Hunter - First page

I need some impute on my new MS. Please leave me a comment.

YA Urban Fantasy

The city streets of Portland held my prey. The normal people. I laughed. They had no idea I was watching them.

My partner spoke to my mind. “Hunter, stop being such a girl and locate the mark.”

Although the world moved around me, a stillness flowed through my mind letting it open up to the people that passed. The flow of their voices and the chaotic thoughts made it hard to distinguish one person from the next. I had learned to control it a long time ago. Learned to find what I was looking for.

The mellow grays of the city streets set a dull surrounding, one that gave off a sad vibe. The warm yellows of the sun would never show itself here. Portland, what a joke. I wished we hadn’t taken this assignment.

I hated big cities. There were too many people, too many voices. My eyes closed, focused on the thoughts around me again. It was easier to concentrate if I didn’t have to battle with my sight.

My mind tried to pull one person at a time from the crowd, scanning their inner monologue for the information I needed, but it was proving to be difficult. Come on, where were they.

My mind wandered further even though the mass amount of voices in my head was getting to me. The all familiar ache was starting to seep into the spot between my eyes.

Then I heard her. I heard Kathy, the mark.

Thanks for stopping by - Can't wait to hear your comments.


  1. Overall I like the feel of indifferent distance your MC has but I'm not fond of your first line(s), they sound like you're preaching or teaching. I would suggest you start here:

    The city streets of Portland held my prey.

    Its powerful and instantly has me wondering if this character is a person, a beast, a hybrid or what.
    If this was mine I'd do this:
    They (were small insignificant) - remove, normal people (full stop) (that moved about their daily business. Inside -remove all this) I laughed (Full Stop) (remove - because) they had no idea Full Stop (remove all this - I was watching them).

    So it would look like this:
    The city streets of Portland held my prey. The normal people. I laughed. They had no idea. (seriously - that's all I want to read of that paragraph)

    And then don't tell us your MC is about to become the hunted, this is what I call "the-pre-tell"
    We need to discover this as you show and lead us through the story. Let us get to know who your MC is and show us they are a bounty hunter, who they hunt for (etc.)

    Para #2 is a little clumsy. I think you could shave it a little and also I've remove the "almost overwhelming" because you suggest that with the "SOME WHAT" which is much stronger.

    Para #3
    Don't tell us what you special gift is, show us.
    Have your MC start the stalk, have us hear what your MC hears, have us feel the pleasure of the hunt (or the distaste depending on what sort of bounty hunter they are)

    Same goes for para#4
    Your telling us about the blocking.
    No, not all telling is bad. Not all exposition is bad either.
    But I have no idea if your MC is a male/female. I don't know the setting or the period, (I know you mention Portland but I don't know if that's a real PORTLAND or a made up one on another planet).
    I don't know if its a big city or in the wilds somewhere. I don't even know if its earth or a created world.

    A lot of these need to be answered or at least implied in the first 200-300 words otherwise the reader feels no connection.

    I would rather you used some of that exposition and pre-tell space to describe the scene and to at least let us know the MC's name. This could be as easily done as adding a call/communication for another bounty hunt
    Joe, check your email, Job booked

    I hope I haven't discouraged you too much. I've written a lot because I see something here, something hidden behind an authors concern the reader will not get it. Trust me (and all readers), most of the time we do :)

  2. I love the idea, and you seem to have a good grasp of the magic system you're putting into place.

    The downside is that, that doesn't help out the first page. While I agree with Nikola, starting with the line "The city streets of Portland held my prey." I'd spend some time re-tooling and probably take most of what's in paragraphs 3 and 4 and move them to whatever exciting thing is going to happen when she finds what she's looking for.

    I want to invest in the character before I invest in the system. If I know I can live in her head that'll buy you the time to explain the rest.

  3. I'm intrigued. I love anything involving super powers. However, I agree that there's too much telling. The second paragraph shows me the MC's telepathic enough on it's own. The third paragraph kind of takes away from that and can be cut. Also in the second paragraph, the second line tells us the people are passing by already, so it's just repetitive when you say, "as they walked nearby."

    The last paragraph is more telling as well. Trust your reader and show us what we need to know instead of telling us.

    I want to know why the MC is watching the people and why they're his or her prey. I see lots of potential here and I look forward to seeing what you do with it.

  4. I made some changes thanks to all of your help. Thanks Nikola for helping me with my opening paragraph. Hopefully this format shows more of what my MC is doing instead of telling.

    1. Oh my gosh this is so much better!

      I'm glad I could help.
      Its getting late here (coming up to 8.30pm Monday night) so I'm going to let others comment on your revised version & if I have time I'll sneak by tomorrow and (if its OK) maybe make a few other suggestions.

      As I suggested the new beginning I think it better others comment on that (lol) but I do get a sense of who your MC is, where they are and I instantly know she's tapping into their thoughts, although I don't necessarily know how at this stage (OK I do because of the last version but I'm playing devils advocate here), I do know the MC has a skill or talent and I feel involved.

      Hopefully lost of people will drift by and add their own comments to help make the beginning as good as it can be :)

    2. And that should have been LOTS of people not LOST of people... sheesh! time to call it a night!

  5. Disclaimer: I don't read a lot of YA =), so keep that in mind as you read my comments.

    First, you need a comma in this: My eyes closed focused on the...put a comma after closed.

    I think you have a good start here. The MC is confident, which I can feel as I read. She has a power that can be hard to manage and I like that she's using it right out of the gate.

    One thing I did notice: I didn't feel like I was in her head from the start. I didn't get a telling vibe per se, just that I wasn't in the MC's head...almost like you're telling the story from a bird's-eye point of view instead. I think you need a little more voice and you need to bring the reader into the MC and you'll have it.

    I do think you have the start of something good, though! Good luck!

  6. I like your first line (and not just because it mentions beloved Portland ;) ). You've introduced the MC and her partner, and they're on an assignment in Portland that we know Hunter doesn't much like. You do a good job of naturally introducing the fantasy setting by showing us their powers right from the beginning.

    But this tripped me up: "I laughed. They had no idea." Other than the word prey, we really have no idea what's going on at this point, so I want to say "yeah, I have no idea either!" They have no idea they're being hunted? They have no idea how abnormal MC is? Give us just a few words to really ground us in this scene from the first paragraph.

    A minor point, but I can't figure out why her partner has to whisper if he's talking in her mind :)

    I think this paragraph could use some very concrete details to show us how this MC and her powers are different from other mind-reading magical creatures we've encountered in YA: "All their voices floated through my head as they passed by. They moved in and out of my thoughts. I had learned to control it a long time ago. Well, somewhat." The last two sentences really contradict each other. Either she learned to control it a long time ago, or she only somewhat learned and is still working on it. Be very clear about what you mean because we're forming our initial impression of Hunter and what she's all about. Right now, we don't know much at all about her or what she's after in this scene.

    The last three paragraphs are very telly. If we had a few details about her mark, then the second half of this scene could be about Hunter trying specifically to find this one person. Then she could close her eyes, concentrate on the specific detail (what's she searching for, a particular word? A name? A voice she's heard before?) and you could show us how the noises distract her from her pursuit and cloud her abilities instead of showing us.

    I think you're starting the story in a place with good tension and conflict. The scene just needs some tightening and concrete details to really draw us in to Hunter's story. Good luck!

  7. My partner whispered to my mind. “Hunter, stop being such a girl and locate the mark.”

    This was the only phrase my brain stumbled over slightly. Upon first reading I thought the partner was there with Hunter and it wasn't until I went back that I realized she's alone. Maybe expand on this a tiny bit.

  8. I like the atmospherics a lot - definitely a gritty, gloomy feel you're drawing and I like it.
    I agree with others that you need to start in a different place, however I'd suggest a pared down version of your 4th and 5th paragraphs where you describe Portland and how she feels about it. I think it's too wordy as is, but if you make it leaner it provides a very nice entry point to the world she's in and a vague idea that she's there on assignment. That gives us something to hang onto --then you can tell us she opened her mind to the people around her. I'd combine paragraphs 3, 6, and 7 -- again, make it leaner -- and then get us into the action.
    Hope that's helpful!
    Good luck!

  9. I like the feel you've got going here! Very interesting. I know what you're going for with saying that the partner whispered TO Hunter's mind, but it felt a little odd. Maybe there's a different way to word this? I was thrown a little by the phrase "in my stillness". I'm not sure what that means vs. in "the" stillness. Instead of saying "Well, somewhat" maybe try "Well, mostly." Sorry, I know that all probably seems pretty nit-picky...I really like the overall tone and direction you're going in!

  10. I had commented with a critique, but something weird happened when I had pressed the Publish button and never got a "Your message has been sent" so I was just wondering if it's still pending or if I should do another critique?

    Let me know please :)

    1. I don't see it. I would love to hear your feedback if you have time to rewrite it. Thanks.

  11. I'll start with what I like, before allowing my grammar nazi persona to suggest a few changes.

    You've done a good job creating atmosphere and mood. Also, you've made it easy for readers to identify with the sensations the MC feels as she sifts through the people's minds while seeking her mark. The MC is interesting and I want to read on to find out what her mission is and how she will go about it.

    Now come the grammar, or maybe more accurately, some questions about phrasing. I'll cut and paste them here and make my suggestions.

    "My partner spoke to my mind." - this seemed like odd wording to me, "spoke inside my mind" seems clearer to me, but if your original wording arose from something specific within the world you've built, then I wouldn't make the change.

    "flow of their voices and the chaotic thoughts" - at first, I thought of replacing "the" with another "their", but instead I'm suggesting completely taking out "the" and letting the possessive "their" apply to both voices and chaotic thoughts.

    "the mass amount of voices" - I would either make this "the mass of voices" or "the massive amount of voices"

    Again, there may be things in the world you've built that dictated how you phased these passages - if so, please disregard my suggestions.

    Thanks for sharing your work, it's always helpful to see how other writers work. Good luck!

  12. I love the voice and the pace in this - especially the first line - it's enough to keep me reading! I love the descriptions through the MC's eyes and the way it's all described is perfect to paint a picture in my mind without getting annoyed :)

    The only thing is, I have no idea if your MC is male or female, so I'm having trouble with picturing the person - I know the part with "Hunter, stop being such a girl" - I've heard that name for both sexes, and it could be a nickname, plus, the "stop being such a girl" could be both as well. Don't know if there would be a way for you to give the reader a bigger hint, but apart from that, no other criticism! :)

    Hope this helps!
    Good luck!

  13. Hey there! This is a really intriguing beginning. The pace is great and your voice is spot on and I'm trying so hard not to come up with those generic, whatever arguments but I am coming up dry. This is good. Really, really good. My only suggestion would to potentially italicize when somebody is, as you say, speaking to the MC's mind, just so that it doesn't get confused with regular conversation/speech. Or bold it, if italics are being used for something else.

    Great work!

  14. This has a lot of potential, but why is she laughing? Because the normal people don't know why she's watching? maybe give her name and show her a bit so there's not so much mind description going on? Maybe she moves or flies or does whatever she does to show us who she is?