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.


This is from Changeable, which will be a YA urban fantasy with two narrators. I’m experimenting farther from my comfort zone on this one, so I may fail, but I’m enjoying the effort.

UPDATE: Due to some feedback I’ve made some  rewrites. I’m not finished with them, nor are they necessarily far enough, but it’s at least version 1.5 instead of 1.0. If anyone wants to read the changes, they’re here. Further posts may have some overlap as I move bits around.


Evelyn’s POV: At the beach, Evelyn is watching two dolphins when her friend Mabel yells that they need to go. Both spot a swimmer headed to shore, and wait. The tide washes seaweed on Evelyn’s bare foot and she does a ‘get-it-off’ dance, which the swimmer makes a snarky comment about. Ev starts to leave, but when he yells ‘Run, that’s what they all do!’ after her, she scolds him for being rude.

*    *     *     *

Mabel trotted across the sand towards us. “Evelyn! Quit picking fights!”

“He started it.” After all, he’d come up to me, smirking about my perfectly understandable dislike of having dripping, slimy, and sometimes sharp-edged seaweed wrapped around my foot. I’d gotten the stuff tangled around an ankle while out wading and ended up with thin scratches and a lecture about keeping my legs in skirt worthy-shape from my mother only two weeks ago. I glanced out at the sea one more time, hoping to catch a glimpse of those two dolphins before we left. One was gone, and the other floated on the waves, body pointed towards us. “Great, you scared off the other dolphin.”

He huffed out an almost-laugh, sharp-edged, his eyes flat and not amused. “Sure. Pretend you don’t know I’m the other dolphin.”


Well, I really put my foot in it this time. Mabel’s right, I should think before I speak. I hadn’t noticed him shifting, so of course I hadn’t realized he was Changeable. I didn’t want to apologize, though. Maybe he wasn’t judging me the way I’d originally thought, but… he was still ill-mannered.

On the other hand, having made this situation worse, it was probably my turn to make it better.

Mabel, sensitive soul that she is, jumped into the loaded silence first. “Evelyn didn’t mean anything. She’s-”

*    *     *     *

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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.

9 responses »

  1. Wow. I’m so immersed in this, I cannot find anything else to say.

  2. Right now this is reading a little more middle-grade than young adult. If you are looking for a teen audience, it is an easy fix. Take out the tell words like “was” and describle the feelings instead of telling what the feelings are. Grab a really good YA book and give it a read. You’d never see the sentence: “The girl gave me another superior look.” Instead, you would get a description of the look, and the reader would be able to decide themselves how that look appears.

    Also, dig in to the deep inner thought, and let us totally feel what is happening inside your character.

    In my opinion, I think the head=popping is distracting. If you are going for traditional publication, I think this will be a hard sell. It is hard to get lost in a story and really relate to a character if you cannot stay “with them”.

    It is okay to switch POV, but I would recommend doing so only once a chapter to keep your story flowing fluidly.

    Of course, I could be completely wrong… go with what your gut tells you, and maybe do some research.

    Good luck!

    • caitlinstern says:

      Yeah, I knew I was writing choppy when I started the story–the sections are growing as I progress, the most recent to chapter length.
      I’ve read multiple POV books, and it seems like many people *hate* them. But I’m not sure the story I have in my head makes sense from one POV, which may very well mean it’s a story that will never be out there.
      I’m going to work on it as if it may, anyway. You never know.
      Thanks for the critique, I will try to see if I can ‘jump’ less.

  3. I get the changing POV but it might be too distracting for YA – back and forth may be easier for your readers.
    I’m curious about the Changeable.

    • caitlinstern says:

      I’m not very far into the story yet–with the feedback I’m getting, I think I need to go back before I can go forward.
      But I do have plans. And lots and lots of notes. 🙂
      Thanks for the comment!

  4. She’s what?! How is she going to get her friend out of this one? Lol, nice.

    And I didn’t realise that shifting was known; that’s a nice touch. Now I want to know more of how the world changed that this is normal.

    Nice snippet.

    • caitlinstern says:

      I’m fond of after-the-world changed urban fantasy.
      I like the idea of normal people coping with weirdness, and the people who’ve had weirdness thrust upon them coping with normal people.
      Normal being a relative term for people who don’t change into animals. 😉
      Thanks for the comment!

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