After taking two weeks off, hoping to gain a more objective view point, I've started reading through my first draft today. As of now, I'm halfway through, and I can honestly say that it's quite awful. The plot is all over the place, and I feel that the characters aren't developed nearly enough. The descriptions are especially bad, mostly do to the repetition of certain worlds (especially 'seemingly'), with it being one of the areas I struggle most in.
Also, it's quite boring in a lot of places. It takes place at a school (thankfully, it's just this book that does), but I hope it doesn't end up being as boring as school.
However, among all the tedium and plot points that I've since dropped, there are some moments I'm pleased with. Through writing this first draft, I've come up with a lot of ideas for characters, plot points, and future books; ideas which I never would've come up with had I not put words to paper. I like some of the dialogue I've written, especially in the later chapters.
Essentially, I hope that I can extract the best parts of my first draft, and filter out all the things that don't work. I intend to read through the rest of it tonight, after which I'll be going over my characters, and trying to establish them further.
I've been working on my first draft since late November, and I'm around halfway done at this point. It's incredibly clunky at this point, and is about as bare bones as a story can get, but I'm glad that I've at least gotten some work done. I was hoping to get some criticism for my writing, so I wanted to post a brief bit from one of my earlier chapters here. Any type of criticism is welcome, as I honestly want to improve, and I know my writing isn't at the level of a publishable book.
The Grecian countryside was quite beautiful this time of year. It was at this time that the goddess Persephone would return to the underworld, and her mother, the goddess Demeter, would cast the spell of autumn. The tree nymphs danced in celebration of their new colors, floating alongside the orange leaves of their trees.
At this very time, a train was just about to leave the station, heading to the port city of Athens; one of Greece’s most famous cities. Ever since the goddess Athena provide the gift of an olive tree to the citizens, Athens had stood as an example of the pinnacle of Greek culture. From the many great thinkers, to democracy, the city had certainly given much to the world.
Many people were boarding the train to this great city, including eleven-year-old Amelia Firth. The young girl let out a yawn, feeling more than a little tired after the many trains she’d already been on. Add that to a bit of nervousness at being this far away from home for the first time, and you had a girl who was coming of age, and containing a lot of conflicting emotions.
“One more train,” she told herself. “Then I can finally relax.”
As Amy waited for her cue to board, she eyed the station around her. It was rather simple, being in the middle of the countryside, with just a few benches, and a ticket station. There were also some altars to Hermes, the god of travelers, which Amy had made sure to leave an offering to.
“I hope the gods like cupcakes,” she thought.
Just then, a voice blared on the loudspeaker.
“The train to Athens will now be departing,” the voice said. “All passengers please board the train, and take your seats.”
Thankful that it was finally time to depart, Amy stood up from the bench, and grabbed her luggage. However, as she was getting in line, some rowdy kids bumped into her, knocking her off her feet, and causing her glasses to fall to the ground.
Managing to catch herself with her hands, Amy searched frantically for her glasses, hoping that someone wouldn’t step on them.
“Come on,” she told herself. “This would be so much easier if I could see.”
“Excuse me?” a feminine voice asked. “Are these yours?”
Amy turned in the direction of the voice, and saw a blurry figure holding what looked like her glasses.
“Yes,” Amy replied. “Thank you.”
Putting on her glasses, Amy got a better look at her helper. She was a teenage girl, at least a few years older than Amy. Strangely, her hair was sea blue, and wavy, with white tips; almost like waves with sea foam. What stood out more to Amy however were her eyes. They were also sea blue, but they seemed to ripple, making it rather strange to look right into them.
The girl also had a friendly smile, and held out her hand, offering to help Amy up. Amy accepted, and dusted off her coat.
“Are you okay, little girl?” the girl asked. “Those kids pushed you down pretty hard.”
Amy felt a bit embarrassed being called ‘little girl’, but ignored it.
“I’m fine, really,” Amy replied. “My glasses aren’t cracked, so it could’ve been worse. Anyways, that’s my train, so I should get going.”
“I’m heading on that train as well,” the girl said. “How about I help you on board? You can hold my hand if you want?”
“I’m not a little kid,” Amy replied. “I’m eleven, and I’ll be turning twelve soon.”
The girl looked surprised, her eyes widening, and her cheeks blushing.
“Oh my,” Galatea said. “I’m very sorry. It’s just cause you’re so small, I figured you were younger.”
Amy felt guilty for her response.
“It’s no problem,” she said. “I shouldn’t have responded like that. I’m just a bit tired from all the traveling I’ve been on.”
“I’ve been there before,” the girl replied. “Anyways, we should get on board. I doubt they’d be pleased if we held them up.”
Amy nodded and the two got in line, handing their tickets to the conductor as they boarded the train.
“I just realize that I haven’t asked your name yet,” the girl said. “I’m Galatea.”
“Amelia,” Amy replied.
“Well, Amelia, it looks like our seats are next to each other,” Galatea said. “I hope you don’t mind sitting next to me.”
“Why would it be a problem?”
Galatea giggled, and grinned at Amy.
“Why indeed,” Galatea said.
The two headed to their seats, with their backs practically sinking into the fabric. Amy couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of comfort, as she lay against the red plush.
“It’s comfortable, isn’t it?” Galatea asked.
“It’s like sitting on a giant pillow,” Amy replied. “Have you rode this train before?”
“I take it every time I make the trip to Athens,” Galatea said. “The ride is so smooth; not even the least bit bumpy. It’s also one of those newer models, with the enhanced ether engine, so we’ll probably be in Athens before nightfall.”
“That’s good to hear. “I’ve been traveling for days now.”
“I noticed your accent. Are you from Albion?”
“I am. I must have taken at least five different trains, plus a boat, just to get here.”
Galatea’s eyes beamed, as she leaned in closer to Amy. If her eyes weren’t rippling before, they certainly were now.
“What’s it like in Albion?” Galatea asked. “I’ve always wanted to visit.”
“There’s a lot less sunlight,” Amy replied. “It’s also a fair bit cooler.”
“You must see a lot of magic,” Galatea said. “Is it true that there are a lot of mages there?”
Amy was surprised by this question.
“It’s mostly older folks,” she replied. “Even then, they’re mostly in their little groups.”
“That’s a shame,” Galatea replied. “Anyways, what brings someone like you to Athens in the first place?”
“Studies,” Amy replied. “I got accepted into Athena’s School for Girls.”
“Really?” Galatea asked. “It would seem that you and me will be attending the same school.”
Athena’s School for Girls is a prestigious boarding school, founded in (insert year when figured out) for the purpose of giving girls the education that they often lacked. Supposedly, it was founded under the direct command of Athena, the goddess of wisdom, herself.
“You must be quite smart to qualify for that school?” Galatea said. “Your Greek is quite good, for a foreigner.”
“I’m certainly above average,” Amy said, in a somewhat humble brag. “I still have to focus so I don’t mince words.”
“If it’s easier, I know English,” Galatea said, switching languages seamlessly. “I also speak Latin, Coptic, and German.”
Amy was surprised by Galatea’s skill, and more than a little impressed. She spoke a second language so naturally, hardly like other people she’d met so far.
“No, we should keep speaking Greek,” Amy said. “I’ll have to get more used to speaking it, after all.”
“Very well,” Galatea replied. “I’d be honored to teach you.”
Galatea giggled, and Amy gave a slight laugh to, not wanting to look awkward. Amy then let out a yawn, her exhaustion finally catching up to her. Galatea noticed this.
“You should take a nap if you’re tired,” Galatea said. “Lunch isn’t for a few hours, and you don’t want to miss it. I can wake you up when it’s time.”
Amy felt her eyes getting heavier, with the soft seats doing a lot to contribute to this.
“I think I’ll take you up on that offer,” she said.
Shutting her eyes, Amy quickly drifted off to sleep. Her final thoughts before this were quite simple.
“Please don’t snore.”
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