Wednesday, April 2, 2014

First Kiss #3

TITLE: The White Phoenix
GENRE: Fantasy

Cassandra has magic that could kill Silas. They’ve sought refuge in a cave from a terrible thunderstorm.

Cassandra spun around. His back was still to her. “ No, that is not your fault.” All this time she’d blamed herself for Korynn’s death. She had never once considered the possibility that Silas could fault himself. “Have you really been thinking that this entire time?”

“What else should I think?” he asked. “How can you not blame me for that?”


“I led those monsters right to her,” he whispered. “I took someone you love away from you, Cassandra.”

Cassandra hobbled over to his side of the cave and knelt behind him. She laid her hand on his shoulder. “Silas, stop. Stop saying that," she chided softly. Silas turned to look at her at last. It struck her then how very little they were both wearing. But his eyes, reddened and swollen, didn’t stray from hers, never once wandered downward to undress what little clothes remained on her body. In the face of his vulnerability, her own exposure was a faraway, petty concern.

“I can’t do this,” he admitted. “Zeus, the gods—they made a mistake.”

“That isn’t true—”

“I can’t be this great hero everyone wants me to be. I—”

She held his face in her hands and kissed him hard. His lips had barely the time to reciprocate before she pulled away with a fast jerk of her head and she sat back on her heels. Her hands hung tensed and frozen in the air.

Silas merely stared at her, unmoving, unblinking, his lips parted as she’d left them, as he’d had them before she had interrupted his words with her mouth.

She was speaking so fast, breathing so heavily, it was hardly audible, “I—I shouldn’t have done that. I’m sorry.” Cassandra scrambled to her feet and rushed headlong into the cave’s depths, seeking refuge in its darkness.


  1. This scene is very effective. I like the mutual vulnerability, and guilt always adds tension.

    Some comments: take out "chided softly." You can say her voice was soft or something if you want, but the rest is showing us she's being gentle with him. I'd also take out "merely" and just say "Silas stared at her unmoving, unblinking...." because the adverb takes away from the power of what you are showing. You should have her words first in the next paragraph; otherwise, you are telling us how she is speaking before she actually talks.

    I like how you end this; really makes me want to turn the page!

  2. Strong writing! The hobbled stopped me, but I'm sure the reason for that has been explained. Also, I had a little trouble visualizing how they were. I'm guessing he was sitting, since Cassandra knelt behind him, but I had to stop to figure it out. (I'm sure the previous part would have explained this, too.) But then he turned to look at her, so he would have had to shift his whole body and his legs would have been between them, and she would have to lean in to kiss him... Sorry, I'm a very visual reader, but do you see what I mean?

    Need a bit of emotion before she kisses him. What is she thinking? Or maybe she isn't thinking. And then another thought to go with "Her hands hung tensed and frozen in the air." Something like: "Oh God, what did I do?"

    These are just some thoughts. Good writing overall!

  3. This piece makes me want to know what will happen next.The tension is great.
    There were a few things disconnected. He is into a guilt mode, but she is into kissing. She is apparently not listening and seems not to care what he is feeling. That makes me wonder if their relationship is ever going to work. They do not seem to be on the same wave length.
    The kiss seems to come out of nowhere. Maybe if you could make her kiss him to keep his mind out of his pain, and not out of lust only, the kiss would mean something. Maybe he needs to stay focused on a battle that is coming and she wants him to ground him.
    How does she know it was hardly audible.
    I suggest to remove the comment in the last paragraph or say "She was speaking so fast, the words probably blurred into each other, "I'm sorry." Her cheeks burned and she scrambled."
    You need to work more on cause > effect.
    Nice moment though. Too bad the kiss wasn't very meaningful to them.

  4. This was interesting to read. If I had to spot places to improve, I would say all the different dialogue tags were a bit distracting. Maybe a "said" to replace one or two of them would help.

    I like that she runs off before she has the chance to even really tell his reaction. That was a nice touch and a good way to keep the scene moving.

  5. I actually quite liked this one. It would be nice to have a bit more of her thoughts right before the kiss. We don't get her motivation, other than both of them feeling the same guilt.

    One contradiction: His lips barely had time to reciprocate (which implies they did), but then his lips are as he had them before she interrupted him.

    Nice writing. Her scramble makes me want to read more, see how he reacts to the situation. Is the danger of her magic the reason she retreats?

  6. This didn't work for me because you haven't given us any reason for the kiss. I don't know if she's kissing him because she loves him, because she's imagining him with no clothes on, or just to make him feel better. ANd then he has almost no reaction. He's unmoving, unblinking, so I have no idea if he liked it, or if he's shocked and wondering why she did that.

    Give us a few lines as to Cassandra's motivation and give us a reaction from Silas. It's their story and we should know why they're doing things, and how they feel and what they think about whatever's going on.

    Perhaps - Cassandra knelt behind him and laid her hand on his shoulder. -- You don't really need all the stage directions.

    Cut - she chided softly. -- SHe's consoling and comforting him. CHiding is closer to berating.

    Silas turned to look at her at last. -- cut - to look at her.

    Perhaps - he barely had time to reciprocate. His lips can't make decisions.

    Silas merely stared at her, unmoving, unblinking, his lips parted as she’d left them, as he’d had them before she had interrupted his words with her mouth. -- cut merely, and everything after 'as she'd left them.'

    cut - She was speaking so fast, breathing so heavily, it was hardly audible, -- If you keep it, put it after the dialogue, but you have her stuttering, and people don't stutter fast. A simple 'she said' would work better.