Write It Sideways

Excerpt Critique: “Vermont House of Pancakes”

Hi everyone. Thanks to today’s anonymous author for this excerpt from a work of literary fiction.

Please take a few moments to read the excerpt and leave some feedback in the comment section. Potential prompts are listed below if you get stuck.

Vermont House of Pancakes


Russell set the black soft-sided suitcase down on the living room floor. He remembered when he’d gotten to the airport this morning that he still had the “Vermont House of Pancakes” sticker plastered to the side of the suitcase. Try explaining that to Libby, his snide traveling companion.

“Vermont House of Pancakes?” she’d said in her smoky voice. She moved her hand to adjust her oversized sunglasses. Onassis much? he’d wondered, an echo of his 16 year old niece looping through his head. The lump of bracelets Libby wore jangled together and he winced a little. He’d gotten up too early and his head was pounding from too much gaming and too little sleep.

“Uh…yeah.” Brilliant comeback, Russ. Brilliant. Soon you’ll be elocuting at every Vermont House of Pancakes—

“Well. Figures.” Even through those fly-eyed glasses he saw her gaze, sharp and disparaging, as it fell to his stomach and then back up to his face. “You look like a pancake kinda guy.”

He laughed, partly because he didn’t know what else to say and partly because he thought it was funny. A pancake kinda guy. Round, sort of pasty, a “short stack”. Yep, he supposed he was a pancake kinda guy.

When he thought about it, Vermont would have been a great place for a second honeymoon. Carly had even suggested it, leaning on his arm and saying “oh, it’s like a second honeymoon.”

Potential Feedback Prompts

When you respond, you might consider: