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E - Everyone

chapter one - title undecided

by saraleone

Hey! Beth baby I know you're daddy ain't tell me this shipment was coming in! Ooh Oh he is gonna get it. If all this china has to be clean by tonight I might need you to help me sugar." Phillis chuckles.

I sit in the dining room staring out the window at the large shipment of enslaved negros boarding the dock of our private harbor. Chains and shackles weaved through them like barbed wired fences.

"Did my father neglect to inform you of the auction?" I stand up and try to wash my plate in the sink but am shooed away by Phillis our house maid, however I would recognize her as my non biological mother.

Phillis has been there since birth, she was my mothers first maid. When my mother got ill she made sure my father knew that he was not to marry again and have another lady raise me,

She wanted Phillis and only Phillis.

My father and Phillis developed a solid relationship. He taught her how to read, write, and of course bath and groom properly.

They became great friends, and my father a proud slave owner has not treated Phillis with any less respect then he would treat me.

My father walks through the double french doors with a look of disappointment on his face.

He starts, "Did I not-oh no"

"Yeah you better be sayin oh no and wipe that sly look off that baby face of yours Mr. Wheeler."

My father chuckles, "Phillis how many times have I told you to call me Thomas? And do not worry, I'll push the auction back a day. Not all the state men are in for the bidding any how. I am truly sorry I forgot to inform you of this event."

he walks away and but then looks back behind the corner, "You must forgive me".

She gives him a slight smile and says, "I always do, don't I?"

I am truly grateful that they have a genuine relationship. My father is by no means a bad man. Even though we own slaves, he still treats them with respect. He offers them Sunday's off, and feeds them lunches on Wednesday.

After breakfast I walked into my bedroom and on my freshly made bed laid an outfit picked out by my first maid Cecilia.

It was a baby blue gown with a round top hat and my favorite silk bow.

Cecilia knocked on the door and I called her in, "I hope you are fond of the gown I picked out" she hesitates. I speak softly, "Of course everything you lay out for me is delightful. Do you mind lacing me up?" she begins lacing the corset.

After I am finished getting dressed, I meet my father out on the front garden, over looking the slave quarters.

Negros are still being transferred from this mornings shipment.

I see negros being tossed and turned, beaten and bruised. Mother and child being separated and thousands of them as thin as a stray horse.

I cannot help but shed a tear, I am appalled by the way they are treated by my fathers men that are sent to "handle" them.

"Bethy, I am sorry you are here to see this. I truly am, you understand this is not how we treat our slaves. For the auctions purpose, and the over load of negros we simply have to direct with force." He scratches his head and looks at me sincerely.

"Daddy this is sinister." I run off in despite, he calls after me but I dare not turn my head.

I run to the only spot on the plantation I feel truly contempt. A spot my mother had shown me.

At the age of five we walked along the slave quarters, through the woods and into this slight dip in earths surface.

four oak trees surrounded it creating a perfect square. Over the years I'd planted white rose bushes throughout the square.

My mothers favorite.

The only person that knew about this hide away was her and I.

It was as if it was my way of still feeling her presence.

When I was in distraught I came and talked to her.

After a while I started walking back there was only a few more hours of daylight left and I needed to be home for dinner.

I get to the edge of the woods not fully ready to come back to reality.

I look past the slave quarters and see a few of them walking and sitting, I did not pay that much attention. I continued walking.

I hear a faint call, "Miss! Miss! Hello?" I turn my head and see a black man waving my silk bow in his hand.

I run over to him, "Thank you kindly Sir." I smile.

Then soon realize, a black man,

speaking to me,

In English.

"Sir" I smile.

"If I may ask you, how is it that you speak English?"

He begins, "Well ma'am, my homeland is indeed Africa. I'm not sure if that was evident." I laugh, and he finishes. "However, you see I have been on a plantation like this very one. Your father takes good care of my people, he is known for that. My former master was a friend to me as well."

"How did you know I am the daughter of the plantation owner?" I say hesitantly.

"Well you aren't a negro are you?" he chuckles.

We both laugh for a minute and I say, "No I am not, Mr.-"

"Mr. Allen, Sam Allen." he kisses my hand, "and you, my lady?"

in an original setting I would never allow a negro to kiss my hand. However something about Sam Allen intrigued me. He made me want more.

"Bethany Wheeler, Mr. Allen" I say.

"Please. Call me Sam" he says.

Before I can reply he speaks again, "It's getting late, I would very much like to walk you to your home however we both know how that would end."

I smile politely, "It was a pleasure, Sam."

"The pleasure was all mine, Miss Wheeler" he says.

Before I could correct him he disappears, and I walk up to the house.

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Points: 190
Reviews: 3

Sun Jul 24, 2016 2:27 pm
KyrianAstaAzaray wrote a review...

This is incredibly written. It shows points that most slave stories do not. That slaves could be treated well. It also puts a sort of respect into the least respectable of times. I really enjoyed reading it because it put real emotions into it. I could feel here emotion. That helplessness at seeing the slaves treated like that. I really love it and i can't wait to read more!!

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641 Reviews

Points: 46598
Reviews: 641

Wed Jul 20, 2016 8:18 am
Panikos wrote a review...

Hi, Saraleone. Welcome to YWS. I'm Pan and I'll be reviewing your work today.

So, I get that this is a very early draft for the opening of your novel, so it's natural that there'll be quite a few flaws. Don't worry yourself about it - that's what reviewers are here for. You've got the base, you kept me reading - all you can do is improve.

I do have several concerns, however. Some of my critiques are more to do with technicalities - grammar, punctuation, that sort of stuff. Some are more to do with the sensitivity of the content, but I'll get to those later.

Hey! Beth baby I know you're daddy ain't tell me this shipment was coming in! Ooh Oh he is gonna get it. If all this china has to be clean by tonight I might need you to help me sugar." Phillis chuckles.

Dialogue is always a good way to begin your story because it gets you right into the meat of what's going on. Nevertheless, this opening line needs work. You forgot to include quotation marks at the beginning, so for a second I didn't know I was reading speech, and you definitely need to include commas where she addresses Beth directly. For example:

"Hey! Beth, baby, I know your daddy ain't tell me this shipment was coming in! Ooh, he is gonna get it. If all this china has to be clean by tonight I might need you to help me, sugar," Phillis chuckles.

The biggest struggle of writing dialogue is finding the balance between realism and readability. Actual spontaneous speech is full of false starts and weird rhythms, but we can't include these in written dialogue without it becoming impossible to read. In order to learn the general rules of how to write dialogue, I'd suggest that you pay close attention to how it is laid out in published books. You could also read this helpful YWS page about punctuation within dialogue.

You also consistently struggle with apostrophes.

she was my mothers first maid.

Negros are still being transferred from this mornings shipment.

My mothers favorite.

When indicating possession of something, you must always include an apostrophe before the 's'. Again, you can read this very helpful YWS article about where and where not to use apostrophes.

Nevertheless, these grammatical issues aren't my greatest concern for this chapter, as they will naturally be ironed out the more experience you get and reading you do. I'm more concerned with the content, realism, and how you intend to handle writing about such an unsettling subject.

For one, I'm a little troubled by the message you're putting across. The notion of Beth's father 'treating slaves well' sends up warning flags, because it seems like an attempt to excuse his dehumanising behaviour. He still owns and sells human beings, no matter how he acts to them personally - there is no good way to treat a person as your property. If you're going to have him act as a 'benevolent' slave owner, you must be prepared to address the fact that no amount of kind treatment can excuse the fact that he is exploiting human beings. Otherwise you step into the dangerous territory of claiming that slave ownership is fine so long as you treat them with some decency.

There's also the question of realism. Even if Beth's father treats his slaves with more decorum than most, I find it incredibly unlikely that he would ever treat them like members of the family. I also think it unlikely that a black man would ever attempt to charm the daughter of the man who had enslaved him - he'd be hostile to her, or at least afraid of talking to her for fear that he would be punished for it.

I know this may be a topic you truly want to write about, but it's one that you must research thoroughly if you are to do it justice. Dig up historic information, read about the lives of actual slaves, come to understand as best as you can how black people were treated in this period of history. You can't shy away from the horror of it, or you risk burying the reality of how dreadful slavery was. Write everything with an awareness of how divided society was at that time.

Hope this helped. PM me if you have any questions at all.
Keep writing! :D

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38 Reviews

Points: 2564
Reviews: 38

Wed Jul 20, 2016 7:18 am
Pinkratgirl wrote a review...

You should tone it down on the western slang. In some parts of the dialog the slang doesn’t even make sense.
“I sit in the dining room staring out the window at the large shipment of enslaved Negros boarding the dock of our private harbor.” Well that escalated quickly.
If she’s the maid she should not be asking for help. That is like the number one no-no for maids and butlers.
Wait so Phillis is a slave? You need to rewrite her dialog. It’s pretty stereotypical and racist. (I’m hoping you did not mean for it to sound like that.)
If she’s a slave she should not be on a first name basis with her owner.
No! Slave owners’ do not ask for forgiveness! That’s not how it works!
Where do they go on Sundays? Most places back then had rules about slaves entering their establishments.
More detail please!
She wouldn’t shed a tear. That type of stuff is an everyday occurrence back then.
Go into more detail about what she did in her secret spot. It was morning when she went there but almost night when she left. What was she doing for 12 hours?
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t refer to themselves at Negros. Negro is more of a racist nickname (from what I’ve heard.)
This story has potential but you need to do more research! (And I’m sorry if this review comes off as harsh.)
Happy Writing!

I'm effortlessly ironic.
— Link Neal