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E - Everyone

Chapter 1 of 'Jadeland'

by whatchamacallit


My name, Yasmine, doesn't really mean anything. It's just a flower. I'm not a flowery girl. Some people would call me tough, others, a tomboy. However, I disagree with both. Why does a girl have to be a girly-girl or a tomboy? Why can't she just be ... normal?

But those weren't the thoughts in my head as I watched from a safe distance, in a tree, as a professor showed a class of students how to become invisible. "You must contradict the laws of nature in order to cast spells. Only Jades have figured out how to do that, and that is why we are called Jades. I'm sure you all know what a jade symbolizes?" the professor asked as shade danced across the professor's face, cast by a tall, skinny tree that reminded me of a growing teenage boy.

"I do!" a young boy shouted.

"Raise your hand, Randolf!" the professor scolded, smiling. "What does it mean, then?"

"Wisdom! And, er, peace, I think."

"That is right," the professor said. I had come to like the professor, always smiling and always encouraging. Everyday, from my perch in the tree where I could see the courtyard where the magic lessons were taught, I grew more and more familiar with the students and the professors that came there. "A jade," the professor continued, "according to the official Jadian thesaurus, represents balance, peace, and wisdom. It is also legend that if you carry one in your pocket, it shall deflect negativity. It may, for all we know. Of course, it might also be psychological. But that I shall save for another lesson. Back on topic, invisibility is actually one's body vibrating so fast that only Lucky-daddies can see them. Even then, Luckydaddies can only see a glimmer in the air."

"You mean they aren't magical?" a small girl shouted. I had noticed she always shouted, though I couldn't possibly guess why. Little kids, I thought. An annoying fly buzzed around my head, and I batted it away. Doing so, I nearly fell from the tree. I thought I saw the professor glance up, but by the time I had regained my balance and I could actually look, nobody was looking at me.

"That is correct, Lydia," the professor resumed. "Actually, Luckydaddies earned their name before the science behind invisibility was understood. They simply process more frames a second than Jades and humans and other Scareydaddies. But I really should be teaching you the spell, not the history behind it. That's a job for your history professor, not me. Anyhow, It's rather simple, children. First you have to get a wand from this bin," - here I watched as the professor held out a bin with different sized wands. When they got to age, I knew, they would go to the wand shop and get a sized wand that fit them.

I, however, am an outcast Jade. I never got a sized wand when I came to age. And all the spells I know come from watching the professors in the courtyard teach classes on magic. Seeing that this spell included a wand, which I didn't have, I began to lose interest. I plucked a dark green leaf that reminded me of a star from the tree. I ripped it in half, then in quarters, and then into eighths. Meanwhile, the professor continued to talk.

"No, Jessie, that wand's too big for you. Try this one. Mattew! Be gentle with these. If you break one, you owe me 100 cahjbres!" Anyone could tell the professor was joking, by the smile on her mouth and the joke in her voice. "Anyways. Have you all got one? Good. Hold them like this," she demonstrated, holding the wand - that I thought looked awfully like a straight stick - out in front on her. "Now twist it so it faces you. Focus, find a quiet deep within you. When you feel that, whisper 'invisibility'. Right. Try to find your quiet."

I watched, interested again. I wonder if it'll actually work? Soon I heard the professor mumble invisibility, and then she disappeared, leaving a shimmer for a millisecond. It looked like heat reflecting off the roof of a house on a hot day, before she disappeared. Some of the older ones followed suite, while the younger ones seemed to go blurry before coming back into focus. Only one young one, Mattew, managed to actually disappear for several seconds. "Good job, Mattew!" the professor called from nowhere, literally. I watched as first she, and then the older ones who had disappeared, came back into focus. If only I had a wand, I yearned.

The professor helped her students practice that spell a couple more times before dismissing them from academy. "Have fun on the weekend children! Oh! Rosa, will you stay here? I have something to ask you. See you, Lydia!"

"Bye!" Lydia shouted. I couldn't help but giggle at her

A tall girl, probably about ten, waited behind the rest. What round glasses she has, I mused while I took her in. Her hair reminded my strongly of a smoke-free fire, her eyes hidden from view behind some stray wisps of hair.

"Rosa!" the professor beamed. "I was wanting to find someone to lead a child run charity, called 'bring back bonnies'." Bonnies, I remembered, was a term used to describe poor children, usually girls. In other terms, myself. "Anywho," she continued, "I though you would be perfect! Seeing, as, of course, the latest leader retired as he was ... fifteen? I think. Wouldn't you be perfect, I thought. Oops! I already said that! Well? Would you do it for me? All those poor children out there," here she paused. I almost felt as though she were talking about me. "All those poor children must desperately want to come to school. I know I always did. And then the charity helped me out! It was the best thing that ever happened to me." I couldn't help but wonder if the charity might let me go to school. But I pushed that thought away, too proud to let the idea manifest itself. The professor continued, "Come on! Say you will!"

Rosa smiled shyly. "Surely, Miss Lepra, you should choose someone else?"

"Come on!" the professor, or apparently Miss Lepra, prodded. This shy girl, Rosa, was the first person I had ever heard anyone call the professor by her name. Everyone else simply called her 'the professor'. I rolled the thought around in my mind.

"Well ... ouyja." Rosa gave in.

Ouyja indeed! I thought. I guess 'yes' must be the English word for it. Isn't 'oui' the French word, or something?

I waited until Rosa and Miss Lepra - who I still thought of as 'the professor', disappeared into the academy building, before descending the tree. Deep in thought, and a bit less carefully than usual, I began to follow a dirt path towards the forest of N'ohia, which I called home.


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Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:55 am
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Danni88 wrote a review...



Hi Pearl! Just stopping by for a quick review.
I really like this story and would love to read more of it!

First of all, I like the professor being female. When I started reading it I assumed the professor was a man, but that was a good bit which caught me out.

Yasmine is a really good character. I think we need a bit more of a description of her appearance later on in the story, but otherwise I can't find any faults with her!
I like the way the reader knows nothing of her past, only that it she is an outcast Jade. I am sure this will become relevant later in the story.

"Well ... ouyja." Rosa gave in.

This suggests another language, and I would like to hear more people speaking in it.

I am also interested in the Scareydaddies and Lucky-daddies. They sound really cool and I would like to know more about them.

Overall, this story has really gripped me and I am excitedly waiting for the next chapter! It's very imaginative and well-written.


Thanks!

Danni xox






Thanks so much!



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Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:42 am
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Sassafras wrote a review...



Hello, Pearl.

I see you've already gotten some nitpicks, so this review will be mainly my reader's opinion. Let's get started then ^^


Mainly, I think that you spent way too much time in the tree. At first it was okay, because you were setting up environment, but then it becomes repetitive and boring. Making it so that we're introduced to your MC as she is observing others creates a distance between her and the reader. I ended up being more interested in the class than the narrator.

I think it would benefit your first chapter greatly if you would cut a lot of the exposition and description and whatnot. Try and hook your readers early on with the conflict of your story. Readers need a reason to care about what's going on. And, often, they are not very patient with elongated introductions.

Okay, moving on. ^^

You have sparked my interest with the "Jades". I can see that there's a Hogwarts feel to this academy - not saying you are copying or anything. And, being banned, I'm interested to see how our MC keeps from being discovered and how she lives in N'ohia.

Side note, I love that name.

Just try to be sure that everything you put into your novel has a purpose. If you're going to mention that a fly buzzed around her, tie that event into the propulsion of your plot. Maybe she falls out of the tree while swatting at it. Maybe it's secretly a spy camera! Joking, but you get what I mean.

I'm not saying that everything has to have some secret motive, but I'm hoping you get the gist of what I'm saying. You could even use the fly to segway into a descriptive paragraph. Whatever you do, make it count.

Alright, I think that's enough.

You keep writing!

Sassy






Thanks for the review!



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Sat Jul 01, 2017 11:17 pm
Evander wrote a review...



Heyo, PearlC! Welcome to YWS. I'm here for a quick review. Let's get started.

The dialogue in the first paragraph, while interesting, also feels a bit disjointed in places. The information, while needed in the grand scheme of things, is also presented in a way that doesn't allow for great immersion into the story. Instead of coming off as natural dialogue, it ends up sounding forced. This sentence, "Only Jades can do that, and that is why we are called Jades[...]" seems to be the culprit in my mind. However, the following sentence does seem to be a bit out of place as well.

First question: What level are these students in this world's given educational curriculum? If they're already learning something such as turning invisible, wouldn't it make sense for them to already have a working understanding of what it meant to be a Jade? While these students are shown to be children, explaining the meaning of being a Jade here sounds a bit forced. I'd recommend rewriting the introduction, trying to rework in how the introduction to the symbolization of a jade is necessary for the readers to know right at the start.

"Lucky-daddies" and "Scareydaddies" are almost a bit out of place? I can't tell if these would be the common names for these... creatures? Ranks of people? (I can't tell and the work itself doesn't seem to specify.) The names really remind me of daddy long legs (cellar spiders), but I'm not sure if that's the intended connection that the reader is supposed to make. Honestly, the names sound a bit childish. Also, if Lucky-daddies are hyphenated, wouldn't it make sense for Scarey-daddies to also be hyphenated? One more thing, since I can't tell if it was on purpose or not, but scary doesn't have an 'e' in it.

The paragraph where the professor is trying to convince Rosa to run Bring Back Bonnies is a bit lengthy, along with having repetitive details in it.

"I was wanting to find someone to lead a children run charity, called 'bring back bonnies',"

Given the fact that 'Bring Back Bonnies" is a proper noun, then it would be capitalized.

[...]Seeing, as, of course, the latest leader retired as he was ... fifteen? I think. Wouldn't you be perfect, I thought.

The bolded sections seem a bit repetitious and sound awkward when read aloud.

The sections where the main character's thoughts interrupt the dialogue seem a a tad too much. Perhaps spacing it out a bit more (allowing the professor's lines to take up two paragraphs or so, allowing the main character's thoughts be in between those paragraphs) would allow for easier reading without it getting jumbled up.

I couldn't help but wonder if the charity might let me go to school.

Oohh, this is interesting.

I guess 'yes' must be the English word for it. Wasn't 'oui' the French word, or something?

Now I'm more interested in the setting and the worldbuilding of this novel! It's obviously set in a world with magic, but the mention of French and English lead me to believe that the world might be based off of our own. In that case, is this just reimaginging of Earth with magic or is this a purely fantasy world with French and English?

There are a few small errors here and there littered throughout the chapter. Sometimes the vocative comma is dropped, other times a hyphen is used instead of an em-dash, a few long winded sentences here and there, and a few typos. Since these don't seem to be chronic problems, then I'll only go through and nitpick them if you would like me to. A lot of these issues, however, might be solved with temporarily changing the font and proofreading out loud before posting. (Brains are able to skip over mistakes in writing when familiar with the font, so changing the font is often helpful.)

Deep in thought, and a bit less carefully than usual, I began to follow a dirt path towards the forest of n'ohia, which I called home.

I do like this ending! It makes me want to read on more to the next chapter. So please let me know if/when the next one comes out, because I would love to follow this book.

I can't wait to figure out the name of the main character and know a bit more about them. They're a poor child, that's obvious. Sneaky, hungry to learn more, and knowledgable enough to provide information for the reader. I like these qualities in a main character!

Perhaps the professor has noticed them and wants to take them under their wing? Who knows!

I do hope that you will keep on writing!

-Castor






Thank you for the review! You said it sounds a bit childish, and you are entirely right. This is a world I made up when I was young. Scarey is supposed to be spelled weird. I'll look into some of the stuff you recommended changing.





And, please tell me all the nitpicky things, too! If you were going to say it's Mathew, not Mattew, that's supposed to be like that. Is it too confusing for the reader like that?



Evander says...


Nah, that wasn't the nitpicky thing, haha. I tend to leave names alone except if the author isn't consistent in the spelling within the work itself.

"Good job Mattew!"

Missing vocative comma between job and Mattew.

"Come one!" the professor, or apparently Miss Lepra, prodded.

On instead of one.

her eyes hid from view behind some stray wisps of hair.

Hidden, as opposed to hid.

That's all I really saw on my quick read through. The notes I had were deleted because I didn't save them D: But I can try and give you a more in-depth edit on later chapters if you end up posting them.





thank you!



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Sat Jul 01, 2017 9:50 pm
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Shota wrote a review...



Hey just stopping by for a quick review! As always parts of these comments are my opinions, so feel free to ask for any clarification!

I'm sure you all know what a jade symbolizes?" the professor asked. A tree cast shade across half of the professor's face.


This description feels disjointed since it isn’t connected to the sentence before. Id try to connect it more to improve the flow personally. So something like, “…what a jade symbolizes?” the professor asked as shadows from the nearby trees dance across his face.” I would just try for something that flows a little more.

It is also legend that if you carry one in your pocket, it shall deflect negativity. It may, for all we know. Of course, it might also be psychological. But that I shall save for another lesson.


This little part of the professors lecture was a little confusing for me, and seem like it didn’t add much to the story or to the lesson he was teaching. I just personally wasn’t sure if it was needed.

"Aren't Lucky-daddies lucky, though?" a small girl shouted.


I was confused by this question and how it related to what the professor was saying. I think you are trying to give us info about Lucky-daddies, which is good, but the question seemed to come out of the blue. Also seeing the word Lucky back to back like that made the sentence difficult to grasp for me.

professor held out a bin with un-sized wands.


maybe try a different word use then un-sized. Something like “The professor held out a bin filled with wands of various sizes.” This says the same thing, but flows better and still gives you the picture you are looking for without using the word “un-sized”

I, however, am an outcast. I never got a sized wand when I came to age. And all the spells I know come from watching the professors in the courtyard teach classes on magic. Seeing that this spell included a wand, which I didn't have, I began to lose interest. I plucked a leaf from the tree. It looked like a star, except is was a dark green. I ripped it in half, then in quarters, and then into eighths. Meanwhile, the professor continued to talk.


This should be the start to a new paragraph because it is a new thought. And I was confused why it mattered if your main character had ever got a wand or not. Were they a Jade? If they are human then they wouldn’t have got a wand right? It just seemed an odd comment to make when I have no idea why it mattered. As the reader I was just confused a bit by this.

Also I enjoy your character sitting in the tree, I just think streamlining your descriptions would help a little. For instance you say, “It looked like a star, except is was a dark green.” As the reader I generally assumed that the leaf would be green, as most are, so this wasn’t a necessary distinction that I felt had to be made. Something like, “The dark green leaf’s point edges reminded me of as star as I spun it about in my hand.” Flows a little more, and the detail of the star is more unique then the fact it is green, so it follows what you are saying. My opinion though lol.

"No, Jessie, that wand's too big for you. Try this one. Mattew! Be gentle with these. If you break one, you owe me 100 cahjbres!" Anyone could tell the professor was joking, by the smile on her mouth and the joke in her voice.


Small note but If you are trying to use the name “Matthew” then you just need to add an H.

Also this paragraph was great because it revealed that I was reading this as if the professor was a guy automatically. I loved the fact it is a woman, and I was embarrassed about my sexism in my assumption.

that I though looked awfully like a straight stick


Should be “thought”

Focus, find a quiet deep within you. When you feel that, whisper 'invisibility'. 'Vibrate' also works, but we're sticking with 'invisibility'. Right. Try to find your quiet."


First off I love the description of a quiet deep. That short little description alone really helped me to picture what they were going for.

Also the little description about how “vibrate” would work to felt very unneeded since they aren’t using it, I would personally cut that part. Your choice of course though!

Soon I heard the professor mumble invisibility, and then she disappeared, leaving a shimmer for a millisecond, like heat reflecting off the roof of a house on a hot day, before there was no trace of her.


Just a but of a run-on sentence here, id chop it up a bit.

Her hair reminded my strongly of a smoke-free fire, but her eyes were hid from view behind some loose strands of hair.


I want her hair to be my hair, the image of a smoke free fire is a poignant image, loved it. Plus the added part of loose strands adds to the image of a fire, which is a bit wild and sporadic. Whether that was intentional or not it worked very well with your description.

a children run charity


I believe it should be a child run charity

called 'bring back bonnies'," bonnies, I remembered,


Should be a period at the end of “bonnies’.” Bonnies I remember…”

Anyways you got a great start to a wonderful story here and I know it will keep getting better as you edit it accordingly. If you have any questions please let me know and thank you for sharing your writing!






Thank you! I do mean to have Mattew, although maybe that'll confuse readers and I should change it. I change almost everything you suggested, would you say it worked? Thanks for the input!




It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.
— Mark Twain