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.


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. Evelyn tries to apologize a few times, following him when he retreats to the ocean, and finally redirects him by asking his name. They introduce themselves, and Cindy comes out to join them.

*    *     *     *

“Some people don’t have someone to be that close to,” Evelyn shrugged. “Nice meeting you, but we’ve got to go.”

“We’re almost a half an hour late, Ev,” Mabel said.

Evelyn sighed. “Oh, that’s great. Mother’s going to kill me.” She waved at me and Cindy, “See you around, Anthony.”

She took off across the sand, Mabel racing after. They stopped at a pile of towels on a rock, brushing off sand and putting on shoes, and disappeared over the hill.

“That was weird.”

“Norms,” Cindy waded into the waves, heading deep enough to change.

“Yeah.” I followed. But these two acted differently from most norms who knew what we were. I couldn’t dismiss them like she did.

I’d lost the mellow feeling from our morning swim, though. Awkward in my other skin, like I usually felt on land, I left the water soon.

I tried to put the weird norm girl’s flashing pale brown eyes out of my mind, but the argument we’d had kept intruding as I got ready for my job waiting tables at Melisende.

Not what I needed right now.

Showered and dressed in the uniform of black shoes, black slacks, burgundy long-sleeved shirt, and tie, I hopped on my bike. At the back of the restaurant, I chained my bike next to the others, where people sat for smoke breaks.

Inside, one of the managers scolded a new server for wearing a tie that clashed with her shirt. Past them, the lunch rush steadily grew.

*    *     *     *

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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. So, Evelyn and Mabel have really penetrated, eh? I like. I’m not entirely sure at this point which of the pair of girls are the focus of Anthony’s attention. Is there are way to give a couple more hints of that?

    I don’t read lots of YA, but I think some hint of the promise of the story early on can’t hurt.

    Ooo and Anthony has a job! On land. I really, really like that. I like that detail and I like how, for what of a better word, normal it is.

    • caitlinstern says:

      He hasn’t really ‘focused’ too much yet–I was trying to avoid the ‘I just met you, I hate you violently but I also love you’ nonsense.
      Maybe I can sneak a little hint in there, though, I will contemplate it.
      Glad you like it! Tony’s not so bad as he seems at first… and he is ‘normal’ in some ways.
      Thanks for the critique!

  2. I’m fascinated that Anthony lives such a dual life–as much as dolphin and as a human with a job. The possibilities are endless.

    I wonder if the first line of dialogue before Evelyn shrugged shouldn’t be a full stop. Her shrug didn’t do the speaking.

    “I left the water soon.” This is confusing to me unless there is a transition afterwards and before the big SURPRISE of the day job as a waiter…not in water.

    One small detail about his outfit. This took me out of the story. It sounds list-like.

    • caitlinstern says:

      I see I trimmed down a transition too much again–thanks for pointing it out.
      I was trying to describe the dress code, that’s all. Many restaurants have all kinds of rules for the color of shoes, socks, pants, etc. I’ll pare it down and try to work it in later, perhaps.
      Thanks for the helpful comments!

  3. Were dolphins is an interesting thought.

    • caitlinstern says:

      Why limit yourself to the classic werewolf?
      Though, if my particular shapeshifter version was tied to the moon like werewolves usually are, changing to an aquatic creature would be dangerous…

  4. I was taken aback that he suddenly had a job. It is almost jarring. I think maybe something is needed to let us know that he doesn’t just hang out in the water all the time. I feel like this is just about to come together and take life, which is good. But you may need to go back and tweek the earlier sections. Just part of the process

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