Episode 154: The Green-Eyed Monster

On July 31, Kasie and Rex took on the fourth deadly sin, Envy. Here are the show notes:


  • Summer project update
  • SCWA Upcoming events and goings-on
  • The 7 Deadly Sins recap
  • Envy as a character trait, motivation, and antagonizing force
Photo by Leonardo Santos on Pexels.com

Link to the podcast

Segment 1

This summer we’re working on serialization projects. You can review the show where we covered the benefits and opportunities of serialization here. My work is on Wattpad and it’s called The Full Moon in Neverland. It’s eleven full chapters, 49 parts, and clocks in at 5 hours and1 minute read (phew!) already and about one chapter from the climax. I think it’ll end up being between 14 and 16 chapters. So a lot of work and I’m giving it away.  

Rex is working with Vella and has this epic cover for his vampire novel. I know, copycat (ha). So he’s going to go live after he gets six chapters loaded. Vella is a service of Amazon.

Let’s get to the fun stuff. Sin. From the Wikipedia page:

The seven deadly sins, also known as the capital vices, or cardinal sins, is a grouping and classification of vices within Christian teachings, although they are not mentioned in the Bible. Behaviours or habits are classified under this category if they directly give rise to other immoralities. According to the standard list, they are pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony and sloth, which are contrary to the seven heavenly virtues.

So the 7 Deadly Sins discussion started with “Pride” and then we did “Greed” which is not to be confused with gluttony which is a sin in and of itself. Last week we did “Wrath” and this week is “Envy.”

Let’s start with this list of books about “Envy” several of which I have not read with the exceptions of:

  • Rebecca
  • Madame Bovary

This Barnes & Noble list is a bit more mainstream:

  • Snow White
  • The Sun Also Rises
  • Anna Karenina
  • Othello

It’s called a disease of jealousy and a kind of insatiable need to possess what others seem to have. Is it a female disease? Does envy have a gender?

Why is envy a sin? This website provides some perspective for Christians:

​​It is not a sin to be tempted to envy, but if it is allowed to live and fester, it becomes destructive. Why is envy sin? Because it divides people. It destroys relationships, sows discord, and creates a spirit of bitterness and evil. It causes people to act and speak in toxic ways. 

Segment 2

Final SCWA Summer Series event this upcoming Tuesday with Rebecca Bruff, author of Trouble the Water, talking about historical fiction. Register here.

Where does envy come from? What are the roots of it?

This link explains the psychology behind envy. Of course we know it’s wanting something you don’t have, but are there nuances to it? From the site:

  1. Wanting what someone else has
  2. Desiring other’s stature objects
  3. Displeased about an event desirable for another
  4. Feeling inferior to another person.

Envy is caused by a dissatisfaction with self-image—your perception of your actual stature. This dissatisfaction is also called low self-esteem—a poor self-appraisal of your actual stature. Because you feel inferior to the person you envy, envy is related to shame. Envy encourages you to achieve higher stature.

You believe that “if I had what you have, then I would be happy.”

How do you create a character so totally preoccupied with what they want but can’t have that they throw away everything that’s actually available to them? Um….

Vivian Leigh plays Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind
Vivian Leigh delivers the ultimate green-eyed monster in
Gone With the Wind

There’s a great scene in Gone With the Wind when Ashley returns from war and is greeted in the depot by Melanie and Scarlett, wearing her beautiful bonnet that Rhett gave her, watches their reunion with a look like, “Seriously?”

The envy is visible in the arched brow, the tight lips, the sense that despite everything she’s been building, it means nothing because she doesn’t have what Melanie has—she doesn’t have Ashley. Sigh.

Segment 3

This link actually pulls some excerpts from the texts above to review. And also suggests that the cure for envy is gratitude. 

Do we agree with that? Can you combat envy? Combat jealousy? By being grateful for what you have? Being humble about your own success and accomplishments? Does that make for a boring character?

Some emotions also related to envy, from this site:

Envy is one of several stature-related emotions. Contempt and gloating are kinds of reverse envy. While we envy those with higher stature, we feel contempt for those with lower stature. We gloat when we see others suffer a drop in stature due to their own mistake. We feel compassion or pity for unfortunate people with low stature caused by misfortune.

Intense envy can turn into hate, anger, or violence if it is not constructively coped with.

Segment 4

So how do you write envy? Well, like most things, it should be layered and nuanced. It’s not as great to come out and name jealousy as it is to show those subversive ways characters demonstrate envy. 

From this site:

Understanding what can trigger our envy, what separates envy from jealousy, and how we can resolve our envy helps us to cope with our feelings. The following figure illustrates choices we have and paths we can take to either prolong or resolve our envy. Use this like you would any other map: 1) decide where you are now, 2) decide where you want to go, 3) choose the best path to get there, and 4) go down the chosen path.

Lindsey’s blog gives us this How To strategy including, first, the types of envy:

  1. Sexual Jealousy – when a character’s spouse or significant other displays or expresses sexual interest in someone other than your character.
  2. Romantic Jealousy – when your character fears the loss of a romantic partner or fears rejection from a potential or current romantic partner.
  3. Possessive Jealousy – when he/she is feeling threatened by someone who could interrupt a friendship or relationship that they value.
  4. Separation Jealousy – when your character has fear of separation or loss of a lover, partner, friend or parent due to their relationship with another person.
  5. Work Jealousy – when your character feels cheated out of a promotion at work, or feels jealousy towards a specific person at work.
  6. Friend/ Sibling Jealousy – When he/she feels inadequate when comparing themselves to their friends/family/siblings. They always try to one-up their friend/sibling.
  7. Abnormal Jealousy – extreme psychological jealousy that results in or a combination of morbid, psychotic, psychological, delusional, anxious, controlling, immature and insecure behavior.

Then, she suggests:

Understand your character’s jealousy — why does he feel it? How does it manifest?

How does the jealousy affect the character physically?

How do they act towards the person of whom they are jealous?

Some other questions from Lindsey’s blog:

  • What is important to your character?
  • Who or what is your character jealous of?
  • How does this jealous feeling affect your character?
  • What does this tell your reader about them?
  • Does this jealousy stem from anger or fear?
  • What is your character fighting for?
  • Why does he/she feel insecure?
  • Is their jealousy justified?
  • How do they express this jealousy?
  • Is jealousy part of their personality or is it a fleeting emotion?
  • How does he/she resolve or plan to resolve the feeling of jealousy?

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