Aug 25 2009

Fox’s Review Forum

Published by at 6:43 pm under Review Forums

Please see the comments below.  Thanks!

29 responses so far

29 Responses to “Fox’s Review Forum”

  1. Foxon 04 Sep 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Whoo-hoo, my own page! I feel so speshul. ;)

    What I am Trying to Write

    I’m trying to write a comic book. It will be a finite series, as opposed to something like Detective Comics, which could theoretically go on forever. It will be mainly action-adventure, but I’m hoping to include some comedy in there, too. The plot is about the results of a pill given to women meant to enhance the mental and physical abilities of their children, and once the children hit puberty, the parents get a lot more than they bargained for. It focuses on Mickey Demora, a female, gang-banging teenager from fictional Cove City, Arizona, and how discovering her abilities changes her life.

    Target Audience

    I am aiming at men (and, hopefully, women) from early-teens to mid-twenties, which is pretty much the standard comic book audience. I haven’t read too many comics, but I think they would be fans of stories involving teens, (such as James Patterson’s Maximum Ride books, and the TV series Teen Titans) street life, and emerging heroes.

    What I Look for in a Review

    Don’t flame me like a troll, and offer comments other than “Lol, u suck” or “ZOMG AWSUM!”. Otherwise, I’m open to whatever you have to offer.

    * * * * * * *

    Detail about the plot will be up soon. (Read as, when I get to writing it and posting it up here.)

    *sets out cookies*

  2. Foxon 04 Sep 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Err, in the last part, I meant to say “posting it up here” rather than “get to writing it and. . .”.

    By the way, does this comment system have an edit feature for comments?

  3. Marissaon 04 Sep 2009 at 4:12 pm

    That’s interesting, that you’re writing about a female protagonist but you’re aiming at men. :D I assume you’re not going to stoop low enough to lure the readers in with provocative clothing, so what do you have in mind? As far as making it appeal to men.

  4. Marissaon 04 Sep 2009 at 4:13 pm

    And no, no edit system, but if you post saying ‘can you edit this?’, B. Mac, Tom, or I will get to it.

  5. Foxon 04 Sep 2009 at 4:41 pm

    I’m not a romantic writer, and since that what seems to attract women to comics, (I think, haha) I decided on aiming this at men. The fact that the protagonist isn’t what you call feminine adds to it.

    I’m not going to go with something like slapping the superhero genre equivalent of a chainmail bikini on Mickey–or any other important character, for that matter–for no reason other than making them drool over her. Plus, it has to be hard to maneuver in the skin-tight clothing some superheroines wear. Especially something like the Batgirl costume. e.e

    I don’t have much of a plan other than ‘write actiony stuff’ to appeal to men, haha. I’m only a novice.

    About the edit system, thanks. I’ll only bug you guys if it’s really important.

  6. Marissaon 04 Sep 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Alright, good. We’ve had more than enough people who think ‘chainmail bikini’ is the duct-tape cure-all for male readers.

  7. Foxon 04 Sep 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Chainmail bikini and minimal armor do not good costumes make, my opinion in.

    Plot Premise

    Here’s what I’m thinking.

    About two decades ago, somebody developed a drug that they hoped would enhance the abilities of children. They asked many women from different walks of life to help them test this by taking it during the first few weeks of pregnancy. (I’m not quite sure about how a fetus develops, but I assume that it wouldn’t reach its full effect if taken during, say, the last trimester.) The drug was available throughout the next five years, periodically making adjustments. The children were dubbed “The Enhanced Generation,” as scientists had high hopes about the drug’s potency. When the children were born, there were no signs of the ‘super-ness’ the scientists had hoped for. Throughout their life, the children were periodically tested for any abnormal increase in IQ, athletic ability, learning ability, and other such traits. The results were completely normal. The children were normal. Their lives were normal. The various scientists that had worked on the enhancement drug were heartbroken. They gave up testing ten years after the first members of the enhanced generation were born, prematurely declaring it a failure.

    Meanwhile, a private company had taken interest in the drug. The head enlisted about half a dozen surrogate mothers to take the drugs, and the children were taken away shortly after birth, kept under tight security. These children didn’t know a normal life of parents and school; they only knew the rigorous training that they performed. Like the other children, though, their natural abilities didn’t show any abnormalities. The person in charge kept a tight watch on them, though, unlike the scientists watching the others.

    About fifteen years after the first member of the enhanced generation was born is where the story takes place. Cove City, Arizona is among the first cities in the nation to realize that the enhancement project wasn’t a complete failure. Things like telepathy, telekinesis, and extraordinary IQ blossomed in the first members of the enhanced generation. As time goes on and the story evolves, more powerful and destructive abilities appear in the later members of the generation. From elemental control and shapeshifting to precognition and long-range teleportation, almost anything imaginable appeared. Some children even mutate to grow things like wings and scales. (Of course, that’s all later in the story.) It doesn’t take long for the public to realize that they have a rebellious bunch of superhumans on their hands.

    The private company that sheltered a group of the enhanced generation figured out that they had their own force of superhumans that they could use for anything imaginable. While they determine what to do, the government tries to figure out how to handle the surge in vigilante justice and crime across the country. Cove City’s chief gang is debating on what to do about the arrival of the superhumans. Mickey Demora is just trying to survive life as a member of the enhanced generation.

    * * * * * * *

    And there’s my text wall of plot.

    *sets out plate of cookies for critics*

  8. Wingson 04 Sep 2009 at 7:58 pm

    Whee, sugar! *takes two cookies*

    This does sound like something I would pick up at a bookstore (Saying this as a female freshman). Any ideas for other specific characters and their abilities, or a title? Thanks to SN I’m preetty good with characters now…I have a few I can donate if you’d like.

    - Wings

  9. Foxon 04 Sep 2009 at 8:17 pm

    Hey, save some cookies for the rest, will ya? :P

    I don’t have a set title. My original one was Project (or Operation) Recall, since I thought the various antagonists were going to attempt to round up the superhumans for their own purposes, but I’m a bit tentative about going with it.

    In regards to others specific characters, I’ve only got ideas for Mickey’s family, which consists of her mother and two older twin brothers, one who’s involved in the gang, and another who’s involved in either the private cooperation or the government. Powers I have in mind for other main characters are probability manipulation, super intelligence, and technopathy. Oh, I’m going to give Mickey super agility and an enhanced memory–her mother got her hands on more than the prescribed dosage, so that explains the added ability. Somewhat, at least.

    If you could donate ideas, that would be wonderful. I’ll probably twist them to the point they’re unrecognizable, though, haha.

    … Geeze, I post slow.

  10. Ghoston 05 Sep 2009 at 5:47 am

    Fox,
    For someone your age (or even mine, 24) that is an extremely well thought out and complex plot. So props for that. If you have any questions just ask. I am sure there are people will be more than willing to help.

    P.S. Good call with not putting Micky in a chainmail bikini as I personal believe it would chafe something fierce.

  11. Tomon 05 Sep 2009 at 8:30 am

    This sounds like a solid and interesting premise. I like the use of Meta Origin to explain why so many people have superpowers.

    What I’m worried about (and it’s probably not a problem at all) is a comparison being made with thalidomide. You may know this already but thalidomide was a drug made… y’know what… my good pal Wikipedia explains it better than I could.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thalidomide

  12. Ghoston 05 Sep 2009 at 8:39 am

    Tom,
    Why do you think the comparison to thalidomide might be a problem? I am just interested about your thoughts, not accussing you of being wrong fyi.

  13. Tomon 05 Sep 2009 at 9:02 am

    A wonder drug given to pregnant women. The only difference being one worked and the other didn’t. I doubt it will be a problem but they’re similar enough to merit a mention in the comic. There’s got to be someone who at least passively mentions that this is very similar to thalidomide.

  14. Ghoston 05 Sep 2009 at 9:21 am

    oh okay. Like I said i was just wondering.

    Fox,
    You could always use Tom’s post to your advantage. Thalidomide might give your story a little real world credibility, and who knows some critic could end up praising you for “socially consciousness book on pharmacuetical dangers”.

  15. Lighting Manon 05 Sep 2009 at 9:36 am

    I think you should consider it a benefit instead of a problem, by having a real world example of something similar occurring, you have made your premise more believable, but if I had one suggestion, it’d be that perhaps you should change your mass-origin story so that the mutations causing superpowers are an accident. It stretches believability that someone might accidentally unleash a teratogenic agent that causes superpowers on pregnant women, but in my opinion, it stretches it more to ask your audience to think that a bunch of scientists got together and thought…”LET’S MAKE A SUPERBABY! Flies like Thunder! Super strong…and super-naked! With an attitude as bad as his odour!”

    Pharmacutical companies are usually owned by larger corporations, corporations that would lose money if an entire generation of children became smarter, since they’d require less materials, textbooks, computer software and so on, so it wouldn’t be in their best interests to fund the research. It also raises the question of why these brilliant revolutionary scientists weren’t trying to cure any number of fatal illnesses, or at least treat them better, not to say it doesn’t happen, but people don’t like admitting it happens.

    Although you might be able to swing that it was their hope these children might be able to do it themselves, that seems kind of callous though.

  16. Tomon 05 Sep 2009 at 9:59 am

    Alternatively, the source of funding for this project could be devious in nature. Perhaps the evil organisation that’s training the kids also funded the people making the drug. The scientists just wanted to help mankind, but their funders had other plans…

  17. Holliequon 05 Sep 2009 at 10:02 am

    Your story sounds really interesting, Fox. Like Lightning Man, the only problem I can see is that the original company’s motives aren’t clear. Why would they want to produce a drug like this? (I’m assuming that the superpowers are an accident, at least the more extreme ones. I’m assuming they were only aiming for minor “upgrades”).

    I think if you can get that nailed down, you’ll have a solid premise here.

  18. Foxon 05 Sep 2009 at 11:13 am

    That’s a lot more responses than I expected! Better get to work, then.

    “For someone your age (or even mine, 24) that is an extremely well thought out and complex plot. So props for that. If you have any questions just ask. I am sure there are people will be more than willing to help.”

    … Hear that whoosh noise? That’s my ego inflating.

    Thank you very much, Ghost.

    “What I’m worried about (and it’s probably not a problem at all) is a comparison being made with thalidomide. You may know this already but thalidomide was a drug made… y’know what… my good pal Wikipedia explains it better than I could.”

    Hmm, I haven’t heard about thalidomide before. It does sound similar, but it seems like it was meant as a wonder drug for common ailments, not to effect the condition of the fetus.

    When I was explaining the basis of this idea to a friend, she said it had already been done in real life; her mother had taken something or other when she was pregnant, and at five years old, my friend was tested for an abnormal IQ. Not really related to the topic of thalidomide, but I figured it was worth a mention.

    “It stretches believability that someone might accidentally unleash a teratogenic agent that causes superpowers on pregnant women, but in my opinion, it stretches it more to ask your audience to think that a bunch of scientists got together and thought…”LET’S MAKE A SUPERBABY! Flies like Thunder! Super strong…and super-naked! With an attitude as bad as his odour!””

    Hahaha. I was thinking that the scientists had done previous tests on lab mice, and quickly saw an improvement in their natural abilities. Since mice have such short life spans, they thought they could at least raise a child’s learning ability by the first few years of life. It was an accident that the enhanced generation children received superpowers instead of just a high IQ or flexibility.

    At least I’m not saying, “A gamma ray blast caused them all to sprout completely different abilities! What were teenagers doing around gamma rays, you ask? Err, it was a field trip. For a lot of kids.”

    “Pharmacutical companies are usually owned by larger corporations, corporations that would lose money if an entire generation of children became smarter, since they’d require less materials, textbooks, computer software and so on, so it wouldn’t be in their best interests to fund the research.”

    I didn’t think that far into it, admittedly. At first, my idea was that it was funded by some branch of the government as the first step in creating a super soldier. (It wouldn’t make sense to skip the small-scale testing and go straight for creating the next Captain America, in my opinion.) It gets tiring when everything’s funded by the government or the military, though, and I’m not that keen on how the American government works in the first place.

    “It also raises the question of why these brilliant revolutionary scientists weren’t trying to cure any number of fatal illnesses, or at least treat them better, not to say it doesn’t happen, but people don’t like admitting it happens.”

    As far as my understanding goes, engineering drugs to raise IQ and figuring out how cancer can be cured requires two different scientists, so I thought this would work.

    “Alternatively, the source of funding for this project could be devious in nature. Perhaps the evil organisation that’s training the kids also funded the people making the drug. The scientists just wanted to help mankind, but their funders had other plans…”

    Dun-dun-duuuun!

    Hehe. I’ll have to take that concept into consideration.

    * * * * * * *

    Thank you all very much for your comments. I’m still in the beginning stages of creation, so it’s very helpful to receive constructive criticism early on.

    Fox

  19. Ghoston 05 Sep 2009 at 11:32 am

    Fox, that whoosh noise is also the sound of my ego deflating, but you have to give props where they are due.

  20. Lighting Manon 05 Sep 2009 at 11:32 am

    “As far as my understanding goes, engineering drugs to raise IQ and figuring out how cancer can be cured requires two different scientists, so I thought this would work.”

    That’s a good point, I am not entirely sure how the fields of pharmacutical development are divided up, I’ve always assumed that there were individuals with generalized knowledge about the human body and its various systems, that theorized about the possible effects of particular treatments, and the development followed from there, so generic scientist A capable of creating super-people is also generic scientist B, capable of preventing cells from becoming cancerous.

  21. Ghoston 05 Sep 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Fox, you could always give the companies the motive that increasing IQ and such was actually in the best interest for 3 reasons. 1. A larger pool of individuals who are smarter increases the likelihood that these companies could hire more people with higher IQ than they did the generation before, which would also increase their chances of developing more ground-breaking drugs. 2. One of the ethical arguments of genetically engineering taking place right now is that such a pratice will create a subclass of normal poor humans while the super rich use their wealth to design babies who are smarter, faster, stronger (see the movie Gatacca or look online under ethics of genetic engineering for references). So in your fictional world, just say the drug was tested on all these average pregnant women, but was going to be sold at a superhigh price. Then the drug companies could still make money but wouldn’t have to give it everyone in a single generation (since not everyone could afford it), ensuring their long term revenue. This would likely cause the drug to become a status symbol like a Porsche or Rolex 3. As humanity has become more advanced over time, we have consumed more resources. Smarter people would create newer things that would still need to be made and sold to the waiting public. Also, the technology made by these smarter people does not have to be released all at once, but could instead be released slowly over time (like fuel injected engines, which were widely used in world war 2 but were not used commonly by car builders until the late seventies).

    So if I were you, Fox, I would go with your original idea. Just because someone brings up a possible plot hole doesn’t mean that you have to change your story. Just come up with a reason to justify why things work the way they do in your fictional universe.

  22. Foxon 05 Sep 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Once again, thank you all for your comments and suggestions.

    I have a question regarding the gang gang that I mentioned in the plot. I’m basing it on the real-life gang of Mara Salvatrucha, most commonly known as MS-13. I don’t know if I should call it something else and have it be a blatant ripoff, or leave it as MS-13. Real-life street gangs are a touchy subject, and I don’t know how to handle it well.

    MS-13 is mainly composed of teenage Hispanics, where the men make the majority of the decisions and the women aren’t highly regarded. I did a little research, and came up with a 60 Minutes article that really helps in explaining it. Problem is, how do I handle writing about a gang like that? Is it even a problem? Should I tread carefully on the subject, or make up an entirely new group?

    Fox

  23. Foxon 05 Sep 2009 at 2:35 pm

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/12/01/60minutes/main1090941.shtml is the article, by the way. I thought I had linked it, but apparently not. :|

  24. Ghoston 05 Sep 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Fox,
    I would not use MS-13 personally, but if you want to I guess that is up to you as the author.

  25. Ghoston 05 Sep 2009 at 5:55 pm

    So Fox, when are you gonna post a draft. I am looking forward to seeing what you got.

  26. Foxon 05 Sep 2009 at 5:59 pm

    A draft? I’ve been meaning to do that, but something distracts me nearly every time I sit down to write something. Let’s see if I can pull something together, shall we?

  27. B. Macon 06 Sep 2009 at 8:32 am

    I think it’d be a bit easier to make up your own gang. One potential problem with using real gangs (or terrorist groups, more commonly) in superhero stories is that the story will probably feel disjointed because the real details clash with the wackier elements of the story. “And then Spiderman beats the hell out of Al Qaeda!” It will probably feel cheesy.

    However, a story that is fairly realistic across the board can probably use a real gang or terrorist group without disorienting readers. It’d work a lot better for Tom Clancy than most superhero authors.

    Moodwise, I think that using a real gang will make the story feel a lot more sober.

    Also, I think that the age of your target audience is another important consideration. If the audience isn’t old enough to know that MS-13 is real, then you’re opening a can of worms for nothing. Also, if you’re trying to sell to kids, I think that using a real gang may scare away the adults (parents, teachers, librarians) that buy kids’ books.

  28. Ghoston 11 Jan 2010 at 8:44 pm

    Fox… are you there?

  29. Foxon 19 Jul 2010 at 7:07 pm

    I posted this back in September? Goodness’ sakes, that’s what I get for not bookmarking it…

    I made it my goal earlier this summer to complete the first draft of my series by late August. So far, I have an idea of how the plot’s going to go, and an outline of the first issue or so, but not without major changes. The private corporation taking interest in the drug is out. The gang has gone through a couple changes, namely (no pun intended) a name change to Ojos del Diablo, translated from Spanish as Eyes of the Devil.

    Mickey is much more fleshed out as a character; instead of being an average teenager, she’s a hotheaded, over-confident, and aggressive. Over the course of the story, she learns the difference between confidence and courage, and is overall more likable. An important change to her character is the fact that she is paralyzed from her waist-down, and has to use a wheelchair to get around. Although a wheelchair-bound superhero would be neat, they wouldn’t be able to do anything… well, interesting.* She uses it to aid her “secret identity” after becoming a hero; nobody would think the paralyzed, teenage chick would fight crime, right? The abilities given to her by the super-duper wonder drug (working name) are supernatural agility and minor regeneration. The regeneration allows her to heal wounds quickly, (but not Deadpool-quickly) and, over a very long period of time, heal previously-irreparable injuries, such as the severed spinal cord that paralyzed her. (Still working on what caused the injury)

    *In this story, at least. Professor X and Oracle only work in a superhero story because they’re not the main protagonists; if the protagonist isn’t in the middle of the action, something’s wrong.

    Mick’s motivation for becoming a hero is that she wants to make a change in the world; she figured that, since she was bound to a wheelchair, she couldn’t do anything, but now that she can walk, she thinks she can make a change in the only way she knows how–violence. As previously mentioned, she is aggressive, mostly because her mother and brothers weren’t the nicest family members around. (She still loves them, though) Luckily, Mickey’s heart is in the right place, and she knows who to target to make a change and become a vigilante. She is dead-set in using non-lethal weapons, such as staffs, instead of more dangerous weapons like guns. She never will kill someone, not only because it’s not her job to do it, but because she can’t take a life.

    The drug has changed a bunch, too. I’ve decided to create some “fake science” and make the drug kick-start a hidden something (again, working name) in the body, which produces a chemical of some sort that creates superpowers. Depending on the amount and type of chemical produced, (each person is born with a slightly different composition of it) telekinesis, super strength, invisibility, or any number of powers could be activated. The powers would have to be described in the most scientific way possible; invisibility could be extremely good camouflage, and shapeshifting would be a drastic rearrangement of organs, bones, and assorted body parts. Previously, scientists discovered this hidden something could produce increased IQ in rats, and wanted to see if it could do the same in humans. As rats and humans are as different as mammals can get, rats’ hidden something produces only a specific type of chemical, while humans’ hidden something can produce a much broader range of chemicals.

    I’m still stuck on a couple of points, though.

    One: The superhero alias. I’ve never been good at coming up with names. Or costumes, for that matter. My first thought was to have the alias be Mouse, as Mick was originally short with light brown hair and a mousy structure. My second and third thoughts were “copyright issues are bad” (Mickey “Mouse” Demora) and “that’s a silly name,” respectively.

    Two: “Kid becomes superhero, fights crime.” It sounds horribly cliche, but that’s the absolute most basic premise of this story. (And Static Shock’s, and Spider-Man’s…) I’m afraid I’m not making my story unique enough to stand out from that crowd. I am betting on the fact that comic book companies get a lot of these types of submissions, and that mine needs to be the absolute best, most unique out of all of them–or at least stand out.

    Three: The “people in wheelchairs can’t do anything” mood emanating from Mickey. I really don’t want to offend any disabled people, for my lack of a better term, but that’s how my character feels. Should I worry about my character making it seem that I, the writer, think all disabled people are useless? For future reference, I have a mental illness, and I’m just about the least prejudiced person you’d ever meet. I’d hate to come off as the opposite.

    ~*~*~*~*~

    … Holy wall of text, Batman, I need to come here more often…

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