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the first 1000 words of ma second book

by Jyva

The story continues

There are four characters.

The first is a girl. She seeks vengeance.

The second is a man. He seeks peace.

The third is a woman. She seeks justice.

The last seeks freedom.

Chapter 1

Friday, April 16, 1805.


It was happening.

James had woken up early, earlier than he’d wanted to, unable to stay asleep. Hours of waiting in the dark, thinking, worrying, wondering. When Josephine got up they’d hugged and walked out to meet the future together. The Crows slowly filed into the weapons training area, one by one, steely-eyed. Nathaniel gave them a speech, and when he was done a united roar had filled the factory. Every man, woman, and even some children had taken weapons from the racks. Evelyn gave Josephine a tense look, him a small nod. Then it was time to go outside.

They started out as a small crowd – the fifty or so Crows from the factory, marching over rain-drenched cobbles towards Newgate Prison. People left their homes and joined them, wielding sabres and knives and torches, wearing grey shirts and tattered rags. Chanting began from a lone voice within the crowd. Freedom. Others opened their mouths too. Freedom. The sound grew, echoing throughout the streets, and Whitechapel heard the call. Freedom. The small trickle of people turned into a flood, and the waters gushed down the roads and thoroughfares, crashing around the corners. Freedom. The chant became a cacophony. Freedom. Freedom. Freedom. Hundreds of hateful eyes and shouting mouths, all united.

In the midst of it all, James was jostled forward, Josephine desperately trying to stay with him.

Have I done the right thing?

Could things be different?

Those words echoed in his head as they marched on, but in his heart James knew wondering was fruitless. The die had already been cast. Many of the living, breathing, fighting people around him were going to die today, that much was for certain.

“Hey.” Josephine, beside him, leaning in close to be heard over the chanting. “You are making that face again.” James glanced at her, uncomprehending. “Your thinking face,” she said.

“Oh – uh-”

“Don’t think, James. Not right now. Right now, you need to be here.”

Wordlessly, he nodded, forcing himself to look up. Ahead was Newgate, its stone walls standing over the city. In the windows, weak morning sunlight glinted off bayonets. For the last ten minutes his heart had been drumming away, slowly getting faster, and now it rolled into a crescendo as the Crows stopped near the walls – close enough to be heard, far enough to be out of range. James watched in a sort of surreal daze as Nathaniel Ainsworth came forward, a sabre and pistol in his hands.

“Time for us to move,” Josephine whispered. When James didn’t register what she’d said she took his hand and guided him through the crowd, to the far back where they’d be safe and unnoticed.

“How many soldiers does London have?” Josephine asked, looking back up at the prison.

“Most of the army’s deployed on the European mainland,” James murmured. “There’s only ten thousand in London, I think. Some would’ve defected to the Crows. The rest would all be here.”



“Should be enough. It looks like there is only a few hundred here.”

Should be enough. She was talking about the waiting deaths of hundreds of people like it was nothing.

Stop being so soft.

“Yeah,” James said. “Should be.”

At the head of the crowd, Nathaniel turned to face his soldiers. Over the innumerable heads of waiting Crows, James could see some men on horseback, sabres raised high. Defected cavalrymen? Trained horses were not something you could just come by.

“London!” Nathaniel shouted, and the crowd shouted back in response, incoherent yells of anger and pride and rebellion.

“Today is the day we win back our lives!”

More deafening cheering. James tried to block it out, knowing Nathaniel’s words were treasonous but wanting to hear them nonetheless. Nathaniel’s voice lowered and Whitechapel followed suit to hear him, every man, woman and child falling unnervingly silent.

“We have waited a long time for this. Years of the toffs working us to the bone, paying us nothing, and spitting in our faces.”

Cheering. Like him, Josephine was quiet, her eyes not wavering from Nathaniel’s flushed face.

“Years of being stepped on, years of being treated like rubbish, years of asking why and getting no answer.”

More cheering. Nathaniel’s tone rose up again into a furious roar.


The Crows rose with him, cheering and whooping and clapping, stomping their feet.


And now the noise began to swell, getting louder and louder until it threatened to burst James’ ears.


Nathaniel’s sabre went in the air and so did the Crows’, moving as one. The chant began again. Freedom. Freedom. Freedom.


Still people were pouring in from every corner of the city, gathering around the prison. They were more than just a few hundred by now, surely. James closed his eyes.


Freedom. The word was shouted out by a thousand furious mouths speaking as one, echoing throughout the city, making sure it was heard. At the front, he could see Richard standing by his leader, shouting just as angrily as the rest, holding his trademark musket aloft. Gerard was with him. Mark and Max Cobham, cheering together. Henri Boucher. Haines and Smith and Walter and Avery and Orwell. Dozens upon dozens of Crows that he’d met but never talked to, never even thought about. The noise reached its peak and James let go of a pent-up breath.

“This is almost like the Revolution,” Josephine said suddenly, pulling him out of his thoughts. “In France.”

“Almost?” he asked distantly.

“Except we had a lot more people. And our prison was a lot bigger.”

“Of course it was.”

“And the prison had…” the woman trailed off, looking at something to the side. James followed her gaze and froze.

Shining in the sun, being carted along by horses and men, rumbling as they went along. There was no doubt about it.

“…Cannons,” Josephine finished faintly.

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1013 Reviews

Points: 120232
Reviews: 1013

Thu Dec 29, 2016 3:05 am
alliyah wrote a review...

Interesting beginning you have here. Some things I noticed:

I thought the vague beginning of this piece actually worked in your favor. "It was happening" makes me confused, but also makes me want to read further. The italics at the beginning was also a unique choice - but I thought it worked, and gave the opening a certain amount of drama.

Spelling & Grammar
You use a lot of fragment sentences - this can get distracting at times, but not the worst thing in the world. I would be careful with them, while a few might be stylistically necessary, overusing causes confusion and looks like a lack of editing.
(ex: par 1 "Hours of waiting in the dark, thinking, worrying, wondering." <- fragment)

("Cheering. Like him, Josephine was quiet, her eyes not wavering from Nathaniel’s flushed face." <- Why did you include the word "cheering" as it's own sentence, you do this several times. I would say "the crowed cheered" or "amidst cheering in the distance,....")

There were a few spelling issues, you may want to take a double check at some of the grammar along the way.
In par.1 "When Josephine got up they’d hugged" the apostrophe "d" after "they" is unnecessary. It should just read: "they hugged".

Is Whitechapel a name or a person? Is Newgate a town? You should make this a bit clearer, since these are such odd names.

The use of italics throughout the piece seemed somewhat random. The all caps was similaraly distracting and seemed random as well. I would opt for using the word "shouted" or an explanation mark rather than all capital letters.

I think you do a good job keeping your word choice and sentence structure dramatic and direct. Be careful that the details that you use don't detract or distract from the action of the plot. For instance the detail that the crows are "steely-eyed" makes me wonder how the people saw the crow's eyes - it's a bit odd in that context.

In other contexts, I'd like to see a little more detail. For instance in the first paragraph when Nathaniel gives a speech - what was it about, can you paraphraze it or show some dialogue?

Whenever possible avoid using the word "things" - for instance, "Have I done the right thing?
Could things be different?" <- this is very vague, and distracts from the drama of both sentences.

A few places had odd phrasing, try re-reading your piece aloud to catch this. For instance: "Those words echoed in his head as they marched on, but in his heart James knew wondering was fruitless." <- This is just an odd sentence, there's just too many words muddling up the point of the sentence, if that makes sense.

Here's another place of odd phrasing for me: "incoherent yells of anger and pride and rebellion." <- if something is incoherent, you can't sort our the anger, pride, rebellion - I like those descriptors, but maybe you could change incoherent to cacophonous or discordant or indistinct or indistinguishable.

There were some places that I got lost between the dialogue in who was speaking.

Make sure when you refer to "they" or "them" that it is absolutely clear who you are referring to. You introduce so many characters within the first few sentences - with little description for the reader to sort them out, it makes it pretty unclear or hard to follow at times. I understand why you might want to get all of the characters out there right away, but it may be more effective to introduce them more slowly. Start with one character, give the reader some descriptions to latch onto & relate to, then add another character - do the same thing, then add another.

Par 3. "Many of the living, breathing, fighting people around him were going to die today, that much was for certain." This was an odd description for me. "breathing" and "living" are redundant, and they aren't quite "fighting" yet.

Overall you did a good job on focusing on the action of the piece - it's interesting so far, but very vague. I don't understand who the Crows are, or why there's conflict and war. I don't understand any of the character's emotions or motivations or relationships. (Granted, this is just the first chunk, so I'm sure that will all come throughout the rest of the piece). Generally I felt I could follow along with the action, but the characters at this point were almost indistinguishable from each other. The first paragraph and then the paragraph with Haines & Smith were just "name dumps" you just listed so many people, with so little discription, it was hard to get much from it. I would add more description, to the people, or leave them unnamed at this point.

You have an excellent and intriguing start. While there were a few areas I was confused about, generally the spelling, word choice, & grammar were pretty clear.


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377 Reviews

Points: 119
Reviews: 377

Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:34 am
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Snazzy wrote a review...


First off, I must ask, have you ever read Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys? She wrote in a similar style, and I must say, I really do like it! (The way you introduced the characters in the beginning.) Well done! (Now all you have to do is put your own spin on it!)

There are only a couple of grammar mistakes, but they really don't detract from the overall story, and since this is a first draft (right), or at least in the first stages, they can easily be fixed later. I'll try to focus this review more on things I think felt off to me in the entire story line and characters and such.

The first actual dialogue in this seems out of place to me, almost unreasonable. Here they are, in the middle of a mob for freedom, and Josephine is commenting on how James is making his "thinking face" again. To me, that makes the emotion of the story drop off sharply - from wild and dramatic, to calm and reminiscent-like. Could just be me, but as a reader, it distracted me from the what should've been (and was till that point) a fast-paced drama filled action scene.

James seems like a controversial character. He rushed out into all of this with Josephine, but I'm getting the sense he's having major doubts about the entire thing. If this is what is intended, then fine (although I would make his doubts just a teeny bit smaller than what they were in this), but if this wasn't your intention, I would either have him go one way or another. (Either he's being forced to do this against his own will, or he wants to do this full-heartedly.)

Also, I'm confused at which person this is. If I were you, I would make the first chapter about the first person, the second about the second, and so on -- or at least specify which character each chapter is about so we know. Right now I'm thinking it's the second or last person, but I'm not positive.

Other than that, I really enjoyed this! Fabulous ending, by the way! You really kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time! Fantastic job, and do keep writing!

~Snazz Pizzazz
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