Aug 20 2009

Ghost’s Review Forum

Published by at 6:04 pm under Review Forums

My novel is kind of a cross between a dark superhero story and teenage angst. “My father is abusive,” “school sucks,” “I can’t get a date,” “I survived a terrorist attack and now the government is hunting me down.” You know, just the typical stuff.

So the story centers around a small group of teens that survive a “terrorist attack” and find out months later that they have developed abilities and the government is hunting them down as a matter of national security. They all become fugitives, band together, and decide to go on the offensive. Unfortunately, in the process of fighting back and uncovering the truth behind what really happened that fateful day, they inadvertently release the very thing the government was trying to cover up. Caught between the unstoppable force they have released and the immovable object that is the government, the teens must choose between siding with the government that betrayed them and the monster that made them.

The teens have powers that make them superhuman, but not superpowered per se. For example, they might have super-intelligence, or the ability to lift half a ton or run 60+ mph, or heal rapidly, etc. The villain has all that and more.

Target Audience
The target audience is probably 13+ and both male and female (hopefully).

Preferred Style of Review
I do want to get published, but as I am my own worst critic, please be kind when you review or I will spend all my time rewriting and not writing.

Comparative Works
Hmm… well, something like Crichton meets Dan Brown meets the Dark Knight with a little Patterson’s Maximum Ride thrown in for the females. Also the first and second season of Heroes, since the story is more about the people and not the powers.

57 responses so far

57 Responses to “Ghost’s Review Forum”

  1. Ghoston 27 Aug 2009 at 4:46 pm

    so here is a rough draft of my prolouge. this is not all of it, but right now i am changing so details around so this is the only workable peice. hope you enjoy

    New York City
    11:54 P.M.
    Ian Andrews ran down a darkened hallway, rushing past abandoned offices. He headed for the only that he had left: the four red letters of an exit sign. Without slowing, the forty-two year old man slammed into the emergency exit. The door burst open and Ian went crashing to the damp pavement of the alley outside.
    The building’s security system activated and the sound of alarms split the peaceful night air. Ian rolled onto his back, producing a weapon in each hand. He lay frozen with his aim fixed on the slowly closing door, waiting. The seconds ticked past, but nothing happened.
    “Move,” Ian ordered himself, “Get up now you idiot and run.”
    Ian struggled to his feet and took off running. He did not even bother getting his bearings. He did not need to. Ian had worked in this area for years and knew the alley had only one exit. He also knew that beyond it was the vast open space of Lux Plaza, and his only chance of escape.
    Ian holstered one of his weapons as he sprinted down the alley. With his free hand, he reached into his breast pocket and produced a cell phone. Fumbling with the phone’s keys, Ian punched in a phone number.
    No one answered on the first ring, or the second. Ian waited the eternity between each ring, desperately hoping for someone to pick up.
    “Yeah,” a voice finally said on the other end of the line.
    “Gabriel!”
    “Ian, is that you?” the voice replied groggily.
    “Yes.”
    “Is everything all right?”
    “No,” Ian gasped, “Gabriel…they’re found me. I need your help”
    “Calm down Ian. Who is after you?”
    “I don’t know who…but they’re after me.” Ian blurted out. He glanced back down the alley to make sure no one was following him.
    “Warren and Kimble,” he continued, “they’re dead. I’m the only one left.”
    “Alright Ian, just relax, and tell me where you are at?”
    “I’m at Lux…I’ve almost reached the plaza.”
    “Okay, listen,” Gabriel said coolly, “head for the corporate subway station at the end of the plaza. The midnight train should arrive any minute. Get on it and stay on it. It’s a public place; you should be safe until I can reach you.”
    “Okay Gabriel… I’ll see you then.”
    “Just focus Ian, you can make it,” Gabriel said, and with that the line went dead.
    Ian Andrews ran out of the alley and into Lux plaza. The plaza was vast and empty, except for the single fountain that stood at its center. The fact that it was surrounded on three sides by massive skyscrapers made Ian feel even more trapped than he really was. His only comfort was the sight of the subway entrance on the other end of the plaza.
    Ian felt a surge of hope, but it was short lived.
    Behind him, the alley exploded into flames. The concussion of the blast knocked Ian off balance, sending him stumbling to the ground. His cell phone bounced off into the distance.
    On his hands and knees, he paused, glancing back down the alley. Moving through the flames and smoke of the explosion, the silhouette of Ian’s hunter emerged into the alley.
    Why, Ian thought, why is this happening?
    With a fresh surge of adrenaline coursing through his veins, Ian leapt back to his feet. He headed for the only cover the plaza offered, the fountain. He fired his weapon blindly as he went, hoping to slow the attacker. Then, when the weapon’s ammunition was spent, Ian tossed it down, sending it clattering across the pavement.
    Ian rounded the fountain and ducked down behind its edge, taking cover. He was gasping for breath now, almost hyperventilating. He cursed himself for becoming complacent. There had been a time in his life when this sprint would not have made him break a sweat, but years of riding around in BMWs and wearing expensive suits had made him soft.
    Now it might even cost him his life.
    Drawing his remaining weapon, Ian risked a glance over the fountain’s edge. Across the plaza, he could see his hunter, its long thin form moving at an incredible speed. In the time it had taken Ian to reach the fountain, it had exited the alley and cover two-thirds the distance to the fountain.
    Ian turned his attention to the subway entrance. It was only a hundred feet away, but at the speed his attacker was moving he doubted he would reach it in time. Nevertheless, Ian knew that he would have to try.
    Using all of his remaining strength Ian sprinted for the subway’s stairs. Looking back over his shoulder he drew his weapon level with his hunter. Ian opened fire again, knowing this time that he had to hit his target or he would never reach the subway.
    Ian’s first two shots went wide, striking the pavement to the right of the attacker, who was no more than thirty-five feet away.
    Ian squeezed the trigger again, this time the shot fell short.
    Thirty feet.
    The pounding of Ian’s heart filled his ears. He fired again and again, each time missing his target.
    Twenty-five feet.
    The attacker was rounding the fountain. In a panic, Ian stopped dead in his tracks and took aim. He fired wildly, futilely hoping to stop the person chasing him.
    And then in happened.
    Ian saw the body of his attacker jerk and collapse into the fountain.
    Without hesitating, Ian set off for the subway’s entrance. He leaped down the stairs, taking those two or three at a time, to the station’s landing. He walked out onto the empty platform and bent over, wheezing frantically for air. In the distance, Ian could hear the familiar sound of the subway train rolling on the tracks. He looked at his watch, checking the time.
    11:58
    He was safe.
    Ian never heard the shot that brought him down; he only saw a flash of light, and then felt a searing sensation ripped through his right thigh. An instant later Ian’s knee buckled and he collapsed to the floor. For a moment, he screamed and writhed on the floor as the intense pain coursed through his mind pushing him to the edge of unconsciousness. Then in the madness, Ian found the one thought that the pain had not obliterated.
    Self-preservation.

  2. Bobon 29 Aug 2009 at 2:58 pm

    well that was deadly, sum prologue
    the only thing i wud say is some of it sounds a lot
    like bits from the matrix, like lyin in the alley with the weapon tellin
    himself t get up
    but other thatn that it was cool

  3. Ghoston 29 Aug 2009 at 4:48 pm

    umm good catch bob… I’ll have to change that. thanks for the review

  4. B. Macon 29 Aug 2009 at 8:51 pm

    Comments and suggestions.

    –I’d recommend starting with chapter one rather than a prologue. Prologues often make editors a bit nervous because they suggest that the author has started out with a character and/or time and/or setting that isn’t particularly important to the story as a whole.

    –There are some issues with missing words, typos, etc. For example, “He headed for the only [noun here?] that he had left: the four red letters of an exit sign.” … “they’re found me” instead of “they’ve found me.”

    –I think the detail about his age is kind of awkward where it is. Could you show that detail?

    –This feels very similar to the Matrix. Really similar.

    –“I need your help” should have a period between help and the punctuation marks.

    –“Calm down Ian” should have a comma. “Calm down, Ian.”

    –The conversation between Ian and Gabriel sounds a bit confused. “They’ve found me” strongly suggests that at least Ian and probably Gabriel already know who “they” are. If Gabriel and Ian don’t know who “they” are, I’d recommend rephrasing it on the order of something like “Strangers just tried to kill me!” (Adjust as necessary to the facts of your story, of course).

    –Gabriel sounds preternaturally calm. I know he’s not the one in grave danger, but shouldn’t he be at least a bit concerned that Warren and Kimble are dead? (Does he care?)

    –I don’t think that Ian needs a last name, but I definitely wouldn’t repeat it.

    –Lux Plaza should be consistently capitalized. (“Lux plaza” here).

    –I feel like the conversation between Ian and Gabriel sort of reads like a transcript. I’d recommend working in some bits of nondialogue into that– for example, what’s Ian doing as he talks on the phone?

    –“Why, Ian thought, why is this happening?” Rhetorical question. I recommend staying away from that because it’s usually an awkward way to info-dump the reader.

    –I think that the attacker might be more frightening if we knew something or could see something about him earlier. Right now, it feels like he’s shooting at a ghost that hasn’t really proven itself to us. (For example, the agents in The Matrix established their badassery by killing a number of protagonists in the first movie).

    –Some of the narrator’s language is not well-suited to an action sequence. For example, “Nevertheless, Ian knew that he would have to try.” I’d recommend editing that to something like “But he had to try.”

    –I don’t feel that I know enough about this character to care about him.

    –“he only saw a flash of light, and then felt a searing sensation ripped through his right thigh.” I think the word “ripped” should be “rip.”

    –Some comma placement issues. For example, “An instant later Ian’s…” should be “An instant later, Ian’s…”

    –Perspective issues. This passage is generally limited to Ian’s point of view. But the narrator interrupts that by telling us that Ian doesn’t hear the shot that brings him down. Sort of awkward. I’d recommend keeping it consistently limited to what he knows. For example, he’s sitting there and then suddenly he’s hemorrhaging blood and hurting a lot– he can easily deduce that he’s been hit with something.

  5. Lighting Manon 29 Aug 2009 at 11:38 pm

    I didn’t read through the majority of your work, but I would suspect that the “nevertheless” arose from Microsoft Word or some other Grammar checker correcting him after you used “but” in the first place, since sentences can’t normally start with “but” since there is no element to contrast.

    Ghost, if I can offer you a piece of advice, it’s important to keep in mind while writing dialogue, external or otherwise, that people don’t use perfect grammar, but they can’t avoid using perfect punctuation for the most part. This isn’t an excuse to have characters talk like Tarzan, but most people don’t know or don’t care if “Supermonkey and me are going to the Gyro Sandwiches In Space concert.” is grammatically correct, just as most people don’t care if they start a sentence with “but.”

    Of course, it’s a fine line, but it is one of those fine lines where there’s a lot of other fine lines all packed together into a bigger fine line then usual.

  6. Ghoston 30 Aug 2009 at 7:09 am

    Hey B. Mac,
    Thanks for the reply. Just for clarification this is an extremely old copy of my prolouge. Recently, I had to get a new computer and when I went to post something on my forum I discovered that I did not transfer a copy of the file. So the version you see is extremly old, rough, and incomplete. But since most of it will make it into the draft I am piecing together now, I decided to post it just to get some feedback.
    -So you are the second person that said it sounds like the matrix, and I was wondering if its that whole passage or just the section bob was talking about.
    -Ian does not know the idenity of his attackers. However, he does have a vague idea. He stole something important from the government, and they have sent someone to retrieve it. Basically, I didn’t want to put ” The government is after me.”
    Any advice would be welcomed.
    -Gabriel’s calmness is the result of military training, mostly mine. Stay calm and don’t scare the person already freaking out. My intent was for Gabriel to sound soothing not like he did not care.
    -I intentionally made the dialogue that way. I didn’t want to muddle up the dialogue or the pace of the story with junk. I’ll go back and see if I can make some changes.
    -I am going to put more in about the attackers

  7. Ghoston 30 Aug 2009 at 7:16 am

    Lighting man,
    Thanks for the review. The grammar is actually more the result of my writting teachers strict adherence to grammar than microsoft word.

  8. Foxon 05 Sep 2009 at 12:27 pm

    “Without slowing, the forty-two year old man slammed into the emergency exit. The door burst open and Ian went crashing to the damp pavement of the alley outside.”

    I know that flinging yourself into a door and it crashing open is a really cool scene, but not many people can manage to do that, especially a middle-aged man who doesn’t exactly seem to be in good shape. I think that this would be particularly hard to do with a door for an emergency exit, considering that they look pretty reinforced. If you added that he fumbled with opening the door, it would add more of a sense of urgency to the situation. In a chase scene, like you have there, urgency can really hype up the reader.

    “Gabriel’s calmness is the result of military training, mostly mine. Stay calm and don’t scare the person already freaking out. My intent was for Gabriel to sound soothing not like he did not care.”

    Listen to some recorded 911 calls. Compared to the caller, the dispatcher generally sounds extraordinarily calm, and tries to get the person to calm down. Also, I think you should add that Gabriel sounds groggy at the very beginning of the conversation.

    You’re always saying weapon. Weapon could mean anything from a gun to a knife to throwing stars, so specify what he’s holding. I assume it’s a gun, but your readers might think otherwise.

    That’s all I can offer at the moment… Good luck revising your prologue, Ghost. 🙂

    Fox

  9. Ghoston 05 Sep 2009 at 1:07 pm

    Fox,
    Thanks for the review, always apperciated. The part about the door is being worked on right now. What I was trying to describe was him running toward the emergency exit and slamming into the push bar thingy (not sure what it is called) at full speed. This would in turn cause the door to fling open and him to stubble. Of course, at that he would also hit the door at the same time as the push bar thingy. I realize that it doesn’t really say what i am trying to describe.
    Umm… I dont understand the 911 thing. My comment about the military training was that I was trained to calm down panicing people just like 911 dispatcher. So I used that experience to kind of develope gabriel’s demeanor in the scene. So please explain that part of your comment as I am lost.
    Weapon is also a through back from 6 years in the army. It is highly frowned upon when someone calls a gun a gun. Its a force of habit and thanks for pointing it out.

  10. Foxon 05 Sep 2009 at 1:27 pm

    “Umm… I dont understand the 911 thing. My comment about the military training was that I was trained to calm down panicing people just like 911 dispatcher. So I used that experience to kind of develope gabriel’s demeanor in the scene. So please explain that part of your comment as I am lost.”

    Sorry, I tend to post without thinking. I didn’t read your comment the right way… ^^; Disregard that statement, I guess.

    🙂

    Fox

  11. Ghoston 05 Sep 2009 at 1:31 pm

    oh okay. Did you think he sounded soothing when you read it or did you think that Gabriel was just didn’t care

  12. Ghoston 05 Sep 2009 at 1:34 pm

    also fox, does that make sense about the door? what do you recommend I do?

  13. Foxon 05 Sep 2009 at 1:45 pm

    “oh okay. Did you think he sounded soothing when you read it or did you think that Gabriel was just didn’t care”

    I think it was more of a “let’s take care of this quickly so I can get back to sleep” tone than a soothing one, especially when you added groggily. That’s just my opinion, though.

    “also fox, does that make sense about the door? what do you recommend I do?”

    Well, I have trouble myself opening those types of doors. We have the push bar-type doors at school, and those are tough and slow to open, even if there’s a mob of teenagers trying to get through. I would suggest adding him fumbling with opening the door, and if you really want him on the ground after it, having him trip or fall on the way out. That’s just me, though.

  14. Roon 20 Oct 2009 at 8:11 pm

    Ghost, do you have character profiles? Also, my email is rhophame-at-gmail-dot-com. If you want some help on anything, just shoot me a email and I’d be happy to help. Lemme know. And I really appreciate you helping me with my ideas and concepts as well.

  15. Ghoston 20 Oct 2009 at 8:31 pm

    No problem, Ro. Any time.

  16. Ghoston 19 Aug 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Ok so I am back. It has been almost a years since I started this forum and I have accomplished almost nothing on this story. Unfortunately, life as a college senior and law school applicant left little time to do anything like writing for fun. However, I have had plenty of time to think about my story, and I figured I would put some of those thoughts up here in order to get some feed back.
    So I have decided that the book is going to be 3rd person multiperson POV. There will be 10 POVs, with 6 of those being secondary POVs that will appear periodically throughout the book. The four main POVs will be those of the 2 Heroes, the Villain, and the Government Lackey who will be an anti-villain. The Government Lackey will oppose the Heroes, but only because of his sense of duty and his belief that the Heroes and the fellow freaks are dangerous. The Government Lackey will definitely be the most complex character since he, or possibly she, will be torn between his sense of duty to the people of America and his desire to protect the Government from itself.
    The Villain at this point is the most simplistic character, which is something that I would like to fix. Essentially, the Villain is a government guinea pig in attempt to build “super-soldiers”. I would like to give the villain a more complex motivation than just revenge. Also, I think The Villain struggling with his humanity might also be a nice addition to the character.
    The Heroes will consist of two main characters and a supporting cast of 4 characters. I have decided on the powers I want to use for my six heroes, but not which powers will go to to the 2 main characters. The powers I want to use are accelerated healing, super strength, super speed, unbreakable bones, electrical shock, and super intelligence. I am leaning towards giving the two main heroes the powers of accelerated healing and super intelligence. I like the idea of using to accelerated healing for one of the main characters because I would like to make that character reckless and hopeless by taking way everything he has and leaving him only the mystery of his powers to obsess over. Then with the super intelligence character, I would like to make them kinda like an “Rain Man” meets “Chuck”. He is a genius with technology who can see patterns in things that makes him seem clairvoyant and also has perfect recall of information. However, he is also socially awkward and lives in his head which undermines his credibility and ostracizes him from the group.
    As far as the plot goes I am torn between two ideas. The first idea is to start the story en medias res with the characters regaining consciousness after a “terrorist attack”. I like to call this version the “Lost plot” because the beginning of the story is going focus on the characters trying to survive after the attack and discover what is causing the weird things happening around them. Then, enter the Government Lackey, whose job is to cover up what really happened and make the whole incident look like a terrorist attack. Next the Villain shows up and complicates matters more by creating monstrous freaks and wreaking havoc.
    The other version of the plot is more of a “Heroes” style plot where to story starts with each of the Heroes living their lives separately and discovering that they were part of a government fertility program that was suppose to make super soldiers. Originally the program was thought to be a failure expect for one child, the Villain, and was mothballed. However, now that these people are displaying abilities the current administration is forced to cover the mistake of its predecessors. Enter Lackey who must terminate the Heroes, which forces them to gather and discover what is happening. This leads them to the Villain, who has been locked away in a government research facility for study. They inadvertently set the Villain free, who proceeds to wreak havoc and make more freaks.
    So if anyone reads this just tell me what you think and feel free to make any suggestions you want.

  17. Ghoston 19 Aug 2010 at 5:54 pm

    So I posted my last comment twice because the website wouldn’t accept the post from my home computer. So if you are out there Bmac could you remove the first post. Thanks

  18. B. Macon 19 Aug 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Got it. Thanks for the reminder. I’m working today, but if you could please remind me tomorrow, I’ll review it then.

  19. ghoston 19 Aug 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Sure no problem B. mac. Thanks for the help.

  20. Cassandraon 19 Aug 2010 at 10:00 pm

    10 POVs is a lot of characters . . . it may work if you’re able to develop the characters well enough. Will the minor characters take part in the story when they’re not the main POV? If not, what makes their story central to the overall plot? If so, why should they be telling the story as opposed to one of the main characters? That many POVs can work really well, so long as you have good reasons for doing as such.

    I like super-intelligent people who are socially awkward. Can be hard to write properly, but DEF. fun to read! I hope you do decide to have him as one of the main heroes.

    I think I like the second version better, especially the end–them discovering the villain actually causes *more* damage. I also think a “discovery” beginning sets things up better for sequels if you ever wanted to write more. I’m not a fan of stories that seem to be missing the first half of the story. I like jumping into action, but I never really liked jumping into the middle of a mystery.

  21. ghoston 20 Aug 2010 at 11:29 am

    Cassandra,
    Thanks for the reply. I know 10 POVs is alot, but like I said for the most part it will be limited to the 4 main ones. The other POVs will mostly be used to show actions that take place outside the 4 main Character’s POV and to help bring in more detail to the final battle. I want the plot of the story to be very detailed and intricate, but I don’t want important part of the plot to end up being explained to one of the main character toward the end of the novel because they weren’t there when it happened. I hate it when I am reading a novel and the main character and his supporting character split up, and then they get back together and have this huge info dump that all “blah blah blah, I found this, this, and this out. Then all of this happened.” Instead, I would rather read what happened to both of them.
    Also 2 or 3 of those POVs will probably be throw away characters who only make like 1 or 2 appearances in the book, which I know is considered a big no no so please don’t ban me B. Mac. But I think if I use them correctly they will add some depth to the story.
    To keep from over loading the reader with so many characters, I am also planning not to use a secondary characters POV until after one of the main characters has interacted with them. That way the read can be introduced to the characte before they jump into their POV. I think to should ease the transitiion for the reader and keep them fro going “Who the hell is this guy?”.

  22. B. Macon 20 Aug 2010 at 1:30 pm

    “Also 2 or 3 of those POVs will probably be throw away characters who only make like 1 or 2 appearances in the book, which I know is considered a big no no so please don’t ban me B. Mac.” It was just a suggestion. No worries.

  23. Ghoston 28 Aug 2010 at 8:39 am

    Hey B. Mac,
    I saw your comment and wondered what else you thought about my last post.

  24. B. Macon 28 Aug 2010 at 10:34 am

    Generally I think it’s a lot more productive to review chapters than plot ideas.

    I think that unbreakable bones and accelerated healing overlap a lot. They may be redundant.

    The superintelligent character sounds like he will be interesting to read as a POV. The reckless one… I’m not getting that impression so far. It’s hard to tell from the synopsis.



    I think the “Lost”-style plot sounds smoother. Both plots sound like they could probably be differentiated more from Heroes. (For example, how is your government anti-villain different from Denko and how is the main villain different from Sylar?)



    Good luck in law school. I tutored the LSAT for Kaplan as a freshman, but I don’t feel like I have the energy for three more years of school now.

  25. Ghoston 28 Aug 2010 at 1:19 pm

    B. Mac,
    Thanks I am probably going to need all the luck I can get. Although, it won’t be 7 years straight for me. Luckily, the Army saw fit to give me a few foreign vacations while I was trying to get my undergraduate degree.
    I understand that it is easier to review whole chapter than it is plot ideas. However, I’m the type of write who needs to have everything planned out ahead of time. So really I am just trying to spitball ideas and get some feed back.
    The character with the unbreakable bones can still be hurt and will heal at a normal human rate. I think the best way to describe their power is to compare them to wolverine with no healing power or imagine if your bones were made of granite. So getting shoot in the head or chest for this person really wouldn’t do much damage to their major organs, and if they hit you it would feel like someone was beating you up with a baseball bat (note though that this person could still damage muscles and tendons if they decided to punch through a wall).
    The reckless character may not end up being one of the Main POVs. I just happen to like the concept of them (I know that doesn’t mean that they even make a good character) and I think they will be easiest character to write. The way I am picturing this character, regardless of which story like is used, is as an individuals consumed with only finding the answers to what has happened to them. I am going to make so that all everything they ever had is taken away from them by their powers. Family, life, friends are all dead and gone.
    My Government Lackey is entirely different from Denko, and I would compare him more to Noah. However, in this case Claire is played by the citizens of the US. Although, is biggest hang up is going to be when he has to choose between the people of the US and the US government.
    Like I said earlier, my villain is probably one of my weakest characters. I was thinking of using revenge as his motivation, but I think is doesn’t really fit some of the atrocities he is going to commit later.
    If you think it will be easier or more helpful, I can post the character BIOs and both plot outline on here. Like I said, all I am looking for right now is feedback on my ideas, and anything that will help me get that is worth doing.

  26. Ghoston 31 Aug 2010 at 12:25 pm

    OK Since B. Mac hasn’t responded to my last post I will assume that it would be better go ahead and post some character summaries so that I can get some feedback.
    I think I will start with my Government Lackey since he was brought up in my last post.
    Government Lackey (I am leaning toward the name of Ethan Quinn for him) is a 26 year old Sergeant serving with the US Special Forces detachment Delta, known commonly as Delta Force. He is idealistic and dutiful to a fault. While he enjoys the pride and sense of accomplishment he gets from his chosen profession, he often has trouble coping with some of the actions he must take in order to do what he feels is right. He is also ruled by a depth sense of right and fairness, two things his father denied him during his childhood.
    Ethan’s father was a dead beat alcoholic, who often abused his family. So to Ethan there is nothing more repulsive than a bully. While most would expect Ethan to have troubled adolescence, he managed to stay out of any major trouble because he helped to support his family. After return home for work early one night, Ethan discovered his father sexually assaulting his younger sister. Ethan attacked his father in an attempt to defend his sister only to have his mother call the police on him. As Ethan was being handcuffed, his father smiled and told him he would see him in hell. Ethan, feeling empowered for the first time in his life, replies that its a date. After the police release him the next morning, Ethan discovers that his sister has committed “suicide”. Distraught over his mother’s betrayal and his sister’s death, Ethan leaves home to join the Army and never returns.
    Ethan quickly found a home in the tight nit world of special ops. For the Army Ethan was the perfect operator. Given his past and lack of connections to the outside world, Ethan posed no security risk and eager to please. For Ethan, the special operation’s community offered him the security of being around honorable people without the uncomfortable experience of deep emotional connection.
    During the story, Ethan’s biggest challenge will be overcoming his moral dilemma of whether it is better to protect the innocent or the weak. Given his childhood, Ethan views morality as an absolute, right is right and wrong is wrong. However, after years of watching is father beat his mother and sister, Ethan believes strongly in protecting the weak from those who would oppress them. While Ethan knows that the heroes are innocent of the crime they have been accused of, he fears what there powers will do to the weaker civilian population.

    So tell me what you think of Ethan (remember the name is not finalized so feel free to make suggestions on that also), and his biography. Fell free to make any suggestions or comments about him, and hopefully sometime today I will be able to post some more Bios on my other characters.

  27. B. Macon 31 Aug 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Hmm. The Ethan character sounds like he might be interesting. It’s hard to tell from a summary. The plan sounds workable, but the best plan is still just a plan. They never survive first contact with the enemy.

    Speaking of foreign vacations, I am hoping for a lengthy trip to Baghdad, Kabul or Bogota with the State Department. I passed the Foreign Service Officer exam but am still waiting on everything else.

    “For Ethan, the special operation’s community offered him the security of being around honorable people without the uncomfortable experience of deep emotional connection.” He doesn’t feel a deep connection to his teammates? That seems a bit counterintuitive (I’m under the impression that military teams are generally very closely-knit, particularly special forces teams). Being counterintuitive isn’t a problem, but if there is a discrepancy, I would recommend explaining/covering it in-story. For example, maybe he deals better with a traumatic incident that befalls his team because he’s emotionally insulated. It’d be an interesting way of distinguishing him from his teammates, I think, so I’d recommend making the distinction.

    I’d like the confrontation between Ethan and his father to be a bit more heated than “I’ll see you in hell” and “It’s a date.” Maybe something a bit more raw from Ethan–he just saw his abusive dad sexually molest his sister, right? Maybe something like a frightfully plausible vow to kill his father. (We might learn later that his father died several years later, but maybe it’s ambiguous whether the father was assassinated or merely stumbled into an excruciating death).

  28. Ghoston 31 Aug 2010 at 1:49 pm

    B. Mac,
    Thanks for the fast reply. In my experience working with SF ( I was never a member myself) I did find them to be a tight nit group, but also very emotionally detached. Not exact the type of people of individuals who talk about their emotions unless they are angry. They are more likely to say “We don’t die, we just go to hell and regroup” than “I’m feeling a little depressed today.” And from what I understand delta boys are even more hardcore. As far as Ethan and his father, most of that is all back story and will only be mentioned in passing so I didn’t think it was too important to flesh out that exchange to much. By the way congradulations on passing the exam.

  29. Ghoston 02 Sep 2010 at 8:35 am

    Well thanks everyone (coughs “B. Mac”) for your input on Ethan. Since there way no major concerns regarding him, I think today we will switch gears a little and talk about the origin of super powers in my story.
    Right on I am torn between two different methods of giving people super powers in my novel, nanotech and viral mutation. Both methods will have the same back story. The dilemma that I am facing right now is which one will be more acceptable to my audience.
    The back story for the nanoteh/virus is that it was originally developed by DARPA as a means of targeting genetic defects, like cancer and MS, by isolating the damaged portion of the DNA and repairing it. However, The process was flawed and ended destroying most of the tissue samples instead of healing them. The healed cells in 95% of the samples ended up act like cancer anyways and rapidly multiplied until they destroyed all of the original tissue. The remaining 5% of the tissue samples would go through a rapid growth cycle, but then eventually stabilize.
    While most of the scientist working on the project believe it to be a failure, the military took an interest in the project because they believed that it could have possible weapon’s applications. The military wanted the use to nanotech/virus as a form of weaponized cancer that could be genetically coded to effect only certain individuals or groups. That way the military could target illusive individuals with a simple DNA sample that they could then use to “program” the nanotech/virus to attack. Then they would only need to infect some one they believed would come into contact with their target and wait.
    Since the project had already progressed far enough along to encode the nanotehc/virus with the DNA markers it needed to identify the cells it should attack and replace, the military decided to take over the project from DARPA. However, before the military could take over the project completely, several of the scientist decided they would destroy all but one of the samples. They hoped to reveal the last sample to the medical community and the media in order to prevent the military from using their discovery as a weapon. Unfortunately for the scientists, the military decides that the project is to important to be released to the public and orders that the scientists be hunted down and eliminated.
    The last scientist is eventually cornered in grand central station as he is trying to escape. In the process of fleeing, the vial containing the nanotech/virus is broken. In response to the news that the nanotech/virus has been released, the military decides to bomb Grand Central station in order to prevent its spread. This results in the death of several hundred civilians and the spec ops team sent to retrieve the sample.
    However, much to the military’s surprise the are several civilians and one military survivors pulled from the rubble of Grand Central station. The military tries to take over the rescue and recovery effort by claim that the bombing was a terrorist attack committed by a former scientist employed by the government who specialized in bio weapons. The military is eventually forced to back off from their jurisdictional claims when a reporter comes forward with the story of the dead scientist. Apparently, The last remaining scientist had come to New York city to talk to a college friend who later became a journalist.
    The Military is only allowed to take into custody the one surviving member of their special ops team, who they quickly discover has been infected and survived. He is later reported dead along with several of the survivors who die from “Cancer like causes.” However, the soldier has survived and is used by the military to try to reverse engineer the nanotech/virus.
    The remaining survivors eventually recover and move on with their lives. It isn’t until they start having children that anything out of the ordinary begins to happen. The scientists never tested the nanotech/virus on humans. If they had, they would have noticed that the surviving humans displayed unusual abilities and changes. Also, if they had tested the nanotech/virus on fetal tissue they would have discovered that the rapid changes caused by the nanotech/virus are handled better by the developing child than by a fully grown adult. Since the surviving adults’ DNA is saturated with the nanotech/virus, there children are also exposed to at conception and transformed by it.

    OK, so that is the origin story for the supers in my novel. What I would like feed back on is how plausible you think the back story is? Do you see any problems with it? Can you think of anyway to make it better? Do you think my readers will find nanotechnology or viral mutation more plausible than the other? Or do you think it doesn’t matter and I should just arbitrarily pick one because it doesn’t matter? Also, feel free to make any other comment you want about this post or any my other ones. Thanks

  30. B. Macon 02 Sep 2010 at 11:04 am

    “The last scientist is eventually cornered in grand central station as he is trying to escape. In the process of fleeing, the vial containing the nanotech/virus is broken. In response to the news that the nanotech/virus has been released, the military decides to bomb Grand Central station in order to prevent its spread. This results in the death of several hundred civilians and the spec ops team sent to retrieve the sample.
    However, much to the military’s surprise the are several civilians and one military survivors pulled from the rubble of Grand Central station. The military tries to take over the rescue and recovery effort by claim that the bombing was a terrorist attack committed by a former scientist employed by the government who specialized in bio weapons.”

    What’s their reason for lying? I think the truth (with a bit of public relations spin) would be more effective and would make the military come off as more morally complex (less one-dimensionally sinister). “A civilian scientist stole an extremely dangerous biological agent that had been developed for research purposes. As soon as we determined he was headed to one of New York’s most densely populated transportation hubs, it appeared he was plotting a terrorist attack. He released the virus into Grand Central Station and we immediately destroyed the building to prevent a pandemic that might have killed millions.” This is somewhat misleading, but hard to disprove and less convoluted than a faked terrorist bombing. Also, I think that’s a politically sensitive subject because of 9/11 conspiracies.

    If this process is supposed to be sinister, I’d recommend a virus over nanotech. It would help readers understand that this is a bioweapon. If it’s not meant to be sinister, I don’t think it matters much.

    One thing I sort of don’t understand is whether the virus/nanotech has stopped spreading. Are these kids going to infect people they come into contact with? (If not, one possible explanation would be that one of the safety precautions built into the virus was that it would quickly lose the ability to infect people after being exposed to open air. That seems like a reasonable precaution, given that viruses can mutate and the military wouldn’t want to cause a pandemic that ended up killing a lot of friendlies).

    One thing that I’m not totally fond of is that it looks like there’s a major time lapse between the train incident and the main characters actually getting their powers. (The kids yet-to-be-born are the main characters, right?) I think it would make backstory more convoluted than it needs to be. For one thing, recounting this backstory would be harder if none of the main characters are alive when it happens, right? One possible alternative: the kids are there at either a fairly young age or shortly before the story proper begins. They get cleared out of quarantine after showing no signs of infectiousness, and a few months or years later, their powers begin to manifest.

  31. B. Macon 02 Sep 2010 at 1:33 pm

    “B. Mac, once again thanks for the fast reply. I do like your way of the military covering things up.” Thanks! I did extremely low-level communications contracting for a federal agency.

    “The problem for the military is the journalist who Ian Gregorvich, the last scientist, talked to, because he then break he story that it is all a military cover up. This is what eventual force the military from taking control of the situation.” One possibility: instead of revealing that the military has faked the terrorist bombing, the journalist could reveal that the military knew all along that there was no threat of a city-wide pandemic. (So the military blew up Grand Central Station to cover its tracks?)

    “So instead of having a flu that attacks bird or dogs, they would have a flu that only attacks Ghost or B. Mac.” Perhaps that explains why I get so many colds. 😉

  32. Ghoston 02 Sep 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Wow I just read my last post, and it make no sense. Please take it down B. Mac and I will repost it when I get to a computer. Thanks

  33. B. Macon 02 Sep 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Umm, really? Okay.

  34. Ghoston 02 Sep 2010 at 2:01 pm

    B. Mac,
    Ok smarty pants, let’s see how well you post when you are typing with just your thumbs.

  35. NicKennyon 02 Sep 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Come on guys, come on. Break it up. This website has no need of hardcore swearing.

  36. Ghoston 02 Sep 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Nickenny, how are you going to stop by the forum and not comment on the story.

  37. NicKennyon 03 Sep 2010 at 7:14 am

    Sorry, my bad. Just haven’t got much to add to it. The back story sounds fine, just wondering where your going to go from there. I do like the whole mutant virus idea.

  38. Ghoston 08 Mar 2011 at 10:10 am

    Dear Superheronation.com,

    Tragedy strikes my life, yet again. The hard drive on my computer has finally died. While it managed to survive a tour of duty in Afghanistan and several fire fights tucked away in the unarmored trunk of a humveee, it seems that the life of a simple college computer was to unfulfilling for it. So, as I mourn the untimely demise of my faithful computer, whose memory was corrupted far to early, I also mourn the loss of all my writing that it took with it to the great scrap heap in the sky. It seems that as my beloved computer was dying, my college was changing email providers. Since I backed up all my writing by emailing them to myself, the sudden change in email provider means that they are no longer in my sent folder. I am currently contacting all the people with whom I share parts of my work with in order to recover some of what I have lost. Hopefully, they did not see it for the crap that it was and delete it. However, if all of my work is truely gone, then maybe it is a sign that I should start anew. And, like the pheonix of old, vring forth more mindless dribble from the ashes of the lost.

    Your Truely But Sadly,
    Ghost 🙁

  39. Ghoston 08 Mar 2011 at 10:13 am

    LOL. Ok so serously my hard drive did die and my college did change email providers. So I am going to take this opportunity to rewrite, and hopefully improve my work.

  40. B. Macon 08 Mar 2011 at 11:42 am

    Your college didn’t save the old e-mails?

  41. Ghoston 08 Mar 2011 at 12:37 pm

    No. Apparently, it outsourced student email service to gmail, and is now using its own servers for admin purposes. Really its my fault. They sent out an email at the end of last semester saying that they were going to do it and I never bothered to back up my writing my emailing it to my personal email account.

  42. Nicholas Caseon 08 Mar 2011 at 2:14 pm

    To me, the opening sentence could have been a bit better.
    1. It doesn’t really ask a question one is willing to read on to find out. I recommend spending a little more time when you create your opener rather than starting with an action like most authors do. Try making it sound a tad bizarre-but not predictable.

    2. I don’t think it’s good to start with an action dominated sentence simply because your readers can’t care deeply about a character in one sentence (unless it’s one super long sentence which will be extremely annoying to an agent/editor).

    3. The first two sentences don’t give us a hint on what kind of person Ian is. He’s running from something-but I don’t even know by the end of the first paragraph.

    Also,
    I feel that when you said ‘produced two weapons’,

    1. I infered that these are guns by the following sentence, but you can’t expect people to infer everything. He could’ve been holding a knife and ready to throw it.

    2. ‘Produced’ sounds too casual, maybe more descriptive like how it felt to produce two weapons (assuming he used a super power.)

  43. Ghoston 08 Mar 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Prologue

    New York City
    11:52 P.M.

    Ian Andrews gasped for air as he rushed past dark, abandoned offices, heading for the glaring red letters of the emergency exit sign. Slamming into the door, Ian burst into an alley, his momentum sending him tumbling to the ground. He grunted as he hit the damp pavement, his right shoulder taking the brunt of the force as he tried to protect the precious glass vial in his breast pocket.

    The building’s security system activated and the sound of alarms split the peaceful night air. Ian rolled to his back, producing a weapon in his right hand. He lay frozen with his aim fixed on the slowly closing door, waiting.

    The seconds ticked past, but no one followed.

    Ian struggled to his feet and took off running. He did not bother getting his bearings. He did not need to. Ian had worked in this area for years and knew the alley had only one exit. He also knew that beyond it was the vast open space of Worthington Plaza, and his only chance of escape.

    Ian glanced at the black night sky above him as he sprinted down the alley, knowing that they would be watching the area. With his free hand, he reached up to his left ear and activated the headset he had been given. The sharp burst of static that followed told Ian that the headset was still functioning, and he waited the eternity it took for the device to make its encrypted connection.

    Finally, the static cleared.

    “Hello!” Ian shouted, but no one responded.

    “Hello! I need help… Somebody help me!”

    “Calm down, Dr. Andrews, everything is under control.” a voice finally said on the other end of the line; it was Ian’s Handler. They had never meet in person, but Ian knew the voice almost as well as is own.

    “No,” Ian gasped, “it’s not…they found me. I need your help.”

    “Who found you?”

    “Security…they caught us.” Ian blurted out. He glanced back down the alley to make sure no one was following him.

    “Warren and Kimble,” he continued, “they’re dead. I’m the only one left.”

    “Alright Dr. Andrews, just relax, and tell me if you obtained the package. Is Prometheus safe?”

    Ian reached into his front breast pocket and fumbled with the small glass vial before finally pulling it out. He quickly examined it for cracks and to make sure the seal was undamaged.

    “Yes,” Ian finally said, “the package is still intact”

    “Good,” The voice said coolly “I want you to head for the subway station at the end of the plaza. My people have already arranged to have the station cleared. The midnight train should arrive any minute. Get on it and stay on it. It’s a public place; you should be safe until I can extract you.”

    “Alright… I’ll see you then.”

    “Just focus Dr. Andrews, you can make it,” the voice said.

    Ian Andrews slowed to a walk as he came out of the alley and into Worthington plaza. The plaza was vast and surrounded on three sides by massive skyscrapers that made Ian feel even more trapped than he really was. At the center of the plaza stood a single fountain and several benches. The plaza itself was full of people, which was not uncommon in the city that never sleeps. Through the crowd, Ian spotted the entrance to the subway station and felt a rush of hope. Unfortunately, it was short lived.

    Behind him, Ian heard the emergency door slam open. Looking back, he saw three heavily armed men in black body armor emerge from the building with practiced precision. They exited the building, each one of them with their weapons at the ready, scanning different directions. It took only seconds before one spotted Ian and opened fire.

    With a fresh surge of adrenaline coursing through his veins, Ian headed for the only cover the plaza offered, the fountain. Around him the crowd erupted into panic and confusion, with some people diving to the ground and others running away. Ian forced his way through the crowd as he moved towards the fountain. He fired his weapon blindly as he went, hoping to slow the attackers.

    Ian rounded the fountain and ducked down behind its edge, taking cover. He was gasping for breath now, almost hyperventilating. He cursed himself for becoming complacent. There had been a time in his life when this sprint would not have made him break a sweat, but years of riding around in BMWs and wearing expensive suits had made him soft.

    Now it might even cost him his life.

    Drawing a deep breath, Ian risked a glance over the fountain’s edge. Across the plaza, he could see the three men moving through the thinning crowd at an alarming speed. In the time it had taken Ian to reach the fountain, they had exited the alley and cover two-thirds the distance to the fountain. Then he stole a quick look at his watch.

    11:58

    Not much time left.

    Resting his arm on the fountain, Ian leveled the weapon on the lead man using a one handed grip. He opened fire again, knowing this time that he would have to hit his targets or he would never reach the subway.

    Ian’s first two shots went wide, striking the pavement to the right of the attacker, who was no more than thirty-five feet away. The man returned fire, send rooster tails of water flying high into the air.

    Ian squeezed the trigger again, but this time nothing happened. He took cover behind the fountain again and looked at his weapon. Its slide was locked back. It was out of ammunition. Ian tossed it down, sending it clattering across the pavement.

    He turned his attention to the subway entrance. It was only a hundred feet away, but at the speed his attacker was moving he doubted he would reach it in time. Nevertheless, Ian knew that he would have to try.

    Using all of his remaining strength Ian sprinted for the subway’s stairs. Looking back over his shoulder he saw the lead man level his weapon. He pushed himself to move faster until the pounding of his heart filled his ears.

    And then in happened.

    Ian never heard the shot that brought him down; he only felt the searing sensation ripped through his right thigh. An instant later his knee buckled and he collapsed to the pavement. For a moment, he screamed and writhed on the floor as the intense pain coursed through his mind pushing him to the edge of unconsciousness. Then in the madness, Ian felt another pain.

    Rolling to his side, Ian glanced down at his bloody left hand. Embedded in his palm were the remnants of the small glass vial, and mixed with his blood was the clear liquid the vial had contained.

    “Hello,” Ian said, “are you still there?”

    “Yes, Dr. Andrews, I am here. Why have you stopped moving?”

    “I’ve been hit…Prometheus has been compromised”

    “You know what this means then?”

    Ian knew what it meant. He knew because he had designed Prometheus. He knew what it was capable of doing, of the billions it might kill. Ian knew that in order for his wife and daughter to live he must die.

    “Dr. Andrews, do you know what this mean?” the voice asked again, pulling Ian from his thoughts.

    “Yes,” Ian said, in the distance he could hear the men moving towards him, “it means no survivors.”

    Ian rolled onto his back and pulled the headset from his ear. He did not want to spend his last moments talking to a man he barely knew. Instead, he looked up at the sky and thought of his family. His daughter was only two years old and she would never grow up to know her father.

    But at least she would grow up.

    A set of bright lights in the sky caught Ian’s attention. Two fiery lights streaked across the sky in unison and then abruptly changed their trajectory, diving straight at the plaza. In his last moment, Ian looked at his watch.

    12:00

    A new day.

    New York City
    6:25 A.M.

    Lisa Colvin took slow, deep breaths as she looked out over the rubble. She had work for The Department of Homeland Security’s Emergency Response Team, a group of paramedics, doctors, and scientists whose job was to respond to terrorist acts on US soil, for just over seven months, but this was the first incident she had ever respondent to. Before she joined the ERT, Lisa had been a paramedic in Los Angeles. he had been on calls to gang shootings and car accidents, but this was different. The level of death and destruction that laid before her was so massive she could barely comprehend it. The bodies they had pulled from what remained of the Worthington towers had been mangled almost beyond being recognizable as human.

    Lisa forced herself to stop thinking of the bodies as she felt her mouth begin to water and her stomach tighten. A sealed hazmat suits was not the place one wanted to vomit, and removing the suit to do so was out of the question. Her team had been called in specifically because intelligence had determined that this attack was likely biological or chemical.

    Slowing her breathing once again, Lisa decided to follow the advice one of her senior paramedics had given her when she had first started out: focus on the job. And her job was to rescue people.Grabbing hold of a large piece of concrete with her free hand, Lisa pulled herself up farther up the pile of rubble she had been searching through for the last few hours. With her other hand, she shined her flash light down the gap between what had once been a section of a wall and a large metal I-beam.

    “My name is Lisa Colvin. I am a member of the Emergency Response Team. If you can hear my voice, then please try to signal me using sight or sound.”

    Lisa waited for several seconds for any kind of response. Then she turn her flashlight of just in case the response was a light of some kind, and waited several more second. The result was the same as before, the same as it had been for the last three hours; nothing.

    Lisa sighed and prepared to move to a large hole several feet to her left. As she shifted her weight to her left hear the faint crack of concrete striking concrete. At first, she thought the sound was from debris she had knocked lose when she shifted her weight, but it soon it happened again.

    Clack.

    Lisa pulled herself closer to the hole, turning her head to better hear.

    Clack.

    “Hello, is some one down there?” she called.

    She listened to her voice disappear down the hole, and then she heard the noise again, but this time it came in three rapid strikes. There was a pattern to it.

    Clack, clack, clack.

    Clack.

    Clack.

    Clack.

    Clack, clack, clack.

    Lisa knew immediately what the pattern was. Her uncle, who had been in the navy, had taught it to her when she was a child. It was a game they would play at family gatherings when they were bored, a way of sending messages to each other across crowed room. Three dots, three dashes, and three dots. It was Morse code for S.O.S. The international signal for distress.

    Lisa’s pulse raced as she keyed the mic on her radio.

    “Command, this is Colvin over by the main tower. I need rescue and recovery equipment over here right now. I have a survivor.”

  44. Ghoston 08 Mar 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Nick,
    I agree with you on the “produced” thing. You are right, it is kinda clumsy, misleading (Since Ian has no superpowers), and not every discriptive. So that will definitely get changed. Also, I would like to thank you for reviewing my work. It is always appreiciated, and if you don’t mind I would love for you to read over my updated draft of the prologue. I think you will find it to be better.

    As far as the opening, I have a few questions to ask you about what you thought, and it would be better if you read over the new draft when answering.

    1. Did you keep reading because you felt like you should review my work, or because you just did? If the answer to the first part of my question is yes, then I absolutely need to rewrite. If it is no, then I did my job as a writer, which is to keep you reading. I will grant you that my opening is no “Tale of Two Cities.”

    2. Does it matter if a reader cares about a character who dies? I ask this because Ian as a character is not important to the story. Ian’s tragic death and the events surrounding it are. That is really the point of this Prologue is to introduce an important part of the backstory to the plot in the most interesting way possible. Now if it is not interesting, then I need to rework it.

    3. Does it really matter what kind of person Ian is? Since Ian is not the main character, and yes I know that that is a big no no, I was not trying to make him likable or sympathetic. That was not my goal in the opening of my prologue. The goal for my opening was to give the reader an interesting situtation in which I could present some important back story. Once again, if you did not felt in anyway compelled to keep reading, even if for no other reason then to find out who is chasing Ian, then I need to rewrite or scrap this prologue entirely.

    Finally here are some more general questions for you, or anyone, who reads this:
    Was it interesting? Did you find yourself reading just to review it or did you enjoy it?

    Did it flow well, or were there dull spots? could you point out spots where the flow is bad?

    Do you wonder why Prometheus is so dangerous? Do you care why it is dangerous?

    Knowing that there were not suppose to be any survivors, are you interested to find out what impact their survival will have?

    On a Scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the dialogue? Are the tags (the he said/shouted/blurted outs okay? Are they to repetitive? Can you make any recommendations for improvements?

    Do you think the descriptions about the setting are adequate? Do the descriptions take away from the flow or help it?

    Did you find any words or expressions that gave you pause or did not feel “right” for the scene? Did you find any expressions or words that were over used? Did you find the writing repetitive or predictable?

    Once again, Nick, thanks for the review, and thank you to anyone future reviewers.

  45. Danion 08 Mar 2011 at 6:38 pm

    I really like this. The pace is great – not too slow, not too fast. Only thing I would change is the ‘gasped’ in the first sentence. For some reason, I got the immediate impression it was underwater or he had been shot already. Many to a ‘panted’ or something else.

  46. Ghoston 08 Mar 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Dani,
    Thanks for the review. I am not sold on the word gasp, and if it proves to be confussing, then I will definitely change it.

  47. Ghoston 08 Mar 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Dani,
    Thanks for the review. I am not sold on the word gasp, and if it proves to be confusing, then I will definitely change it.

  48. Nicholas Caseon 08 Mar 2011 at 7:31 pm

    On a scale of 1 to 10, I would say (if you count decimals) 7.3. If he’s not a main character I wouldn’t recommend doing backstory in that manner.
    Maybe a figure of the past explains the present but not info-dumping on the reader.

    Also…I hope you don’t take this offensive…but I didn’t even make it past the first paragraph if you want my honesty. I wanted to go practice parkour so badly didn’t find the hook very ‘hooking’ if you catch my drift. (Plus, urban stories aren’t my cup of tea.)

  49. Nicholas Caseon 08 Mar 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Okay, okay!
    I REALLY WANTED TO PRACTICE PARKOUR BADLY OKAY?! Sorry about not finishing it but I found out recently that I LOVE parkour…I’ll get back with you on it.

  50. Ghoston 08 Mar 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Nick,
    No problem. Interesting choice in sports. For me, parkour requires to much agility. I tend to stick with martial arts since they only require me to bulgeon things : ).

  51. Nicholas Caseon 08 Mar 2011 at 8:41 pm

    I’m a 1st degree black belt in taekwondo which is why I want to move on to parkour. If I master it, I’m officially a ninja 😀 !

  52. Ghoston 09 Mar 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Ok, so, I have decided to post some writing samples for two reasons. 1. To keep them safe. 2. Because I am currently trying to work on my style and Narritive voice, and I think some feed back would be useful.

    I am choosing to only post samples, because I would like for reviewers to focus less on the plot of a story and more on the words themselve. So for anyone who reviews the samples, please try to explan to me what your general impressions of the piece were, what you liked most, what you liked least, and what you would change if you were writing it(also why might be helpful). Also feel free not to pull punches with your review. I cant fix a problem I dont know is there.

    Thanks Again Superheronation.

    Here is sample 1 taken from the 3rd chapter of an urban fantasy (hey every story cant be about superheroes) I have been working on.

    Subtly, the sound of the static on Alex’s tv changed. Its indiscriminate hiss now sounded more like the distant roar of a crowd, or the incoherent shouts of an angry mob. For reasons Alex could not explain, he found this new quality of the static extremely unsettling, sinister.
    He pushed the power button on his remote control.
    Voices.
     Alex was sure now that they were voices, a multitude of them speaking all at once. Panicked yells, anguished moans, pleading cries. All of them were the same, and yet unique, individual parts of something larger.
    Tossing the remote aside, Alex rush to the television and jammed furious at the power button. Yet the ghostly choir continued its disturbing chant. Desperate, Alex reached behind the television and snatched the power cord from its outlet in the wall.
    With the plug in his hand, Alex stared in horror as the snowy picture still emanating from his television. He found himself transfixed, staring at the black and white pixels on the screen. Watching them shift, slowly reconfigure them selves until they began to take a shape.
    “Oh my God…no…”
    Standing up, Alex dropped the cord and began backing away from his television. On the screen, a distorted face looked back at him. Its features were blurred in the pixels of the static, but Alex was positive of what he was seeing. The eyes, the nose, and most disturbing of all the lips.
    Alex felt his breathe catch as he realized that the lips were moving in unison with the voices. As the seconds past, the voices became more and more decipherable, but Alex was still unable to understand their meanings. Despite his fear, Alex found himself straining to understand the words.
    “…Ex…Igh…”
    He could almost make out the words.
    “…Alex…Knight…”
    His name, it was saying his name. Something was calling to him.
    Alex slammed into his nightstand. He had backed all the way across his room. His hand brushed an object and out of shear instinct, Alex hurled the object at his television. The screen shattered and exploded sending shards of glass across the room.
    “It’s coming for you.” A voice said.

  53. Nicholas Caseon 09 Mar 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Well to be honest, I don’t care how good the words are-if the plot is horrible the story will flop.

    “Subtly, the sound of the static on Alex’s tv changed. Its indiscriminate hiss now sounded more like the distant roar of a crowd, or the incoherent shouts of an angry mob. For reasons Alex could not explain, he found this new quality of the static extremely unsettling, sinister.”

    I think the description of how the T.V sounded is a bit redundant here since if a crowd is roaring then they must be angry.

    “Voices.”

    I don’t feel that a fragment was necessary since he hasn’t shown that he is frightened yet.

    “Tossing the remote aside, Alex rush to the television and jammed furious at the power button. Yet the ghostly choir continued its disturbing chant. Desperate, Alex reached behind the television and snatched the power cord from its outlet in the wall.”

    Why would he start out furiously jamming the T.V? I assume he’s either a hothead, impatient, or it reminds him of something in the past he’s not proud of. Maybe you should tell the reader that he started slow and then pushed furiously in frustration.

    “With the plug in his hand, Alex stared in horror as the snowy picture still emanating from his television. He found himself transfixed, staring at the black and white pixels on the screen. Watching them shift, slowly reconfigure them selves until they began to take a shape.”

    “Alex stared in horror as the snowy picture still emanating from his television.”
    ‘as’ should be replaced with something like ‘at’ since ‘still emanating from his television’ is a type of appositive that would be followed by the predicate.

    “Alex felt his breathe catch as he realized that the lips were moving in unison with the voices. As the seconds past, the voices became more and more decipherable, but Alex was still unable to understand their meanings. Despite his fear, Alex found himself straining to understand the words.”

    I believe ‘breathe’ should be changed to ‘breath’.
    ___________________________________________________________________

    In general, I think this scene has more grammatical errors than logical. It’s hard to follow though since I don’t even have a clue who this ‘person’ is talking to Alex. Since this is just an excerpt it’s hard to tell.

  54. Ghoston 09 Mar 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Nick,
    Thanks for reviewing my work again. Also, good catch with the appositive. I had to look up what an appositive was before I could even figure out what you were saying. Although it did make sense on an intuitive level.
    The first paragraph may be a little redundant. When I used “roaring crowd”, I was going more for the “roar of the crowd at a football game.” So I might change it to cheering. Do you still think that I should shorten the sentence even if I change roar.
    The comment about he fragment was helpful. Right now I tend to use them as part of my narritive voice. I dont really do it intentionally, its just the way I right. So i will try to be careful with how and when I use them.
    I know it must be hard to review samples when you dont know what is going on. I also know that plot is important, but I am not really worried about my plotting. I feel like I have the big picture stuff like plotting and character development under control. I let a professional author I am friends with review two of my partially completed manuscirpts a while back, and she said that I really needed to work on my narritive voice and tightening my manuscript (i.e. redundant clauses or sentences). So now that I am putting more effort into completing my stories, those are the things I want to work on.
    Thanks Again,
    Ghost
    P.S. Even if you read the two chapters before this scene you still wouldn’t know that much about “person” in the TV. All you would really know is that he is the creapy bad guy.

  55. Nicholas Caseon 10 Mar 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Generally when you describes something, using ‘or’ is a more hidden form of redundancy. Unless the description is highly difficult to relate to, ‘or’ is unnecessary. Even with that, why not just use one most people can relate to?

  56. B. Macon 11 Mar 2011 at 7:04 pm

    “Generally when you describes something, using ‘or’ is a more hidden form of redundancy.” Hmm, what? Could you give an example of that?

  57. Nicholas Caseon 11 Mar 2011 at 7:47 pm

    For example,

    Bob heard banging somewhere near, like the strike of an ax on a tree, or the slam of a hammer on a nail.

    Even though there are many variables in the description (like what the nail was slammed into) we can infer that it’s a cracking bang. Everything beyond ‘or’ was redundant simply because we can imply the sound of the first description and don’t need ‘or’.

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