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Into the Depths Chapter 2



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Sat May 29, 2010 2:50 am
Elinor says...



Only moments later, I hear another knock at the door. Could Sarah and Helena be back already? I open the door to see my sister’s glowing smile. She’s as lovely as she’s always been—her bouncy blonde curls and mint-green dress make me feel like a peasant. Sarah’s staring at me, and I know what she’s thinking. I bring her the white box, and she breathes a sigh of relief. As I go back into the house, the two follow me.
“Madeleine,” Helena whispers, “It’s good to see you!”
I bring her close in a hug. “It’s good to see you too!”
“I’ll leave you two alone for now,” Sarah says, “Shall I fetch Miss Isabelle?”
“Yes,” says Helena, “I want to see how little Isabelle is doing.”
Sarah nods and takes off into the hallway, and I gesture for Helena to sit onto the couch. “What’s it like being married?” I ask her.
“Lovely,” Helena says, her eyes glowing. “George is good to me.”
“That’s wonderful,” I say, “You only deserve the best.”
At this Helena blushes beet-red. I can’t help but smile, as I’m very happy for her. However, I can’t help but think about the fact that he’s in Port Royal right now, in possible danger. I know Helena must be thinking the same thing, so I try as best as possible to avoid the subject and discuss positive topics. However, Helena brings it up anyway.
“I’m scared,” she says, “for George as well as Father.”
“Why?” I say, trying to play stupid. I knew there was something Father wasn’t telling me. “They’re just going to deliver food and clothes.”
“No,” Helena says, “They’re going to go after the pirates.”
Suddenly everything makes a lot of sense; why Father didn’t want me to worry, why he might be gone for longer than a day. I open my mouth to speak, but then Isabelle comes into the foyer.
“Little sister!” Helena exclaims. “How are you?”
Isabelle smiles and runs over toward her. “I’m good!” We both scoot over to make room for her on the couch. It silent for the next few seconds. Helena’s beet red again. She opens her mouth to speak, and then closes it.
“What?” Isabelle asks her.
“I have fantastic news for the both of you,” she says, “George and I were going to tell you over dinner, but I don’t think he’ll mind if I just tell you. I’ve been bursting ever since we planned that we were going to come here. Father already knows.”
Both Isabelle and I stare at each other and smile widely. We both know what she means. ‘You’re pregnant!” I exclaim.
“Yes,” she says, “I’m going to be a mother.”
We all laugh in unison. “That’s wonderful!” I say. “Congratulations! When is it due?”
“In March!” Helena says. “I’m very excited. George is hoping for a son, but I want a daughter.”
“Mother would be so proud of you.”
It is then I notice that Isabelle has gone quiet. Her eyes go distant; it’s the same look that Murtagh had when he was telling me how he met Isabelle. She’s breathing heavily, and my mind tracts back to the earlier thought I had that Isabelle and Murtagh could have courted. They must have, and just split. It makes sense-Helena’s talking about marriage and pregnancy and luck in her relationship; I bet Isabelle only wishes she could have the same.
She gets up, and I can tell she’s holding back tears.
“Isabelle?” Helena asks. “What’s wrong, little sister?”
She doesn’t answer and instead storms off into the hall. Helena stares at me, confused.
“What was that?”
“I don’t really know,” I answer. I’m not in the mood to mention to her my encounter Murtagh or my thoughts about it. “She just needs some time alone, I think. Do you want to go into my bedroom? We can talk more there.”
“Lovely,” Helena says. She’s trying to smile, but I can tell she’s still confused and frustrated over the incident. “Let’s go.”

All our dreams can come true — if we have the courage to pursue them.

-- Walt Disney





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Sat May 29, 2010 1:10 pm
SilverSharpie says...



That was like reading something professional! I guess I probably should have read the first chapter first but all in good time. All I would add is to describe Isabelle's look as she is upset or about to cry just to clarify for the reader. That was, all being said, really awesome.
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Sat May 29, 2010 6:50 pm
Kale says...



I’m not in the mood to mention to her my encounter Murtagh or my thoughts about it.

This sentence doesn't make sense. I believe you're missing a "with" after "encounter".

Suddenly everything makes a lot of sense;

I'm pretty sure the semicolon should be a colon since you're listing the things that now make sense.

I vaguely remember reading the first chapter a while ago. Very vaguely. I should probably reread it, but I'm lazy, so I'll be reviewing this as if I've never read the first chapter.

I was expecting Isabelle, from the way Helena and Madeleine spoke about her, to be much younger than she apparently is. Maybe you could have her remark that she's not that little anymore to clear things up.

Overall, I felt this chapter was much shorter than it could have been. It starts pretty abruptly as a direct continuation of the first, and it ends abruptly just as the sisters go the Madeleine's room to talk further. If you started out on a more gradual/introductory note (like "I had just begun to settle down when..."), it would lead into this chapter better while still having that direct connection to the previous chapter. Also, I think this chapter could use more expanding to at least the conversation in the bedroom. Right now, this feels too short.
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Sat May 29, 2010 9:21 pm
captain.classy says...



Elinor! This chapter is lovely! Far better than your first.

Anywho, I don't have any criticism. I think the characters in this are perfect. However, I think you should mention accents a bit more, just so we can get the feel of her being in a place that isn't where she was born. I think you should mention how Sarah talks like a native, and how the accent is peculiar compared to theirs, or something like that. It would just help with the realistic aspects of this.

Other than that, I love the eldest sister so much! She's so adorable. When I say classy, the older sister is the type of person I think of. Ooh I love her so much! haha

Keep writing, and please inform me when the next chapter is up? I really like this.

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Sun May 30, 2010 12:21 am
Octave says...



Comments in red.

Elinor Brynn wrote:Only moments later, I hear another knock at the door. Could Sarah and Helena be back already? I open the door to see my sister’s glowing smile. I know it's still a little early, but this feels like a laundry list. Also, I think you should revise that sentence. It's a little awkward. She’s as lovely as she’s always been—her bouncy blonde curls and mint-green dress make me feel like a peasant. Remember, these are you character's thoughts. Would she really think "bouncy blonde curls" when she sees her sister? Sarah’s staring at me, and I know what she’s thinking. I bring her the white box, and she breathes a sigh of relief. As I go back into the house, the two follow me. Okay, this is officially a laundry-list. Almost everything has the same sentence pattern. Shake it up, Eli. Also, avoid starting too many sentences with "I".
“Madeleine,” Helena whispers Why is she whispering?, “It’s good to see you!”
I bring her close in a hug. “It’s good to see you too!”
“I’ll leave you two alone for now,” Sarah says, “Shall I fetch Miss Isabelle?”
“Yes,” says Helena, “I want to see how little Isabelle is doing.”
Sarah nods and takes off into the hallway, and I gesture for Helena to sit onto the couch. “What’s it like being married?” I ask her.
“Lovely,” Helena says, her eyes glowing. “George is good to me.”
“That’s wonderful,” I say Normally I'm all for "say", but you overdo it. Not every line of dialog needs a tag., “You only deserve the best.”
At this Helena blushes beet-red. I can’t help but smile, as I’m very happy for her Show us thoughts that allow us to infer she's happy.. However, I can’t help but think about the fact that he’s in Port Royal right now, in possible danger. I know Helena must be thinking the same thing, so I try as best as possible to avoid the subject and discuss positive topics. Show, don't tell. However, Helena brings it up anyway.
“I’m scared,” she says, “for George as well as Father.”
“Why?” I say, trying to play stupid. Eli, I know this is a historical, so the last part of that sentence - trying to play stupid - is kind of awkward here. It's almost modern. There ought to be some other way to say it. I knew there was something Father wasn’t telling me. “They’re just going to deliver food and clothes.”
“No,” Helena says, “They’re going to go after the pirates.”
Suddenly everything makes a lot of sense: why Father didn’t want me to worry, why he might be gone for longer than a day. I open my mouth to speak, but then Isabelle comes into the foyer.
“Little sister! This is incredibly stilted and it actually sounds stupid.” Helena exclaims. “How are you?”
Isabelle smiles and runs over toward her. “I’m good!” We both scoot over to make room for her on the couch. It's silent for the next few seconds. Helena’s beet red You used "beet red" a while ago, so maybe change the metaphor. again. She opens her mouth to speak, and then closes it.
“What?” Isabelle asks her.
“I have fantastic news for the both of you,” she says, “George and I were going to tell you over dinner, but I don’t think he’ll mind if I just tell you. I’ve been bursting ever since we planned that we were going to come here Last part of this sentence is awkward.. Father already knows.”
Both Isabelle and I stare at each other Maybe exchange glances? Stare at each other is kinda weird. and smile widely. We both know what she means. ‘You’re pregnant!” I exclaim.
“Yes,” she says, “I’m going to be a mother.”
We all laugh in unison. “That’s wonderful!” I say. “Congratulations! When is it due?”
“In March!” Helena says. “I’m very excited. George is hoping for a son, but I want a daughter.”
“Mother would be so proud of you.” All of this seems like fluff.
It is then I notice that Isabelle has gone quiet. Her eyes go distant; it’s the same look that Murtagh had when he was telling me how he met Isabelle. She’s breathing heavily, and my mind tracks back to the earlier thought I had that Isabelle and Murtagh could have courted. They must have, and just split. It makes sense-Helena’s talking about marriage and pregnancy and luck in her relationship; I bet Isabelle only wishes she could have the same.
She gets up, and I can tell she’s holding back tears.
“Isabelle?” Helena asks. “What’s wrong, little sister? It's weird that Helena calls Isabelle "little sister".
She doesn’t answer and instead storms off into the hall. Helena stares at me, confused.
“What was that?”
“I don’t really know,” I answer. I’m not in the mood to mention to her my encounter Murtagh or my thoughts about it. “She just needs some time alone, I think. Do you want to go into my bedroom? We can talk more there.”
“Lovely,” Helena says. She’s trying to smile, but I can tell she’s still confused and frustrated over the incident. “Let’s go.”


Final comments:

Your characters feel a bit flat. There's hardly any characterization. All we know of the MC at the moment is that she's smart. That's it.

There's a lack of description throughout the chapter, and I'm not sure you began your story as late as you could. This part reads like filler, no offense or anything. It just does. Like you're trying to introduce things. Start with conflict Eli.

Now, on the lack of description - there's almost nothing here. You didn't mention the color of the walls, the way the sofa feels under them, the sounds in the house, etc. Nothing. I can't imagine myself there because you didn't give us any sensory descriptions at all. Add in a few so the reader can actually imagine the scene as it happens.

Parts of this felt modern, and other bits fell flat. I recommend you read more historicals, Eli, to get a feel of their general word choice, sentence structures, etc. I'm pretty sure they use longer sentences and more semicolons, but I can't be 100% sure because I never quite finished the one historical novel I bought.

Your plot is still vague and I'm guessing this is a few pages into the novel, since it's chapter 2. In a novel you want to bring everything full-force so you can hook the reader/agent/editor as early as possible. Try to introduce more conflict.

A lot of this read like pure fluff, but I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe later on this will come back and bite the MC. But it better - otherwise this chapter would have been useless and fluffy after all.

Anyway, those were my two cents. PM me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Kara
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Sun May 30, 2010 8:16 pm
Evi says...



Hello again!

It silent for the next few seconds.


It's, perhaps?

So, I agree with Kara here on basically every point she made. And I know you can handle a tough critique. You know how to write, and you know what you're saying, but you need to work on how you say it. The delivery is pretty dull, the characterization almost nonexistent.

You need to describe these people-- not overflowing purple prose info dumps, of course, but the sort of thing you notice when you're looking at someone you've known for a while. Filter the description through Madeleine; what does looking at Helena's bouncy curls remind her of? The times when the sisters would sit on the bed and brush each other's hair? When Isabelle gets upset, what does her expression look like? Does she have this signature trait of squinting her nose when she's about to cry?

Filter description of the house through their actions. When they sit on the couch, does it sink underneath them or feel as hard as a wooden board? Is the midday light trickling in through the open window while they talk? What does the house smell like, what sounds are coming from the other room when Isabelle rushes out to greet her sister?

Lastly, your first person. Here's one example:

Both Isabelle and I stare at each other and smile widely. We both know what she means.


That second sentence is an example of repetitive internal narration. If the sisters are smiling widely at each other, it's kind of implied that they understand, so you really don't need to say it again. ;) This happens throughout the prose. When your narrator is explaining background information to the readers, like how Madeleine makes the connection between Isabelle's mood and her relationship with Murtagh, weave it through actions and dialogue, but don't be repetitive between the two! You want your flow to be seamless so that we feel fully immersed in the story through Madeleine's perspective, but still learn the necessary info.

Keep working on it, keep reading, keep writing, and keep developing these characters! It's an interesting plot and time period and I want to see you see it through. ^_^

~Evi
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Mon Sep 13, 2010 7:15 am
NotSoOrdinaryGirl says...



Hell there !

Anyways I read your 2nd chapter and I really liked it :D The part about the pirates and how Father and George are actually going after the pirates seem interesting. The part that got me confused it who is Isabell really? At first I thought she was a young little girl since 'little sister' was used but then you wrote ,
It is then I notice that Isabelle has gone quiet. Her eyes go distant; it’s the same look that Murtagh had when he was telling me how he met Isabelle. She’s breathing heavily, and my mind tracts back to the earlier thought I had that Isabelle and Murtagh could have courted. They must have, and just split. It makes sense-Helena’s talking about marriage and pregnancy and luck in her relationship; I bet Isabelle only wishes she could have the same.

I'm guessing Isabelle and Murtaugh once had a relationship but didn't succeed ?
You need to be more specific about your characters or your readers will get confused.

You have a good vocabulary ^^ please continue this story I would love to see what happens next .
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Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:19 pm
CharlotteGrace says...



Hello again!

So, I am even more confuzzled on this. Maybe it's just me missing something or I don't know but when did Murtagh and Isabelle date or court or whatever. I think I missed a great chunk there. I would have liked a little more description in describing Isabelle. Like what colour dress she was wearing or what colour her hair is.

Elinor Brynn wrote: However, I can’t help but think about the fact that he’s in Port Royal right now, in possible danger.“I’m scared,” she says, “for George as well as Father.”



Whose in Port Royal? That confuzzled me the most. When did her dad leave to go to port royal? I thought that Sarah said that he went to get Helena? You should clarify that or something to make it less confuzzling.

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Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:29 pm
Elinor says...



This is ooooold.

I've trashed the piece for the now, but I most likely will come back to it later and completely rewrite it. Thank you for your comments, though.

All our dreams can come true — if we have the courage to pursue them.

-- Walt Disney








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