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  • Hi Anne, you continue with your smooth, flowing prose. I’d forgotten about Horton’s previous playthings. I love the huffy way Horton refers to the one that ‘managed to escape through the back door while I was in the bath’ I admit I laughed out loud at this one but the poor girl must have been terrified. You’ve found an elegant balance between…[Read more]

  • Hi Anne, thank you for your comments. There was a shop in Bradford’s Kirkgate market from the late 1940s called the continental that sold Polish food because of the high number of Polish, Ukranian and Latvian immigrants who lived there and worked in the mills. But thanks for the check.

    I hadn’t intended for Bridget to be toying with Roman, I…[Read more]

  • POST 13 (PREVIOUS SCENE 22 OF 52) Last week – Roman has turned up at Bridget’s lodgings later that night  after proposing to her on the glen – where she did not answer him)Roman turned to greet Bridget; her […]

    • Hi Julie
       
      Loved both these scenes, but have a query about how Bridget is depicted here. She comes across as quite a different character than the one we’re used to. Examples;
      ‘Bridget laughed. ‘But I haven’t said yes yet, Roman.’ Her voice had a musical tinkle in it.’
      Is she playing with Roman? I’m not sure I like her at this point. Also:
      ‘She shook her head gently; looked amused.’ And:
      ‘‘You haven’t mentioned me?’ she said with a sly smile.”
      I hate the thought of her toying with him, and it does sound out of character as she’s always been so straightforward. If you mean to show her in this light, okay, but if readers lose sympathy for her they’ll not be as invested in the happy ending. Just something to think about?
      Roman’s letter to his mother is heart- breaking. I know he’s translating and his Polish will be more – can I say ‘polished’?? – but sincerity shines through. This is a great piece and hankies will be needed because his broken English sounds so vulnerable.
      I loved the description of Bridget’s landlady, it reminded me of Flo, Andy Capp’s missus! Could she be wearing curlers?
      ‘When Roman received a reply from his mother, he read it three times before he rushed down to the kitchen to find Andrej, who was sitting with Wanda drinking Russian tea with lemon and sugar, a Saturday treat given the rationing of sugar.’ This is a long sentence and I think it could be milked a bit if it were divided up. Maybe a full stop after ‘to look for Andrej’.
      ‘He found him sitting with Wanda, drinking Russian tea with lemon and sugar. Sugar was rationed and this made the Saturday morning treat even more special.’ Just a thought.
      ‘Wanda stood up to put her arms around his neck and squashed his head to her side.’ This sounds difficult. Was she taller than him? Sorry, can’t picture it.
      Your description of the night when Roman opens the kitchen window and leans out is a standout moment in the story, another of your great settings. I can feel that weight of the air we get on a hot and humid night.
      I’m surprised that there was a continental food shop in Bradford in the late 1940s, but I suppose with so many Polish immigrants around it was a good business opportunity. (Would it have been called ‘continental’?) A good period detail.
      Maria ‘waived’ should be ‘waved’ (you did ask for typos etc).
      I know you’ve been hurried this week so hope you don’t mind my opinion on this: ‘Two pillows propped up Maria with a crocheted shawl placed around her thin shoulders.’ I feel it could read more smoothly, perhaps ‘Maria was propped up on two pillows, a crocheted shawl…. etc’ 
      Maria’s attempts to tell Roman about Elouna are vividly drawn and I love the way you take us with her, we share her painful reticence and concern about how Roman will receive the news.
      I’m not sure your struggles are evident, these are two scenes that really drive the story forward.

      • Hi Anne, thank you for your comments. There was a shop in Bradford’s Kirkgate market from the late 1940s called the continental that sold Polish food because of the high number of Polish, Ukranian and Latvian immigrants who lived there and worked in the mills. But thanks for the check.

        I hadn’t intended for Bridget to be toying with Roman, I meant to show her as playful and a little excited: She’s just been telling Kay she’s concerned about how much she doesn’t know about Roman then he turns up with a big romantic gesture and she falls for him again: In this scene she reminds him she hasn’t agreed to marry him as he is about to send the letter to his mother to say he has good news, which they both know means he will be getting married to Bridget. I will take out the sly and change the tone of this as Bridget does not toy with people’s feelings and has so far garnered many fans.

        • Great, I’m invested in Bridget and Roman’s story and want them to love each other to bits, no side games to tease or test each other unless they both recognise this as gentle fun. Phew!

  • Hi Marijo, thanks so much for that. Yes, I do need to remove the authorial voice and will tweek to your comments. My holiday was a blast and I want more! Keep well.

  • Marijo, as always compelling, complex, rewarding to read, intriguing and more and more I root for Barry yet want to tell him to get a life, get-over-it at the same time. Well done for getting me to shout at the screen!

    Just a silly question, if Barry crashed the hearse while drunk driving wouldn’t he have lost his driving licence so I’m…[Read more]

  • Hi Sharon, thank you so much for your valuable feedback. I have sent you a private message. Love Julie

  • Don’t be daft _ we’ve all started while learning the basics as we go. If you like omniscient the most, and you write well in it – why not stick to it. But as you say, this is only draft two and we can’t fix everything at once otherwise we would be paralysed with fear! Keep going on your fun, and intriguing story:)

  • Hi Anne, thank you for your helpful feedback once again. Bridget Blushes because she’s stumbled into something she knows little about – the mention of Germany and what Roman’s mother was doing there – I can’t show what she’s thinking as the scene is from Roman’s POV but I will build in some body language to develop this more.

    I agree in the…[Read more]

  • Hi Anne, lots of things going on this week. The hostel Melanie’s moved into sounds like a daunting place for such a shy, unworldly young woman as she. Maybe showing or describing her awkwardness in interactions with the up-front girls would add to her character development and to why she ended up so quickly in the clutches of Horton – to escape…[Read more]

  • Hi Anne, I’m catching up after holiday – not fully back in spirit so bear with me. 🙂

    Horton’s journal is creepy – what more can I say. Are you now presenting her from her character POV.

    I’m wondering about Melanie’s rapid transition from molly-coddled to wanna-be independent young thing. It’s a little too neat maybe? I think given her…[Read more]

  • Marijo, I’m catching up after holiday but I really have nothing to add but praise. The emotional density and build up in this section is overwhelming. I understood why no-one would approach a guy with a body bag: its not like they’d lean casually over and strike up chit chat. Barry fumbling the files with rubber gloves is such an image/metaphor…[Read more]

  • Thanks for your great feedback

  • Thanks for great feedback

  • Post 12 of the 52 Rewrite (previously scenes 20 and 21)

    (In the previous scene, Bridget has told Roman she is pregnant)

    Roman sat back down on the rock and took Bridget’s hand, he had a plan of sorts, and t […]

    • Week 12
       
      Hi Julie
      More lovely settings. On this gorgeous day we see the cracks due to the very different histories of these two. Bridget has had her share of misfortune with her family but she still doesn’t know the extent of what happened to Roman, and at one point she seems to not believe him.
      The sound of the brass band evoking memories of the Nazis is a good bit of ‘small’ writing – you’ve shown us how possibly for the rest of his life, these memories will haunt him.
      ‘In Germany, what was she doing in Germany?’ Roman watched Bridget blush.’ It’s not clear why she was blushing here. I’d be interested in knowing what she’s thinking at this point.
      I’d never thought that Bridget might feel that Roman may be embroidering his past, but this week shows us that she may not trust him, which we’ve not seen before.
      She worries that she doesn’t know much about Roman and is fearful that he might turn out like her father. She doesn’t want a life of babies and useless husbands. She even feels that he may be lying. But she’s in love with him and is knocked up, pretty good incentives to marry him in the late 1940s, grateful that he isn’t wriggling out of responsibilities. She’s dismissed the idea of having a baby and putting it up for adoption, and although she mentions hot baths and gin, she’s letting time run on a bit.
      He clearly loves her and want s them to be a family. I’m struggling to see what she thinks her realistic options are and wonder if her uncertainty is likely in these circumstances? Another major decision in the offing, tantalising us!

      • Hi Anne, thank you for your helpful feedback once again. Bridget Blushes because she’s stumbled into something she knows little about – the mention of Germany and what Roman’s mother was doing there – I can’t show what she’s thinking as the scene is from Roman’s POV but I will build in some body language to develop this more.

        I agree in the late 1940s Bridget had only one way forward – to marry – but she still feel trapped at the same time and voices it to Kay. I take your point and will look at presenting her dilemma more clearly. The realisation of marriage to a near-stranger has focussed Bridget on what she doesn’t know about Roman and any inconsistencies in his story so I will develop this aspect. Lots for me to think about. Many thanks Anne.

    • Hi, Julie This was a well written scene. it was easy to follow and the dialogue worked very well. I am glad she has a friend like Kay. Roman seems a little too pushy for her right now, but he is just excited. Thanks for the scene, Sharon

      • Hi Sharon, thank you so much for your valuable feedback. I have sent you a private message. Love Julie

    • Hi Julie,

      The first scene is interesting because Bridget is doing a lot of the comforting.
       I wonder if she feels manipulated at all in this scene–Roman is so excited and being pushy, and not really taking her doubts or thoughts into consideration, and he’s also sharing part of his very tragic past for the first time.  That’s a lot, and emotionally confusing.
      She comforts and affirms him but doesn’t go so far as to give him what he wants–an immediate family– even though it is suggested in this scene that he thinks that is the solution to all he and his family have endured. 

      The scene does feel more omniscient than Roman’s POV. I wonder how it would feel if we had more access to Roman’s thoughts here. He tells her some, but not all. Is he at all afraid she’ll bolt? Or, is it because he’s afraid to think of certain things? The description of his reaction to dogs hints that there’s more, and is compelling. 

      I’m impressed with Bridget that she sticks to her guns in this scene, doesn’t immediately say “yes” even though she has to know the limited choices available to her. 
      There’s a lot of dialogue, and not so much of your characteristic description, in this scene and you handle it well. I do think there are a few places where the author’s voice popped in, specifically in these two phrases: “as he asked his pivotal question” AND “with his stare to drive home this most crucial truth for him.” 
      I think those are lines which would be better replaced with inner thinking. 
      The owl detail is great. 

      A few little things/suggestions:
      Delete “above” in the blazing blue. Already mentioned clouds, redundant and like the rhythm of the sentence better without it.

      Lowercase the second resettlement here: I keep writing to Red Cross and one day, when I in Yorkshire resettlement camp, letter come from them to say my mother she alive and in Resettlement camp in Scotland.’ 

      Lowercase romantic: That’s so Romantic,’ 

      Capitalize Red Cross here: That’s what I thought before red cross letter.’
      Lowercase church: ‘But we can’t marry in a Church,’ Bridget said

      I love the second scene, and the introduction of that awful Nancy. I really feel for Bridget in this scene because, sweet as Roman is, he’s not offering her any breathing room, time to think.

      Hope you had a lovely vacation!

      • Hi Marijo, thanks so much for that. Yes, I do need to remove the authorial voice and will tweek to your comments. My holiday was a blast and I want more! Keep well.

  • POST 11 OF 52 REWRITE

    April 1948

    Two weeks had passed since Bridget stood up roman, and he had carried on with his life.  This morning he felt the power in his legs as he cycled through the park to work, Andrej […]

    • Anne replied 2 weeks ago

      Hi Julie
      What a lovely scene. Ro-mance is notoriously difficult (unless you like Barbara Cartland et al) but you’ve pulled it off beautifully. A bit like Goldilocks finding the middle way – not too soppy, not too brash. It also shows the prevailing norms – ruined girl, boy might bolt (but true love wins). What’s not to like?
      The settings are vivid (and seasonal – I’m impressed by your knowledge of things like damselflies, I’m not even sure I could identify one!). The bit where they’re sitting by the towpath is especially good, I feel Spring in the air even at 9.30pm.
      ‘‘It’s meant to be Andrej.’ Roman said.’ A comma after, ‘to be’ is needed, otherwise the sense is completely different.
      Roman choking with laughter in the canteen shows us how his emotions have been tamped down and now there’s a welcome release for the tension he’s just been feeling about Bridget.
      The way he queries her comment about him being forward was great, throws up the idiosyncrasies of the English language. I really like the way you weave these things in.
      The revelation of Bridget’s pregnancy is a good way of showing us how far the relationship has developed. We don’t need the details, in fact I think it’s stronger for them not being laboured.
      ‘the signs of life glimpsed by washing that flapped on outdoor lines …’ is ambiguous, I know what you mean but it sounds as though the washing is doing the glimpsing. Perhaps something along the lines of ‘She caught glimpses of everyday life as the bus …. : washing flapping on outdoor lines, women gathered …’ etc.
      The end is wonderful (although it makes the reader itch to turn the page, which we can’t do on site): what is Roman’s plan???
      I hope you enjoyed writing this as much as readers will enjoy it.

    • Hi Julie!

      Another lovely scene so easy to picture because of your exquisite setting details. I especially love how you describe birds. 
      Andrej’s dialogue and action create tension well in this first scene. The reader can’t help but love him and how he always looks out for Roman. 
      You describe Roman’s smittenness with Bridget perfectly. I like how both these scenes involve food, and how food helps to reveal their emotions and predicaments. 
      Roman and Bridget’s dialogue is realistic and touching.

      A few suggestions:
      Perhaps a physical description of Kay. I always like a few details when a new character is introduced. 
      I’m not sure how I feel about his transition: “The summer of 1948 was hot.” It sounds a little too authorial to me and pulled me out. 

      In the first sentence, Roman’s name needs a capital letter and so does it here: Bridget took the bus to meet roman at the foot of the glen the following weekend.  

      I think I prefer this line: “He thought she better not take me for a chump” this way: She better not take me for a thump, he thought. 

      But honestly, it feels like I’m nitpicking because these two scenes flow seamlessly.

    • Hi. Julie i enjoy this scene. When you put the dates and months by the paragraphs, it was off a little. I read that they were going to meet at the funicular (They seem to be just getting to know each other), then it says June and she is already pregnant. I think more time would have passed before she thought she might be pregnant. I wouldn’t happen in a month. Also, weren’t they just beginning to date ( at the funicular), and then she is pregnant. If she is so concerned about what her parents might think, I doubt she would be having sex with Roman after their second date. It just all seemed to happen too fast for the morals of that generation. I like your characters, and hate to see them in this situation. Thanks again, Sharon

  • Hi Anne, once again I thank you for your close reading and feedback – being entertained and critiquing at the same time is a hard turn but you manage it very well. I am totally in favour of typos and missing words being pointed out as we are all blind to our own work. And thanks for the tip on the sentence where Andrej is reading – it didn’t feel…[Read more]

  • Marijo what amazing scenes, so diverse, humour in spades full, sadness seeping out of the young child’s death, the horror of realisation of how near Barry was to going to prison yet he was seemingly unconcerned about himself. Cheryl drawing away and the hideous Henry delivering cold scripted lectures. Absolutely marvellous. I laughed and cried in…[Read more]

  • Do not beat yourself you’re a wonderful writer.
    .

  • On the Saturday morning Melanie dressed in her weekend clothes for the occasion. The pale blue dress was shirt-waisted and long-sleeved, modest and unremarkable, and the navy shoes and bag completed the image of suburban gentility. I’m wondering if this section is in Melanie’s viewpoint, would she make the last observation about herself? I think…[Read more]

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Julie

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@xyphat1969

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