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Sentience

by Sassafras


This was the closet he'd ever been to the surface, and it frightened him more than the desolate, yet familiar ocean floor. A faint light shone through the murky water, and even that sparse amount made his eyes burn and turned his head sharply away, back towards the deep he was running from. He'd no recollection of how long he'd been traveling, no way of measuring time save the growling of his stomach, and no real care in confirming how long he'd been away from the small amount of “family” that still cared for him, or how close the hateful ones were to finding him. Reaching the surface had never been something he'd actively try to pursue, it was, instead, more of a distant dream, something to fantasize about as he indubitably continued with the mundane routine of everyday life at the bottom. Surface was too arcane, too fable to pursue, but the decision to explore was made for him, but not of his own mind, and without warning.

With a twitch of his tail, Bowen propelled his body cautiously forward. His eyes squinted nearly shut at the invasive brightness, but he refused to turn his head away again. The thought occurred to him that he might not be able to see for the light, once he reached the “land” his elders merely sung about, but he pushed the thoughts swiftly to the back of his mind with a sudden rush of distaste for the words that formulated in his head, and registered effortlessly with his brain. It was thinking, after all, that got him here in the first place, only a few fin-flicks away from something that wasn't even supposed to exist. He'd been warned, in his youth, to not stray too far from what was said the limit of his knowledge much be. Curiosity was one thing, and it plagued every young mind, but to pursue those tempting thoughts was something different entirely, and was hardly even whispered of for fear of the consequences. Sentience was worse than death, and he was soon coming to see how such a thing could be recognized as truth. Knowing, he discovered, caused far much more trouble than the ignorance his kind bathed in. And the revelations it brought him were barely worth the effort and cost. These thoughts, the wonders he now knew to be reality, would not be worth a grain of the finest sand should he die here.

And it was only that, the fear of all the trouble he'd went through to acquire sentience being wasted, which prompted again a swishing of his tail, towards legend itself.

I basically threw this all up onto my compter. It's an idea that came to me around midnight and it looks like it could be interesting, but I don't want to continue without feedback.


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Sun May 26, 2013 12:47 am
Tabithalillian wrote a review...



This story, or introduction to the story, was actually quite well written. It flowed nicely (excuse the water pun!) and caught my attention. I understand that it was a kind of spur of the moment midnight idea, and we all have those! Most of my ideas are actually that. But no matter how spur of the moment it is, you can always beef it up and improve it later. My main beef with this piece was the lack of detail. You need some serious descriptions and detail! I'm interested in his family and why he is leaving them. You could very much go more in depth there. Does he have sisters or brothers? What about his parents. You mention them briefly and how he wanted to leave them but you kind of leave the reader hanging when the main character is about to embark on an adventure with seemingly no purpose for doing so. I understand that sometimes you dont want to reveal anything and everything in the very first section but it helps to throw your reader even just a little bone so they can infer a little. You don't need to be screamingly obvious either, just some subtle descriptive information.

Also the antagonists in this piece are painfully vague. You mention them once or twice and I, as a reader, want to know more. Like even who they are and what they do. Possibly they are humans and those are the enemy that they have been warned about. Or maybe another tribe of enemy mermaids. Now for some nitpicks!

He'd no recollection of how long he'd been traveling, no way of measuring time save the growling of his stomach, and no real care in confirming how long he'd been away from the small amount of “family” that still cared for him, or how close the hateful ones were to finding him.
Okay this sentence is like, super super long. I think you could break it up a little more and have it be a little less run on and a little less confusing. Maybe if it was broken up a little more like this?
"He'd no recollection of how long he'd been traveling, no way of measuring time save the growling of his stomach. Bowen had no real care for how long he had been away from the small "family" that still cared for him. And he didn't know how close the hateful ones were to finding him." It doesn't have to be exactly that but just a suggestion on how to break up this mega sentence!

Knowing, he discovered, caused far much more trouble than the ignorance his kind bathed in.

Okay so this sentence also read strangely to me. Maybe just getting rid of the entire "His kind bathed in" all together and just leaving it at ignorance.

This story does have some potential and you write really well! I just really wish there were more detail for me to provide feedback on. You should definitely continue with this story but just beef up this piece first and then work from that. Write some backstory or some history to him and his people. Figure out what kind of a relationship he has with his family and what they are like. I get a good sense of character in this narrative, he is obviously really determined and in a way optimistic. I get a sense of self from him and that is really good and usually the first area that needs work in the beginning of the story. I just think he would appear a little more "round" and believable if he had a more rounded world to exist in.




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Sat May 25, 2013 2:42 am
UnicornSmilz wrote a review...



I think this is an awesome story so far, but you might want to describe his "family" a little bit more, and if you don't want to reveal what his kind is, then just give clues to build up suspense. Try to describe them such as an old and long standing traditional tribe or a wimpy kind with no way to defend themselves so they have to rely on ignorance. This will also help the story progress and catch the readers attention. The beginning of the story(the exposition) is the hook that will catch the reader's attention and make them want to read more.




Sassafras says...


Thanks for your comment. :) Like I said, this was just a sudden idea that came to me out of a sleep-deprived mind, and I didn't really continue with it past what you see posted. I have vague ideas for the whole community of, yes, mermaids, but nothing concrete. If I was to continue, I know a bit about the direction that the story would progress in.



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Fri May 24, 2013 6:12 pm
Rurouni wrote a review...



This is really cool.

This may just be me, but I'm getting mermaid vibes from this.

Its really good and I really like it, I would make sure to describe him more, what he is. (Unless I missed another part of the story or something).

I can't find anything really wrong with it, overall its really awesome. Maybe a little more formatting, so that we aren't given this large paragraph to read. I know its easier for me to read stuff when its split into smaller paragraphs. It might help some others read too.
I really like this and hope it continues, keep me posted.

Thanks,
PG2




Sassafras says...


He's basically a mer.




You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.
— Anne Lamott