Red Pencil Thursday with a Mystery Volunteer

Red Pencil ThursdayWe’ve had volunteers at every level of experience along the publishing path here on Red Pencil Thursday–total newbies, Golden Heart winners, and even a few published authors. Our volunteer today falls not only into the published category, she recently hit the NYTimes list! She’s visiting us anonymously, but maybe she’ll reveal her identity in the comment section later this weekend. The post will be up till Monday.

The point is every writer experiences moments of self-doubt. Every writer can benefit from a fresh set of eyes on their work. No one I know comes down the mountain with their story inscribed in stone, every word strung together in perfect order like a matched set of pearls . A manuscript is more like a malleable clay pot with plenty of room for revision and improvement.

I salute my volunteer, today and each week. Allowing others to learn from your work is the mark of a generous spirit. My comments are in red. Hers are in blue. Please add yours in the comments because we don’t always agree and need your opinion!

The Proper Peer

Mia: The title firmly drops us into a Regency-ish frame of mind, however I’m wondering what you plan for the sensuality level of this story? It sounds like a traditional regency, which would be fairly sweet. I only ask because I know you can write hot,  ;-) and this title is . . . well, not.

Good thought! It IS a dull title, though there’s a little double meaning with “proper” because the hero is a staid sort of fellow but the right guy for our heroine. I’ll think up something snappier.

The child was small, helpless and in harm’s way.

Mia: Excellent hook. Nothing grabs us by the jugular like a child in jeopardy.

Douglas Allen, the Viscount Amery, absorbed those facts as well as others in a silent instant: The grooms clustered in the barn doorway would do nothing but stand about, crossing themselves and looking sick with dread. The child’s mother, white as a ghost at the foot of the huge oak in the stable yard, was also likely paralyzed with fear. The child herself, perhaps four or five years old, standing thirty feet up on a sturdy limb of the old tree, was nearly as frightened as the woman.

Mia: Saying Douglas “absorbed those facts” places us in his POV, but it seems a little clunky to do it that way. Could you give us a sense of where he is? Riding by? I think if you show him in action, we’ll understand that we’re looking through his eyes and will follow his gaze around to the rest of the tableau.

Dang, you’re good at this. How ‘bout: “Douglas Allen, Viscount Amery drew his horse to a halt as he absorbed those facts in addition to several others:”  I still don’t love it. Absorbing facts is visually dull, you’re right.

Mia: Because you’re an excellent writer, I want to challenge you to come up with something more original than white as a ghost. Pale as bleached muslin? White as a lily? White as paper? (Any other suggestions out there?)

Dead on, there, Mia. The cliché police have issued a deserved citation. How about… unnaturally pale…

Mia: I like it!

It took another moment of quiet focus for Douglas to accurately perceive the situation in its terrible entirety.

Mia: Not sure you need this sentence other than to tease us with the idea that the situation is even more dire than it first appears. Unless of course, this is to show that Douglas is a man of careful deliberation even in moments of crisis.

I do want an anticipatory cringe here, but the word “accurately” strikes me as one of those overdone, why-did-I-write-that adverbs copy editors hold in such contempt.

Mia: Adverbs have a tendency to creep in. I think you need to show us more of what Douglas sees in order to create a cringe-worthy moment.

“Rose,” the woman said in a tight, stern voice, “you will not move, do you hear me?”

“No!” came a petulant retort from the heights of the oak. Douglas allowed his gaze to travel up, and saw the child had anchored herself by a fierce hold on the branch above her. When she made her rude reply, she punctuated it with a stomp of her foot, which caused the branch she grasped to shake as well.

Mia: You don’t need to allow his gaze to travel. Simply describe what he sees and we’ll follow him. Start that sentence with The child had anchored…

Respectfully disagree, Your Honor. ‘Douglas allowed his gaze to travel up’ pans the camera upward, limb by limb, to the dread Whatever and keeps us away from an insinuation of third person omniscient point of view. This clause ALSO creates a compound sentence, and keeps the paragraph from sounding choppy.  The simple sentence left over from deleting the ‘Douglas allowed’ clause sounds wrong for my voice.

Mia: Duly noted. As always, my suggestions are just that. Take what you like and leave the rest.

Douglas heard the problem before he saw it. A low, insistent drone, one that would have been utterly undetectable but for the unnatural stillness of the tableau.

Mia: Wonderful use of the sense of hearing. So often we writers lean too heavily on sight. The low drone is certainly ominous.

And it was REALLY ominous when I heard it in the tree my very own kid was playing in! But how about we ditch “utterly”? I’ve read this scene a zillion times, you’d think I would have debrided all the stupid adverbs from it.

Mia: –Ly words are the bane of my life.

At Rose’s impertinence, the woman blanched even more pale.

“Please, Rose,” the woman said, her voice an agony of controlled desperation, “I am asking as nicely as I can. You must hold very still until we can get you down.”

“It’s my tree,” the child shouted back, “and I can stay up here as long as I want.”

Mia: Personal pet peeve: spoiled children. I’m disappointed with this kid right now and wondering why the mom allowed her to become such an unlikeable little tyrant. I could never watch Full House because the Mary Kate Ashley character was so snottily disobedient and the adults never reined her in. I trust there’s a reason for the lack of parental authority. Is the woman the nanny instead of the mother?

Another stomp, following by another ominous, angry droning.

Douglas absorbed two more facts: The child was unaware of the hornet’s nest—an ugly gray mass about the size of a man’s head—and she was not unwilling to come down. She was unable.

Mia: Again with the fact absorbing. Since you’ve made a pattern of it, this does seem like part of his character now–assessment, deliberation and then hopefully, appropriate action. Perhaps you should leave it here and at the beginning. What does the rest of the RPT gang think?

Please do chime in. I intended continuity, but does it come off stilted? Does it burden the pace?

Mia: I don’t deduce that she’s unable to climb down from her tone and actions. What specifically leads Douglas to this conclusion?

He recognizes stubborn pride when he sees it, being on intimate terms with the quality himself. Should I drizzle in something to that effect? I’m already worried that the pace isn’t moving along quickly enough. Does Rose’s fear help mitigate the spoiled first impression or not? Be honest.

Mia: I need something more to indicate that she’s afraid. I see the mother’s fear, but not the child’s. All I see in Rose is stubborn willfulness, but that may just be me. Again, we welcome YOUR comments, RPT gang!

He stripped off his gloves and stuffed them into the pocket of his riding jacket. Next he shed his jacket, slung it across the horse’s withers, turned back his cuffs and rode over to the base of the tree. After taking a moment to assess the possibilities, he used the height of the horse’s back to hoist himself into the lower limbs.

Mia: Yay for a steady man of action!

“Miss Rose,” he called out in a steady, no nonsense voice, “you will do as your mother says, and be still as a garden statue until I am able to reach you. There will be no more rudeness…” Douglas continued to climb, branch by branch, toward the child. “You will not shout…” Another several feet and he would be on the same level as she. “And you most assuredly will not be stamping your foot in an unladylike display of pique.”

The child watched as he came up the tree. “What’s peek?”

Mia: Could you give her another action besides “watched?” It seems a little passive for a child who managed to climb up there on her own. I don’t see her obeying a stranger’s order to stand still when she’s been so wretched to her mother. Would she have squatted down on the branch? Maybe sat on it and let her feet swing? Or since he forbade it, would she raise her foot for another stamp only to be derailed by the distraction of a new word?

I REALLY like that last suggestion, because when Rose raises her foot, our anxiety about the bees will rise as well.  Maybe… The child raised her foot as if to stomp again, then wrinkled her nose. “What’s peek?”

I deleted some language here along the lines of…. “The child watched as he came up the tree, her expression suggesting guidance from an adult male was more novel than intimidating.”

(Rose has been raised without a dad.)

When the heavens are so generous as to give me a good opening line, I almost resent it because trying to write the rest of the scene at the same level is HARD. If the opening is taut and hooky, then inevitably, as some point, the tension has to ease up and that can feel like sagging. Any thoughts?

Mia: I don’t think this scene is in danger of sagging till the child is out of the tree. You’ve done a good job of creating multiple threats to her and, spoiled or not, we don’t want to see her hurt.

“Pique,”—he secured his weight by wrapping one leg around a thick branch—“is the same thing as a snit, a pout, a ladylike version of a tantrum. Now come here and we will get you out of this tree before your mama can devise a truly appalling punishment.”

Mia: Very nice. I like the byplay surrounding pique. Douglas is a very worthy hero. He’s fully aware of the dangers and yet he acts anyway to help strangers. We like him a lot!

Thank you, Mia! You read with a great microscope, and I’m looking forward to more insights and suggestions from the RPT roving band of critics-at-large.

Mia: You all heard her. Now it’s YOUR turn. What pops out at you in this opener?

35 thoughts on “Red Pencil Thursday with a Mystery Volunteer

  1. I loved it, and already I want to know more. I don’t know how much better anyone writing popular fiction could do.

    Mostly I have comments about the comments. I agree that limb-to-limb would be more active and more visual. For some reason, I had trouble figuring out what it was that the child was up. (I probably skipped over a word–as readers sometimes do.)

    But I disagree with the comments about the mother’s “asking nicely,” I hardly noticed. I figured the mother knew her child. Not uncommonly, fours and fives respond with opposition to the simplest requests, something they did perfectly happily an hour before, and getting tough is as likely as not to make them more noncompliant.

    In short, I thought the little girl behaved exactly like a child that age might. She wasn’t a white-faced, generic child-in-peril. She had a personality. She was herself. She was real. She drew me deeper into the story.

    I think you might lose much of the strength of the opening if you “sand the edges off the child’s brattiness.”

    Every romance reader knows the hero’s going to save her, and you know he’s going to do it pretty quick because we have four hundred pages to go. While there’s action, there’s very little actual conflict.

    The fact that the hero has to save a child who might not cooperate adds immensely to the tension in the scene. Now the reader seriously wonders HOW he’s going to do it. And that made the “peek” “pique” exchange even more surprising, humorous and delightful..

  2. Deb says:

    Wow. Very, very good excerpt. I enjoyed reading it!

    If the child is about 5 and she’s scared, she is not going to sound “bratty”. She’s going to be crying. I think the girl is a downright brat and defiant as well. She’s obviously not scared. Are you wanting us to think she’s scared or a brat? Is she going to prove later that she is a well-behaved girl who happened to get stuck up in a tree, getting into a predicament because she didn’t think? Sorry to go on about the girl, but I’m not exactly liking her in the excerpt.

    The suggestions for showing paleness are good. I like Mia’s suggestions. Absorbed is okay, but perhaps you could show the hero’s thinking process by stating that he “assimilated the situation” or “assimilated the child’s precarious quandary (or fix or spot) in the tree” or something like that. It just has more of a ring of historical accuracy than absorbed. But, that’s just my opinion and I’m not a writer.

    I can’t wait to read this story! Thank you for sharing it with us today.

    1. This kid is eliciting a lot of strong reactions, and that’s very helpful to me. VERY helpful. I’ll get her down from her tree and have a talk with her about showing some fear, at least to Douglas and the reader, if not to her mom.And yes, tears do seem to be in order.

  3. Mia and RPTers, Thanks very much for this opportunity to focus on the opening to a book I have high hopes for. I’ve learned a lot and gotten a bucket of good ideas about five hundred little–but very important–words. I feel like my precious prose was handled honestly but kindly, and hope I can return the favor for other volunteers in coming weeks.

  4. Marcy W says:

    I liked Rose, didn’t see her as a spoiled brat so much as a determined, self-centered (as most kids are) child. What would work better for me is for her to react somehow to her mother’s obvious fear — she’s a smart kid — so maybe as she’s saying “no, it’s my tree, etc.” she could also say something to indicate she notices her mama’s fear, or at least concern for how this looks to others, instead of fear for Rose — she is clearly fearless, so she’d think her mother would be too? — Or maybe not … we don’t want to lessen her pique (and yes, “peek” is great).

    As for the beginning, what about something like: “As he rode into the stable yard, Douglas Allen, the Viscount Amery, took in the odd silence, and the situation, in an instant. A cluster of stunned grooms, a bone-white, shivering woman staring up into the branches of a venerable old oak tree, at the figure of a small girl child standing on a limb thirty feet above.
    Another moment of silence revealed an ominous drone, and Douglas realized the full import of the scene he’d happened upon.
    Rose, said the woman ….. ”
    Something like this would shorten that first bit, and get us faster to the dialogue and action, which are the strongest parts of this excerpt. (Although all his preparations for the climb seem to take a long time. Being deliberate is one thing, this is almost stalling.)
    The discussion of “absorbing” is good … I agree that it tells us something about him, but I think it does slow things down too much at this point.

    Once Douglas starts talking to Rose, we learn so much about him: he can be a trifle pedantic, he’s a man of action, he’s generous and caring, and he treats even children politely and respectfully. That makes him a hero to me. Once he gets Rose down safely, I’m eager to find out what kind of woman her mother is, to see if she’s going to be a match for him.

    I’m a little surprised at myself for being so wordy and opinionated, now that I know the writer’s identity. Ms Burrowes, I just finished your “The Soldier”, which I enjoyed even more than “The Heir”. You have a delightfully unique voice, and view of people and their relationships. I did guess Emmie’s secret before she revealed it, but not by much. I’ve rarely read the story of two tormented souls who find redemption in each other that I believed — that wasn’t contrived — as much as I did this one. Thank you so much for giving me several hours of escape and pleasure, and for sharing your talent so generously.

    Mia, thanks again for RPT … as usual, it’s great fun, and I’m in awe of the writers who put their work out there this way.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Grace’s stories are amazing, aren’t they? Which makes her willingness to let us dissect this opening all the more special. Her characters are so deep, so layered and when you read her work, you relax knowing you’re in the hands of a gifted storyteller.

    2. I think for one of these Thursdays, we ought to get an assignment: “Everybody tell the story of a guy who comes across a mom losing it in with her five year old in the produce section, and everybody write it so he comes off looking heroic.” The variety of resulting scenes would no doubt be stunning.

      Thank you for your wonderfully detailed comments, and I’m glad you liked the books!

  5. Barb Bettis says:


    Great comments and suggestions so far. The opening doesn’t drag at all, especially as it’s filtered through his orderly mind.
    Loved the word play-pique/peek.

    I’m a little torn with the bratty child. If she’s not too old, a little bit of defiance might show spirit. I agree with the others about the opening–it sets her up as frightend but all we see is her not-cute sass.

    With his ‘absorbing’ of the scene we get that the hero is deliberate. He does come off as a bit staid–which is what you intended.

    I “see” him being a hero. I don’t “feel” him being one. I like your suggestion of drizzling (love the word) in a bit of his understanding of what he sees as the girl’s stubborn pride. It wouldn’t have to be much, a phrase perhaps–maybe in the graph ending “She was unable.” It give us more of a connection with his emotional reaction. He perceives the hornets nest–what feelings did that knowledge evoke? (Briefly, of course :>)

    Thank you so much for allowing us to look at your opening. Best of luck with the finished book

    1. Thanks for that distinction–it’s one I’ll think about. Douglas has a LONG way to go to get from protagonist to hero. What’s motivation him here is more duty than compassion, but he has 400 pages to get that straightened out.

      The finished book is probably going up on Amazon early next year… assuming I can get the thing polished to my satisfaction.

      1. Barb Bettis says:

        Now that the comments are over for the day, I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed “The Soldier” and “The Heir.” No matter how Douglas is “polished up” :) the book is bound to be as yummy as the others. It’s interesting that you’re putting him up on Amazon. Not going the route of your other guys? Whatever way, all the best. And thanks, again, for allowing us to dig in.

  6. Barbara Britton says:

    Hi Grace,

    I just finished reading The Heir and loved it. I have actually re-read the ending about four times. Darn those stubborn characters–Anna and Gayle.
    Thanks for braving RPT. Now I am totally humbled by my comments.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Don’t ever disavow your opinions, Barbara. Part of why we went for a “mystery” volunteer is that Grace wanted the RPT gang to freely express themselves.

  7. Muffy B says:

    I found the child’s stubbornness amusing. I agree that some measure of fear might be appropriate from her. You do state that “the child herself . . . was nearly as frightened as the woman.” So maybe we could see a little of that woven in with the temper tantrum.

    I remember climbing a tall pine near a river as a kid with my best friend. The view from the top was amazing. I climbed down and she didn’t, she was stuck with fear in the upper branches. I had to talk her down, telling her each foothold and handhold to make as she inched down, rigid with fear. I’ll never forget how something fun turned into fear in a matter of moments.

    The little girl might find herself torn between fear and her pride, giving her some layer of complexity. But again, I found Rose amusing and I think some humor was intended in her actions. It doesn’t have to be so true to life you wring the humor out of it.

    Enjoyed it!

    1. Thanks! I recall a friend stuck up a tree too–must be one of those universal experiences.

  8. Maurine H says:

    The first sentence does immediately pull me into the story. I like that you set him up as a person who carefully assesses a situation before acting. Too many heroes just jump in and act, giving the impression of recklessness. In my opinion this doesn’t slow the pace as much as some word or phrase choices do. I realize a lot of historicals tend to be more wordy than my usual reading choices of romantic suspense, so take my comments with a grain of salt.
    To me, “absorbed those facts as well as others in a silent instant” tells, then the following words show. I wouldn’t need to read both to get an idea of the situation. Also, “Douglas allowed his gaze to travel up” doesn’t tell me that it panned limb to limb like you commented. What is written is general–traveled up, but what you commented is specific–limb by limb. As a reader I probably wouldn’t notice the language, but since I started writing some things jump out at me. Why would he “allow” his gaze? Things like that and “he found himself” make me notice the writing more than the story, but maybe it’s just me.
    “Douglas absorbed two more facts” also feels unnecessary to me, but if this type of phrasing is part of your voice, I don’t want to mess with it. You obviously have a lot of readers who don’t feel the same way.
    When the child stomps her foot and the branch shakes would be a good place to add signs of her fear. Like Mia, I don’t get a feeling of any fear from her; mostly an impression of a spoiled child which makes me feel less concern for her. Another place to show her fear could be in the second paragraph when you show the mother’s fear by her paleness.
    You do set up an interesting situation in the opening and I like how Douglas acts in a heroic way to rescue the child. And I love the conversation between him and Rose. What is her reaction to his being so firm with her?

    1. Mostly, she’s curious, because she is a well loved, confident child, and he’s on her secure turf. Your comments regarding language tempt me to duck behind the old “that’s my voice” defense, but you’re right: Wordiness is a struggle for me, and this is an old MS. I’ve probably read it so often I no longer see it.

      1. Mia Marlowe says:

        Your voice is lovely, Grace. Don’t change it. The words you choose and the way you use language have endeared your books to tons of readers. Have confidence in your storytelling. You’ve got it going on!

      2. Maurine H says:

        Like I said, I read mostly romantic suspense and the words are minimal and focused on action, with less description. When I made the comment, I was in a hurry to get ready for work and neglected to say that your writing has a smooth, lyrical quality regardless. I shouldn’t do things when I’m in a hurry. I tend to come across critical and I didn’t mean to do that. I’ve never read any of your books, but I’m going to have to look them up now. Best of luck with this story. I look forward to reading more.

  9. Nynke says:

    Dear Anonymous (great cloak-and-dagger stuff, this! good luck keeping up the persona in the comments…),

    I’m with Mia and Barbara: this opening doesn’t really make me root for Rose, and explaining the emotions Douglas recognizes in her a bit more would help. Also, after reading “Please, Rose,I am asking as nicely as I can”, I really hope the lady is not the heroine – I’d hope a strong feminine character might point out the danger and be forceful about it, if with a voice quavering from fear.

    I was also wondering why Douglas took off his gloves. I used to graze my hands when I still climbed trees, and I think I’d have liked to wear gloves for that. Or are leather riding gloves too slick for establishing grip?

    Oh, and I loved “what’s peek?”!

    1. With this comment–having been the mom who saw the kid in the tree–I can tell you pointing out a death threat to a precariously balanced five-year-old has no appeal. The result could easily be that the kid to panic and dies horribly, either because the kid fell from the tree or inadvertently shook the hornet’s nest. Douglas gets to be strong in this scene, Gwen gets much of the rest of the book.

      Did anybody else think Gwen lost points with her pleading?

      1. Mia Marlowe says:

        I think the “I’m asking as nicely as I can” bothered me most. I’d rather see her resort to bribery than grovel before a willful child. I remember I climbed out on the roof of my aunt’s house once. She talked me back onto the balcony with promises of cookies. I received a smart bottom instead, but it did get me off the roof.

        1. Oh, a smart bottom! What a wonderful turn of phrase. Douglas might have to steal it from you.

      2. Nynke says:

        Hmm, I had kind of forgotten exactly how young she was (and I have no experience whatsoever as a mom)… But even with a five-year-old, the asking nicely still doesn’t feel quite right. I really like Mia’s suggestion, though :)

        (Also, I really liked both The Heir and The Soldier!)

        1. Thanks! And if we’re getting to a consensus on that line, then it’s going to have to go. Maybe too PC for the situation and the period?

      3. Maurine H says:

        I didn’t think much of the mother pleading because, as a mother, when your child is in danger, you’ll resort to anything to get her to safety. Once there, all bets are off. As readers we don’t know what transpired before Douglas’s arrival. She may have already tried bribery and it didn’t work. If you’re worried about your readers’ feelings about her pleading, you could have the mother say what all she’d tried before without success. Or when Rose is safely out of the tree, Douglas could tell the mother Rose needs a firmer hand and she could tell him what all didn’t work, bribery included. Just a thought.

        1. Sharon D says:

          I agree with Maurine here. I have a willful 4-year-old that my husband and I are struggling to discipline, and I completely related to the mother’s dilemma. She tried being stern and it provoked the child to behave recklessly. I felt her “agony of controlled desperation” and believed that she would try any tactic to get the child down, and worry about disciplining her when she was safely on the ground. It worked for me, and my opinion of the child and mother would depend on how both behaved after the girl was out of the tree.

  10. Clair Carter says:

    I think the pace is fine. It does not sag at all, as you reveal the developing peril over these opening paragraphs. I like ‘bone white’ rather than as white as x for a change. (I would be bone white if my child was stuck up a tree – it wouldn’t be at all unnatural to be pale in those circumstances!)
    I think the wilfulness of the child is appropriate for the situation she’s got her self into, but maybe soften her a bit. Perhaps she can gasp a little in fear and clutch the branch tighter or something, despite her bold rudeness, so we can see it’s a front and maybe like her more?
    Rather than the second ‘absorb’ – perhaps something with a more ‘active’ sound to it: some construction with him assessing or similar? So he comes across as a quick thinking action hero as well as an observer.
    Thanks for sharing – it is helpful to the unpublished to see true professionals going through these processes! I still struggle to shake the unhelpful belief that ‘real writers” novels spring fully formed from their keyboards! Good luck with the story.

    1. Real writers have insecurities that spring fully formed from their keyboards, but as for novels…. must be my keyboard needs and upgrade.

  11. The “absorbed” didn’t bother me. I liked how it gave us a sense of him. But that horrible child — by the middle I was hoping the hornets got to her first ;) LOL Seriously, if this is just a “Save the Cat” moment to establish the hero’s good side, then the bratty child won’t be a big deal. But if the reader is going to have this child throughout the story – like if the mother is the heroine – then I’d like to see a fearful, whiny child instead of this one.
    Oh, and I don’t think the pace is slow at all. :)

    1. Another vote for sanding the edge off the child’s brattiness, or maybe for sharpening the extent to which Douglas perceives her fear, though the reader might not.

  12. Barbara Britton says:

    Wow! No pressure, Mia, with a NY Times bestseller!
    In regards to the word ‘absorbed’, if it is meant to show character, then leaving it in here is fine. But, let’s leave it here and come up with some other ways we can show this later on. Absorbed is also kind of a nerdy word.
    I think we need to talk about the motivation of the girl in the tree. When you mentioned she was unable to come down, I assumed she was stuck or had her dress caught in the tree. It seems, she has inner-issues with father abandonment and a stubborn streak. Showing another emotion besides anger will make us more sympathetic to her.
    I remember jumping one too many times on my aunt’s porch swing after being told not to by my parents. They forced me to apologize, and I would not. I was a nice, shy kid, too! Even though I was being stubborn, I was upset, almost in tears, mottled complexion, etc. I didn’t do this often, but sometimes you just have a meltdown and we all can relate to that. Softening the girl’s rebellious shouting will help us realte better to her.
    I would also cut the sentence about the continued droning of the hornets into two sentences as I thought the girl was droning.
    (Another stomp. The ominous, angry droning heightened from above.)
    All in all, I liked this opening. Great hook with the peril. We all like men putting themselves in harms way to save a child.
    Super job!

    1. What I’m sensing is that opening with putting a little girl in danger is fine for giving Our Hero a chance to shine, but the child has evoke empathy too, because most of us have recoil reaction around bratty kids. I’ll think of ways to show that Rose is scared, not just stubborn.

      1. Mia Marlowe says:

        I think if I saw even a glimpse of white-lipped terror from Rose, my view of her would change immediately. Instead of spoiled, she’d seem more plucky in the face of obvious danger. If I could see that she’s scared but hiding her fear behind obstinate disobedience, that’s a game changer.

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