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Helena - 1.1

by TheScribe, Euphoria8, LadyMysterio, sylrie


    Death is but a memory to me. It’s most of what I see nowadays all across Vienna and the world at large-- thousands of people in Needy Lines awaiting meals, rooms, supplies, all of them homeless during the long winter months. Many will die, and the rich will do nothing about it.

It’s not their fault that this is happening to them. Work is hard enough to come by, and so many would rather keep the wealth to themselves rather than share it.Some, like my husband, made bad investments by choosing locomotives over the airships. They’re broke.

We’re broke, really. After my Rísen died, his debt became mine. I’ve nearly paid it all off since then, but I still owe half a million star gears to the Wellington Company. A history professor on my salary would be lucky to pay that off in six months, let alone two weeks. At least there’s no interest--

“Professor Knight?”

My eyes opened, and I was drawn back into class. “Yes, Lucille?”

“The bell rang.”

I glanced at the ancient mantelpiece clock on my desk. “...so it has,” I said. “So sorry, children. Class dismissed!”

As the students rushed out of the room, I felt my shoulders slump and a sigh escaped my lips. That was the second time today I had missed the bell. Now, though, we had lunch, and thus there were no classes to dismiss. I sat in silence for a few minutes, wasting away part of my hour of freedom as best I could. I had little else to do, at any rate. Rare was the day that I’d eat three meals, and rarer still that I would eat at the Keep.

Ormshire Keep was my place of work. I have to date been a history professor and assistant dueling teacher for almost half a century. I had spent a decade here as a student, and before I became a teacher, I frequented the school’s library each Saturday. This school has been my life these past fifty-eight years, and my nine years before school now seem to be grim and bland.

I opened my eyes and turned my head towards the doorway before standing up. Maybe… just maybe… Professor Grandwatcher would be obliged to give me a sleeping draught. Just as I hardly ate. Sleeping was a rarity as well. I gave my empty classroom a quick but thorough glance before I stepped out into the hall. Withdrawing my wand from a pocket in my robes, I quietly muttered, “Guarlius,” moving it over the keyhole and locking my door.

I turned down the passageway, heading into the drafty stone stairwell, the tap-tap-tapping of my shoes on the steps echoing softly as I walked. The damp, chilled air was always a horrible consequence when going down to the lower levels-- Lenos and I had begged for the potions classroom to be moved to a higher floor for years-- but it was bearable compared to the horrid mines of Maugrym.

I reached the maple wood door that stood between myself and her classroom and silently wondered to myself whether or not i was bothering her. Mayhaps she had a student that needed additional work, or she was having a meaningful conversation with the Headmaster again. Shoving those thoughts aside, I lifted the iron handle and walked into her classroom.


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Fri Mar 05, 2021 8:58 pm
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starlitmind wrote a review...



HELLO I LOVE REVIEWING YOUR WORKS so I hope you don't mind me here! ^_^ I realized I never read this, and it's a collab, so it SOUNDS AWESOME!! I'll just get straight into it ^_^ (I didn't really read the other reviews, so I really hope I'm not repetitive!!)

Death is but a memory to me. It’s most of what I see nowadays all across Vienna and the world at large-- thousands of people in Needy Lines awaiting meals, rooms, supplies, all of them homeless during the long winter months. Many will die, and the rich will do nothing about it.


Ahh </3 what a heartbreaking image to start off on! The last sentence is blunt and painfully true, and already this paragraph sets up a bleak and hopeless atmosphere.

Also, maybe whoever wrote this part meant it in a different way than I'm about to interpret it xD but if death is so very common, wouldn't it not be a memory? instead, I feel like it should be something prominent. maybe something like "death doesn't faze me" or anything like that might work better? I don't know though xD just a thought!

It’s not their fault that this is happening to them. Work is hard enough to come by, and so many would rather keep the wealth to themselves rather than share it.Some, like my husband, made bad investments by choosing locomotives over the airships. They’re broke.


Ahh okay, so we are getting even more exposition here! Further setting up the bleak atmosphere and showing all of the things wrong happening in this area. Feels like we went back in time (except for the airships part omg I want to know more about that xD)

“Professor Knight?”


THAT'S A COOL LAST NAME, HELENA SOUNDS AWESOME HAHA

My eyes opened, and I was drawn back into class. “Yes, Lucille?”

“The bell rang.”


I think it would be cool if you could add some description here. When her eyes opened, what did she see? What was the classroom like? How about the boy who called her, what does he look like? That can help slow your chapter down and provide an easier transition from the flashback back to the present

I do agree with your other reviewer that the chapter may seem a bit info-dumpy xD I can understand though, because there are four of you, and it might be hard to organize your thoughts when there are four different brains flowing with thoughts and ideas. I just thought I'd point that out, so you could try to figure out the best way to introduce the material! ^_^

Just as I hardly ate. Sleeping was a rarity as well.


Was this meant to be one sentence, maybe?

Ormshire Keep was my place of work. I have to date been a history professor and assistant dueling teacher for almost half a century. I had spent a decade here as a student, and before I became a teacher, I frequented the school’s library each Saturday. This school has been my life these past fifty-eight years, and my nine years before school now seem to be grim and bland.


I think this paragraph in particular may be info-dumpy. Is there any other way you could introduce that she had been an assistant dueling teacher? Maybe she's cleaning her classroom and she finds something that she used to use as an assistant that brings back those memories, so you could subtly introduce the idea. Maybe you could have her putting away her library card and slip in that she goes/used to go a lot and that's why she carries it around everywhere. Just some thoughts for you to consider! ^_^

silently wondered to myself whether or not i was bothering her.


I felt this lol

Shoving those thoughts aside, I lifted the iron handle and walked into her classroom.


OOH, AND WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN THEIR CONVERSATION????

This was quite an interesting chapter! I'm not really sure what's going to happen, like what the plot or conflict is going to be, but maybe more will be revealed in a later chapter! And like Lib, I do hope her days get better and that you won't torture your character anymore than she already is xD It does seem like there's a lot on her mind; she missed the bell twice, so she must've been super deep in thought. It does seem like she's kind of stuck where she is in life right now, and everything is just the same old routine. Maybe she does need something exciting to happen, LIKE AN ADVENTURE!!!

I'm super impressed that you all wrote this chapter together, this is so neat and organized for so many writers! I don't know how you guys were able to do it, but I really admire you all xD I can't wait to see where this is taken!!

<33333




TheScribe says...


That opening line was mostly a "it's a memory to me because people close to me have died, but no one close to me has died recently." :P

I actually think that I was the only one that wrote the chapter, but we've all done a heck ton of worldbuilding together XD Lady M did character designs, Rie's done the airships & other tech, and Eu and I did some city-building and naming. Team effort! c:



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Sat Jan 02, 2021 6:38 am
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Liebensteiner wrote a review...



Hey Vil!

Back to bug you with another review. ^^ (Annnd real quick, this is the final part of the checklist challenge prizes. Apologies for the delay!)

(gosh I had the review but yws decide it looked tasty so ate the whole thing except for that top part so yay but anyways, I'll try my best to have this review be the exact same >.>)

Death is but a memory to me.

Ah I'm assuming that Helena (who I'm also assuming is the MC of this story and also the one who's narrating) is a ghost? Because she died, and it's just a memory. Or she could be saying it in a metaphorical sense. No idea xD

It’s most of what I see nowadays all across Vienna and the world at large-- thousands of people in Needy Lines awaiting meals, rooms, supplies, all of them homeless during the long winter months.

Oof that's tough :/ Also Vienna reminds me of the Vienna Plague which was in the, uhhh 1600s? I'm sorry, I'm not the best with history xD. So maybe she's in the middle of an ugly plague? Idk this story is giving me a historic vibe, but I could be wrong xD This is a fantasy/sci-fi story so who knows!

They’re broke.

rip

After my Rísen died, his debt became mine.

Wait. Isn't that the name you gave me in a pad once? -.- I wonder what it means...

“Professor Knight?”

Aha! I can now confirm that this is indeed Helena Knight! (because I saw the description box thingy :p)

That was the second time today I had missed the bell.

I'm genuinely wondering how loud this bell is, because the bell at my school could probably bring the dead back to life. But then again, this is a different school and most likely, a different bell. xD But how can someone miss a bell? Especially as a teacher?

Now, though, we had lunch,

"Now" and "though" together don't sound the very best, in my opinion. If you got rid of "though" (which I'm pretty sure is used as an alternative (or could be used with) "on the other hand"/other phrases like this, if y'know what I mean), I feel like it would sound a bit better!

I have to date been a history professor and assistant dueling teacher for almost half a century.

I'm going to be honest with you and admit that I didn't see the "been" in the beginning there and though for a second that Helena was being forced to date a history professor and an assistant dueling teacher. >.> Lesson of the day: don't forget your commas. xD

Just as I hardly ate. Sleeping was a rarity as well.

These two sentences don't sound right if they're not together. If the period is replaced with a comma, it would run much smoother. :)

Withdrawing my wand from a pocket in my robes, I quietly muttered, “Guarlius,” moving it over the keyhole and locking my door.

~~magic~~ Also where in the world did the word Guarlius come from?? :0 Very creative!

but it was bearable compared to the horrid mines of Maugrym.

Yay! Something to be appreciative about. ^^"

I reached the maple wood door that stood between myself and her classroom and silently wondered to myself whether or not i was bothering her.

"Silently wondered to myself" sounds a tad wordy, but you could only use wondered, which would sound much more better!

Ooh and so we enter Lenos' classroom!

~

This was an interesting chapter! I'm desperately hoping that Helena's days gets better as we walk through her story. Maybe something will happen to her and she'll realize to be more appreciative of things (if this is the forever state of her world). Or maybe something else will happen and this horrible state of her world will vanish! Either way, hopefully something good happens in poor Helena's life. ;-;

That's it for my review. Hopefully it helped somehow! Lemme know if you have any questions about it. ^^

Wishing you a singing, dancing good time <3

~Lib




TheScribe says...


Yay, my other review!!!!

Luckily, Helena is not dead, but with the issues in her world, part of her wishes that she wasn't. It was meant in a metaphorical sense because she has lost lots of friends and family members over the years, I jsut didn't want to say so directly.

This teacher has a lot on her mind XD

Oops XD No, she doesn't date at her age XD SORRY! XD

"Gaurlius" was derived from the word "guard," and then had some extra letters added to it c:

Assuming everything goes right and none of the four of us decide to add more horrors to her life, Helena will hopefully be very relieved very soon XD

Thanks for the review! <3





Oh wait I should probably tag the rest of you guys: @Euphoria8 @LadyMysterio @Riellehn

Great work on the chapter by the way! <3





Oh and your welcome! :)



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Sun Dec 27, 2020 7:12 pm
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MissGangamash wrote a review...



Happy Review Day! I saw this in the Green Room and first chapters are always great to review so here it goes!

Okay, this is incredibly bleak. I don't mind a bleak story. But be careful with plunging the reader straight into 'poor me, poor me, my life sucks, my life really sucks, did I mention that my life sucks?' territory. Because that can get boring VERY QUICKLY. I mean, who really wants to hear someone b**** and moan about their life all the time?

I'm confused by the first line. It's a great first line, but I don't get it in reference to the rest of the story? I thought maybe the character had died... and was brought back and was retelling her story or something? I dunno. Or is she just saying she's seen a lot of death?

The first half of this is also very info dumpy. I get that some info dumps are necessary but crossing info dumps with whining isn't a fun way to start a novel and keep your reader wanting more.

I do like that this is a fantasy story though. I didn't actually read the genre so the mentioning of her wand surprised me and also had me going 'oooooh okay then. Interesting.'

So, yeah, all in all. I can tell you've got a good grasp of the world you've built and I get that your character is sad (sad character's are perfectly fine) but give her something else. Some sort of drive. Again, this doesn't have to be shown right in the first chapter. I get that this is only the first couple of pages. But as a reader, I am bored of this character already, and if she is the sole POV, she really needs something else going for her.

Hope this doesn't come across as mean. The writing itself is great, I have nothing to critique about your writing style and pacing.

Hope this helps!




TheScribe says...


Ahh, yes, Helena is very bleak and sad and old ;-; But never fear! A plot is on the way, and it's coming soon! =D

All of us have done a lot of character & worldbuilding, so we can really feel out these characters. =P

THanks for the review! <3




Don't gobblefunk around with words.
— Roald Dahl