Book Jacket

 

rank 48
word count 32072
date submitted 10.07.2009
date updated 24.04.2014
genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Fantasy,...
classification: universal
incomplete

The Woman by the Sea

Marissa Ogbeide

'Sometimes even in death, people never leave, they stay in the shadows, in your darkest of fears; waiting, just waiting until somehow they are freed.'

 

There’s a ghost in St Ives, only no one believes it. To them, she’s a tale of generations past; something to scare the kids. But seventeen year old Saira James, a newcomer in town, knows the ghost is real. It visits her in the depths of her dreams, haunts her in the waking hours.

After the move to the coast with her mother, away from friends and father, Saira finds herself lost; living a lie. To her, the move is just the cowardice of running away, but too afraid to upset her mother, she says nothing about her worries. All the while, the ghost lingers in her life; hiding in the shadows of her fears...

Saira needs to lose this demon before it destroys her; before she does something incredibly stupid. But with no one to tell; no one to believe her, it seems unlikely that she will. And the longer the ghost stays... the worse things get...

 
rate the book

to rate this book please Register or Login

 

tags

fear, friendship, ghosts, illusions, life, mistakes, mystery, romance

on 186 watchlists

431 comments

 

To leave comments on this or any book please Register or Login

subscribe to comments for this book
kme_knight wrote 1108 days ago

I couldn't stand it. This story is too good. You've got me hooked, a hard thing to do. Backed. Starred. Amazing.

Elizabeth.NYC wrote 1257 days ago

The Woman by the Sea has a lyrical narrative voice, which is unusual and very attractive for a ghost story. I think the short prologue is very effective, and the only thing that gave me pause was the line "fire...tickled our feet." Somehow I couldn't imagine fire tickling (but maybe that's just me). In the first chapter, I met Saira as she and her mother arrive at the grandmother's (Nana's) house after they've run away from Saira's father. There's excellent atmosphere in the chapter, even some quirky humor (loved the comparison that Nana was not quite so Cruella), but what makes this book so readable is the fluid first-person narrative that I think hits the author's target audience immediately. The ending sentence is stunning: time will eventually bring us back home.

Would I read on if I picked up this book at random in a bookstore, or read this chapter as an electronic sample? Yes, I believe I would. It's written better than much YA fiction, and I don't have the feeling that I've inadvertently stepped into yet another teen horror story.

I believe you have a great future ahead of you as a writer - and this book deserves high stars.

Lizzi
(Out of Sync)

carlashmore wrote 1423 days ago

This is possibly my favourite piece of YA fiction on the site. It's lyrical, beautifully written with stunning prose. I'm glad I'm stopping at chapter 3 (or 5 according to the breakdown) because I want to wait until it's published to read the whole thing. You write with such enviable confidence. Rich, poetic descriptions like 'the breeze blew and kissed my face'. My only nitpick was you don't need a comma after limber in Chapter 1/3. And that's the extent of my criticism. This is very atmospheric and I look forward to the day it is in print.
Carl
The Time hunters

EltopiaAuthor wrote 1428 days ago

I think this is powerful writing. No corpses, no sexy strip scenes, just the real, hairy monsters of life. Most of us will never, thankfully, walk into the livingroom and find a dead body shot full of bulleet holes. Many more of us will face the kinds of tensions presented here, and the author does the presenting so well, the telling details, the specific, concrete actions that speak (I held onto the cup so tightly ..., etc.). You created realistic characters that we can care about because they are dealing with the ultimate and very realistic conflicts of life, and you have a good balance between what you reveal and what you leave to tantalize us into reading further.

Anjuli wrote 1503 days ago

Dear Marissa,

The arrangement is that we read what other writers make available to us to read. If it's good, we look forward to reading the rest and we say so. But we accept that that's all we're getting until the book is published. So why do I feel cheated, hard done by, unfairly denied when I couldn't read any more of The Woman by the Sea? I had to think about this for a bit and I know why. The chunk of emotion that your story claimed goes way beyond what any other story I've read so far has done. Having opened the emotions of a whole book, while only providing the closure of a 'taster', I was left both highly awakened and desperately hungry. This is stunningly good writing and the rule is that if that's the case, then I'm supposed to feel happy, but I can't shake off the feeling that I've somehow been tricked. I realise that because I'm being so inarticulate, there's the danger that I could be misunderstood. Please let me make it clear that this book reached parts that no other book that I've read here has yet done, parts that leave me needing to read the rest, rather than merely wanting to. You now have a responsibility to finish it and get it published so that I can lay a ghost to rest.

Your book will remain on my shelf until such time...

Thank you for the experience.

Anjuli

Lara wrote 14 days ago

I like the slow build up This, and lyrical tone suit the movement of the sea and life in St Ives. Good characterisation The drama builds slowly - some may balk at this, but not me. I've backed this book, well written and conceived.

Rosalind Minett
A RELATIVE INVASION

ElspethR wrote 42 days ago

I thought the first tiny section was poetic and intriguing, though I was confused that your first "chapter" was a tiny quote and kept clicking on "read book" to find I actually already was. I felt the pitch was intriguing but could be tighter - the middle para seems (esp middle sentence) too descriptive of the story when 1 and 3 intrigue us while informing of the type of book.

Sadly, I didn't find the draw here that others have. The dialogue didn't always seem very natural; "eg Whaddya" grated each time you used it, and I did wonder what nationality you are as the writing sometimes doesn't sound very English.

I felt I was waiting too long for the ghost or something to begin, other than a new life and school. There's a little intrigue in what won't be discussed between grandma and mum, but I felt the hook slipped away and it didn't seem to deliver what the pitch promised, or at least, not at a rate that held my interest. Sorry if that's a bit of a downer.

D. Anastasia Paul wrote 63 days ago

Just as before, The smell of lavender is a great hook...Idk why, but it just is.

Your writing is well polished and very nicely done. The story itself moves a little slow, but that's because there are so many descriptions which I attribute to your style. I personally go through book phases when I like slow, or fast, and I'm in a slow phase right now, so I really enjoyed this. It sort of builds, allowing the reader to get comfy before BAM

However, I read until the end of chapter four and I hadn't had a BAM moment yet, just eerie voices and a weird glimmer. You might want to add some action. You can do this without changing the plot by adding random stuff such as the MC gets attacked by a dog on the beach and Logan saves her, or her grandmother passes out and the MC thinks she's dead... Idk, but I think it needs just a little something to jolt the audience.

Another thing with action is that because you are a very descriptive writer, you have a tendency to introduce action and it doesn't need an introduction. It takes away from the feeling of suddenness. For example, meeting Lydia is an action that was slowly introduced when it could've just started like BAM

One thing I really really like is your chapter structure. You do a great job jumping scenes at the PERFECT time and it keeps the reader interested. Even though there are gaps, it moves the story along nicely and the gaps in time aren't really important.

In the first chapter I would've really liked to see more description of the MC as she comes off very plain and without the zest of a teenage girl. I'm not sure how to picture her in my head, so, something like an eye-roll might be necessary. However, her sarcastic nature is reveled in the second chapter when she is describing the school as a mental institution. hah

I really love all the characters. They all have depth and history which makes them very real.

All in all, great story. I might keep reading to see what happens and I hope my comment was helpful. Have you tried getting an agent or anything yet? It's all very polished and lovely.

good luck :-}

D. Anastasia Paul wrote 63 days ago

Just as before, The smell of lavender is a great hook...Idk why, but it just is.

Your writing is well polished and very nicely done. The story itself moves a little slow, but that's because there are so many descriptions which I attribute to your style. I personally go through book phases when I like slow, or fast, and I'm in a slow phase right now, so I really enjoyed this. It sort of builds, allowing the reader to get comfy before BAM

However, I read until the end of chapter four and I hadn't had a BAM moment yet, just eerie voices and a weird glimmer. You might want to add some action. You can do this without changing the plot by adding random stuff such as the MC gets attacked by a dog on the beach and Logan saves her, or her grandmother passes out and the MC thinks she's dead... Idk, but I think it needs just a little something to jolt the audience.

Another thing with action is that because you are a very descriptive writer, you have a tendency to introduce action and it doesn't need an introduction. It takes away from the feeling of suddenness. For example, meeting Lydia is an action that was slowly introduced when it could've just started like BAM

One thing I really really like is your chapter structure. You do a great job jumping scenes at the PERFECT time and it keeps the reader interested. Even though there are gaps, it moves the story along nicely and the gaps in time aren't really important.

In the first chapter I would've really liked to see more description of the MC as she comes off very plain and without the zest of a teenage girl. I'm not sure how to picture her in my head, so, something like an eye-roll might be necessary. However, her sarcastic nature is reveled in the second chapter when she is describing the school as a mental institution. hah

I really love all the characters. They all have depth and history which makes them very real.

All in all, great story. I might keep reading to see what happens and I hope my comment was helpful. Have you tried getting an agent or anything yet? It's all very polished and lovely.

good luck :-}

D. Anastasia Paul wrote 63 days ago

Also, sorry, just another thought.

What if you started your book with the ghost story from first person in italics or something? then the reader would have the whole story clearly and during the campfire scene you can just give cliff notes to the Mc and refresh the reader, and then just focus on character relationships and action...

Just a thought :-}

D. Anastasia Paul wrote 63 days ago

Just as before, The smell of lavender is a great hook...Idk why, but it just is.

Your writing is well polished and very nicely done. The story itself moves a little slow, but that's because there are so many descriptions which I attribute to your style. I personally go through book phases when I like slow, or fast, and I'm in a slow phase right now, so I really enjoyed this. It sort of builds, allowing the reader to get comfy before BAM

However, I read until the end of chapter four and I hadn't had a BAM moment yet, just eerie voices and a weird glimmer. You might want to add some action. You can do this without changing the plot by adding random stuff such as the MC gets attacked by a dog on the beach and Logan saves her, or her grandmother passes out and the MC thinks she's dead... Idk, but I think it needs just a little something to jolt the audience.

Another thing with action is that because you are a very descriptive writer, you have a tendency to introduce action and it doesn't need an introduction. It takes away from the feeling of suddenness. For example, meeting Lydia is an action that was slowly introduced when it could've just started like BAM

One thing I really really like is your chapter structure. You do a great job jumping scenes at the PERFECT time and it keeps the reader interested. Even though there are gaps, it moves the story along nicely and the gaps in time aren't really important.

In the first chapter I would've really liked to see more description of the MC as she comes off very plain and without the zest of a teenage girl. I'm not sure how to picture her in my head, so, something like an eye-roll might be necessary. However, her sarcastic nature is reveled in the second chapter when she is describing the school as a mental institution. hah

I really love all the characters. They all have depth and history which makes them very real.

All in all, great story. I might keep reading to see what happens and I hope my comment was helpful. Have you tried getting an agent or anything yet? It's all very polished and lovely.

good luck :-}

Tina Webb wrote 77 days ago

You are an amazing writer and deserve a spot on every bookshelf.

The lyricism, flow and wonderful wording that you employ fastened me to this story. The logic of how you unravel the plot is stellar---I love particularly how Chapter 4 (according to the numbering on this site) zooms us from the exterior of St. Mary's to the frolicking familiarity of friends by the chapter's end.

The story Logan shares in the next chapter is simply enchanting and as readers we are right there, sitting next with the classmates, listening while peering into the flames.

I would be shocked if this novel didn't make it to the editor's desk.

Tina Webb
(Before The Beginning)
(No Road Too Long)

K.C. wrote 93 days ago

You have a unique voice. I don't usually enjoy first person books, but I did enjoy this. The dialogue is good and sounds true to life. I do think you need to tighten up the writing in a few places. Overall, it is a good start to a good story. I especially love the visuals and how the person at the start reluctantly tells the story because everyone is bugging him. Good luck with it
K.C. Blake (BAIT)

K.C. wrote 93 days ago

You have a unique voice. I don't usually enjoy first person books, but I did enjoy this. The dialogue is good and sounds true to life. I do think you need to tighten up the writing in a few places. Overall, it is a good start to a good story. I especially love the visuals and how the person at the start reluctantly tells the story because everyone is bugging him. Good luck with it
K.C. Blake (BAIT)

Tina Webb wrote 97 days ago

Just finished Chapter 1 according to the text chapters. I've taught British and American Lit for awhile and so far your book has a plot and a main character that would immediately catch the attention of my teenage students. It's interesting...Saira's thinking process is the typical parental one: don't run away from your problems, but face them. And her mother is being the adolescent escapee...but her drug of choice is moving...at least in this chapter. I look forward to reading more.

Sam Barclay wrote 121 days ago

Hi Marissa,

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your first chapter. Great to relax into those lovely descriptions of Cornwall. I lived in Padstow for a few years when I was a boy so it resonated with me immediately. It also resonated with me because the prose is of a very high standard. I loved the tension between the MC and her mother. It was also impressive how you showed the importance of the grandfather passing away and changing holiday patterns, if I can call them that.

Anyway, what follows are some possible edits. They are aimed solely at helping you further, but if they don't work for you just disregard them. Here goes:

'Lavender mingled with the wet...' would this be better...possibly cutting out a few non-essential words? We get her negative reaction to lavender from the rest of the paragraph anyway.

Do you need 'They were good memories...'? This sentence seemed a little redundant to me as, again, you show this anyway.

degrees outside(,)
Dyn 'In fact' in 'In fact this...'?
Dyn 'that' in 'that everyone really'?
Ditto 'And' in 'And I guess...' and take out the 'that' just after it?

Overall, an excellent read which promises to take us into a great story from a teenager's perspective.

If you could take a look at the start of 'Dax' I'd be very grateful to you.

Cheers for now, Sam

kabiba wrote 147 days ago

'The Woman by the Sea' by Marissa Ogbeide - review chapters 1-6

I have really enjoyed what I have read so far of this book. The voice is so authentic as a teenager, and I felt it was very close first person in the sense I was right there with Saira.

The prologue is intriguing, and certainly made me want to read on.

The first chapter sets the scene well, and I got a good sense of her trepidation about being at her Grandmother's house, as well as the discomfort between her and her mother. The part where her mother says 'Of course I've spoken to him...' reveals the tension well, and it is apparent everything is still very raw.

Be careful of cliché - eg. 'the world was my oyster'. I noticed a few others sprinkled through the story. Your expression and your own analogies are very good so you don't need these. Also there are a fair few adverbs which I would suggest you cut down on.

I enjoyed the introduction to the Catholic school and to her new friends. You have painted all their different personalities well. It was funny when she tried to shake Paige's hand - so awkward!

I like your attention to detail, such as Lydia's hair not just being curly, but curly from a curling iron - they really are different curls.

The bonfire scene is also really well done. The conversation is authentic, and the descriptions made me feel I was there. Loved Lou's sassy jazz hands. It is understandable she doesn't drink because she associates it with her mother's unhappiness. The story about Annie was also gripping, given that she has already started whispering to Saira.

I thought you portrayed her angst about the separation effectively, her loyalty to her Mum conflicting with her natural desire to see her Dad. I liked her hand going over the crinkles and creases of her duvet, and comparing it to a womb.The next part was very absorbing with the visitation from the ghost and the jewel in the grass. I was glued to the page basically. Excellent. I will be reading on and I give this high stars. I have had it on my watchlist for a long time and have finally managed to have a read. Great work.

Kate
Stone Circle

Aminul Ruhul Islam wrote 157 days ago

Marissa, your book has got a really good theme. The characters are well-developed, and the dialogues are excellent. The narrative is fine. It is a compelling read. High stars. BACKED.

Aminul Ruhul Islam
(Agent of Allah)

C. A. Thomson wrote 186 days ago

Hi Marissa,
I think I'm going to like this !
Craig Thomson 'Search for the Sunlight.'

KristinVan26 wrote 203 days ago

Hi Marissa,
Great start of a story. I have a lot of unanswered questions, which is good. It'll make me keep reading. Your dialogue is true for their age. You use great descriptions on things. I'll come back for more later!

Opening Quote -
No comments

Prologue
- Should 'where' be 'when'? "I'd never hear of the woman by the sea before that night on the beach whe(n)re the fire crackled...
- Be careful of prologues, not all agent like them but I really feel this is a very good one. It left me hanging and I really wanted to figure out who the woman by the sea is and her story.

Ch 1
- I was confused where the mother was (at the boot) but then I remembered that some people call the trunk of a car the boot (hee, hee)
- the dashboard temp: she's already out of the car. Does she remember what it read? Maybe add the words 'it had read' eight degrees outside.
- Why would her iPhone be in her bag and not in her purse or on her body? I would think if it was a long journey, she would have it on herself.
- lots of 'was' words in this chapter.
- I really like the descriptions: Nana looking like Cruela, the dreariness of the day (cold), Saira's room.

Ch 2
- the cheer up paragraph is long. And I noticed that Saira does an action which should be in a separate paragraph. This will help break it up.
- In that same paragraph, second to last sentence: word change. Should be 'the'. She took (the) a last drag and stubbed...
- good description about the school.
- Saira meeting Page paragraph. The paragraph needs modification. You have Saira doing action when it's Paige speaking.
- The dialogue sections when they decide they should do something. It needs to be clear who's speaking. At first I thought it was a long dialogue by Paige and Lydia but halfway down, Gwen speaks and then Lou.
- I'm not getting a feel for the Gwen or Lou characters. I think you created a nice visual on Lydia and Paige on who they are and what their personalities are like.


Kristin
The Guardian

Annie Victoria wrote 226 days ago

This story is very well-written and fast paced. I started out planning to read a couple of chapters and give some feedback, but I couldn't stop reading until I got to the end of what you've provided us. The voices of all the characters and the authentic relationships really carry this story, and I was easily sucked into Saira's world. Some of your imagery and word choice is just so fantastic; lines like: "I did not just know freedom--I was freedom, basking in the glory of the afternoon." or "boldly warning the world of her royalty with a simple smile." When she says "too used to it to be scared, but too scared to be used to it" I could really empathize with her and her struggle with her relationship with her mother, trying to deal with her mother as an adult but still seeing her through a child's eyes.

There are a couple places, especially in (your) chapter 5 where the dialogue between the girls is fantastic, but needs more dialogue tags, as sometimes I was a bit confused about who was saying what.

The first party scene is incredibly realistic, to me at least. Again, your descriptions are flawless, "light as a feather in our bodies of lead". I laughed out loud when she shouts "beware" for no reason--it's something I'd do after too many drinks!

There are a few typos and grammatical errors, but not many. The capitalization of "Mum" is not always consistent in the beginning, but overall the writing is solid and the story extremely captivating. I can't wait to read more!

Annie
Between the Expectations

RachelKayBatty wrote 227 days ago

Absolutely brilliant! Great story - high stars is a must! Well done and thanks for great read!

D.J.Milne wrote 230 days ago

The woman by the Sea is a book that draws the reader in through the vehicle of the move to Cornwell, before starting to ratchet up the tension and the air of mystery as the chapters go on. Eerie and haunting the storyline is punctuated by scenes that are down to earth and accessible. The Friday night drinking scene in chapter 7 is well written, descriptive and places the reader firmly in Saira’s world.
I can see this being a big hit with its target audience
D.J
The Tiger Farm

Paul Davenport-Randell wrote 236 days ago

So, you're only twenty-two? Whoah! Your writing shows a maturity beyond your years. There are many posts on here by older writers who have yet to reach this level of control. That is not to say, however, that, to my mind, some of your sentences are a little over-written and could do with a little more snipping at the ends. For example, in chapter 3, when Lou jabs Saira - '"Oooh," she teased, mischief characterising her tone' - I think the first part of the sentence does enough to show us Lou is being mischievous without alerting the reader to the nature of her tone. And again, when Logan says to her: 'Good evening?' the question mark tells us enough and eliminates the need for 'he wandered'. I also think describing Saira's heart as sinking like the Titanic, a little clunky, a little unimaginative - especially next to the beautifully poetic likening of the colour of someone's skin to 'cinnamon sticks.'

I agree, as has been stated In more than one comment, how you have deftly created in the opening chapter a great, uneasy atmosphere, and will not elucidate further. You also capture the mother/daughter relationship with astute observation, giving just the right amount of tension and conflict, while simultaneously allowing an undeniable undertow of affection and respect for one another to come through.

One last thing. I think I'd have liked to have seen Saira settling into her new environment instead of fetching her up at school so soon in chapter two. This, for me, happens much too quickly.

Still, on the whole, this project shows truly great promise. You are, Marissa, a talent.

Paul.

DME Coombs wrote 239 days ago

I think you have a clear awareness of genre, and though the flow of writing is sometimes impeded with overlong sentences, there are also some good lines such as '…the plastics of a West Country public school, just a little more intelligent and possibly, I hoped quite desperately, a little less mean'. I also like the subversion of these popular, pretty girls being friendly rather than aggressive and bullying.

I haven't finished reading all of the chapters you've posted, but my concern is that by giving what is presumably the bulk of the ghost's backstory so early on, you've left yourself with not enough ammunition as the story develops. Many stories with this kind of structure dole out information about the ghost in pieces (see The Woman in Black for a classic example) to ratchet up the tension.

Either way, I'm looking forward to finding out more about Annie Filer and her connection to Saira. Your initial pacing is also good, introducing Saira's new situation but not delaying overlong the introduction of the woman by the sea and the supernatural hints.

KitW.U. wrote 241 days ago

YARG (not sure if you are a member)

Marissa,
I read all 11 chapters, and I must echo sentiments that I am disappointed that it isn't done yet. I want to know more.
I really like Saira's voice. I am a fan of strong, intelligent girls.
I fell in love with the line: This high of prosperity was merely a fleeting moment in time, too shallow to be substantial. We can run as far as we want but time will eventually bring us back home."

While you tied it, there was one part in the beginning that I think could just be taken out. When Saira ponders what the coma comment implied. I would start the paragraph off with the description of the room. And then talk about Miss Solomon's luring siren voice. Because when I was in High School if someone said, don't go into a coma I think that I wouldn't have questioned it.

Chapter 5
Gin?
No Thanks? Saira is answering, so it doesn't need to be a question.

LOVED!
Nice name.
Thank my mother.
I laughed out loud on that. I could even feel the heaviness of the consonants as it came out of the character's mouth. It was just the perfect thing to say. I don't know if it is because it is something that I would have (possibly did) say but it just stays in perfect form with the character.

I liked this story. I like the struggle that she has witnessing what is taking place in her family. I would like to hear more about their backstory, how she has tried to keep the family together. I would like to see if there is forgiveness to her father...to her mother. I would like to see how this ghost plays out in dealing with the loneliness. What does the amulet mean?

Best,
Kit Ulrey
Not to Me

S.M. Koz wrote 242 days ago

Read Swap

Hi Marissa,

I read the first three chapters and really enjoyed them. Saira has a distinct voice, one that seems much more mature than someone in high school, but I think it works here. It gives us a sense that she's wise beyond her years. I think you do need to be careful and make sure you throw in enough everyday teenage concerns and faults so that a YA audience will relate to her or else you run the risk of her appearing kind of preachy or like she thinks she's superior to others. In what I read, you've balanced it nicely with the lyrical prose and more typical teenage thoughts (e.g., when she was being disagreeable with her mom about moving).

For your quote at the beginning, I LOVE the Editors, but I don't think you can use their lyrics (if you plan on publishing this). I looked into this a while ago because I wanted to do something similar for one of my stories and found this link explaining the copyright law.

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/questions-and-quandaries/legal-questions/can-i-use-song-lyrics-in-my-manuscript

I also liked the prologue. I thought it set the scene nicely and gave us a good idea of the tone of the book. It was very poetic and a little haunting. Very nicely done.

In chapter one, you do a great job of giving us background information and describing the setting. It was nice to get to know the characters (Saira, Mom, and Grandma), but I didn't feel like there was much mystery. That kind of surprised me since this is a ghost story :) Maybe you could allude to them having to move because of issue with Mom and Dad, but not give away as much so the reader is intrigued? I feel like there's probably more to the story, but what was stated didn't exactly spark my interest to learn more. It seemed like a pretty typical separation, probably involving some infidelity.

The other thing that I noticed is we don't have a description of Saira in the first three chapters. Does that come soon?

I really like once she starts making friends as they lighten the mood a bit and the plot starts moving forward at a nice pace. We've barely met Logan, but I already get the impression that he's a pretty good guy and will likely become a romantic interest for Saira. I think you do a nice job of giving all the key players distinct voices--Logan, Pete, Lydia, Paige. That can be hard to do with a lot of teenagers, so nice job.

During the ghost story, there is a lot of Logan speaking at the beginning. Towards the end, you break it up with questions from others, but I wonder if you could break up the beginning a bit, too? Either with questions or maybe one of his friends making fun of him because they've heard the story a million times? I think if you did something like that, it would be a little more believable since I can't see a group of drunk teenagers (who've heard this story a bunch) sitting quietly while he rumbles on and on.

Anyway, like I said, I really enjoyed what I read so far and will add this to my WL so I can return for more when I have a chance. I hope you found my comments to be at least somewhat helpful.

High stars!
Shannon (SM Koz)
Pangalax




Mellish wrote 249 days ago

Hi - swap reads?
:-)
Will

C.I. DeMann wrote 259 days ago

excellent work! i love Saira and am completely hooked by her situation. good atmosphere, great voice, and even some funny stuff. congratulations. i think this will do well. good luck!

tallott wrote 269 days ago

the novel start conveys a good sense of domestic insecurity and tense atmosphere redolent of a potential ghost story. The imagery is sound with contemporary references and allusions. I have only read Chapter three but
will star rate it. The language is straightforward. I think the conversation comes across as quite close impact, as if near you, with immediacy.

hope you can read my novel Caribbean Chocolates which has 3 comments and one 4 star rate so far, and would appreciate comments or even star rates, thanks. Tracy Allott - I will star rate your novel now

Jesselowe wrote 271 days ago

This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. You stated in your bio to look for "The Woman by the Sea" in a bookstore, and I honestly think I will see it there. Thus far I have no suggestions to improve it, except, possibly, put it out on Amazon or some such site so I can finish reading it? Thanks, Jesselowe

RMAWriteNow wrote 276 days ago

Hi Marissa, I've just read to the end of chapter two.

I can't believe I've never read this before, it's excellent. I'd have bought it at the prologue which is beautifully haunting. But, the only thing I picked up on in the whole of what I read was the last line of that prologue. I didn't think it was needed. The paragraph before is perfect, beautiful, and I would consider leaving it on that hauntingly ominous note.

Chapter one does a good job of breaking the reader into Saira's family difficulties. I liked the fact she showed antagonism to both parents in different ways about what has happened. Her mum running away and her dad being to blame feature highly in her mind.

Chapter two was far more flowing due to it not needing to do so much introducing. I think this is possibly because you did such a good job of getting Saira's new friends integrated quickly into the story, particularly Lydia. I thought her fun and bubbly attitude contrasted nicely with Saira's more dour one.

This looks set up for revelations to come at the beech party. Great job.
Highly recommended to others
Richard
The Snow Lily

R E Parker wrote 281 days ago

Hi Marissa,

I knew I would love it from the Editors quote to begin and I wasn't disappointed. I haven't read as much as I plan to as of yet but already I can see I am going to be completely hooked. I adore a great spooky story and this is right up my street.
Also I am amazed by the similarities between it and my own story, Cariad. I'd really appreciate it if you could check it out- I hope you enjoy it!
The Woman by The Sea is backed and rated.
Best wishes,
Bec (Cariad)

Steve Merrill wrote 282 days ago

Marrisa, A space has opened up on my bookshelf, so I am putting your book back on my shelf. You have a talent for hooking a reader, and your prose is excellent and beautiful to read. I enjoy the details, such as how the grandmother's house smells of lavender. Best of luck, and I hope my backing pushes you a little closer to the ed's desk.

dumvivimusvivamus wrote 283 days ago

This is a captivating story, told extremely deftly. The 'supernatural' enters the story very believably...nothing is overdone. Very controlled writing. Top marks.

Sam Barclay wrote 321 days ago

I have really enjoyed reading the first four chapters. Chapter 3 is my favourite so far. It is very atmospheric. I know it's been said before, but I don't think fire 'tickling' really works. This looks like a fine ghost story. I shall read on later.

Thanks for this, Sam.

Nanty wrote 321 days ago

The Woman by the Sea.

Prologue.

'...where the fire crackles and tickled our feet...' - I think it might be an idea to qualify how the fire 'tickled our feet' - perhaps with warmth, otherwise this seems a little odd.

Chapter 1.

'It was a belated response of course as, as...' - consider cutting 'as' before - she always liked to remind us - I've written 'she' as it's obvious Nana's still alive and 'she'd' indicates otherwise.

'Nana had put new sheets...blank canvas for me create...' - typo - to create

Chapter 2.

The description of St Mary's and Saira's reaction to it is very effective.

'The pallid skin on her face...' - 'semi' seems out of place - perhaps - partially concealed? Also, it might be an idea to rejig this sentence along the lines of - A light dusting of freckles was partially concealed by the pallid skin of her face, which twisted into a distinct look of frustration?

'Logan was something of a visual anomaly...' - good description.

'Conversation's always easier...' - a little awkward - perhaps - share a common vice?

Saira's move to Cornwall is set up well, the reasons for it and the animosity between her parents, slowly let into the prose. Saira seems a bit tight-laced. Her petulant attitude, which would be normal in this situation, comes across well, as did the stilted conversation with her father - showing her loyalties are torn, which again would be normal. The only thing I thought that didn't ring true is her narration, it sounds too mature for a seventeeen-year-old, but that could just be because of some of the words you've put in her mouth. Lydia comes across really well, a little rebellious and sure of herself, I also like the un-pc fag smoking. In just a few words you've painted Paige as a bitch, though this may change as the story progresses, and Logan's character is well-drawn. There can be no doubt you have a talent for descriptive prose, as this shines throughout the chapters read.
Starred.

Nanty - The Sphalerite of Almandine.

open mind wrote 329 days ago


People are fragile things….why? And then the advice ‘be careful’ encounters another question: why should we be careful? If people are fragile, am I not? Why the writer summarizes in such a way? Curiosity already has been aroused in the first chapter. I feel to read on.

Second chapter is blank. Does this create mystery? Probably. Then the actual story starts in new setting where Saira and her mother have come to live. Saira’s disliking of this new place, her mother’s enthusiasm and the old computer draw my attention. Especially the old computer. It has been taken away. Life is like this. Change is obvious. And we will soon get accustomed to it. We can see later in chapter three, when Saira goes to school and meets some friends. And then the see beach that enthralls her to liking. Lohan probably another is another factor that really stirs her subconscious mind. And then she say’s it’s okay.

Psychological depict is nicely organized. Your sentence pattern has a kind of melody… smooth, easy flow with your stylish tone. Well-done.


I'll back the book.

rachel_mary wrote 337 days ago

I'm often accused of including too much description in my writing, so reading something like this where the reader is offered delicious little details about everything is a very satisfying reading experience for me. As a description junkie, I'm glad to be in such good company on the site!
Saira is believeable, ordinary and witty enough to be universally sympathetic, but I particularly relate to her as someone who rebelled agianst her mother's hedonism by being the sensible one. She makes a refreshing YA protagonist in this sense. I like the nice variety of characters she befriends as well - you suggest in subtle ways that they have very different yet complimentary characters (witht the exception of Paige of course!) as all stong groups of friends should do. I also appreciated the Mean Girls references immensely, as I'm sure the entirety of your target readership will do!
I only read to the end of Chapter 5 so I haven't got into much of the ghosty stuff yet, but I really liked the use of the prologue for setting up this focus and establishing an atmosphere that is nicely maintained with the chilly Cornish weather and the imposing school. So far the main points of interest have been more mundane: Saira's relationship with her Mum and complicated feelings about her wayward father etc. This is all done very well, but it does lead me to my main criticism, which is that the story seems to be moving a tad slowly for me. I'm five chapters in, and I feel like I've only just reached the beginning of the narrative proper. Everything that comes before is just protracted setup.
My reading reccomendations for you would be 'Looking for Alaska', by John Green and 'What I Was' by Meg Rosoff. Both of these books have a first person teenage narrator who goes to a new school in new surroundings and meets lots of new characters, all of which is conveyed to the reader vivdly but succinctly without holding the break-neck pace of the narrative back. The Rosoff book might be particularly helpful as it also has an eerie coastal setting.
I'm also starting to wonder what sets this apart from other YA ghost stories. Obviously I haven't read far enough to judge this properly yet, but maybe try to think about what this story needs to make it stand out from the crowd?
The final general note I have to make is that old writing cliche: show, don't tell. In literature, as in life, actions speak louder than words. Don't make the reader take your word for it - let them see for themselves what each of Saira's new acquaintances is like. One example: "Beautiful she may have been, but Paige was a bitch." The reader can work this out for themselves from everything they've been shown so far.

I also jotted down couple of specific notes
"always filled with laughs and smiles" I might be wrong but I feel liked this should be 'laughter'.
Again I might be wrong here, but according to my knowledge Catholic school only accept Catholic pupils. It is of course common for non-religious families to feign devoutness in order to get their kids into a good school, so I think you should make it clear whether Saira is religious or not, and perhaps hint at the situation the other girls are in too. Saira's spiritual beliefs or lack thereof would affect her take on the ghostly events of the story as well.
"They say the lost see the woman by the sea most clearly [...] She is a reflection of themselves." I love this - beautiful.

Overall, a charming and tantalising read.

Rachel
The Diver's Brilliant Bow

Edward Gardner wrote 341 days ago

Lovely, enchanting prose. Hopefully I'll have a chance to read more soon, but what I've read tells me it's beautiful.
High stars and good luck.

Edward Gardner
The Black Dionysia

StacyEAM wrote 342 days ago

The prologue is a perfect start, intriguing and lyrical. If I picked it up and read that page in a bookstore, I wouldn't even bother reading any farther. I'd be buying it.
I like the description of the grandma.
I felt like the tense conversation between the grandmother and the mother seems a little forced, not quite natural. But maybe that's just me, or maybe that's what you were going for.
"There may be some old ghosts floating around" - I love this.
I also felt like Lydia's speech is a little inconsistent. When she says "I reckon they should be more picky" and "We best get inside" when Saira first meets her, she comes off as a little bit country, whereas the rest of the time her language seems more british.
I like the relationship between the mother and daughter, and how shes interested in her mother's happiness. I feel like there are more than enough YA books out there about teens who don't get along with their parents, so it's nice to see.
I've made it through the first two chapters, and I like it so far. I think it speaks to your writing skills that there hasnt been a whole lot of action yet, but you still kept my interest.
Overall, very interesting and I will certainly be back for more.
Stacy

TSW Sharman wrote 360 days ago

Hi there,

You write very well, although maybe reduce the number of adjectives by 30-40% (not every noun requires an interesting, well-selected adj.) It will make your (good) prose style a little tighter too.

More importantly though, I'm not quite feeling in Ch1 and Ch2 the dramatic urgency suggested by the prologue. It's like "here comes something weird and exciting" and then we get a rather domestic situation. Have you considered starting the novel at a more fundamentally dramatic point, and then executing some flashbacks? Best
TSWS

ogrady wrote 367 days ago

I was inspired to read this book as I have produced my own 'ghost' story - 21 grams. I have only read the first chapter of your novel so far, but i must say it is wonderfully written. You set the scene in a superb manner, and your descriptions are delightful. I must say i am looking forward to reading more.

YvonneMarjot wrote 368 days ago

This is interesting. I'm certainly drawn to read more, and I find myself sympathising with the main character and with both her parents, even though there are clearly revelations to come. Saira gives a convincing and immediately recognisable description of the unpleasantness of being moved to a new town and school in her teens - even mundane tasks such as unpacking, or her first tutor session, invite feelings of misery and denial.

Chapter 1: "the stench of lavender." Lavender scent is generally supposed to be pleasant, so i deduce that you are making a deliberate contrast in this phrase. However, Saira is outside at the time and even if the garden was awash in lavender it wouldn't be a strong smell. Later in the chapter it becomes clear that she doesn't like the scent and that she associates it with her grandmother's house. How about implying something about her grandmother:
'the old-lady scent of lavender. Even a slight whiff on the damp air made me choke.' Or about Saira:
'the unpleasant smell of lavender. So different from home. The thought raised memories that I wasn't yet ready to confront.'
I think it's vital to get your first paragraph just right, as it's the shop window that invites the reader to decide whether to go in and inspect the merchandise.

Chapter 2: "the illusive coma remark." Illusive = illusionary/imaginary, cf allusive = previously referred/alluded to. I suspect you mean allusive here.

Paige fiddling with her eyelash curlers. Girls like Paige create their mystique by appearing perfect at all times. She will make sure she looks exactly as she wishes before she enters the room - she never gives away the tricks of her trade. Whatever she's doing at the back of the room, it won't be fixing her eyelashes. If she can get away with it, she is probably illicitly checking text messages or her Facebook status.

Logan's eyes: don't give us too much information at once: 'They were a sort of bluey-green, but not quite turquoise...in fact, I'm not sure there's even a name for that colour.'
You can find another opportunity (I'm sure Logan's going to appear again) to tell us more. E.g. 'the slanting sunlight across the bay caught Logan's face: today his eyes were more grey than blue, although as he looked down at me the light called up a hint of turquoise in their depths.'

I'll give you more feedback when I've had the chance to read more. But I'm liking it so far - very happy to back it. Good luck, Yvonne.

D. Anastasia Paul wrote 392 days ago

Beautiful story. I absolutely love the focus on lavender at the beginning. Sense of smell is very powerful, and my grandmother ALWAYS smelled like it, so it really hit home.

You did a good job introducing the characters and their history in a way that wasn't flat or boring. The only thing I can think of adding/changing would be a more engaging hook. However, I am only on the first chapter, which is usually slow anyways. I plan on reading more because I'm hooked...Even though I just said you needed a more engaging hook...

Hmm...

Never mind then. Good job. I'll leave another comment if I can think of anything helpful to say.

:-}

Alex Kuhnberg wrote 398 days ago

Good strong poetic opening.

Once the book starts in earnest (chapter 3) the style loses some of its force, but that could be easily straightened out with a bit of trimming and editing.

I will read on.

Alex

evermoore wrote 400 days ago

Marissa...this simply blew me away. You write with such ease, the conversations flowing without a hitch. You come to relate to Saira...and feel for the life she's caught up in with her parents problems taking her so far from home. The ghost is believable...and I don't doooooooooo spooky...but you swept me up and carried me along in spite of that. I'm glad to have stumbled upon this...and no doubt it will hit the desk quickly. Six stars and a want for the rest...
linda
Mighty Fine...the polar opposite of yours! (lol)

MC Storm wrote 407 days ago

I love a good ghost story and must say this one does it. You write so well I found myself running with Saira and her mother to the grandmothers place. I love the bits of humour throughout.
Well done! I've given this book high stars and hope to get back and read more.
MC
Exposed

Brian G Chambers wrote 412 days ago

Hi Marissa
I am not your intended audience, but I've enjoyed what I've read so far. Your first chapter has set the scene beautifully, with Saira and her mother going to live with Nana. I enjoy reading first person stories so this really appealed to me. There is nothing I can critiqe in what I've read so far, as you have done an excellent job of editing. High stars from me and on my WL. My stories are a lot different to your. They are aimed at children as the title Tales for Children says. Though adults like to read them too. So if you fancy something different then please give them a try. I'm sure you'll enjoy them.
Thanks in advance.
Brian.

Beta wrote 412 days ago

Hi
I enjoyed the read. I read the first 3 chapters and they entertained. I think you have a good story here. C1 is fine; c2 I think ought to be made shorter and sharper. With too many repeated words there is a loss of emphasis. Merely keeping to the point make the danger more impending and the reader wondering. C3 is long . Wondered if 'skipping ' was the correct word to use when carrying luggage. Doesn't quie hit the target. However one major thing I noticed was the use of scenes. When a scene changes it might be better to start a new chapter. This is a YA so it is acceptable to do that. By using a scene properly it is possible to stop the reader being distracted. Instead the reader might want to know more and eagerly turn the pages. IMO
Need to know what #Inner Conflict drives the characters introduced so far in the plot, what they say about each other and what actions good or bad they have done in the past.
Best
Cleveland
House of the Skull Drum, a MG adventure.

Beta wrote 412 days ago

Hi
I enjoyed the read. I read the first 3 chapters and they entertained. I think you have a good story here. C1 is fine; c2 I think ought to be made shorter and sharper. With too many repeated words there is a loss of emphasis. Merely keeping to the point make the danger more impending and the reader wondering. C3 is long . Wondered if 'skipping ' was the correct word to use when carrying luggage. Doesn't quie hit the target. However one major thing I noticed was the use of scenes. When a scene changes it might be better to start a new chapter. This is a YA so it is acceptable to do that. By using a scene properly it is possible to stop the reader being distracted. Instead the reader might want to know more and eagerly turn the pages. IMO
Need to know what #Inner Conflict drives the characters introduced so far in the plot, what they say about each other and what actions good or bad they have done in the past.
Best
Cleveland
House of the Skull Drum, a MG adventure.

Beta wrote 412 days ago

Hi
I enjoyed the read. I read the first 3 chapters and they entertained. I think you have a good story here. C1 is fine; c2 I think ought to be made shorter and sharper. With too many repeated words there is a loss of emphasis. Merely keeping to the point make the danger more impending and the reader wondering. C3 is long . Wondered if 'skipping ' was the correct word to use when carrying luggage. Doesn't quie hit the target. However one major thing I noticed was the use of scenes. When a scene changes it might be better to start a new chapter. This is a YA so it is acceptable to do that. By using a scene properly it is possible to stop the reader being distracted. Instead the reader might want to know more and eagerly turn the pages. IMO
Need to know what #Inner Conflict drives the characters introduced so far in the plot, what they say about each other and what actions good or bad they have done in the past.
Best
Cleveland
House of the Skull Drum, a MG adventure.

Alice Barron wrote 414 days ago

Great prologue. Just who is the woman by the sea?
You have developed an elegant prose here and achieved quite an addictive writing style. You seem to throw words in at random whereas the rest of us are pulling our hair out trying to come up with something suitable to make a proper sentence, such as....."Anyway, this is home." "Your home," I reminded her.......lovely.

I love the three female characters, grandmother, mother and daughter. All of them are strong, kind and trying to do the right thing now that their circumstances have changed.

I'm just wondering about the lavender. I take it Saira does not like it. It's mentioned again further on in the story and I get the same impression. It seems stifling to saira. She feels smothered by the scent. It's just that lavender is used as a relaxant and some people even spray some drops of it onto their pillow to ensure a restful sleep. When you say the "stench" of lavender it makes it seem as if lavender is horrible....then again it probably is to some people so don't worry about me rambling on.

Great description of Lydia in chapter two.

She and this paige obviously had history and I found my self rather interested by it......myself is all the one word.

In chapter three.....should this house be his house as in.....He saw her. Always. Constantly. It got so bad that soon he could not leave "this" house. And then when he saw her in his house......I'm not sure if you meant this or his in the sentence.

Very thought provoking questions at the end of this chapter......Really good.

Love it. Well done. Lots of stars.

Alice.

Andrewallen82 wrote 417 days ago

I am a new author and would greatly appreciate a quick read it is only 5 chapters and think it a an a decent story so far and will return all reads will give me a chance. I am looking more for pointers than anything else if you love great, but if not please tell me all the same I WILL return the read and back it if I like it. Thanks David It is called Forsaken a not so human man who banished himself to the shadows for 60 years until now. Please consider I am new here and anything would be appreciated.

KathrynW wrote 420 days ago

Dear Marissa

I have read up to chapter 6 and had mixed feelings. First of all I was impressed by the writing and by the atmosphere you manage to create through your descriptive language and your characterisation. You definitely have the ability to draw the reader in and hook their attention. I was struck, however, by similarities to Twilight: the female character returning to a place she doesn't want to to to, the breakdown of her parents' marriage, new school and school friends, meeting a boy, strange stories on a beach about something supernatural . . . That being said, your actual writing style was not derivative and no doubt you move away from anything Twilightish because you are presumably not having vampires!

Congratulations on getting up to 100. I think you need to network more to get up to the top 5. I notice that you have not posted a comment for a very long time, and that was negative. A little PR goes a long way and should get you up there - you deserve it.

Kathryn