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Thread: Opposite Species – Balance of Instinct (Chapter 1)

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    Opposite Species – Balance of Instinct (Chapter 1)

    So this is my first serious multi-chapter story, and so far I have only written the introduction and first chapter. I was hoping if someone can give me feedback on this as I am not very familiar with writing stories in this format.

    The concept is kind of a weird/unique one. It is about birds and insects after humans have left earth for another planet who form civilizations and must overcome natural instinct to work together.

    I appreciate any feedback for the first part of my story.

    ================================================

    Opposite Species – Balance of Instinct

    Introduction
    Animals in this world must follow instinct, they know to find food and avoid threats, and they know that the world is cruel and that they are on their own. It takes intelligence to break instinct, and doing so is an ordeal that can either end very well, or very badly.

    Our story begins far into the future. Humans have long since left earth for another planet forever, after nearly depleting their home planet. Over eons, nature took over and gradually restored Earth, reversing what humans had done. Now all that remains of man’s existence are ancient ruins of once magnificent cities, and the documentation of human history, which were skillfully written and preserved by the most knowledgeable scholars before they abandoned the planet.

    All the while, Earth has not been lying dormant. Animals of all kinds began to rise, un-oppressed by humans, they seeked to form their own societies and continue where man had left off. The more successful of these are the songbirds and insects. By being the first creatures to decode human language and writing, both songbirds and insects, aided by taking inspiration from the human world, advanced rapidly and independently of each other. Being natural enemies and now matched in technological ability, they immediately went against each other, and a developmental arms race began. Driven by the resentment for their enemy, amazing achievements were made by both species trying to become more powerful than the other. It was only after a long and bloody war between the two natural enemies that both species realized that in order to achieve what they both want, they must set aside their conflicts and make piece. So by abandoning what nature and instinct have always instructed, they eventually signed a treaty stating that the birds and insects will live together peacefully forever. Conflict had helped the birds and insects to develop and advance, but up to a certain point, it only served as impedance. Now, without such an obstacle, they must work to develop a harmonious society, and to avoid making the same mistakes the humans had once made as their world advances beyond what their ancestors could ever imagine.

    Chapter 1: Disturbance
    Amber woke to the sound of his morning alarm, and sighed as he reached over to silence it. Amber is a young male bluebird living in the city of Venetta. Amber hopped out of bed before reaching for his tablet to check his schedule for the day. Amber works as an architect for a company called Swiftlet Woodland Housing, a company that designs and builds almost every birdhouse in Venetta, among other buildings and structures. Turning his attention to the news, Amber’s eyes immediately widened when he saw the featured article: “Violent Anti-Government Group Threatens Venetta”. Amber sat up and read the article curiously.

    An illegal organization of birds called The Naturalists has contacted The Administrative Council of Songbirds (ACSB) threatening to burn their capital city, Venetta to the ground if they do not destroy the peace treaty with the insects. The threatening phone call was made to the ACSB Legislative Center (Also known as the ACSB Nest) at around 2:30 AM this morning.

    The Naturalists seek to return the world to its ‘natural’ state, as in a world where the birds still prey on insects. They have proved to be very violent and erratic several times in the past, and have been flagged as a threat to society. The Avian Government (ACSB) has claimed that they are investigating the legitimacy of the threat, and urges citizens of Venetta not to be overly concerned at the moment. Regardless if there is a real threat, security has been increased in and around Venetta, ready to deal with any disturbance.


    Amber, somewhat shocked at the article, began to prepare for his day at work. Having been hatched long after the Avian-Insect Peace Treaty was signed; Amber finds the thought of eating insects barbaric and immoral. He wonders why anyone would want to return to those times, especially since the current peace contact has resulted in the safest and most prosperous time period to date.

    Amber hopped to the bathroom to look at himself in the mirror, as usual his feathers were in a matted, tangled mess. He began to preen his feathers with his comb

    Flying out of his birdhouse, Amber gasped at how much the city had changed overnight. Peace keepers, security officials, and other government employees are patrolling the forest that is Venetta. Living in the capital city for the avian species, Amber was used to members of the Avian Government flying around the city, but today, everyone was visibly tenser. He flew just below the treetops on his way to work. He glided past busy shops and businesses, illuminated by the warm April sunlight. It wasn’t long until he reached his workplace: a large and hollowed out oak tree with an office building set into it. He landed on a perch attached to the door in the center of the trunk, and hopped inside. The office was usually buzzing with activity from the many workers, but today it is eerily quiet. Amber could hear nothing but the rustling of paper, and the sound of his own feet as he entered. He tried to avoid the receptionist, Mrs. Margret, a grumpy old moth who had once fought in the Avian-Insect Revolution. She shot Amber a venomous glare and offhandedly mentioned to him: “I see the old Bird instincts are leaking out through the cracks of our ‘perfect’ society.”

    Amber took a deep breath and sighed before hopping into the office, ignoring Margret. Inside, he spotted his friend Elliot, an earthworm who works as a technician. Elliot poked his head out the door of the server room when Amber hopped up to him.

    “Hey Amber, heard the news, huh?” Elliot said.

    “Yeah, it seems serious, and just what we need. To be blackmailed by a bunch of lunatics.” Amber Replied.

    “Do you think their threat carries any weight?” Elliot asked, concerned.

    “Probably not. The Avian Government is pretty powerful and can probably fight off a few of these rebels.”

    “I just hope so... If they have their way, then all these years of technological advancement would be wasted; and we probably wouldn’t be hanging out with each other anymore. You being a… bird, and all.”

    “That won’t happen.” Amber smiled as he hopped to his desk, as he set his tablet on the table, Lily, a barn swallow went over to him and they began to talk. Stephanie is one of Amber’s colleagues and a fellow architect. She appears especially worried by the Naturalists’ threat. They chatted for a while before each going back to work. Amber took out his tablet and began to work on a project that he has been assigned, and as the day progressed, the silence gradually gave way to the regular livelihood that everyone was used to, and Amber relaxed as well.

    A while later during break, two other of Amber’s friends, Flit, a cardinal and Alfred, a grasshopper walked over to greet Amber. They got into a discussion on whether the threat to the ACSB was actually legitimate, and Elliot and Lily soon joined in as well. They were Amber’s closest friends, having met him when he first migrated to Venetta from southern Swiftlet Woodland. Amber seemed to be the most disturbed by the news, but discussing with his friends made him realize that it was probably nothing to worry about.

    When the workday ended, Amber flew straight home. The sun was setting when he exited his office, and he flew quickly, ignoring most of what was happening around him. Tomorrow would be the start of the weekend, which he was looking forward to, especially now, with the news that he just received in the morning. All around him, the ground, trees shrubs and bushes are alive with activity. Birds and insects alike moved about, some with their families, other with friends. The shops and restaurants were filled with those celebrating the end of another work week.

    When he arrived near his home, he noticed two avian peace keepers perched in a nearby tree, each with a rifle in one wing and a tablet in the other. They motioned for Amber to land, which he did. One of the peace keepers, a male barn swallow, spoke to Amber in a stern but still friendly voice: “Sorry to bother you, sir. But we just need to do a security check.”

    “Sure, it’s no bother at all.” Amber lied. In reality he was very concerned and worried. He has never been stopped by peace keepers before for any reason, and he didn’t know what to expect.

    “Can we see your Avian ID card, please?” said the same peace keeper. Amber reached into his bag and pulled out a small identification card, which he was required by the Avian Government to keep with him at all times. The peace keeper took the card and scanned it on his tablet.
    “Amber Lanning, species ID AV-10892, correct?” He said as he compared the picture on the card to Amber’s face.

    “Yes.” Amber replied. The peace keeper typed into his tablet before returning the card and allowing Amber to pass. Amber flew home to his birdhouse, and immediately threw himself on the bed. He checked his tablet again. No news of the incident has popped up other than the Avian Government claiming to be “tightening security”.

    Amber went to sleep early that night. He didn’t know what to expect the next day, but he had an uneasy feeling in his throat.

  2. #2
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    This is really interesting. Looks like you possess this art and can reach great miles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by neerajojha0007 View Post
    This is really interesting. Looks like you possess this art and can reach great miles.
    Thank you! I will try my best.

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    Registered User Calidore's Avatar
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    It's an ambitious idea, so props for that. The big problem is that it's not even used. You talk in the intro about eons passing and animals "rising" (presumably meaning evolving intelligence), but when the story starts, your characters are talking and behaving exactly like humans and living in a human-identical society, except, well, they're birds, and they fly and hop. You're scuttling a perfectly good premise by making it simply a new skin laid over the real world. What's the point?

    If you want to write a future-Earth story about birds and insects that have evolved intelligence and their own societies, then go for it. Do some study on birds and insects (plus whatever other animals will be part of this world), and then develop a logical future world that could result from what you've learned. Bear in mind also that there are currently nearly 10,000 known bird species and nearly a million insect species. Will your human-free future world have more or fewer, and why?

    Sound like a lot of bother? Welcome to the work of writing. Your one-sentence idea ("It is about birds and insects after humans have left earth for another planet who form civilizations and must overcome natural instinct to work together.") is a perfectly good one, but will need a great deal of behind-the-scenes effort to have any hope of working. So my advice is to scrap the entirety of the above and first work on developing the concept. You don't need to put in the same effort that Tolkien did in his pre-Lord of the Rings world-building, but your world should end up with a reasonably authentic look and feel.
    You must be the change you wish to see in the world. -- Mahatma Gandhi

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    Quote Originally Posted by Calidore View Post
    It's an ambitious idea, so props for that. The big problem is that it's not even used. You talk in the intro about eons passing and animals "rising" (presumably meaning evolving intelligence), but when the story starts, your characters are talking and behaving exactly like humans and living in a human-identical society, except, well, they're birds, and they fly and hop. You're scuttling a perfectly good premise by making it simply a new skin laid over the real world. What's the point?

    If you want to write a future-Earth story about birds and insects that have evolved intelligence and their own societies, then go for it. Do some study on birds and insects (plus whatever other animals will be part of this world), and then develop a logical future world that could result from what you've learned. Bear in mind also that there are currently nearly 10,000 known bird species and nearly a million insect species. Will your human-free future world have more or fewer, and why?

    Sound like a lot of bother? Welcome to the work of writing. Your one-sentence idea ("It is about birds and insects after humans have left earth for another planet who form civilizations and must overcome natural instinct to work together.") is a perfectly good one, but will need a great deal of behind-the-scenes effort to have any hope of working. So my advice is to scrap the entirety of the above and first work on developing the concept. You don't need to put in the same effort that Tolkien did in his pre-Lord of the Rings world-building, but your world should end up with a reasonably authentic look and feel.
    Thanks for your advice, I want them to have relatively advanced technology since they took inspiration from human texts. But I think you're right, they should not be exactly like the the humans.

    I think I will still keep the fact that some form of internet exists in their world, but maybe make their daily lives less like a literal human city. Can you make some suggestions as to what can be different?

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    Registered User Calidore's Avatar
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    I actually had one idea that may solve a few problems. My original thought was that after the millions of years required for your birds and bees to develop intelligence and societies, no trace, or very little, of humans' works would remain for them to learn from. Granted, humanity itself built everything completely from scratch; but this means more work for you, since you'd have to do the same for your animals. Namely, evolve their physicality to make use of this intelligence, then develop their societies from their physicality and personalities.

    Anyway, my next idea was to speed things up by removing the time jump. We're already doing lots with genetic manipulation, so how about this: In the relatively near future, human scientists finally succeeded in creating the capacity for intelligence in animals, and have developed some necessary physical modifications for the animals as well. However, through circumstances that will be your problem as the writer, intelligent animals got into the wild, created more of the same, and eventually pissed-off nature rose against the humanity that had greedily abused it for millennia. Humans had already expanded to other worlds and so said "Screw this" and abandoned Earth entirely. The animals then took over and learned to work with human cities and infrastructure. However, no longer having a common enemy in humanity to join forces against, the animals resumed their natural behavior and interactions (both good and bad) with each other, but this time having sentience and humanity's left-behinds.

    How's that for a start? You'll still want to do research into animal behavior and extrapolate that into this setting, but I think that the more you read and think, the more ideas you'll get for interactions and subplots. Multiple cities/countries/continents/climates also gives you the ability to use many of your ideas at once, and at least place the ones you won't use now but might later.
    You must be the change you wish to see in the world. -- Mahatma Gandhi

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    Quote Originally Posted by Calidore View Post
    I actually had one idea that may solve a few problems. My original thought was that after the millions of years required for your birds and bees to develop intelligence and societies, no trace, or very little, of humans' works would remain for them to learn from. Granted, humanity itself built everything completely from scratch; but this means more work for you, since you'd have to do the same for your animals. Namely, evolve their physicality to make use of this intelligence, then develop their societies from their physicality and personalities.

    Anyway, my next idea was to speed things up by removing the time jump. We're already doing lots with genetic manipulation, so how about this: In the relatively near future, human scientists finally succeeded in creating the capacity for intelligence in animals, and have developed some necessary physical modifications for the animals as well. However, through circumstances that will be your problem as the writer, intelligent animals got into the wild, created more of the same, and eventually pissed-off nature rose against the humanity that had greedily abused it for millennia. Humans had already expanded to other worlds and so said "Screw this" and abandoned Earth entirely. The animals then took over and learned to work with human cities and infrastructure. However, no longer having a common enemy in humanity to join forces against, the animals resumed their natural behavior and interactions (both good and bad) with each other, but this time having sentience and humanity's left-behinds.

    How's that for a start? You'll still want to do research into animal behavior and extrapolate that into this setting, but I think that the more you read and think, the more ideas you'll get for interactions and subplots. Multiple cities/countries/continents/climates also gives you the ability to use many of your ideas at once, and at least place the ones you won't use now but might later.
    I really want my characters to not be in any contact with humans whatsoever. I had always really been a fan of the idea of a race being influenced by texts and documentation left behind by another civilization but have never seen or heard from them. Do you think this will still work? I think that the animals would probably develop many of the same technologies as us after decoding human language after discovering the archives. I think I will go with the first option, the animals evolving independently and helped along by knowledge of human technology.

    But thanks for your suggestion though!

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    Registered User Calidore's Avatar
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    You're welcome. The most important thing is that you have an idea that you like enough to run with. Good luck!
    You must be the change you wish to see in the world. -- Mahatma Gandhi

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    Quote Originally Posted by Calidore View Post
    You're welcome. The most important thing is that you have an idea that you like enough to run with. Good luck!
    Thank you! I will try my best!

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    Registered User Steven Hunley's Avatar
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    Here was my take on men having bird-like qualities:

    Bird Men 101 Ornithology class. New London University 2120



    Professor Feather was an odd bird in that he taught the history of our race of bird-men, Homo-Avian-Erectus, and religion too. He knew all the obscure classic works.
    I was in his class because I’d just started school. Everybody who was just starting university took it. Probably because they had to.

    The professor was about to deliver a lecture on the history of our winged race.

    “Stuffy room, smells like a pet shop or something.”

    That’s what I thought if I remember correctly. I decided to sit by a window. The girl that sat directly behind me was preening herself. Feather cleared his voice and warbled,

    “Before men could fly we have evidence that they walked the earth on two feet.”

    A hush enveloped the class. Many were skeptics. One student was so shocked she dropped her spray of millet. It embarrassed her. She knew she wasn’t supposed to be eating in class.

    “We can tell from the skeletal remains we’ve discovered around Old London near the Thames.”

    “He’s out of his mind.” said the girl behind me. Just the thought of men being nothing but ground-walkers at one time ruffled her feathers. This upset her. She’d just had hers permed.

    The professor held up a book and continued,

    “This manuscript was found in a trash heap on a farm not far from the ruins of the city."...bla bla bla...etc.

    It's not hard to give people bird-like qualities or the other way around. But it won't be easy to explain how they fit into our buildings or cities or used our infrastructure, since they are build for humans and their bodies. Animals already have intelligence. Just give them opposable thumbs, and they'll take care of the rest.

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