amanda_denney_writes

United States

16yo aspiring author of Sweepings of the Street, an Industrial Revolution novel, and other short stories/writing pieces.

Message to Readers

Exposition, dialogue, beginnings, anything you think it needs.

Excerpt from Chapter 1: "The Factory" (Sweepings of the Street)

August 12, 2020

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Monday, 16 September 1816
Sarah ran her fingers through her matted blonde hair and pulled on the rusty metal lever with both blistered hands. The lever and dozens of others connected to a grotesque assortment of gears, ratchets and rollers that spanned the factory floor. The power loom was a quicker way, so she was told, to manufacture large amounts of fabric at once. All the same, Sarah wished that it had never been invented.
Had the machine not taken possession of the domestic weaving industry six months before, Sarah’s mother would still be sitting at her own loom, her fingers flying over the beautiful handmade cloth, preparing to sell the fabric at the market the next day. Her father and Thomas would still return from the fields of Norfolk every evening with enough energy to eat dinner with their family without falling asleep. Sarah would still be at home helping her mother weave, reading to Abigail or performing household chores. Instead, she found herself working twelve hours a day, moving levers and tools until her arms ached, in a cramped London factory. 
“Star,” said a familiar voice. A smile spread across Sarah’s face at the sound of her childhood nickname, and she turned to face her brother. At fifteen, three years Sarah’s elder, Thomas Lee was tall and lean, his muscular build from lifting heavy loads giving way to the thin look of malnourishment. His round face was pale and studded with pimples. Sweat had plastered his blond bangs against his forehead, and he staggered under the weight of the three boxes of heavy tools in his arms. Thomas hoisted the boxes higher and flashed Sarah a lopsided grin. 
“How do you do?” he asked, raising his voice above the clamor of the workers and the whirring of the machine. 
“Well, I suppose,” said Sarah, neglecting the levers for a moment to flex her stiff fingers. “My hands are a bit sore, but I’ll be fine.”
Thomas was about to reply when a large man passed behind him. Sarah gestured towards him, and Thomas turned to face the overseer of the factory. He carried a cane, which Sarah knew was not for his own use, but to keep workers in line. 
“Get back to work, the both of you,” he snapped, brandishing the cane. Sarah had braced herself for the smack of the wooden cane against her calves, but it stung nonetheless. She saw Thomas stumble as the cane struck his knees and glanced aside to ensure that he was unhurt, then returned to her task. 
As she often did during long days at the factory, Sarah began to sink into a mindless pattern. Minutes stretched into hours. The room’s sweltering heat and the noise from the loom faded until her only sensation was the cold metal of the levers against her hands. 
This is part of the first scene of my novel, Sweepings of the Street, which takes place in London in 1816-1817. I'll be posting excerpts without spoilers. If you want to read the full novel, which is in the editing stage, please leave a comment and I can send you a Google Docs link. Enjoy! 

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  • August 12, 2020 - 5:58pm (Now Viewing)

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