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Public Critique and Wanted Ad: EVER

Thank you for all the fabulous feedback you gave Jamie on her query.  You guys are fabulous critiquers!  As mentioned, here's a brief excerpt of EVER for critique.  Jamie is also looking for a critique partner.  In her words, "I write YA Paranormal (vampires, witches, wolves, etc) and would love to pair with someone who writes the same so we can really fuel each others' works!"  If you're interested in pairing up with Jamie, e-mail me at caseymccormickya (at) gmail (dot) com and I'll put you in touch!

EVER
(excerpt)
YA Paranormal
By Jamie Manning

1. REBORN

I woke to the coppery smell of blood and a hunger unlike anything I had ever felt. My head burned hard and fast, sending shards of pain and heat over my entire body. I could hear and feel my own breath, short and raspy, choke its way out of my lungs and up my throat. My nose burned with the smell of dirt and sweat and I was surrounded by total darkness. A helluva way to wake up.

As the pain in my head eased, the hunger in my stomach grew stronger. It seemed to spread out over my entire body, making my skin crawl and my mind spin. All I could think about was eating and eating soon. But I wasn’t craving food.

I was craving blood.

The thought of it filled my mind like molten lava, sweeping in and burying all other thoughts and ideas and leaving me with an aching emptiness that only it could fill. I had to have it, and I had no idea why.

What’s wrong with me? Am I seriously lying here thinking about blood? Have I totally lost my mind?

All good questions that I had zero answers for. I couldn’t even stomach watching someone being killed in a horror movie. Just the idea of having my blood drawn at the doctor’s office caused me to break out in hives. So how in the world could I now be actually considering drinking blood? I tried to push the overwhelming and totally disgusting thought of blood – and what I wanted to do with it – out of my mind and focus on figuring out where the hell I was.

5 comments:

  1. This is great! I can feel the sensations in my own body as I read it! Now this is 'showing'.
    Are you sure your not a vampire?
    In the 2nd paragraph the word entire jumps out at me, it reads great without it but doesnt hurt either.
    the last paragraph could start with 'I tried' and go from there, maybe leaving off 'totally'. If I had to keep part of the upper half, It would be 'All good questions that I had zero answers for. Just the idea of having my blood drawn at the doctor’s office caused me to break out in hives.' Because you made her thoughts very effective at making me know she is shocked at her own cravings. awesome! Ill be watching for this one.

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  2. I think this is a great start because you jump right into her waking up and craving blood. We know right away that something big is up and you show her realistic wondering what's going on.

    Then at the end I love how you set up another mystery. Where is she? It's a great start to the story. Good luck.

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  3. So I think that overall the scene could be very effective, but in parts it felt over done to me and a bit repetitive. Take for instance the first paragraph:

    "I woke to the coppery smell of blood and a hunger unlike anything I had ever felt." This sentence would be much more effective to me if you were to leave off the second part. I'm also kind of wondering why she's smelling blood. Having read the query (sorry i didn't comment before), i get that she's waking up in a coffin, so where is the blood coming from? How is it that she's smelling it from 10 feet under?

    "My head burned hard and fast, sending shards of pain and heat over my entire body." Is her head literally burning? I kind of don't think so, but given that we don't know exactly what is going on it's a tad misleading.

    "I could hear and feel my own breath, short and raspy, choke its way out of my lungs and up my throat." Imagining to myself here what happens when you die, I can totally get that she'd be very dehydrated and thirsty (thirsty for blood?) so I understand the choking, but some mention of dryness, difficulty swallowing, etc, could aslo be effective.

    "My nose burned with the smell of dirt and sweat and I was surrounded by total darkness." You had her head burning in the sentences preceding this and you also had her smelling blood in the first sentence, so overall a lot of burning and smelling - it feels repetitive.

    "A helluva way to wake up." I like this sentence as it's the first indication of any voice that we get.

    "As the pain in my head eased, the hunger in my stomach grew stronger. It seemed to spread out over my entire body, making my skin crawl and my mind spin." This feels over done to me.

    "All I could think about was eating and eating soon. But I wasn’t craving food." The eating thing kind of throws me because vampires don't eat blood, they drink it. Minor thing I know, but a fan of vamp-lit would pick it out right away.

    Things that I really like about it - you leave out any backstory, which can be a major killjoy in first chapters. Also I can see some hints of voice coming out - think about how you can develop that more.

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  4. Hi Jamie!

    I agree with a lot of Angie's remarks.

    Is she actually hungry or is it thirst? I could run with hunger if it's intentional.

    "Hard and fast" isn't a great description for a burning pain.

    "my own" could just be "my."

    I would change the burning either in her head or nose so that it's not a repetition in the first paragraph.

    I like the "I was craving blood" in italics, but I'd take the other line out of italics. We're already in her head, being in first person, so I recommend limiting what you emphasize.

    This seems like a great place to start the story, when everything changes dramatically for her, and I'm eager to see how things will progress.

    Good luck!

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