Jun 10 2009

Black Cat’s Review Forum

Published by at 8:28 pm under Review Forums

Please see the comments below.  Thanks!

57 responses so far

57 Responses to “Black Cat’s Review Forum”

  1. Black Caton 17 Jun 2009 at 4:06 pm

    This is my first time writing a superhero story, so please be honest. Also I need help with grammar and sentence structure, I know I stink at it.

    Chapter One: Freedom Fight

    Walking down the sidewalk a young man with short layered brown hair was reading the daily newspaper. “Freedom Force needs you. Help protect our country from terrorists.” Laughing the young man shook his head read while flipping to the next page. “Yeah right what moron would join you guys-after what happened in China, killing over a hundred innocent people just to kill one mad man. A privately owned Military Corporation bent on making out country safe yeah right.” Folding the newspaper. “I like here in Beringian, hmm I think I might go to that new museum that is opening in a couple weeks, heard the main attraction is a newly found crystal.”

    “Yo, Alex!” A ecstatic voice called out. “What’s going on?” a tall muscular guy with dirty blonde windblown hair and baby blue eyes called out.

    “Going home. I have important things to do.” Alex lied, looking over his shoulder seeing his long time friend smiling. ‘I don’t want to go, just want to go home and draw or maybe watch t.v.’ He thought turning around to face Rick. “Besides I thought you had a date with Kate later?” Alex asked placing his left hand in his pocket while his right hung next to his side.

    “Nah, had to cancel, her mom came down with the flu or something like that, so I thought we could hang out like old times, catch a movie, go golfing.” hitting Alex hard in the right shoulder making him flinch. “By the way did I tell you I signed up for that new branch of the military? The one called Freedom Force?”

    “No,” wrapping his arms around his waist. “, why would you join? Haven’t you seen the news, read the papers? Those guys are out of control, thinking that they can do what ever they want without thinking of the consequences.”

    “You know I don’t watch that crap Alex, news reporters lie, so they can sell their stories. The Force-yeah they’ve done things their not proud of but in the end they stop the bad guy and save the day.” Raising his brow, Rick quickly looked away from Alex. “You’ll see.”

    “There might be a war.” Shaking his head Alex continued. “Things have been getting really bad Rick. Drug deals… selling of dangerous nuclear weapons to enemy countries. Why would you-”

    “You worry too much Lex.” Rick interrupted, grabbing Alex by his neck. “I have it all figured out-I signed us both up haha. So if anything goes wrong I know you’ll have my back.” Rick bellowed.

    ‘Wait! What?! Rick you idiot! Six years that I’ve known you, what makes you think I can fight.’ Alex shouted in his head. “Rick how could…why did you sign me up?! Please tell me it isn’t too late to take my name off…before I kill someone?” The last part Alex said under his breath. “You of all people should know I can’t fight.”

    Releasing Alex Rick shook his head side to side. “Sorry buddy today was the last day, afraid to say you one of the Freedom fighters now.” He said with a forced smile, he could tell Alex was not happy about the whole thing.

    ‘Wonderful, what am I going to tell my mom? Guess what mom I’m not so useless after all and if I don’t come home for Christmas I’m probably dead.’ Curling his hands into a ball Alex held in his growing anger.

    “Come on pal it will be good for you-build up some muscle, self esteem. Wait and see, trust me pal.” He said placing his arm around Alex’s shoulders. “What could possible go wrong?”

    “Yeah what could go wrong?” Alex said sarcastically. ‘A lot probably… I swear sometimes I just want to punch you for being so…so stupid.’

  2. B. Macon 18 Jun 2009 at 8:13 am

    Here are some thoughts and suggestions.

    –I think the first paragraph has promise, but it could be smoothed out a lot. Several commas are missing, some words are unnecessary and a lot of the dialogue feels like an infodump.

    Walking down the sidewalk[comma] a young man with short layered brown hair was reading the daily newspaper. “Freedom Force needs you. Help protect our country from terrorists.” [add a line-break here] Laughing[comma] the young man shook his head read [I think “read” can be removed here] while flipping to the next page. “Yeah[comma] right [period] what moron would join you guys-after what happened in China, killing over a hundred innocent people just to kill one mad man. [infodump] A privately owned Military Corporation [I don’t think Military Corporation should be capitalized] bent on making out [our] country safe [period] yeah right [yeah right can be removed].” Folding the newspaper. “I like [live?] here in Beringian, hmm [hmm can be removed] I think I might go to that new museum that is opening in a couple weeks, heard the main attraction is a newly found crystal.[infodump]”

    A cleaner version of this paragraph would look something like…

    Walking down the sidewalk, a young man with short layered brown hair was reading the daily newspaper. “Freedom Force needs you. Help protect our country from terrorists.”

    Laughing, the young man shook his head and flipped to the next page. “Yeah, right. You all killed a hundred innocent people in China just to get one mad man.” As he folded the newspaper, he spotted an article about the new museum exhibit [details here as necessary].

    –In the first paragraph, it’s not clear who’s speaking to whom. For example, who is it that says “Freedom Force needs you”? It sounds like it could be a TV advertisement. If it’s a person trying to persuade him, that should be clearer. What does the FF guy look like? What’s his body language like?

    –“Walking down the sidewalk a young man with short layered brown hair was reading the daily newspaper.” I would recommend giving the young man a detail more interesting than his hair color. For example, what’s he doing with the newspaper? Is he reading it casually or fiercely? What sort of emotions are going through his head? Is he doing anything interesting with the newspaper? (Something as simple as doodling a mustache on a picture of someone he dislikes could be amusing).

    In the next paragraph, the phrase “called out” is repeated.

    I would recommend ending the chapter with more of a cliffhanger. Right now, nothing is at stake for Alex. I’d recommend getting him more into this story. For example, maybe there’s a rumor that FF is going to start drafting people, so he has that hanging over his head. He goes to the movies and gets bombarded by FF advertisements. “Have you done your fair share for your country? Enlist today and get stock options tomorrow!”

    The narrator points out that Alex doesn’t have anything important going on. That doesn’t make him sound very interesting.

    I like the conflict between Rick and Alex, but I find Rick a more proactive and interesting character than Alex.

  3. black caton 18 Jun 2009 at 10:43 am

    Thanks I do have a problem with where commas go and I appreciate you showing me where they go, also this isn’t the whole chapter its a lot longer but my computer has been acting stupid so I wasn’t able to add more. The FF isn’t one guy it’s more like a group of people-like shield.
    Alex is muscular but no overly muscular, he has short layered messy brown hair, hazel brown eyes and a smooth face, how can I put that in the beginning without it sounding weird?

  4. Sandmanon 18 Jun 2009 at 11:16 am

    I don’t think you can sign someone else into a government or private organisation. Or can you? I’m not completely sure. And I’m also not sure why Alex would stay friends with Rick, he seems like a jerk. Maybe you could have a scene where you show a more likable side of Rick?

  5. black caton 18 Jun 2009 at 11:45 am

    hes not really a jerk he just doesn’t understand that you have to ask before doing something, and you find out later why Rick signed up Alex. There is coming up where Alex gets in trouble and Rick comes to help him. Now if my computer is nice I can add some more of the story.

  6. Marissaon 18 Jun 2009 at 12:43 pm

    This is just a bit of advice on how to put his appearance in the beginning without sounding weird:

    There have been a good number of successful books where you go through the entire book without knowing their hair color and eye color. However, there are far fewer successful books where you learn both in the first chapter.

    Just some food for thought. 😉

  7. Mr. Briton 18 Jun 2009 at 1:29 pm

    I think B. Mac might have misunderstood what you meant and then you misunderstood what he meant.
    In the first paragraph, I thought that the Freedom Force line was an advert in his newspaper. I think B. Mac mistook it for someone saying it too him as he walked and you mistook his correction for him asking how big the Freedom Force is.
    If I’m right, you could probably clairfy it by saying something like ‘A full-page ad screamed at him, ‘Freedom Force needs….’
    If I’m wrong, then ignore me 😛

  8. black caton 18 Jun 2009 at 1:31 pm

    I never knew that, interesting. Could I still describe him over the course for later chapters? Here’s the rest of the chapter, hopefully my computer won’t quit on me. Right now this part takes place in New Mexico but I might change it.

    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Alex and Rick where standing in a straight line, along with fifteen other men and women. Walking out of a large bunkhouse, a very muscular man with a buzz cut stopped in front of them. “Listen up ladies,” the tough, arrogant drill Sargent shouted. “, you might think your freedom fighters…but your not!” walking over to one of the recruits. “Weak, flimsy, maggots is what you are!” he shouted in the man’s face. “When I’m through with you, you won’t even know what pain is!” Alex could see sweat dripping off the Sargent’s wrinkly, scarred face as he continued to yell. “What are we soldiers?!”

    All shouting at the same time. “Freedom Fighters Sir!”

    ‘Ah Great… years with this weirdo nut. Think I’m going to kill myself before this is over or kill him, which ever comes first.’ Alex thought trying not to shake but he could feel his knees knocking. ‘How can Rick just stand there isn’t he scared, this guy could eat us-literally.’

    Next to him, Rick was as still as a statue, his baby blue eyes were empty as he stared off into the distance, unfazed by sage’s yelling.

    ‘Like he’s in some kind of trance? Maybe I should have him teach me that trick…’ Still looking at Rick, Alex didn’t see Sarge stopping in front of him.

    “Is there a problem private?!” Sargent shouted at Alex. “Or am I boring you with my speech?” he said his nose barely touching Alex’s face. “Well.”

    “S-Sir, no sir.” He said weakly.

    “Not good enough maggot, everyone ten miles! You can thank Mr. Sigourney for this little exercise.” Standing in front of the group. “NOW!” he barked.

    Running Alex could feel the hostile glares of his fellow recruits as they ran past him. ‘Great now they hate me…’ he thought lowering his head as he ran. “This really bites.”

    Running along the trail that circled the base. “I wonder why they need all the top notch security around here.” He quietly asked himself, circling the base, where high towers with machine guns attached to them, barbed wire strung along the top of the fences and small computerized tanks that could operate without a driver. “Middle of nowhere and we have top of the line defense-makes the pentagon look bad.” Alex said with a small chuckle. “Man I hate running and what did I do to make sarge so mad? Heart going to explode.”

    “Ahh don’t worry pal, they’ll get over it. If not that’s their problem.” Rick said running next to Alex. “Besides I think Sarge has issues-you know wife leaving him or probably he’s just a jerk.” He said trying to cheer up Alex. “Haha or jealous of your rugged boyish looks.”

    “Thanks Rick, just hope the others see it that way.” Running the ten miles both Rick and him where exhausted but Sargent wasn’t done with them yet, next they had to go to the firing ground.

    Sitting down one of the benches. ‘Another day of shooting things that never move.’ He thought reloading his gun. “Hey Rick I didn’t know it was so hard to hit something that doesn’t move.” Alex laughed watching Rick miss again. “Nice shot if you were a little girl.”

    “Yeah well your not so hot yourself when it comes to shooting at least I don’t drop my gun after I fire.” Snickering Rick pretending to drop his gun. “Maybe if you’re lucky your enemy will be a blind guy haha or a guy with no hands.”
    Making an irritated growl. “Very funny, one time and now you’ll never let it go.” Sighing Alex stood. “To bad the gun didn’t go off and shoot you in the leg.”

    Grunting Rick grabbed Alex around his neck. “Yeah and if that happened I would pay you back double by shooting you in both legs.” He laughed. “Go on Mr. Tough guy show me how a pro shoots.”

    Getting out of Rick’s grip, Alex brushed his hair back. “Nah I don’t want to embarrass you.” With a cool smile, he flipped his gun and caught it.

    “You two!” The Sargent yelled. “Stop acting stupid, those aren’t kiddy toys! Damn you young people thinking a gun is a toy when it’s a weapon of death.”

    “Yes, sir. Sorry, sir.” They both shouted at the same time.

    “It won’t happen again. I promise, sir.” Lowering his head, Alex didn’t look up.

    “Your right private it won’t, you’ve earned yourself twenty laps around the base!” He hollered at Alex and Rick. “Did I stutter? MOVE!”

    “Sir.” Rick shouted grabbing Alex by his sleeve and pulling him along. Outside they both started to laugh. “Man what did that man eat, rotten fish.” Rick cackled holding his sides.

    “Hah I don’t know but I’m glad all he gave us were laps.” Alex shook his head. “Sorry for getting you in trouble.” he finally said as they ran around the back of the base, which was bare and quiet.

    “No sweat pal.” He happily said, slapping Alex on his back. “What are friends for, although you’re buying dinner tonight-nah make it all week.”

    “What makes you think I have money?” Alex said pushing rick gently. “I’m broke remember.”

    “Guess you’ll be washing a lot of dishes.” Rick laughed pushing Alex

    Inside the medical house, later in the day. “Can’t stand getting these shots.” Rick said not looking as the nurse gave him a shot. “Why do we need them anyway?”

    “Watch national geographic or the history channel-thrid world countries have tons of deadly infections and parasites. Trust me you don’t want to get any of them.” Alex flinched as the needle pierced his skin. “These are the only thing that will protect us from them-sometimes.” He said through clenched teeth.

    “Yeah well I wish they wouldn’t make me sick- swear I thought I was going to puke my heart out and the pain… god worst feeling ever.”

    “All done sir.” The nurse said taking out the needle. “Next shot will be in two weeks.”

    “At least you could move my body was in so much pain even blinking was excruciating.” Alex said rubbing his shoulder as the pain began to grow. “Ma’am what exactly are in those syringes?”

    Throwing the needle in a box labeled hazardous, she looked at him with uncertainty. “I’m not sure I just do what I’m told-sorry.”

    “No that’s okay, your just doing you job.” walking out of the room with Rick, Matt’s vision became double and his head started to throb. “Great not ag-gahh!” running past Rick, Alex slammed the door to the bathroom.

    Rick held his arm as he leaned up against the wall. “Don’t be to long Lex I might have to use it soon.” Looking at his shoulder, Rick could see a rash spreading down his arm.

    ‘Ahhh this feeling- so much pain! My whole body feels like its being ripped apart from the inside. Don’t throw up…don’t throw up.’ Holding his stomach in pain Alex threw up. ‘Military food taste horrible but worse regurgitated.’ He thought coughing up spit. ‘This can’t be right…never heard…much pain…in shots. ” falling over Alex lost conscious.

    “Ya okay Lex?” Rick called out pitifully from behind the door. When Alex didn’t answer Rick became worried. “Alex! Lex! Dammit! You better not be dead.” Opening the door, Alex was laying on his side still clutching his stomach. “Great now I have to carry you to bed, boy you owe me big time for this. Sorry pal this is going to be a little uncomfortable.” He said throwing Alex over his shoulder.

    Six months later around three in the morning, Alex and Rick were standing at attention. “Attention.”

    ‘To tired can’t stay awake, god this sucks.’ Alex thought trying to keep his heavy amber brown eyes open as his commanding officer spoke.

    “Alex and Rick you will accompany these two fellow officers, James and Aaron, on a mission,” looking over at the two men, both were heavily armed. “, to a rain forest in central Brazil, the target is a nuclear weapon manufacturing company. We have information that they are selling highly unstable nuclear weapons to some of our enemies in Asia.”

    ‘Blah…blah…blah, just get this over with by saying go in and blow the place up.’ He shouted to himself. ‘I want to go back to bed-my head is killing me.’

    “You are to go in and eliminate all traces, leave no one alive. Do you understand?!”

    “Sir yes sir!” Both Alex and Rick shouted saluting.

    “Good, you leave in 0500 hours, now dismissed!”

    Outside the office, Rick was the first to speak. “Dude can you believe it, not even here a year and already we’re being sent on a mission.” Rick shouted wrapping his arm around Alex. “I think the old man likes you pal.” He said jokingly.

    “Really you don’t say,” Pushing Rick off of him. “, and here I thought he was just sending me, so he wouldn’t have to see my ugly face.” Alex laughed. “Those two others guys they didn’t seem happy.”

    “Nah, their just mad we’re tagging along.”


    “Cause I’m going to take all of their kills, wonder how many points I can get?” Rick said pretending he was shooting the enemy.

    “Right,” rolling his eyes. “, this isn’t a game pal you don’t get an extra life.” Alex laughed.

    “Your right man I wonder if they have any cheat codes for immortality,” moving behind Alex. “, or I can just have you stand as a shield and take all the shots haha.” Pushing Alex forward Rick began to chuckle.

    “Try that and I will kill you myself… team kill how lame.” Alex said spinning around and putting up his arms and air hitting Rick in the face.

    Ducking Rick lightly hit Alex in the chest. “I’ll have your back Lex, you can always trust me.” With a smile, he held out his right hand.

    “Same here I don’t know what I would do if anything happened to you,” Grabbing Rick’s hand they shook. “, well my psychiatrist’s bill might go down.”

    “Better get ready in two hours will be heading to Brazil and haha who knows we might get to shot someone.” Rick said running off to his bunk that was on the other side of the base.

    ‘Don’t worry Rick if we do, I’ll let you do all of the shooting.’ He said slowly walking to his bunk; he could feel the cold night air brushing against his face. ‘I just hope this isn’t the last time I get to see the sun rise.’ Looking to the west, he could see the faint yellow and red glow of the sun coming over the distant horizon.

    At five o clock Alex and Rick, along with James and Aaron boarded a helicopter and headed off to South America.

  9. black caton 18 Jun 2009 at 1:34 pm

    I understand you, Mr. Brit, he was reading it out of the newspaper. I’ll correct it, thank you.

  10. Marissaon 18 Jun 2009 at 1:49 pm

    You’re free to describe them in later chapters, sure. I’ve found, though, that readers tend to skip over boring information like hair color or eye color, so the writer has to make it interesting.

    For example…

    A redhead and her little sister are walking in the fall. You could show her hair color by the little sister pointing to a tree with the leaves various colors of orange and red and saying, ‘You match!’ And that would lead into her thinking a passing thought about her hair color.

    At one point in my story, one character insists he knows another character better than she knows herself, to which she responds, ‘Oh yeah? What color are my eyes?’ And closes them so he can’t cheat. This tells her eye color, sure, but also has a higher purpose, furthering their banter.

  11. black caton 18 Jun 2009 at 1:59 pm

    So it would be very pointless to keep saying the hair color and eyes color, unless let’s say the person gets really mad and their eyes changes color?

    Neat. Is your story on here?

  12. black caton 18 Jun 2009 at 2:10 pm

    I meant mad not bad.

  13. Marissaon 18 Jun 2009 at 2:12 pm

    The ‘mood-ring’ eyes, as I call it when the eyes change color with anger or any other emotion, is one of those things that sounds cool at first but is vastly overdone and is a relatively newbie-centric mistake. I’m sure you were just using that as an example, though, so it’s all good.

    And it’s pointless to say ‘her hair was brown’ or ‘her eyes were blue’, just a random example. However, it’d be interesting if someone who knew her (a sibling?) made a blonde joke, she shot back that she was a brunette, and their reply was something like ‘dye doesn’t fix stupid, (name).’ This would show sibling dynamics, but also that she focuses on what others think (she dyed her hair brown so the blonde stereotype wouldn’t apply).

    No, my story isn’t on here, though I share it with a few people who’ve contacted me off-site. Do you have any form of instant messaging program?

  14. black caton 18 Jun 2009 at 2:19 pm

    Yeah, that’s what I meant, but I also have a hero that controls the elements and her eyes change color depending on what power she is using. Is that okay?

    I think I get what you are saying: just don’t say it to take up space.

    I have MSN.

  15. Marissaon 18 Jun 2009 at 3:02 pm

    I’m sure that’s alright, if you have it for some reason beyond just ‘it looks cool’.

    And not just to say it to take up space. In writing, don’t say anything just to take up space. What I’m saying is, the reader does not care what the character looks like until they care about the character him/herself. That’s why you establish personality first, and when you do say what he looks like, you give them a reason to care about that too.

    And e-mail me at xnihility(at)gmail(dot)com and I’ll give you my MSN. We could talk. 😀

  16. Eren Ramzion 18 Jun 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Hey, that’s a interesting story you got going on here, Black Cat. Practice makes perfect, even for novel writing. I used to be completely atrocious at writing – my grammar, commas, sentence structure was all messed up but I just kept writing short stories and improving until I mastered it. As long as you know how to tell a good story and develop characters naturally – the rest will come gradually. Don’t give up.

    Hey, I got MSN too – but what about meeeee? Hehe.

  17. black caton 18 Jun 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Thanks Eren, I’ll never give up it’s something I enjoy doing and I keep working on my grammar 🙂 and sure my MSN is m_soppeck@hotmail.com.

    I sent you an email Marissa. I’ll have to think about the eye color changing now, cause it was just to sorta make her different but I’ll have to come up with a reason behind it.

  18. Eren Ramzion 18 Jun 2009 at 4:39 pm

    Good on you, Black Cat. I’ve added you to my MSN so anytime you wanna chat about your story or need help with it – I’ll be there when I’m online that is.

    Could you go over to my review forum and let me know what you think of my superhero character’s origin?

  19. B. Macon 18 Jun 2009 at 4:43 pm

    I would recommend against the changing eye colors in a novel. It would be less distracting and more appropriate in a comic book, I feel.

  20. black caton 18 Jun 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Sure will do Eren, and what’s your e mail. My MSN isn’t showing anything– maybe I’m doing something wrong.

    Thanks, B. Mac. I thought so.

    What did you guys think about the needles part? Do I need to go over that more or is it okay?

  21. Eren Ramzion 18 Jun 2009 at 5:21 pm

    it’s Ibraheem_52@hotmail.co.uk yeah my msn isn’t showin anything either for some reason even though I added you. you’re online right?

  22. black caton 18 Jun 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Yeah I’m online I accepted you but still nothing.

  23. Eren Ramzion 18 Jun 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Ok. I sent you an invitation.

  24. black caton 18 Jun 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Okay i think I got it ahh MSN makes things so complicated.

  25. black caton 18 Jun 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Here’s chapter two.

    Chapter 2: Jungle Fever

    Fast walking down a worn out trail, surrounded by thick vegetation, Alex was falling behind. “Rick wait up, will ya,” Alex wheezed, he could feel his heart beating irregularly and sweat falling down his pale face. Even in the shade, he could feel the intense heat. “Please can we sit down, just for a moment?” he asked, not waiting for an answer Alex sat down on a small rock. ‘Stupid heat…stupid place…stupid Rick…’ he thought taking a couple of sips from his nearly empty canteen but the thirst came right back when he stopped.
    “You’re still not mad at me are you?” Rick asked standing next to him. “I said I was sorry what more do you want from me?”
    ‘You to grow up.’ Alex thought angrily not looking at Rick. ‘And to go home.’
    “Look your doing something with your life, instead of sitting at home drawing those make believe people of yours…” Rick continued to talk unaware that Alex was no longer paying attention to him.
    ‘Them…’ Turning his attention to the two men that were with them, Alex knew there was something different about them. The man closest to the tree with shaggy dark brown hair, had a long deep scar on his right arm and above it a tattoo of burning skull. ‘What was his name…?’ Thinking hard Alex didn’t notice the man was glaring at him. Looking away Alex could feel his blood getting colder. ‘Creepy guy…James! That was his name… wonder why I forgot. I can see why he joined Force, just hope he knows I’m on his side.’
    Sitting next to James was much nicer looking man; who wan’t as muscular as James. ‘Aaron the eerie man who never talk.weird. How did I get stuck with these people?’ Looking back at Rick, still going on about Alex’s boring life, lowering his head. ‘Now I remember…man my life sucks.’
    “See I told you things wouldn’t be so bad.” Rick said aloud.
    Coming back too, Alex quickly replied. “Yeah if you say so, I’m not mad at you Rick; just wish you would ask me instead of just doing stuff.” Alex said, wiping sweat out eyes.
    “Hey don’t worry I won’t let anything bad happen to you; remember that one time back in high school when you made big bad Larten mad, and he was ready to rip you to pieces. I was the one who came to you rescue.” He proudly stated hitting his chest with his left fist.
    “True but you’re the one who told me to call him fat after he took my money. So technically it was your fault, so really you didn’t save me…you were just cleaning up you mess.” Alex pointed out.
    “Uh… well after that he never bothered you again, so I technically helped you in the long run.” Waving his hands in front of him. “No need to thank me.”
    “Fine I won’t.” laughing as Rick shoulder slumped and his jaw fell open. ‘Larten never did bother me haha he was afraid Rick would come after him and break his other arm.’ He thought covering his mouth to keep form snickering.
    “Stop chit chatting like little girls and let’s get moving this isn’t a pinic. I’d like to get out of here before I get cancer.” James said pushing past Rick. “Our target it is still a ways off.” His voice was husky as he shifted his weight to crawl under a fallen tree. “Be quiet too, I don’t want the enemy finding us before we find them, got it girlie’s. Rick try to stay out of my way I do not like hotshot taking my prey. ”
    “Yeah yeah we got you mighty leader.” Rick said waving his hands in the air. “Come on Lex after this mission chicks will be lined up to have a piece of you and me of course.” He laughed pointing his thumb at his broad chest. “Wouldn’t mind shooting James just once to show him who’s boss.” He whispered to Alex before moving.
    Walking farther into the jungle, Alex could feel like they were being watched from somewhere. ‘Should I say something…no what if they can read lips? Then what…if I say nothing we could be ambushed.’ Alex thought, all around him he could see nothing but tall trees and vines, biting his lower lip Alex thought he saw something move in the shadows.
    “Stop.” James whispered, raising his arm to signal for the others to stop. “We’re not alone.” Holding his pistol firmly in his left hand, his whole body became tense.
    Moving up Rick spoke. “Sir do we engage…” He was cut short by the thunderous sound of guns being fired.
    Fear overtook Alex’s body, falling to the ground he could hear bullets ripping through the air above him. ‘Oh god I’m going to die!’ Looking up he saw Rick standing over him like a shield, firing off in different directions.
    “What are you doing pal, lying down on the job.” Still firing with his right hand, Rick lifted Alex off the ground with his free left hand. “It’s a good way to get yourself killed.” Handing Alex his gun he looked at him with kind eyes. “Remember I promised I would protect you, that’s what friends are for.”
    “Rick…I” Was all Alex could say, looking down at his pistol he could see his hands trembling. “I’m not ready for this…training is one thing but to really…really shot someone. I can’t.” A sick feeling was building up in Alex’s stomach making him want to puke.
    “We have to retreat, there’s too many of them.” James barked, pushing Alex to the ground as he ran. “Move it maggot or your going to get us both killed.” He growled, running into the jungle with Aaron following him. “Move it ladies.”
    “Jerk, get back here!” Rick shouted, forgetting about Alex he took off after James.
    “Rick! Wait come back!” Alex called out trying to get up; his right leg was caught underneath a heavy log. “I’m stuck, come back don’t leave me!” Pulling on his leg harder, a strange but familiar word popped into his head. ‘Die. I’m going to die; right here and no one will ever know…No this can’t be happening. I don’t want to die!’ “Rick!!” Jerking on his leg, he was finally able to free himself.
    Limping off the beaten path into the dense jungle Alex came to a stop, trying to figure out which way to go. “Where did they go…? Who cares I have to get away from them but which way do I go?”
    Pushing through the heavy undergrowth, sound of gunfire had finally faded and Alex came to an uneasy stop. “Wonderful now all I have to do is find the others… can’t believe they left me like that. James I can understand but Rick- ahahah now it hurts.” Limping over to a tree stump, Alex examined his injured leg. “Not as bad as I thought, just a long gash and the bleeding has stopped, maybe I won’t have to lose my leg after all.” Ripping off the sleeve of his black shirt, Alex carefully wrapped his wounded leg.
    Sitting there for a while, Alex thought of what he should do next. “I can’t just walk around like an idiot, and I don’t know the native language here; they might think I’m some gun ho invader and try to shot me.” Sighing Alex held his head in his hands. “Stupid Rick… I really hate you right now, you said nothing would go wrong but you had to go sign up with the Force- didn’t you realize they deal with all these dangerous missions!” shouting at the top of his lungs Alex didn’t care who heard him. “If I die Rick I swear I’m going to come back and haunt you! Ahhh all I wanted was to stay home and draw, but NO you had to sign me up with these Freedom nuts, now look where I am! In the middle of some jungle being hunted by guys with guns…” Alex stopped and his mouth slowly closed. ‘My gun! I…I must have dropped it when that jerk James knocked me down, great I’m being chased like some animal and I have no way of defending myself. This cannot be happening… this isn’t happening.’ He thought trying to calm himself down.
    Somewhere close Alex could hear the bushes moving. ‘No- how did they find me so fast! What do I do?! I don’t know what to do!’ Holding his breath Alex tried to think but with the noise getting closer, Alex panicked. ‘Closer…closer…closer…run.’ Getting up, he started to run.
    “Hey Lex you still with us?” Rick said stopping and looking over his shoulder. “Al…? Alex quit playing where are you?!” Terrified when Alex didn’t answer Rick spun around, looking for his friend. “You idiot!” Walking up to James, Rick punched him across the face. “You left Alex behind!”
    “No you left him. I was continuing my mission; I don’t have time to babysit losers.” he growled wiping his cheek. “Go back if you’re worried, not like I’ll stop you.” James snuffed before getting in Rick’s face. “I’ll say this though, that weak friend of yours is probably pushing up daisies by now. People like him should stay with mommy and help make cakes and plant flowers.” Whisking around James marched off. “Let’s go Aaron!” He shouted.
    Looking at Rick, Aaron spoke. “Alexander is alive, you should go after him. You promised to protect him, now go.” With that, Aaron ran after James.
    Biting his lip Rick let out a low growl and ran off in the opposite direction. “Hang on buddy I’m coming to get ya.”
    Running through the jungle, Alex could hear the shouting of the enemy closing in. “Not good…not good!” Jumping over a log, Alex came to a sudden stop. “Crap.” In front of him was a steep cliff, below a raging river. Turning around Alex came face to face with the enemy.
    “Congele-o cão Americano.” One of the men shouted, coming from behind the trees; the large, darkly tanned, bald man was holding a heavy cannon like gun.
    “If you are wondering what he said, he told you to freeze.” Another man said coolly, walking from behind the larger man. “One boy, odd I thought they would send more. Hmph they must be having trouble finding idiots to take up their so called righteous cause.” He said scratching his chin.
    Taking a step forward Alex could feel his heart beating out of control. “Who are you and what cause?” he asked trying not to choke.
    “Haha they don’t tell you poor kids anything these days. Guess it can’t hurt since your going to die anyway.” Running his hand through his thin black hair, he gave Alex a twisted smile. “You youngins think the Freedom Force is trying to bring peace to the world, but their not. It’s all a lie and you fools fell for it.” He hissed.
    “What do you mean? If their not, then what are they doing?” Alex asked swallowing his words as they came out.
    “How did they know about this place? About what we were doing? Secluded in a jungle miles away from civilization and somehow the Force knows and acted in no time.”
    “Intellagince…spies…somebody talked, I don’t know, there are lots of ways, but what does that have to do with anything?”
    “Ignorant boy, you still don’t see it do you.” Raising his hand, he pointed at Alex. “Nothing but a silly little pawn in the twisted web of lies and deceit, a fly ready to be devoured by a hungry spider. The Force knows because there are the ones behind it all, but I was lied too. They promised not to attack until everything was complete but I guess they think I’m untrustworthy and decided to get rid of me.” He said in a dark growl as he slammed his fist into the side of a tree. “See… the drugs, the weapons, everything goes back to him.”
    Stepping back in horror Alex couldn’t believe what this man was telling him, shaking his head he tried to get the thought out of his mind. ‘How could they…why would they lie?! What purpose does it serve? Rick! Does he know?!’ blurting out. “You’re lying! You have to be, why would they…”
    “Money, power what else do you think kid. Their saving lives by taking them, it is that simple. That is how they work. Well I think that’s enough talk, time to tie up loose ends.” Pulling out a pistol from his brown coat, the sides of his mouth rose.
    “Wait! Who’s behind all of this? Tell me!” Alex shouted.
    “Sorry boy time’s up.” pointing the gun at Alex, all he could do was stare in terror. “Have a nice swim.”
    “Alex!!” two shots rang out and the men standing next to the black haired man fell with a soft thump.
    “Who the… who the hell are you?!” The man shouted in rage, while swinging his gun across his body.
    “Rick.” An esactic Alex yelled. “You saved me.”
    With a uneasy chuckle he replied. “Well not yet but keep that in mind.” Running over to Alex. “So who’s this freak?”
    “The enemy… I think.”
    “Rgahhh enough kill them both.” The black haired man yelled, as he did two more men appeared from behind the trees. “Nothing personal but you have to die.”
    Taking a step back, Alex looked at the cliff then back to the black haired man. “Rick what now?”
    “Sorry buddy,” Placing his hand on Alex’s shoulder, Rick looked at him for a moment. “, I hope you’re a good swimmer.” Closing his eyes, Rick pushed Alex off the cliff. “Forgive me, I never meant for you to get involved, I guess I was selfish.” He whispered as Alex fell.
    “RICK!!” Alex shouted, falling he tried to grab the vines that where growing along the sides of the cliff, but he was falling to fast. Hitting the icy water Alex felt bones shatter along the cold hard rocks. “Rick!” he cried out again trying to stay above the raging water, looking to where he had been standing seconds before; Alex heard three shots then a horrific scream. “NO!! Rick…Rick hang on I’m coming. I’m coming hang on! Please God don’t let him be dead, please!” He yelled trying to swim back up stream, until he noticed his body was moving correctly. “Come on stupid body work! I have to get back… I have to save Rick.” Moving his right arm above water Alex let out a terrified shriek, his ulna and radius were protruding through his skin, and his arm was dangling as he desperatly tried to keep from drowning.
    “R-Rick hang on I’m… I’m coming.” He slowly said before his vision went black, all he could hear now was the flowing water as he sank and Rick’s happy voice telling him everything was going to be okay. ‘Rick don’t…don’t leave.’

  26. Marissaon 18 Jun 2009 at 10:09 pm

    I added you, Black Cat. It says you’re offline, though.

  27. black caton 21 Jun 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Okay, I’m online now.

  28. black caton 21 Jun 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Alex Sigourney main hero: 23 years old, honey brown hair and light hazel brown eyes. 6’0, 196 lbs mostly muscle
    Powers: Super strength and high tolerance to pain, later his powers evolve…still thinking.

    Alex grew up in Beringian, a urban city in northern America. He meet his best friend Rick in high school his sophomore year. Growing up with a father who was never really there and a mother who was very caring Alex grew up living in his own world, creating and drawing differnt worlds and stories. Because of this he was picked on and teased at school till Rick came and broke the bullies arm. Alex is very close to his mother and hates his father who leaving them to go fight in (thinking of place). After joining the FF Rick was killed in action making Alex feel like it’s all his fault.

    Also do you think it would be neat to have a small time villain who eats people and absorbs their power and memory?

  29. Marissaon 21 Jun 2009 at 7:35 pm

    Dang, I missed you. I’m online right now.

    I think a villain who eats people would be hard to pull off. It works in a comedy, and it works in something like CSI, but most people reading your perfectly normal book would get squicked if there was suddenly a cannibal of any sort.

  30. ShardReaperon 21 Jun 2009 at 7:43 pm

    I agree with Marissa, but I think you can make it work, so long as you don’t go into exquisite detail about eating the people or have the villain make any weird comments regarding power (i.e., “I bet you taste amazing”)

  31. black caton 21 Jun 2009 at 7:59 pm

    okay how about a person who feeds off of other’s emotions (i.e, gain physical strength from anger/fear)

  32. ShardReaperon 21 Jun 2009 at 8:30 pm

    That’s cool. I like how it could be a power/weakness (the villain could be weaker from positive emotions).

  33. Marissaon 21 Jun 2009 at 11:12 pm

    I like that one better, yeah.

  34. B. Macon 22 Jun 2009 at 1:08 am

    “Alex Sigourney main hero: 23 years old, honey brown hair and light hazel brown eyes. 6′0, 196 lbs mostly muscle.” Hmm. What about his personality? I think that’s a lot more important than hair-color, eye-color or his weight. Height could maybe, sort of be important, but probably not unless it’s particularly distinct. (For example, my comic book has a gawky character that’s seven feet tall, so readers can see that he’s so extraordinarily tall that he has trouble fitting in tight spaces like car seats and the like).

    What we know about his personality– he grew up creating and drawing different worlds and stories– seems far removed from his current situation at 23 years old. It might help to make this character younger because, umm, it doesn’t feel like he’s terribly close to Rick now. (He treats Rick like he’s an idiot and even says he is). I don’t think it’s quite plausible that he would get really worked up over the death of someone that helped him get through school 5-10 years ago. In contrast, if Rick were 20 and Rick had helped him through high school, I think that would be recent enough that this would be fresh for him. Also, it seems kind of believable to me that someone like Rick might leave for the military immediately after high school and that Alex would go to college instead.

    I don’t feel like the carnivorous villain angle would fit in really well with your book. I suspect that it would be pretty gross.

  35. black caton 22 Jun 2009 at 4:42 pm

    I didn’t think of that thanks shardreaper 🙂 I have a ton more powers but I lost my list 🙁

    okay so to make it sound better I should make Alex younger, around 20 right? Later on Alex does try to go to college to get a degree in art, but saving people and stopping bad guys makes it kinda hard.

    Personality hmm Alex is a pushover, in high school he let bigger, tougher guys push him around. Later on he still is but not so much, he likes to be by himself yet he wants someone to be around (weird but I know people like that). Has trouble asking for help (see later on) he doesn’t want to burden people with his problems, he thinks he can do it without help, even if it means he fails. Is that better or do I need to work on it?

  36. black caton 22 Jun 2009 at 4:51 pm

    So bad idea for cannablistic bad guy right haha.

  37. Eren Ramzion 22 Jun 2009 at 5:38 pm

    I remember a bad guy in HEROES in the “Villains” volume of Season 3 named Knox I think, that basically had the power to feed off people’s fears and it made him stronger. So the more fear his victims felt, the more superstrong he would get – to the point where he’s able to just punch them right through the guts and kill them or whack their head off in a single blow.

  38. black caton 22 Jun 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Wow, that’s strong. Maybe I need to watch Heroes.

  39. B. Macon 22 Jun 2009 at 8:46 pm

    In the Task Force X episode of Justice League, the MacGuffin is a sinister artifact that draws on negative emotions (aggression, fear, etc). I think the heroes eventually defeat it by letting it attack them without defending themselves. It wears itself out.

  40. Anonymouson 24 Jun 2009 at 2:14 pm

    Must have missed that episode, I’ll have to think about it. Whether it be an artifact or a person. Is it okay to have more than one powerful artifact?

  41. B. Macon 24 Jun 2009 at 2:29 pm

    I think it would be okay to have more than one powerful artifact, but it’s sort of unusual. It happens a lot more in cartoon shows than in other media, so these examples might not be appropriate for your work.

    The Indiana Jones series. Each movie revolves around a particular artifact.

    Jackie Chan Adventures. The first season of this cartoon series revolved around a set of magical talismans that granted supernatural powers. For the most part, each talisman got its own episode, but there were a few episodes where multiple talismans played a role.

    Yu-Gi-Oh. I’ve never seen this series, but I think that several of the characters had magical puzzle pieces of some kind.

    Justice League has a few magical artifacts, but they tend to appear in one episode and then disappear shortly thereafter. For example, Mordred finds a magical pendant that gives him more power. Task Force X uses the Annihilator (the artifact I mentioned before). Lex Luthor acquires an artifact that can steal other people’s powers. Etc. Usually, these artifacts are used to create a filler episode or two and then disappear.

  42. Tomon 24 Jun 2009 at 2:39 pm

    The Annihilator actually appeared in an episode before that called ‘Hawk and Dove’, where it was made by the god Hephaestus for the god Ares, and then given to one side in a conflict in Eastern Europe so Ares could sit back and lol at the peasants killing each other.

    Eventually Wonder Woman, Hawk and Dove figured out that the suit was powered by anger, and when everyone put down their guns and stopped being agressive the suit turned off.

    It was a quite Anvilicious anti-war message if you ask me.

  43. Black Caton 24 Jun 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Tom I saw that one, it was very interesting. Hate that they don’t make anymore justice league shows. Yu Gi Oh I think they were called the millenium…something.

    Alright cause I do have one that’s coming up whenever I get around to it. It’s a powerful jewel from another planet that was stolen by the Freedom Force, the jewel has the power to destroy or to create depending on who uses it and what their desire is. That’s all I have at the moment still working on it.

  44. Tomon 24 Jun 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Yu Gi Oh had the Millenium Items. They had varying vaguely established abilities, and it was never clearly specified exactly what each one could do, and there was a lot of overlap, like pretty much all of them allowing mind-reading to some degree. Also, some of them were almost never shown on-screen or used in any way and probably just put there for the sake of having a nice number like seven. Naturally, the Abridged Series spoofed this to no end.

    On the subject of Justice League, I think Justice League (and for that matter the DCAU) ended right where it should have, enough (good quality, might I add) episodes/shows to keep us happy but not too much that it felt stale.

  45. B. Macon 24 Jun 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Several of the episodes were obnoxiously political. In particular, I hated Patriot Act and the Cadmus arc. Political sermons in fiction always aggravate me, but I think it’s especially bad in a series that is mainly about people in brightly colored tights beating the hell out of each other.

    Alternately, balance the political sermons by throwing in a likable conservative for each liberal. For example, John Stewart is a former US Marine, so he could easily be conservative. Maybe Batman, too. (He’s really tough on crime and has a cynical view of human nature, but he’s opposed to the death penalty).

  46. Black Caton 24 Jun 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Yeah they did, I remember a key forgot what it did something about the mind. Anyway I’m not going to really have anything like that.

    I’m still wacthing JL on boomerang, last one was about boostergold. Didn’t like how it ended I felt bad for him but he still got the girl.

    Marvel and DC have alot of alien races, how can I introduce one without it being werid? Still working on name, I have one but not sure. Right now I’m calling them Tskarians.

  47. Black Caton 24 Jun 2009 at 3:44 pm

    I’m not a very politcial person I’m more liberal. So be careful when talking about politics, I think I can do that. If I have trouble I’ll just ask you guys 🙂

  48. B. Macon 24 Jun 2009 at 3:48 pm

    I’m not fond of bringing up politics in entertainment. However, we do have an article about how to handle politics without infuriating readers. It worked in The Dark Knight, Team America and maybe Ironman.

    …I remember that Booster Gold episode. “The Greatest Story Never Told,” right? It was hilarious. “I can’t deliver that baby.” “But you’re the beautiful scientist!” “I’m a physicist!”

  49. Black Caton 24 Jun 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Yeah I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to go into great detail in my novel, still hoping. But I might with the Freedom Force later, great.

    And at the end ‘squeaky wheel’, cracked me up.

  50. Black Caton 26 Jun 2009 at 4:49 pm

    ‘No stay away what are you doing…! Rick where are you? I can’t see you!’ Running in the dark Alex fell to his knees. ‘Pain it is coming back… my body feels so strange… like I’m floating but at the same time drowning. What’s happening to me?’
    “Is he still alive?” a muffled voice asked. “Good so then it worked? What about the other?” there was a moment of silence as Alex tried to figure who was talking. “I see, shame but then we knew this might happen-everything comes at a price…. he will be happy to hear about our progress.” the voice started to fade and Alex came to.
    “Where…where am I?” Alex asked opening his eyes; all he could see where dim lights and machines with wires attached to his arms and chest.
    “Finally awake I see, so the treatment was a success. How do you feel?” a man in white asked, in his hands a clipboard.
    “Who are you?” Alex asked rubbing his face.
    “Doctor Malady. Again how do you feel?” Malady asked again.
    “Feel… I feel okay I guess. Where am I?” Alex asked, his head pounding and his bones ached with pain. ‘Fine what am I talking about, my body feel like it’s being torn in two and my head feels like someone kicked it.’ He thought trying to move.
    “Interesting…most subjects experience incredible pain after treatment…I guess he was wrong.” He said to himself while writing. “Do you remember what happened before now?” Malady asked not looking at Alex. “Hmm most intersting.”
    Still holding his head, he looked at the doctor. “Why are you asking me all of these stupid questions?” he asked shaking his head, Alex tried to move again. “Why-why can’t I move?!” panicking Alex started to shout. “What is this-what did you do to me?!”
    Placing his hand on Alex’s chest the Dr. Malady tried to calm him down. “Please sir relax, this is for your own good. You have nothing to fear, trust me. We saved your life Alex.”
    “Tru-Rick! Where’s Rick?! Tell me where’s Rick, he was with me before… he pushed me,” he said slowly, the memories of his best friend smiling before pushing him off the cliff, then the sound of guns firing. “, he can’t be…he can’t be gone! No, where is he tell me. Now!” he shouted, regaining feeling in his right arm, grabbing Malady by his coat. “Where the hell am I! And where’s Rick?!” he said baring his teeth.
    Gentle brushing away Alex’s hand. “Rick Maddix is dead, I’m sorry.” He said lowering his head. “We tried to revive him but…the bullet bounced off his collar bone and ripped through his heart, there was nothing we could do. I’m terribly sorry.” He said almost as if I had rehearsed this line before.
    “Liar! Your lying Rick can’t be dead…he can’t be. No, this is all the Force’s fault their the ones behind it all, that man…he said it was the force that was behind all the killings. Behind everything.” Taking in a deep breath Alex held back the tears. “Then how am I still alive? I thought for sure I was going to drown; how did you find me?”
    “Locals found you floating along the river bank clinging to a piece of bark, at first they thought you were dead, till you started mumbling you were sorry and how the Force did all of this. Son listen to me whatever you heard or thought you heard isn’t true the Force is doing wonderful things.” speaking another man walked in interrupting the doctor. “Mr. Drake I din’t expect you to be so early.”

  51. Black caton 06 Jul 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Instead of the name Alex for my main hero, what do you guys think about the name Ecks?

  52. Bretton 06 Jul 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Ecks doesn’t really strike me. If you’re looking for a variant on Alex(ander), maybe try Xander/Zander/Sander, Alec, Sandy, Alister, or even Lex, which is actually a legit name. Who knew?

  53. B. Macon 06 Jul 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Ecks? Umm, that sounds to me a bit more like a name a secret agent would have.

  54. Black caton 06 Jul 2009 at 7:55 pm

    B. Mac, I actually got the name from a movie about a secret agent. I like Alec and Lex.

    I hate naming characters. It’s so frustrating.

  55. B. Macon 06 Jul 2009 at 9:56 pm

    I think I know which movie. 😉 Did you see the link to Ecks vs. Sever I included?

  56. Black caton 07 Jul 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Yep, that’s the one. I might save that name for another character.

  57. Black caton 17 Mar 2012 at 10:50 pm


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