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The Teenaged Nitpick Critique: 6

Wednesday, 26 September 2012  |  Posted by Brenda Drake


Title: BEYOND CHAINS AND STARS
Genre: YA Sci-fi
Creatures of the sky are not meant to be in water, yet here I am. All because I made a stupid dare with my brother. Again. [Yes! Love this opening.]
As the warm water closes around me, crushing my mothwings to my back, I fight the urge to gulp for breath. I have to relax. I’m safe, with the amphibious gel. I don’t need to breathe as long as I can have it to filter my oxygen. I stretch my mind, feeling the eels and fish, the dim awareness of the plant life, the peaceful edge of sentries in the treetops. If I try hard enough, I can see them with my mind—the pale color of their skin, the soft silk of fur at their backs and ankles and wrists, streaming in the wind as they fly through the treetops. I should be there, in the trees. Not bogged down [I don’t like “bogged down.” It’s awkward. Maybe just say, “not drowning in water”?] by water and unable to fly.
An eel darts past, and I jerk away, [I changed the dash to a comma] but it’s already vanished. I look around—I’m alone, which means Juhan’tr is about to back out of his end of the dare.
Get your skinny ass in here, I demand on a psychic thread, my mind to his, twisting to look through the water to the surface.
I feel the wicked edge of intent before he dives and I jerk backwards, almost out of his grasp. His long hands close around my ankle and I thrash, irritation swamping me. I open my mouth to inhale and shout at him.
Clearly I don’t have much to say. I really like it. Nice voice, clean writing, and you get right to your hook. I’d read on. The only thing I’d caution is you’re introducing so many different elements at once—the telepathy, the creatures they are, the dare, etc.—that it gets a little confusing to the reader. As long as it starts to make sense in page 2, you’re fine, though. Good luck! 

* Comments are welcomed. Each critique comment you make on the entries’ posts, is an entry into the drawing to win one of five 500 word critiques from me (Brenda). It can be ANY 250 words — your query, the first page, or a page any where in the manuscript that you want a second pair of eyes on.

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