Wednesday, April 2, 2014

First Kiss #2

TITLE: Sister of the Beyond
GENRE: YA Paranormal Mystery

Janna is being stalked by an invisible spirit who dares give her advice on her love life. That's because Janna has an unhealthy crush on Caden, her sister's boyfriend.

“Uh… Listen Caden,” I said, pulling away from him. “Moira is my sister. I could never…”


His lips were dangerously closed.

As my senses overpowered me, I became conscious of little details: the warm wind ruffling the sand into dunes around me and the distant sound of waves crashing along the beach. The red sunlight streamed through the treetops, bathing me in dappled shades. Shades my best friend warned me about where the shadow people liked to rest.

That’s when a man whispered in my ear, "No, Janna."

I bolted up and threw my hand in the direction I heard the voice, but no one was there. I nudged Caden away in my fear, but he took that as an invitation. He took my hands in his to stabilize me and pretended to look at my shells. A distant squirrel ran away with a twist of rust. Animals could see shadow people.

The voice still stalked me. “Janna, listen.”

“Oh no, no, no,” I moaned. “Not now!”

Caden stared at me as if I had sprouted seaweed. I let the shells fall into his hands, grabbed his shirt and buried my head in his chest in an attempt to drown the voice out. The voice still reached me.

“Watch out for Moira,” the voice said.

I wish you away.

“Janna, are you all right?”

I opened my eyes and Caden’s gorgeous skin glowed inches from mine. He held my face between his warm fingers and his lips brushed the side of my lips.

Evening fell on the camp as if someone had switched off the light. Maybe Moira didn’t see that. Yeah, wishful thinking.

The group who was with Moira glared at me and Caden, and my sister’s face turned purplish.


  1. This scene makes me want to know more about your story and shadow people.

    A few comments: how can lips be "dangerously closed?" Pulled me out of the story for a moment. When you write "I bolted up" I assume they must be sitting and she's jumped up and away from him, but then she nudges him, so perhaps you need to reword "bolted up." Nice imagery on the "sprouted seaweed" part.

    There are some details about the scene that must be given before this snippet because I didn't realize till the end that they aren't really completely alone. I like the "Evening fell...switched off the light." image, but it's ironic that her next thought is about Moira seeing them-you've just made the reader think it's dark and now everybody sees them.
    Definitely showing your MC's flaws in this scene. I'd be interested to find out where she goes from here.

  2. Yes, the "lips closed" confused me, too, but like Melissa, I'm intrigued about the shadow people!

    "As my senses overpowered me" is telling. You go on to show that happening anyway.

    I'd say "A man's VOICE whispered in my ear..." Since Caden is right next to her, how would another man get close to her ear?

    "Bolted up and threw my hand" doesn't jibe with "nudge." Wouldn't Caden be surprised by the bolting?

    In "A distant squirrel ran away with a twist of rust" it sounds like the squirrel ran away with an actual object.

    I liked "Caden stared at me as if I had sprouted seaweed." (You could delete "at me" though.)

    You threw your hand, then he took your hands, so how could you still be holding shells or drop them into Caden's hands?

    It seems odd that all this took place while the sister and her group were right there. Wouldn't the MC have worried all along about her sister seeing her?

  3. Intriguing premise, I am also interested in the shadow people.

    A few things:

    "Hush" feels not quite natural; it took me out of the story.

    The next paragraph has nice description but it reads a little wordy. A few instances of "the" can be removed: "warm wind ruffling sand into dunes" reads more smoothly, for example.

    I would suggest a voice whispered and take out the "man."

    I like the sprouted seaweed line, bringing in some of the setting.

    "gorgeous skin glowed" is it actually glowing? Or just glowing from sun/wind/tan? Maybe be a little more descriptive here to show why she is fascinated by his skin and what that means. Unless it's a toss-away detail, then maybe just show a little deeper why she is attracted to his skin. (I'm not quite getting it from the excerpt).

    The line that follows could be reworked to elimiate the "lips" redundancy. Maybe show more how the warm lips feel instead of stating they are warm. Warm like what? What does it remind her of? etc.

  4. Ah, a stolen kiss. Interesting. :)

    I noticed a few things that might need some tweaking. I don't understand how lips can be dangerously closed, so maybe you mean "close." And her senses overpowering her is a bit extreme since she really isn't overpowered, just hyper aware of her surroundings. I wanted to know if this was a conscious decision to try to distract herself, or if there were outside forces influencing her. Though the details are nice, you might simply leave out the overpowering reference because it's misleading.

    A man whispering infers there's a man physically close to her, and I don't think there is. Maybe you mean this is a disembodied voice if it's a ghost.

    Throwing a hand doesn't work. Maybe she pushed her hand, or waved her hand, or swiped a hand through the air. She nudges Caden away, yet he takes that as an invite? How? It's just the opposite.

    I was also wondering why a squirrel was on the beach, which seems an odd place for a squirrel to be, and a "twist of rust" totally threw me. What is a twist of rust?

    I can't understand why Caden would try to kiss Janna with his girlfriend watching. That's very odd.

    With a few fixes, I think this will be a great scene. Good luck with it!

  5. I'll have to echo the comments that both "dangerously closed" (typo?) and the squirrel confused me a bit. A squirrel seen from a great distance, maybe, but not on a beach, and not sure to what the "twist of rust" is referring.

    It's sometimes these little things that can throw a reader, taking them out of the story, and I'm sure you'd rather keep our attention there rather on any unnecessary details. The good thing is that it's an easy fix!

    I am intrigued by the plot elements. Good job!

  6. I'd suggest cutting parg 4. It's just scenery and totally stops the scene. Caden is dangerously close and about to kiss her and she's suddenly super aware of her surroundings? That says to me she doesn't have much of an interest in Caden. ANd storywise, you've just killed all your tension.

    In this excerpt, we don't know there are other people around, including Janna's sister, but people reading from the beginning do, and they've come to this moment of will she or won't she betray her sister and the tension is really high, Caden's about to kiss her and ...she admires sand dunes. The tension flatlines. Take out that parg., and the story and action continue. The tension stays high. Whenever you're in a big moment, keep it moving, and save the description for another slower place.