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Vicki Briner

Lesson 3:


<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>This excerpt is from Tessa Dare’s </span><i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Do You Want to Start a Scandal?</span></i>

<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>What I like about this opening (and the story as a whole) is Charlotte. She’s daring, impulsive, witty and funny. She’s also earnest, which I find endearing. Looking at the opening on it’s own, I immediately like her spunk, and for some reason I care that this man like her also. I think what makes my brain crave more is the fact that he’s clearly amused by her (as am I as the reader) and I want the banter between the two to continue. So I guess the WHAT is the interaction between the two characters, and the fact that emotionally I’m rooting for Charlotte. </span>


<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>The gentleman in black turned down the corridor, and Charlotte Highwood followed.</span>

<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Stealthily, of course. It wouldn’t do to let anyone see.</span>

<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Her ears caught the subtle click of a door latch–down the passage, to the left. The door to Sir Vernon Parkhurst’s library, if her recollection served.</span>

<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>She hesitated in the alcove, engaging herself in silent debate. </span>

<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>In the grand scheme of English society, Charlotte was a wholly unimportant young woman. To intrude on the solitude of a marquess—one to whom she hadn’t even been introduced—would be the worst sort of impertinence. But impertinence was preferable to the alternative: another year of scandal and misery. </span>

<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Distant music spilled form the ballroom. The first few strains of a quadrille. If she meant to act, it must be now. Before she could talk herself out of it, Charlotte tiptoed down the corridor to put her hand on the door latch. </span>

<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Desperate mothers called for desperate measures.</span>

<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>When she opened the door, the marquess looked up at once. He was alone, standing behind the library desk.</span>

<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>And he was perfect.</span>

<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>By perfect, she didn’t mean handsome—although he was handsome. High cheekbones, a squared jaw, and a nose so straight God must have drawn it with a rule. But everything else about him declared perfection, as well. His posture, his mien, his dark sweep of hair. The air of assured command that hovered about him, filling the room. </span>

<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Despite her nerves, she felt a prickle of curiosity. No man could be perfect. Everyone had flaws. If the imperfections weren’t apparent on the surface, they must be hidden deep inside. </span>

<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Mysteries always intrigued her.</span>

<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>“Don’t be alarmed,” she said, closing the door behind her. “I’ve come to save you.” </span>

<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>“Save me.” His low, rich voice glided over her like fine-grain leather. “From . . . ?”</span>

<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>“Oh, all kinds of things. Inconvenience and mortification, chiefly. But broken bones aren’t out of the realm of possibility.”</span>

<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>He pushed a desk drawer closed. “Have we been introduced?”</span>

<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>“No, my lord.” She belatedly remembered to curtsy. “That is, I know who </span><i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>you </span></i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>are. Everyone knows who you are. You’re Piers Brandon, the Marquess of Granville.”</span>

<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>“When last I checked, yes.”</span>

<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>“And I’m Charlotte Highwood, of the Highwoods you’ve no reason to know. Unless you read the Prattler, which you probably don’t.” </span>

<i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Lord, I hope you don’t. </span></i>


<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Of the Fourteen, I identified:</span>

    <li style=”font-weight: 400;”><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>A need or motive: She is on a mission to “save” this man from her marriage-crazy mother (this becomes clear in the next few pages). </span>
    <li style=”font-weight: 400;”><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Question: Why has she embarked on this mission?</span>
    <li style=”font-weight: 400;”><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Character’s thoughts: She is working up her nerve to approach a man she shouldn’t approach. </span>


<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Question for you: In this lesson, you said you thought Hague’s ideas were better suited for overall structure. I’m curious, though, how much importance you put on the three key ways to create empathy, i.e. create sympathy, put them in danger, make them likable and kind.</span>

<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Thanks!</span>


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