Lily Notes 2

So I’ve got a better grip on the Lily story, although that’s not difficult since I had no grip at all before this. I still have no idea why she’s remembering past lives, what Fin has to do with any of it, the name of the diner, what Nadia’s role is, or . . . well, anything.

So let’s go with expectation. What are you expecting to happen next? Or with want. What do you hope happens next? Or with need. What makes no sense to you now? Or you know, anything about the story, especially if you have any ideas about what the hell is going on and what the next move should be. My big want: Lily’s kind of a wounded bird in everything I’ve written so far. I need to steel up her backbone, get that sass working. But she can’t be like Vanessa, who is cool and in charge and brilliant. She has to be Lily strong. Must cogitate.

What do you think?

77 thoughts on “Lily Notes 2

  1. The thing about something like a surprise lily itself is that it persists, even when it can’t be seen or is only green shoots, it is still ticking along under the surface – that sense of forward motion is something I get out of this early reading, and could be a super power.

  2. I saw Liky’s strength in persistence of her truth – the past lives vs creating a fiction. And persistence in finding a therapist that works for her. AND doing it in the very meeting with the wrong therapist. The strength to say you’re wrong, stand up mid session and just leave speaks of strength. Havent seen her as weak yet.

    You could show her strength in how she felt with learning of past lives. She didnt break down, she went to work, like “anyone would”.

    I am curious how the past lives play into it, and who the villain is. Both things we dont know yet, but are pretty much my only questions. I’m on the ride for her and Fin.

    I’m up for just throwing villains at it to see what sticks. I’d love to introduce Sebastian soon, the ex. And Pangur!

    Villains – someone trying to close the diner. Maybe the way she’s drawn to Vikings, Pangur, and Fin each life she’s also drawn towards the location, which could be the diner. Maybe in a past life, evil Viking wanted the treasure and she hid it, then died. Evil villain also remembers his past lives, knows that 2-3 times hes almost gotten it through her, so tries to do the same now.

    I’m also picturing Fin getting conked once or twice in the story and NOT remembering his past lives. Hehe

    Also, we could start to learn more about one of the lives?

  3. Maybe Lily is strong because she’s open minded and has enough sense of herself to know that she’s not imagining her past lives, and she’s doing everything she can to figure out the pattern, the why and how, and break the cycle?

    Sometimes strength is just carrying on and tackling one difficult thing at a time. Knocking out one problem and moving forward to kick the next one to the curb.

    Although I guess that is kind of a dull and difficult to depict superpower. But it’s a very practical one!

  4. I really liked what we saw of Fin, and for some reason, I’m getting a competence porn vibe from him. Or maybe I just need competence porn right now…hmm. Anyway, more Fin!

  5. I’ve seen Lily stand up for herself with the therapist and be blunt with customers. She’s strong.

    I’d love to know more about what she’s doing to deal with this new and unsettling worldview. She seems like she’d have A Plan.

    And certainly more Fin!

  6. Maybe another of Lily’s lives shows up and she sees Fin in the background. Or Fin’s buddy. Bjorn? Is that right?

    And does a Viking try and kill her and Fin helps her rescue herself? That would be later on probably.

    I’d like to see more Fin/Lily interaction, but I know from experience that whatever you write next I will adore.

    I want something unexpected to happen. That’s what I want. 🙂

    1. “I want something unexpected to happen. That’s what I want.”

      That’s what everybody wants (g). Except they want it to be what they hope will happen. It’s a conundrum.

    2. Could definitely picture Bjorn being one of the early Vikings in a past life that inadvertently killed Lily. In recovery now in this life – maybe his reoccurring karmic lesson has to do with impulse control? Also was the first of the brothers to make a pass at Lily – still an “early Viking”? Not the love interest, but maybe some past life history between the two there.

  7. Pink Flamingo font–my fave for the title! (And for the diner: Hamburger Sandwitch (sic).)

    Someone else mentioned that maybe the force driving Lily might be a forthcoming birthday. Like 33. Or 27 (Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix). That resonates with me. (Being on the slow side, for me the crisis was turning 35.) Lily’s crisis is very personal, intuitive, but definitely real. Might turn the story into a murder mystery with the reincarnations providing clues about why?

  8. Isn’t the whole point of rebirth is that you learn bits and move forward to some kind of nirvana? Maybe Lily’s nirvana is a place – a physical space – that she’s thinking maybe would give her a final life? The fulfillment of her cycles? Or that she doesn’t believe will do so, but… it might? Say a bar in a bad part of town. Or a failing business that she somehow saves for the owners? A Viking-themed club called Valhalla? She avoids it because, well, !!Vikings!! – but it’s somehow important to the lessons she’s supposed to get?

    As to next – another encounter with The Brothers, where Fin has the upper hand until Lily comes in. Then they banter. Maybe The Bros’ pickup breaks down and Lily & Pangur are talking about stopping to help? So Fin thinks he can fix the truck, and the brothers are bitching at each other, and along comes their rescuer Lily?

      1. I imagine it would be worth looking at Buddhism if you’re trying to figure out a good reason for reincarnation.

        1. Although would that qualify as “crossing the streams” with the whole Viking-Valhalla thing???

      2. As I understand it, the point of reincarnation (although it varies a bit with different cultures and religions) is to gain wisdom with each lifetime, until you eventually reach a point where you have moved past most base human needs and desires. In Buddhism, you then attain Buddhahood, where you are more than human, although not exactly a god.

        It has been my own personal experience (and that of others I know who have worked through past life issues) that one continues to repeat the same patterns and mistakes in lifetime after lifetime until something in a specific lifetime helps you to move through and past them.

        1. Hell, I’ve repeated the same pattern of mistakes in this one lifetime. If I’ve been doing it for centuries, I really am a slow learner.

        2. So since Lily is reincarnated a lot by now, she has learnt something useful. Perhaps Fin is the first person she recognises from a previous life because other people don’t reincarnate so much? You’d think she’d have learnt some survival skills but that doesn’t seem to help her much.

          Has anyone seen The Eagle (2011) (based on The Eagle of the Ninth)? In that you have a pair where one is the super-strong Roman conquerer (Channing Tatum) and the person they have to work with is a comparatively weedy British slave (Jamie Bell). “Marcus takes Esca with him on his quest, offering to grant him his freedom in return for his help as a guide and translator, and choosing to trust the pledge of service that Esca made in spite of his deep hatred for the Romans.” Suffice to say, it all goes wrong, their roles are reversed and they sort of find what they came for. Great relationship dynamic that would also work for a Viking and a Celt…

    1. So, my significant other has taken to playing video games to stave off the doldrums. Last night I watched him play as Laura Croft for a while and he kept dying. When I brought it up, he said it was a puzzle game and he had to die as a way to figure it out. Then of course Laura rebooted and he tried again. I don’t know why, but it seems like an interesting metaphor for this conversation.

      1. Oh, that is good.

        A long time ago, we talked about doing a sequel to Dogs and Goddesses where they’d all end up in the video game the two guys were designing. And Bob had a WiP about people in a video game that I was intrigued by, but when I insisted he give them names, he threw me out.

  9. Well, at some point, I want to see more Fin at work, drawing, maybe also is a dusty Medieval manuscript library with lots of books, and throwing an axe?

    Also, I”m curious about Lily’s “other” job, as a student/professor or something else. Does she research women’s history anthropologically? Maybe she is studying crafts. Maybe she is being reincarnated because she never finished a craft she started. (Ha, no, that’s me, actually!) 😀

    Finally, do you think you will lock your Viking link to a specific country? I suggested “Danish Danish” for the diner, which might help narrow the focus, as the Viking certainly got around. But I can see the argument for keeping it less specific, especially at this point.

    1. I think there would probably be multiple Vikings in multiple timelines, but I have no idea.

    1. It would be set about five years ago probably. Avoiding Trump like the plague. In both senses.

  10. Seeing more of Fin? More of Fin’s story, more of Fin’s friends, Fin meets the antagonist and is tempted by the dark side (they have cookies?) I like the dynamic mentioned previously of ‘accidentally hurts her while trying to save her’ so maybe set up the possibility of that happening in the present (as something to overcome?)

    I’m also wondering about genre (secondary genre). The main genre is probably romance, but what if it’s more screwball? Could some ordinary thing become an all out of proportion problem that just keeps snowballing? Like Lily goes home and finds Pangur Ban is sick, she goes to the vet but her normal vet just fell off a cliff (while rock climbing, is okay except for broken leg but is taking time off) so she has to go to a strange and (she thinks) suspicious vet who claims that Pangur is depressed and needs company and offers to loan her some other animal (for some reason I’m thinking a sloth, no idea where that came from), which she reluctantly takes but it needs special food and while out she ends up in a funny little shop buying an eleventh century remedy for illness and wondering if her past is leading her astray…and then she runs into Fin and makes an extra effort to give him the benefit of the doubt because she’s momentarily denying the past, while he recommends a vet and turns out to know something about sloth food and yet, somehow, they exchange shopping bags so he ends up with either the sloth food or the remedy and she ends up with…

    I don’t have screwball right at all (not sure how it’s done), but just to compare that with what if it’s more action, in which case there could be some sort of attack or theft, or what if it’s more mystery, in which case perhaps there’s poisoning at the diner, or what if it’s more amateur Leverage, in which case we might find out that Fin (or Lily, but I’m not sure how it fits Lily’s story, or actually maybe Van?) is being blackmailed and planning to take on the blackmailer (hey look, it’s problems from the past in both blackmail and reincarnation), or what if it’s psychological, in which case there could be a scene in which Lily reveals what aspect of remembering her past really bothers her in a way that she can’t even be blunt about or dismiss (probably unwanted on the making Lily seem stronger front…or maybe not, as seeing more of what Lily’s dealing with internally could make the fact that she is dealing show her real strength), or what if it’s a different sort of mystery, and Cheryl disappears and the police won’t take it seriously so Lily and Van need to track her down while keeping the diner running, or…

    I’m now imagining (trying to imagine) screwball amateur Leverage.

      1. Ha ha, if only! But the brainstorming part of it may be more fun anyway. No responsibility!

  11. Well this is a Jennifer Crusie, if in doubt Lily shows strength by rescuing the cat from the forces of darkness in any life time you fancy

  12. So far we know that Lily:
    – remembers past lives
    – works in a diner (overnight shift)
    – feels the need to see a therapist to handle the past lives
    – has a cat

    I think we still need to figure out what the big problem is. What is going to cause the conflict? I’m thinking that if it is something about the diner, Lily needs to be much more invested in the diner operations, to make the stakes higher. If it isn’t the diner, then we need to know the other important aspects of her life. Does she have other family that are being threatened in some way? Does she have another job or position that is in jeopardy? Is there a direct threat to Lily? or to Pangur? To both of them together?

    So, surprise Lily – what else could be surprising about her?

    1. Agreed, we need to learn more about Lily before I can decide what I want, or how she is strong.

    2. Agree so much on identifying the problem. Because being aware of past lives is not necessarily a problem.

      Also, defining the surprise. Is Lily surprised? OR is Lily a surprise?

      If Lily is the surprise, to whom and in what sense?
      If a surprise to herself, because of real life or because of the past lives?
      And in that case, does a connection with Fin other than as a self-discovery-facilitating friend/irritant/[insert non-romantic interactive human] serve the story?
      If this is a romance, is she a surprise to her love interest (presumed to be Fin), and if so why?
      Because he wasn’t expecting to meet his true love working in a diner in this college town where he is temporarily serving as a sober companion to his recovering brother (I liked that idea) with whom he is deeply bonded because [reason] but where he would otherwise never voluntarily be because [reason]?
      Is the romantic conflict then the simple real-life conflict of Lily liking the town and wanting to stay for [reason] whereas Fin has to re-frame his view of it in order to tolerate it, or re-frame his career in order to have a place in it, or else give her up?
      And is that complicated by the past-life conflict that has created (conscious and not) biases for Lily but that is a complete cipher for Fin?
      Is any other external conflict needed (diner, development, whatever) or does that suffice?


  13. What got my attention in the diner is the doodling. People of that age group you would expect to get their cell phones out no matter if they are alone or with someone even a brother. I think that you always want to see what someone is drawing as opposed to cell phone use which is a defense mechanism of leave me alone. So Fin is pulling Lily in I know not for what purpose.

  14. I know you’ve mentioned that you think Lily got hit on the head and started remembered her past lives then. But I don’t think she’d remember them all at once – they’d sort of trickle in, like getting your memory back after having amnesia (I’m told).

    So I’d like to know more about when/why she started to remember past lives, how come she already knows Vikings play a big role, and why she went to the therapist is the first place.

    I’d also like to see her remembering (or experiencing) a past life. Maybe in front of Fin?

  15. Before I read Lily two part one, I thought that Lily would bring Fin into the main story because she would need his help. But having read the first Lily post, I think Fin and his brother may know more about what is going to happen than any of the other characters. It left me wondering if the bothers had chosen this university town for more than just a place for Bjorn to recuperate. It might explain why Bjorn asks Lily about Cheryl. Bjorn is hitting on Lily so why ask her about another woman. I know it could have been just a casual remark or polite conversation, but what if…..

    I don’t think the brothers know anything about Lily and her previous lives. Maybe the café is a key location that holds a secret. It could be a location that Lily will eventually find out about as she delves into her previous lives.

    I’d like to find out more about Fin and his brother, but without Lily being present.

    1. Yeah, Fin needs a PoV.

      The reason Bjorn asks about Cheryl is the “meat is murder” stuff from a diner waitress.

      1. “ARRRRGHHHH!”
        “Meat! Meat! Mead! Meat! Kill! Kill! Meat! Mead!”

        Okay, maybe they don’t chant that. But they could. They’re Vikings, sorta.

  16. I like the idea that the brothers are already involved in something (or working on a solution for a problem) that will ultimately involve Lily and her past lives.

    Lily has seemed strong to me; I think she’s only a wounded bird because she was introduced as searching for a good therapist, and she makes clear that she’s told people about her search. Everyone else is doing their thing while Lily is searching for a story to be in.

    I suggest tossing the first scene and starting with the second. Jump right into Cheryl the vegan onehandedly discouraging customers (maybe a couple leave); a general expectation that Lily will take charge; a just as laid back but more focused Bjorn and Fen. Bjorn could be playing with a sunstone ( that tweaks Lily’s vision, bringing on extra Viking thoughts just as she realizes they’re Vikings.

  17. Maybe Fin has been chasing her through their lives, too, and his brother happened to be his best friend or maybe sister one of the times Fin knew Lily. But then finding the story’s conflict beyond Lily being (justifiably) scared/bothered by Vikings is up in the air.

    Beyond the old “together they fight crime!”

  18. Actually, I am starting to want Fin to be completely unconnected to Lily’s past lives, aside from his Viking heritage.

    Also, I want him to rescue a kitten. Why? I don’t know. It’s just an image in my head.

    1. I guess I never cared for fate/ soul mates too much, so I prefer to have him be a free agent. With a fluffy, spitting kitten that he is unsure how to deal with.

      1. also not a gigantic fan of fated mates, even the discovery draft Fin seemed so assured and interesting that I don’t think he needs to be connected to past lives in order to positively affect Lily’s figuring-sh*t-out quest.

        I am a gigantic fan of fluffy, spitting kittens.

        1. Could Fin, rather than being a part of Lily’s past lives, be a spanner in the works? Maybe the wild card that means things are going differently in this life?

    2. Ooh, I so agree. I think it’s better if he’s not reincarnated and she just doesn’t like him because she has a thing about vikings, because if they’ve had a realistic interaction in the past he probably would have been involved in rape and pillaging and probably can’t ever make up for that. Remember how hard it was in Bet Me for Cal to make up for the initial bet? He had to keep denying that he ever made the bet, even though the damn thing clearly existed in some way and was driving the whole story. I think Jenny said once that was hard to write. Now imagine if he were trying to make up for some seriously dubious (but historically accurate) behaviour in a previous life…

  19. I want to see Lily’s reason for wanting to figure out her reincarnation. I want there to be a pressing need that drove her to find a therapist that will believe her. In the first scene she sounded like she’s always known about her lives. I want to see the scene where she explains WHY it’s driving her now. I would like it to be because she’s turning 33 in a couple months and she has realized that she never gets older than 33 in all her lives. I want to see her discussing this with Pangur as he reincarnates right along with her. I also like the idea that Fin is not the bad Viking from her lives, maybe Pangur’s original owner Brother I forgot his name, but he distracts her from the real villain as she’s sure that he’s going to be the cause of her death this time around. I’d like Fin to recognize Pangur as “his” cat and be trying to convince Lily to give him up while dancing around the reincarnation aspect of his life, maybe seeing them at the Vet. It’d be so funny for grumpy Pangur to love Fin and treat Lily as his house servant as cats often do to their owners. I’d love to read the convo Lily has with Pangur over him loving on what she thinks is a bad Viking after all she’s done for him over the lives.

    1. Yeah, those past lives are key and I haven’t a clue yet. Some stuff has popped up in writing but it’s still all discovery so who knows what sticks.

      Pangur and Nadia are missing and they need to be in there, but I still don’t know how or why. Thank god this isn’t a real book. Eventually, the answers will appear, and since we’re probably going to be in lockdown until June and possibly September, there’s time.

  20. I also don’t see Lily as particularly wounded. Tired of death by Viking, yes. Exasperated that she’s trying really hard to get some assistance in moving outside the cycle of said death by Viking and not finding it, yes. But wounded? She seems pretty solid to me.

    I have a suggestion for Fin. Actually, a Norseman I know; he’s a pretty well known artist from my home town, also a musician, boater, and all round great guy. Plus he did a fun gig in a dress for the Rotary’s Womanless Beauty Pageant a few years ago. Lief Nilsson. Really. Look him up on Instagram or at

    I wonder if Bjorn and Fin might actually be gods, only maybe they don’t know it. One would have to be Loki, of course, but not the totally evil version. More like Coyote or Funfun from Wild Ride (sorry, his real name escapes me at the moment): a god of mischief, which isn’t always horrid and evil. Just destructive in a not-thinking sort of way.

    I expect girlfriends or sisters; that kind of community is one of the reliable joys of a Cruisie world, but since this a surprise not-being-written-novel, it might be fun to mix that up; maybe Lily’s community includes men as well as women and a cat.

    I think I want to know more about Nadia, and perhaps something about Lily’s past therapists – she could talk about that like I tell the story of my unhusband; something that happened long enough ago that it’s now just a story, a bunch of words, so it’s a quick tell. Hmm. Anything that’s become disconnected from the pain goes pretty quickly.

    That’s what I’ve got so far. Oh, if you’re reading Viking-related fiction, you might want to try Book of Kells by R.A. MacAvoy. It’s got Vikings, inadvertent time travel, and, believe it or not, a horse trained in the Spanish Riding School forms. As far as I can tell, those Vikings (ancestors of mine or not) were brutal. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of them have reincarnated many times to work off the bad karma.

    1. Fufluns from Wild Ride. Etruscan god of mischief, as I remember.

      The guys have a sister named Elsebet. I don’t know why.

      Lily’s closest friend is Vanessa since childhood. Lily and Cheryl have a family-you-make relationship. No idea who else is in there. Probably people who come into the diner?

      1. Or the bread guy who drops by the pallet of hamburger buns every morning? The old lady in the corner every morning drinking black coffee and reading what turn out to be screenplays? The guy whose kid helps him carry in the bag of gumballs every Friday when he services the gum machine? Lots of possibilities in a diner, I’m thinking.

  21. The comment about a Viking themed club made me realise that I want Bjorn at least to ride a motorcycle and, since they’re new in town, join a club with a vaguely Viking name. It doesn’t have to be ominous, or a bad crowd – a lot of recreational bikies down here are actually ex-cops. It might help keep him on the straight and narrow. Fin would probably be sceptical because: older brother.

    Again, I’d like to see more Lily and Vanessa, but preferably outside of work. I don’t expect Van to be a fellow grad student, she seems like food is her thing. (Also, if vikings attacked the diner I can absolutely see her marshalling the customers to defend it.) But if Lily is studying it would be good to see what. Maybe her field of study will turn out to be relevant to the past lives, or at least help us figure out what’s going on. Maybe her strength is in seeing possibilities, having an open mind, universal positive regard. At least until this came along and shook up her world view.

    1. Oh, maybe that’s how Fin ended up being a non-pillaging Viking? He’s just been trying to keep Bjorn out of trouble for the past twelve centuries and keeps getting caught up in Events. So of course he has to go along to the motorcycle club to make sure there will be no shenanigans…

      1. Oh, I like the idea of Fin causing Lily’s death over the centuries because of hapless Bjorn.

  22. I vote for screwball with a McGuffin, possibly located in the college or on the grounds. Possibly in the library archives, a Very Old tome illuminated with doodles that contains the secret to allow Lily to finally lead her very own long life to its end. With cat and Fin and all their friends. (Friend circle in “Bet Me,” anyone?)

    1. Maybe there’s an Irish religious order like the Knights Templar and the book is their Holy Grail.

  23. If Lilly’s a wounded bird, she’s a pissed off seagull who’s very annoyed some Viking put that window there.

    More Fin please! Ideally Fin and Lilly, but if not that, just Fin.

    1. Pissed off seagull is brilliant! Made me laugh out loud. Sounds like a Crusie heroine too.

  24. I would like her to see a replica Viking ship drive by and trigger a new memory of a past life. I thought I read that she only dreamed the past lives (maybe I dreamed that?) It would be fun if the lives are now intruding on her waking life so she has to figure out what is going on.

    1. Oddly enough, there are people who have demo longships who take them to events for education. I only found out because they brought one to our marina for repainting and some minor repair. So it could well be something you’d see being hauled down the road.

  25. It’d certainly be a surprise if Lily turned out to be a Viking in one of her lives….

  26. Just caught up. Thinking about why Lily’s trying to deal with the past-life stuff. Which I think is just a more colourful way of becoming aware of repeating the same mistakes in this life, as you said. So maybe she’s absolutely convinced she won’t ever have a mate/family of her own, or live a full life. But she can’t understand why not. And is now catching glimpses of these past lives that seem to show this has always been her fate – and she’s absolutely fed up, and determined to find a way out of the trap.

    I like the idea above that she misidentifies Fin as her Viking nemesis, when in fact connecting with him will start to show (them both) a way forward in this overgrown maze they’re both stuck in.

  27. Maybe Cheryl’s last craze was to ban cellphones from the diner. While she has passed that phase, the diner is more popular because of so few people are on their cellphones. (Yet no one is really aware that they are using their cellphones less or that the diner feels more cozy.)

    Maybe there are signs of her past obsessions in some of the foods, decorations, and such. Maybe there’s a general hand gesture and sigh of something like, “Forget it, that was a Cheryl.”

    1. I wonder if there’s a way she could make the diner a Faraday cage. I used to stay in an apartment in the Village that, because of the way the staircase had been built a couple of centuries ago, had a hallway that was a Faraday cage. I always felt the diner was in an old building.

      That’s an interesting idea. No idea what I’d do with it, but really interesting.

  28. I’m curious about why Lily’s looking for a therapist. She seems pretty convinced that her past lives are real, so what does she need from a therapist? Could be she believes in the learn-from-the-past-or-you-keep-repeating-it idea – the therapist being someone who’ll help her learn whatever it is she needs to.

    If that’s the case, I’d love for the reason for dying young to have nothing to do with learning from the past, or at least nothing to do with *her* learning from the past. Maybe she’s always been collateral damage from someone else’s bad decisions and this time round she gets to live her own life, dammit.

    1. I really don’t like the writing advice about “the wound from the past,” so I’m with you there.

      I have no idea why she’s seeing a therapist. But that’s how she showed up on the page. So I’m just putting a pin in that for now because generally when the Girls send something up, it’s going to be important.

    2. There’s a great kdramas series called Extraordinary You about a high school student who works out that she’s a character in a school drama graphic novel (the world is within the book) and then she finds out that she’s not the main protagonist – she’s a supporting extra, and she’s pissed that everything she does is just to help along the main characters. It gets more complicated as she tries to change things. I loved the way the concepts were developed, and the comment about Lily possibly being collateral damage in someone else’s story reminded me of this.

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