Author Topic: YA Paranormal Romance  (Read 207 times)

Offline roseydreamerx

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YA Paranormal Romance
« on: September 16, 2021, 07:25:30 PM »
Hello!

This is the first chapter of my wip. It's YA Paranormal Romance, leaning on the upper side of YA. I'm relatively young compared to most on these forums I think, and am looking to gain some pearls of wisdom. Happy for criticism. Thanks for giving me your time!


There was a man following me. Lights shone in every direction on the busy London street, people and cars breezing by in the chill night air. All the bustle made it hard to focus, but I was certain that the figure in a long grey coat had been behind me for three blocks now. I clutched my plastic take-out bag tighter, though I doubted someone dressed that nicely was after my honey chicken.
 
The flat I shared with my mother was to the left, but I took a sharp right at the next corner. As I counted to thirty, I matched my breathing to the pace of my boots hitting the side-walk. This street wasn't as busy, and the lights weren't as frequent. Glancing back my stomach dropped; he was still behind me. Breath quickening, I took the next right again. This wasn't my first time being followed. Another right. Power walking through the short alley way, I'd looped back to my original street. If he was still behind me, I was definitely being tracked.
 
I glanced back. Still keeping a distance, the grey coat was ever present. There were plenty of people about — one of the buildings was a café with outdoor seating. Swallowing and squaring my shoulders, I spun on the spot and began marching towards the figure.
 
Suddenly busy with whatever was behind the closest shop window, the man didn't pay me any mind. Not even when I came to a sudden stop right in front of him, puffing out my chest, in what I was sure was a sad attempt at making my five-foot frame intimidating.
 
"Why are you following me?" I demanded.
 
My breath caught. The twenty-something man that turned to face me was ridiculously handsome. Wisps of blond hair framed deeply chiselled cheeks, and rosy lips stood out against luminescent pale skin. I staggered back a step, half from being dazzled, half from ice cold terror that leached through my insides.
 
The voice that spoke both delighted my ears and chilled my blood. "I'm not following you." His voice was a deep purr, designed perfectly to lull me into a false sense of security. His brow furrowed as if my accusation upset him. "I apologise if I've caused you alarm but this is a misunderstanding."
 
The distress on his face made me want to apologise, which in turn made me angrier, knowing I was being manipulated. This was far from the first time I'd found myself in the sights of a warlock — there was no feeling quite like the chill their gaze gave. It was a witch's instincts telling her to run, while everything about the warlock tempted her to stay.
 
"I don't believe you."
 
A polite — and beautiful — smile spread across his lips, as though he found the whole thing amusing. My chest tightened and irritation warmed my face.
 
"Perhaps you can help me then."
 
"I doubt it."
 
He chuckled. I flexed my hands into fists.
 
"I'm looking for a witch by the name Lucinda Wicks."
 
All the remaining warmth drained from my body. It felt as though my soul escaped my body and was watching from the outside. The warlock's eyes glimmered and I was certain my reaction hadn't escaped his notice.
 
"Why?" Fear choked all the volume from my voice. 
 
"A man by the name of Joseph Knightly asked me to track her down."
 
I scowled. That had to be a lie.
 
"No one aligned with the sentinels would ever send a warlock—" I spat the word as if it were poison "—after a witch." The sentinels as an order protected witches and unsuspecting humans from supernatural dangers. Hunting warlocks was one of their favourite sports.
 
"I assure you, I'm not here to hurt you. Mr. Knightly simply asked me to send his regards and remind you that his offer still stands."
 
I took a deep breath, waiting for some of the terror to pass before I spoke again. "You're not his usual carrier pigeon."
 
He chuckled to himself again. Instinctively I gravitated towards the velvety noise. I caught myself before I took a step towards him.
 
"Meredith has been given... A vacation from this particular project."
 
Part of me was relieved. Meredith had been following me across London since the day I turned sixteen. The unpredictability of my powers meant that mum and I moved around a lot. Leases were broken, security deposits were never to be seen again, and often I ended up on the 'do-not-re-employ' lists. Mum says it started when I was a baby — that a tantrum would send books flying from shelves and light bulbs shattering overhead. One of the many things I inherited from my father.

Growing up I didn't know there was anything different about me, though I didn't have many friends. I thought it was normal for your toys to fly to you when you wanted them, or for spills to clean themselves off of the floor. It was when I started school that things changed. The other kids didn't like what they called my 'fairy stories' about dolls that really drank their tea and hair that grew a foot overnight, if you wished hard enough. After coming home in tears over a teacher putting me in timeout for telling tales, my parents decided it was time to explain that I was different. Not every little girl could make their plastic horses gallop across the room. Ordinary people found the extraordinary hard to understand, sometimes even frightening. From there I was careful not to use my magic in front of others on purpose, but unfortunately it seemed to have a mind of its own.

Dad used to say that sometimes big powers are put into small bodies and that makes them hard to control. I suppose he thought I was going to grow into them, like he did. Sometimes I wonder what he'd think now I was older. If he'd say the same thing.

He died when I was twelve. I hated how people changed when they heard the news. For a few months even the meaner kids laid off of me. I wished they'd just continued. At least that would have been honest.

Everyone at school thought my father was killed in a building fire, but he died at the hands of a warlock, burned beyond recognition. And now one of them had the audacity to stand before me.

"Well, you can tell Mr. Knightly and Meredith and everyone else at the order that I want nothing to do with them," I spat. Turning on my heel, I kept my head high and my shoulders square, but my hands were shaking. I kept my eyes forward for a few minutes; I didn't want to give him the satisfaction of looking back. When I finally did look, he was gone. I ducked into an alleyway, sinking down to the cold, dirty ground.

Tears streaked down my cheeks as I shook silently, hugging my knees to my chest. I didn't want anything to do with my magic after dad passed away. I think mum was relieved by that. We went about our lives with a constant empty place, suddenly a much more mundane family than we'd ever been before. If it wasn't for my occasional (if I was honest, frequent) magical outbursts, we would have lived normal lives. The last thing I wanted to was to invite more magic into my life.

I rubbed my eyes and finding my search for a tissue fruitless, wiped my snotty nose on my sleeve. I'd just have to put it in the wash.

Mum was already at home. I didn't tell her that the sentinels had found me again. She didn't need another reason to worry. Besides, I was hoping that would be the last I'd see of the warlock.

It wasn't.

Offline susan-louise

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Re: YA Paranormal Romance
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2021, 03:46:10 AM »
I loved reading this roseydreamerx.  You project a wonderful voice and  the flow was excellent.  Dialogue very well done too.  I don't think age matters when writing, it's all about talent and craft.  And you seem to have a lot of both based on this sample.  Above all, you made me want to read the next chapter, so brava!  I don't write this genre (mine is historical romance) but do read it for pleasure, along with fantasy. Here are some comments:

There was a man following me.  (wonderful opening line. I'm already hooked!)
 Lights shone in every direction on the busy London street, people and cars breezing by in the chill night air.
(try another verb. Breezing is followed by chill...Perhaps something more frantic.. "the busy London street swarming with, etc


All the bustle made it hard to focus, but I was certain that the figure in a long grey coat had been behind me for three blocks now. I clutched my plastic take-out bag tighter, though I doubted someone dressed that nicely was after my honey chicken. (amusing!)
 
The flat I shared with my mother was to the left, but I took a sharp right at the next corner. As I counted to thirty, I matched my breathing to the pace of my boots hitting the side-walk. (tension rising, love this phrase)

 This street wasn't as busy, and the lights weren't as frequent.
 
You already had busy above.  How about "This street was quieter, and the lights etc...)


Glancing back my stomach dropped; he was still behind me. Breath quickening, I took the next right again. This wasn't my first time being followed. Another right. Power walking through the short alley way, I'd looped back to my original street. If he was still behind me, I was definitely being tracked.  (I feel the tension!)
 
I glanced back. (You already glanced back.  You need another expression. eg "I  didn't need to turn again as knew the grey coat was still present...or something like this

 the grey coat was ever present. There were plenty of people about — one of the buildings was a café with outdoor seating. (maybe add some colour to this night so I see the people laughing and waiting for orders...)  Swallowing and squaring my shoulders, I spun on the spot and began marching towards the figure.

Swallowing and squaring jars...: Swallowing is more powerful, imo. So "Swallowing, I spun around....
 
Suddenly busy with whatever was behind the closest shop window, the man didn't pay me any mind. (How about "Suddenly focused on the closet shop window.... Also... do you mean "mind" or attention??

 Mot even when I came to a sudden (abrupt? you use suddenly above) stop right in front of him, puffing out my chest, in what I was sure was a sad attempt at making my five-foot frame intimidating.

Hm. Puffing out my chest really doesn't do it for me.  It's a trite expression How about  "Head high, I favoured  him with arctic glare - my sad attempt..etc   Or something that conveys her determination to be poised and brave.

"Why are you following me?" I demanded.
 
My breath caught. The twenty-something man that turned to face me was ridiculously handsome.

My breath caught when he turned: the twenty something etc...  You don't need to write when he faced me....)

Wisps of blond hair framed deeply chiselled cheeks, and rosy lips stood out against luminescent pale skin.

( Wisps suggest scanty hair and I am guessing he has a gloriously full head of it.  Try "strands".  Also, luminescent is brightly shining, I would take out pale as one cancels the other)

 I staggered back a step, half from being dazzled, half from ice cold terror that leached through my insides.

  You don't need to quantify proportions of reactions.  How about "I staggered back a step, dazzled by his beauty as ice-cold terror leached through my....etc "
 
The voice that spoke both delighted my ears and chilled my blood.

A voice does speak. And you are doing such a brilliant job with all of this. So how about "His voice both delighted and chilled".

 "I'm not following you." His voice was a deep purr, designed perfectly to lull me into a false sense of security. His brow furrowed as if my accusation upset him. "I apologise if I've caused you alarm but this is a misunderstanding."  (.  Again, we have another voice.  How about "He purred in a manner designed (delete perfectly) to lull me etc....he sounds lethal. Well done!)


The distress on his face made me want to apologise, which in turn made me angrier, knowing I was being manipulated. This was far from the first time I'd found myself in the sights of a warlock — there was no feeling quite like the chill their gaze gave. It was a witch's instincts telling her to run, while everything about the warlock tempted her to stay.

Again, don't think you need to say "on his face".  Also, as this para introduces your female character as a witch, perhaps change it to first person.

His distress made me want to apologise........... It was my witch's instinct telling me to run, while everything about the w-l tempted me to stay...

 
"I don't believe you."
 
A polite — and beautiful — smile spread across his lips, as though he found the whole thing amusing. (lovely)

My chest tightened and irritation warmed my face.  (Hm. another" chest tightening" and "on my face"!!! And perhaps being a bit more ruthless in your word choice here would make this more powerful. Can you ditch the chest tightening and just say" I struggled to master my irritation.

"Perhaps you can help me then."
 
"I doubt it."
 
He chuckled. I flexed my hands into fists.
 
"I'm looking for a witch by the name Lucinda Wicks."
 
All the remaining warmth drained from my body. It felt as though my soul escaped my body and was watching from the outside.

This could be stronger by deleting my body eg "It felt as though my soul had escaped.."

 The warlock's eyes glimmered and I was certain my reaction hadn't escaped his notice. (lovely!)
 
"Why?" Fear choked all the volume from my voice. 
 
"A man by the name of Joseph Knightly asked me to track her down."
 
I scowled. That had to be a lie.  (excellent)
 
"No one aligned with the sentinels would ever send a warlock—" I spat the word as if it were poison "—after a witch." The sentinels as an order protected witches and unsuspecting humans from supernatural dangers. Hunting warlocks was one of their favourite sports.
 
"I assure you, I'm not here to hurt you. Mr. Knightly simply asked me to send his regards and remind you that his offer still stands."
 
I took a deep breath, waiting for some of the terror to pass before I spoke again (replying). "You're not his usual carrier pigeon."  (I can hear feel bravado and contempt here. Great job)
 
He chuckled to himself again. Instinctively I gravitated towards the velvety noise. I caught myself before I took a step towards him.

This is a great phrase.  However, you don't need "himself "impedes the excellent flow.  Also he chuckled above somewhere so How about..
 
He laughed softly. Instinctively, I gravitated towards the velvety noise (sound is prob better) etc. etc.


"Meredith has been given... A vacation from this particular project."  (love the euphemism!)
 
Part of me was relieved. Meredith had been following me across London since the day I turned sixteen. The unpredictability of my powers meant that mum and I moved around a lot. Leases were broken, security deposits were never to be seen again, and often I ended up on the 'do-not-re-employ' lists. Mum says it started when I was a baby — that a tantrum would send books flying from shelves and light bulbs shattering overhead. One of the many things I inherited from my father.

The backstory just above really works. And I see how important it is to what will unfold.  However, the 4 paras that follow really interrupt the truly excellent flow you have going.  They interrupt the dialogue and as a reader I became annoyed.  Can you perhaps insert this somewhere else?  Perhaps in a dialogue....so you are showing not telling us...revealing the critical history by degree.)

Growing up I didn't know there was anything different about me, though I didn't have many friends. I thought it was normal for your toys to fly to you when you wanted them, or for spills to clean themselves off of the floor. It was when I started school that things changed. The other kids didn't like what they called my 'fairy stories' about dolls that really drank their tea and hair that grew a foot overnight, if you wished hard enough. After coming home in tears over a teacher putting me in timeout for telling tales, my parents decided it was time to explain that I was different. Not every little girl could make their plastic horses gallop across the room. Ordinary people found the extraordinary hard to understand, sometimes even frightening. From there I was careful not to use my magic in front of others on purpose, but unfortunately it seemed to have a mind of its own.

Dad used to say that sometimes big powers are put into small bodies and that makes them hard to control. I suppose he thought I was going to grow into them, like he did. Sometimes I wonder what he'd think now I was older. If he'd say the same thing.

He died when I was twelve. I hated how people changed when they heard the news. For a few months even the meaner kids laid off of me. I wished they'd just continued. At least that would have been honest.

Everyone at school thought my father was killed in a building fire, but he died at the hands of a warlock, burned beyond recognition. And now one of them had the audacity to stand before me.

"Well, you can tell Mr. Knightly and Meredith and everyone else at the order that I want nothing to do with them," I spat.

(use another verb. We had spitting out like poison above. Snapped? )

Turning on my heel, I kept my head high and my shoulders square, but my hands were shaking. I kept my eyes forward for a few minutes; I didn't want to give him the satisfaction of looking back. When I finally did look, he was gone. I ducked into an alleyway, sinking down to the cold, dirty ground.

Her abrupt walk away works so well....but you might address the physical attempt to look strong here.  Ditch the squaring of shoulders etc. Perhaps walk insouciantly away...or something...or walk away as though I had no concerns in the world.  Again, you can do this far better than I !

Tears streaked down my cheeks as I shook silently, hugging my knees to my chest. I didn't want anything to do with my magic after dad passed away. I think mum was relieved by that. We went about our lives with a constant empty place, suddenly a much more mundane family than we'd ever been before. If it wasn't for my occasional (if I was honest, frequent) magical outbursts, we would have lived normal lives. The last thing I wanted to was to invite more magic into my life.  (the distress is tangible. well done)

I rubbed my eyes and finding my search for a tissue fruitless, wiped my snotty nose on my sleeve. I'd just have to put it in the wash.

Mum was already at home. I didn't tell her that the sentinels had found me again. She didn't need another reason to worry. Besides, I was hoping that would be the last I'd see of the warlock.

It wasn't.  (Wonderful cliff hanger and I am HOOKED for next chapter. )

Offline roseydreamerx

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Re: YA Paranormal Romance
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2021, 05:01:35 AM »
Thank you so much for your comments! You pointed out some habits that I've fallen into with word choice, which I can see in the following chapters as well. I will absolutely be addressing these points. This is the best feedback I've had in years! Thanks again for taking the time to be so thorough! I would love to possibly exchange chapters with you some time? I have read historical romance for pleasure myself, although I don't write it. 

Offline susan-louise

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Re: YA Paranormal Romance
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2021, 05:38:06 AM »
I do appreciate your gracious thank you!   I really loved it and think you have "something" there.  Falling into bad habits is easy to fix, once you can recognise them.  It's all about honing and tightening,  making every word count and earn its place in your precious chapter.   Thank you for the kind reading of chapter offer.   I'm on submission at present, after a year of editing and revisions  So not even looking at my novel as it is so easy to become obsessed or, worse,  paranoid.   That said, recently  received a full request but know  agents take ages when reading from the slush . Patience is mandatory. Let me know how you get on with the revisions, if you have time! 

Offline roseydreamerx

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Re: YA Paranormal Romance
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2021, 06:26:54 PM »
Wow! Congratulations on the full request! No matter the outcome, that is a huge accomplishment! I wish you luck! Here is the chapter with revisions.


There was a man following me. Lights shone in every direction on the busy London street, people and cars rushing by in the chill night air.

All the bustle made it hard to focus, but I was certain that the figure in a long grey coat had been behind me for three blocks now. I clutched my plastic take-out bag tighter, though I doubted someone dressed that nicely was after my honey chicken.

The flat I shared with my mother was to the left, but I took a sharp right at the next corner. As I counted to thirty, I matched my breathing to the pace of my boots hitting the side-walk.

This street was quieter, and the lights weren't as frequent. Glancing back my stomach dropped; he was still behind me. Breath quickening, I took the next right again. This wasn't my first time being followed. Another right. Power walking through the short alley way, I'd looped back to my original street. If he was still behind me, I was definitely being tracked.

I stole another glimpse of that grey coat, still trailing. There were plenty of people about — one of the buildings was a cafe with outdoor seating. Most of the tables were full with youthful faces, just beginning an evening of drinks. I marked them as witnesses if this turned poorly. Swallowing, I spun around and began marching towards the figure.

Suddenly focused on the closest shop window, he didn't pay me any notice. Not even when I came to an abrupt stop right in front of him, head held high, and gave my best glare. Though I was sure it was a sad attempt at making my five-foot frame intimidating, I held my ground.

"Why are you following me?" I demanded.

My breath caught when he turned; The twenty-something man was ridiculously handsome. Strands of blond hair framed deeply chiselled cheeks, and rosy lips stood out against luminescent skin.

I staggered back a step, dazzled by his beauty as ice-cold terror leached through my insides. His voice both delighted my ears an chilled my blood.

"I'm not following you." He purred in a manner designed to lull me into a false sense of security. His brow furrowed as if my accusation upset him. "I apologise if I've caused you alarm but this is a misunderstanding."

His distress made me want to apologise, which in turn made me angrier, knowing I was being manipulated. This was far from the first time I'd found myself in the sights of a warlock — there was no feeling quite like the chill their gaze gave. It was my witch's instincts telling me to run, while everything about the warlock tempted me to stay.

"I don't believe you."
 
A polite — and beautiful — smile spread across his lips, as though he found the whole thing amusing.

I battled to hold in my irritation.

"Perhaps you can help me then."
 
"I doubt it."
 
He chuckled. I flexed my hands into fists.
 
"I'm looking for a witch by the name Lucinda Wicks."
 
All the remaining warmth drained. It felt as though my soul escaped and was watching from the outside.

The warlock's eyes glimmered and I was certain my reaction hadn't escaped his notice.
 
"Why?" Fear choked all the volume from my voice. 
 
"A man by the name of Joseph Knightly asked me to track her down."
 
I scowled. That had to be a lie.
 
"No one aligned with the sentinels would ever send a warlock—" I spat the word as if it were poison "—after a witch." The sentinels as an order protected witches and unsuspecting humans from supernatural dangers. Hunting warlocks was one of their favourite sports.
 
"I assure you, I'm not here to hurt you. Mr. Knightly simply asked me to send his regards and remind you that his offer still stands."

I took a deep breath, waiting for some of the terror to pass before replying. "You're not his usual carrier pigeon."
 
He laughed softly. Instinctively I gravitated towards the velvety sound. I caught myself before I took a step towards him.

"Meredith has been given... A vacation from this particular project." 

Part of me was relieved. Meredith had been following me across London since the day I turned sixteen. The unpredictability of my powers meant that mum and I moved around a lot. Leases were broken, security deposits were never to be seen again, and often I ended up on the 'do-not-re-employ' lists. Mum said it started when I was a baby — that a tantrum would send books flying from shelves and light bulbs shattering overhead. One of the many things I inherited from my father.

"Well, you can tell Mr. Knightly and Meredith and everyone else at the order that I want nothing to do with them," I snapped.

Turning on my heel, I stormed off with my head high, but my hands were shaking. I kept my eyes forward for a few minutes; I didn't want to give him the satisfaction of looking back. When I finally did, he was gone. I ducked into an alleyway, sinking down to the cold, dirty ground.

Tears streaked down my cheeks as I shook silently, hugging my knees to my chest. I didn't want anything to do with my magic after dad passed away. I think mum was relieved by that. We went about our lives with a constant empty place, suddenly a much more mundane family than we'd ever been before. If it wasn't for my occasional (if I was honest, frequent) magical outbursts, we would have lived normal lives. The last thing I wanted to was to invite more magic into my life.

I rubbed my eyes and finding my search for a tissue fruitless, wiped my snotty nose on my sleeve. I'd just have to put it in the wash.

Mum was already at home. I didn't tell her that the sentinels had found me again. She didn't need another reason to worry. Besides, I was hoping that would be the last I'd see of the warlock.

It wasn't.

Offline susan-louise

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Re: YA Paranormal Romance
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2021, 02:36:18 AM »
Thank you Rosiedreamerx!    The  revised chapter is  much stronger with the tweaks.  I still love it and like the female character.  Also, removing the 3 paragraphs of backstory really worked and makes this chapter move like a rocket.  I hope you can find a happy home for them in subsequent ones. Some minor suggestions that might help tighten it further. 


There was a man following me. Lights shone in every direction on the busy London street, people and cars (were?) rushing by in the chill night air.

All the bustle made it hard to focus, but I was certain that the figure in a long grey coat had been behind me for three blocks now.

Perhaps some details about the coat would be nice.  What fabric is it?   Velvet perhaps? Silk lined with fur?  I am just imagining what he could be wearing  Might make the "long grey coat" more visible to the reader. Just an idea. 

 I clutched my plastic take-out bag tighter, though I doubted someone dressed that nicely was after my honey chicken.

The flat I shared with my mother was to the left, but I took a sharp right at the next corner. As I counted to thirty, I matched my breathing to the pace of my boots hitting the side-walk.

This street was quieter, and the lights weren't as frequent. Glancing back my stomach dropped; he was still behind me. Breath quickening, I took the next right again. This wasn't my first time being followed. Another right. Power walking through the short alley way, I'd looped back to my original street. If he was still behind me, I was definitely being tracked.

I stole another glimpse of that grey coat, still trailing.  (Maybe: I stole another glimpse: yes, that grey coat was still trailing me)

 There were plenty of people about — one of the buildings was a cafe with outdoor seating.  (Don't think you need to tell us that one of the buildings was.  Why not just....There was a cafe with....

 Most of the tables were full with (filled with) youthful faces, just beginning an evening of drinks. I marked them as witnesses if this turned poorly (badly is stronger.). Swallowing, I spun around and began marching towards the figure.   

Suddenly  focused on the closest shop window, he didn't pay me any notice. (attention. We pay people /situations attention) Not even when I came to an abrupt stop right in front of him, head held high, and gave my best glare. Though I was sure it was a sad attempt at making my five-foot frame intimidating, I held my ground. 

"Why are you following me?" I demanded.

My breath caught when he turned; The twenty-something man was ridiculously handsome. Strands of blond  hair framed deeply chiselled cheeks, and rosy lips stood out against luminescent skin.

(Reading this again...I think there might be a few details missing in the description.  You are telling the reader, that he is divinely gorgeous etc.   Cheekbones are chiselled, not cheeks. So "deeply chiselled cheek bones".   Can you tell us something about his eyes?  Perhaps there is something so beautiful yet terrible about their colour and depth.  You mention the chill that a warlock's gaze gives, below, so perhaps choose a colour that reflects this and makes us realise how the eyes control that sensations of terror he creates in your character. )

I staggered back a step, dazzled by his beauty as ice-cold terror leached through my insides. His voice both delighted my ears and chilled my blood.

"I'm not following you." He purred in a manner designed to lull me into a false sense of security. His brow furrowed as if my accusation upset him. "I apologise if I've caused you alarm but this is a misunderstanding."

Ah.. two apologies in this section.  Can you say something like "I'm sorry to have caused you alarm etc..)

His distress made me want to apologise, which in turn made me angrier, knowing I was being manipulated. This was far from the first time I'd found myself in the sights of a warlock — there was no feeling quite like the chill their gaze gave. It was my witch's instincts telling me to run, while everything about the warlock tempted me to stay.

"I don't believe you."
 
A polite — and beautiful — smile spread across his lips, as though he found the whole thing amusing.

I battled to hold in my irritation.

"Perhaps you can help me then."
 
"I doubt it."
 
He chuckled. I flexed my hands into fists.
 
"I'm looking for a witch by the name Lucinda Wicks."
 
All the (my??) remaining warmth drained. It felt as though my soul escaped and was watching from the outside.

The warlock's eyes glimmered and I was certain my reaction hadn't escaped his notice.
 
"Why?" Fear choked all the volume from my voice.
 
"A man by the name of Joseph Knightly asked me to track her down."
 
I scowled. That had to be a lie.
 
"No one aligned with the sentinels would ever send a warlock," )no dash needed just a comma)  I spat the word as if it were poison, "after a witch." The sentinels as an order protected witches and unsuspecting humans from supernatural dangers. Hunting warlocks was one of their favourite sports.
 
"I assure you, I'm not here to hurt you. Mr. Knightly simply asked me to send his regards and remind you that his offer still stands."

I took a deep breath, waiting for some of the terror to pass before replying. "You're not his usual carrier pigeon."
 
He laughed softly. Instinctively I gravitated towards the velvety sound. I caught myself before I took a step towards him.

"Meredith has been given... A vacation from this particular project."

Part of me was relieved. Meredith had been following me across London since the day I turned sixteen. The unpredictability of my powers meant that mum and I moved around a lot. Leases were broken, security deposits were never to be seen again, and often I ended up on the 'do-not-re-employ' lists. Mum said it started when I was a baby — that a tantrum would send books flying from shelves and light bulbs shattering overhead. One of the many things I inherited from my father.

"Well, you can tell Mr. Knightly and Meredith and everyone else at the order that I want nothing to do with them," I snapped.

Turning on my heel, I stormed off with my head high, but my hands were shaking. 

  Hm...We have head held high earlier in this chapter.    Choreograph in your mind how this would work and fit the words to the actions.   Likewise, storming off is telling, not showing, and borders on the melodramatic, imo.  If you add some physical action it might work.  Perhaps he is blocking her path...mocking her. I'm imagining her giving him a shove in the chest and  waltzing/flouncing/storming off/walking away with her hands shaking (as you wrote).  If she is trying to project bravado she might do something like this.  He is playing with her mind, making her angry as you said earlier .  It also fits with her furious riposte to his reference to Meredith etc. Btw, you have space to develop this scene, should you choose, having removed the 3 paragraphs of back story.   Btw I am liking her character immensely, so well done!  Y     


 I kept my eyes forward for a few minutes; I didn't want to give him the satisfaction of looking back. When I finally did, he was gone. I ducked into an alleyway, sinking down to the cold, dirty ground.

  keeping eyes forward sounds a bit odd.  You could rephrase it, with the same meaning by saying something like.... "I kept my eyes fixed ahead for a few mins...etc


Tears streaked down my cheeks as I shook silently, hugging my knees to my chest.  (When we shake in distress, we do so silently.   We can weep silently...  So do you mean "tears streaked down my cheeks, I trembled as the shock took over (or words that effect     I didn't want anything to do with my magic after dad passed away. I think mum was relieved by that. We went about our lives with a constant empty place, suddenly a much more mundane family than we'd ever been before. If it wasn't for my occasional (if I was honest, frequent) magical outbursts, we would have lived normal lives. The last thing I wanted to was to invite more magic into my life.

I rubbed my eyes and finding my search for a tissue fruitless, wiped my snotty nose on my sleeve. I'd just have to put it in the wash.  (This needs clarity because it sounds a) that you might put your nose in the wash or b) just the sleeve!  So add the garment.  ie  I'd just have to put my sweater/jumper or whatever it is.... in the wash.  Also there are a lot of" mys"  here.  How about deleting some of them

I rubbed my eyes.  Finding the search for a tissue fruitless,  I wiped my snotty nose on my sleeve. " 

Mum was already at home. I didn't tell her that the sentinels had found me again. She didn't need another reason to worry. Besides, I was hoping that would be the last I'd see of the warlock.

It wasn't.

Offline roseydreamerx

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Re: YA Paranormal Romance
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2021, 03:28:46 AM »
I feel like you should be a professional editor at this point! I liked your comment on her walking away and tried to add a bit of magic use to it, hopefully it comes across that way.



There was a man following me. Lights shone in every direction on the busy London street, people and cars rushing by in the chill night air.

All the bustle made it hard to focus, but I was certain that the figure in a long, velvet grey coat had been behind me for three blocks now. I clutched my plastic take-out bag tighter, though I doubted someone dressed that nicely was after my honey chicken.

The flat I shared with my mother was to the left, but I took a sharp right at the next corner. As I counted to thirty, I matched my breathing to the pace of my boots hitting the side-walk.

This street was quieter, and the lights weren't as frequent. Glancing back my stomach dropped; he was still behind me. Breath quickening, I took the next right again. This wasn't my first time being followed. Another right. Power walking through the short alley way, I'd looped back to my original street. If he was still behind me, I was definitely being tracked.

I stole another glimpse: yes, the grey coat was still trailing me. There were plenty of people about — there was a cafe with outdoor seating. Most of the tables were filled with youthful faces, just beginning an evening of drinks. I marked them as witnesses if this turned bad. Swallowing, I spun around and began marching towards the figure.

Suddenly focused on the closest shop window, he didn't pay me any attention. Not even when I came to an abrupt stop right in front of him, head held high, and gave my best glare. Though I was sure it was a sad attempt at making my five-foot frame intimidating, I held my ground.

"Why are you following me?" I demanded.

My breath caught when he turned; The twenty-something man was ridiculously handsome. Strands of blond hair framed deeply chiselled cheekbones, and rosy lips stood out against luminescent skin. His eyes were what captivated me the most. He had deep amber  — no golden  — irises that threatened to hypnotize if I stared too long. More than the colour, it was their piercing intensity that threw me. I felt like I was being seen straight through. 

I staggered back a step, dazzled by his beauty as ice-cold terror leached through my insides. His voice both delighted my ears and chilled my blood.

"I'm not following you." He purred in a manner designed to lull me into a false sense of security. His brow furrowed as if my accusation upset him. "I'm sorry if I've caused you alarm but this is a misunderstanding."

His distress made me want to apologise, which in turn made me angrier, knowing I was being manipulated. This was far from the first time I'd found myself in the sights of a warlock — there was no feeling quite like the chill their gaze gave. It was my witch's instincts telling me to run, while everything about the warlock tempted me to stay.

"I don't believe you."
 
A polite — and beautiful — smile spread across his lips, as though he found the whole thing amusing.

I battled to hold in my irritation.

"Perhaps you can help me then."
 
"I doubt it."
 
He chuckled. I flexed my hands into fists.
 
"I'm looking for a witch by the name Lucinda Wicks."
 
All my remaining warmth drained. It felt as though my soul escaped and was watching from the outside.

The warlock's eyes glimmered and I was certain my reaction hadn't escaped his notice.
 
"Why?" Fear choked all the volume from my voice. 
 
"A man by the name of Joseph Knightly asked me to track her down."
 
I scowled. That had to be a lie.
 
"No one aligned with the sentinels would ever send a warlock," I spat the word as if it were poison, "after a witch." The sentinels as an order protected witches and unsuspecting humans from supernatural dangers. Hunting warlocks was one of their favourite sports.
 
"I assure you, I'm not here to hurt you. Mr. Knightly simply asked me to send his regards and remind you that his offer still stands."

I took a deep breath, waiting for some of the terror to pass before replying. "You're not his usual carrier pigeon."
 
He laughed softly. Instinctively I gravitated towards the velvety sound. I caught myself before I took a step towards him.

"Meredith has been given... A vacation from this particular project." 

Part of me was relieved. Meredith had been following me across London since the day I turned sixteen. The unpredictability of my powers meant that mum and I moved around a lot. Leases were broken, security deposits were never to be seen again, and often I ended up on the 'do-not-re-employ' lists. Mum said it started when I was a baby — that a tantrum would send books flying from shelves and light bulbs shattering overhead. One of the many things I inherited from my father.

"Well, you can tell Mr. Knightly and Meredith and everyone else at the order that I want nothing to do with them," I snapped.

I turned on my heel to leave, but he stepped around me, cutting off my path. "Lucinda—"

"Get out of my way," I said, hot anger surging through my belly.

An abrupt gust tore through the street, shaking nearby trees and sending my ginger hair writhing about my face. I seized the moment of surprise, shoulder checking him as I passed.

I sauntered away with pride, but my hands were shaking. I kept my gaze forward for a few minutes; I didn't want to give him the satisfaction of looking back. When I finally did, he was gone. I ducked into an alleyway, sinking down to the cold, dirty ground.

Hot tears streaked down my cheeks as I trembled from the encounter. I pulled my knees up to my chest, silent sobs wracking my body. I didn't want anything to do with my magic after dad passed away. I think mum was relieved by that. We went about our lives with a constant empty place, suddenly a much more mundane family than we'd ever been before. If it wasn't for my occasional (if I was honest, frequent) magical outbursts, we would have lived normal lives. The last thing I wanted to was to invite more magic into my life.

I rubbed my eyes and finding the search for a tissue fruitless, wiped my snotty nose on my sleeve. I'd just have to put my jumper in the wash.

Mum was already at home. I didn't tell her that the sentinels had found me again. She didn't need another reason to worry. Besides, I was hoping that would be the last I'd see of the warlock.

It wasn't.

Offline susan-louise

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Re: YA Paranormal Romance
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2021, 04:33:05 AM »

Well, I'm beginning to feel like your writing buddy! Joking.  However, I think you have done a marvellous job tightening,  and adding that magic.  It really reads v well.   And in case I haven't said it enough, your "voice" is really credible.  I can feel this is a teenager writing...just as one feels the voice in Cassandra Clare's work.  Brava.  Once you have made further revisions (assuming you incorporate the ones I suggest below) I would  put it aside for a day or so, then go back to it.  Read it aloud, too.  Things can always be honed and polished.  And remember, agents often only want the first 3, 5 or 10 pages. So these early ones need to be impeccable.   



There was a man following me. Lights shone in every direction on the busy London street, people and cars rushing by in the chill night air.

All the bustle made it hard to focus, but I was certain that the figure in a long, velvet grey coat had been behind me for three blocks now. I clutched my plastic take-out bag tighter, though I doubted someone dressed that nicely was after my honey chicken.

The flat I shared with my mother was to the left, but I took a sharp right at the next corner. As I counted to thirty, I matched my breathing to the pace of my boots hitting the side-walk.

This street was quieter, and the lights weren't as frequent. Glancing back my stomach dropped; he was still behind me. Breath quickening, I took the next right again. This wasn't my first time being followed. Another right. Power walking through the short alley way, I'd looped back to my original street. If he was still behind me, I was definitely being tracked.

I stole another glimpse: yes, the grey coat was still trailing me. There were plenty of people about — there was a cafe with outdoor seating. Most of the tables were filled with youthful faces, just beginning an evening of drinks. I marked them as witnesses if this turned bad. Swallowing, I spun around and began marching towards the figure.

Suddenly focused on the closest shop window, he didn't pay me any attention. Not even when I came to an abrupt stop right in front of him, head held high, and gave my best glare. Though I was sure it was a sad attempt at making my five-foot frame intimidating, I held my ground.

"Why are you following me?" I demanded.

My breath caught when he turned; The twenty-something man was ridiculously handsome. Strands of blond hair framed deeply chiselled cheekbones, and rosy lips stood out against luminescent skin. His eyes were what captivated me the most. He had deep amber  — no golden  — irises that threatened to hypnotize if I stared too long. More than the colour, it was their piercing intensity that threw me

(you have "through" in next sentence.  So why not

"More than the colour, it was their piercing intensity that disturbed/rattled/ me.)
 I felt like I was being seen straight through. 

 I can see the  tawny eyes and their mesmeric impact.  Well done.  I would correct the syntax of last sentence.  "I felt those eyes could see straight through me")


I staggered back a step, dazzled by his beauty as ice-cold terror leached through my insides. His voice both delighted my ears and chilled my blood.

"I'm not following you." He purred in a manner designed to lull me into a false sense of security. His brow furrowed as if my accusation upset him. "I'm sorry if I've caused you alarm but this is a misunderstanding."

His distress made me want to apologise, which in turn made me angrier, knowing I was being manipulated. This was far from the first time I'd found myself in the sights of a warlock — there was no feeling quite like the chill their gaze gave. It was my witch's instincts telling me to run, while everything about the warlock tempted me to stay.

"I don't believe you."
 
A polite — and beautiful — smile spread across his lips, as though he found the whole thing amusing.

I battled to hold in my irritation.

"Perhaps you can help me then."
 
"I doubt it."
 
He chuckled. I flexed my hands into fists.
 
"I'm looking for a witch by the name Lucinda Wicks."
 
All my remaining warmth drained. It felt as though my soul escaped and was watching from the outside.

The warlock's eyes glimmered and I was certain my reaction hadn't escaped his notice.
 
"Why?" Fear choked all the volume from my voice.
 
"A man by the name of Joseph Knightly asked me to track her down."
 
I scowled. That had to be a lie.
 
"No one aligned with the sentinels would ever send a warlock," I spat the word as if it were poison, "after a witch." The sentinels as an order protected witches and unsuspecting humans from supernatural dangers. Hunting warlocks was one of their favourite sports.
 
"I assure you, I'm not here to hurt you. Mr. Knightly simply asked me to send his regards and remind you that his offer still stands."

I took a deep breath, waiting for some of the terror to pass before replying. "You're not his usual carrier pigeon."
 
He laughed softly. Instinctively I gravitated towards the velvety sound. I caught myself before I took a step towards him.

"Meredith has been given... A vacation from this particular project."

Part of me was relieved. Meredith had been following me across London since the day I turned sixteen. The unpredictability of my powers meant that mum and I moved around a lot. Leases were broken, security deposits were never to be seen again, and often I ended up on the 'do-not-re-employ' lists. Mum said it started when I was a baby — that a tantrum would send books flying from shelves and light bulbs shattering overhead. One of the many things I inherited from my father.

"Well, you can tell Mr. Knightly and Meredith and everyone else at the order that I want nothing to do with them," I snapped.

I turned on my heel to leave, but he stepped around me, cutting off my path. "Lucinda—"  (nicely done!)

"Get out of my way," I said, hot anger surging through my belly.  (Oh shame,,,You have spoilt it with white hot anger/ the belly.   The white hot anger could be shown more graphically if she speaks through clenched teeth..or even in staccato.   We know she is angry so show us, don't tell us!  Just an idea/suggestion.

"Get out of my way," I said

An abrupt (not right word: sudden?) gust tore through the street, shaking nearby trees and sending my ginger  hair writhing (not sure right word..see below) about my face. I seized the moment of surprise, shoulder checking him as I passed.   (like the movement you have going here)

Could be stronger:

"A sudden gust tore through the street, shaking nearby trees and whipping my hair about my face. " Snakes writhe, winds whip with intensity etc.


I sauntered away with pride,  (not sure "with pride" works, but you're the author.  Sauntered is the perfect verb and suggests she has all the time in the world. You are therefore showing us the courage she has to walk calmly away even tho she is terrified.  Keep it simple.

"I sauntered away, but my hands were shaking. I kept my gaze forward for a few minutes; I didn't want to give him the satisfaction of looking back. When I finally did, he was gone. I ducked into an alleyway, sinking down to the cold, dirty ground.

Hot tears streaked down my cheeks as I trembled from the encounter. I pulled my knees up to my chest, silent sobs wracking my body. I didn't want anything to do with my magic after dad passed away. I think mum was relieved by that. We went about our lives with a constant empty place, suddenly a much more mundane family than we'd ever been before. If it wasn't for my occasional (if I was honest, frequent) magical outbursts, we would have lived normal lives. The last thing I wanted to was to invite more magic into my life.

I rubbed my eyes and finding the search for a tissue fruitless, wiped my snotty nose on my sleeve. I'd just have to put my jumper in the wash.

Mum was already at home. I didn't tell her that the sentinels had found me again. She didn't need another reason to worry. Besides, I was hoping that would be the last I'd see of the warlock.

It wasn't.

Offline susan-louise

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Re: YA Paranormal Romance
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2021, 04:41:20 AM »
PS sorry I pressed send too quickly.  Meant to say in the section here:

Get out of my way," I said, hot anger surging through my belly.  (Oh shame,,,You have spoilt it with white hot anger/ the belly.   The white hot anger could be shown more graphically if she speaks through clenched teeth..or even in staccato.   We know she is angry so show us, don't tell us!  Just an idea/suggestion.


Didn't mean to put  "Get out of my way, I Said"   Forgot to delete it.  Best wishes  :) 


Offline roseydreamerx

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Re: YA Paranormal Romance
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2021, 04:43:22 AM »
The only feedback I've ever gotten from a professional was that they didn't connect to my voice, so I'll take that as a mark of improvement! As for feeling as if it's a teenager writing, I've only turned 20 this year, so that may add to the ease of connecting to that age group XD I shall revise one last time and then focus on my further chapters. Thank you so much for the advice! As someone that has no beta readers, it has been very valuable.

Offline susan-louise

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Re: YA Paranormal Romance
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2021, 04:58:12 AM »
It was a pleasure.  And to address your point on voice -  I think its "spot on" not just  because of your proximity to the teen years.  You simply have the ability to write in that voice.   I know how important beta readers are.  So if ever you can't find one, let me know via a message.  I am always mega busy with work but the offer is there.  I would squeeze you in somehow :)  Have a lovely Sunday