Friday, December 2, 2011

#29 YA Paranormal Romance: Hunter & Hunted

TITLE: Hunter and Hunted
GENRE: YA Paranormal Romance

Ciera, a seventeen-year-old who hates her life as a Huntress, defies her family when she saves her parents’ old enemy, the mysterious Altair de la Rosa. On the run and hunted by Altair’s enemies and her own parents, Ciera must learn to finally use her skills as a Huntress, all the while fighting the attraction she has for Altair, which she suspects may be more supernatural than real.

The coastline blurred past as I raced over the hard-packed sand littered with sharp rocks. Up ahead, a niche formed between two craggy limestone cliffs caught my eye. I veered for it and glanced behind me as I ran. The limestone scraped my back through my thin t-shirt as I squeezed myself into the tight space. Spray from the ocean rained down over me, drenched my shirt and turned my long, dark hair into a scraggly mess.

My parents sprinted by and sand flew up in their wake. Once they neared the water’s edge, they slowed and stalked toward their prey like two jungle cats with black leather armor instead of fur. My mother’s katana, with its long, curved blade, glinted in the sun. As I crouched in relative safety with sour fear eating at my stomach, my father didn’t even have his sword at the ready. His claymore was still sheathed down the length of his back, nearly as tall as him. I tightened my grip on my own weapon, a simple silver dagger. My palms were slick with sweat, and the gritty salt and sand rubbed my skin raw.

My mother caught my eye and made a quick movement with her hand, indicating that she wanted me to follow. I hesitated before I rose from my spot between the rocks. I trailed behind my parents, and sweat beaded my brow when I thought about the battle ahead. In my head, I ticked off the few moves my parents had bothered to teach me. Parry, thrust—no wait, that was with a sword. I had a dagger. What little I knew about fighting leaked out of my mind like soda from the opening of a bottle.


  1. Um, okay. You had me at "Hunted by her own parents." Holy trust issues!!!

    I really love the images you paint of the girl's parents hunting.

    I'm really curious about why her parents want her to follow, even though they haven't taught her much about fighting. This is really tense. Great work.

    So much luck to you!!!

  2. Interesting juxtaposition of swords and modern day-- love that. Only problem...when I read that Altair was her parents' old enemy, I pictured him as old...not a love interest. :)

  3. I like the premise and voice. Good conflict. The one thing I got caught on was the last paragraph. If this is a girl who knows all these different words for a knife and lives in an obviously pretty dog-eat-dog society, I don't buy that her parents wouldn't have taught her to fight. It seems to be a world in which women are expected to fight (her mom), so why wouldn't a 17 y/o be trained as well?

  4. You've effectively dropped us right into the middle of the action/middle of a scene at the start of this story. That's wonderful! You also do a good job of building out the action.

    As far as tightening, I'm not sure how readily anyone uses "craggy." I think "ragged" or another more frequently used adjective would be more effective in keeping the fast pace you've created in the narrative.

    I was a little confused too why she went so willingly with her mother when her mother is chasing after her and trying to kill her. If it's not her parents she's running from then I think adding a sentence to assist in that transition would be good.

    As far as the logline, I love the "chased Altair's enemies and her own parents." That definitely caught my attention. I was curious though why she would seemingly risk everything (her family, her life) for this guy especially if she thinks her attraction for him might not be real. I think the reason probably has to do with the "supernatural" element that you mention but I'd love for you to describe or define that a little more thoroughly for us. In doing so you will really create a full picture of everything that is at play here.

    Overall, good job!

  5. I really liked this -- the writing was solid and vivid and we are in medias res so I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened next. I like the idea of her joining forces with a family enemy -- lots of potential for dramatic action and conflict in that! I'm a stickler for names and didn't really like the name of the hero for some reason, but that may just be personal taste so ignore me. :) I would read this! Best of luck!

  6. Intense opening! I'd love to find out what happens next.

    There are a few places you could revise your sentence structure (in my humble opinion).

    I suggest you get rid of the "up ahead" in the second sentence because it reads clunky, and the "As" in the line where she crouched in safety. It doesn't flow with the following piece about her father. Perhaps try: "I crouched, sour fear eating at my stomach. My father didn't even have his sword at the ready" (and then add how she feels about it). Is cockiness the reason he's not ready? Is she worried for him? What does it mean that his sword isn't out?

    If you restructure a few more sentences in this way, it might tighten the prose.

    These are purely nitpicky things that you can take or leave, obviously, but I hope it helps.

    I wish you the best of luck!

  7. Great opening. I love being dropped right in the middle of the action like that. And being hunted by her own parents!

    I did wonder why she hasn't been taught to fight much, but I'm sure that would probably be answered later on.

    I'd keep reading to find out what happens. Great job.

    Good luck!

  8. What's not to love - beach, hunting, blades and tons of suspense.
    What are they hunting? Why?
    Will the MC see something horrible - or better yet, have to do something terrible?

    Must. Read. More.

    I might just start reading this genre.

    Wishing you huge success!

    (subliminal message: word verifications is 'whins')

  9. Hunted by her parents? OMG LOVE! What a cool concept. How exciting!

    I love this "...stalked toward their prey like two jungle cats with black leather armor instead of fur. My mother’s katana, with its long, curved blade, glinted in the sun."

    And we know her mom's going to turn on her eventually. You're showing us how tough her mom is.

    You've created a unique conflict and a lot of questions here. I would definitely keep reading!! Great job and Good luck!!

  10. I love this. From what I've read of their relationship in this opening, the betryal's got to be huge if her own parents are going to hunt her down. I love what must be at stake.

    Exciting opening, and I love the katana and claymore--so cool! Why would she only be equipped with a dagger, though, if the situation warrants for fancier swords with her parents? She must be old enough at 17 to be well versed in lots of weapons, yes? Why would she know little of fighting? I can believe not having a talent for it, but education-wise I would think her parents would have taught her everything.

    Anyway, want to read more!

    Logline: It’s an interesting premise – a girl betraying her parents and having to go on the run from them, them hunting her – but I’m a little concerned that her identity as a “Huntress” is unclear. What is Altair, besides mysterious?

    Line notes: I love the description of the parents kicking up sand in their wake. Great details, very visceral scene. The simile in the last line threw me off a bit, though – soda seems so out of place in this moment, and it’s not powerful imagery.

    Overall: I’m generally a bit shy of paranormal fiction in the current market – we’re just so saturated – but I’d like to know more about this and what makes it different before I decided if it was something I’d be interested in reading more of.

  12. Love starting right in the action with Ciera hunting with her parents, especially knowing they are now showing us just how deadly they could be later on. Good luck with this!! I'd read it.