Dec 06 2009

Toasty’s Review Forum

Published by at 8:42 am under Review Forums

Please see the comments below. Thanks!

8 responses so far

8 Responses to “Toasty’s Review Forum”

  1. Toastyon 14 Dec 2009 at 5:51 pm

    Oh yeah, if anyone was curious to how the characters look as well. Figured it would help to see if I described them well enough, or suggestions on how to describe them better.

    Twitch (Under one of the former revisions name from an rp)
    http://py-primal.deviantart.com/art/Axestone-City-Scene-Idea-19822152

    Inspiration for Evergreen Post Nuclear Burn on Left
    http://py-primal.deviantart.com/art/Random-Toon-Victims-62775575

    Dakota (Under former revision’s name)
    http://py-primal.deviantart.com/art/Another-Dallas-Sketch-18664638
    http://py-primal.deviantart.com/art/Dallas-and-Donovan-Sketches-18664562

  2. Toastyon 02 Jan 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Going to try this one more time… maybe I just posted too much the last two tries.
    First part of a short story I worked on in the last couple weeks.

    BURDEN OF THE JUST

    When I had met the girl before me, she hadn’t seemed that much different then most.
    She was happy, she wanted to help people and she seemed to have a positive attitude about her future.
    The fact that at the time there was a large regenerating hole in her right side was surprisingly not as big a matter as you’d expect.
    It didn’t hurt that I’d been following costumed heroes, masks as they’d been coined in the media, since the beginning of my career. I showed a great deal of empathy with them, it seemed. At times they would come to me rather then vice versa, just so someone would tell their story. It was this fact that made being here so hard, among other reasons.
    I was sitting in front of a hospital bed, looking at the girl I had only known as Evergreen rest as comfortable as one would guess. It was hard to match the picture of the young regenerative mask with the severely bandaged girl in front of me. What little could be seen around her wrappings made it even harder.
    The poor girl had caught the criminal Maelstrom on one of his more dangerous days. As far as I could piece together at the time, the idiot had watched The Stand one too many times… decided to hold a part of the city ransom by threatening to irradiate it to high hell. She managed to stop him, but suffered severe radiation poisoning as a result.
    This would not be such a big deal for a healer if not for the fact that was her only ability. She had no form of protection against further mutation, nothing to keep the damage from continuing to hurt her… She was lucky to still be alive… if one wanted to be positive.
    I had stayed as long as I could, though at the time I wasn’t exactly sure why. Part of me considered the fact she was so horribly injured that there was no real way to find out her identity at this point. The rest of me considered that a macabre and quite frankly insultful reason to be here. Yet here I stayed until one of the doctors entered the room and stated it was time to go.
    I glanced to him for a moment, studying him as well as I could. Did he think I was here for such lowlife reasons? No… he felt regret for the poor girl’s injuries as well. What shocked me the most is there was a sense of admiration towards me. I didn’t even know if I was there for the right reasons, but he apparently felt so.
    I nodded lightly to him for a moment before standing up and grabbing my coat, looking over to Evergreen for a moment. My lips purse for a moment before I softly mutter, “Get well soon kiddo.” I turned to the doctor and followed him out of the room.

  3. Toastyon 02 Jan 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Yup, that was the problem. XD
    If anyone wants me to post more, feel free to ask. I’m trying to work on my writing skills more before I go anything beyond a short story… So I’m not above posting the whole thing in spurts. 🙂
    Also, feel free to criticize hard, I could use further input on the story.

  4. B. Macon 02 Jan 2010 at 5:10 pm

    I like the title. It reminds me of the premise for DC Comics’ Kingdom Come.

    “When I had met the girl before me, she hadn’t seemed that much different then most.” This is a bit awkward. Mainly a phrasing thing. I’d recommend something like “When I first met [name], she seemed [take your pick of normal/usual/etc].” Also, “then” should be “than,” I think.

    “She was happy, she wanted to help people and she seemed to have a positive attitude…” I’d recommend showing this as much as possible. Maybe you could give us some details about her happiness and how she wants to help people?

    “The fact that at the time there was a large regenerating hole in her right side was…” I think “at the time” is unnecessary and can be removed.

    “since the beginning of my career.” Career in what? Maybe include a detail about how he broke into his career?

    “I showed a great deal of empathy with them, it seemed.” This narrator is using the word “seemed” quite a bit. I’m not sure if he’s using it correctly; the word generally implies something that is not as it appears. So it implies he’s faking empathy with masks. This makes him sound like a bit of a villain, or at least oily. I would recommend having him SHOW his empathy rather than talking about how empathetic he is. One way you could do that, for example, would be having him carry out a very human conversation with a superhero. (He treats the superhero like a regular person, which shows that he’s empathizing with the person behind the mask and recognizes that there’s a human there). Also, I really like the use of the word “masks” in place of “superheroes…”– it shows that regular people have a great deal empathizing with them, instead looking at the superficial differences (the mask).

    I don’t understand why the regenerating hole in her side would have been a problem.

    So he tells superheroes’ stories. Is he a journalist?

    “young regenerative mask” is a bit sterile. I’m not sure it fits THIS character’s voice. It makes it sound like he doesn’t regard her as a person.

    I don’t know what The Stand is. A movie?

    Show more, tell less. Also, it might help to have Evergreen explain what happened rather than having the narrator narrate it to us.

    Are you an Orson Scott Card fan?

    I’m not picking up a lot of empathy from this character. Is that intentional? He’s describing her kind of like a piece of cut-up meat. (He correctly describes himself as macabre, for example). If he were empathetic, I’d imagine that he’d also be thinking about the family she may be leaving behind, whether she’ll be okay, etc.

    What’s his motivation? What’s at stake for him? Giving him an urgent goal would probably help the pacing of this scene.

    I’d recommend ending the chapter on a cliffhanger. Maybe she does something unexpected or we learn something intriguing and we’re left wondering what will happen in chapter 2.

  5. Toastyon 02 Jan 2010 at 6:10 pm

    Thanks B Mac! 🙂 I’m going to post more of it, some of the things that you mentioned come into play in the next few paragraphs after he leaves the hospital (the empathic conversation, the beginning of the job as some examples)
    I agree on the regenerating hole part, that was something I was having trouble finding a happy medium on because I was trying to give a sense that he’s just talking about a normal person…. then you realize he’s talking about someone having superpowers. I would have had evergreen explain what happened, but she’s also in a coma at the time the story starts.
    Motivation was meant to be him trying to figure out why this one masked hero mattered enough to him that he’s still coming to visit her, even though his empathy causes him to feel her pain.
    I haven’t read Orson Scott Card before, though I’ve heard of his work.
    Here goes the rest, I’m going to post the rest of the completed chapter in spurts now so that I can get it all up. 🙂 I’ll work on those changes you suggested as well in the meantime as well, thanks man!

    After a few moments of silence, the doctor spoke up. “She should still be here tomorrow… Kid’s done enough for this city, some anonymous benefactor’s paying for the bills.” It seemed like he was trying to assure me, but I could sense there was something else there. He knew something he wasn’t saying….
    “How bad is it?” I managed to mutter back, dreading it the moment I said it. I knew she wasn’t going to be walking down the streets like a normal person anytime soon.
    He paused for a moment as we reached the elevator, mulling over his next words. “We’re not exactly sure where to begin with this… They’re supposed to be calling in an expert on these kinds of injuries, but… you never know. Whole new field of science with these mutates running around, you know?”
    I tried not to wince at the name for her…. no…our kind. It was an accurate enough name, it’s true… but all too many people had used it negatively. Even then, my particular talents told me he did not mean it offensively. “Yeah, I know… At least she’s sleeping through the worst of it, right?” I offered in condolense as I stepped inside, hitting the button for the ground floor.
    Part of me felt guilty for such a lie… even though she was unconscious, I could still sense that she was hurting. It was my gift… and my curse to empathize, even feel the same pains as she.. But it was what he needed to hear. It was obvious he was frustrated with his lack of ability to help her.
    Even then, I was ashamed to admit the farther I got away from Evergreen… the better I felt. Not emotionally… but my empathy caused me to feel her pain as well as the haze left from the attempts at killing said pain. I knew just the place to shake off what remained of the haze as I made my way out of the building and towards my car.
    Part of me thought it was a better idea to head home… but considering the circumstances, it would just remind me more of the girl. Not that I was a stalker or anything bizarre like that, but one could not enter my apartment without being reminded of the job I had. At least one wall of the living room was littered with notes, articles I’d written, and other materials.
    The rest of me hopped into my car and headed for the closest coffee store in town. It was always the cheapest way for a empath like myself to gain a clear and awake state of mind without paying much if anything. About this time of night you had the beatniks and other ‘hip’ people sitting around on their third cup of Joe.
    As I parked nearby and started to walk over, I noted to myself that it was going to be an interesting night. Of all the times I had to pick this location… One of the store’s customers had an almost radient glow of emotional energy as I entered inside. A quick glance over recognized the ruffled, almost frazzled black hair and the bloodshot eyes.
    Normally I wouldn’t talk to an off again on again anti-hero like this… but at the time I needed something to get my mind off of things. It didn’t hurt that I felt of all people, I might be able to help the poor lad from doing something stupid in the next couple hours. He was like me… empathically powered. Though his empathy was a power source more then a tool.
    “Ian.” I commented lightly over to the poor boy, taking a seat nearby. He glanced over for a moment, surprised by my sudden appearance. I stopped for a moment, waiting for him to calm down before sitting down. I didn’t want to set him off, quite the opposite really.
    He stared at me as I sat, surprised and yet a bit curious that anyone would hang around him. He was publicly known as a hero as much as a villian… his manic moments more publicly ‘advertised’ by the modern media. A flicker of recognition struck across his face as he examined me, commenting lightly. “Deleware… no.. .Dakota, right?” He asked, more of a declaration then a question. Part of him assumed I wanted an interview, it seemed.
    I nodded in response, smiling lightly. “Yeah… just came in to relax. Place has a good choice of music, eh?” I asked calmly, remembering one of my last articles on the kid. The boy had attempted to start his own band before his mutation first kicked in. Twitchin’ Cobra or something…
    “It has it’s moments.” He responded blankly, staring at me further. “Just relaxing myself. Cocoa helps with… well, I don’t have to tell you. You wrote the article.” The last sentence sounded omnious, or at least it seemed.
    I knew what he was talking about, at one point I had enough of the negative bias that surrounded these people. Too many reporters looking at these people as someone to blame got to me at the time. I had written a scathing point by point dismissal of the more outrageous claims pointing at Ian, that ultimately led to my current job.

  6. Toastyon 02 Jan 2010 at 6:11 pm

    So it couldn’t be omnious, no… as I watched him, I started to realize if anything, it was meant to be an expression of admiration. Of all the people who wrote about him, I was one of the few who cut through the bullshit and got to the meat and bone of his story. He wasn’t a bad person per say… like so many, his emotions just got the best of him from time to time.
    “Hey, what can I say… you don’t slash bruce banner’s tires.” I responded with an amused smile, chuckling to myself. Ian started to laugh with me, a hearty laugh that left me with the impression that this was the first time he’d done so in a long time. “How have you been otherwise? I haven’t seen too many stories out there. Been keeping out of trouble?”
    Ian nodded in an odd diagonal angle for a moment. “In a sense. Lotta community service, trying some new medication. Lawyer wants me to stay ‘off the streets’ until we can find something that works well enough. Only so many times you can claim you have anger management problems before it gets thin after all.” As he finished the sentence, he had a big shitty grin on his face. ‘Anger management’ was an understatement when it came to the man. There was a reason his codename was ‘Twitch’. “How about you?”
    I started to respond, but paused as I considered how much I wanted to tell my psuedo friend about what was going on. I didn’t want to upset the man after all, he might get it in his head to perform a little more ‘permanent’ justice on the wayward Maelstrom. Not that I could say I would have any problem with that… but I knew Evergreen would not want that done in her name. “Eh… dealing with some confusion. Nothing I can’t handle though…”
    “Confusion eh? Sounds like an interesting story.” He responded with a chuckle, sipping more of the hot brown liquid in front of him. “Girl problems?… Guy problems?” The last part was said with a smirk, leaving me feeling a little awkward by the very suggestion. Especially with the sensation of flirting I could sense behind it. Still, he was more amused by me spilling my problems to him.
    “Could say girl problems. Trying to figure one out.” I responded lightly. It was the closest answer I had for what had been happening… I was definitely trying to figure out something. Wether it was why I kept coming or why she did what she did was the question…”Hard when she can’t talk back.”
    Twitch glanced at me for a moment with a raised eyebrow, like he was trying to pick up on what I wasn’t saying. I started to feel uncomfortable as realization seemed to come to his face, as far as I knew he did not pick up on other’s emotions like I did. Was it that apparent who I was talking about?
    “Talking about Evergreen, aren’t you? Figures…” He responded with a dark chuckle and a sip. “Always had a soft spot for us wayward heroes. Though I’m surprised she told you about that.” His response left me confused, as well as his feelings of sadness. I hadn’t known the two of them had known each other, they seemed as different as night and day.
    I started blinking for a moment. Something about how he said what he said… “Excuse me?… Am I missing something?” I asked as calmly as I could. There was something there that was bugging me, something I was overlooking.
    Twitch went silent very quickly as he mulled over his next words. He could tell that I did not know what he was talking about, he’d said too much already. But the more I watched him and sensed the regret, I started to piece things together. The girl was a healer, this was true… but she never told me how she learned this.
    “She tried to hurt herself… didn’t she?” I asked, more of a statement then a question. I soon regretted the statement as he started to glare, eyes simmering. I regretted it further as a thin layer of energy started to waver around his form. This was exactly what I came to him to prevent… “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to-”
    “Not at first.” Came the response, cutting off my attempted apology. “That came later, after you had met her. But she was hurting all the same. Losing your family will do that to a person… why do you think she threw herself so easily into the fray? Healing hurts like hell.” Twitch responded as he watched my expression, even as other customers started to back away from our table. They had noticed the same energy I had.
    “Lost her family… How long ago?” I asked with a sympathetic tone. Something didn’t match up, why did I not pick up on something like this before? The more I considered the matter, I started to wonder if I had just blocked it out until recently. This could be why I felt so compelled to visit her… Why her pain did not repel me emotionally.
    Twitch started to calm down as he noticed my sympathy for our friend. Not that I worried about that at this point. “In the beginning. Car accident, poor girl. Nothing like waking up one morning realizing you’re practically unkillable but the rest of your family wasn’t. It’s why she threw herself into the work. Sure, she was positive about things, the more she helped people the more the pain went away.” He paused for a moment to spin his drink lightly in hand before taking a sip. “But the more wreckless she became. Ask me, she was looking for a release. But that’s just me.”
    I tilted my head lightly in thought, considering all of this. She had no one there as a support. It all started to make sense. No wonder she was happy to talk to the press as much as she did. It gave her a sense of someone out there caring. Not that it was a lie with me, I did care about the girl.

  7. Toastyon 02 Jan 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Twitch glanced up and around me to the side suddenly, surprising me. I took a moment to glance over and saw two other individuals waiting by the door. At least one of them appeared to be a bookworm of sorts with rectanglar lenses. His friend had surprisingly white hair for someone his age. They both seemed to be looking in Twitch’s direction waiting. He glanced over to me for a moment before responding. “We’ll have to continue this conversation later Dakota. Got some…business to attend to.”
    I nodded in his direction, not wanting to hold him up. From the look of his friends it appeared he was going out on a hero run. Not that I recognized any of them, all too often this city’s heroes were covered up besides my friend.
    Nonetheless, having my answers allowed me to finally leave and drive home. I knew where I was going to be the next day and the next day after that. One way or another, Evergreen was going to have someone there when she awoke. She deserved that at the very least.

  8. Toastyon 04 Jan 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Now that I’ve got a little time too, going to answer the rest of the questions as well. 🙂

    >> I like the title. It reminds me of the premise for DC Comics’ Kingdom Come.

    Thanks! it kind of came to me out of nowhere, haha.

    >> “She was happy, she wanted to help people and she seemed to have a positive
    >> attitude…” I’d recommend showing this as much as possible. Maybe you could
    >> give us some details about her happiness and how she wants to help people?

    Agreed. Adding those details into the next draft of this chapter. 🙂

    >> “since the beginning of my career.” Career in what? Maybe include a detail about
    >> how he broke into his career?
    >> So he tells superheroes’ stories. Is he a journalist?

    Yeah. Is there a way you can suggest I could maybe adjust this now that I’ve posted the full chapter, or does it work where I went into the details?

    >> “young regenerative mask” is a bit sterile. I’m not sure it fits THIS character’s
    >> voice. It makes it sound like he doesn’t regard her as a person.

    That’s another area where it was hard to reflect what I was trying to portray, I was trying to go for more of a starkness of how badly she looked compared to what he knew she had been capable of repairing. Any suggestions on how I can improve that?

    >> I don’t know what The Stand is. A movie?

    Yeah, it’s a steven king movie about the apocalypse. I was having trouble at the time thinking of a better movie to motivate Maelstrom to do such a thing, and it shows. It’s the one where the hand of god literally crushes and detonate a nuke in Las Vegas.

    >> I’m not picking up a lot of empathy from this character. Is that intentional? He’s
    >> describing her kind of like a piece of cut-up meat. (He correctly describes himself
    >> as macabre, for example). If he were empathetic, I’d imagine that he’d also be
    >> thinking about the family she may be leaving behind, whether she’ll be okay, etc.

    It’s intentional to an extent. I was trying to go for a feel that he’s trying to look at the situation at a pure logical standpoint in part due to his empathic powers. Like how some people try to keep from freaking out too badly…

    >> What’s his motivation? What’s at stake for him? Giving him an urgent goal would
    >> probably help the pacing of this scene.

    This part I was having trouble with, since I was trying to go with that being the point of the story. He’s trying to figue out exactly what his motivation is, though on some reflection I can use the overall tone to fix this somewhat with what you mentioned in the previous question.

    >> I’d recommend ending the chapter on a cliffhanger. Maybe she does something
    >> unexpected or we learn something intriguing and we’re left wondering what will
    >> happen in chapter 2.

    With the ending of the chapter so far I posted… is that something intriguing enough to carry forward on? I’ve been thinking of continuing with the story on the day she finally wakes up from the coma and continuing the story from there as he tries to help her recover. As well as touching on the three man ‘band’s little get-together, because I had a way that it came back to the story.

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply