Open Pen

That One Moment: An Open Pen Critique

While I was unable to post this week because of some finals, we do have a fun fantasy excerpt to read today! Sami P. submitted a short fantasy piece for us to critique and gave us simple instructions: be honest and be constructive. So feel free to comment on anything from her hook to her characters to her spelling. 🙂

Currently, the queue for posting critiques is as follows: readloveexpress, beforetheflames, and Sami P. I will post one a week on Saturday, but next week, I may post a second one on Thursday 🙂 If you could like to have your piece of writing critiqued, you can check out the rules and submit on this page.

Have a great weekend, and thanks for your comments on Sami’s piece!

God bless,



That One Moment: Sami P.

Ari gazed up into the sky, watching the sun set.  Fiery golds, violet hues, and rosy pinks danced in the sky, a beautiful display found only in the wild.  Cassandra sat down on the log next to him, her wings fluttering in the breeze.

  “Isn’t it beautiful?”  She asked.

  “Hm?  Oh yeah, it is.”  Ari replied.  The fairy looked up in concern.

  “Are you all right Ari?  You seem…distracted.”  Somewhere behind them Rowan started the fire, the sound of flint and steel ringing throughout the glade.  The elf shifted uneasily.

  “I…I don’t know.”  They savored the silence for a moment, watching the stars slowly appear.  Ari cleared his throat.

  “Cass…could I ask you something?”  She cocked an eyebrow.

  “What is it?”  The elf played with a small stone, twiddling it between his fingers.

  “W-well, I was wondering if…”  A bit of pink colored his cheeks as he trailed off.

  “Yessss?”  Cassandra leaned a little closer.  There was a shy little smile on her face.  He blushed harder.

  “I was uh…wondering…if you like to-“

  “What are you two lovebirds doing?”  Rowan teased.  Behind him the fire crackled cheerfully.

  “Um…”  Ari suddenly found the ground very interesting.

  “THIS ISN’T WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE!!”  Cassandra quickly got up, embarrassed.

  “Alright.”  The thief said, amused.  He turned back to the fire, a large pot of water now over the fire.  “Could you guys cut up some meat and vegetables?  I think we all need a bit of hearty stew tonight.”


14 thoughts on “That One Moment: An Open Pen Critique”

  1. Very nice. I like the sunset description at the beginning. The dialogue between Ari and Cassandra was good but you indented at weird places if that makes sense. Just make sure that the description of the character or their action is in the same paragraph as that character’s dialogue. For example, instead of . . .

    . . . Ari cleared his throat.

    “Cass…could I ask you something?” She cocked an eyebrow.

    “What is it?” The elf played with a small stone, twiddling it between his fingers.

    Try instead. . . .

    Ari cleared his throat, “Cass…could I ask you something?”

    “What is it?” She cocked an eyebrow

    The elf played with a small stone, twiddling it between his fingers.

    Does that make sense? Sorry if it doesn’t. Also, don’t capitalize that sentence near the end, it’s a bit much. Besides that it was excellent.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I see what you mean when you said I indented at weird places and didn’t match up character description/action with their little dialogue. Thank you!

      P.S. Don’t worry, your comment makes sense. 🙂


  2. Hey, Sami!

    I enjoyed your piece (as you have probably figured out fantasy is my favorite genre 🙂 .) Is this a novel excerpt?

    I think Carmen had a really great point about keeping the character’s action with the same character’s dialogue. That confused me a little bit when I was reading through, but I won’t reiterate what he said 😉 On the same topic, I was a bit confused over who was the elf (after a second read through, I think is it Ari), but still you should mention his pointed ears of something before you just casually refer to one of them as “the elf” and expect your readers to know which character you are referring to.

    Another issue that I saw was that you struggled a bit with point of view. I think you were trying for omniscient third person (a narrator who knows what is happening at all points in the story), but if you want to do that, you need to mention Rowan at the beginning. However, I think a better point of view for your story might be limited third person. That is where you pick the perspective of one character to describe from (like first person), but you still use third person pronouns. I’d suggest reading these two post on POV: and Right now, it felt a bit off. I thought you might be using Ari’s limited third POV (since you started with him), but then you seemed to switch to Cassandra and then back to Ari.

    While I enjoyed your actual dialogue, the formatting of what was inside the quotes was a bit off. If you are going to have Ari say, “Oh, yeah, it is,” then don’t put “Hm?” first (the “oh” serves almost the same purpose.) Also “hm” is typically spelled “hum.” I don’t think you need the ellipsis (…) in the third and fourth quotes (no one would actually fade off talking there. If Cass has eyes, she would clearly see that Ari was distracted, and Ari’s repetition of the word “I” really seems an over exaggeration of his distracted state.) Don’t put multiple s’s on the word “yes.” A good writer doesn’t write the quotes just like they sound or else it would be very annoying for readers but uses the action of the character and mood of the scene to communicate unwritten parts of the speech to writers. With that in mind, you really shouldn’t use all capitals in the second to last paragraphs. Just avoid doing that.

    Is this how your novel starts? If it is, then you may consider starting with a different scene. When I don’t know your characters as individuals or really even see their personality, having the first scene devoted to romance is a bit frustrating. As it is, the only character that seems interesting to me is Rowan. You might consider starting elsewhere so your reader is invested in the characters before you start this, but of course, this could just be my personal preference since I am not the biggest fan of romance to begin with.

    Good luck with your story! I hope you have a great weekend!

    God bless,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Gabrielle! Sorry that I confused you. I’ve been having trouble with writing a conversation, matching up the proper actions to the right people, and writing a good scene but I didn’t realize how hard it was until now. I’ll also try out the limited third person point of view from now on. And as a spoiler, I think I made some of the same mistakes in the other excerpt I just sent in from another story. (Oops!) Thank you for reading! 😀
      No, this is not the first scene thankfully, and yes this is an excerpt from a fantasy story I’m calling River’s Edge. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Don’t apologize– we all struggle with writing. I’m on, at least, my ten draft of my novel, and I might need to completely rewrite my first four chapters! We all grow and learn as we write.
        If you want, you can fix the second excerpt you send in and submit the new version in a couple weeks (just make a note on the submission form so that I remember 🙂 .) I think you still have two or three weeks before your second excerpt is posted, so I can save your place if you want to change that piece.
        Okay. That is great to know that it wasn’t your first scene! Then you can disregard some of my feedback. 🙂 I figured out that Ari was an elf and Cass was a fairy, but it took me a couple of reads to get it.


  3. This was a great piece, Sami! I can’t find much to point out that someone else hasn’t mentioned already, but here are a few things that caught my eye:

    1. I was a bit confused by this bit …

    “Cassandra sat down on the log next to him”

    … I couldn’t tell if she was sitting beside him on the log he was already sitting on, or if she was sitting on a different log that was next to his log.

    2. And in this bit …

    “The fairy looked up in concern”

    It sounds like she was looking down at the ground before she looks up, but the story says that she was watching the sunset.

    3. I would advise switching Cassandra’s words to lowercase letters in her last sentence of dialogue, as the capital letters jerked me out of the story a bit.

    Hopefully those were helpful :). Happy writing!


  4. Hey Sami!

    I would like to first off say that it was an overall well written excerpt. You struggled a bit with POV but that is something almost all of us struggle with as writers. I suggest you keep writing and practise. Another you must decide on is which POV you want to be writing in because constant change in POV often confuses the reader.

    Dialogue writing is essential to the plot and it helps the reader understand what kind of personality the character has and what space of mind he/she is in.

    In the first 2-3 lines, you show that Ari is watching the sunset but later on when Cass enquires about the very same sunset he appears confused and distracted, In this part perhaps, you could show the doubt in Ari’s mind as he watches the sunset.
    For eg:
    ” Ari gazed up into the sky, watching the sun set. Fiery golds, violet hues, and rosy pinks danced in the sky, a beautiful display found only in the wild. He sat there wondering if he should ask her about what he had been debating internally for days. He felt as though something had changed drastically in the past few weeks and yet what exactly had changed in his thinking was still a mystery. He noticed her plopping herself unto the log beside him. If the nerves and the doubts weren’t bothering him, he would’ve murmured a greeting to her. Cassandra sat down on the log next to him, her wings fluttering in the breeze. Her gaze fell onto his fingers shaking and twiddling and a small smile grazed her lips and she looked upto the sky knowing he needed time to come out of his bubble.”

    Does that make sense? What makes a character likeable is knowing their personality. Often while using third person, we tend (even me) to miss out on showing the character’s personality. Another thing I would say is describe the surroundings a bit more. For me when I read it I didn’t know how the setting was. Was it quiet? Was it crowded? Was it green with a lot of scenery? Was there a lake? i don’t know so I picture something of my own imagination and later on when u supply a reader with a scenery it clashes with their thought. I feel that it is better to supply a scenery from the start only so the reader does not get disappointed later on when they face a different background setting.

    Other than that you can often shift the sentences and the indentation like Carmen suggests. There is a bit of the problem with the epilepsies used. The best way to know when to use one is to think of it as you using the sentence while taking. Would you trail off? If yes then put one. However, if you want to make it seem like the character is not trying to hurt the other’s feelings with the wrong word and therefore trail off, then they are a good option. It is though a writer’s discretion.

    Rowan seems like a very interesting character. He is a supporting character but don’t forgot to develop his background and personality. Often giving an accent makes a character more likeable. However, this is a mere suggestion and not a critique feel free to completely ignore it. Although, I wil stress on giving a good back story to Rowan. A backstory greatly defines a character’s personality and the reasons for why they do an action. A biggest example for this is Snape from Harry Potter. He was hated for his actions. However, the minute his backstory was revealed he was instantly justified and liked by everyone. How you use the backstory is your choice but don’t ingnore it.

    Make sure your character’s are well developed and defined before you start a romance. You want the readers to like the characters so much that they ship them together. If you want to show a romance you can show little actions like her sitting close to him or them looking a little longer into the other’s eyes or just a simple looking at the other person’s actions and expressions.

    I would suggest removing the capitalized words in the end. The exclamation serves the same purpose. If you want to stress more upon her embarrasment you can say:

    ” This isn’t what it looks like!”, Cass exclaims as she jumps away from him with a blush furiously coating her cheeks.

    I hope this didn’t seem too nitpicky. I do my best to critique as a reader and not as a writer. I hope it helps you. Overall I loved the plot and the idea. I would definitely continue to read on. It was well written and fun.

    P.S. I love the name Ari.

    Happy writing and have a nice day!

    Love Readloveexpress 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for commenting Readloveexpress! 😀 Don’t worry, I already have the perfect (if sad) backstory for Rowan the thief. Thanks again!
      God bless, and happy writing!
      P.S. Glad to know that you liked Ari’s name. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I enjoyed this, I really did. The last bit made me smile. I really enjoy fantasy, and you wrote this well. I would just say to be careful about that last bit where you mistakenly capitalized “The thief said”. Formatting is always something to pay attention to. But otherwise, I think this is great. Just a bit of advice for later in your story, and I am sure you have heard this one before, but be very careful when dealing with writing about Elves. It is easy to get caught up in cliche there. But you wrote this elf wonderfully, and I hope you do well– wish you the best of luck.


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