat’ narration. I, for one, will be waiting for more. Amazing writing! Thank you for sharing!

    • Hi Sudha. This is the first of your stories I have read and I love the flow of your writing, the imagery you create and the mystery you evoke. I do agree with Seyi’s comments about slowing down a bit as I also felt my attention drifting – slowing down may help to keep your reader riveted. Well done and keep going with this.

    • Hi Sudha, I think I enjoyed part three the most. Lots going on here. And I enjoyed getting to know Anita and Toni a bit better and seeing them become more comfortable with each other. Also supporting each other to find out the truth. And I also loved the link of the grandmothers.
      Really well done, thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Sudha, this story is becoming more and more captivating – I love it! The storyline idea of the fountain linking them to their respective grandmothers’ WWII past is absolutely wonderful and has so much potential. The eeriness of the fountain coupled with the darkness of the past events make this such a compelling read, Sudha, I really hope you’ll continue developing this one xx

    • Hi Sudha, so sorry that I’m so late with comments! Life is one big blur. I think I must have missed an earlier instalment of this story, but nonetheless it was easy to get into it and follow, easy to gather where it might have come from. And I always like a good post-war secret uncovering tale! This one also seems to have the supernatural/mystical involved, which is another element I like.
      The tale really works as is, so if I have to find something to comment on, it’s a hard one. I do think though that this story would work really well told in 1st person, and through journal entries (like “Perks of being a Wallflower”, somewhat, you know?
      You’re a really versatile writer – juggling this series here and then also 52/52. Well done!

  • The Chiratri by Kali Goodenough


    The smile slides off Galiahn’s face and Ali stills.

    Hooves, many hooves, pounding the ground and growing louder by the second.

    Something is coming.

    “Get up.” Galiahn vault […]

    • The plot thickens, as they say. The description surrounding all the water was nice. Soaked shoes, or boots in this case, are the worst! Weaving in some nice contextual information via the character dialogue worked well. Good job!

      • As always, thank you for reading, Sean! I love writing the details, but always worry it is too much detail, so it is good to know that it helped provide context, which I was aiming for. Looking forward to catching up on your scenes this week!

    • I have some SERIOUS catching up to do on this story, which I will promptly do this week. I’m really enjoying the names and backstory you’re weaving here. Very epic and compelling. I also like how you’re keeping the characters very “human” and relatable. One thing to watch out for that the conversation between Galiahn and the MC towards the end feels a bit like “talking heads.” It took me a long time to break up lots of lengthy expository dialogue with a little bit of mundane action, reactions, and even some internal reflection from the characters. I’m looking forward to catching up.

      • Thanks, Michael! I have a note to myself to re-work that ending dialogue so that it isn’t such an unloading of background information and feels a little more natural. Thanks for the tips! I have a lot of catch up reading to do as well. Hoping to revisit your story later this week. Thanks for the read!

  • When enough is enough, it’s time for payback by Sharon J Clark


    “This is for you,” Alfred said, pressing money into Clare’s hand. “Treat yourself for change.”

    Customers were supposed to leave tips on the tabl […]

    • Hi Sharon,
      This is a fun revenge story. And the good guys won. Your scenes move along briskly and it’s a very interesting story. I would have liked to see Ted’s reaction to when he finds out about what they did in his cafe and to the news story, since there is so much build up to this part of the story. The details about her home bound neighbor or the single mom were specific and believeable. I would consider who gets names in your story. For example, the owner’s son never appears in the story.
      You said that Mark and Clare did the real work, but then you said that Clare worked the “unsociable” hours. Does that mean that she works when it’s less busy?
      A well-paced story that I enjoyed reading.

    • Hi Sharon
      I love this story. I love your characters, and the satisfaction that comes at the end. It really just made me happy to read. Though I do agree with SM, that I would have liked to have seen Ted’s reaction to what they did. He’s a character you want to see learn his lesson, or get his comeuppance. Overall, great work.

  • The Light is Low by Peggy Rockey – Scene 12 – Roy


    Roy called Mr. Chang when he got to his car, explained that he was investigating Minsang’s disappearance and arranged to meet in thirty minutes at the Chang r […]

    • Hi Peggy,

      There are a lot of links between the characters that start to become visible in this scene. They also move the story on nicely and add depth to the mystery and intrique that seem to be ever thickening. As soon as we feel we’ve made progress, we turn a corner in the maize and we realise we are no closer to finding the exit!

      I’m very happy for the detail about Mr Chang and that he’s the real father vs Mr Mao – the house made up with Min’s “things” just didn’t make sense. It casts a doubt on Mr Mao – why on Earth would he hire a PI for his missing ‘daughter’? Because she escaped from where he was holding her? Because she is really important somehow to him, and through her, Tao seeks to harm his estranged family? Beautiful surprise here!

      I laughed at the image of the older woman in her Jaguar (Cougar!) The descripion of Chuin is so beautifully done – we can see that the man is not in a great place. I also really liked the description of the interior – the forgotten crumbs. There’s something here that suggests a certain lassitude and abvsent mindedness from Chuin which I find very convincing given what he is living through. He’s been through a lot and you engender a lot of sympathy for him.

      I’m looking forward to how this is going to play out with Mr Tao! What will he say to explain himself? Although I suspect he is not the type of man used to explaining himself, something which might not bode well for our Roy.

      Great scene Peggy and well done on Nr 12!

      • Hi Jan, I can’t tell you how much fun it is to continually throw in new surprises, while at the same time bring in the little details about what might be going on for the real father who’s daughter is missing, I appreciate your response to my description of Chiun. He’s been through a lot, and I suspect has a bit more drama to go through in the days ahead. Thanks for reading me, Jan. Hope to see you next week.

    • Peggy,
      I’m so glad that Minsang has a “real” father, and that he’s also worried and looking for her. You write so well that it’s easy to tell the difference between the good guys and the bad! and also great reminder that Roy is hot. 🙂
      I don’t have much to say except keep going. You’ve ramped up the suspense and raised the stakes here… hoping Roy isn’t in over his head!

      • thanks for reading, G! I’m still deciding if I need to give Roy a love interest or not – it’s not written that way in my first draft, so it would be a bit of a stretch, but it’s a good reminder that he is a hotty and I could definitely play that up. Thanks for the encouragement, suspense, crime stories are not my usual forte, so this is a bit of a challenge, but it’s fun and I’m enjoying it.

    • Hi Peggy,

      Sorry I’m late. Such a pain in the ass now that I can’t access the site at work.

      I like that we found the father. I think the story can use more spell, see, touch etc. There is a lot of dialogue, but no what’s goings on around them…

      You are keeping the mystery in play. Great job! I’m adoring this piece. Keep up the good work.

      • Thanks, Maria! I appreciate your feedback about adding more sensory detail in with the dialogue – I’m really struggling with that aspect of my writing. Practice, practice, practice! Thanks for calling it to my attention.

    • Hi Peggy,
      You are clarifying for the reader what is happening. But those of us who like to read mysteries will look for clues elsewhere as well. So what Jan said about your description of Mr. Chang really sticks out-the neglected house and unkempt appearance shows us how worried he is about his daughter. The contrast with the room that Mao Te showed is a good reminder to the reader of Mao Te’s deceptive moves. Tantalizing to think about why. Also, you threw us something really important. Chiun is not wildly rich, so his money is not a target for the criminals involved.

      Does Chiun know that Mao Te is paying Roy? I would love to know.

      The very specific details of her room was a clever way to slip in the connection that Min has with SuSu and Benji. Definitely heating up the plot.
      As you finish this scene, you are laying out the major questions that need to be answered so far. A necessary step in a mystery.
      But as Maria said, I would break it up a little with some action-What was he doing during this time as he is pondering the questions? Is he driving? Are there any distractions such as music or news on the radio? The reader is more than ready to jump into Roy’s head to ask these questions with him, but we need to see what he’s doing too so that we can relate to him.

      I’m really enjoying this story as you progress and it’s so nice to see that Min has a loving father who is doing what he can to find her. It’s an important contrast to some of the other really despicable characters.

      • Hi Sudha,
        I think at this point, Roy did not tell Chiun who hired him to find Minsang, but he does know that Mao Te pretended to be her father, so one can assume he knows it. I’m also enjoying the story as it progresses, so many little surprises, but I have to keep all the pieces in place, so I can make sure to answer all the questions and not leave anything unanswered as we get to the end. I appreciate your thought about adding in detail or action as Roy is driving home and recapping his thoughts, I’ll definitely rework my offline copy to do just that. Thanks for joining me on this journey, Sudha, I take such inspiration from your own story, and from your comments. Hope to see you next week.

    • The real father was great, distraught, absent minded, exactly how one might expect to find someone in his situation. I do like the fake father mystery. It’s an interesting idea/play and I’m wondering what it’s all about. I hope you have a great reason – LOL. Too much pressure.
      This was a great scene, I’m not usually a mystery reader so I like the clues and information flow as you’re putting it together.
      For me part of the fun is speculating on what’s really going on, then seeing if I’m right based on what I’ve read.
      Nice job on this – I don’t have anything critical to add. I only wondered about the woman in the Jaguar bit, that seemed out of place – unless you were trying to show something.

      • I really hope the reason for Mao Te pretending to be the father doesn’t come back to haunt me – it made perfect sense in the first draft of this story, but in this second draft I’m beginning to wonder, especially with real life readers providing feedback, agh – the pressure is too great!!! JK – I think I’ve got a reasonable explanation that also adds to the mystery and ramps up the suspense. Mystery/crime is not my usual genre, but it sure is challenging, and I’m enjoying the ride! I appreciate you being on the ride with me, and I hope to see you next week!
        ps – you’re right about the woman in the jaguar, the only purpose was to bring the scent of diesel to Roy, to remind him of the scrap of paper he’d found at Mao Te’s house. I’ll rewrite that scene in my offline version, as it was a bit of a distraction and out of place. Thanks for the feedback.

  • Outside – Part 3 by Peggy Rockey


    Joram was shocked senseless by the violence he’d just witnessed. Cries of pain, shouts of fear and confusion could be heard from the chamber behind him. Images of that t […]

    • Peggy: Well paced and very detailed, it brings out the setting and the characters interacting within it. Though I have not read the previous parts to this story (I will go back and do so) there is enough to go on so you know what these characters are doing and why they are doing it. The ending of this part was well done, it makes the reader want to continue onward and see what will happen next. I love the descriptions you used for the warriors contrasting with the Subterranean culture making a very clear separation between them. Thank you for your story.

      • I’m so glad you enjoyed my story, Otter , and glad to know that it was able to stand alone without having to go back and read the other chapters. Thanks for reading, and leaving your lovely comment.

    • This a very well-written piece. I loved how you have built the tension here, and there are enough hints about the back story to keep readers guessing but never really giving away anything. I also enjoyed the dialogue and the contrast it presents between two sides; one holding on to the past and letting it share their today, while the other has learned its lesson and moved on. I think the message is beautiful and very well done. Thank you for sharing.

      • Hi Fizza, thanks for the read. I’m glad you picked up on the message, it’s one of the themes that will carry through as the story progresses, especially as we learn exactly what happened in the Time Before and what’s happened in the Outside over the last 100 years.

    • Hey, again Peggy and how goes it? This story is developing nicely and I love the breadcrumbs you have sprinkled, leading to answers to some early questions. I had wondered how the Subterraneans survived below ground, and if they had access to food, water, sunlight, etc, and the way you have shown a glimpse of some tech helps to imply they will have mastered food production in these conditions. I also really like how you showed a physical difference between them and the Outsiders (‘Malek was a head taller than Joram,’) as some stunted growth would have been expected after generations living underground. Joram’s anguish is a great twist and answers other questions about his wrong-headed motivation. The phrase ‘Time Before’ is loaded and gives you plenty of scope with background story development. Great job (again) and my mind is buzzing with probabilities, while I look forward to the next chapter. Best regards, Seyi

      • Hey, Seyi, all goes well on my side of the ocean – hope the same is true on yours. I’m thrilled by your assessment of my story, and was actually glad to have a large word count so I could give some of that backstory while still allowing the plot to develop. I have a basic idea of what’s going to happen, and a really good grasp on what happened in the Time Before, I hope I can blend both stories together to make it into a satisfying, entertaining read. Thanks for reading, and I hope I continue to keep your mind buzzing!

    • Hi Peggy,
      I am loving this! This part was even more interesting. I really liked how you presented characters of Joram and Malek, the warrior was attacked the city. The dialogue flow between the two characters drives the story forward. it is interesting to see that Joram is in a mental dilemma about letting in Malik into the city. Also, the introduction of Aram as an important character intriguing. You have created a fascinating world with a lot of back story. Also the play on the names Malek and damak Lamek, that anagram was a clever ploy. I am really interested to know what had happened in the past. What created the inside and the outside in the first place. Waiting for more! Well penned! Thank you for sharing. Be safe.

      • Thanks so much for your kind words, Amrita! I’m working on the next installment, but with only 750 words, I’m struggling with moving the plot forward while also answering the questions about the past. Ah well, I do so love a good challenge!

    • Hi Peggy. Thoroughly enjoyed Part 3. Even as you give us more information I am left with so many questions. Glad you are continuing this one, still so much to learn about how and why the separation occurred all those years ago. And I liked the way you left it.

      A couple of very small editing suggestions:
      “And yet, you think nothing about killing innocent life,” I think perhaps – you think nothing about taking innocent lives – might sound better here.
      He rapped his knuckled on the door, once, twice, then opened it and motioned for the men to follow him inside. knuckles
      Well done and thanks for sharing.

      • Hi Jane, thanks for reading me again, I’m glad you enjoyed this installment, even though it’s full of unanswered questions. My goal is to answer all these questions by the end of the year (I know what happened in the past, but how do I show that in the future without just coming out and telling?). Thanks also for the edits, taking innocent lives does sound much better than killing them

    • Hi Peggy,
      Two incredibly well-written stories with intrigue and plot twists in one week!! Incredible. I really liked this story. All along, I was chastising Joram for being so trusting and really hoping against hope that he would come up with some kind of plan as he led these warriors to Aram. I was hoping the station would be a trap and that the people above would be able to surround and perhaps imprison the warriors.
      And the tension was really high when at last he gets to Aram’s room-I kept thinking that the warriors would kill the old man and Joran would have the blood of one more life on his hands because he wasn’t strategizing.
      A small note. In this sentence, “The younger man was astounded when Malek “…you repeat the younger man from the previous sentence which I believe was intentional to keep up the flow. But it made me pause and wonder whether there was another younger man besides Joram and I had to go back and check. A small thought.
      I loved the description of the setting. The dim lighting, the busy culture with the schools, the station, the art, the historical figureheads, the theatre. And the fascination of the warriors tells us a lot about what is missing from their lives.

      I would suggest that during the conversation through the tunnels, you should remind us every once in a while whether they’re still walking and whether any of the others stumble or straggle, etc. I wondered whether they had stopped to talk and went back to check.
      You’ve created a fascinating world and the ending was such an amazing twist. Especially Malek’s actions and his words. I’m looking forward to the next intallment. A really really fun read!!

      • Thanks for the feedback, Sudha. Joram is definitely in over his head, and the only people that know he’s brought killer warriors into the Subterranean are those that were present in the chamber when the door was opened. So, the hue and cry won’t be raised until they make it to their respective sectors. Still tyring to figure out the overall plot for the series…

    • Well done, Peggy! I really like your style and this story. (PS if I may suggest – delete the ‘amateur’ from your bio – just say ‘fantasy writer’ – you are accomplished and know your stuff!).

      And because I like it a lot and think you are a damn good writer, I will be nit-picky – it’s meant as constructive criticism, take whatever you feel fits! So here goes:

      Sometimes its’ a bit ambiguous who the ‘he’ refers to, given there’s two guys involved. E.g.:

      “Why did you assault my people, Malek?” he demanded of the lead warrior, as he led them away … The sector leader’s steps were staggered. He was devastated, trying to pull his wits together, mentally calculating where best to take these warriors in order to contain them and not grant them free access to his home. Should he still bring them to Aram as planned?

      Who is the sector leader – Joram or Malek? I’d say Malek, because he led the attack and so it seems logical he is leading now (seems like the others are prisoners?). But then you say he is ‘devastated’, which points to Joram.

      It becomes clearer in the context of the wider story, but at first it really made me stumble. Disclaimer: ambiguous use of pronouns and similar is one of my pet peeves. ;°)

      Then, you do something I catch myself doing a lot – you insert an action snippet into dialogue, probably in order to make it feel more real or visual (that’s why I always do it):

      “We teach our people to be self-sufficient and to live in peace. Ours is a society without violence, as I told you when we met.” He ran a hand across his head, feeling the soft fuzz of short-shorn hair. “We are peacekeepers.”

      However, the hand-head thing is really just an interruption of the dialogue. Nothing wrong with that per se, but it would be even better if you can give it some meaning. E.g. if the mention of ‘violence’ triggers an itch in a head wound he received in that outburst of violence. Know what I mean?

      Then, suddenly, comes a detailed physical description of Malek – when we’ve been ‘with him’ for a while. This really should come earlier!

      Finally, I first got the impression that Great Grandfather Aram was dead – that paragraph was unclear, just say ‘the other two had died’, not ‘the others’. But then – what a wonderful twist to the story, the friendship between the grandfathers!!

      Keep writing, Peggy. I look forward to the next instalment.

      • Thank you so much for your vote of confidence and your encouraging words, and especially for the editing tips – nit picky feedback is always welcome and appreciated.

    • I have not read the previous chapters of this story but it made sense to me (with a few questions that I can probably find answers to if I read your previous stories!)
      I think the dialogue flowed well and matches the unfamiliar (to us) way of life. I think the amount of dialogue was a bonus for me because I had not read previous stories from this tale but I don’t know if those who have followed this all along would find it a tad repetitive..?
      I noticed the same few points as Vera (I didn’t read her comments until afterwards – and only because it was next to the blank space I was going to comment in) but to be honest I think they are minor points that can be rectified easily.
      I am not generally a ‘fantasy’ reader but I really enjoyed this world you have created and I love the Time Before phrase!
      Good use of prompt too.

      • Thanks for reading, Del. While it’s the third part of the series, this is the first time we’re introduced to these characters and begin to learn why they did what they did in the first part, so hopefully wasn’t too repetitive. I’m not as in love with this series as I thought I would be, but I have a basic understanding of the differences between Inside/Outside and what happened in the Time Before, just need to get a better handle on the characters and what the overall story line is. I’m just making it up as I go, and hoping it’ll all come together.

    • You’ve definitely introduced some intrigue with Malek and the old man not being adversaries despite your setup to the contrary.
      But that might still change – not sure of your intention with that.
      Definitely time to outline this before you continue-almost impossible to pantzer your way thru fantasy without knowing what your plot is .

      Agree there were some descriptions that were repetitive and over-use of pronouns. In your redraft you can tighten all that up.

      This Joram appears an interesting character – not cut-and-dried as to what his motivations are. Think I will enjoy him .

      Enjoyed this Peggy, look fwd to more

  • La Rage – Scene 12 The Moon by Jan


    Grizelda lay on her bed.   

    She had left the doctor’s rooms in a haze, had driven home and parked her car in the garage of her two-bedroom townhouse. Mechanically she had […]

    • Hi Jan, another demo of your ability to describe anguish, it hits the spot every time. Here you also show a different talent – describing bliss. I found this particularly powerful: “She would stop sobbing but then the grief came anew – like the cane of a wicked father, come back to open the wounds that had begun to close.” It was a welcome relief to read”…not a single thought made a ripple across the immeasurable lake of her consciousness. “, this had such a calming and reassuring feel to it.
      The layout of the sentences and clauses at the beginning , each having their own line, is very punchy, forcing the reader to acknowledge each one separately.
      The small details, such as the duvet, the rotating fan, ring true – we get a heightened awareness of things in crisis situations. “A quietness enfolded her in its arms, its embrace safe a reassuring, like coming come.” Home”, I think, and the feeling that comes across is her experiencing the power that lies beyond the everyday. She’s got a strong spiritual side, I seem to remember from previous scenes.
      The way you weave he Tarot reading into the story is, to me, unprecedented and I loved it. It tells us something of the characters and situations we’re going to encounter without being far-fetched or cheesily spiritual, you’ve grounded the reading in the story. A clever and lovely piece of writing.

      • Hi Anne,
        Many thanks for the read and for the compliments! I really appreciate you following the story and value your critique. I’m glad you liked those images – I put the wicked father and the cane as a métaphore for feeling punished and I am also happy that the other details and experiences ring true – please also tell me if I miss the mark.
        Yes Grizelda does have a very strong intuition and her tarot cards help her unlock that. I am so relieved that it doesn’t come across as cheesy spiritual. Grizelda stands across the board from Vivien, a religious leader – but we’ll soon see who is more authentic 😉
        Thank you for the constant support.

    • Hi Jan,
      I really like Grizelda! It’s characters like this that bring out your talent for writing deep and beautiful prose, and allow us to see all that is special and unique and beautiful in the character (and perhaps a glimpse of your own character as well).
      There was such deep emotion in the opening scene, when she gave in to despair over her prognosis, I found myself with tears in my own eyes, so powerful were the emotions you engendered.
      I loved the transition then, to how she found peace in the act of breathing, observing herself as if from outside, and the quiet that comes from having found that peace. Such lovely writing.
      And can I just thank you for the reference to the Plutchik wheel? I’d never heard of that before, and yet I can see so much value in referencing it when writing scenes that need a strong emotional pull. What a great tool. And, if Grizela was a true teacher, and I was in her class, she would be glad to know that I read that and am now completely ‘inspired with new ideas and a broader frame of reference’ that I hope to incorporate into my own growth and learning.
      I loved your descriptions of the tarot cards, sensing the connection to Daniel’s situation in the moon card, and immediately recognizing Robert McCrae in the Emporor card. Excellent use of foreshadowing. Another wonderful scene and fantastic writing, Jan. Great work!

      • Hi Peggy,
        Thank you for the kind words – I am so happy to read that you like Grizelda and you’re intuition is again spot on (with me and the tarot cards!), there is a lot of me in this character as well. So happy that the emotions also managed to come across as authentic. There is a lot more of that coming – as Grizelda will work the case and as she learns to live with her illness.
        Regarding the wheel – my pleasure. I happened on it while researching – I was thinking of the scene where Grizelda will teach her class and I wanted her to put something like that on screen. I knew there had to be something like that out there and was delighted when I found it. And even better that it can help you as well!
        Thank you for reading me again and for following the story.

    • Such beautiful writing and truly a meditation in itself. Anne has targeted some of the most beautiful sentences here such as, “It was a welcome relief to read”…not a single thought made a ripple across the immeasurable lake of her consciousness. “ It’s incredible how you take us through the small moments in your writing, like the infinite points between 2 consecutive numbers. Like Peggy, I just read up on the Plutchik wheel and I’m really inspired by the categorizations and the colors–I think in color a lot and I’m fascinated by it, so it really appeals to me. The moment when Grizelda is focusing on the fan’s rotors and the sound to help calm herself down was such a wonderful point of just stillness.
      Using the Tarot cards to foreshadow and to help us understand the characters, such as Robert, is very clever. It’s fascinating that the police would use Grizelda, I guess I need to better understand her position. How is it characterized such that the police would access her skills?
      The beginning with the rage and despair was particularly well done. You took us through that emotional scale so well, that I was as exhausted as Grizelda by the time she was figuring out how to distance herself from her emotions and just watch them. The illustrations are very helpful and have a mythological power that pulls beyond the words.
      The tea was a great metaphor for when she was ready to face her present again-I really appreciated that.
      So beautifully written and so accessible. I think any reader will know that they are not the only ones who have experienced this depth of emotions after reading this.
      Just another stellar example of the haunting quality of your writing!!!!

      • Hi Sudha,
        Thank you for reading me and for the kind words – your feedback (also) stays with me and gives me a lot to work with. e.g. I mentioned in a previous scene that Grizelda abandoned therapy for a career in academics and at the same time she also started consulting on cases for the Police. I think it was too long ago and maybe need to be brough to the front more. In one of the following scenes I’ll see if I can work in some background of the work she does with Bessie. The work she does typically involves profiling – understanding drivers and helping the detectives put odd bits together and understand who they’re chasing. Thank you for highlighting this point!
        And thank you for the compliments and critique – I really appreciate it.

    • Brilliantly strategic, this scene. You’ve foreshadowed, and with this character, you’ve also masterfully tied the hitherto different story parts together. I really felt an affinity for Grizelda, without knowing why. And then she started doing that next-level Arnold Mindell kind of stuff to process her feelings about her own impending end… This is weaving such a lovely tapestry of work with your short stories of the past years. All those characters with their Higher Selves in the atmostphere around them.
      I also loved the symbolism of the waiting teacup, and the relevance of Plutchnik’s wheel. You’re really here showing your mastery of emotions in writing.
      About the hysterical part of her grieving process, before she calms herself down – that she becomes so very perturbed is suggesting that she has unfinished business here, in this life, but we’re not getting a strong indication of what that unfinished business is. Maybe something that could be added in a sentence or two? I recall there’s a mother in the hospital bed next to Dan, but wasn’t she also dying? So if this is someone Grizelda cares a lot about, heading to the same hereafter… there might be less rage and more acceptance? Or is there something/someone else for whom Grizelda must stay behind?
      When you write about the Mystic Realm, Jan, your sentences have a beautiful melancholic melody to them, so mesmerising.
      I also love that you made her a police clairevoyant, by the way. So if she’s writing a thesis and teaching, Grizelda must be a criminologist, perhaps? I don’t think you were that specific about her in past scenes?

      • Jan replied 2 weeks ago

        Hi Hanri,

        Many thanks for reading me, for the constant support and for these very encouraging comments – it means a lot to me. I’ve never heard of Arnold Mindell before and so you’ve got me reading on process oriented psychology! Thank you for this 🙂 Also, I completely missed the symbolism of the teacup until you and Sudha pointed it out – again thank you!

        It’s a great idea about the “business” she needs to finish – I think it’s a good idea to develop this section and mention it in there. As her mother is also dying there will be more acceptance of her own condition, but only when that happens (you’ve caught me out!) and there indeed something that she must complete.
        I really value what you say about my writing about the mystical realm – and there will be more of this when Grizelda is nearby. Finally, she is indeed a criminologist – I mentioned this briefly (thesis on criminology) in a previous scene but it may have been to long ago and not detailed enough. I plan to use her interactions with Bessie and their upcoming “case” to develop this a bit. I’m thrilled that you like the idea of a police clairvoyant!!! It makes my day!

        Thank you again 🙂

    • Hi Jan I can add very little praise for this scene to that justifiably heaped on it already. Grizelda’s heaving sobs and despair followed by such deep calm, her breathing sowed me down completely and I was utterly in the moment with her. A beautiful piece of writing and a great mover forward of the plot as well.

      • Jan replied 2 weeks ago

        Hi Deryn,
        Thank you so much for coming back to read me and for the kind words – I’m very pleased to read that she managed to pull you into the moment with her. Thank you for following the story and for your encouragement!

    • Hi Jan! The Tarot card attracted me to your scene this week. I loved Grizelda – her name is apt for a mystic. Your writing is superbly meditative – an exercise in presence. The reader takes both healing and a story from it. You’ve engaged on your character’s emotions so well. I particularly enjoyed: “She shut her eyes against the painful anguish that threatened to consume her. But the pain overwhelmed her and demanded she acknowledge its hold on her. ”

      It was incredibly hopeful to read how she took inspiration from her students. Your character impresses as remarkably strong for being in touch with her emotions.

      I have some editing comments you might wish to consider. In the first big paragraph, the word “had” is used several times, giving the paragraph a repetitive feel. Secondly, the line “After several months of remission, the tumour was back” might be punchier if you shortened it: “The tumour was back.”

      Thank you for telling this story of finding emotional wholeness, the world needs more stories like this. Keep it up!

      • Jan replied 2 weeks ago

        Hi Morne,

        I appreciate you dropping in and reading me and I’m very moved by your commentary. Big Thank You.
        Thank you also for the editing comments, I am taking those on board. In scenes I often struggle with the distant and recent past, so I’ve very happy when someone points out where it can be improved. I think here I can stick to a single timeframe. The shortening of some sentences will indeed make them more impactful!

        I’m also glad you liked the tarot cards – this character does have a very intuitive side and we’ll see more of that, and this “emotional wholenes” and “presence” whenever she is around. Thank you again!

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Tapan Mozumdar

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