Prologue to TIMELESS (YA Paranormal Romance)

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EvelynEhrlich
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Prologue to TIMELESS (YA Paranormal Romance)

Post by EvelynEhrlich » July 13th, 2010, 4:22 pm

Hi all,
Here is the prologue to my YA paranormal (if you'd like, you can read the query in the Query Forum). I know lots of people don't like prologues, but a reputable freelance editor recommended that I begin my story with one. It's told by Leo, a nineteenth century prince. Any feedback is much appreciated. Thanks!

PROLOGUE - May 25th, 1856. St. Petersburg, Russia.
LEO

Nothing good could come of burying my parents. Or so I thought.

My thirteen-year old sister, Anna, clung to my arm. The black lace of her glove was already soaked, whether by tears or by the sheets of rain, it didn't matter. I hugged her rail-thin frame tighter to me, pressing her against my charcoal coat as we sloshed over the stone walkway in front of the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul.

The church loomed over us, its yellow-and-white facade seemingly gray under the storm clouds, its copper dome repelling the downpour in a violent mist. The baroque cathedral was the tallest building in St. Petersburg, and the flying angel at the top of the spire glared down at me from the overcast sky. Even the cherubs decorating the windows frowned.

"Prince Andreyev."

My formal title. I stopped, still several paces from the entrance to the cathedral. A bony hand with curled, brittle fingernails clawed at my sleeve. Anna shrieked and tried to yank me away.

"Do not fear, young princess. I mean your brother no harm." The hunchbacked woman bared her toothless gums in an attempt to smile, her leathery skin wrinkling as she did.

"It's all right, Anna," I said. "It's only the old mystic, Afanasiya."

My sister still tightened her grip.

Another voice called to me from a short distance away. "Leo!" I turned to look over Anna's bowed head. Dmitri, my closest friend, hustled toward us, splashing muddy water onto his military greatcoat, his lanky frame balanced out by the proud way he carried his shoulders under his new officer's uniform. He brushed the fringe of blond hair from his face when he reached us. "I rushed here as soon as I –"

Afanasiya trained her gray eyes onto him.

He forgot what he'd wanted to say.

I glanced at Dmitri. "Take Anna inside to the funeral. I shall be there in a minute." He hesitated but folded his arm around her, stroking her matted black ringlets to soothe her. She shivered but obeyed. She didn't have enough fight in her today to protest.

I turned back to Afanasiya, who had crept closer in the meantime. The stench of sour milk and stale rye washed over me, markers of her nomadic existence. Some labeled her insane for her self-imposed homelessness, but most regarded her as a holy woman, driven by God to sleep on church steps and to subsist solely on the scraps of cheese and bread left by believers. My mother had never questioned the divine power of such mystics. Now, as the rain continued to pound all around me but ceased in a sunlit halo around Afanasiya, I believed as well.

"How can I serve you?" I asked.

The color in her eyes swirled into cloudy spirals, as if she were possessed. I fought the instinct to pull away.

"Your father is dead," she said. It was not a question, but a statement.

I answered, regardless. "Yes, and my mother, as well."

"Then you are the Time Keeper now."

"I beg your pardon? The Time Keeper?"

She tugged on my sleeve and drew my shoulder down, bringing my ear to the level of her cracked lips. She whispered so low I could hardly make out her words. "You have the power to dispel the dark indigo aura that suffocates you. You are the Time Keeper of the ancient Andreyev time portal. Use it, and you will find your lost love. Your Lena."

"Lena? You mean Princess Dashkova? How can that be? She died ages ago..."

But Afanasiya's hand no longer rested on my arm. I glimpsed her hunched shadow, somehow already at the far end of the church, as if she had never been by my side.

I stood utterly alone. And the storm lashed down on me once more.

GeeGee55
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Re: Prologue to TIMELESS (YA Paranormal Romance)

Post by GeeGee55 » July 13th, 2010, 6:40 pm

Hi, Evenlyn:

Keep in mind that I'm no expert and I don't read in this genre, but these are my impressions:


It's clear, it flows well, and it sets a mood and of course get me wondering what's going to happen.
EvelynEhrlich wrote:Hi all,
Here is the prologue to my YA paranormal (if you'd like, you can read the query in the Query Forum). I know lots of people don't like prologues, but a reputable freelance editor recommended that I begin my story with one. It's told by Leo, a nineteenth century prince. Any feedback is much appreciated. Thanks!

PROLOGUE - May 25th, 1856. St. Petersburg, Russia.
LEO

Nothing good could come of burying my parents. Or so I thought.

My thirteen-year old sister, Anna, clung to my arm. The black lace of her glove was already soaked, whether by tears or by the sheets of rain, it didn't matter. I hugged her rail-thin frame - rail thin frame is not really different enough and it reads a little awkwardly, maybe just use thin body or thin shoulders tighter to me, pressing her against my charcoal coat as we sloshed over the stone walkway in front - just wondering are they approaching the Cathedral, if they are that might be a better choice of word of the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul.

The church loomed over us, its yellow-and-white facade seemingly gray under the storm clouds, its copper dome repelling the downpour in a violent mist. - this is a nice image (The baroque cathedral was the tallest building in St. Petersburg)I'm not sure this is the place for this information, for me, it kind of detracts from the mood, and the flying angel at the top of the spire glared down at me from the overcast sky. Even the cherubs decorating the windows frowned.

"Prince Andreyev."

My formal title. I stopped, still several paces from the entrance to the cathedral. A bony hand with curled, brittle fingernails clawed at my sleeve. Anna shrieked and tried to yank me away.

"Do not fear, young princess. I mean your brother no harm." The hunchbacked woman bared her toothless gums in an attempt to smile, her leathery skin wrinkling as she did.

"It's all right, Anna," I said. "It's only the old mystic, Afanasiya." - I know you're trying to give information about who she is by saying it's the old mystic, but I think it's better if it's not in the dialogue. He obviously knows who she is, so consider: "It's all right, Anna," I said, "It's only Afanasiya." The old mystic bared her toothless gums... The dialogue reads more naturally that way IMO. Another point - can he know she's attempting to smile or would he wonder it?
Still, my sister tightened her grip.

Another voice called to me from a short distance away. "Leo!" I turned to look over Anna's bowed head. Dmitri, my closest friend, hustled toward us, splashing muddy water onto his military greatcoat, his lanky frame balanced out - I don't think you need out by the proud way he carried his shoulders under his new officer's uniform. - this is a nice detail He brushed the fringe of blond hair from his face when he reached us. "I rushed here as soon as I –"

Afanasiya trained her gray eyes onto him.

He forgot what he'd wanted to say. - Perhaps a description would be better rather than telling

I glanced at Dmitri. "Take Anna inside to the funeral. I shall be there in a minute." He hesitated, then folded his arm around her, stroking her matted black ringlets to soothe her. She shivered but obeyed. She didn't have enough fight in her today to protest.

I turned back to Afanasiya, who had crept closer in the meantime. The stench of sour milk and stale rye, markers of her nomadic existence - this modifying phrase belongs beside the thing its decribing, washed over me . Some labeled her insane for her self-imposed homelessness, but most regarded her as a holy woman, driven by God to sleep on church steps and to subsist solely on the scraps of cheese and bread left by believers. My mother had never questioned the divine power of such mystics. Now, as the rain continued to pound all around me but ceased in a sunlit halo around Afanasiya, I believed as well.

"How can I serve you?" I asked.

The color in her eyes swirled into cloudy spirals, as if she were possessed. I fought the instinct to pull away.

"Your father is dead," she said. It was not a question, but a statement.

I answered, regardless. "Yes, and my mother, as well."

"Then you are the Time Keeper now."

"I beg your pardon? The Time Keeper - I don't think you need to repeat this?"

She tugged on my sleeve and drew my shoulder down, bringing my ear to the level of her cracked lips. She whispered so low quietly, softly I could hardly make out her words. "You have the power to dispel the dark indigo aura that suffocates you. You are the Time Keeper of the ancient Andreyev time portal. Use it, and you will find your lost love. Your Lena."

"Lena? You mean Princess Dashkova? How can that be? She died ages ago..." - This dialoge also doesn't read naturally. He knows who Lena is. Wouldn't it be more natural for him just to say "Lena?" And then perhaps think She died ages ago.
But - don't think you need the but Afanasiya's hand no longer rested on my arm. I glimpsed her hunched shadow, somehow she was already at the far end of the church, (as if she had never been by my side). - not sure about this last phrase, the next sentence might have more power without it.I stood utterly alone. And the storm lashed down on me once more.
Good luck with your story, Evelyn. You've got a good beginning.

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Re: Prologue to TIMELESS (YA Paranormal Romance)

Post by Krista G. » July 13th, 2010, 6:41 pm

EvelynEhrlich wrote:PROLOGUE - May 25th, 1856. St. Petersburg, Russia.
LEO

Nothing good could come of burying my parents. Or so I thought.

My thirteen-year old sister, Anna, clung to my arm. The black lace of her glove was already soaked, whether by tears or by the sheets of rain, it didn't matter. I hugged her rail-thin frame tighter to me ("Rail-thin frame" is a little too cliche-y for me), pressing her against my charcoal coat as we sloshed over the stone walkway in front of the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul. This last clause, "pressing her against my charcoal coat...," has a few too many adjectives and/or prepositional phrases, methinks. One revision idea: "pressing her against me as we sloshed past the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul."

The church loomed over us, its yellow-and-white facade seemingly gray under the storm clouds, its copper dome repelling the downpour in a violent mist. I can't picture a dome repelling the downpour in a violent mist. I'm not sure what you mean. The baroque cathedral was the tallest building in St. Petersburg, and the flying angel at the top of the spire glared down at me from the overcast sky. Even the cherubs decorating the windows frowned.

"Prince Andreyev."

My formal title. I stopped, still several paces from the entrance to the cathedral. A bony hand with curled, brittle fingernails clawed at my sleeve. Anna shrieked and tried to yank me away.

"Do not fear, young princess. I mean your brother no harm." The hunchbacked woman bared her toothless gums in an attempt to smile, her leathery skin wrinkling as she did. You could cut the phrase "as she did" without losing any meaning.

"It's all right, Anna," I said. "It's only the old mystic, Afanasiya."

My sister still tightened her grip.

Another voice called to me from a short distance away. "Leo!" I'd probably break these paragraph right here. I turned to look over Anna's bowed head. Dmitri, my closest friend, hustled toward us, splashing muddy water onto his military greatcoat, his lanky frame balanced out by the proud way he carried his shoulders under his new officer's uniform. And again here, just so each character's actions and dialogue have their own paragraph. He brushed the fringe of blond hair from his face when he reached us. "I rushed here as soon as I –"

Afanasiya trained her gray eyes onto him.

He forgot what he'd wanted to say.

I glanced at Dmitri. "Take Anna inside to the funeral. I shall be there in a minute." I'd break this paragraph right here. (But since there isn't any dialogue in the rest of the paragraph, I think you're all right grouping Dmitri and Anna's actions together.) He hesitated but folded his arm around her, stroking her matted black ringlets to soothe her. She shivered but obeyed. She didn't have enough fight in her today to protest.

I turned back to Afanasiya, who had crept closer in the meantime. The stench of sour milk and stale rye washed over me, markers of her nomadic existence. Some labeled her insane for her self-imposed homelessness, but most regarded her as a holy woman, driven by God to sleep on church steps and to subsist solely on the scraps of cheese and bread left by believers. My mother had never questioned the divine power of such mystics. Now, as the rain continued to pound all around me but ceased in a sunlit halo around Afanasiya, I believed as well.

"How can I serve you?" I asked.

The color in her eyes swirled into cloudy spirals, as if she were possessed. I fought the instinct to pull away.

"Your father is dead," she said. It was not a question, but a statement.

I answered, regardless. "Yes, and my mother, as well."

"Then you are the Time Keeper now."

"I beg your pardon? The Time Keeper?"

She tugged on my sleeve and drew my shoulder down, bringing my ear to the level of her cracked lips. She whispered so low I could hardly make out her words. Can "low" function as an adverb? If not, you may want to change "low" to "lowly." "You have the power to dispel the dark indigo aura that suffocates you. You are the Time Keeper of the ancient Andreyev time portal. Use it, and you will find your lost love. Your Lena."

"Lena? You mean Princess Dashkova? How can that be? She died ages ago..."

But Afanasiya's hand no longer rested on my arm. I glimpsed her hunched shadow, somehow already at the far end of the church, as if she had never been by my side.

I stood utterly alone. And the storm lashed down on me once more.
On the whole, this is interesting. Leo's concern for his sister makes him instantly likable, and the old woman is intriguing. Just watch your stage directions - it seemed like Leo was turning and looking/glancing/glimpsing a lot. On a related note, you might want to go back through this with an eye for what I call "Leo filters." Since Leo's our POV character, we already know he's filtering the story for us, so you don't have to spell it out explicitly. That is, instead of writing "I saw [this]" and "I glimpsed [that]," skip the "I saw" and "I glimpsed" and just tell us what he's seeing and glimpsing.

Also, GeeGee55 made some great points about the dialogue. Definitely something to take into consideration.

Best of luck!
Author of THE REGENERATED MAN (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, Winter 2015)
Represented by Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary
www.motherwrite.blogspot.com

katbrauer
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Re: Prologue to TIMELESS (YA Paranormal Romance)

Post by katbrauer » July 14th, 2010, 7:43 am

EvelynEhrlich wrote: Nothing good could come of burying my parents. Or so I thought.

My thirteen-year old sister, Anna, clung to my arm. The black lace of her glove was already soaked (I don't think that it's easy to tell when black is soaked, especially black lace. Maybe her hair instead?), whether by tears or by the sheets of rain, it didn't matter. I hugged her rail-thin frame tighter to me, pressing her against my charcoal (I would use a different adjective here. For some reason, I thought it was covered in charcoal at first. Just black is probably okay.) coat as we sloshed over the stone walkway in front of the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul.

The church loomed over us, its yellow-and-white facade seemingly gray under the storm clouds, its copper dome repelling the downpour in a violent mist. (There's a lot of adjectives here, especially color. It's a little distracting.) The baroque cathedral was the tallest building in St. Petersburg, and the flying angel at the top of the spire glared down at me from the overcast sky. Even the cherubs decorating the windows frowned. (I like this visual.)

"Prince Andreyev."

My formal title. I stopped (Stronger word--maybe halted?), still several paces from the entrance to the cathedral. A bony hand with curled, brittle fingernails clawed at my sleeve. Anna shrieked and tried to yank me away.

"Do not fear, young princess. I mean your brother no harm." The hunchbacked woman bared her toothless gums in an attempt to smile, her leathery skin wrinkling as she did.

"It's all right, Anna," I said. "It's only the old mystic, Afanasiya."

My sister still tightened her grip.

Another voice called to me from a short distance away. "Leo!" I turned to look over Anna's bowed head. Dmitri, my closest friend, hustled toward us, splashing muddy water onto his military greatcoat, his lanky frame balanced out by the proud way he carried his shoulders under his new officer's uniform. (This is a really long sentence. See if you can break it up. Also, "hustled toward" sounds awkward to me, though I couldn't tell you why.) He brushed the fringe of blond hair from his face when he reached us. "I rushed here as soon as I –"

Afanasiya trained her gray eyes onto him.

He forgot what he'd wanted to say. (This is a slight POV shift. "Forgot" in this sense, I think, should apply only to the narrator.)

I glanced at Dmitri. "Take Anna inside to the funeral. I shall be there in a minute." He hesitated but folded his arm around her my sister, stroking her matted black ringlets to soothe her. She shivered but obeyed. She didn't have enough fight in her today to protest.

I turned back to Afanasiya, who had crept closer in the meantime. The stench of sour milk and stale rye washed over me, markers of her nomadic existence. (Awkward.) Some labeled called her insane for her self-imposed homelessness, but most regarded her as a holy woman, driven by God to sleep on church steps and to subsist solely on the scraps of cheese and bread left by believers. My mother had never questioned the divine power of such mystics. Now, as the rain continued to pound all around me but ceased in a sunlit halo (Awkward. "Evaporated into a sunlit halo" maybe?) around Afanasiya, I believed as well.

"How can I serve you?" I asked.

The color (I thought they were grey?) in her eyes swirled into cloudy spirals, as if she were possessed. I fought the instinct to pull away.

"Your father is dead," she said. It was not a question, but a statement.

Even though it was a statement, I answered, regardless. "Yes, and my mother, as well."

"Then you are the Time Keeper now."

"I beg your pardon? The Time Keeper?"

She tugged on my sleeve and drew my shoulder down, bringing my ear to the level of her cracked lips. She whispered so low I could hardly make out her words. "You have the power to dispel the dark indigo aura that suffocates you. You are the Time Keeper of the ancient Andreyev time portal. Use it, and you will find your lost love. Your Lena."

"Lena? You mean Princess Dashkova? How can that be? She died ages ago..." (I think you should clarify. Either this sounds too modern, or it sounds like they're super-long lived super human super people things. And also, perhaps some brief feeling about this Lena?)

But Afanasiya's hand no longer rested on my arm. I glimpsed her hunched shadow, somehow already at the far end of the church, as if she had never been by my side.

I stood utterly alone. And the storm lashed down on me once more.
I'm okay with starting with a prologue, as long as it relates directly to the main story, AND as long as the narrator reappears. If he doesn't, I'd be really confused.

I thought this flowed fairly well, although I did get stopped up a few times by phrasing (as noted). Still, it wasn't enough to make me give up, which happens quite a lot. I also think the tone is a little strange. I get that he's supposed to be bewildered by the mystic appearing, but shouldn't he also be upset by his parent's deaths, even if he's not showing it outwardly?

Sounds cool. Something I'd probably like to read. Might even buy. :D
:) Kat
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Re: Prologue to TIMELESS (YA Paranormal Romance)

Post by Meredith » July 15th, 2010, 12:31 am

EvelynEhrlich wrote:Hi all,
Here is the prologue to my YA paranormal (if you'd like, you can read the query in the Query Forum). I know lots of people don't like prologues, but a reputable freelance editor recommended that I begin my story with one. It's told by Leo, a nineteenth century prince. Any feedback is much appreciated. Thanks!

PROLOGUE - May 25th, 1856. St. Petersburg, Russia.
LEO

Nothing good could come of burying my parents. Or so I thought.

My thirteen-year old sister, Anna, clung to my arm. The black lace of her glove was already soaked, whether by tears or by the sheets of rain, it didn't matter. I hugged her rail-thin frame tighter to me, pressing her against my charcoal coat as we sloshed over the stone walkway in front of the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul. Rail-thin seems out of place for a princess. Makes me think she's starving. And I don't like charcoal as a descriptor, here. I'm not sure we need to know the color. It's a funeral. We'll probably assume some shade of black.

The church loomed over us, its yellow-and-white facade seemingly gray under the storm clouds, its copper dome repelling the downpour in a violent mist. The baroque cathedral was the tallest building in St. Petersburg, Resist the urge to explain. Would Leo really think about it being the tallest building this minute? and the flying angel at the top of the spire glared down at me from the overcast sky. Even the cherubs decorating the windows frowned.

"Prince Andreyev."

My formal title. I stopped, still several paces from the entrance to the cathedral. A bony hand with curled, brittle fingernails clawed at my sleeve. Anna shrieked and tried to yank me away.

"Do not fear, young princess. I mean your brother no harm." The hunchbacked woman bared her toothless gums in an attempt to smile, her leathery skin wrinkling as she did.

"It's all right, Anna," I said. "It's only the old mystic, Afanasiya." You do plenty to show us that she's a mystic.

My sister still tightened her grip.

Another voice called to me from a short distance away. "Leo!" I turned to look over Anna's bowed head. Dmitri, my closest friend, Again, resist the urge to explain. My friend Dmitri, perhaps.hustled toward us, splashing muddy water onto his military greatcoat, his lanky frame balanced out by the proud way he carried his shoulders under his new officer's uniform. He brushed the fringe of blond hair from his face when he reached us. "I rushed here as soon as I –"

Afanasiya trained her gray eyes onto him.

He forgot what he'd wanted to say.Point of view shift. This is first person. By definition, we can only know what Leo knows, so show us instead. Perhaps Dmitri stammers to a stop? Stops and stares at the old woman?

I glanced at Dmitri. He's already looking at Dmitri, isn't he. Maybe let us know that he's relieved there's someone who can help him with Anna? "Take Anna inside to the funeral. I shall be there in a minute." He hesitated but folded his arm around her, stroking her matted black ringlets to soothe her. She shivered but obeyed. She didn't have enough fight in her today to protest.

I turned back to Afanasiya, who had crept closer in the meantime. The stench of sour milk and stale rye washed over me, markers of her nomadic existence. Some labeled her insane for her self-imposed homelessness, but most regarded her as a holy woman, driven by God to sleep on church steps and to subsist solely on the scraps of cheese and bread left by believers. My mother had never questioned the divine power of such mystics. Now, as the rain continued to pound all around me but ceased in a sunlit halo around Afanasiya, I believed as well.

"How can I serve you?" I asked.

The color in her eyes swirled into cloudy spirals, as if she were possessed. I fought the instinct to pull away.

"Your father is dead," she said. It was not a question, but a statement.

I answered, regardless. "Yes, and my mother, as well."

"Then you are the Time Keeper now."

"I beg your pardon? The Time Keeper?" Some indication here of his feelings. Does this shock him out of his grief? Make him wonder if the old woman is crazy after all?

She tugged on my sleeve and drew my shoulder down, bringing my ear to the level of her cracked lips. She whispered so low I could hardly make out her words. "You have the power to dispel the dark indigo aura that suffocates you. You are the Time Keeper of the ancient Andreyev time portal. Use it, and you will find your lost love. Your Lena."

"Lena? You mean Princess Dashkova? How can that be? She died ages ago..." Explaining again. If she's his lost love, would he think of her as Princess Dashkova? And how long ago is ages now that he's been called the TIme Keeper? Also, once again, how does this make him feel? Disbelieving? Wanting to believe, but afraid to? Awash with hope that feels inconsistent with his grief? There's tons of room for conflict, here.

But It's one of my writer's tics so I'm sensitive to it. I wouldn't start the sentence, especially the paragraph, with a conjunction.Afanasiya's hand no longer rested on my arm. I glimpsed her hunched shadow, somehow already at the far end of the church, as if she had never been by my side.

I stood utterly alone. And the storm lashed down on me once more.
Good luck with this.
MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com

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Re: Prologue to TIMELESS (YA Paranormal Romance)

Post by EvelynEhrlich » July 15th, 2010, 1:08 am

Thanks, Meredith! Great suggestions that will go into my revised prologue.

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Re: Prologue to TIMELESS (YA Paranormal Romance)

Post by EvelynEhrlich » July 15th, 2010, 4:20 pm

Didn't mean to ignore the others who have commented on my prologue. Thanks to everyone for the thoughtful and constructive advice!

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Re: Prologue to TIMELESS (YA Paranormal Romance)

Post by gsfields2004 » July 18th, 2010, 9:59 am

Overall, I liked the flow of the scene. I also thought you did a good job of setting the stage. I was able to picture the square and imagine the surrounding buidings. It complemented the scene that unfolded on the stairs of the church.

While YA isn't a genre I often read, I do read a lot of historical non-ficture and historical fiction. So I have a few suggestions regarding historical accuracy:

I would suggest that Leo and Anna get dropped off at the base of the steps by a carriage. From my understanding of Russian royalty of that time, there would be a big procession to the funeral of a Tzar (assuming it was a Tzar). Leo and Anna would definately not be left alone to enter, especially since Leo is successor.

The square would also probably be filled with grieving commoners. So I would recommend instead of Dmitri running to catch up with them, he would already be with them in the entourage as Leo's best friend and perhaps the Captain of the Guard. When the mystic approaches out of the crowd, Dmitri would step between her and Leo and tell her to get back before... Leo could then place his hand on Dmtri and tell him that it is OK and to go ahead. He wants to have a word with her.

You describe the mystic as a homeless-type person, so I had some difficulty believing the prince would stop and talk with her. If you set her up a little more with Leo remembering/noting that he saw her around the palace as a small boy, he remembered the smell of bread and cheese, etc. Maybe she was an advisor for his father. By setting something like that up, it would make a more clear connection between her and the portal.

The other inline comments were good, so I wanted to provide a more high-level feedback. Again, I thought the staging of the scene was very good and I was drawn to the words of the mystic and wanted to read more.

Greg

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Re: Prologue to TIMELESS (YA Paranormal Romance)

Post by EvelynEhrlich » July 18th, 2010, 4:21 pm

Hi Greg,
Thanks very much for the suggestions. It's great to get feedback from someone who reads a lot of historical fiction.

Leo actually isn't the Crown Prince (son of the Tsar), but rather, a nobleman with the hereditary title of "Prince" (his grandfather was awarded the Order of St. George for extraordinary military service, which came with the "Prince" title - but you wouldn't know that, of course, since it's explained later in the book). Think of it like being a duke or count, except higher ranked.

That being said, you still make a good point that there ought to be more people around. Given the fact that Leo comes from an illustrious noble family, much of St. Petersburg Society should be at the funeral. I'll keep your suggestions in mind while I revise.

Thanks!
Evelyn

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Re: Prologue to TIMELESS (YA Paranormal Romance)

Post by Emily J » July 20th, 2010, 4:24 pm

EvelynEhrlich wrote:Hi all,
Here is the prologue to my YA paranormal (if you'd like, you can read the query in the Query Forum). I know lots of people don't like prologues, but a reputable freelance editor recommended that I begin my story with one. It's told by Leo, a nineteenth century prince. Any feedback is much appreciated. Thanks!

PROLOGUE - May 25th, 1856. St. Petersburg, Russia.
LEO

Nothing good could come of burying my parents. Or so I thought. i like the opening line, gives us a lot of info in an interesting and concise way

My thirteen-year old sister i believe it should be thirteen-year-old sister, Anna, clung to my arm. The black lace of her glove was already soaked, whether by tears or by the sheets of rain, it didn't matter. I hugged her rail-thin frame tighter to me, pressing her against my charcoal coat as we sloshed over the stone walkway in front of the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul.

The church loomed over us, its yellow-and-white facade seemingly gray under the storm clouds, its copper dome repelling the downpour in a violent mist. I like this sentence The baroque cathedral was the tallest building in St. Petersburg, agree with other poster, cut this feels forced and the flying angel at the top of the spire glared down at me from the overcast sky. Even the cherubs decorating the windows frowned.

"Prince Andreyev."

My formal title. I stopped, still several paces from the entrance to the cathedral. A bony hand with curled, brittle fingernails clawed at my sleeve. Anna shrieked and tried to yank me away.

"Do not fear, young princess. I mean your brother no harm." The hunchbacked woman bared her toothless gums in an attempt to smile, her leathery skin wrinkling as she did. nice description

"It's all right, Anna," I said. "It's only the old mystic, Afanasiya." again, feels like forced exposition, i'd prefer "it's only Afanasiya."

My sister still tightened her grip.

Another voice called to me from a short distance away. "Leo!" I turned to look over Anna's bowed head. Dmitri, my closest friend, hustled toward us, splashing muddy water onto his military greatcoat, his lanky frame balanced out by the proud way he carried his shoulders under his new officer's uniform. sentence feels too long, with too many commas He brushed the fringe of blond hair from his face when he reached us. "I rushed here as soon as I –"

Afanasiya trained her gray eyes onto him.

He forgot what he'd wanted to say.

I glanced at Dmitri. "Take Anna inside to the funeral. to the funeral feels implied I shall be there in a minute." He hesitated but folded his arm around her, stroking her matted black ringlets to soothe her. She shivered but obeyed. perhaps a semi-colon here? just a suggestion though She didn't have enough fight in her today to protest.

I turned back to Afanasiya, who had crept closer in the meantime. The stench of sour milk and stale rye washed over me, markers of her nomadic existence. excellent description Some labeled her insane for her self-imposed homelessness, but most regarded her as a holy woman, driven by God to sleep on church steps and to subsist solely on the scraps of cheese and bread left by believers. My mother had never questioned the divine power of such mystics. Now, as the rain continued to pound all around me but ceased in a sunlit halo around Afanasiya, I believed as well.

"How can I serve you?" I asked.

The color in her eyes swirled into cloudy spirals, as if she were possessed. I fought the instinct to pull away.

"Your father is dead," she said. It was not a question, but a statement.

I answered, regardless. "Yes, and my mother, as well."

"Then you are the Time Keeper now."

"I beg your pardon? The Time Keeper?"

She tugged on my sleeve and drew my shoulder down, bringing my ear to the level of her cracked lips. She whispered so low I could hardly make out her words. "You have the power to dispel the dark indigo aura dark indigo aura struck me as a bit silly, like beware the taupe curse! plus aura feels too new-age-y to me, is there another way to say this? try throwing in a russian word or curse that suffocates you. You are the Time Keeper of the ancient Andreyev time portal. don't like the repeat of "time" here, feels redundant, she already called him time keeper, can she just say that he is the heir of the time portal or something? Use it, and you will find your lost love. Your Lena."

"Lena? You mean Princess Dashkova? How can that be? She died ages ago..." hmm, seems to me he should be wondering how the hag knows about his love life, past or present

But Afanasiya's hand no longer rested on my arm. I glimpsed her hunched shadow, somehow already at the far end of the church, as if she had never been by my side.

I stood utterly alone. And the storm lashed down on me once more.
I like this. A lot. It certainly makes me want to read more. You did an excellent job of setting the scene, I can really picture it, the atmosphere and everything. The old lady's last speech felt a bit hokey at points but otherwise excellent job! You could make this even stronger by amping up the historicalness (if thats a word) maybe using a few russsian colloquialisms or phrases. Just a suggestion I think it reads very well as is!

EvelynEhrlich
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Re: Prologue to TIMELESS (YA Paranormal Romance)

Post by EvelynEhrlich » July 20th, 2010, 4:39 pm

Thanks, EmilyJ! I appreciate the compliments and your suggestions. I think you'd like the next chapter, where the girl MC stumbles upon her side of the time portal, which has an old Russian proverb etched into it. :)

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