Open Pen

Dragon Rising Coffee: An Open Pen Critique

Today, we have a fantasy piece about two soldiers. The author, Sami P., has a simple question for us to answer: Would we keep reading? However, she also mentioned that she would appreciate it if we brought up any other mistakes or errors that we find. It is nice to find someone so excited about having their precious story be torn apart!

Thank you for taking the time to make a few comments on her piece. Even short, simply comments are very helpful.

The current queue for Open Pen is as follows:

  1. Jane Blake
  2. MaryAnn
  3. Gabby
  4. Readloveexpress22
  5. Elizabeth Dearman

If you would like to submit a piece of writing to be critique, you can read the rules and submit on the Open Pen page.

God bless,



Dragon Rising Coffee by Sami P.

“Rise and shine sleepyhead!” Flynn sang cheerfully. His yellow hair turned golden in the firelight of the inn as Levi rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and yawned. He stretched.
“What time is it?” The soldier asked. Flynn glanced out the window as weak sunlight filtered in.
“Um…about midday I think.” He said slowly.
“MIDDAY?!” Levi groaned and slumped back in his chair. “And I thought I was going to live a long life.” His partner sighed.
“Don’t worry, there’s still hope for you, you drama queen.” Flynn grabbed a mug full of something from the innkeeper and handed him two coins. He then walked back over to Levi.”Who knows, our ‘fine’ captain might be in a good mood today.”
Levi snorted. “With my luck, she’ll have turned into a dragon.” Flynn laughed.
“She already is a dragon!” He noisily set down a tankard in front of Levi, brown liquid sloshing over the sides and onto the table.
“What’s that?” Levi said, staring at it cautiously. Flynn pushed it towards him.
“Something fresh from the market. Try it, it’ll wake you up.” Flynn said. His partner eyed it suspiciously.
“Well, if you say so…” Flynn did his best to hide a grin as he watched Levi gulp it down. He gagged, and quickly spat it out.
“What’s in there? Poison?!” He said, spitting and hacking like a cat with a hairball. Flynn burst out laughing.
“The traders call it coffee,” He finally said, tears in his blue eyes from laughing so hard. “But I think your definition suits that vile drink.”
Despite himself, Levi smiled. “At least we agree on something for once-”
“HADVAR!” Captain Lenora’s voice cut through the inn. “Get over here now!” The soldier winced.
“Make that two things we agree on.” Levi got up, running his hand through his hand. “Wish me luck!”
“MOVE IT SOLDIER!!” She roared. Levi ran out the door.
“Yes sir! I-I mean ma’am!” Flynn heard him say.
“Good luck friend.” He got up and slowly walked out of the tavern, wincing at the pain in his leg. “You’re gonna need it.”


22 thoughts on “Dragon Rising Coffee: An Open Pen Critique”

  1. This is really good. Nice job. I would keep reading. Near the beginning you say, “Levi rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and yawned. He stretched.” I think it’s kind of weird to have that itty bitty sentence in the end. It would sound better if you said, “Levi rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, yawning and then stretched.” But that’s really an optional thing, this just seems to flow better. Also, saying “midday?!” In all caps seems a bit much. Other then that I liked it!


    1. Thank you Carmen! 🙂 I didn’t catch the weird sentence that you caught, so thanks for pointing that out. I’m glad you liked the story!


  2. I would keep reading. It sounds interesting. Just a couple of things though. You shouldn’t say words in all caps no matter how loud or angry the person is supposed to sound. Most people see all caps as unprofessional and overdoing it. But that’s up to you it’s your story. 🙂 The other thing is, the little sentence at the end of this part is a bit awkward, “Levi rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and yawned. He stretched.” I would say, “Levi rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, yawned and stretched.” I think that way it flows better but it’s not a huge thing so you don’t necessarily need to change it. Well anyway over all I really liked it! 😀


    1. Thanks for the advice RED652, I had trouble with words in all caps in an earlier piece I submitted, but I didn’t have time to revise the Fantasy Coffee story. I’m glad you liked the story! 😀


  3. I would love to give you a longer critique, but I don’t really have the time for it right now :). I will say that I would definitely keep reading! You wrote this very well.


  4. Oh I just noticed this, but in the paragraph where you first hear Captain Lenora, she shouted “Hadvar” instead of “Levi”, like she’s supposed to. Oops! 🙂


  5. I don’t see any general problems in this, just some small stuff that I would need to use MS Word’s critiquing tools to point out, and I feel like Gabrielle will probably catch them in what she sends you, so I won’t worry about pointing them out. I probably would not keep reading, but that’s just me. You had a few loose ends at the end to encourage further reading, but none of them were serious except for the most obvious one of Levi’s encounter with the captain, and you didn’t give enough information to whet my appetite for that enough to keep reading.

    Ok, maybe I did see a general problem, and I just had to keep typing to figure it out.

    Also, I assume your title is more of a descriptive title, not an actual title, but if it is an actual title, you really need to change it.


    1. Alright, thanks for the advice Olorin. Don’t worry, this is not the real title of my novel. 🙂
      God bless, and happy writing!


    2. No problem. Dragon Rising sounds like a really cool title! I’ll look for it when it comes out.

      I’m actually not a writer. I just run around in writing circles because I like to read and edit. But happy writing to you, and God bless you, too.


  6. Hey, Sami!

    I’m sorry that you did not get to add in your changes first. Hopefully, I don’t focus on what you already know, and I’ll try not to reiterate what other people have mentioned.

    A little note: watch your pronouns. Use this general rule: the last name you mentioned is who the pronoun is referring to. If the last name you mentioned is not the character you are talking about then use the character’s name rather than a pronoun.

    “weak sunlight… midday” So typically the sun is brightest around noon, so the connection here is confusing for readers.

    Perhaps instead of “live a long life” say “have a productive day, but now I am on track for wasting the rest of my life.” Again, the connection for readers between the statements is a bit weak.

    Wait, if the captain is already a dragon then why would Levi make a comment about her turning into a dragon? That does not make much sense.

    If they are in an inn, then the innkeeper would probably have made the coffee. Also, I had an idea here: if you wanted to, you could have Levi complain about Flynn wasting money, and you would have another opportunity for a little bit of character-building bickering. I just thought that I would throw that out there.

    Overall, I would probably keep reading. At first, I was not that interested, but by the time, I reached the end with Captain Lenora, I was decently interested. Once you clean up a few things in the beginning, I think you will have a decent beginning to a story.

    My only other comment would be about your descriptions. I enjoyed how you “snuck” in description through strong verbs (such as slumped, cut, and roared) and with small phrases (“tears in his blue eyes” and “weak sunlight filtered in”), but I almost wished that there was a little bit more. I had a little bit of trouble picturing their room in the inn, but that could just be me.

    I thought your title was really creative and interesting for this little piece. However, Olorin does have a point. If it is the title of your novel, then it might be a little too narrow.

    Also, if you want me to do a grammar edit just let me know. I would be happy to do one, but since you did not ask for it, I did not do one. Just let me know.

    Good luck with your story! God bless!


    1. The dragon reference was metaphorical. However, it took me a bit to realize that, too, for some reason, though I’m not sure what made me think it was literal at first. I figured I just read it wrong and it was just me, but since Gabrielle appears to have misread it the same way, perhaps there is more to that.


      1. The dragon-captain was metaphorical, Flynn and Levi were just calling Lenora a dragon because she was strict and usually in a horrible mood (though in this story I wouldn’t blame her for being angry with Levi, since he did sleep in until midday).


      2. Though it might’ve been kinda cool if they had a dragon for a captain. Or it would’ve been weird.


    2. Hey Gabrielle, thanks for reading my story! So the novel that this excerpt is from is called Dragon Rising, but I called it Dragon Rising Coffee because this little snippet was about coffee. I’m glad that liked the descriptions and the title, and thanks for offering the grammar edit! If you really want to, could you do a grammar edit on the next piece I submit?
      Thanks again Gabrielle! Happy writing to ya, and God bless! 🙂
      Samantha P. 😀


  7. Hey Sami!

    I am a fellow fantasy writer!! 😀 Anyways, I would definitely keep reading this piece of amazing literature. One of the things I noticed is that every time someone said something there was a sentence after that. For example “What’s in there? Poison?!” He said, spitting and hacking like a cat with a hairball. Flynn burst out laughing.

    They were already in a one on one conversation so I don’t believe there is a need to narrate who says what after a couple lines. Maybe this is just the technique you have and that is fine. Something else to help spice up the story is describe where they are at. I was quite confused as to their surroundings, there didn’t seem to be an obvious transition from Levi’s bed to the tavern.

    Overall fantastic piece! Keep up the amazing work 🙂


  8. Keep up the good work, Sami!

    Your piece was humorous and quite enjoyable.

    I would add a little more description of the surroundings of your character. Also, I would avoid using the phrase “Hacking like a cat with a hairball.” It may be better to have your readers read your descriptions and imagine a cat with a hairball, rather than telling them straight off. C.S. Lewis once made this point in an essay on writing.

    I wish you God’s speed in your writing journey!

    – Agatha Jade Parks (Pseudonym)


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