Jennifer M Eaton’s doing a blog hop critique–250 words (plus the end of the last sentence)–you post, critique others from the list, and critique back anyone who gives you a critique.


I’ve chosen a snippet from the beginning of the second book in my Witch of Atlas series.

Background: Humans found out 23 years ago that the fey–creatures like unicorns, elves, and pixies–are real, and so is magic. Althea Raven is a witch who works as a consultant, dealing with the problems that arise from supernatural creatures interacting with humans.

Here’s a link to Snippet 1,Snippet 2, and Snippet 3, should you be curious. But I respect your time, so…

Bare bones summary: Two FBI agents knock on Althea’s door. As they’re talking, something screams in the backyard. There, they discover another male agent under Althea’s dragon guardian (animated statue). Althea frees him, and reveals that she knows the agents are witches. They all sit on Althea’s porch, and the agents introduce themselves.

*    *     *     *

“I’ve always liked dragons,” Althea answered Papadakis’ earlier question. “If you want to meet my dragon, though, he’s not here.”

“We’re looking for someone with close fey ties, which you have,” Smith gestured to Diamond.

“Okay. Tell me why I should help you.” Althea rubbed Diamond under the chin.

“Service to your country isn’t enough?” Smith asked.

“No. Sometimes patriotic means stupid. Like bombing a dragon.”

“You don’t pull your punches, do you, Ms. Raven?” Smith shook her head. “We hope you can help.”

“We’re trying to understand the fey better, something you do well. Maybe because you’re a Reveal baby.” Papadakis referred to the day nearly twenty-four years ago when a pixie lost his illusion on live television.

“I was born after the Reveal, yeah. But I know witches older than you that’re doing fine.”

“We’re trying to adapt,” Papadakis met her gaze.

Althea saw something honest in his light brown eyes, and decided to take a chance. She’d put her irritation aside at their pushiness for now. “When will you need me?”

“If you’ll come speak with the team, that’d be good. We can work out a schedule later,” Smith said.

“Of course.” <Ryaas?> Althea reached out to her dragon with her mind.

<I am amazed they infringed on your territory> Ryaas, curled up in his cave home on a fey world, lashed his tail. <You defended it admirably. The humans are hiding something, but I believe it is not malice. Go. I will be watching>

<Thanks> Althea stood, Diamond in her arms. “Let me get my bag.”

*    *     *     *

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

15 responses »

  1. bit confused with the brackets- are they thoughts? x

  2. I think you nailed the dialog and the overall interaction in this 250. Very well done. If you want to step this up a level, give us a little of the expernal surroundings as well. There is no imagery in this 250 at all (which may be okay if there is some in the previous and afterwards… but as a stand-alone, lack of setting is noticable here.

    Other than that… pretty good!

    • caitlinstern says:

      Thanks, I’ve been focusing on two things you mentioned that I was having problems with–emotion and realistic dialogue. There is description before and after this bit, but I can maybe add a dash in here, too.
      Thanks for the comment!

  3. I have never read much fantasy but this is getting interesting. My only comment is regarding the second sentence in the first paragraph: “If you wanted to meet my dragon, though, he’s not here.”
    I wonder if you mean: If you want to meet my dragon…

  4. Found the text gripping and magical!


  5. ‘Like bombing a dragon.’
    I love this chick! She’s so sassy and no-nonsense and the world she lives in (where bombing a dragon is even an option) is one I want to know more about.

    ‘She’d put her irritation aside at their pushiness for now.’
    I know what you’re saying, but the sentence feels awkward on the tongue. Maybe a quick revision just to smooth it out a touch?

    Still engaged; you got me. More please! ^_^

  6. katmwehr says:

    Ooh! Very interesting piece here. I’m not too familiar with the fantasy genre, but this segment provides an interesting little conflict that I’m definitely interested in reading more about. I’m a little put off by the usage for the dragon’s speaking, although I’m assuming you’re using that to demonstrate that the dragon is mind-talking? I think italics would do the trick too! But that’s just a little nitpick. Overall, I found the voices of each party to be quite distinctive, which I find important in dialogue. Thanks for sharing!

    • caitlinstern says:

      People use italics a lot for internal dialogue, and I didn’t want to confuse anyone. But it looks like no one’s liking the brackets, so I may have to come up with something else.
      Thanks for the comment!

  7. […] a link to Snippet 1,Snippet 2,Snippet 3, and Snippet 4, should you be curious. But I respect your time, […]

  8. […] a link to Snippet 1,Snippet 2,Snippet 3,Snippet 4, and Snippet 5, should you be curious. But I respect your time, […]

What are your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.