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Absit Invidia

by JennTay


Chapter 2Doom loiters. This land holds it. Our fate is in its control. On my palms you can see a story, just by the looks of them. Not a pleasant story at all. My palms are damaged by survival and near death experiences. Its been months and I feel I’ve been here twenty years. To think I’m only eighteen and my life is under the control of an island, diminutive but intimidating. No human life exists besides my sister and my own…as far as we‘ve discovered. It all feels like an ongoing nightmare; every day I wake up and have to deal with the fact that this is real. All too real.

When we hike I always stagger behind Amora. How she’s changed. In my mind I compare her beautiful roll model image as princess, with silken ebony hair styled up, to her now still beautiful, but wearied figure. I would do anything to see her back to normal again. To see her happy. On this island we are encircled in a land with no real escape. This is where we were left by the Cunctipotens. Everything we’ve ever had has been taken right from our fingertips; taken by them. Not that it matters now though. All we’ve got to worry about is staying alive. Terra Incognita is our unwelcoming home; a complex unpredictable place. Its laborious just searching for edible food and potable water. And around every corner we face is something new and inevitably dangerous, though I don’t mind that so much. Our worst enemy made here has oddly enough been the weather. No matter what season it is, it will choose a forecast that will burden us most inconveniently.

As of now, we rest on the slope of a mountain central of the island. The vegetation proofs more human-safe and therefore more liveable (though not by much) so this is where we‘ve been staying. It is a challenge to set up camp because nocturnal animals are more common here. We sleep in turns. I usually offer to stay up first, because lately I’ve been haunted by these miserable dreams of back home when we were attacked. Presently night is upon us and my sister rests deeply in her slumber. To entertain myself I chew on a portion of chicle and shave a spear end. Many times I gaze upon the myriad of stars, create new constellations and remember old ones. I search for the ones my father would show me and recall their myths and Latin names. It fascinates me how they connect the names to the story. This is how I pass my time. In a world like this, imagination is all you got to endure some days. Imagine life as a star, seeing the world from above, in the darkness of night when everything is so different. Its thoughts like that that can make life in a world like this slightly more bearable, because it’s a moment when you body is here, but your mind and soul is at peace somewhere eternally serene. It’s the only form of escape I’ve discovered off this forsaken land. Without it, I don’t know what I’d do.


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74 Reviews


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Tue Nov 19, 2013 4:05 pm
Omi1 wrote a review...



I absolutely love the introduction. It is really captivating and just makes me want to read more. The use of short sentences is well done and it helps to set the tone. But before you move on to what the main character was doing/thinking, you should establish a setting. Setting will expound on the mood you've created. It is needed to tell your audience what is so interesting about this place.

"roll model" should be "role model". There are a few words like this that are out of place or incorrect that you may want to consider revising.

"I would do anything to see her back to normal again. To see her happy." Again, I like the use of short sentences, but don't overdo it. This statement here could easily be condensed to "I would do anything to see her happy again." Not that it needs it, but the phrase "back to normal again" doesn't sound very literate and in a way it makes your story targeted more for a younger audience.

"Cunctipotens" ...can't say I know how to pronounce this, but it looks cool. :) Same with this: "Terra Incognita", "Absit Invidia". You've got a great imagination for names, this is definitely one of your strongest points.

"And around every corner we face is something new and inevitably dangerous" I would get rid of the "is" to make it slightly less wordy.

"To entertain myself I chew on a portion of chicle and shave a spear end. Many times I gaze upon the myriad of stars, create new constellations and remember old ones." I love this! The vocabulary is awesome and so nicely put that I can just imagine this scene so vividly in my mind. And the paragraph only gets better. :) It's so much like you, though...stars, constellations, latin... I love it.



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JennTay says...


Thank you Omi:)



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Mon Nov 18, 2013 7:55 pm
EloquentDragon wrote a review...



ED here to review.

Without further ado:

Spoiler! :
Chapter 2Doom loiters.


Eh... what? Make sure you check your line spacing there. I had to read this a couple of times before I realized what it was. xD

Now, "doom" does not really seem to fit with the word "loiters." It's unusual, but that's probably because it doesn't really fit. Especially when combined with the following sentences. Re-think the word choice here.

just by the looks of them.


Well, if you're "looking" at them, then this sentence here is obvious and redundant. You can cut it out painlessly, without losing any part of the story. Look for phrases and sentences like these that only serve to take up space, serving no purpose. Clarity is key. Generally, you want to be a succinct as possible. Be brutal in weeding out useless words.

My palms are damaged by survival and near death experiences.


That would be "have been," not "are," unless the wounds haven't healed yet.

Another thing here is show, don't tell. Describe what, exactly, a "damaged palm" looks like. Don't go overboard on the details, but do be visual in your descriptions.

Its been months and I feel I’ve been here twenty years.


Been where? Also, "it's" as in, "it has" not "its." Watch those contractions, they can be tricky. Try not to there us into a vague setting in a jarring manner like this. Introduce us to the world you have created. Readers like surprises, but they also don't like it when you withhold information or when they feel like they're getting cheated.

To think I’m only eighteen and my life is under the control of an island, diminutive but intimidating.


How can an island control a person? Maybe you mean the institution on an island, the pressure of survival, or something else. This wouldn't work. And if the control is "diminuitive" then I don't really see what the problem would be to start with. Again, re-think word choice.

No human life exists besides my sister and my own…


And me, not "my own." It might help to go over what you have wrote and read it out loud. You'll catch a lot of things you would have missed otherwise.

On this island we are encircled in a land with no real escape. This is where we were left by the Cunctipotens. Everything we’ve ever had has been taken right from our fingertips; taken by them. Not that it matters now though. All we’ve got to worry about is staying alive. Terra Incognita is our unwelcoming home; a complex unpredictable place. Its laborious just searching for edible food and potable water. And around every corner we face is something new and inevitably dangerous, though I don’t mind that so much. Our worst enemy made here has oddly enough been the weather. No matter what season it is, it will choose a forecast that will burden us most inconveniently.


Okay, remember what I said earlier about showing, not telling? Everything here is passive: it's over, she's still alive. It's bland. How much more exciting would it be to SHOW them hiking through the woods, looking for food and potable water? Show their fear, their on-edge nerves, their every living moment hanging in the balance. You need to create suspense here. Telling us doesn't do anything for us. It's called dumping information on the reader. Try to infuse the story with bits and pieces of exposition. We like to use or brains, figuring out things slowly. We don't need or want to be told everything all at once.

The vegetation proofs more human-safe


"Prooves," the verb not "proofs," a noun.

To entertain myself I chew on a portion of chicle and shave a spear end. Many times I gaze upon the myriad of stars, create new constellations and remember old ones. I search for the ones my father would show me and recall their myths and Latin names.


So, refer to my earlier note on setting here. Especially in fantasy, you need to reveal the world you have created to your readers slowly. But still, you do need to establish it. Throwing in random details out of place without properly setting up the story is jarring and confusing to the reader. Is this in modern times? Ancient times? They're on our world right? Etc. Make sure you set up the setting before you start adding details specific to your story world.


Overall, you need to slow down. Remember to show, not tell. This whole thing here flees by way to fast. It's called pacing. You need to set-up the, well, setting, introduce the major characters, and give them an immediate problem so that you establish a connection to the reader. Why should we care about them? What makes this story different than the rest?

Not sure what you're premise is here, but it looks like you have some interesting ideas. Keep writing, and good luck!

~ED

P.s., interesting title. "Without envy." It can also mean "proud" though. Not sure why you picked the Latin though. ;)



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JennTay says...


thank you so much, this has been very very helpful. i will be sure to work on those weak spots ;)



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Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:41 am
Frosting wrote a review...



Amazing! Aside from a few grammatical mistakes, I liked it.
Now down to le business.

First off, you had a lot of grammar mistakes. You should probably spell check next time, and if there's a punctuation check with whatever client you use, do that too.

Second, it's kind of short. Sure, it has a lot of sentences, but almost no quotes, and it barely fills the page. It definitely gave me room to think, but I wanted to hear them speak more. At all, even. I liked the storyline though, continue it.

Maybe in the next one, get some advice from a fellow author. That's whatever I do when I'm not sure. This is just some advice, hope it helped!

-Frosting



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JennTay says...


Thanks so much for the advise, I appreciate it:) yeah I know its short, it is actually a piece of a chapter, I guess I should have posted more:)



Frosting says...


No problem. I'm about to post an uber long forum, if you could give me some advice too! Cx


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JennTay says...


Awesome! will do:)




We do have funerals for the living. They're called birthday parties.
— Jill Biden (fictitiously), Hope Never Dies