The early hours spent in the apothecary were the most peaceful times Piper could recall. Warm rays of sunlight shone through the stained glass windows onto the shelves of herbs. No one would come in at these hours, most of the city was still within their homes. Some nobles may even be sleeping.
“Mint, darling. Don’t forget the mint.” The elderly voice roused Piper from his thoughts as his fingers trailed over the dusty surfaces of the apothecary jars. He glanced up at the old woman for a moment before turning his renewed attention to the faded parchment labels on each jar.
“Don’t worry Ruth, I’d never dream of forgetting the mint.” He assured her, opening the jar and taking out a few dried leaves to add to the small collection of herbs on top of the knotty wooden table.
The elderly woman hobbled over as he dropped the leaves into a small wooden bowl. She inspected the contents of a bowl briefly before nodding in satisfaction.
“Cast the spell now, we’re running a bit late today.” She advised, mumbling under her breath as she returned to her corner beside the large window and pulled the worn curtains to make sure no passerby could see into the shop.
- Add smell to your descriptions :) Since we are in an apothecary, that was easy to do ;)
- I loved your description of the apothecary, but no pharmacist ever would built shelves so that the sun shines on their herbs (store in a cool, dry place, away from light) I know, I can be really annoying ;)
- “Roused from his thoughts” is a sudden thing that cannot quite happen while fingers are trailing. One action is deliberate and lingering, the other sudden and brief. I don’t think “as” is the best connector between these two sentences.
- Every word counts! You already said it was peaceful, you don’t have to repeat that no one is around. You’ll notice I moved the idea of the city waking up at the very beginning. I found it helped setting the stage. In general, the fewer words you can use to get an idea across, the better ;)
- I don’t know if the renewed attention on the faded labels adds much. I took it out because it seemed to fragment the dialogue a bit much. Since I liked the faded labels I moved it above to complement your description
- You already established that Ruth is elderly. I would call her by name to help the readers remember who she is.
- First you have the herbs onto the knotty wooden counter, than in a bowl. Though the images are not clashing, it’s like suddenly having a bowl popping on the counter for the reader
- Watch your adverbs! Did she “inspect briefly” or did she “glance”? Most adverbs can be replaced by using better verbs
- You don’t need to start a new line every time someone talks. If you are talking about Ruth and she speaks you don’t need to change line. This also helps you avoiding all the “she advised” “he assured” etc, which sound forced. Limit this type of verbs. Sometimes it’s better to just use “he/she said” when you really need it. (A different verb once in a while is good, but don’t overdo it!)
The early hours spent in the apothecary were the most peaceful Piper could recall. The city was barely rousing, and warm rays of sunlight shone through the stained glass windows, carving colorful patterns onto the counter. The fragrance of lavender, echinacea, and other medical herbs saturated the air. Piper trailed his fingers over the dusty surfaces of the apothecary jars, smoothing the corners of their faded parchment labels.
“Mint, darling. Don’t forget the mint!” The elderly voice startled him.
“Don’t worry Ruth, I’d never dream of forgetting the mint.” He assured her, taking out a few dried leaves to add to the small collection of herbs in the bowl on the knotty wooden counter.
Ruth hobbled over and glanced at the concoction before nodding in satisfaction.“Cast the spell now, we’re running a bit late today.” She returned to her corner beside the large window and pulled the worn curtains to make sure no passerby could see into the shop.
Who am I to give you advice?
I am the very short, Italian born author of the Italian Saga (#TIS)
…an irreverent series taking place in Italy and speaking of love, sadness, sex, and happiness with a healthy dose of humor <3
FYI: The books are recommended for anyone 13 and above, but most of my readers are adults.