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Ch1 - The City Where it Starts

by AnotherCrowInRow


Paris was the city in which it lived. Deinne only realized this fully now as she walked along the Pont d'léna, the bridge leading up to the half-built Eiffel Tower. Deinne remembered who Eiffel was - like most prominent mechanics, he couldn't miss the Conference of the Order of Mechanics, which liked to use some of her father's mansions for their lavish gatherings. When Deinne was little, she always wanted to know what they were talking about. She saw them arrive in steam-powered carriages, in suits and top hats. She particularly liked that the female members of the Order wore them as well - it was twelve years ago when dresses were still considered as only acceptable women's clothing.

However, the technological boom planned something else, and when machines and not always controllable prototypes of vehicles began to move all over Paris - which somehow became the second capital of mechanical technology - it was important to be able to jump quickly out of the way.

Deinne was quite glad to be alive now, as she had a real weakness for Manchester pants and suits. Especially the expensive ones, for which her father had to spend a lot of money. At least he's finally aware about me, Deinne thought, the corner of her mouth curling into a mirthless smile. She grew up in a family of mechanical parts dealers who had no idea about mechanics. They always had quite decent assets, as the largest workshops knew them as high-quality and reliable traders who knew how to negotiate a price. However, she was absent from business. She had five older brothers, who had to share work, bureaucracy and many other complications that came with running a company. Deinna was forgotten, so she always did what she wanted to.

Like right now.

Most Parisians were heading to the Fair of Mechanics, where the latest inventions, craziest ideas and bold (or foolish) predictions of the future were to be showcased. Deinne had heard stories that the organizers - the Council of Mechanics, who else - wanted to outdo even their colleagues from London, the very heart of the mechanical future of Europe.

But Deinne wasn't heading to the Fair. She hadn't heard anything but this event of the century at the Order's headquarters for weeks, so she doubted anything would surprise her there. If you spend most of your life moving between gears, oil and steam, nothing can really impresses you . That's why at a certain moment she unobtrusively separated herself from the crowd and ran into the intricate streets of the city.

Her shoes clattered on the tiles, and the sound carried through the entire street. Some of the shops were still open, and Deinne wondered if she could be tempted by the fragrant pastries from the bakery she was passing. But somehow she didn't want to explain to the saleswoman what she actually wanted, so she continued walking through the center of Paris. If you weren't familiar with it, it was easy to get lost here in broad daylight, let alone at dusk. But Deinne spent most of her childhood in these tangled narrow streets. It was so strange to think about the differences between her now - in an expensive suit, with a top hat on her head and a mechanic's license in her pocket - and her younger self. Her mother liked to remind her of the most obvious differences.

She kept arguing about how pretty she looked in a flowery dress and a long braid of dark brown hair. So when Deinne left for university, the first thing she did was donate all her dresses to charity and cut her long hair into the short, curly hairstyle she wore now. Her hair had lightened a bit over time so it didn't create such a huge contrast between it and her sickly pale skin.

But Deinne knew that the differences were mainly in her thinking. As a fifteen-year-old girl who had just gotten a job in a mechanic shop, she was excited, full of crazy dreams that drove the mechanics ever forward. All of Paris was suddenly her kingdom.

But now she was getting on her nerves, just like the other mechanics. She liked to work alone, with her drawings and clockwork.

"Overwhelmed by your thoughts again?"

Leaning on the nearest street lamp was none other than her best friend and colleague from the workshop Alexei. He walked towards her and Deinne just had to grin. He was tall and pencil-thin, with crazy red hair sticking out in all directions and freckles all over his face. He looked like a circus performer, and not a member of respectable society.

"Not at all," replied Deinne. It was a lie, and she was sure that he knows it.

,,But yes. Whenever you think about something too much, you put on this weird expression. It's like you swallowed something bitter and you weren't sure if you liked it or not."

"I understand now why you ended up in the mechanic shop," Deinne commented.

Confusion spread over Alexei's face for a moment, and he raised one eyebrow questioningly.

"Because you'd make a terrible poet," she told him. "And by the way, are you here for a reason, or did you just think it was time to be a full-time comedian."

Alexey shut himself up comically offended. He pursed his lips, crossed his arms over his chest, and acted like a wet puppy. "If you are interested, we have a task. You know, mechanical things..."

"I'm listening," she interrupted him. Curiosity and excitement ran through her for the first time in a very long time.

"That's good, since we're going straight to the railway station. Our train is leaving for London."


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Fri May 24, 2024 1:47 am
KateHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!

First Impression: Well ths is quite the little start here. We learn so many intriguing things about our girl Deinne here and her past and the choices she's made to get here and I'm loving it so far.

Anyway let's get right to it,

Paris was the city in which it lived. Deinne only realized this fully now as she walked along the Pont d'léna, the bridge leading up to the half-built Eiffel Tower. Deinne remembered who Eiffel was - like most prominent mechanics, he couldn't miss the Conference of the Order of Mechanics, which liked to use some of her father's mansions for their lavish gatherings. When Deinne was little, she always wanted to know what they were talking about. She saw them arrive in steam-powered carriages, in suits and top hats. She particularly liked that the female members of the Order wore them as well - it was twelve years ago when dresses were still considered as only acceptable women's clothing.

However, the technological boom planned something else, and when machines and not always controllable prototypes of vehicles began to move all over Paris - which somehow became the second capital of mechanical technology - it was important to be able to jump quickly out of the way.


OOh well this is startin off quite intriguingly, a little bit of some neat little worldbuilding just to establish exactly what kind of place we happen to be in here and also of course a lovely little note on Deinne own childhood which is really a lovely detail as well. Solid start this.

Deinne was quite glad to be alive now, as she had a real weakness for Manchester pants and suits. Especially the expensive ones, for which her father had to spend a lot of money. At least he's finally aware about me, Deinne thought, the corner of her mouth curling into a mirthless smile. She grew up in a family of mechanical parts dealers who had no idea about mechanics. They always had quite decent assets, as the largest workshops knew them as high-quality and reliable traders who knew how to negotiate a price. However, she was absent from business. She had five older brothers, who had to share work, bureaucracy and many other complications that came with running a company. Deinna was forgotten, so she always did what she wanted to.

Like right now.


Ooh we're realy getting into the details now, I think we're towing the line a tiny bit about too much exposition but it works out just about okay I think and we do end up learning quite about Deinne's motivations too.

Most Parisians were heading to the Fair of Mechanics, where the latest inventions, craziest ideas and bold (or foolish) predictions of the future were to be showcased. Deinne had heard stories that the organizers - the Council of Mechanics, who else - wanted to outdo even their colleagues from London, the very heart of the mechanical future of Europe.

But Deinne wasn't heading to the Fair. She hadn't heard anything but this event of the century at the Order's headquarters for weeks, so she doubted anything would surprise her there. If you spend most of your life moving between gears, oil and steam, nothing can really impresses you . That's why at a certain moment she unobtrusively separated herself from the crowd and ran into the intricate streets of the city.


Oooh well it seems she's headed on her own way there, looks like she definitely knows a lot about what she's talking about and certainly better than just the mindless masses milling about here.

Her shoes clattered on the tiles, and the sound carried through the entire hallway. Some of the shops were still open, and Deinne wondered if she could be tempted by the fragrant pastries from the bakery she was passing. But somehow she didn't want to, so she continued walking through the center of Paris. If you weren't familiar with it, it was easy to get lost here in broad daylight, let alone at dusk. But Deinne spent most of her childhood in these tangled narrow streets. It was so strange to think about the differences between her now - in an expensive suit, with a top hat on her head and a mechanic's license in her pocket - and her younger self. Her mother liked to remind her of the most obvious differences.

She kept arguing about how pretty she looked in a flowery dress and a long braid of dark brown hair. So when Deinne left for university, the first thing she did was donate all her dresses to charity and cut her long hair into the short, curly hairstyle she wore now. Her hair had lightened a bit over time so it didn't create such a huge contrast between it and her sickly pale skin.


Well this is telling us more lovely things about Deinne and the past that she grew up with. You can see how much its shaped here and influenced the choices that she's made in the leadd up to this point.

But Deinne knew that the differences were mainly in her thinking. As a fifteen-year-old girl who had just gotten a job in a mechanic shop, she was excited, full of crazy dreams that drove the mechanics ever forward. All of Paris was suddenly her kingdom.

But now she was getting on her nerves, just like the other mechanics. She liked to work alone, with her drawings and clockwork.

"Overwhelmed by your thoughts again?"

Leaning on the nearest street lamp was none other than her best friend and colleague from the workshop Alexei. He walked towards her and Deinne just had to grin. He was tall and pencil-thin, with crazy red hair sticking out in all directions and freckles all over his face. He looked like a circus performer, and not a member of respectable society.


Oooh well its an interesting moment there, having that little reverie of sorts get broken up by a bit of a surprise visit by a friend or more like randomly running into said friend at any rate.

"Not at all," replied Deinne. It was a lie, and she was sure that he knows it.

,,But yes. Whenever you think about something too much, you put on this weird expression. It's like you swallowed something bitter and you weren't sure if you liked it or not."

"I understand now why you ended up in the mechanic shop," Deinne commented.

Confusion spread over Alexei's face for a moment, and he raised one eyebrow questioningly.

"Because you'd make a terrible poet," she told him. "And by the way, are you here for a reason, or did you just think it was time to be a full-time comedian."


Oooh Deinne's got some comebacks there. Love that feistiness. It looks like the two of them have a decent bit of history too judging by that. I think this will be quite an intriguing relationship going forward.

Alexey shut himself up comically offended. He pursed his lips, crossed his arms over his chest, and acted like a wet puppy. "If you are interested, we have a task. You know, mechanical things..."

"I'm listening," she interrupted him. Curiosity and excitement ran through her for the first time in a very long time.

"That's good, since we're going straight to the railway station. Our train is leaving for London."


Oooh setting off on a bit of an adventure it would appear. Now that is quite the moment to end on there. Love the little lead up to it with the offer and then the immediate choice there. It seems set to be quite a fun adventure.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall I think this has shaped itself really nicely here for a first part here just building up a solid character and a solid setting an now establishing a lovely bit of motivation at the end to move it all forward. Quite nicely done.

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Kate




AnotherCrowInRow says...


Hi! Sorry for the late reply - thank you for this review! I'm glad you're enjoying the story so far, and your review really made me happy. Have a nice rest of the day/night/whatever!



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Thu May 23, 2024 8:11 am
khushi17bansal wrote a review...



Hi!!


Dropping in for a quick review here! I would like to start out by saying that I quite enjoyed reading this first chapter of yours. It's a very intriguing and captivating start.

However, there are a few things I would like to point out.

Paris was the city in which it lived.


Here, I'm confused as to what exactly 'it' is.



When Deinne was little, she always wanted to know what they were talking about. She saw them arrive in steam-powered carriages, in suits and top hats. She particularly liked that the female members of the Order wore them as well - it was twelve years ago when dresses were still considered as only acceptable women's clothing.


I feel like the tense needs to be changed here, it's quite far back in the past so, past perfect suits it better.

"When Deinne was little, she had always wanted to know what they were talking about. She had seen them arrive in steam-powered carriages, in suits and top hats. She had particularly liked that the female members of the Order wore them as well - it was twelve years ago when dresses were still considered as only acceptable women's clothing."



Then you have said,

However, the technological boom planned something else, and when machines and not always controllable prototypes of vehicles began to move all over Paris - which somehow became the second capital of mechanical technology - it was important to be able to jump quickly out of the way.


This line confuses me, What was planned initially that was disrupted by the technological boom? This is quite an abrupt shift from Dienne musing about her childhood and the mechanic Eiffel, and I feel like there is no context, so this entire passage perplexes me. Especially since the next passage again jumps to Dienne's musings and her life.



Her shoes clattered on the tiles, and the sound carried through the entire hallway.


'Hallway' is the wrong word to use here, Hallway means, a long passage with doors into rooms on both sides of it., since Dienne is in the street you could replace this word with something more accurate like, street, lane, alley etc.



It was a lie, and she was sure that he knows it.


Little problem with tense here again, 'was' will past tense, while 'knows' will be present, therefore the sentence should be,

"It was a lie, and she was sure that he knew it.



Now, I want to address the dialogue part of the story. When you look at the setting, it's Paris in what seems to be around the 1750's which is the time of the Industrial Revolution. This era is culturally very different from our current time, which is why the dialogue, or more accurately the way Dienne and Alexei speak, jars a little.

Their language it too modern and casual.

But yes. Whenever you think about something too much, you put on this weird expression. It's like you swallowed something bitter and you weren't sure if you liked it or not."



Perhaps this can be rewritten - just a suggestion - like this,

"But yes. Whenever you think about something too much, you end up with this strange expression on your face. As if you swallowed something bitter and were not sure whether you liked it or not."


"And by the way, are you here for a reason, or did you just think it was time to be a full-time comedian."


This can be made - again, just a suggestion,

"Are you here for a reason, or did you feel like playing a full-time comedian?"

Changing the dialogue to something a little more formal or Victorian will really help make the story a touch more realistic. This coupled with, perhaps, a little more description of Paris, the way it was at that time period will really just elevate your story to another level.


Overall, I think your story is wonderful, I find the setting and the idea of the protagonist being a young female mechanic in patriarchal Paris very refreshing and original. It has amazing potential and I'm waiting for further installments!

I know I have been a little critical in this review, but please don't be discouraged and please don't take it the wrong way, I'm just trying to get across what I felt while reading this installment with the best of intentions.

Everything expressed in my opinion, accept or reject whatever you want.


Take care!

--KB




AnotherCrowInRow says...


Hi! Thanks for your comments, and yes, I'll probably have to spend more time on grammar (I'm not a native English speaker and I have to put a lot of things willy-nilly through different translators, which unfortunately often make stupid mistakes). And yes, unfortunately, it is not always easy to find a dictionary of historical English. But many of the things you pointed out cannot be changed, since the story takes place in a completely alternative reality, where the big "date timeline" has simply shifted. As the story continues, it is possible that there will be more comments, so I prefer to say it in advance. Anyway, I am very grateful for this review! Thanks for pointing out the grammar issues (Google Translate and other translators often make the mistake of translating sentences from one language to another word for word, whic just does not works right most of the time). So, thank you for your time and have a nice day/night/whatever!
(I hope that there are not too much of errors in this comment, as I said - Google Translate is sometimes really stupid. Of course, I'm trying to blame some of the mistakes I made on it - it's primarily my responsibility to make the text as good as it is possible for publication)



khushi17bansal says...


I'm glad you found my review helpful, feel free to reach out if you ever need any help with grammar.




Stop being mean to your self-insert character, you're just being mean to yourself.
— WeepingWisteria