Sunday Notes

So I’ve been working (which you probably noticed since the PoI posts were late) and trying really hard to remember this:


because this book is not inside my comfort zone at all.

On the other hand, when I look at it, it’s pretty much basic Crusie: an angry, pro-active heroine, a laidback hero, lots of food, a community of thousands, a dog . . . I do have a groove I stick to. And maybe making the hero the Devil is a way of keeping the groove from becoming a rut. I really don’t want to be an author who writes the same book over and over, even though there are authors who do that I really admire.

So I’m concentrating on saying, “Yes,” every time something outrageous pops up and I think, “No.” “No, that’s a bridge too far, no that’s too ridiculous, no that’s too trope-y.” Fuck it. Yes.

Here, have another massive chunk of WiP while I go work on The Adventures of Nita and the Devil on Demon Island. Massive as in “It’s the first act and it’s over 40,000 words and it can’t be much over 30,000 so let me know what parts can be cut, please.”

89 thoughts on “Sunday Notes

  1. Re: WiP – brilliant dialogue! I’m really liking Vince. 🙂

    What to cut: As a Brit, I have to say, not understanding the t-shirts thing. I don’t get about 90% of the references, and can’t picture what the t-shirts should look like. Is it important?

    1. I think maybe it’s more important to know that that’s what she values, T-shirts instead of professional clothes, but it’s a good thing to keep in mind. Thank you!

      1. Also, that they are very irreverent, pop culture-y, and not the sort of thing that a respectable 33-year-old would be wearing.

        Wonderfalls was a very short lived tv series where a young woman is suddenly plagued by inanimate objects talking to her and telling her to do things.

        1. I have that hoodie somewhere. It was a promo the show sent out to TV critics so there aren’t many of them. I love it, but I packed it away with all the other T-shirts and i haven’t unpacked those since I moved here. I decided I had to have every shirt Liz has, so that’s limited my reach, too. I had the Emily the Strange shirt, but the Lani’s daughter discovered the Emily comic books and asked if I had any, and I gave her mine and passed over the shirt, too. Absolute ecstasy on that kid’s face, it was so worth it.

          My take on Liz is that growing up in a small town she’d have been told to be careful because of the neighbors, and now as an adult, she’s doing everything she can to annoy the neighbors. Not that I would know anything about that.

          1. I think I’m still a bit confused by the t-shirts thing because I’m 30 years old and wear t-shirts to work all the time. In fact I am currently wearing a t-shirt with sequinned pineapples on it, plus matching pineapple earrings (and smart jeans, trendy shoes and a jacket). (And I look awesome.)

            I guess that I fundamentally don’t understand the cultural context of Barney? Seems that it must be massively different to Chicago, which in my experience is full of hipsters. Is Liz an ironic hipster, or more of a nerdy recluse type?

          2. Liz isn’t a hipster at all. She’s just Liz.
            I think she refutes the whole wear-a-nice-dress/suit thing because she’s so dead set on rejecting Birney and everything about it. But I also think she just likes t-shirts.

            But there really isn’t any doubt that she’s probably undercutting herself, meeting editors in T-shirts and jeans. Anemone’s probably on her about it, too.

          3. I love the references on the shirts. I think they help show her character. She’s eclectic and off beat. She’s not going for the main stream stuff.

  2. Well, chapter 1 down. And I’m going to be intelligent and save the rest for tomorrow.

    The “worst thing about traffic stops” paragraph that shows Liz’s thought patterns but is padding. You’d shown her world earlier.

    I mostly dislike first-person because many people write it too stilted but you make it easy to read. It’s other failing is that it gets chaotic when there are many others in an action scene. Word to wise, keep the clarity.

    Right. ZZZZ time.

  3. I think it reads fast. There were times when Liz was repeating herself but with so many characters who need to know that she is not there to break up the wedding it’s hard not to.

    I like Anemone. Hate the aunt. Fiery passion type hate. I don’t think I’ve ever disliked one of your characters quite so much before. I can’t even feel bad for her because her life didn’t turn out the way she wanted because she’s so nasty to everyone.

    1. I’m afraid of going over the top with her. She’s being pushed to the limit by other things in her life, and I don’t want her to be a cartoon.
      There are people like that. It’s just that fiction has to be more realistic than reality.

      I need to cut some of it, though. It’s way too long, and it’s just the first act. It’s a murder mystery, and I’ve probably got at least another twenty thousand words before somebody dies. Argh.

    2. M.L is terrifying, I actually felt afraid for the people around her while I was reading. Having Anemone on the phone telling Liz to get out of the car and not to leave here mother their made it feel like one of those high stakes hostage situations. I want to read more just to make sure ever one is safe.

  4. What a strange sort of round-about coincidence. I’ve been trying to learn Bowie’s “‘Heroes'” on the ukulele, and he often opens the song with the “Lavender’s Blue, dilly-dilly” refrain. Every time I hear it, I think about Liz Danger and wonder what she’s up to. (-: Now I can find out. Off to read it!

    1. That was great! I just want to know what’s next.

      Comments: By the end of chapter two, I was getting a little restless. “This is a mystery. When is the dead body going to appear?” But by the end of chapter three, the gossip had sucked me in. The pace really picked up by the last couple of chapters. I’m in, completely in.

      I have a bad feeling you are going to want to cut the food porn early in the book. Please don’t! It reminded me of delicious burgers in faraway places. With great fries to match . . . .

      I love how Liz’s car is her office, and people keep barging in to see her.

      Plus, the foreshadowing of Faye-who-was-Banky-Blue’s name is really quite good. When young master Banky shows up, I knew he had to be a relative. That’s got to be quite a problem when you have so many people with connections . . . .

      People love this kind of gossipy, “Mrs. Scott, you know, the one who was pregnant and everyone said . . .” sort of thing. Well, I do, anyway, even if I don’t know the principals in the action. If you are still looking for questionables, I would love to hear how this works in with conflict as a force for keeping the reader interested.

  5. Ok, I commented before I looked at the WiP and OMG it’s 9 chapters long and my heart just stuttered in a good way.

    1. I just checked the WiP page and the book about the book is no longer there. I know Liz Danger was one of the books, but I can’t remember if she was the one writing a book, and you were also going to give us that, or if someone was writing Liz Danger, and you were going to give us that. Does this make any sense?

          1. Ah, right.
            Patricia Gaffney and I were collaborating on a book for fun about two writers, one in America (mine, Rosie Malone) and one in Britain (hers). And we developed the books they’d written and did book covers for them. I put up a post about Rosie’s Liz Danger mysteries and we brainstormed titles here.
            And then Mollie looked at them and said, “You should write these,” and Pat and I got distracted by other things and I picked four of the titles and roughed out a plot for four mystery novels that taken together would make one big romance novel.
            That book Pat and I were working on was really good as I remember. Wonder where the WiP for that is. I might have lost it in the great Diet Coke Disaster that fried my laptop. Her stuff was amazingly good. It was epistolary because it was in the twenties (?) and they wrote letters back and forth.

            Edit: No, that’s wrong. They were two modern writers who started e-mailing because they had connections to two writers from the forties (?) so they were going through old letters and investigating a very cold crime having to do with the early writers. Rosie had met Georgia Malone when she was an undergrad and Georgia was elderly, and Georgia had willed her all her papers. And Claire over in England was Norris’s granddaughter? Great-granddaughter? So she had Norris’s papers. And they used those to piece together a puzzle while trying to avoid this insane mystery blogger who was hot on the trail of cold case dirt. I even have the website I made somewhere. . . Nope, I deleted it.

            Wonder what happened to that WIP. It was brilliant, I tell you. Genius.

          2. I love this community! Especially when someone figures out what the other person was talking about.

          3. Salpy and Georgia, I’ve been chuckling about this all day.

            And yes, I do have a life, lol. But this is the kind of thing that loops for me, in a good way.

  6. It’s hard to know what could be cut when you don’t know the whole story. Right now I don’t see the point of Belinda or so much George-time and feel Patsy has too much time. I also felt there was an unusual amount of repetition or at least thoughts and actions which were too similar in the first two chapters or so. I assume you’d get rid of that naturally in your editing process and it didn’t phaze me. Why does liz’s mom have to nag when I feel there should be defeated sadness instead? Aunt ML: I don’t hate hate her but I dislike her a lot and of course anemone’s reaction sets everyone on edge.

    All that being said, I love love loved it. I am seriously having to reconsider reading your wips because I am feeling depressed that I might never get the whole story. Seriously though: please don’t abandon all these lovely characters.

    I think you said you were having problems with the mystery part. I can’t see why. I read lots of mysteries and you seem on track.

    Your characterizations set you way ahead of the pack and while I sympathize with you wanting to get the plot part of your books perfect in your eyes, I hope you realize that you are far harder on yourself than your readers. We care about your people more than anything else. Or at least my friends and I do. None of which is meant to imply in the slightest your plots are weak. Your plots are great but your characters are simply superb.

  7. Oh, by the way: I recognize the need for extra characters. You need one we dislike to murder and a bunch we don’t love to be the actual and suspected murderers. This in addition to your usual largish cast of characters we love or will be redeemed. So probably George is there for a reason, for example

  8. So cut the repetition. Is it just Liz having to say over and over she’s not there to break up the wedding or is it other stuff, too?

    Because having things to cut is good.

    1. In no particular order:

      First and foremost: it is fabulous. Who cares about wordcounts anyway? Longer book means more enjoyment time.

      Second: It isn’t as tight as some of your books, but hey! it’s a draft. I would expect some overall trimming of the fat, as it were, and assume you’d get to it. It feels less to me like you need to kill individually scenes and more like you need to trim up what you have. With that in mind:

      I don’t mind the repetition about the wedding at all. Actually, I quite like it. I think it works very well and it did not seem repetitious to me. I think the “food porn” went on a bit too long. The real place I’m seeing repetition is that there are too many mini-recaps like this:

      “The sky was gray and grim, coming on for rain or snow and that seemed about right, since it was Burney. I was tense. First Belinda and then George Pens, both of them bringing back the good old days, then Patsy with the car stuff, and then the news about Cash, and in a couple of hours, I was going to have to go see my mother to drop off the bear, and I knew she was going mourn my lost chances with Cash, probably in stereo with my Aunt ML. Plus I had actually been looking forward to seeing the guy, which was just pathetic. That was me in Burney: pathetic and paranoid. All I had to do was get the hell out of town and I’d be fine.”

      Any one of the recaps is fine, but it felt to me like there were just too many of them, almost all of which were another way to say she hates Burney.

      I agree with another commentator that in general I felt the first couple chapters were a bit slow but then things picked up rapidly. I don’t see the point of Belinda. I don’t see the point of Duff but his scene was so amusing I don’t want you to take it out.

      Do you really need the bit about sliding down the bank into the mud at the beginning? It didn’t do anything for me.

      I got that Liz was a fixer, but it took a few chapters for that to come out. Initially, she seemed more likeable incompetent than a fixer, if that makes any sense. The mud scene is probably partly to blame for the fact it takes awhile for “fixer” to come out, in fact. Anyway, it might be good to introduce the idea of her as a fixer earlier.

      I don’t understand who Skye is supposed to be at all. She’s a mystery at this point. Good? Bad?

      I felt the scenes with Patsy went on a little too long.

      I feel the Jesus Year stuff could be cut, but it too is amusing and I’d just as soon it stayed.

      I’m confused about Liz’s mother. Is she a nagger in the abusive kind of way (initial setup)? Is she someone who is wounded because she rarely sees her daughter and wants to see her more (later scenes)? Yes people can change, and the bears indicate some kind of change, but the difference in tone between the beginning and end was difficult for me. And I think maybe there is a mysterious connection between Liz’s Mom and ML, maybe connected to the fact Mollie and Liz look so similar, but it is diffuse at this point. Possibly deliberately.

      I love all the specific lines that Jennifer loves in her post, but I didn’t think the part about the bears and concussion went on too long.

      I have some trouble warming to any guy who has slept around easily and it seems Vince has. Yes, I like him, but not nearly as much as I would have if he weren’t such a ladies’ man.

      Lavender…hm…. I thought you were setting her up to be misunderstood and a friend to Liz, although I still felt uneasy that maybe she was actually a bad guy playing everyone. So I could see it go either the way of new best friend or murderer, but it would be shocking to me at this point to have her murdered. So actually, I think that means you are playing it well. And you have a plot twist that will surprise. Why do you keep saying you don’t have a mystery? Clearly you do.

      To me, I think the sex scene would have been truer to Liz’s delight in the diner if it started at the counter with the coke, instead of off to the bed. But then again, you mean for the sex to be … less awesome than it could be so that you can make it more awesome later. So maybe that’s ok too.

      I think I would prefer to know earlier exactly what happened to make her flee town. It would make motivations clearer.

      I love Anemone and Peri.
      I love the sequences in Liz’s car.
      I love the Walt/Banky/What’s-her-name sequence.
      I love how Vince is always there.
      Actually, I love the wedding repetition.
      I have no trouble with Liz extending her stay each night.
      Agree with Helen about Will/Kenny and Skye.

      The dog bits: well, your books often have them and they are always enjoyable. I don’t know that Veronica is necessary and could therefore maybe be cut, but then again, why cut the dog bits when people enjoy them?

      All the critical comments are nitpicks in the grand scheme of things. The first couple chapters could be tightened, but it is simply grand. I wish you’d finish it. At this point I’m much more interested in Lavender than Nita.

      1. That’s very interesting that you see the mud thing that way. For me, I found the “falling in the mud; helping hand” to be a very natural thing. It almost seems like a trope, but I’m only coming up with Cordelia Naismith and Aral Vorkosigan in Shards of Honor, and possibly Lizzie walking through the mud, and Darcy sticking up for her, saying she looked rosy and healthy, in Pride and Prejudice. Maybe also when Ekaterin falls into the pond, and Miles Vorkosigan falls in after her — that’s in Komarr.

        Analyzing it ruins the trope a little bit, because single life isn’t a muddy mess. But for me, it does function as a signal. She (or sometimes He) has fallen into a rut, and — let the heavens open and the angels sing — here comes a helping hand. That helping hand almost always signifies The True Love. The helpmeet. The one who will be his/her support through sickness and health and whatever muck life can bring.

        At least, that’s what I see when I see that kind of scene.

  9. Love this. Sorry, that’s not very helpful as you want to cut it down…
    I’m in. All the way, can’t wait to know what happens, deeply IN.

    However, in the spirit of helping: do we need Belinda?

    1. You know, I don’t know.
      The perils of the first draft. I wanted a character Liz’s age to represent the gossipy nature of the town because Liz’s friends don’t do that: Molly, Jill, Mac, the Porters, they’re just not the kind of people who’d revel in mean gossip. Faye isn’t so much a gossip as somebody shaped by a fear of gossip. ML is above gossip, nobody dares say anything about her. Mom lives a quiet life after a scandal=-ridden youth. Kitty’s a pillar in the town. George is too professional to gossip. There really wasn’t anybody in there that embodied what Liz was rebelling against, or that insisted on casting her in the light of who the town thought she was when she left.
      So I don’t know. You’re the second person who’s called out Belinda, so maybe. I can see her so clearly in her office with the bad wood paneling sitting behind one of those heavy gray metal desks with a gray filing cabinet behind her, and on top of the cabinet is her homecoming queen tiara and behind that on the wall is her homecoming queen picture with Cash, and she’s dressed in poly double-knit, and every hair is in place, and she smiles ALL THE TIME, and inside she’s just seething but refuses to admit it.
      But if she doesn’t earn her story space by the end of the first draft, yeah, she goes.

      1. I was going to try and get through all nine chapters before I jotted down my thoughts, but then I started reading the comments…

        I am going to call out Belinda too. So far I’m up to chapter 6, so I’ve only seen Belinda once, in the diner. She seemed pointless as far as overall story. I figured you were introducing her cause she might be important later on, and reading your above reasoning for her Belinda being the next generation that continues on the Gossip, sure, but I didn’t understand why she was getting page time right then and there.

        Also, since I’m thinking about the diner, that whole scene dragged a little bit. I think someone above mentioned that the first two chapters were repetitive, and I have to agree with that. It seemed like every other sentence for Liz was “Ugh, Burney!” And yes, I get that she hates the place, and this is just a first draft so as you’re typing you’re probably thinking, “and be sure to make it clear to the readers that she hates this place,” but, we got it. She hates it. And it seemed like the whole point of the diner was to trot out one person after another to prove why she hates it, but that got boring fast. Maybe there’s somewhere better Belinda could pop up, especially as it didn’t seem like anything she was saying was that important for the following action?

        The diner scene and Belinda aside, I thoroughly enjoyed the rest and really want this work day to be done so I can go home and devour Chapters 6 – 9.

        1. Oh, I didn’t mind her saying that she wasn’t there for the wedding, as she kept saying that TO people who weren’t listening to her, so of course it would be necessary for her to repeat that.

        2. I think that’s a good point. The classic rule is always “Cut the first three chapters” because those are you just jumping up and down on the diving board getting ready to take the plunge.

          So I’m thinking that’s pretty much what everybody’s saying: Slash those first two chapters. Which I will when I finish not writing this other book.

          1. But she meets Vince and gets stuck in Birney in chapter 1. Won’t you need to keep that?

            I agree that Belinda can go. The gossip is covered in the bar scene with Biff, when Jill tells her that her joke (seemed really close to lying there but she doesn’t lie – something that also got repeated often) about being an ex-con lesbian who could kill Biff with her thumb. The gossip also was referenced at the fitting when she informed Lavender of all that happened.

      2. Sorry, de-lurking to say this was a great read, and you made my weekend by posting it, so thank you. i needed that. like really.

        But I don’t think you need Belinda because we have the Terrible Sheriff and boy who broke her heart and ML and quite frankly that’s enough to make me never want to visit there.

        The Diner scene in general felt too long to me, too many characters thrown at us at once and a lot of repetition with food. I love a burger too, but you’re brilliant and you can get us there in fewer words.

        I loved the beginning with Vince, Liz getting out of the ticket sets the scene perfectly. The chemistry between Liz and Vince later is outstanding, some of your best. I laughed out loud. I could picture it perfectly. It’s magic.

        Last question, do we need to meet walkt and Banky there? can you move that to the second act, or is that event setting up something else (i assume so) so we need to meet them in Act 1?

  10. I actually like the start – her getting stopped for speeding and meeting Vince. It is when she is in the diner that things seemed to drag a little. It was confusing when she was eating with Molly with the french fry/onion ring thing. George comes in and she is eating an onion ring, but puts a french fry down. And later when she is at the bar, Jill sits a beer down in front of her when she starts to talk with Duff, then orders a beer that Jill brings her. I also felt that the conversation with Molly all of a sudden saying that Liz was mad at her about what had happened 15 years before did not ring true. It seemed an odd topic when they have been seeing each other several times a year for 15 years. It was as if this was the first time they had been together to discuss it.

    Other than these really trival things I am hooked and want more!!

  11. Oooh, so excited to find this. I copied it all to a word document so that I can read it when I have time. Thanks so much for letting us have these things, it’s a huge gift.

    1. Yeah, I had to save the webpages to make sure I get through it in the event that it goes buh-bye. Love the first chapter so far, though!

      1. Just don’t give it to anybody else. I don’t want copies of this floating around the net.

        And yes, it’ll come down on Saturday.

      2. “Everybody goes to hell in his own way, Lizzie,” Mom said, and there she had me because everybody does.

        Keeper line.

        Jesus year= hah, I think I did nothing on mine.

        I’m jealous of anyone who has a Wonderfalls hoodie. Or a Wonderfalls anything.
        ““You’re going up to the Blue house in a hoodie that says . . .” She squinted. “‘I Surrender to Destiny.’” 🙂

        “Family that makes you think about killing yourself whenever you’re with them is not family, it’s a biological mugging.”

        OH HECK YES. Yeah, I hate the aunt too. She reminds me of those episodes of Angel where they made a point that Angelus saw the ugly truth about everyone and would call them on it.

        ““No. My girlfriend and I will not have a three-way with you. Go away. I’ve been in prison, and I know how to kill you with my thumb.””


        “Who do you think you are?”
        “I think I’m the person you asked about rice. I say no.”

        I think this one and the Alice book are the ones I look forward to most of these WIP’s I’ve gotten to catch up on (I haven’t gotten to all).

        I did like Liz analyzing her mom like she would her clients. But the concussion, hanging around the house, bears stuff does go on for awhile. Which would be fine IRL, but in plottime it’s kinda slow.

        ““Did she just say that little girl was stronger than all of them?” Anemone demanded.
        “Yes,” I told her.
        “The hell with the dog,” Anemone said. “Save the kid.”

        Yup. I like Anemone. Is she going to show up in Burney at some point? I’d bet so.

        The names are great, especially Anemone (like you can judge?)’s reaction to them all.

        Anyway, I hate to say “you’ll have to cut stuff out to make things move along more,” but that’s about the one issue I can see. I enjoyed the heck out of all of these chapters, other than the concussion time I don’t see anything I’d be fine with giving up, but….well, murder has to move along.

  12. I have no commentary about who or what to cut, because you need enough people in the town that it feels full, even if it is full of people Liz does or does not want to bump into.

    I was completely floored and delighted by Anemone’s diagnosis of ML and insistence on Liz staying and keeping ML off her mother.

    I am instead here to plead for Lavender’s life. You can hospitalize her, put her in a coma, amputate something, give her concussions or broken bones or something horrifying and even permanent, but please don’t kill her. I like her (which means you’ve got something good going on there), and I think Burney might need her and I think Liz might need her. This is just … I cannot describe adequately what I’m feeling but I’ll try. If she dies, there is no place Liz can go that isn’t back toward what she had even if it has changed somewhat – the only new person is Vince, and hanging a new life on a romance is ok but it could be better if there was more. If Lavender stays, somehow, a couple things happen. She amplifies the reactions people have to her accident/attack by living through it, and still being royalty but also damaged. She acts as a goad to Liz/Vince to accomplish justice because they will be accountable to HER, not just her spirit. If Cash isn’t the one that does it, he gets a major MAJOR opportunity to grow up and cope with a Lavender’s new life. If she stays, Liz gets to navigate her way towards a new friendship with a woman, something she’ll need if she stays.

    It takes a cabal of competent people to make a town go, and from here Lavender looks a lot like one of those competent people. Even if she’s in a wheelchair for the rest of her life, she has power and strength she can bring to bear, and friendship, humor and humility she can share.

    aaaand I’ve said too much.

    1. Actually, you’ve said exactly enough.
      Lavender’s going to die, but the way you feel about her now is the way I want you to feel.
      More things happen. There’s a turning point where everything changed before she goes (midway through the book).
      But this was really great to read because it says I’m setting this up right.

      1. In retrospect, and with some introspection, I realize part of the strength of my wish to save Lavender has to do with my own circumstances – the aftermath of two memorial services, and another one in my future. I am so over death as plot point, which is not on you at all.

        I’m glad my reaction is what you had hoped for, in a live to serve kind of way!

        1. Actually I love Lavender too, I know I can’t plead for her but she seems so quietly awesome that I want to.

          1. I like her too and I found myself hoping as I read, that you would save her and have another character murdered instead…?

      2. The entire time I was reading Lavender I was wondering what she was really like. Her sister outed her about killing the dog and Lavender denied it. But it really sounded as though that was her plan (the dog is in the way, ergo, get rid of it). And I was thinking that Lavender might be a younger version of ML before ML became totally insane. Or one of those really smart psychopaths that is really good at pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes. She seems smart, beautiful, charming when she needs to be, manipulative and cold.

  13. I just finished reading AGNES AND THE HITMAN yesterday (loved!) and so your comment about your groove (an angry, pro-active heroine, a laidback hero, lots of food, a community of thousands, a dog . . . ) made me laugh. I usually like the heroes better than the heroines in romances, but as much as I liked Shane (who wasn’t exactly laidback, but I’m guessing that was Mayer’s contribution), I totally adored Cranky Agnes. And all the food talk. I keep thinking of melting butter mixed with warm maple syrup sliding down stacks of pecan-studded pancakes.

    PS – I think I’m going to have my own “Fuck it. Yes!” t-shirt to wear while drafting.

  14. It doesn’t sell me on why Liz is staying in town. If she really wanted to get away she’d borrow a car to get to Chicago right now and swap later, getting someone to drive her fixed car out to a meeting spot out of town. There’s nothing really good to hold her there. (Maybe if her mother was browbeaten and fussy but was not an unreliable alcoholic? It was one too many problems for a book I felt.) She acts dutifully to her mother but without any affection, not even as much as Minerva Dobbs had for her Mrs. Bennett of a mother. (I have a horror of a mother so I maybe identified too well.)

    I also didn’t see how Liz got to be good at examining motives of people, because she never even comes up with a workable thesis for why her mom and aunt are at odds and why her dad left. I want there to be a reason she got attracted to figuring out people from their behaviour and I don’t see it in this draft.

    There seem to be too many problems (although that’s very true to life) and too few joys. Vince still feels like the Mistake rather than the Guy (she seems convenient for him rather than an attractive nusiance), I don’t trust her cousin although I can see I am supposed to. I adored her eating the burger, and the horror of the bears. And I love Lavender even though I don’t yet know why she’s carrying that guy.

    There’s a heck of a lot of stories in those chapters. Thank you for sharing it because I did enjoy reading it and was frustrated that there wasn’t more.

    1. Some people make themselves feel good by putting others down or taking out their shit on them. I assumed ML is one of Those People.

  15. While I liked the beginning, I thought it lacked the zing you usually put into your stories. When Liz got hit on the head, I thought “Oh, now the story is starting.”

    Also, when she drove away from Molly at the fitting, it felt like it was delaying the story to me. What did the visit to the bar really do for the story that couldn’t have happened after the fitting? The whole I’ll drive to the bar, then drive back to the house, then back to the bar seemed like just delaying the good stuff.

    I like all the parts, but they seem in the wrong order to me.

    And as long as I’m knit picking, the scene where Liz and Peri were in the parking lot went on a bit long.

    I loved Lavender. I also don’t want her to die. However, the righteous indignation I’ll feel when she does will certainly emotionally tie me to the story.

    A couple of more thoughts then I’ll stop:

    1) Liz seemed more depressed than angry to me in the first few chapters.

    2) Where can I go to meet Vince? I need some of that in my life!!

    I spent all day thinking about Liz, wondering what would come next and them realizing she wasn’t written yet. So that’s good. Right?

  16. Was going to watch Person of Interest S3 finale tonight, but I just had to check your latest post, ended up reading the whole thing in one sitting.

    Very enjoyable, love the t-shirts thing and I love American Diners, living in the UK there aren’t many. Like Vince a lot.

    Given her deadline and how bad the town makes her feel and knowing her personality, I just think, she wouldn’t let herself get trapped by a broken down car, she’s stronger then that, she wants to leave, she’s gone. Maybe give her a better reason to stay earlier on, not just her mother and cousin as she actually sees them both still.

    Not sure how the town defines her, People want her to fix things even though some of them don’t know her and people hate her for what she did 15 years ago. The people who love her don’t seem to know how bad it is for her.

    She was the child of a divorced former alcoholic, whose aunt was that woman and no one cut her any slack for that.

  17. You asked for comments otherwise I wouldn’t say a thing. Yes, it’s a first draft and needs to be tightened but you’ll do that in the rewrites like you always do. You keep saying the first draft is for getting the story down.

    I will agree you could lose Belinda. You don’t need her for gossip because OMG, everyone in Burney tells everyone everything. Old, young, in between, they all gossip like they breathe.

    I loved the way people kept popping in and out of Liz’s car, and Anemone’s comments. The way Liz had to keep saying the same thing over and over to different people was great characterization of the town. That town is a character all on its own. I swear if I walked into Burney right now I would recognize everyone in it.

    I wonder if you’re unhappy with this story because you’re trying to squish two different genres together. What you have now is great characters, romance building, community – all the hallmarks of the usual fabulous Crusie, while a classic murder mystery requires a murder in the first chapter or so. Maybe you have to accept that you’re writing a Crusie mystery and the murder won’t happen until later. I, for one, can’t wait to read it, whether it fits the conventional mystery format or not.

    I loved every word. Can’t wait to find out what happens next.

    1. Well, in Welcome to Temptation it took a long time to get around to Zane’s death. And then heck, technically it wasn’t even a murder.

      I agree that in most books the murder happens early on, but I was entertained reading this anyway without kicking that off. There’s enough other weird mystery (at the very least, who threw the rock) going on before murder.

  18. I read the first 3 chapters last night and related to Liz too well. I woke up having conversations in my head with my parents about their expectations for my life & how I’ve not lived up to them. I also seemed to recall an earlier version of the scene with Aunt ML on the porch that wasn’t quite as venomous and with better responses from Liz. I so was yelling at ML because truly, the way to get people to do what you want is to insult them, belittle them, and yell at them. Grrr. I do love how Liz stands up to her in the car in chapter 9.

    I read chapters 4-9 at work today instead of working. I’ll be making that up. Totally worth it! Even if I was irresponsible.

    Love Vince! Love Anemone and all the car sequences. Throughly enjoyed the Biff scene. Jill seems depressed.

    You’ve had the car thing happen 3 times already. Will that be all? Three beats is your rhythm and I didn’t know if it applies to this.

    I can accept her staying the night for the car and out of guilt to her mom. The concussion makes her medically needing to stay night 2. That said and even though you explained that renting a car to Chicago was out of her budget, I believe she could have found a way to leave. I think Anemone could also come to Burney, but you need her to stay away so Liz can share information with us, like the social pecking order, by telling Anemone. (Any chance Anemone goes by Ane – pronounced Annie?) Oh, and that explanation of the pecking order cleared up a bunch of little things I was confused about – like how ML was a Blue. Molly’s last name wasn’t mentioned and I was wondering why she was a bridesmaid.

    Things to cut, I’m with the group that feels Belinda didn’t add enough. Also, Liz does repeat why she’s in Burney a lot. Liz’s not lying gets repeated often. I’m agreeing with Kate that the scene with Peri behind the bar was a bit long. Given that Liz has worn only one sweatshirt hoodie the whole time she was there, does it need to be stated that it was a Wonderfalls hoodie every time? I’m sure those who know of the show will squee the first time but for those of us who didn’t know if it was a TV show or a place somewhere with a beautiful waterfall, it seems unnecessary. Probably picking out a word or two isn’t going to help with the count though.

    Liz’s reaction to Veronica didn’t fit my picture of Liz. She was in such a hurry to leave that toxic bunch of women but she stops and sits to pet a dog?

    Also, she has a deadline of June 30th. It’s March, I had to go back and find that. I was going to ask what was the date when she first gets stranded. As a writer, you understand how long it takes to write a book and you know how much information she has and you probably have this plotted out so she’ll need the 3+ months to get through all 4 books. However, as a reader I don’t know the first two things and think, 4 days isn’t that long of a delay when you have over 3 months to finish the project or so thinks a person who doesn’t have to do the work. Um, so any chance of making the book deadline earlier? Like April 30th?

    Overall, I love it and am hoping you finish ALL of your wips! These opportunities to read them are bittersweet as I glom onto them, get wholly invested, and then there is no more.

  19. (In Chapter 7) Is it that Liz fixes/saves things, or just that she is willing to do and say the things others won’t? I haven’t really seen her fix or save anything yet (other than taking the blame for Molly and that one was pretty big) but it seems like she’s more the type of person who will cut through the bullshit and if something needs doing, she does it, and to hell with what people think of it, it needed to be done (though I think I’ve seen more of the “say the truth without the ‘polite’ pretenses” than see her actually fix anything–but there’s potential with the Veronica situation).

    I guess this comment is more of a “hey, this is what I’m seeing, is it what you meant to be sending” rather than a critique.

    1. If she has an alcoholic mom, she’s been in the fix and save business for a long time. (Still not sure if her mom actually is drinking at this point.).

  20. I’m only halfway through chapter three, but I want to mention some things before I forget. First of all, the fact that this is the rough draft just shows me how far up the rung of really-great-writer you already are. I can already feel the flow of the story, see the characters, and I want that hamburger.

    Just things to consider (and these are just my opinions as a reader):

    Cash and his marriage –
    I’m from a small town (as are you, if I remember correctly) and it threw me a bit that the first things people said about Cash were that he’d be glad to see her, and not that he was getting married. In chapter three, it makes sense. No one pitied her because long lost love Cash had moved on. They all hoped she break up the wedding. In the beginning though, it felt a bit odd that they’d spring the marriage on her last. I’m Southern and it just seems a little…impolite? I can’t explain it well, but there are so many unwritten rules of what you say in order to keep the other person from ever feeling awkward, and it just seemed a bit rotten of people to mention that Cash wanted her to stay and then later to drop it on her that he’s getting hitched. It just didn’t seem like what friends would do, but maybe they aren’t true friends. Anyway, just something I noticed.

    I got lost a bit with all the people, but the diner owner and the guy who hates Liz stood out, along with the Porter siblings. They were all easy to see individually.

    I kept thinking that staying in town because she couldn’t afford a rental car and she didn’t want to come back to the town again was a bit of a slim excuse. Mainly because… it’s for her job. Also, if she gets a rental car, she might make her deadline and get a ten-thousand dollar bonus. That would pay for the car.
    Even without the bonus, this job (working with someone so famous) could get her lots of other jobs which would eventually pay her back for the rental car, so I wasn’t sold on why she got trapped there.

    I skipped most of the beginning of chapter 2, but the garage scene really captured my attention.

    Everything in the town was so small and rural that finding out Cash was on-track to be a Senator threw me a bit, too. I can see the dynamics better now that Lavender drives a Lexus. In my part of the country, I’ve seen at least two kinds of small towns. I live in a small town with old money mansions and secret parties and clubs, but my family is from the rural small town with farms and no money anywhere. I guess the diner and the garage didn’t give me the hint of the upper crust, so that was a surprise, and I had to readjust the scene I my head.

    I can’t wait to read the rest of the chapters. I know that these notes may not be useful because they’re probably the kinds of things you want to know for a polished draft. Now, I am wishing that I’d had time to read your posts about critiques! Anyway, thanks for posting these WIP.

    PS – I read your draft for You Again. Love her, and love the story. It was soooooo great to see Alice all grown up! Funny how she feels like a real person. I was surprised at how happy I was to read about her as a grown-up, almost like seeing a former student after a few years. I really really really hope you finish it.


    I’m with Kelly S. and Kick. These WiPs are killing me. But in a good way. Don’t stop.

  22. This is Classic Crusie. The dialogue is smart and tight and funny and I sped right through it in a few hours. Forget word count. Finish the damned book. Then let someone else worry about word count–I’m betting they won’t. I want to know what happens!!!! Everyone has an opinion about what they like–the only one who matters is the author. So write it the way you want it and let it free.

  23. One thing I forgot to mention is that I’m really impressed with the Anemone-on-the-phone stuff.

    It flows pretty well with the scenes. But in addition to that, when I’m thinking about it later, I like how it plays with “the little voice inside my head” trope. I was thinking about stories I enjoy where people are possessed by gods to varying extents — some hear a snarky voice, others get a feeling, still others totally surrender to the little voice and become gateways to worlds and stuff. But often, those stories aren’t totally about THAT, but rather dealing with a little voice in your head. I love how Anemone is smart, curious, can’t be heard by others, and has pretty good advice.

    It’s a really nifty device that reminds me of demon possession, but probably won’t turn off the readers who have fantasy-allergies.

  24. I’ve sailed through all the chapters in one evening, happily loving it, so rather than rereading to offer an edit I’ll just give you the top-of-the-waves reaction on what feels slow.

    Yes, Belinda seems one problem too much. Also Will and Kenny feel like a double beat and could maybe be shrunk into one character. Skye doesn’t pull her weight yet, either.

    The first diner scenes could be trimmed, as can at least one mention of a song playing. (Probably the first, slow love ballad because the gutsy Etheridge tune is perfect for Liz.) The intro business with Day drags. Can he be established faster? The interrogation by Faye at the Blue house and Liz’s escape seemed too long, Lthough I can’t recall why.

    As someone else said, I felt like I hadn’t seen Liz fix anything when she was already bemoaning her role of fixer, so wonder if she should be tackling the bear problem a lot sooner–even if it’s just with words to that effect. I actually loved how her mom admitted so easily that it’s a problem, suggesting that Liz could possibly be fretting about the fix earlier.

    But yay, oh yay, oh yay, I’m so glad to be reading this. I’ve loved the Vince and bear setup since you first posted it several years ago! And the Valentine!!! So much fun.

  25. I LOVE your WIPs!! I agree with what the others have said – they make me want more! In particular, I would love to read more Alice, Liz, and that Dempsey one!

    My thoughts, spread across two days, so, grain of salt.

    – I forgot who Belinda was until halfway through the comment section. In retrospect she does seem superfluous.
    – it didn’t seem repetitive when Liz was telling people that she was not going to crash the wedding or fix things. Sometimes her inner dialogue felt repetitive, and generally the stuff that was not being told to other people trying to make a point.
    – I LOVE Vince and Anemone and everybody popping in and out of the car! I really like them all together! although I really don’t get why Vince was shooting tires and I’m hoping that that will be explained in the future.
    – I didn’t start to understand Liz’s mom until the last chapter or two, and that was kind of frustrating. I also agree that for all that Liz draws comparisons or relationships or lines between people and points in their lives, it seems like she should have been able to draw more in her own life. But then she’s been gone 15 years and that was obviously a huge issue with her. A good way for her to grow, actually. In retrospect, obviously. Ha.
    – I can’t believe Lavender dies! I am so upset about this! I’m really starting to like her a lot! :'(
    – it took me a while to really start to like lose, and I don’t know if it’s just because she seems so bitter and upset and stuck with where she’s at but I was a little bit hard to like her as a character, but it’s a lot of potential there. And I can’t wait to see what she’s like in the final draft. 🙂
    – I feel like a lot of this could just be tightened up which I know will happen in future drafts. I know this is just a first draft and I have complete faith in you tightening it up into your vision. I cannot wait to read it! 🙂

    1. On Vince shooting the tyres: I didn’t get why it was so unexpected. As a Brit, I thought all US police carried guns (which is why they’re so scary, especially as the guidebooks warn you they have no sense of humour), and so I thought him shooting the tyre to prevent a getaway was probably standard procedure.

      1. That’s why I wanted Liz appalled.

        Not all American cops are gun-happy idiots, but there are enough of them killing people that I never want to glorify cops-with-guns or make them funny. The fact that Vince has a gun and is really angry and uses it to shoot out tires does a couple of things I need in the story, but it has to be something that somebody says, “Wait, this could go really badly.” If that idiot Banky had a gun in his car, for example (which would not be that surprising in that area of Ohio), it could have gone south pretty fast. The fact that Banky’s right, and Vince should get in trouble for shooting out his tires is another thing that should have an uh-oh attached to it, especially once Will shows up to take the car. You know those tires with bullet holes are never going to be seen again because these guys know each other and they’re both mad about Banky almost running the Scotts off the road. That’s not legal justice, that’s small town good old boy justice, and it’s one of the things that makes Liz leery of the place.

        It was unexpected because Liz had cast Vince as one of the Good Guys, the new Birney, things would be different now. He doesn’t drink, he looks out for Jill, he’s paternal as all hell, straight and balanced. That’s a big reason she’s drawn to him. And then he shoots out Banky’s tires because he’s angry. It’s not enough to make her walk away, but it’s enough to appall her and it ruins the vision she had of him as perfectly balanced. The guy has issues. And a gun.

        I may be reading my own views into this, too. I grew up around guns, my father and my uncles hunted. But they were sane (about that). They had rifles that kept out of reach of small children (and when we were older, we knew if we touched one of those guns, it wasn’t an accidental gun shot that would kill us, it was my dad for touching them in the first place). They only hunted what they ate. And they never owned a handgun that they carried to feel cool. Guns were tools and they used them and enjoyed them, but they didn’t fetishize them any more than they worshipped their table saws.

        What’s happening in this country is that any idiot with a minimal amount of money can buy a gun and carry it anywhere. And then LEAVE it anywhere which is why we have so many dead toddlers, not to mention toddlers who kill. A two-year-old shot his mother in the back the other day because her boyfriend had left his gun in the car. You have to pass a written and a practical test to drive in this country, but all you have to do to buy a gun is show up in a parking lot with cash. Any population always has a significant percentage of people who shouldn’t be allowed out without supervision: we arm those people.

        So anybody with any brains who sees a cop with a gun takes a step back, and anybody with any brains in southern Ohio sees any gun and takes a step back. Those people are not afraid to shoot, and you just have to pray they’re sane and haven’t been drinking the NRA Stand-Your-Ground Kool-Aid.

        Yeah, Liz is right to be appalled. She should be more appalled, actually. The fact that she thinks it’s just fine that Will’s going to lose those tires and that Will and Vince are going to cover up the fact that Walt and Cin were there . . . that’s the small-town stuff she hates. And yet, it’s what she wants to happen, so she’s complicit, she’s getting sucked back into the Birney Think.

        1. I did like the fact she was appalled; I was more surprised that she didn’t expect him to have a gun.

          (And the only policeman I met in my past two weeks in California was wonderfully mellow, and bashful when I called him a hero for rescuing my friend and me when we broke down on the road to Big Sur.)

          1. I really think the majority of cops in this country are good people.
            Unfortunately, it’s the sociopaths that make the news.

        2. This is exactly what I got from that scene, and on reflection it was really surprising that Liz is okay with Will going along with the cover up part. I mean, nobody wants a young family run off the road, but jeez, what happened to legal?

          1. Welcome to small town America. Legal is a judgment call.
            I tried to set that up for Liz with how much she hates reckless speeders (ever drive in Indiana?), so she’s fine with them clipping Banky’s wings. Shooting out his tires, not so much. Plus, Walt and Cin were just in the car with him, so they wouldn’t be charged anyway.

  26. I agree with most of the above – that as much as I enjoy the characters, it feels like the story finally swings into gear when that rock connects. And that Liz being “stuck” felt like an easily overcome plot device, especially because she keeps explaining it to everyone. And that this leaves me wanting more!

    If I were coming to this book cold, without having read the back cover blurb, at this point I would expect Cash to be the one who ends up dead.

    Thanks for these WIP treats!

    1. I think that’s because we don’t get to know him well, whereas we do get to know Lavender a bit. Typical mystery story has the victim show up and fall over, not spend a lot of time getting to know the person who, I presume, will help solve the case.

      Not that Jenny can’t write it whatever way she wants, of course. It seems a bit hard on the reader to make us bond with the victim before she gets killed off, though. Bonding with the murderer would be worse, though.

      I’ll second stopping to hold the dog as unexpected. I also thought the first chapter or two moved a bit slow. Vince does enough rescuing in the rest of the act that I don’t know that the initial encounter really tells us something important, based on this piece of the story.

      Thanks for a fun evening of reading! Do you HAVE any bad WiPs? Everything you’ve posted so far makes me want a time machine to finish reading the book.

  27. I read this in a couple of sessions as a good chunk of my Official Lazy Sunday Break, and woke up Monday morning sad to realize there wasn’t any more of it for me to read.

    Which is a good sign, I believe.

    Please do not worry that anyone thinks Cash is the hero – he is not hero material! I am joining the Dump Belinda and Lavender Has to Die? teams, and I adore Vince. Like many have said, the car thing isn’t compelling enough to keep her in town long enough to get whacked in the head – I wonder if there’s something to do with her mother that she thinks she can solve overnight? It’s so very much in her self-interest to leave town that she really needs something compelling (and that she sees as relatively simple to accomplish) to keep her there, and since she obviously loves her mother, that might be a place to start.

    Like others have said, there are probably scenes and characters that can be combined/do double duty to chop your word count.

    But really, once you finish the book you’re not writing now, this one…

  28. WILL YOU PLEASE SAVE THE DOG. Now. I’m getting anxious about its fate.

    And I’m already eager to read the book through. As Kick mentioned earlier, I too read a lot of mystery. This book has mystery earmarks and written-by-Crusie control.

    I think Liz needs a stronger worry about her mother to be in Burney at all. Anything coming from ML can be seen as manipulation, and not worth a stop because that’s on ML and not Liz’s mother. Everything flows from the initial stop, and for me it does flow. In contrast to others in this space, I see Liz as Fixing All The Things, and there keeps being one more thing too many to fix.

    Thanks to you, I walked a block to our own retro diner for one of their touted cheese bacon burgers. I discovered the diner is overdue for a good cleaning and the burger needs to be served hotter. I like your diner and your burger, though, and I’ve known their like.

    Good going. Now keep going. On anything, though I’d like it to be this.

  29. Things I noticed:

    I didn’t believe Liz was a fixer until she’s dealing with the drunk Mom. Then I could see it. But up until then it didn’t seem like a fixer trying to break the habit. It seemed like a woman who’d spent her adult life avoiding being responsible for other people, possibly to the point of selfishness sometimes. Which, fare enough, but I never believed that woman would have trouble getting out of a town she didn’t want to be in. It wasn’t until I saw her protecting the kid and the dog that I saw her staying.

    ML was the first thing that justified Liz’s hatred of Burney for me. Before that, I understood not living there, but avoiding it for 15 years seemed extreme, especially to the Mom

    Re: making ML the right balance of realistic and unlikeable – the part that tips it over the edge for me is the obsession with social standing. Like I know that’s a thing for a lot of people, but I don’t know anyone who cares about it that much. So when it’s not tempered by a single good quality… if I knew one good thing about her, I think that would be enough. She’s very satisfying to hate, and I wouldn’t want to lose that.

    Between first scene Carter and first scene Cash, Cash is more interesting to me. After the first kiss, I’m Carted all the way. I really hope they have great diner(er) sex, for Liz’s sake.

    Generally speaking, I was hooked by chapter 3.

    The everyone in the car scenes were great, but they blur together in my mind, I think because no one is doing anything physical in those scenes.

    Things I love: the diner, the food, the diner home (it made me think of Lizzie seeing Pemberly in Pride and Prejudice), and the kids being arrested. I don’t know why, but I love everything thing about the kids being arrested.

    I know it’s a mystery, but I’d be ok if the mystery was a subplot to all the relationship stuff. The gossip in this place is good.

    Thanks for letting us read it! Whether or not you ever publish it, now I get to have these characters in the back of my head. So thanks 🙂

  30. What I say isn’t going to be helpful but I want to say it, if I’m able to voice it. I’m amazed. It is definitely a mystery type novel in Jenny Crusie voice. Somehow I wanted the 4 book mystery and I like Liz Danger a lot but I was afraid it would be a different voice. If you decide to finish this or them, they will be wonderful.

  31. I’m a little lte to the party but I had to make time for reading first. Okay, it’s a first draft and I don’t know what will happen after, so I can’t really judge whether we need Belinda or whether Lavender should live. But I’d like to contribute my feedback concerning Liz. Somebody already mentioned that she seems depressed. Besides getting to Chicago to earn her 10,000 $ bonus, what does she want in life? What makes her happy – is there anything that can make her happy? Where and how does she usually live (besides in her car, and I wonder about how she powers her laptop there)?

    You describe her as being rather tough (the t-shirts, the honesty) but I get the impression that there are other layers too. I expected her mother to be either totally weak or totally bitchy and I find she’s neither. So I can’t really decide what to think.

    If that’s what you wanted to convey, fine. If not, well … it’s your story ;o)

  32. I liked the story and wish I could read more! I agree with you and others that things need to be trimmed. Here are some of my thoughts…

    I was confused about her goal (to get to Chicago) and why her broken car was enough of an obstacle to keep her from it. I kept thinking, “But she just spend $200 for a ridiculous bear, and won’t spend a few hundred to rent a car to bring her to a job with a potential $10,000 bonus when she really, really wants to leave F-ing Burney in the first place?”

    If her goal was to leave, I didn’t feel like she was proactive about it except for complaining she wanted to leave. Was there no car rental place, or a nearby bus or train station? A car she could borrow? A bike? (ha ha)

    Also wasn’t seeing the “fixer” until later. Wondering if you could add her fixing things earlier. Others suggested the bears (and pulling double duty to make her stay the night) or maybe saving the dog when she first meets the dog? I don’t know. To me, it felt like a lot of telling rather than showing.

    I loved the in-and-out of the car scenes. And all of your dialog. Wonderful!

    I like Vince, but was confused as to why she was so shocked he had a gun. He’s a cop. It’s not odd that he would be carrying. Especially when he got a call. However, him shooting the tires was a real concern and I could see why she’d have a reaction to that.

    I didn’t realize that this was going to be a murder mystery until everyone in the comments said Lavender was going to die. Does that matter?

    I like Lavender, and don’t understand why everyone hates her and wants to stop the wedding. Did I miss something?

    Thanks for letting us look inside your first drafts! 🙂 Which, by the way, makes my first drafts look like a second grader wrote it. 🙁

  33. FINALLY read the first chapter. Now I’m starving. I’ve been out of the country for a week, with nothing but unfamiliar food. While I’ve enjoyed eating new and interesting stuff, I’m really missing the familiar. So reading Liz’s description of the burger has just about out me over the edge. God, that burger sounds GOOD!!! ?

    1. My editor said the same thing the first time she saw this.
      I have Nita eating hamburgers in the other book, but she doesn’t relate to them quite the same way.
      Even so, I’ve been making hamburgers quite often as I write those scenes. Hamburgers and eggs for breakfast.

        1. No, no.
          There’s a diner next to the bar and Nita goes there every morning for breakfast.
          There’s a Chinese place on the other side of the bar and Nita either goes there or to the diner for lunch.
          Nita does not cook.
          Maybe I should post the breakfast scene. You could watch Nick and Nita eat eggs-over-easy and French toast..

          1. Pam, it really is! You wouldn’t think egg on burger would be amazing, but if done right, totally delicious.

  34. Okay I am late as usual. I really liked this. I had some problem with the scene with Patsy. I could understand why it was there but it did not engage me. And everyone dislikes Lavender, except maybe Cash although Patsy hinted that he was having second thoughts, but other than her being two-faced about putting the dog to death, there was nothing to pin it down. And I mostly skipped over the Belinda scene


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