Jun 01 2009

Sandman’s Review Forum

Published by at 9:04 am under Review Forums

Please see the comments below. Thanks.

55 responses so far

55 Responses to “Sandman’s Review Forum”

  1. Sandmanon 05 Jun 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Alright!I got a forum!
    Anyway,right now I’m working on a novel about three teenagers, two guys and a girl, who set up a superhero team.I’m Irish,but I guess an Irish set book would lose audience appeal, so it’s set in america, even though I have less knowledge of the school system there.I’ll put up a prologue later when I have more time.
    There will be action,some comedy,and a hint of romance.
    Give me honest feedback,if it sucks, just tell me and I’ll fix it.I’ve got pretty thick skin so feel free to cut loose and tell me what you really think about my story.
    Exit Sandman

  2. Ragged Boyon 05 Jun 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Well, I don’t think I know enough about the story to decide whether it’s good or not. I mean, all I know is that it’s about three teenage superheroes. The only thing I’ve noticed is that there are some mechanical issues in your writing, particularly spacing. Don’t forget to space after commas and at the end of sentences.

    “I’m Irish, but I guess an Irish set book would lose audience appeal, so it’s set in America, even though I have less knowledge of the school system there.”

    No problem, I’d be glad to help you with the American school system. It’s not that difficult.

    Welcome to Superhero Nation! I’m Ragged Boy, nice to meet you. (I know I’m a little late, but I’m hoping that’s okay.)

  3. B. Macon 05 Jun 2009 at 2:25 pm

    “I’m Irish,but I guess an Irish set book would lose audience appeal, so it’s set in america, even though I have less knowledge of the school system there.”

    That’s an ok reason to set a story in a particular country– especially if you’re thinking about publishing with a US company– but I’d mainly recommend picking a setting based on what excites you and what you have the heart to finish.

    “There will be action,some comedy,and a hint of romance.” Well, I don’t know much about the plot, so I can’t offer much feedback here. Could you provide some more information? For example… what’s the target audience? What’s your style of comedy like? What distinguishes your heroes from Spiderman or the X-Men? What are their personalities like? What’s the villain trying to accomplish? Why would readers want to read your novel rather than the superhero novels and comic books currently on the shelves?

  4. Sandmanon 05 Jun 2009 at 4:42 pm

    The story is mainly aimed at males aged sixteen +.I had alot more written but my *string of expletetives not submitted to save the editer a few minutes* computer deleted it. So more coming tomorrow as its late and i need to sleep.
    It’s set in a world where superhumans hve been present since 1981 and legislation has been passed to allow small superteams to be set up under government supervision. My story is dark with violence and black humour. There are two main villains. One is a mysterious cult leader who is executing people with superpowers. The other is like Tyler Durden with superpowers. I’ll have info on the heroes and maybe a start on the book tomorrow. Thank you for your time.
    Good night all
    Exit Sandman

  5. Avi Arunon 05 Jun 2009 at 9:08 pm

    If your superhero team is a bunch of students, then the story can’t be as dark as you wish it could be. eg., Sky High is about student superheroes. It mainly focused on comedy and accomplished it quite well. I seriously think Sky High would have been a major flop if it was marketed as dark and gritty. But, if you are only planning to write about ordinary schooling, then it could work. But that does not seem to be the case because superheroes are kinda normal in your world. My advice is : Just don’t make the story Dystopian. stop with dark.

  6. Sandmanon 06 Jun 2009 at 3:18 am

    I’m not writing about a school for superheroes though. I’m writing about three kids who meet at school and decide to register and become a superhero team after defeating some minor villains who try to take the scjool hostage. It’s not nearly as dark and gritty as Wanted or even Watchmen. There is violence but no rape [I think that it’s mostly used for shock value, and mostly needlessly. Alias did a fine job of telling a dark story without resorting to rape. In my opinion the mind controled slavery Jessica Jones suffered was a hell of a lot scarier than rape.] Anyway I’m going to write out the first bit and post it here. It should take an hour or so

  7. Sandmanon 06 Jun 2009 at 4:25 am

    Son of a… Ijust spent an hour writing a first chapter and my computer deleted it. Yet again. Grrrr. Guess i’ll have to start saving these to word as a backup. I’ll put a new first chapter down later, I have to go. Man this is annoying. Anyone else having this problem with a dial-up connection?

  8. Avi Arunon 06 Jun 2009 at 9:00 am

    Why does your computer delete things you do not want it to? Your computer sure has some kind of AI.

  9. Tomon 06 Jun 2009 at 9:18 am

    Well AI is a crapshoot…


  10. Sandmanon 06 Jun 2009 at 11:32 am

    I’m pretty sure it’s my dial-up connection. My 36 kbps internet connection. Ye gods it’s slow. I can post small things alright but seemingly not big things. Which means my story will have to be delivered in small, bite sized chunks

  11. Sandmanon 06 Jun 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Willow Lake, M. Kurt Blake and Jenson Morgan all received the same letter on the same rainy Wednesday afternoon. It read:
    “Dear sir/madam
    Your application has been accepted. You have been assigned to a new team of three members which will meet at the Ditko Tower on the afternoon of this friday at 2000 hours. You are required to be there or you will be considered absent without leave, your contract will be terminated and you will become the subject of a masssive manhunt with two possible outcomes: your very painful death or your lifelong imprisonment. Needless to say this would be an unfortunate occurance.
    We look forward to many years of a safer society under your watchful gaze..
    The Cage Foundation.
    Please note the Cage Foundation is not responsible for loss of property, life, family members, mutation, and temporal or dimensional displacement”

  12. Sandmanon 06 Jun 2009 at 1:11 pm

    That’s going to be my first page and the prologue.What do you all think?

  13. Mr. Briton 06 Jun 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Hehe, seems good. My only problem is the use of ‘massive manhunt.’ It feels too informal given the tone of the rest of the letter. I’d change it to something like ‘you will be found and held until such time as we see fit to return you, if at all.’

  14. Sandmanon 07 Jun 2009 at 9:04 am

    Kurt Blake found the letter on his pillow beside his head when he woke up on a sunny Wednesday morning. He grinned slightly and opened it. It read
    “Mr. M. Kurt Blake
    We are pleased to inform you that your application has been accepted. Starting immediately you are a protecter of the people of this fine country. You are required to come to the Ditko Tower this friday at 1900 hours with one bag of anything you wish to start your new life with. Failure to attend will be considered a breach of contract, and you will be found and held until such time as we see fit to return you, if it all. We look forward to many years of loyal service.
    The Cage Foundation.
    Please note that the Cage Foundation is not responsible for loss of property, life, family members, mutation or temporal, planetary or dimensional displacement.
    This letter can not self destruct so you are required to dispose of it yourself.”

  15. Sandmanon 07 Jun 2009 at 9:58 am

    Ok that was the introduction and prologue. From now on i’ll post chapter summaries and maybe later whole chapters.

  16. Sandmanon 07 Jun 2009 at 10:27 am

    Chapter 1
    Super humans have been occuring since 1977 and recently a group has been established to study them and try to artificially reproduce supaerpowers. This group is called The Cage Foundation. Kurt goes to work for them as he has had an intense interest in superpowers ever since discovering his own ability to copy the powers of others but only while they are close by. After several days a superhuman battle rages through the Cage Foundation and Kurt is rendered unconcious. He is in a hospitol coma ward at the end of the chapter.

  17. Sandmanon 07 Jun 2009 at 1:07 pm

    By the way, the vast majority of the populace is unaware of the presence of superheroes, most considering it in the region of UFOs. The Cage Foundation are quite discreet. Also, this may be confusing but it worked in pulp fiction. Although the above is at the start, it actually occurs at the end of the story d Kurt doesn’t appear in the book after this, although he will in the possible sequel. I’m using a somewhat different world than originally intended.

  18. Sandmanon 07 Jun 2009 at 1:44 pm

    So will someone please look at this? Pretty please with a cherry red grenade on top. Right so my story. It’s set in a school where several students are developing superpowers. Each will be introduced individualy.
    1-Jack Walker. Powers:Invisibility,pyrokinesis,cryokinesis,superspeed,telekinesis. Laid out like this it does seem like Superman Syndrome [ie severe overpowering] but he really only has one power- absorbing and redirecting energy. They’re all just various applications of that one power. At first he can just become invisible and totally silent, then he can create ice. Much later, maybe even in the second book he can use that absorbed energy to create heat and motion. He is a complete sociopath and when we first meet him he’s stalking another of the main characters, Cassie. By virtue of that he protects her when men from the Cage Foundation come to capture her. He’s seventeen, mid length black hair and grey eyes.

  19. Sandmanon 07 Jun 2009 at 1:58 pm

    2-Cassie Jones. Can disrupt the shape of solid objects, causing them to bend and deform. Similiar to jack, her abilities later evolve to include liquids and gases. She is very compassionate- vegetarian, pro human rights campaigner, etc. can be over compassionate and unobjective, at one point *spoiler alert* stopping jack from killing someone, which later proves to be a very bad decision. She’s seventeen, red hair, green eyes, braces.

  20. Sandmanon 07 Jun 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Chapter 2
    Jack is invisible and following Cassie back to her house. Along the way she’s accosted by three guys who proceed to mug her and knock her against the wall. When they try to run away jack stops them and, still invisible, beats the hell out of them, nearly killing them. When he goes to give her the purse back, she’s gone but Jack notes that where she hit the wall looks like it’s been hit by a bus

  21. Sandmanon 07 Jun 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Change of direction.Cassie’s now a minor and gets killed in chapter 3

  22. Sandmanon 08 Jun 2009 at 5:48 am

    Chapter 3
    Jack leaves Cassie’s purse at her house and sees her bending cutlery. She blogs about it and the next day he overhears her being approached by people who say they are from The Cage Foundation and want to help her develop her powers. While they are talking to her two men wielding guns attack, killing one of the Cage representatives and accidently killing Cassie [they intend to kidnap her]. Jack strikes back and kills both of the shooters, getting shot four times in the process. He becomes visible and passes out

  23. Sandmanon 08 Jun 2009 at 6:59 am

    Chapter 4
    Jack wakes up with his bullet wounds healed to small scars. His two elderly next door neighbours come in and reveal that they too have superpowers. [ok this means that the powers have been around longer than ’77] They tell him a bit about the history of the powers- They and 5 other people set up a group called the Circle back in the ’60s but it broke up. One of the survivors, Luthor Cage, set up the Cage Foundation to study the powers. They tell him that Cassie’s death has been changed to look like a mugging and the two shooters have been taken.
    Jack leaves to go home and the Kowalskies tell him to come back anytime he needs to talk.

  24. Sandmanon 08 Jun 2009 at 7:30 am

    The Circle
    Named for the King Arthur tale, as they were all supposedly equal.
    Donald Kowalskie-Superhuman trength and durability. Alive. Jack’s neighbour.
    Miriam Kowalskie [born Lain]-Healing of others. Alive. Jack’s neighbour.
    Luthor Cage-Flight. Alive. Head of the Cage Foundation.
    Norman Rockerfeller-Terrakinesis. Deceased. Cancer.
    Agnes Stromm-Power negation. Deceased. Car crash.
    Richard Stromm[brother of Agnes]-Location. Deceased. Same car crash.
    Chandler Kraft- Regeneration. Unknown

  25. Sandmanon 08 Jun 2009 at 8:29 am

    Ok hit a bit of a mental block. What does anyone think so far? Review me please!

  26. Sandmanon 08 Jun 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Chapter 5. one week later
    Jack’s class go on a trip to the White House [presumably for a politics class? RB, help!]. There two superhumans try to kill the president. He intervenes and almost gets killed. Two other students who were also on the trip step in and demonstrate their own superpowers to fight off the assasins. A third assasin appears and is shot by one of the Presidents guards. The chapter ends with Jack and the two girls being held by FBI/CIA/NSA/Secret Service/Whoever should be holding them.

  27. Sandmanon 08 Jun 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Assasin 1-Kathleen Lovage- Sand-morphing [like Sandman from Marvel]. Early twenties. Blonde hair, brown eyes. Short[ 5’3”], slender build.
    Assasin 2-Xavier Lovage- Bone growth,strength. Black skin, short hair, brown eyes. Medium height, stocky build. Kathleen’s husband.
    Assasin 3- Pierre Fromage- Acid production. Tall, brown hair, green eyes, wearing suit.
    Pierre’s killed, while Kathleen and Xavier are arrested.

  28. Sandmanon 08 Jun 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Elizabeth Thorpe. Seventeen. Goth. Acquaintance of Jack [neither of them are ‘friend’ people]. Dyed black, blue, green and purple hair. Many facial piecings. Psychosomatic- ability to create physically real hallucinations [like in that Fringe episode]. Later able to sense fear. Gloomy and takes a somewhat sadistic pleasure in terrifying enemies, but has some sense of right and wrong. One of the students who stops the assasination

  29. B. Macon 08 Jun 2009 at 1:26 pm

    I think it would be useful to tell us something about Kurt before launching into the letter.

    I would recommend taking out Kurt’s last name in the first sentence.

    I’d recommend developing the characters’ personalities more.

  30. Ragged Boyon 08 Jun 2009 at 3:15 pm

    “Jack’s class go on a trip to the White House [presumably for a politics class? RB, help!].”

    -That’s acceptable. Schools, at least the ones I’ve went to, usually take a trip to Washington, DC.

  31. Sandmanon 09 Jun 2009 at 3:19 am

    Thanks RB, wasn’t sure if they did or not.
    And B. Mac, do i really need to tell more about Kurt before the letter. The letter serves as a hook to get the readers attention, so an info dump might put them off. And I intend to give more info about him in chapter one before he goes into the coma.
    And I did intend to flesh out Jack a bit. I was thinking about putting in a neighbourhood latch-key kid who Jack takes care of. I was also thinking of showing how much self-control he has by having a couple of his class mates giving him a hard time and he has to stop himself from attacking them before the assasins show up.

  32. Sandmanon 09 Jun 2009 at 3:35 am

    I’e been rethinking Elizabeth’s power, as now it seem’s a bit too powerful. She can now control air [aerokinetic] which I think is a bit more limited but probably easier to choreograph in a fight scene

  33. Sandmanon 09 Jun 2009 at 5:33 am

    Second student who helps stop the assasins. Juliet Bryce, a popular girl at school. Cheerleader, dark brown hair, blue eyes. Seemingly stereotypical cool girl and gets mocked by Jack and Elizabeth. Actually smart and secretly nerdy. Superhuman jumping, minor strength, reflexes, heightened senses and a sixth “danger” sense.

  34. Sandmanon 09 Jun 2009 at 9:39 am

    Oh sh… Just realised I broke the first letter rule… Juliet is now called Kristen.

  35. B. Macon 09 Jun 2009 at 10:14 am

    But you already used K for Kurt. 😉

    Hmm. I think that the first two sentences (“Kurt Blake found the letter on his pillow beside his head when he woke up on a sunny Wednesday morning. He grinned slightly and opened it”) could be more interesting. I suspect that these would be more effective if they told us something unusual about Kurt. This shouldn’t be an info-dump, but just introduce one of his defining personality traits in an amusing way.

  36. Sandmanon 09 Jun 2009 at 11:15 am

    Well it’s M. Kurt so I think I can trust my readers to keep the names seperate. And Kurt’s more of a character in the second book. I’m introducing him here to make it easier when I bring him into the second novel. And I think the his part is a nice introduction to all the superpowered stuff. So what do you think about ”M. Kurt Blake rolled over and fell out of his bed. Pushing his sandy hair out of his face, he weent to climb back onto his bed, promptly falling back onto the ground in shock when he saw the pale brown envelope on his pillow. His hands shaking with excitement he tried to rip the letter open. Anf failed. After several more attempts he gave up and went into the kitchen for a knife. He cut open the envelope, nicking his finger as he did. The letter read:”

  37. B. Macon 09 Jun 2009 at 11:32 am

    A few thoughts.

    –We get more description of the main character, but it’s mostly superficial or temporary. OK, he’s happy now. That’s probably not as powerful as a lasting personality trait. I find the incompetence to be much more interesting.

    –I’d strongly recommend starting with the lead character. You might find this article useful.

  38. Sandmanon 09 Jun 2009 at 12:16 pm

    But Kurt isn’t the main character. He’ll be important in book 2, but for book 1? Not so much. Say that I make the first chapter, with Kurt, only four or five, maybe six pages. I think his bit is a really good way to introduce The Cage Foundation, so the reader will get what I’m talking about later in the book. If you really think I need to have Jack in the first chapter, maybe the Cage Foundation is keeping tabs on him [which actually makes sense… You’ll understand why in later]

  39. Sandmanon 09 Jun 2009 at 12:21 pm

    Chapter 6
    The Agents holding Kristen, Jack and Elizabeth tell them someone powerful spoke to the president and their free to go.
    Jack, Beth and Kristen talk about their powers, and speculate about the assasination. Basically backstory and character development.

  40. Sandmanon 09 Jun 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Chapter 7
    Jack has been kidnapped, and wakes up in a cell. Two men come in and drag him into another room. A woman walks in, introduces herself, and tells him that she has the gift of mind control. Since Jack and the two girls screwed up her plans, they’ll be used as replacement assasins. Jack quotes Rage against the machine to her [it won’t get past the moderator but if you know the song “killing in the name of” you’ll know what he says] and realises projects energy. Up to now he’s become invisible and silent by absorbing light and sound. Now he blinds and deafens the mind controller and the two minions and executes the three of them with a gun taken from one of the lackeys. Jack runs into a hall and meets a masked man with Beth and Kristen. They teleport away and the building explodes. The teleporter tells Jack that Luthor Cage looks after his own, then vanishes.

  41. Sandmanon 09 Jun 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Zebedee Marshall. Teleporter. Employee of Luthor Cage. Mid thirties, skilled with a gun. Brown hair green eyes.

  42. Sandmanon 09 Jun 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Chapter 8
    Jack and Kristen are put in a group for a school project, so go to her house to work. Jack starts giving her crap about being a cheerleader, and she gets pretty irritated [keeping this forum free of any swearing so it doesn’t get moderated]. She basically tells himto stop being such a closed mind bigot, and asks him if he knows how hard it is to have to hide who you are from everyone. He’s pretty unsympathetic, goes invisible. She shows him a huge collection of sci-fi stuff and graphic novels. She tells him to stop pigeon holing her.
    This chapter is pretty much just fleshing out Kristen.

  43. Sandmanon 10 Jun 2009 at 2:45 pm

    Is it alright to let nothing happen for a few chapters to flesh out my characters? I’m thinking another one or two consecutive chapters without any action. I s that alright or should I have Jack fight a random mugger or something?

  44. B. Macon 10 Jun 2009 at 3:11 pm

    “Is it alright to let nothing happen for a few chapters to flesh out my characters?” No. It’s ok to take a breather from intense action for a while, but that is not the same thing as having nothing happen. I highly recommend that you develop your characters with events that move the plot forward. It doesn’t have to be action-heavy– for example, the protagonist might learn something important about another character, or try to investigate something important, etc. In most superhero stories, the alternate identity works pretty well for such a chapter.

  45. Sandmanon 10 Jun 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Chapter 9
    I was going to do a chapter on Jack extending his abilities [chapter9]. He knows that he can absorb and project energy [eg. turning invisible] so he concludes that he should be able to sense it as well. He shuts himself away in his room and tries to sense the kinetic energy from a fly in his room. Eventually he succeds but then starts sensing too much and just passes out. He wakes up with a killer of a headache, and gets even more frustrated when he realises that he has homework still to do.

  46. Sandmanon 10 Jun 2009 at 3:32 pm

    So is that alright? It does seem kind of unconnected to the plot, but chapter 8 leads to a romance, and chapter 9 gives Jack a skill he uses later.

  47. Sandmanon 10 Jun 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Chapter 10
    [btw the mind controller in chapter 7 didn’t tell anyone else in her organization about Jack et al. She was so infuriated she just rushed in.]
    Jack’s in class, getting given out to by his teacher about his missing homework. Jack’s snet to the principals office, and meets Kristen along the way.
    They see a guy in a hood walking toward them and he pulls out two lighters. He’s pyrokinetic, and shoots fireballs at Jack. Jack absorbs all the heat and then blacks out he room. He and Kristen use their respective ESPs to find and bludgeon the guy into unconsciuosness.
    Zebedee shows up and plants a bomb on the pyro and tells Jack and Kristen to go away, the police are coming. He tells them the guy will be held “with the others”, then vanishes.

  48. Sandmanon 12 Jun 2009 at 2:50 pm

    So my story just died.
    AGH! I’ve got no idea how it turns out, I’ve lost my link with the characters, BAH! So no more on that story… But I’ve got more to post on this forum, which I hopefully won’t lose.
    Exit Sandman

  49. J.M.on 12 Jun 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Did you lose the file that had everything on your characters on it?

  50. Sandmanon 13 Jun 2009 at 2:54 am

    Oh no, I meant that I lost the mental link that I had with my characters. Now I don’t know ho, how they think… It’s my writer’s connection that I’ve lost, not a computer file. Sorry, should’ve been clearer.

  51. Holliequon 13 Jun 2009 at 4:20 am

    1. Think up random scenario (a hostage situation, for example. It doesn’t need to be ultra realistic, though).

    2. Think about what character X would do in said situation. If you have the basics of their personality and background down somewhere, you should be able to make some sort of conclusion.

    3. Write down what they would do. Writing the actual scene is optional.

    4. How is this different from what you would do? Why did they do this differently? What did they do that you would have done? What would they have wanted to do in this situation? What would stop them from doing that? (In the hostage situation, character X might not have shot the bad guy because they might get the hostage too. But character Y might have not have been able to get a clear shot because of the hostage, and that’s the only reason they didn’t shoot).

    5. Repeat?

    I’m not sure if this will help you, but you could try it anyway . . .

  52. Sandmanon 13 Jun 2009 at 5:06 am

    I’m actually going to work on a new story, a Superhero crime novel. But thanks, that list will help for the new story. Temporary Title: “Flies to wanton boys”

  53. Sandmanon 13 Jun 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Here’s a bit of a summary of my new story:
    Luthor Cage [not the same character]. 17 year old who starts developing strange abilities. After he accidently burns his school down, nearly killing many people, he decides that he’s too dangerous to stay and runs away from home. On the road he mmeets a girl, Kristin Willows who demonstrates powers of her own, and Luthor decides to stay with her.
    Unknown to Luthor, several superpowered people have been killed by a person who steals their poweres [this will be shown]. The killer is only introduced as “Death”.
    The public does not know of superpowers beyond rumours.
    So what do you think? And theirs a reason for the intrigue around the killer’s identity. But do you think it’s too much?

  54. Sandmanon 14 Jun 2009 at 8:58 am

    Damn. I won’t be posting as much to this forum as I have been, since my computer is so slow it takes hours, and the fact that in a week I’ll be going away for 6 weeks.

  55. Sandmanon 05 Aug 2009 at 6:46 am

    Sorry, but due to circumstances beyond my control I won’t be able to participate in this site as much as I used to,
    All the best,

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