Excerpt Critique: “Not Quite,” YA Fantasy

by Suzannah Windsor Freeman

Afraid woman with hand over mouth

Here it is–our first anonymous excerpt ready for a free critique. Thanks to everyone who submitted, and I’ll open my inbox again in a few weeks.

But first, a few kinks:

  1. Initially, I forgot to ask writers to specify their titles and genres when they submitted. I’m waiting to hear back about the title/genre for this excerpt, and I’ll update the post when I know. UPDATE: This is YA fantasy, which I suspected, and the working title is “Not Quite.”
  2. I apologize to today’s author if the line breaks in this excerpt are different to what (s)he sent. The messages I receive through my contact page appear in one solid block of text, so I did my best to add line breaks where appropriate. In the future, I’ll ask for submissions pasted in the body of a regular email to avoid this problem.

Thanks for your patience while we work through these glitches.

And now, today’s excerpt:

Not Quite

YA fantasy

“I’m Gallin,” he said, holding out a hand.

Cerean didn’t take it. “What do you want with me?” she asked. There was a strange black carving on the shelf next to her that looked heavy.

“I need you to save the world,” he said. Cerean picked up the thing and swung. It rammed into… something before it hit his head and was bounced back with a ringing sound. “That’s not very civil.”

Cerean decided to do the thing she was best at. She screamed and ran away.

“That isn’t how you hold a conversation!” Gallin shouted after her. She pounded on the door then picked up a sharp bar shaped object and tried to pry it open. “I told you, you can’t leave until you talk to me.”

“I don’t want to talk to you! You’re a lunatic.” She slammed against the door. “Help!”

“No one is going to hear you. We’re in a pocket dimension.”

“That’s comforting.”

“Will you just sit down?” The room had changed. They were now in what appeared to be an open air café with a waist high fence around it. A small table was in front of Cerean with two chairs. Gallin sat in one and Cerean reluctantly took the other.

“Fine. What do you want to talk about?”

“Saving the world.”

“That again?”

“It’s kind of important.” Gallin took a bite from a cookie that magically appeared along with a platter full of other sweats.

“So what do you want me to do about it?”

Please help this aspiring writer by leaving a comment with some constructive feedback. Thanks!

Potential Feedback Prompts

When you respond, you might consider:

  • your immediate reactions
  • likes and dislikes
  • anything that seems unclear
  • language issues
  • point of view
  • voice
  • inconsistencies
  • general encouragement

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