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. (Snippets since #11) If anyone wants to read the changes, they’re here. Further posts may have some overlap as I’ve moved things 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. He reveals that he was one of the dolphins she watched–and one of the Changeable. When Mabel tries to apologize for her friend, he interrupts.

Anthony’s POV: Anthony and his sister Cynthia went swimming that morning, hoping to have the beach to themselves. When he spotted Evelyn watching them, he changed to human and confronted her.

*    *     *     *

Like the girls that strolled through luxury shops, their rhinestone sandals never touching sand. Spoiled princesses that’d tell their boyfriends to shove me around if I even looked at them funny.

And Evelyn called me rude, which didn’t sound like an apology to me. Time to get away from the crazy girl. As the tide washed over my feet, a hand gripped my upper arm. Astonished, I turned back.

“I’m sorry,” Evelyn dropped her hand from my arm, but kept her amber eyes fixed on mine. “I wasn’t paying attention, and acted without consideration. But Mabel deserves an apology.”

Mabel stared at the sand, freckle-spotted shoulders slumped, her sun-bright red hair covering most of her face. I’d feel sorry for her, except for her clothes. Expensive stuff that probably cost as much as half my wardrobe. No, she wasn’t anything like me, either.

“I don’t owe you anything,” I stepped back, but Evelyn followed, a bulldog-stubborn set to her jaw. “It’s going to get a bit wet.”

“I can swim.”

“I swim better.”

She shrugged. “I’m sure there’s things I do better than you. Obviously, I have better social skills.” She folded her arms and watched me. Her chin jutted up, nose in the air like the first time I saw her. But her arms wrapped around her ribs, hugging herself, and she seemed smaller than a minute ago.

“I didn’t mean to make her cry.”

“I’m not Mabel. I don’t need your apology.”

Behind her, Mabel squeaked like a kicked puppy. She twisted her intertwined fingers, gaze ping-ponging between me and her friend.

Evelyn’s bright gold-brown eyes met mine, and we shared a moment of guilty amusement. She shook her head. “Anyway, what’s your name?”

*    *     *     *

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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.

5 responses »

  1. I have an issue with the ‘acted without consideration.’ It doesn’t sound natural in my head or spoken aloud. Is there another way Evelyn might say it.

    Also, I know its probably just me, but amber eyes makes me think of werewolves or a lupine creature in general.

    ‘I swim better’ a great line in it’s simplicity. A gentle sort of conflict that’s still very effective. Nicely done.

    I love the description of Evelyn’s body too. It shows how she’s changing, which is important.

    A great segment, though I found myself a little surprised by Evelyn’s desire to know his name. Since they were so antagonistic just a moment before I’m not sure that this felt totally natural.

    • caitlinstern says:

      She’s echoing her mom’s words, but you’re right, it sounds funny. Grr. I hate when something works in my head and doesn’t work on paper.
      Originally I had that section in her POV, so you see her thought process, and it made sense. (I hope.) But I’ll work on it.
      Thanks again for your comments, they’re awesomely detailed and fixable. 😀

  2. This reads fine to me except for the first paragraph. The first sentence doesn’t sound complete and the next one is hanging also. I think I know what you’re doing here but I wonder if they need another look. I read the previous paragraph to see how this fits, but I don’t see it.

    I like the edge and can’t imagine how these three will manage, but I’d like to know.

    • caitlinstern says:

      Yeah, I did a slice and dice while I re-worked the POVs, and it still needs smoothing. The transition between one to the other is still difficult for me.
      Thanks for your comments!

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