Thursday, August 14, 2014

Friday Feedback: How to Keep Going When Your Inner Critic Chimes In, A Few Words About Querying, and a Standing Offer.

my kids hate these sunglasses.

Whoa! Hold on one minute!!!

No one, but NO one, said summer could go this fast.


I mean, seriously, like mind-blowingly fast.

Alas, it has, and, thus, it is somehow our last official day -- and our last official Friday Feedback -- of the 2014 Teachers Write! summer.

*cue tears* Because, trust me, we are all as sad as you are.

Yet, all we can do is make the most of it. Go out with a bang! So, this modgepodge post will contain:

1. some hopefully valuable information on how to keep going when your inner critic chimes in, from Sarah Darer Littman (& a few others);

2. my now-usual parting gift (you'll see in a moment if you're new here...);

3. the name of the winner of the belated-but-not-forgotten drawing for an Advance Review Copy of Amy Fellner Dominy's A MATTER OF HEART which comes out next spring!

and, of course,

4. Some last-gasp Friday Feedback sharing of any excerpt of your choosing!

It's a long, long post, so apologies, but there's lots I wanted to cover. So, without further ado, here's Sarah, with:

#1. How to keep going when your inner critic chimes in...
Sarah is the author of the forthcoming BACKLASH,
WANT TO GO PRIVATE? and several other amazing
YA novels. Click the link and read all about her!

The Inner Crazy Lady:

After reading some campers' feedback to Gae’s question on the Teachers Write Facebook page the other day about how we might improve consistent participation in Teacher’s Write throughout the summer,  I started to recognize a familiar friend – or, more accurately, a familiar “Frenemy" -- showing up in your comments.

I call mine, “The Inner Crazy Lady.” You might call yours “The Inner Crazy Guy” or “The internalized voice of my hyper critical parents/friends/relatives” or, simply, "Bob."

What this particular "friend" does is sabotage your writing process – inhibiting the free flow of creativity, making you afraid to put another word on the page, preventing you from finishing what you started.

Sarah's ICL probably tried to stop Backlash
from being written. I'll say Beyotch!
*meanwhile, if you're reading captions,
write "I read captions" in your comment to
be entered to win an ARC of Sarah's Backlash!
Winner announced next week
on the TW! facebook page! 
How does The Inner Crazy Lady (or Bob) do this?  By telling you it sucks. That this is THE WORST THING EVER WRITTEN IN THE HISTORY OF EVER. By saying that you’re not a writer, you’re a fraud. My ICL still says tells me this even though my fifth book comes out next March, I’ve written many other work-for-hire books, and I have been paid to write political opinion columns since 2003. Put simply, she is a total beyotch.

As soon as I hear one of my students apologizing for their work before they’ve even read it, I give them “The Inner Crazy Lady” talk. I tell them how I’ve learned to trick the ICL by writing my first drafts as fast as I can, so that hopefully I’m finished by the time she wakes up and starts harassing me. If she does start up, thanks to Anne Lamott I have an answer for her: “Girl, this is just a sh*tty first draft. I’m just getting words on the page. I CAN FIX IT (“it” being whatever her complaint is at the moment) IN REVISION.”

Why do I call her a frenemy rather than simply an enemy? Because the Inner Crazy Lady is also responsible for my driven almost to the point of insanity work ethic, and for how I try to learn from the experience of writing each book (including the criticism) so that I can do better on the next one.  It’s okay that she hangs around -just not while I’m writing the first draft.

Find the strategies you need to keep your Inner Crazy Lady (or Bob) in check. And don’t think you’re alone! Every author has one.


Amy Fellner Dominy, author of OyMG, Audition & Subtraction,
and the forthcoming A Matter of Heart on her inner critic...

and, Charlotte Bennardo, co-author of the Sirenz Series & Blonde Ops

and, me, author of The Pull of Gravity & The Summer of Letting Go

#2. a parting gift... So last year, and maybe the year before, I made a so-far standing offer to any TW! camper who regularly participated on Friday Feedback to review your query letter for any of your WIP's when ready. This summer, I hereby extend this offer. I know this gift only really helps those of you who are working on your own fiction, but, hey, camp is free, and at least it's a little something. BEFORE you send my your queries, I beg of you, please do your research on how to write a query letter and read this post: Friday Feedback: KISS those Queries! While the advice in there is harsh and limiting, I stand by it. Though I have seen the rare query that violates these rules and still gets requests, you'd better believe it was because the manuscript described was exactly what that agent was looking (or, hoping) for. If you find yourself ready to query, feel free to contact me at my email or through my facebook author page;

#3. The winner of an ARC of Amy's Fellner Dominy's of A MATTER OF HEART,

as determined in a purely random drawing involving only me, your names on folded paper, and my son's green golf hat, 

but carefully supervised by the accounting firm of My Son's Dog, Charlie. . . 

is Linda Mitchell!!!! Linda, email me at and I'll put you in touch with Amy for mailing information!

and, last, but not least, 

4. Friday Feedback. You know the RULES! Since it's just you and me today, I'll share a passage from the very middle of my WIP I'm turning in to my agent as we speak! Wish me luck! The story takes place near NYC on the day of, and in the few immediate days after, 9/11. The MC Kyle brings home a girl who has amnesia (and some other weird things) and he hasn't exactly figured out how to tell his cop dad, whose been busy down at the site, that he's brought her there... fyi, we don't know the girl's name, and Kerri is Kyle's sister. . .  So, what works for you? What doesn't? Does it compel you to keep on reading? 

See you in the comments!

Kerri’s door is still shut.
            I knock as quietly as I can, then open it a crack without waiting. So she doesn't call out, to tell me it’s okay to come in.
            Except I don’t need to worry about that.
Because she’s not in the room anymore.
            Kerri’s bed is empty. Made up. My plaid pajama pants folded neatly on the pillow.
            I run down the hall to the bathroom even though it’s clear she’s not there. The door is wide open, the toothbrush I gave her gone from the sink.
            My heart races. Why did she leave without telling me?
            I close the door and sit on the toilet to think, then figure, screw it. If she’s gone, she’s gone. What am I going to do about it? 
            It’s her problem, right? Not mine.
I close my eyes and lean back against the cold tank, shake my head against the thoughts that creep in.
The girl on the bridge in those wings.
At the edge.
Leaning way out over the water. . .
            I try to think back to my sister’s room. Did she take the wings with her? I don't remember seeing them on the chair.
I look helplessly around the bathroom wondering if I said something to bother or upset her? Wondering if she left me some clue.
My eyes pause on the magazine basket. It’s out of place a little, maybe. Rifled through. Jutting from the base of the cabinet.
On top is a June issue of the New York Insider magazine with a photo of Washington Square Park on the cover. Stone archway, pink trees in massive bloom. In an inset, a photo of those three asshole prep school boys who they say raped that exchange student this past summer.
Was that just a few weeks ago?
It was such a huge story back then.
I shove the basket back with my foot, and stand up. Why can’t I be an uncaring asshole like they are?
I mean, really. Why do I care about the girl?
It's great news that she’s gone!
Now, she’s not my problem anymore.
I'm relieved!
I should be relieved.
So why do I feel so crappy?

See you all next summer! Or maybe for a few periodic FF's between now and then?! 
xox gae

p.s. please continue to buy, share, tweet and review the titles of all the Friday Feedback guest authors. Word of mouth is everything to most of us! 


  1. I read the captions. And I read your piece. I think it works really well with the inner questioning. I could get the sense of being inside the character's head, and I could visualize them easily as they were looking at the magazines that seemed to have been rearranged. The contrast with the boys in the New Yorker also works well. I know my teenage students would see themselves in the character.

  2. Dear Gae-

    You are the best. I read the captions. Linda, you lucky writer, you.

    First - on the WIP - I love how you create your visuals. I had to just check because my head saw those pajamas folded on the pillow and I was going to tell you that I even had imagined that they were plaid - but you gave it to me so smoothly that I didn't realize that was part of the description, I was so caught in the moment. You've created a beautifully suspenseful description that puts us right into the hero's confused head. I love the magazine cover visuals too.

    But that brings me to a minor petty thought: would they have photos of the accused boys if they were minors? Also - he could just check to see if the wings are in his sister's room, rather than wondering if they are there. I think I'd either have him check, or be certain that they were missing as well as the girl....

    I absolutely wish I knew what was up with the wings and the girl leaning over the water. I'm so looking forward to reading more about her. Thank you for sharing your WIP and your hero and for pete's sake write fast. Don't leave me here without your story!

    Thank you so much for all of your critiques, encouragement, instructions, and badassery this summer. You're kind of my hero.

    I think you have the backstory you need for this from previous weeks, but if not, I think all you need to know is that Lola is a dog and she's been living in a shelter. Owen is my mc.

    No one fed Lola breakfast.

    She sat on Owen’s foot and looked up with large brown eyes. He rubbed her head and attached a water bottle to the side of the hard sided crate.

    Trailing him as he carried the box outside, Lola bumped his bare calf with a wet nose.

    Owen smiled at her. He smelled of peanut butter. Lola licked her muzzle and wagged her tail. The regrown hair was luxuriously long and white. The plumage was very effective at catching people’s attention. Usually.

    The bedding Lola slept on had been washed. Owen reached into the gray crate and patted it down on the bottom. Lola sniffed. Her aroma had nearly been washed off. She trotted in and rolled onto her back to reestablish her scent turf.

    Owen shut the crate door, squeezed the prongs that secured the latch, and fastened it.

    The courier arrived to escort Napa Valley’s Sophia Lauren to the airport.

    Owen watched as the car pulled away. There was no barking. No paw waved. No head hung from the window, mouth open to catch the breeze. She was just gone.

    Thank you.

  3. I'm battling so much more than the inner critic. I have a time issue. I let the summer fly by and now school has started and I can't get the time for putting my butt in the chair. I know if I really cared, I'd find the time.

    Thanks so much for all you do to support teacher-writers. I loved your excerpt. The inner thoughts sound real to me and the foreshadowing with the magazine article brilliant. (Of course, I'm just assuming it's a foreshadowing and that's why it's brilliant.)

    A few weeks ago I posted a scene with Blessen meeting a social worker. Here is the continuation. Thanks again for reading!

    The chapel doors have two long windows of red glass. A circle with a cross in the center. We walk into the small, dark room. I remember the chapel at the convent, how
    Harmony was clueless and didn’t care. I
    smell the familiar burning oil. We sit together in a back pew. Again, Miss Juliet turns her legs toward
    me. This time I feel trapped, like she
    is afraid I may bolt.

    She puts her iPad on the other side of her, open to a page
    of notes, but the light blinks off. The
    room darkens. The only light is the
    sanctuary candle next to the alter and red light streaming in twin towers
    through the doors.

    “Blessen, why were you and Harmony on the grounds of the

    “We were hiding there, in the shed.” I decide there is no use lying. Whatever happens, happens.

    Miss Juliet thinks I may not tell the truth. “It’s OK to tell me the truth, Blessen. I am only interested in Harmony’s safety and
    yours, of course. I need to know if
    Harmony was being abused by her foster family.”

    Abuse is a strong word.
    How could I say she was abused?
    Not understood or given any attention, maybe, but not abuse.

    “No, ma’am. Harmony
    was not being abused. Mrs. Landry was
    just busy, you know, with all the children she had to look out for. She didn’t care much for Harmony. Couldn’t even remember her name. That’s not abuse, but it’s not right.”

    “I’m sorry you had to see that, Blessen. We try to make the best placements we
    can. But it’s not always ideal. I’m sure she would have adjusted.

    Now, tell me about the accident. How did she break her arm?”

    “I had to go home for a little while to get us some
    food. I wasn’t gone long. We had climbed the angel tree before. She loves that tree. She sings when we are near it. She’s usually so careful, but I guess when
    she saw me coming, she lost her footing.
    I don’t know for sure. But she
    fell, and her arm.”

    I stop there. I can’t
    go on thinking about the shape of Harmony’s arm, the pain, the fear…

    Miss Juliet takes a deep breath. She reaches for her iPad and types in some
    notes. I clearly see the word

    “It’s OK. She’s going
    to be fine, I’m sure of it. Kids her age
    are resilient and after all she’s been through.
    I know you were trying to save her, protect her somehow, but you are
    just a child yourself. We will take over
    from here. I’ll try to find her a more
    conducive place to live.”

  4. Oh, Gae, thank you and all the other incredible, inspiring authors and contributors who make TW such a special experience. I can't believe this is the last week. Also, I read captions.

    Your piece--you know I love this story. I liked this piece very much. The only flash edit suggestion is that I think you could pare some of the interior monologue because you do such a beautiful job of showing without telling. (Why did she leave without telling me, Why can't I be an uncaring asshole). I love the tension, the mystery, and the voice. And I want to know more, more, more.

    It was so hard to pick a last piece for feedback, but this comes from early in my WIP, when Skyler interrupts a group of kids who are roughing up Dale Evans. This is the first conversation between my MCs.

    “How do you like it here?”

    “At this school?” He looks at me, incredulous.

    “The mountains are nice, right? And downtown has fun
    things—there’s always a parade at Memorial Day, and then the summer festival, and the library—you should definitely go there if you haven’t. And then the mill and the park. And there’s a great trail by the old train tracks.” I’m yammering away, as if it’s deeply important to me what Dale Evans thinks of our town. Like I’m the Welcome Wagon and Craven Creek Town Council rolled into one.

    “Okay.” He stares, blinking like he’s maybe a little bit
    frightened of me.

    “So I hope you’ll feel right at home soon.” Which is
    incredibly stupid, since I just interrupted someone from messing up all his stuff and probably from shoving his head in a toilet.

    Dale Evans's hand hesitates on the metal bar you push to
    open the doors.

    “If you need a place to eat lunch sometime, the table
    by the Coke machine is open to anyone,” I blurt, sounding like a complete idiot.

    His eyes widen even more, and he pushes open the door,
    teetering with the weight of his backpack and the sudden brightness of the sun.

    I turn right, and start out toward the farm stand. But
    I can’t help noticing that Dale Evans, who is struggling with the lock on his bicycle, takes a look to see which way I’m going before pedaling off in the opposite direction.

  5. Terry,
    You have made me completely fall for Owen this summer, and I always look forward to reading more of his story. I'm going to miss him. The details here about no breakfast, no scent, created a foreboding (I was relieved when the courier came for her instead of something else), and I love how you interspersed Lola's point of view with Owen's. And I like the sense of a new beginning for Lola and the feeling of loss for Owen.

  6. Your excerpt pulled me right in! I really want to know what happens next. I even googled the park incident mentioned because it seemed so real I thought maybe it was a real incident.

    This piece is something I wrote in my journal but thought I could work it into my story...

    This morning was very still, so I decided to take the canoe out before breakfast. With a hollow clunk the canoe turned over and I dragged it to the lake, scraping over the stones on the shore, and dropping it with a kerplunk to splash onto the water. I had to walk out on the pier to maneuver myself clumsily into the rowing position. Once I was in the canoe, we were graceful together. I paddled along the shore wondering at all the mansions that have replaced the ramshackle cottages. Here and there a lonely reminder stands amidst the almost new, already for sale palaces.
    There wasn't much wildlife to be seen, so I decided to go under the grade. To do this, one has to hunker down in the the canoe, so once again I was grace-less. As I came out on the other side, a driver going across Whalen's Grade peered at me in concern. No worries- just a crazy girl out early in the morning in a canoe...
    Instead of lily pads and frogs, all that was to be seen were globs and slop of algae, so I quickly went back under the grade, driven home by hunger. The lake was now rippled by the wind, so I returned just in time.

  7. Jane-
    I've loved your shares this summer too. I'm so glad you're here.
    I love how Skyler is trying so hard to be friendly, and Dale is so uncertain how to interpret her. I love Dale, of course, and I'm getting a feel of Skyler here as well. (Although I'd really love to see how she interrupted/broke up the bullying.) You balance the signs of Dale's emotions (eyes widening) with the setting (bright sun and the weight of his backpack beautifully.
    I don't see anything I'd alter, frankly. (I'm trying to use LAW strategy here.) I wonder how Skyler is going to become friends with Dale. I wonder what Dale might be hiding. I wonder what Skyler is like and I'd love to read more of your story.

  8. Thank you, Jane. It's so reassuring when a scene conveys what I've hoped for.

  9. good for you, Shirley! ;) First one to be really paying close attention. *hands you a cookie* Glad the piece is working for you. Let's hope the whole thing works for my agent! ;) *breathes* Have a great school year and keep writing! <3

  10. Oh, Terry! First your piece. Here's the thing -- and to me, as a writer, almost the only thing that matters: I LOVE Owen. I am rooting for him. I long to see him in print. And I love the simplicity of the opening line of this section. "No one fed Lola breakfast." That.

    I'm so excited for you and this story. Whatever it is, it needs to be written and told. Keep going.

    p.s. as for your comments on my piece, thank you. Interesting about the inset ... I was thinking the boys are not minors... 18+ and thinking of the freshman lacrosse players a few years ago who did have their faces plastered everywhere... so I'll go back and clarify if need be! Thank you!

  11. hah! See?! I hadn't read Jane's comment first... we are all in love with Owen. And that is pretty much everything. Also, the poignancy of the last sentences... beautiful!

  12. Margaret, too, I love Blessen and Harmony. And your descriptions are so visual as well. I love that it's an angel tree, I love the sleepy feel of the church with its bursts of stained glass, and the pressure to be honest with an adult. All wonderful.

    I think you may be missing the word "broke" here?

    I don’t know for sure. But she
    fell, and her arm.”

    As for time... sometimes there are just periods when we can't or don't make time. I feel a new burst of writing energy just around the corner. <3

    Keep going!

  13. Ah, Jane, we're on a roll, since I love Dale Evans, too! Wish I knew your MC's name... do I?! Love the little touches in this scene -- there's humor (the Welcome Wagon line) and poignancy, and great visuals "sudden brightness of the sun..." etc. One place I think you can pull back is feeling the need to tell us how almost each line of dialogue is said, especially since you have so successfully set the scene and chosen words etc. so that by the time we get to, " I blurt, sounding like a complete idiot." We get that she's already feeling this and read it right in. Which is funny, since we've basically given each other the same sort of feedback! Which goes to show you why a second set of objective eyes are so darned good!

    But like you said, minor and nitpicky! I'm wanting to know what happens with your MC and Dale Evans! Keep going!

  14. Kristina, what a lovely, descriptive piece. So much to fill the senses: sight and sound and a visceral early-morning feel.

    Since it's still a new, obviously-raw journal piece, I'm not offering any constructive crit whatsoever. Just enjoying the loveliness of it, and all it evokes, which is plenty! Keep writing!

  15. Thank you so much, Gae and Terry. I appreciate the suggestions and especially the love for Skyler and Dale Evans. That means so much to me.

  16. Duh, me! It's right there in your lead in! Skyler. As in Frankie Sky/Schyler! Double Duh! :) Can you tell how tired I might be? <3

  17. I am posting this from my phone while sitting on the beach with my mother who keeps asking me WHAT am I doing??!! My summer is ending this weekend, and I have loved TW! Thank you for an amazing summer!

    She waited until she heard the door slam and the sound of their old, exhausted car started up. The car was one of the many things that Penelope and Simon heard their parents arguing about when they were supposed to be asleep.
    One night Simon found Penelope sitting in the hall, listening to her parents from behind their closed door.
    “What are you still doing up?” After Simon turned sixteen he acted like he didn’t have a bedtime anymore, and that he was in charge of Penelope’s. Even though it was an hour after her bedtime, Penelope thought that someone who still chewed with his mouth open and smelled like an ape had no business telling her when she was supposed to be in bed.
    “Shhh, I want to see who wins.” Penelope’s mom hated the car. It was old, the interior was torn, and it smelled like leftover meatballs. Her dad insisted everything could be fixed, if her mom would just carpool or take the bus for a few days to let him figure out why it sometimes stalled. Penelope hated the car too, when it backfired people on the sidewalks stared at them, or ducked, since it was really loud.
    “You know you aren’t supposed to be eavesdropping. Go to bed.”
    Penelope knew Simon would tell on her if she didn’t budge. But she knew who would win anyway, because there was no money for a new car. And her dad really didn’t know how to fix cars, he just liked to keep busy.

  18. Gae, I love everything about the idea of this book, and even this short piece gives a sense of complexity between the characters. There are so many things I am curious to know about the MC, the girl and the whole situation. I hope editing goes quickly so we can look forward to another new release soon!


    Ok, since it's our last day, I should be thinking endings but I'm going to share what I didn't share way back at the start. This is the opening paragraphs to my first ch, when you first meet Carinne & Liam, mother & son. Any feedback is welcome -- it's not a new draft, so it's fair game to be picky.


    There is a young boy in the garden behind his small brick house on Edka Street, beneath spreading oak limbs, kneeling at the edge of the grass, his knees in fresh-turned soil under the fragrantly blooming lilacs which he is just old enough to know are his mother’s favorite. From the kitchen window, his mother sees first that he has uprooted at least one of the fragile impatiens she finished planting only yesterday and dries her hands to go to him.

    The image will stay with Carinne long, not for the overturned flowers. Her son frozen, his left hand deep in soil, his chin turned skyward, distracted from his digging by the roar of a plane passing overhead,
    his eyes riveted on the tiny silver spark of metal at the front of the foamy white line being drawn across the sky. He is her son and images like this emblazon themselves upon her, even as mothering goes on about its business: ready to scold him for digging up the beds, anticipating the interruption in her work as she scoops him up to carry him for a bath. She has not yet taken in what he holds in his hand. Only halfway there, perhaps, will she wonder over the fetal curl of the furry shape, thinking she does not remember him owning this stuffed animal. Only when close will she see it for what it is: his right
    hand digging a hole in the garden, his mind paused over the passing jet, his left hand raised to cradle a small, stiff corpse.

    She will not remember in the same way he does the day some weeks earlier that she found a dead bird. Had he not been with her, it would have been a non-event, the bird scooped up with a shovel or protective mitt of newspaper and tossed in the large can in the garage, hopefully close enough to trash day to not have time to begin to stink. Only, he had been there -- physical conscience at her heels, a tiny sponge shadowing her to absorb every necessary truth about life – so she had chosen to teach him about dignity and had inadvertently taught him about death.

    She had taken him out back to the foot of the oak tree where they never planted flowers, so no risk of re-exhuming the body, and dug a
    little hole between the roots. She did not make too much of it. She only asked him to collect dry leaves or weed-flowers from the grass in order to distract his little hands from their curious need to touch everything.

    “Is it sleeping?” he asked.

    “No, Tigerbear. The bird is dead. His soul has gone on to live in heaven. He doesn’t need his body anymore. He is done with it.”

    It had been done, over with, one of the million tiny mothering moments of any day.

    It had been more for Liam. She did not know that nearly every day for the next week or more he had dug the bird back up, uncovering the rolled shroud of paper towels and plastic bag, unfurling them until the bird lay again at his feet. To her, the body was something soon bug-ridden and rotten; to him, it held the fascination of a bird stopped in motion to be seen up close, the wonder of how black feathers held in them the full rainbow iridescence of gasoline droplets on water. Are you still there? his little boy mind needed to know. What do you look like today?

  19. your writing takes my breath away.

  20. Rebecca, so glad it's been a good experience for you! And yay for being at the beach, and for moms and for still wanting to post. I love this lovely little moment of captured sibling rhythm... don't we all know this feeling, sitting listening to our parents for some clue bigger than we even know? Wonderful and I love the opening descriptive of the car! Keep going!

  21. Thank you, Gae. I will miss you looking over my shoulder and encouraging me. You are a terrific cheerleader and I adore you.

  22. Gae and Jane, I love how you edited each other the same way, and you are both right... ;-) Both of your pieces are so wonderful, I hope Jane finds this comment too. Both your pieces are so full of images I can really imagine.

    Sigh. I almost didn't make it over here. I'm actually actively working this set of scenes for second edits right now, so perfect timing. And I won't won't won't be critical of me, because hey, I removed the word 'limpingly" from this excerpt just moments ago. I've gotten through the thrid pass on some sections back to stuff I haven't seen in many months. It's fun. And - limpingly????? Kate is on her way to enlist, getting a ride with friend Donny. I hope I didn't post this same scene last year but I don't think so. Still working the last paragraph but if I don't post it now, I won't get a chance later. Love love you all. I've learned so much, again.


    “Oh, yes, I’m sure that I am the wizard of the hen house,” Kate laughed, trying to relax. She felt so nervous. She knew her mind; this was just the thing she wanted. Maybe that was why she was so keyed-up, then. She was finally doing what she wanted.

    With a terrific bang, the truck swerved. Donny struggled to muscle it under control, swearing under his breath. They slewed along the road at an angle, jerking and thudding until he was finally able to slow and pull to the side of the road.

    Sighing, he exited the truck and headed straight for the front to bend over what he saw there. In disgust, he kicked the blown tire.

    “Sorry, Kate, you’d best climb out and find a place to sit a spell. Got us a flat. I do have a spare, thankfully. Lots of folks don’t bother, but I just hate having to patch a tire on the road.”

    Kate hated to make him change the tire himself, but he refused her offer of assistance, maintaining that she had to stay “pretty for them Navy folks,” and shooed her away to sit under the patch of shade thrown by a scraggly alder tree nearby.

    Twenty minutes later, they were under way again, Donny with a black smear across his cheek, and Kate with a new set of creases in the back of her dress, but none the worse for wear. She was glad for the fact that they were moving again, though it now felt as if all control had been taken out of her hands in some way. She was torn when they finally arrived, half glad that the waiting to get here was over, half afraid she had made the biggest mistake of her life.

  23. I so agree with Gae, Terry! Such great imagery.

  24. And I DID read the capitons. I forgot to put that in, and to say how much I love your Raffle***ter scheme.

  25. Gah, this is showing up as Guest! I need you to put your name with it!

  26. never mind, it also showed up in the body of your other comment, Valerie!

  27. Oh, it's wonderful, Valerie! Did I know Kate had enlisted? I only knew she was teaching right? So exciting! And I love how you left us hanging here. So modern a gal. Just love her to bits, and you! Keep going!

    p.s. "They slewed along the road at an angle..." Never heard the verb slew... now I have to go look it up. <3

  28. Oh, Valerie, I did find your comments, and thank you. I love Kate, and am thrilled to see this glimpse of her enlistment. Her spirit is always so indomitable, it is a nice twist to see her doubts, and I like how you deftly shifed (and deflated) her excitement with the flat tire. Coming back to the LAW method, this last cliffhanger made me wonder whether Kate makes big mistakes in judgment--she seems so rock solid, I'm curious to know what her missteps are. Just goes to show how much you've done to make Kate a character I cheer for and look forward to.

  29. Elissa, Wow. Your last lines cut deep. Beautiful writing, engaging start that makes me want to dive into your story and not come up until it is done. The only place I stumbled was "as she scoops him up to carry him for a bath" because it made me think she was already to him, and I had to go back. There is so much in this short section, so much revealed about the characters and the setting.

  30. Dear Gae and Sarah,
    Thanks for the motivating posts, the wonderful offer, and congrats to Linda! (Sorry to post so late- just catching up.)