Mar 23 2010

A. Jones’ Review Forum

Published by at 8:03 pm under Review Forums

Please see the comments below.  Thanks!

37 responses so far

37 Responses to “A. Jones’ Review Forum”

  1. A. Joneson 31 Mar 2010 at 9:10 pm

    *I apologize for the shitty grammar and bad descriptions in advance since I am a bit tired*

    Title of Story: Project Prometheus (subject to change)

    This story is about a lone wolf anti-hero from an ancient clan of spiritual mercenaries that is placed into the modern superhero world and thrown into a team with people he finds nothing in common with while being an unwitting pawn in the secret takeover of the Union of Justice (this story’s equivalent of the Justice League).

    Target Audience: Teens & Young Adults

    Do I accept criticism: Yes

    ————————————————————————
    CHARACTERS (subject to change)

    Main Character:

    Kenji “(superhero name needed)” Hayashi – This is the lone wolf that I described in the opening paragraph. He is 18 years old, like the other members of team, but his mindset is more similar to Pai Mei from Kill Bill than his peers due to his upbringing in a warrior culture. He operates with a very rigid moral code that centers around honor, fighting, and power. Anything or anyone that goes outside of this moral code he usually dislikes immediately, unless they are extremely powerful. Therefore he is in constant conflict with the other members of his team for some character flaw that deviates from his morals. He also dislikes anything that he finds to be stupid such as the superhero habit of not killing maniacal villains that threaten the world on a constant basis.

    His abilities draw from spiritual energy that his clan has worked generations to master. The way this energy is utilized in battle is derived into the 2 categories of “Internal Use” and “External Use.” Internal Use is when energy is used in order to amplify physical attributes (strength, speed, sight, hearing, etc) in order to attack or evade enemies. External Use is when energy is used in order to fire energy blasts or create spiritual objects (whips, swords, shields, etc).This would create a great upside of versatility that will allow the character a variety of options to use in battle. The downside of this power is that it if he uses too much at one time that then he will become extremely fatigued or if he really overexerts himself, death. The way the character would try to compensate this downsize is trying to train himself as much as possible in order to increase the amount of energy he can use at one time.

    Teammates:

    *Note: The reason why Kenji is on the team to begin with is because the Union of Superheroes requires that at age 18 that anyone that has graduated the Union Academy or received a waver from a member of the Head Council of the Union has to be on a squad filled with superheroes in training (aka Youth Squads) for four years gaining field experience and attending training sessions by actual heroes before being considered an actual hero.

    *Note 2: I apologize for the short descriptions for them since I haven’t fully fleshed out their characters as much as Kenji or the main villain

    Brazilian Guy (I have no name for him yet) – This person is a mutant that was born with the ability to shoot energy blasts from his feet. He is the only person on the squad that doesn’t have a secret identity as he prefers for people to know about his heroic exploits since he prioritizes his own personal fame & admiration over fighting for justice. He obsesses constantly over his looks and sometimes considers going into modeling in order to increase his fame. He has a strong resentment against Kenji after a bad first encounter (don’t want to ruin this plot point).

    Harvey “name needed” West or Richards – He is a laid back goof ball that was given psychic abilities (read minds, forcefields, etc) after an accident during brain surgery when he was young. His personal feel on life is that it is basically one giant joke to him and he always tries to make other people laugh at life the way he does. This causes him to not take things very seriously and can sometimes crumble under pressure. He is also scared easier than the others on his team and as a result in constantly frightened of Kenji due his nasty attitude.

    Fiona “name needed” Watson – She is the daughter of the current Union leader named The Golden Patriot and a super heroine as well as the chosen leader of the team by the Union. Her abilities include the power of super speed and super strength that are inheritable traits from her father thanks to the accident that gave him his powers. She embraces everything about being a superhero, protecting the innocent, and encouraging wrongdoers to become good. Fiona gets along with her two other teammates She is the most vocal towards Kenji out of the three as she isn’t afraid of him at all and challenges him whenever he does something she doesn’t approve of.

    Main Villain:

    William “Silver Mage” Hunsley – William is a middle aged man that is the CEO of The Rupert Hunsley Media Company founded by his grandfather. His superpowers are rooted in the a spell book that had been with his family since the time of the Roman Empire but had been unused since the Salem Witch trials until it was passed to him by his father as a mere memento of family history. Since then he studied it and memorized spells until he was able to control many of the spells that the book had been able to teach him in order to use it to his own will. For example he used his spells in order to take his family’s company and turn it into the number one media company on the planet.

    However the main objective that he has used his powers for are to serve as the secret mole inside of the Union of Heroes in order to help the Circle of Opus (an Illuminati like organization) by giving them inside information on the group and trying to become the leader of the Union so that the Circle can control it. The way he tries to do this is by gaining the trust of the public and other heroes by performing great acts of heroism that make him have a reputation almost as strong as the Union’s current leader (The Golden Patriot). The other plan he has for achieving his goal is by adding people loyal to him into the superhero organization.

    One of them is Kenji who he found unconscious, at age 15, after being captured by the Circle who were responsible for the murder of his clan for experimentation by another Circle member. He took him in as an apprentice after figuring he would be more useful as a pawn than a test subject due to his powers. Therefore he crafted a made up story about rescuing Kenji and secretly took him underneath his wing for three years until he was of age to join a Youth Squad.

  2. B. Macon 31 Mar 2010 at 10:33 pm

    Some thoughts and suggestions… If the target audience is teens and young adults, will you have enough room to show the difference in violence between the lone wolf and his more compassionate teammates? (I’d recommend checking out the violence level in other young adult novels and seeing if the level of violence you want to write is sort of comparable to what is currently getting published for this age group– if not, it might be easier to push your age range up slightly).

    Is it important to the plot that his teammates are 18? Why? (For example, perhaps he finds being stuck with these rookies patronizing, if he thinks he’s at least as combat-ready as some of the weaker “adult” heroes. Also, he might find the training woefully inadequate: how are you going to learn how to fight without getting beat up?).

    If the Brazilian guy is supposed to be sexy and slick, maybe you could give him a power that’s got more fan appeal than firing energy from his feet. (For example, I think somebody firing energy from the hands or eyes would seem cooler).

    I like that the Brazilian’s main power is long-range. That’s fitting. Unlike Kenji, he doesn’t get his hands dirty.

    I think the conflicts between Kenji and his teammates have a lot of dramatic potential.

    Unless the reference to media mogul Rupert Murdoch is intentional, I would recommend changing the name of the world’s largest media company from Rupert Hunsley.

    What is William’s ultimate objective? (What does he hope to accomplish by becoming the leader of the UOH?) What is the main objective of the Circle of Opus?

  3. A. Joneson 01 Apr 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Good point, I might just push it up to the 18-30 demographic.

    Besides the fact that it is required by the UoH, as mentioned in my last post, I was hoping that Kenji would find himself to be far superior to his teammates in battle, although Fiona is a powerhouse, in terms of both experience and skill. I was also aiming for both him and Fiona (I’m looking for a rivalry angle between the two as the story goes on) to find the training sessions easier than the Brazilian and Harvey.

    The reason why I had the Brazilian shooting energy from his feet was sort of an homage to the importance of soccer in Brazil. However now that I think hands might be easier for me describe in my writing.

    The reference was intentional

    William’s objective is to help the Circle of Opus have secret control of the world by controlling both the media and the Union so there can be no possible opposition that wouldn’t either be labeled as idiots in the media, therefore marginalizing it from society, or stopped by the superheroes under some sort of excuse. Once he has that he can use the Circle to shape the world to the liking of him and the Circle and creating a utopian society.

    BTW, does anyone have any suggestions for the superhero names for Kenji, Harvey, and Fiona. The Brazilian I am not going to give a superhero name to since he wants people to know of his exploits so he will just be referred to by his regular name (once I figure it out).

  4. B. Macon 01 Apr 2010 at 5:18 pm

    18-30 sounds promising.

    World conquest is an okay goal in itself, especially if they’re megalomaniacs, but it might be more dramatic if they were trying to take over the world to accomplish something. For example, you mentioned that the Silver Mage’s family hadn’t used the spellbook since Salem, right? Maybe that experience gave the family a lasting grudge against unpowered people. (Because the unpowered people preemptively killed the magic-users even though they hadn’t done anything threatening?) So his objective might be to make sure that the people that actually have power are the ones calling the shots, rather than those paranoid weaklings.

    As for the names, I’d recommend something that sounds like a Golden Age name for Fiona and Harvey. (Notable Golden Age heroes include Superman, Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Namor, Doctor Fate, etc). Using a word like super, wonder, fantastic, marvel, supreme, or something else to hype up the character would probably hit the spot. (Maybe Harvey would be too shy for that sort of hype, though).

    Maybe Kenji just uses his regular name (perhaps because he’s not into that goofy crap) or maybe he uses something a bit more modern. For example, perhaps his name is something comparable to the Silver Mage, like the Silver Storm. (He does know that the Silver Mage is the same guy that rescued him, right?) Some other things that come to mind are Japanese words like Kariudo (“hunter”), Seigi (“justice”), or ikken hissatsu (“kill with one blow”), or Ozorezu (“no fear”). For more Japanese phrases, you might like this site. He seems like the sort of guy that would use a meaningful name even though nobody else on the team knows what it means.

    Your premise and cast strike me as interesting. I would recommend starting to write the story itself.

  5. A.Joneson 04 Apr 2010 at 10:05 am

    I was thinking of having the Circle of Opus being comprised of people connected to magic somehow (mages, vampires, werewolves, etc) that are trying to take over the world in secret so that they can get back that their normal human oppressors.

    What do you think about Mega Girl for Fiona and Psion for Harvey? Also how is Rodrigo Ferreira for the Brazilian guy?

    Seigi would be perfect for him since he won’t be allowed to kill (though he really wants to) due to UoH rules. Kenji does know about Silver Mage rescuing him.

    Expect the first chapter to be posted within a few weeks since I’m a bit tied at the moments with other things.

  6. B. Macon 04 Apr 2010 at 2:20 pm

    I like Mega Girl. Psion is okay, but I think it would work better for some psychic characters than this one. I love the sound of Rodrigo, but maybe you could come up with something more pronounceable than Ferreira. Maybe Silva?

    I’m glad you like Seigi. If you use it, I’d recommend mentioning the translation in-story at some point.

    Please feel free to post your chapter whenever you get a chance. Good luck with that–I know what that’s like. For example, this week I have housing applications, summer job applications, a personal statement, more college paperwork, my actual job and Script Frenzy. Ick.

  7. Anonymouson 04 Apr 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Silva’s good but I can’t think of anything better for Harvey without sounding corny. My other options are Psykid (put Psy and Kid together to form one word) which is a bit corny and the Calgary Kid which will run the risk of making Canadians look bad thanks to my plans for Harvey.

    I already have an epic scene in mind for that revelation.

    Ouch….

  8. Koveon 04 Apr 2010 at 9:55 pm

    I usually do pretty well with superhero names so I’ll go ahead and recommend a few for you.

    Kenji – That’s a bit of a tough one, it’s hard to determine a name for him because you don’t know whether to base it on his powers, his training, or both.
    Here are some suggestions: Soulwake, Heron, Haiku (could be that his clan discovered seventeen different ways to harness the spirit energy) – a haiku has seventeen syllables.

    Brazilian guy? – Davi Cabral – common Brazilian surname

    Harvey West/Richards – Mindreign sounds pretty cool.

    Fiona Watson – Coolest name I can think of for that power set – Crash

    Hope this helps

  9. B. Macon 04 Apr 2010 at 10:57 pm

    “My other options are Psykid (put Psy and Kid together to form one word) which is a bit corny.” I think something like Psykid may work better for something like a cartoon series aimed at younger viewers. I don’t think it’d fit an 18 year old in a more adult series, unless there’s something I’m missing. (Maybe something like Psi Guy would fit the character better?)

  10. A. Joneson 06 Apr 2010 at 6:41 pm

    Here are my newest character descriptions. Thanks B. Mac for helping me with the names of my characters and thank you Kove for giving me some badass ones for my minor characters.
    ——————————————————————————-
    MAIN CHARACTER:

    Kenji “Seigi” Hayashi – This is the lone wolf that I described in the opening paragraph of the first post in this thread. He is 18 years old, like the other members of team, but his mindset is more similar to Pai Mei from Kill Bill than his peers due to his upbringing in a warrior culture. He operates with a very rigid moral code that centers around honor, fighting, and power. Anything or anyone that goes outside of this moral code he usually dislikes immediately, unless they are extremely powerful. Therefore he is in constant conflict with the other members of his team for some character flaw that deviates from his morals. He also dislikes anything that he finds to be stupid such as the superhero habit of not killing maniacal villains that threaten the world on a constant basis.

    His abilities draw from spiritual energy that his clan has worked generations to master. The way this energy is utilized in battle is used in order to amplify physical attributes (strength, speed, sight, hearing, etc) in order to attack or evade enemies. This would create a great upside of versatility that will allow the character a variety of options to use in battle. The downside of this power is that it if he uses too much at one time that then he will become extremely fatigued or if he really overexerts himself, death. The way the character would try to compensate this downsize is trying to train himself as much as possible in order to increase the amount of energy he can use at one time.

    TEAMMATES:

    Roberto Silva – He’s a mutant that was born with the ability to shoot energy blasts from his feet. He is the only person on the squad that doesn’t have a secret identity as he prefers for people to know about his heroic exploits since he prioritizes his own personal fame & admiration over fighting for justice. He obsesses constantly over his looks and has a huge amount of support as a supermodel He has a strong resentment against Kenji after a bad first encounter (don’t want to ruin this plot point).

    Harvey “Psion” West – He is a laid back goof ball that was given psychic abilities (read minds, forcefields, etc) after an accident during brain surgery when he was young. His personal feel on life is that it is basically one giant joke to him and he always tries to make other people laugh at life the way he does. This causes him to not take things very seriously and can sometimes crumble under pressure. He is also scared easier than the others on his team and as a result in constantly frightened of Kenji due his nasty attitude. He is currently best friends with Marvel Girl as they know each other like the back of their hands meaning the two of them can work together extremely well.

    Fiona “Marvel Girl” Watson – She is the daughter of the current Union leader named The Golden Patriot and Ultrawoman, a high ranking superheroine, as well as the chosen leader of her team by the Union. Her abilities include the power of super speed and super strength that are inheritable traits from her father thanks to the accident that gave him his powers. She embraces everything about being a superhero, protecting the innocent, and encouraging wrongdoers to become good. Fiona gets along with her two other teammates She is the most vocal towards Kenji out of the three as she isn’t afraid of him at all and challenges him whenever he does something she doesn’t approve of.

    INSTRUCTOR:

    Jason “Leviathan” Smith – The tough nosed, 31 year old, ex Navy Seal who was captured and experimented on by the Secret Round Table when he was 23. He was turned into an orc that was originally brainwashed by a member of the SRT. However the UoH rescued him when the Round Table decided to attack the UoH headquarters. After a grueling battle where the UoH won after suffering some losses Jason was eventually freed and joined his liberators since he couldn’t find a normal job as an orc. He doesn’t have any sort of recollection with his time in the Secret Round Table besides what has been told to him by UoH members but he has slowly started to get dreams recollecting those memories.

    He is currently extremely close to the Golden Patriot and his family thanks to the Golden Patriot taking him in as his protege. This relationship resulted in the Golden Patriot pushing for him to become the Superhero Instructor for Fiona’s team since he didn’t trust anyone but his own pupil to teach his daughter correctly since he was too busy with UoH affairs to do it himself. Kenji of course would take his presence as an annoyance as he will feel that he is producing “soft” training regiments in order to coddle Fiona and the person he considers to be his real mentor, Silver Mage (the main villain), at the beginning of the story will force him to have a bad impression of Leviathan from the start.

    MAIN VILLAIN:

    William “Silver Mage” Hunsley – William is a 45 year old man that is the CEO of The Rupert Hunsley Media Company founded by his grandfather. His superpowers are rooted in the a spell book that had been with his family since the time of the Roman Empire but had been unused since the Salem Witch trials until it was passed to him by his father as a mere memento of family history. Since then he studied it and memorized spells until he was able to control many of the spells that the book had been able to teach him in order to use it to his own will. For example he used his spells in order to take his family’s company and turn it into the number one media company on the planet.

    However the main objective that he has used his powers for are to serve as the secret mole inside of the Union of Heroes in order to help the Circle of Opus (the successor of the SRT that has many of the same members, but a more Illuminati approach.) by giving them inside information on the group and trying to become the leader of the Union so that the Circle can control it. The way he tries to do this is by gaining the trust of the public and other heroes by performing great acts of heroism that make him have a reputation almost as strong as the Union’s current leader (The Golden Patriot). He does this by using his speaking skills in order to get others to believe him and even managed to mask his involvement with the SRT invasion.

    The other plan he has for achieving his goal is by adding people loyal to him into the superhero organization since they lost so many members after the debacle at the UoH headquarters.One of them is Kenji who he found unconscious, at age 15, after being captured by the Circle who were responsible for the murder of his clan for experimentation by another Circle member. He took him in as an apprentice after figuring he would be more useful as a pawn than a test subject due to his powers. Therefore he crafted a made up story about rescuing Kenji and secretly took him underneath his wing for three years until he was of age to join a Youth Squad.

  11. A.Joneson 06 Apr 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Damn me for forgetting to put my name in the title of my posts.

  12. B. Macon 06 Apr 2010 at 8:23 pm

    No worries. I’ve inserted your name.

  13. A.Joneson 06 Apr 2010 at 8:35 pm

    Thanks

    So what do you think of my small additions (including a new character).

  14. B. Macon 06 Apr 2010 at 8:59 pm

    A few thoughts…

    “Marvel Girl” is sort of already taken.

    Navy SEAL turned orc. Umm, okay, I definitely haven’t seen that before. I like the idea of the conflict between the mentor he actually has (Leviathan) and the mentor he actually looks up to (Silver Mage). It also reminds me of the Star Wars prequels (Kenobi vs. the Chancellor as a mentor to Anakin Skywalker). However, if the conflict is based on the idea that he doesn’t respect Leviathan’s training as real warrior stuff, making him a SEAL and orc might undermine the conflict. I’d recommend fleshing it out more why Seigi, the super-dedicated warrior, would rather side with a media mogul/wizard over a Navy SEAL/orc.

    I like the name Levithan a lot, but I’m sort of wondering if it fits this particular character. Doesn’t sound very orcish. On the other hand, he is sort of a Navy SEAL, so he’s got the aquatic warrior thing down, so maybe it could work. (Note: Leviathan has been used before, but it’s generic enough that it probably wouldn’t alarm publishers). One option that might help is bringing up in-story that other characters don’t think he looks very much like they were expecting of somebody named “Levithan.”

  15. A.Joneson 06 Apr 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Drat. My Google skills have failed me.

    Hm…. then I suppose I could try Justice Girl.

    Good points. Perhaps It would be best serve to make him just a former swimmer who was captured by a Circle/Round Table member that worshiped Iku-Turso (an old Scandanavian God of War) that turned him in a humanoid sea-monster. The rest would be the same with the Golden Patriot taking him underneath his wing after he is freed.

    The center of the conflict between Leviathan and Silver Mage would at first have to do with Kenji’s demeaning behavior towards him and his teammates but would expand to include Leviathan’s past, as he remembers more of his past and incidentally reveals more about the Circle.

  16. B. Macon 07 Apr 2010 at 12:20 am

    Ah, okay. I’m not familiar with Iku-Turso, but as far as gods and goddesses go, I like that it’s more obscure than the Greeks and Romans. (Or Thor/Odin/Loki, for that matter).

  17. A. Joneson 08 Apr 2010 at 2:50 pm

    New Character Descriptions
    —————————————————————–
    MAIN CHARACTER:

    Kenji “Seigi” Hayashi – This is the lone wolf that I described in the opening paragraph of the first post in this thread. He is 18 years old, like the other members of team, but his mindset is more similar to Pai Mei from Kill Bill than his peers due to his upbringing in a warrior culture. He operates with a very rigid moral code that centers around honor, fighting, and power. Anything or anyone that goes outside of this moral code he usually dislikes immediately, unless they are extremely powerful. Therefore he is in constant conflict with the other members of his team for some character flaw that deviates from his morals. He also dislikes anything that he finds to be stupid such as the superhero habit of not killing maniacal villains that threaten the world on a constant basis.

    His abilities draw from spiritual energy that his clan has worked generations to master. The way this energy is utilized in battle is used in order to amplify physical attributes (strength, speed, sight, hearing, etc) in order to attack or evade enemies. This would create a great upside of versatility that will allow the character a variety of options to use in battle. The downside of this power is that it if he uses too much at one time that then he will become extremely fatigued or if he really overexerts himself, death. The way the character would try to compensate this downsize is trying to train himself as much as possible in order to increase the amount of energy he can use at one time.

    TEAMMATES:

    Roberto Silva – He’s a mutant that was born with the ability to shoot energy blasts from his feet. He is the only person on the squad that doesn’t have a secret identity as he prefers for people to know about his heroic exploits since he prioritizes his own personal fame & admiration over fighting for justice. He obsesses constantly over his looks and has a huge amount of support as a supermodel He has a strong resentment against Kenji after a bad first encounter (don’t want to ruin this plot point).

    Harvey “Psion” West – He is a laid back goof ball that was given psychic abilities (read minds, forcefields, etc) after an accident during brain surgery when he was young. His personal feel on life is that it is basically one giant joke to him and he always tries to make other people laugh at life the way he does. This causes him to not take things very seriously and can sometimes crumble under pressure. He is also scared easier than the others on his team and as a result in constantly frightened of Kenji due his nasty attitude. He is currently best friends with Marvel Girl as they know each other like the back of their hands meaning the two of them can work together extremely well.

    Fiona “Justice Girl” Watson – She is the daughter of the current Union leader named The Golden Patriot and Ultrawoman, a high ranking superheroine, as well as the chosen leader of her team by the Union. Her abilities include the power of super speed and super strength that are inheritable traits from her father thanks to the accident that gave him his powers. She embraces everything about being a superhero, protecting the innocent, and encouraging wrongdoers to become good. Fiona gets along with her two other teammates She is the most vocal towards Kenji out of the three as she isn’t afraid of him at all and challenges him whenever he does something she doesn’t approve of.

    INSTRUCTOR:

    Jason “Greenhide” Smith – The tough nosed, 25 year old, former bodyguard who was captured and experimented on by the Secret Round Table when he was 23. He originally came to the SRT on his own accord due to not being satisfied with his life at the time. He was taken in by Silver Mage with the promises that his entire life would become better. He later realized that he was mistaken as Silver Mage turned him into an orc. He tried to resist but Silver Mage decided to completely take control of his mind.

    However the UoH rescued him when the Round Table decided to attack the UoH headquarters. After a grueling battle where the UoH won after suffering some losses Jason was eventually freed and joined his liberators since he couldn’t find a normal job as an orc. He doesn’t have any sort of recollection with his time in the Secret Round Table, since Silver Mage wiped his mind of everything that happened when he was with the SRT before he was rescued, besides what has been told to him by UoH members but he has slowly started to get dreams recollecting those memories that were wiped from him.

    He is currently extremely close to the Golden Patriot and his family thanks to the Golden Patriot taking him in as his protege. This relationship resulted in the Golden Patriot pushing for him to become the Superhero Instructor for Fiona’s team since he didn’t trust anyone but his own pupil to teach his daughter correctly since he was too busy with UoH affairs to do it himself. Kenji of course would take his presence as an annoyance as Jason’s role of trying to turn the team into a cohesive unit will go against his lone wolf mentality and the person he considers to be his real mentor, Silver Mage (the main villain), at the beginning of the story will force him to have a bad impression of Leviathan from the start.

    MAIN VILLAIN:

    William “Silver Mage” Hunsley – William is a 45 year old man that is the CEO of The Rupert Hunsley Media Company founded by his grandfather. His superpowers are rooted in the a spell book that had been with his family since the time of the Roman Empire but had been unused since the Salem Witch trials until it was passed to him by his father as a mere memento of family history. Since then he studied it and memorized spells until he was able to control many of the spells that the book had been able to teach him in order to use it to his own will. For example he used his spells in order to take his family’s company and turn it into the number one media company on the planet.

    However the main objective that he has used his powers for are to serve as the secret mole inside of the Union of Heroes in order to help the Circle of Opus (the successor of the SRT that has many of the same members, but a more Illuminati approach.) by giving them inside information on the group and trying to become the leader of the Union so that the Circle can control it. The way he tries to do this is by gaining the trust of the public and other heroes by performing great acts of heroism that make him have a reputation almost as strong as the Union’s current leader (The Golden Patriot). He does this by using his speaking skills, and his mind wiping spells, in order to get others to believe him and even managed to mask his involvement with the SRT invasion

    The other plan he has for achieving his goal is by adding people loyal to him into the superhero organization since they lost so many members after the debacle at the UoH headquarters.One of them is Kenji who he found unconscious, at age 15, after being captured by the Circle who were responsible for the murder of his clan for experimentation by another Circle member. He took him in as an apprentice after figuring he would be more useful as a pawn than a test subject due to his powers. Therefore he crafted a made up story about rescuing Kenji and secretly took him underneath his wing for three years until he was of age to join a Youth Squad.

  18. A.Joneson 12 Apr 2010 at 7:19 pm

    I am considering replacing Greenhide since I now figure that he may be a bit too awkward for the role that I want him to play in terms of his relationship with Kenji. I already have a character in line (see below) to replace him.

    Steven “Captain Calgary” Daniels – A 33 year old former amateur hockey player from the city of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Ten years ago his life seemed to be where he wanted it with a possible shot at the pros until he was hit with a career ending wrist injury during a game. This destroyed any possibility of him playing in any professional league and lead him to join a local street gang in order to maintain a living although his actions often nagged on his conscience. He did this for two years until he had a strange accident at a small museum he was robbing.

    He accidentally broke an artifact that gave him the power of energy manipulation. He could now make energy weapons in the form of axes, lances, whips, etc. This attracted the attention of a group of magic users called the Secret Round Table who offered to teach him how to use his powers if he joined them. He agreed and Silver Mage was assigned to teach him. Steven learned how to control his powers but after discovering the true goals of the Secret Round Table to have the magic users control the world he threatened to quit. One of the top members of the SRT brainwashed him fearing that he would reveal their secret to the world and made him a servant of the organization.

    Fortunately he was rescued by the Union of Heroes after they had defeated the SRT. Unfortunately the person who had brainwashed him wiped his mind clean of any valuable information about the organization or its members. However overtime Steven has started to learn small bits of information through dreams since the mind wipe is wearing out due to the caster’s recent death.

    He has also learned a lot more about his powers while being a superhero thanks to the training given to him by the UoH leader, The Golden Patriot, and being a successful superhero for a number of years. This is what motivated him to become an instructor for apprentice heroes so he could inspire others the same way as he was.

    Unfortunately his job won’t be that easy since Silver Mage, Steven’s former mentor, will make sure that Seigi, his current protege, doesn’t trust him from the outset. He will also try to sway Seigi away from his harsh path by recollecting from his own experiences as a gang member how the darker path doesn’t lead towards happiness.

    =========================================================

    I will either be doing the first chapter or revealing costume designs through Heromachine. They won’t be similar but since my illustrating skills suck, I’m not doing a comic book, it takes way long to do myself, and these aren’t the final designs just a ballpark of what my idea is for each character.

  19. B. Macon 13 Apr 2010 at 12:15 am

    I like Captain Calgary, but I feel like the hockey angle is maybe a bit too stereotypically Canadian. Also, I don’t get the impression that the hockey angle is going anywhere. After breaking his wrist, does hockey factor into his story at all? I think the gang angle, for example, is much more interesting. Even after he’s out of the gang, his experiences as a gang member affect his relationship with Keiji.

    His backstory sounds a bit complicated for (what I think is) a non-main character. Canadian hockey player -> gang member -> gets energy weapon powers -> brainwashed -> becomes friend/protege of Golden Patriot. That’s a lot of backstory. Of those, I think the hockey is probably removable and maybe the brainwashing, too. What are you planning on doing with the brainwashing? One potential problem with the brainwashing would be that it might lead itself to deus-ex-machina revelations as his memory comes back. “Wait, it was the Silver Mage that screwed me!” That’s not as interesting or impressive as Keiji and his team uncovering the truth on their own. One way you might be able to enhance the dramatic potential of the brainwashing, if you do use it, would be to use the brainwashing to create conflict between Keiji and Calgary by making Keiji distrustful of Calgary’s memories.

  20. A.Joneson 17 Apr 2010 at 2:21 pm

    This is what I have so far of the first chapter. I’m pretty much stuck on whether to keep on going with the chapter or what. I also know it isn’t very good (I have always been horrible at introductions).

    What I tried to get across was that

    A) Kenji is a dark protagonist

    B) Silver Mage is powerful as hell

    ———————————————————–

    Black smoke and burning electrical parts filled the room with a dark aura as what used to be a small group of armed battle droids were now nothing but pieces of scrap metal. The only thing standing tall among the wreckage was a ninja like figure that was donned a golden insignia on his chest and small wounds on his arms. He slowly started to make his way towards the door of the room he was in until another robot walked through the door.

    “That was simply marvelous Mister Kenji. I believe you posted your best time on that run so far.” The skinnier bot chimed as he surveyed the damage done to the other mechanical beings. “It seemed you had very little problem besting these training drones at all. I really have to start making these training exercises a little harder don’t I?” The robot added as he started to walk towards the one he called Kenji who was glaring at him for some reason that even his advanced artificial intelligence couldn’t understand. He was giving him compliments yet he was thanked with a angry look on his face.

    “Don’t patronize me Hermes.” Kenji said harshly as he kept his focus straight on the other intelligent being in the room. “That run was just as pathetic as the ones before it. I had even allowed myself to get momentarily distracted giving me these wounds.” He explained as he referred to his arm wounds but this did nothing but induce a small chuckle from Hermes.

    “Those battle droids are top of the line. There was no way that someone at your level could possibly not get wounded when facing them. I made sure of that when I built them. The only person that I know of the ever gone away without any wounds is Master Silver Mage and he is in a league far above yours as you obviously already know.” Hermes responded before Kenji started to walk towards the door again as he was still frustrated with his results.

    “Hold on a moment Mister Kenji!” Hermes exclaimed as he started to chase after him. “Master Silver Mage ordered me to tell you that he wanted to meet with you after your training session. He said it was something of utmost importance” Hermes added as he walked as fast as his mechanical legs would let him in order to catch up with the person he was pursuing but those words alone made Kenji freeze in place and glance back at him.

    “He’s coming here?” Kenji asked as he was surprised by the news since the Master never came to him to tell him something. It usually involved Kenji going somewhere to speak with him so that he could perform some sort of task for him to do. Whatever the reason for this change of routine was there was no doubt that it was serious. “Do you know what it is about Hermes?” Kenji asked as he continued to contemplate what sort of matter

    “He said something about you being finally ready to do something, but I am afraid I don’t anything else about his plans for you.” Hermes said as he started to walk closer to Kenji. “I just hope it will grant me enough time to repair your wounds. He may not like to see blood dripping all over the training room floor and then I will be incinerated for sure.” Hermes said in a worried manner as he was about to start fixing Kenji’s injuries until a bright ball of light shined brightly from the center of the room.

    Emerging from the great ball was a blonde haired man in white tights and a silver cape. He bore the same insignia on his chest as Kenji did but it was silver instead of gold. He immediately looked around at the destruction in front of him before smirking with glee at the scenery before him. “This is very good work.” The man said approvingly towards Kenji. “You are definitely ready for the next step my young pupil.”

  21. B. Macon 17 Apr 2010 at 4:16 pm

    In establishing the darkness of the protagonist, I think it might be better to have him interact with people to accomplish a goal. I think that the action would be more effective if the character were shown to be likable early on, but I don’t think that him being a ninja in a pile of parts does so. So, here’s an idea… maybe he’s trying to convince somebody to make the training faster, more dangerous, more exciting, etc.

    I don’t think that the protagonist comes off like an anti-hero. How does he handle this situation differently than a regular hero would? (One possibility: Hermes asks him to leave the robots in one piece so that they can be used again, but Kenji systematically destroys them just so that they can’t use those pathetic toys ever again… if they have to make new robots, maybe they’ll do better next time).

    Hermes says the Silver Mage is very powerful, but I don’t think that you show it. (For example, you might spend 1-2 sentences describing some ridiculous feat SM did that a mere ninja could only dream of).

    “It usually involved Kenji going somewhere to speak with him so that he could perform some sort of task for him to do.” Is Kenji looking forward to this? Dreading it? What sort of work has he done for SM in the past? (Is he using him as an errand boy to get his groceries? Or is he silently solving problems that SM doesn’t want to be associated with?)

    Minor punctuation issues. A quotation with a tag (like “he said”) should use a comma at the end of the quotation marks rather than a period. For example: “I am afraid I don’t [know] anything else about his plans for you,” Hermes said.

    “I don’t anything else about his plans” –> I think a verb is missing here.

    I like the robot. I find his goal (trying not to get incinerated) surprisingly endearing.

  22. A.Joneson 18 Apr 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Chapter 1 (second draft)

    —————————————————–

    Black smoke and burning electrical parts filled the room with a dark aura as what used to be a small group of armed battle droids were now nothing but pieces of scrap metal. The only thing standing tall among the wreckage was a ninja like figure that was donned a golden insignia on his chest and small wounds on his arms. He slowly started to make his way towards the door of the room he was in until another robot walked through the door.

    “That was completely unacceptable Mister Kenji,” The robot said as he walked up to the masked figure. “You were supposed to treat these robots like normal human criminals! If you inflicted the amount of damage during a real life scenario on actual villains than they would either be crippled for life or dead. In case you forgot you are training to be a superhero not to be some sort of crazed lunatic.”

    “Who cares?” The one called Kenji rhetorically asked while still looking down on the broken corpse of one of the robots he had destroyed. “Why should I care about the faith of some criminal? As long as those pieces of filth are cleansed from our planet than what does it matter?” Kenji again rhetorically asked after turning around to look at the robot that was talking to him. “Besides those robots were as tough as paper. Next time make me something actually worth fighting Hermes.” Kenji added before walking towards the door to leave the training complex.

    The robot called Hermes however wasn’t content on letting the ninja get the last word on the exchange. “Well that is just plain barbaric and brutish of you,” Hermes stated with a hint of indignation in his voice. “Also don’t talk down about my creations after they managed to wound your arms,” Hermes added with pride as he stood his ground against Kenji.

    “Don’t patronize yourself Hermes.” Kenji said harshly as he kept his focus straight on the other intelligent being in the room. “That batch of machines was just as pathetic as the ones before it. I won’t ever gain the amount of skill I need to catch up to Silver Mage by training at this meager level. These wounds are nothing more than mere paper cuts” He explained as he referred to his arm wounds but this did nothing but induce a small chuckle from Hermes.

    “Do you really think that you can catch up to Master Silver Mage that quickly?” The artificial being asked mockingly. “He is probably one of the greatest superheros to ever live while you are just a young punk that has barely turned 18. It is going to take a very long time for someone like you to reach his level. He stopped a whole gang of super villains by himself and doesn’t even break a sweat while you get scathed fighting mere drones” Hermes stated while still laughing until he felt something thrust into his circuitry in his stomach region. When he looked down he saw Kenji’s hand poking out of his body.

    “It’s not very wise to mock a person of my abilities Hermes,” Kenji coldly said as he jerked his arm further through the robot’s body producing a small number of sparks from its lower torso. “I figured that someone of artificial intelligence would understand after watching what I did to those so called top notch battle drones that I have the ability to enhance my speed but I guess you didn’t take that into consideration. Perhaps I should do master a favor and take out the garbage for him.”

    “Please don’t!” Hermes exclaimed frantically as he feared that his robotic life was about to come to a cruel end. “I don’t want to be incinerated! I just came to send you a message from Master Silver Mage himself stating that he was coming,” Hermes screamed as the haughty demeanor he held towards the young ninja had disappeared entirely in the wake of his situation as he continued to beg for mercy.

    “He’s coming here?” Kenji asked as he was surprised by the news since the Master never came to him to tell him something. It usually involved Kenji going somewhere to speak with him so that he could partake in whatever training drill he had in mind. Whatever the reason for this change of routine was there was no doubt that it was serious. “Do you know what it is about Hermes?” Kenji asked as he continued to contemplate what sort of matter would warrant the change in protocol as Hermes was still suffering his wrath.

    “I am afraid I don’t know anything else about his plans for you,” Hermes whimpered as he was still fearing for his life. He finally felt his attacker’s hand being removed from his body as the malfunctioning of his legs caused him to collapse onto the floor. His hand was clutching the loose wires that were hanging from his stomach region while he looked up at Kenji with the same fear he had before as he didn’t know whether he was spared or not. He was going to ask the ninja this before he saw a bright white ball of light from the corner of his eye.

    Emerging from the great ball was a blonde haired man in white tights and a silver cape. He bore the same insignia on his chest as Kenji did but it was silver instead of gold. He immediately looked around at the destruction in front of him with a friendly smirk. “This is very good work,” The man said approvingly towards Kenji. “However I believe you are getting a bit carried away again,” He added as he looked over at the poor state of Hermes who was beaming at the site of this person.

    “Oh master!” The robot yelled in glee as he knew that he would be safe from the immediate doom he felt awaited him. “Thank goodness you are here! This evil ruffian is trying to kill me after I most humbly offered to train the rascal. Please don’t incinerate me! Please!” Hermes whined as the kind expression on his face didn’t change at all. The machine’s actions were more like those of a small child tattling on a playmate for being mean than a servant of a powerful superhero which produced a slight grunt of disappointment from Kenji.

    “It’s alright Hermes,” Silver Mage softly said before waiving his hands and making the robot disappear from view before giving a slight sigh. “You should really learn not be so harsh with him. He can be quite the help you know,” He said as he looked over to his pupil as his facial expression was still warm even though he was chastising his student.

    “I apologize for my rash behavior sir,” Kenji stated sincerely as he slightly bowed towards his blond haired teacher. “I let my anger let the better of me when I shouldn’t have.”

    “That is quite alright now,” Silver Mage stated dismissively as Kenji could clearly tell that there was much bigger topics to be discussed. “I just came here to inform you that you will be soon leaving my tutelage in order to take further steps to pursuing our common goal,” The man donned in white proclaimed to his protege with a sense of pride. “You are now going to start on the quest to becoming a licensed hero.”

    “Does this mean that I will fight criminals like you do?” Kenji asked curiously as he figured that was what Silver Mage was meaning to say however a slight chuckle combined with a head shake from his master stated otherwise.

    “While you will be fighting crime you won’t be doing it like I am. You will basically be doing it under different circumstances which I will explain later,” Silver Mage said with a wave of his hand to indicate that he was dismissing the matter for now. “What I want for you right now is to give me a superhero name.”

    Kenji was slightly taken aback from the information that was quickly thrown at him about his new situation. What did he mean by the fact that his circumstances would be different? Why was he saving this important piece of information for a later time? Why was finding a superhero name for himself the main concern? These were questions that he would surely ask if he didn’t care about disrespecting someone he held in high regard as a teacher. “Is there any particular reason sir?” Kenji humbly asked as he couldn’t see the reason for having one as they felt silly to him. He didn’t see why one couldn’t fight crime under their normal name.

    “I know you can’t understand the reasoning behind having an alternative identity but there are certain dark forces lurking among the heroes in my organization, the Union of Heroes, that would use your real name to trace the location of this facility and attack us when we are most vulnerable. I need you to disguise yourself under an alternate identity in order to protect my interests,” Silver Mage stated as he looked at his protege who he knew wasn’t going to come up with one without his help. “Try to think of something that would fit you perfectly.”

    Kenji rattle his mind for a few moments as he tried to think of a name that would define him. Immediately he started to think of his desire in life as he found one word that can sum up what he felt was the purpose of his continued existence in this world. “I will take up the mantle of Seigi if you desire it,” He finally said as he took a name from his native language of Japanese.

    Silver Mage smiled in approval of the name before he started to form another ball of light similar to the one he entered the room in. “That is good enough. Now get cleaned up and get ready to head out in one week’s time.” He said before leaving his pupil alone in the room.

    —————————————————————————————-

    Sorry for any punctuation mistakes as I basically one shotted 99% of this chapter.

  23. B. Macon 19 Apr 2010 at 7:15 pm

    This is better, but I’d recommend pressing on with new stuff instead of rewriting what you already have. I wouldn’t recommend rewriting until you are finished (or at least close to finished) with a draft of the whole manuscript.

    I feel like the argument between Kenji and the robot could be more stylish. A lot of the opinions here could be shown or implied rather than told explicitly. For example, “that was completely unacceptable” could be implied by many, many actions or more memorable language.

    “Why should I care about the faith of some criminal?” Faith?

    “You are just a young punk…” I think the explicitness here is more effective, but again you might be able to make this more powerful by implying his opinions. For example, you could have him lay out a reason and have the reader infer what he’s thinking. For example, he might sarcastically congratulate him on all of the impressive superhero work he has done, when in fact pretty much everybody has done more superheroing than Kenji has. Hell, even the robot probably has more superhero experience. Bringing up the Silver Mage, who is a bona fide superstar, takes some nerve…

    I’d recommend cutting down on the exclamation marks when the robot is talking to the Silver Mage. (“Oh master!” … “Thank goodness you are here! This evil ruffian is trying to kill me after I most humbly offered to train the rascal. Please don’t incinerate me! Please!”)

    “That is quite alright now,” Silver Mage stated dismissively as Kenji could clearly tell that there was much bigger topics to be discussed…. —- Could you show this? What leads Kenji to suspect that more important things are going on? (Maybe the mage is acting unusually in some way, maybe acting a bit more tense/stressed than usual).

    “said with a wave of his hand to indicate that he was dismissing the matter for now.”
    I think this could be shortened to something like “said with a dismissive wave of his hand” or perhaps “said with a nonchalant wave of his hand.” I think that readers can infer what he’s dismissing.

    “Kenji was slightly taken aback from the information that was quickly thrown at him about his new situation. What did he mean by the fact that his circumstances would be different? Why was he saving this important piece of information for a later time? Why was finding a superhero name for himself the main concern?” I would recommend moving this from internal thoughts into something that can be shown. For example, if he’s taken aback, maybe he tries asking SM a question that shows he’s a bit confused about what’s going on. (Maybe SM answers it, or maybe he shuts it down).
    “Try to think of something that would fit you perfectly.” I think something like this line can be removed now and used later. For example, when Kenji says what name he wants to use, SM might smile and say something like “Ah, yes. That fits you perfectly”).

    I’m looking forward to chapter 2.

  24. A. Joneson 19 Apr 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Thanks for the review though I am curious to see what you would give it out of ten.

    As for Chapter 2 I have a general idea but I am at a crossroads of where to take it as I am thinking of two options.

    A) Seigi meets his new team during a public exhibition that showcases the superheroes of tomorrow before they are sent off with their UoH assigned mentors. It could involve such things as bouts between super-apprentices, fashion shows, reporters blitzing the 18 year old media virgins for the first time, etc. This would be the main character’s first opportunity to interact with the outside world on his own since he has either been hidden by his clan or Silver Mage his entire life. It would also be interesting to see how the other heroes react to his abnormal personality. The down part to this is that it will take a lot of the story as it might divert it a little bit and it will take a lot of chapters to do. The upside is that it can help establish smaller subplots such as Kenji’s introduction to real world and his differences with the normal superhero line of thinking.

    B) Seigi meets his new team in a private session where Captain Calgary sets up an exercise so that he can evaluate each person on the team. It will involve splitting the group either into teams of two with Psion and Justice Girl on one team and Ricardo and Seigi on the other. This will probably take a few chapters as well but I feel it will be easier to handle and it has less risk of diverting from the main plot.

  25. B. Macon 19 Apr 2010 at 9:29 pm

    I’m not really into grading submissions with numbers. Especially not rough drafts. Generally, the plot sounds okay but I have some concerns about the characters expositioning what they feel. I think it would be smoother and more interesting if you showed/implied more and told less.

    For example, here’s a brief snippet of a conversation where the characters say what they’re thinking.
    WIFE: I found lipstick on your collar. You’re cheating on me!
    HUSBAND: I can’t believe you don’t trust me.

    Here’s a snippet that gives the reader more to work with.
    WIFE: Honey, I wanted to talk to you about something. There’s lipstick on your collar…
    HUSBAND: You don’t think I’m cheating on you, do you?
    *Awkward silence.*

    I think this second example is a lot more powerful. For one thing, the characters (like most real people) don’t explicitly say what they’re thinking or feeling. Their thoughts/feelings/concerns are implied by what they say. The wife asks about the lipstick because she’s worried there might be another woman. The husband’s worried about the question because even asking it implies that his wife distrusts him at least a bit.

    If I were spending more time on my conversation, I’d also work in nonverbals like body language, physical actions, scenery, maybe props, the atmosphere and mood, the passage of time, etc. (For example, the above passage uses the passage of time to show that the wife isn’t sure he’s not cheating on her). Right now, I think your dialogue could use more nonverbals, especially to show what the characters are telling.

    Another thing I’d recommend looking into is indirect dialogue. “He is probably one of the greatest superheros to ever live while you are just a young punk that has barely turned 18.” That is an extremely direct way for Hermes to say what he thinks about Kenji. Could you think of some ways to indirectly suggest that he looks down upon Kenji or sees him as a punk?

    I also think that it might help to establish Kenji a bit before plunging him into action. Kenji’s getting better, but I don’t think he feels interesting yet. It’s really early in the development process, so of course the characters won’t be fleshed out yet, but right now he sort of feels like a punk out of central casting. One possible way to distinguish him from similar characters would be to open the book with him making an unusual observation about something (the world, Hermes, himself, the art of slicing a robot with a katana, the way ninjas are portrayed in the media, a common misconception about the proper way to strangle somebody, that he finds slicing robots with katanas a routine and banal experience, etc). Anything that makes us think that this is a character we want to learn more about.

    “reporters blitzing the 18 year old media virgins for the first time…” That sounds SO wrong. Suddenly I’m having second thoughts about doing a promotional tour. 😉

    I like the idea of him meeting the outside world for the first time, but I think it would be more powerful later in the story. I think it would help if we saw more of the character in his natural element first. If we understand what’s usual for him, it’ll be easier to understand how he reacts when things get unusual.

    I think that B would be a solid way to introduce his teammates. Also, this doesn’t matter much now, but I’d recommend mixing more urgency into later drafts. For example, maybe he’s being called onto the team because something has come up and they need the team ready sooner rather than later. So far, it doesn’t feel like much is at stake.

  26. A.Joneson 02 May 2010 at 2:20 pm

    I’m just here to say that I haven’t forgotten about this but I have such a writer’s block and it is not helping that when I finished the chapter that it didn’t save and a good chunk was deleted. So here is what I have so far until I figure out what to do with this.

    —————————————————————————

    Chapter 2 (what I have so far)

    Kenji had rarely been in any sort of vehicle like this in his entire life with his last time being when he first came to this country a few years ago. The memories of that trip was still fresh in his mind as he could recognize most of the intricate details of his surroundings even though he had not seen them in a long time. The cream color of the seats, walls, and carpet invoked a clean and soft feel to the space around him even though it greatly clashed with his black and gold ninja inspired superhero costume. This color never sat comfortably with the one now known as Seigi as he felt as if he was drowning in a large bowl of melted white chocolate while being smothered with marshmallows. It was a feeling that made him want to almost puke if he entertained the thought for a little longer.

    Thankfully he was interrupted by the sound of a cork landing on the floor next to him. He immediately knew what it was as he saw his master pouring red liquid into a glass from a bottle. After briefly smelling it his already existing smile grew a bit larger before consuming a sip of the liquid. “A good glass of wine is always essential on a flight,” Silver Mage said before placing the wine glass down and focusing on his pupil. “I could give you some if you like,” He added as the wine bottle was hovering in the air as he easily levitated it with his hand.

    Kenji watched the bottle as it was suspended right in the middle of him and Silver Mage before he politely raised his hand. “My people never drank alcohol and neither will I,” Kenji said before his teacher lowered the wine bottle casually with a lazy movement of his hand. Silver Mage still had the same friendly face he always had even after being rejected by his pupil as if the moment hadn’t even happened.
    “It seems that the modern world hasn’t managed to rope you in with all of its charms yet,” Silver Mage said as the same hand he used before to levitate the wine bottle was now outreached towards the side for a reason that Kenji found odd as he couldn’t see any objects that the magician could manipulate with his powers. He then realized that there were a few items that were hidden from him by his crafty teacher. They were four manila folders that were now floating towards Kenji’s table. They were all stamped as classified.

    “I suppose it may better suit you to look over these files so you have more information on your new friends,” Silver Mage said before taking another sip of wine. Kenji immediately grabbed one of the folders and opened it up to reveal a picture of a goofy looking spectacled boy around his age with a few important pieces of information below it. The name of this boy was Harvey West but his superhero name was Psion just like Kenji had the superhero name of Seigi. He was listed as having psychic powers but didn’t go into much detail about them for some strange reason. There were a few more tidbits of information that Kenji either didn’t understand or found to be meaningless. For example he didn’t understand what sort of knowledge one gets by being the member of a “Glee Club” nor did he believe it to be important. The only relevant was when he saw that he was given a score of 2.8 in something called an AG rating. He didn’t know what that was but he knew it was important since it was in slightly bigger letters than all of the other pieces of information.
    “What is an AG rating sir?” Kenji asked as he figured his master would have better knowledge of how he would assess the information on his new teammates so that he could gauge their strengths. His teacher calmly placed his wine glass on the table before he cleared his throat.

    “An AG rating, or Advanced Graduate rating, is the score they give in order to gauge how good a student is after they graduate from the academy. The highest anyone can get is a 5 and the bare minimum needed to graduate is a 2.5. They basically use this when assigning teams so that they even out the strengths of the teams so there isn’t the possibility of a team of weaklings that end up being nothing more than dead weight for us to carry. So instead they allow their stronger teammates, like you, to carry the baggage, like this Psion, around so they can somehow miraculously improve their skills,” Silver Mage said before pulling Psion’s file towards him so he could read it. Kenji didn’t mind it as he was already unimpressed with the psychic and went to see if there were any stronger members on this team. He then picked up the file of another teammate not expecting a large amount of photos to fall down to his lap.

    When he looked down he saw that some of the photos were faced up and they all contained the same thing. It was just a tall and dark man with long hair standing in different poses. He looked at two photos that were on his lap faced down and immediately threw them to the side in annoyance as they were the same as the others. As he started to read this person’s file he saw that his name was Roberto Silva and he was a “super model.” He didn’t know what this meant but assumed it to be some subgenre of superhero since it had the word super in the title. Kenji definitely had it in mind to ask his mentor but he didn’t want to disturb his reading of Psion’s chart. Therefore he continued to read on as he tried to find more information on this person. His power included the manipulation of energy but it didn’t go any further in description. He also, oddly enough, couldn’t find a superhero name as the category was listed as “Not Available.”
    ———————————————————————–

    It sounds boring but I am planning on having all of this end with Silver Mage warning Kenji about Captain Calgary and his dodgy past and how he suspects him as a main player behind some bad events I am going to talk about in this chapter.

  27. A.Joneson 26 May 2010 at 12:18 pm

    I’m finally back after being away for almost a month. I just came to post my full and completed chapter 2.

    ————————————————————————————————————

    Chapter 2

    Kenji had rarely been in any sort of vehicle like this in his entire life with his last time being when he first came to this country a few years ago. The memories of that trip was still fresh in his mind as he could recognize most of the intricate details of his surroundings even though he had not seen them in a long time. The cream color of the seats, walls, and carpet invoked a clean and soft feel to the space around him even though it greatly clashed with his black and gold ninja inspired superhero costume. This color never sat comfortably with the one now known as Seigi as he felt as if he was drowning in a large bowl of melted white chocolate while being smothered with marshmallows. It was a feeling that made him want to almost puke if he entertained the thought for a little longer.

    Thankfully he was interrupted by the sound of a cork landing on the floor next to him. He immediately knew what it was as he saw his master pouring red liquid into a glass from a bottle. After briefly smelling it his already existing smile grew a bit larger before consuming a sip of the liquid. “A good glass of wine is always essential on a flight,” Silver Mage said before placing the wine glass down and focusing on his pupil. “I could give you some if you like,” He added as the wine bottle was hovering in the air as he easily levitated it with his hand.

    Kenji watched the bottle as it was suspended right in the middle of him and Silver Mage before he politely raised his hand. “My people never drank alcohol and neither will I,” Kenji said before his teacher lowered the wine bottle casually with a lazy movement of his hand. Silver Mage still had the same friendly face he always had even after being rejected by his pupil as if the moment hadn’t even happened.
    “It seems that the modern world hasn’t managed to rope you in with all of its charms yet,” Silver Mage said as the same hand he used before to levitate the wine bottle was now outreached towards the side for a reason that Kenji found odd as he couldn’t see any objects that the magician could manipulate with his powers. He then realized that there were a few items that were hidden from him by his crafty teacher. They were four manila folders that were now floating towards Kenji’s table. They were all stamped as classified.

    “I suppose it may better suit you to look over these files so you have more information on your new friends,” Silver Mage said before taking another sip of wine. Kenji immediately grabbed one of the folders and opened it up to reveal a picture of a goofy looking spectacled boy around his age with a few important pieces of information below it. The name of this boy was Harvey West but his superhero name was Psion just like Kenji had the superhero name of Seigi. He was listed as having psychic powers but didn’t go into much detail about them for some strange reason. There were a few more tidbits of information that Kenji either didn’t understand or found to be meaningless. For example he didn’t understand what sort of knowledge one gets by being the member of a “Glee Club” nor did he believe it to be important. The only relevant was when he saw that he was given a score of 2.8 in something called an AG rating. He didn’t know what that was but he knew it was important since it was in slightly bigger letters than all of the other pieces of information.

    “What is an AG rating sir?” Kenji asked as he figured his master would have better knowledge of how he would assess the information on his new teammates so that he could gauge their strengths. His teacher calmly placed his wine glass on the table before he cleared his throat.

    “An AG rating, or Advanced Graduate rating, is the score they give in order to gauge how good a student is after they graduate from the academy. The highest anyone can get is a 5 and the bare minimum needed to graduate is a 2.5. They basically use this when assigning teams so that they even out the strengths of the teams so there isn’t the possibility of a team comprised of just weaklings that end up being nothing more than dead weight for us to carry. So instead they allow their stronger teammates, like you, to carry the baggage, like this Psion, around so they can somehow miraculously improve their skills,” Silver Mage said before pulling Psion’s file towards him so he could read it. Kenji didn’t mind it as he was already unimpressed with the psychic and went to see if there were any stronger members on this team. He then picked up the file of another teammate not expecting a large amount of photos to fall down to his lap.

    When he looked down he saw that some of the photos were faced up and they all contained the same thing. It was just a tall and tan man with long hair standing in different poses. He looked at two photos that were on his lap faced down and immediately threw them to the side in annoyance as they were the same as the others. As he started to read this person’s file he saw that his name was Roberto Silva and he was a “super model.” He didn’t know what this meant but assumed it to be some subgenre of superhero since it had the word super in the title. Kenji definitely had it in mind to ask his mentor but he didn’t want to disturb his reading of Psion’s chart. Therefore he continued to read on as he tried to find more information on this person. His power included the manipulation of energy but it didn’t go any further in description. He also, oddly enough, couldn’t find a superhero name as the category was listed as “Not Available.” Was this some sort of exception that these super models enjoyed? Even Kenji, a person whose existence is almost virtually unknown to the outside world, had to come up with an alter ego when becoming a hero. Thinking of it as unimportant for the time being he ignored it as he looked for his AG score hoping that it would be much higher than the psychic’s 2.8. His score was a 3.1 which was an improvement but still unsatisfactory in his eyes as he was hoping for at least a 4.0. He tossed the folder aside and brushed the photos off of his lap without even looking down at them.

    By this time Silver Mage had already finished reading Psion’s chart as he smirked at his student’s disgust. “I take it that you are impressed with him as well?” The blonde haired man asked before taking a leisurely sip of wine. The slight growl of frustration from his student caused Silver Mage to start chuckling as he handed Kenji the file of his final teammate.

    The man now known as Seigi took the file, dubbed Fiona “Justice Girl” Watson, and took it nonchalantly. He was a little surprised that this folder was thicker than the other two but that nothing compared to the rest of what he found. There were stacks of letters from professors filled with praise of this person that made him think that perhaps he would finally find someone that would make things interesting for him. When he searched for her AG score he saw that it was a very impressive 4.5 out of 5 which definitely warranted him to take her more seriously than the other two.
    He went on to read the file of the girl to find out more about Justice Girl as her list of abilities was impressive. She had super strength and super speed at her command unlike the other two members of the squad that only had one power each at their command. He also found out after reading all of the letters that gushed over her that she was named the top student in her graduating class. A smirk formed underneath his mask that not even his master could see in regards to this latest news about his predicament.

    “Things are never what it seems my dear student,” Silver Mage stated after he had finished his third glass of wine. “These scores, accolades, and favors that she has garnered don’t necessarily mean that she is strong. Especially since you haven’t been gauged by them in order to see where you stand. Nor do you have some of the advantages that she does,” Silver mage said as he used his powers to take Justice Girl’s folder back from his protégé.
    “Just because she has her powers doesn’t mean that she has an advantage over me sir.” Kenji responded as he looked his teacher right in the eye. “I assure that I would give her a fight that she would never forget if we were ever to cross paths on the battlefield,”

    “That is very good to hear but that was not what I was talking about,” Silver Mage said quickly in hopes of stopping Kenji from going on a rant about fighting Justice Girl. “She is the daughter of the current leader and second in command of the Union of Heroes. She has already gained the respect and admiration of her peers and by her mere existence as she has been called a potential leader of the Union since she was born. Therefore some people tend to treat her a little differently than others her age and I would advise you do a little bit of the same if you want to remain with us for a long period of time,” Silver Mage warned his student as he put on the most serious face he had throughout the entire plane ride.

    Kenji in the meantime looked down for a moment as he took in the slight disappointment of the situation before looking back up at his master. “I understand sir,” Kenji said as he got the basic drift of what the older hero was trying to tell him. Although if he didn’t understand what Silver Mage was saying he would still say yes since he never liked to appear ignorant in front of him.

    “Then we can proceed to more important matters,” Silver Mage said before levitating the file of someone named Captain Calgary and resting it on the table between them. “This will be the person that will be the mentor of your team. He has a few years of experience as a superhero as well as being the former protégé of the head of the Union, The Golden Patriot who…” Silver Mage said before eying his pupil’s hand as it advanced towards the file. Suddenly a few sparks of electricity came out of nowhere and shocked Kenji’s hand forcing him to pull it back.

    “I’m not done yet,” Silver Mage said with some venom in his voice. Kenji was a little shocked as he rarely saw his master show any sort of negative emotion. After taking a slight breath the blonde haired master had resumed his usual calm demeanor. “As I was saying earlier, this man is definitely a hero with a bright future or so it would seem,” Silver Mage said before his face hardened a little bit. “However I know enough about his past to realize that he can’t be trusted to be a superhero,” He continued before he snapped his fingers and something started to instantly materialize in front of Kenji’s eyes. It took a few moments for the object to fully appear but Kenji’s eyes immediately recognized the item before that point.

    “My katana,” Kenji stated as he grabbed the hilt of the sword with his left hand and removed the sheath with his right. Once he saw the shiny silver blade he felt at home for the first time in years. “I thought you told me those years ago that I would never use this again,” He said as the sun’s reflection on the blade caused his eyes to become highlighted by light.

    “I lied,” Silver Mage said casually as he took out a picture of Captain Calgary and showed it to Kenji. “The good captain is a danger that I can’t let off easily even if the other heroes don’t see him as one. That is why you may have to kill him, if you still remember how to do so,” He said with a tinge of hesitation as he uttered the second half of that sentence.

    “My people have used this katana for centuries. Just give the word and I will give you his head as a trophy master.” Kenji responded as he placed his katana back into its sheath and placed it on the seat next to him.

    “Let’s just hope it doesn’t come that,” Silver Mage said with a hint of regret as the seatbelt fasten sign flashed above their heads. “In the meantime just keep a watch over our friend and report back to me. Also try not to kill the other members of your team in the process,” He said as he relaxed a little bit before fastening his seatbelt.
    Kenji just nodded his head and fastened his seatbelt as he could feel the plane starting to plunge to the ground as the buildings on the ground started to get closer.

    ———————————————————————————————————

    Let me know what you guys think of this new chapter as it took me a while due to real life and all.

  28. B. Macon 26 May 2010 at 1:29 pm

    –“any sort of vehicle like this” feels like an awkward way to avoid describing what the vehicle is like. I’d recommend describing the vehicle more to create a mood. Is this… a posh yacht? A super-utilitarian, military cargo plane without seats? Austin Power’s Shaguar? My rusted-out 1990 Nissan Centra with windshield wipers that don’t work? (UPDATE: Later in the first paragraph, this gets better. I really liked the sort-of-trippy line about him drowning in a bowl of chocolate while being suffocated by marshmallows—I’d recommend rewriting the first sentence so that we get some of that style rather the super-generic “vehicle”).

    –I feel like the first paragraph gets bogged down in backstory. I don’t know if him thinking about this type of trip being so rare is the most interesting thing going on right now (as opposed to where he’s going/why, what he’s doing now, etc) but I’m virtually positive that the last trip is not.

    –I’m sort of wondering about why Kenji notices that his suit’s colors clash with the room’s. I think that sort of observation would fit a fashionista or artist more than a ninja. 😉 Also, I would recommend replacing “costume” with “uniform” because I think he’s the sort of hero to take himself very seriously.

    “My people never drank alcohol and neither will I.” What would you think about shortening this to something like “Alcohol dulls the senses.”?

    “didn’t go into much detail about them for some strange reason” –> “for some strange reason” could probably be replaced with “strangely” somewhere.

    I think it’s pretty funny that he doesn’t seem to know what a glee club is. That strikes me as an effective way of foreshadowing conflict between the two characters and developing the differences between the characters. (Another alternative would be that, since he assumes a supermodel is some sort of superhero, perhaps he thinks a glee club is some sort of weapon… 🙂 ).

    The paragraph where the mage describes what the AG rating is strikes me as an info-dump.

    “Not available” could possibly be “None.” Otherwise, I think it might sound like you’re suggesting that he might be hiding his alternate identity from the organization.

    “as he was hoping for at least a 4.0”—this seems like a sort of random wish. He didn’t even know what the number meant until a minute or two ago. It might make more sense if he looks for some signs of toughness/non-uselessness. (On the other hand, if he is so fully committed to his master that he doesn’t think much on his own, a it’d make sense if he suddenly thought the number was everything).

    “Therefore he continued to read on as he tried to find more information on this person.” This can probably be removed. It’s implied by him finding more information in the next sentence.

    “which definitely warranted him to take her more seriously than the other two.” This could probably be shown. For example, perhaps he draws upon some trait or experience that he thinks will make her a worthy teammate.

    “She had super strength and super speed at her command unlike the other two members of the squad that only had one power each at their command.” I think the second “at their command” can be removed. Alternately, this could be rephrased as something like “Unlike the first two, she had two powers at her command: super-strength and super-speed.”

    “Silver Mage said quickly in hopes of stopping Kenji from going on a rant about fighting Justice Girl”–>I think this raises perspective issues. The rest of the chapter is from Kenji’s perspective but this slips into the Mage’s mind. I’d recommend being consistent.

    –I love the sparks shooting out when the Mage mentions the Golden Patriot.

    “he rarely saw his master show any sort of negative emotion”—I would recommend replacing “negative” with something more specific. Maybe “any sort of anger.”

  29. A.Joneson 26 May 2010 at 2:03 pm

    1. The whole point of the AG score/ranking was to tell the readers the strengths of the teammates in a neat fashion. However in retrospect that may have crossed the “show don’t tell” line a little bit.

    2. I was trying to go for a luxury private plane sort of feel which is why I had the light colors and the wine in order to get an expensive feel to the scenery.

    3. Kenji does take Silver Mage’s advice at full value since he is the type of person that respects superior unless stated otherwise (you will see with Calgary now that SM has tainted him in Kenji’s mind).

    As for the next few chapters here is what I am thinking

    Chapter 3

    – Silver Mage meets up with the rest of Union Leadership privately while telling Kenji to wait outside.

    – Kenji sneaks around the Union base in order to learn more when he hears his other teammates talking. He then uses a little bit of his powers (he can modify his physical characteristics with his spiritual energy so I was thinking either making his eyes able to see long distances and/or modifying his ears to hear long range) in order to spy on them and learn more about them.

    – Kenji will somehow be caught by either Psion, Justice Girl, or Captain Calgary. Him not being caught may contribute to him being a Mary Sue which I don’t want.

    – Captain Calgary then lays out the scenario of the four being divided into two teams of two. Justice Girl and Psion will immediately volunteer to be a team and go first leaving Kenji and Roberto to be the defacto second team.

    Chapter 4 – 6

    – These chapters will be devoted to each team doing a scenario with Chapter 4 going to the Justice Girl/Psion team while the other two will go the Kenji/Silva team.

    – Justice Girl and Psion will illustrate how a duo working in perfect unison. In the meantime Kenji and Silva will use this time to watch the fight and get some character development in.

    – Kenji and Roberto will illustrate the exact opposite leading to two more chapters since this scenario is more interesting to write about.

    The only thing I have trouble with is coming up with a scenario. I have it cast down to three possible ideas.

    A. Captain Calgary will go up against each team by himself in a two on one battle situation.

    B. Two weaker heroes or Academy instructors each will go up against the two teams in either a battle scenario or some other situation.

    C. Each team will have to fight an army of robots.

  30. A.Joneson 28 Jul 2010 at 8:06 pm

    Chapter 3
    The elegant flying monstrosity had finally landed at what Kenji had been told was a Union of Heroes base. The place where they landed was less lit and had a dark metallic feel to it that was much more comforting to Kenji than the bright colors inside the plane. He had always felt more comfortable in the dark than in the light. A ninja not being surrounded by darkness was like a cloud not being surrounded by the sky, it just didn’t feel right.

    Right after the two had entered the base there was immediately a man that approached them. He had a black suit on with a black tie. Kenji had seen these standard security guard types before and he usually wouldn’t be fazed by this person. What got his attention was the fact that he was seeing at least a dozen other security guards that looked exactly like him starting to inspect the ship. They had the same hair, the same black sunglasses, the same physique, and even the same pimple on the right side of their nose. He looked for anything on these guards to try and differentiate them but to no avail he couldn’t find anything.

    “Welcome sir,” The security guard said to Silver Mage while ignoring Kenji completely for the time being as he paused in order to salute the blonde haired man. “The other members of the council are waiting for you on the seventh floor,” He continued before stopping and turning his attention towards the ninja. “I assume this is the person you said was coming with you?” The guard asked before finally stopping to give Silver Mage a chance to speak.

    “Thank you and yes this is the one I told them I was bringing,” Silver Mage said with a friendly tone as he magically lit a cigar and placed it in his mouth. “However, Replicate, before I go to the meeting can I ask you why you are inspecting my private jet for?” He asked the security guard while enjoying his cigar.

    “Sorry about that sir but The Golden Patriot ordered all incoming aircrafts to be checked once they entered the hangar,” Replicate answered as Kenji noticed a quick and strong gust of wind that seemed to pick up that made everything rustle except for his teacher’s cape. Oddly enough it stayed despite the fact that there was wind coming at it that was able to knock off the sunglasses of some of the Replicate clones. “Excuse me sir but I think the lights are malfunctioning,” The guard said as he ran off and starting screaming into his headset not noticing the real reason for the sudden burst of wind.

    Kenji just glanced back at the clone they were talking to before he heard Silver Mage’s footsteps and proceeded to follow him into the elevator. Once inside the elevator he didn’t bother to even glance at his mentor until they reached the seventh floor. Then the doors opened and his eyes went to analyze the new figures that have appeared right in front of him. There were four of them in total and each of them had something inherently special about them that made Kenji want to take notice of them.

    One of them was floating in midair with his legs crossed with a bubble of blue translucent energy around him, another one that looked like some sort of demon that the people back in his native village used to talk about and the other was a woman who’s abilities weren’t immediately obvious but judging by the way she confidently stood among them he assumed that her powers were great as well. Then in the middle of all of them was a man who wore a shining gold suit of armor who was approaching Silver Mage as if it was no big deal. Kenji immediately knew that this man was the leader of the Union of Heroes, the one they called The Golden Patriot.

    “Hey there Will I never thought you would show up,” the Patriot said to Silver Mage as Kenji mentally winced at the mentioning of his master’s real name and then did it even harder when the Union leader placed a friendly hand on his shoulder. He had never seen anyone treat the man next to him as an equal in all the years he had been his protégé. “In fact the committee was just about to take a vote on whether or not we should leave before Replicate informed us you were here,” the Patriot continued on while taking the liberty to get in a couple of chuckles at the situation.

    It seemed that Silver Mage was taking his lateness in stride as his casual demeanor didn’t falter under what would be considered a humbling situation. “I was a little caught up in explaining the ropes to my apprentice here that I lost track of time,” He stated as he gestured towards Kenji who kept a cool disposition despite being around the greatest the Union had to offer especially as they started to turn their gazes towards him.

    They seemed at least somewhat curious about him as the female of the group even walked up to him and started closely inspecting him. “What the hell did you do the kid Mage?” She asked Kenji while running her fingers along one of the many scars he had on his arms. Her face was a mixture of concern and curiosity as she continued to examine him closely.

    “These marks came from his intensity during his training and his need to push himself. I assure you I did absolutely no harm to him,” Silver Mage answered as Kenji’s focus was still on the woman who was looking at him like a piece of merchandise. She was now looking over the katana on his back as she shot the Golden Patriot a concerned look which made Kenji lose a little respect for her as he stoically stared at her. She was about to open her mouth to say something else but the Union leader put his hand up to supposedly stop her.

    “Little scratches and a little tool never hurt anyone. However I am curious as to what his name is,” The Patriot said in response to the woman who looked dissatisfied as she shot another glance at Kenji before she looked at the other members of the council. They didn’t say anything but Kenji wasn’t sure if this was because they had no suspicions about him, or if they didn’t want to go against the Golden Patriot.

    Kenji kept quiet at the question since he never said something to a superior unless directly spoken to. It was how he was taught to respect those above him since he was a child. “His name is Seigi,” Silver Mage stated as it seemed the Patriot and the woman were a bit puzzled by a name that was foreign to them as they were both trying to silently mouth it out.

    There was an air of silence for at least two or three more seconds before someone finally broke the air of silence. “I believe we have more pressing matters at hand than this child. I’m sure that his team’s instructor is more than apt at deciding his worth anyway,” said the one that was floating in the air. Kenji saw a lot of resemblance between this person and the monks he used to know in his old village. They both had a constant look that Kenji interpreted as a cold indifference towards the world around them. The only difference between them was that the person standing in front of him had light orange skin, big black eyes, and an orb of translucent energy around him as he floated in the air.

    The Patriot looked at the floating person and then back to Kenji as he walked up to him. He stared him down seriously for a few seconds before smiling and placing a hand on his shoulder. “I’m sure anyone Will taught has got to be hero material. So welcome to the team kiddo.” He asked with a large smile that was a bit too big in Kenji’s opinion. He didn’t know if this person was trying to brag about his superior dental health or if his teeth had some sort of magical power that made every attempt to smile an awkward experience for everyone, but it just came off as annoyingly unnecessary. Still this man was supposedly a superior of his master and that was something he had to honor no matter how many times he referred to him as kiddo.

    “I am honored to be a part of this organization sir,” Kenji said with a bow of his head for respect towards the man in golden armor in front of him. The Golden Patriot was about to say something else, judging by his facial expression, before the footsteps of Silver Mage interrupted him.

    “With that out of the way I do believe it would be an appropriate time for my young pupil to meet his new teammates,” Kenji’s teacher said after remaining in the background for the last minute or so. “According to the briefing you sent me they were supposed to be meeting on the third floor conference room correct? I can take him there in a heartbeat so we can get to business,” Silver Mage stated as he placed his hand on Kenji’s forehead. He started to feel some heat being applied to his forehead as he could see a faint sky blue light being emitted from his master’s hand.

    “Uh, if you can transport people then why did you fly here?” was the question asked by the gigantic monster that Kenji managed to somehow forget about since he was the only one in the room to not have not said a word during this entire meeting. The others seemed to shake their heads a little bit as it seemed that everyone else besides him and Kenji didn’t know the answer. His master just chuckled a little bit before looking at the monstrosity that asked what seemed to be a stupid question for some reason.

    “It’s because of…” was the last thing Kenji heard his mentor say before he was all of a sudden surrounded by light and was whisked away to wherever he was going to be transported to.

    ————————————————————————————-

    Real life and my computer have not been kind to me these last few months so I haven’t been able to get much work done.

  31. B. Macon 28 Jul 2010 at 8:37 pm

    Ack. Could you remind me to check this out tomorrow?

  32. A.Joneson 29 Jul 2010 at 8:22 pm

    I hope this is a good enough reminder.

  33. B. Macon 29 Jul 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Yes, thanks.

    “The elegant flying monstrosity had finally landed at what Kenji had been told was a Union of Heroes base. ” I think it’s either elegant or a monstrosity, but I’m having trouble visualizing it being both.

    –“The elegant flying monstrosity had finally landed at what Kenji had been told was a Union of Heroes base.” I think “what Kenji had been told was” is awkward. I would recommend just “…finally landed at a Union of Heroes base” and then gradually have Kenji figure out that it’s not. Alternately, just tell us upfront, unless you can come up with a good reason for the master to lie to his own apprentice. (For example, he’s trying to train him to be cunning).

    “A ninja not being surrounded by darkness was like a cloud not being surrounded by the sky.” I like that comparison.

    I really like the use of the pimple as a way of showing us that these guards look EXACTLY alike in a creepy/literal way rather than just a figure of expression.

    “He looked for anything on these guards to try and differentiate them but to no avail he couldn’t find anything.” I think this is awkward. I’d recommend something like “He couldn’t find anything to tell them apart.”

    I think the security guard/SM conversation could be more stylish. The stuff before the guards trying to search his plane is not particularly important to the plot and has no conflict. In contrast, I found the conversation interesting after that point because it shows that the Golden Patriot is not an overly trusting person, at least to the SM. The information about where the meeting is could be removed because SM is presumably used to this.

    There are some grammatical errors. Run-ons and the like.

    This is a long sentence: “One of them was floating in midair with his legs crossed with a bubble of blue translucent energy around him, another one that looked like some sort of demon that the people back in his native village used to talk about and the other was a woman who’s abilities weren’t immediately obvious but judging by the way she confidently stood among them he assumed that her powers were great as well.” I’d recommend breaking it up into 3 sentences, one per character described.

    Also, I think the nouns in the long sentence could be more interesting. “One of them was floating in midair…” –> I’d recommend replacing “one” with a noun phrase describing what he looks like. “Another one that looked like some sort of demon that the people back in his village used to talk about” –> I’d recommend rewriting this sentence with a stronger verb than “looked.” What’s he doing? “the other was a woman who’s abilities weren’t immediately obvious but judging by the way she confidently stood among them he assumed that her powers were great as well” –> I would recommend giving her some body language here that suggests confidence rather than telling us she is standing confidently. For example, maybe she’s swaggering around the room or has her feet up on the conference table. Also, the word “who’s” is only used as a contraction for “who is.” It should be “whose” here.

    “Hey there Will I never thought you would show up,” the Patriot said… –> There should be a comma after “there” and preferably a period after Will. Good job with the comma after up, though.

    I think the Patriot’s casual words and body language are effective. They help show why the stiffer SM might not take so well to him. (That, and the being evil thing 😉 ).

    “In fact the committee was just about to take a vote on whether or not we should leave before Replicate informed us you were here…” This could be shortened to “We were about to vote about whether to leave, but Replicate told us you came.” I don’t know why he’s chuckling, though.

    “kept a cool disposition”– show this. It might help if the Golden Patriot talks to him and tries to be very friendly/casual but Kenji just shuts him down with super-stiff responses (maybe one-word responses).

    It feels kind of strange that Kenji is not doing anything here. Even when his scars and apparent abuse are the subject of conversation, the characters address their lines to SM rather than him. When the woman asks the Mage what the hell he did to Kenji, I would recommend having Kenji interject a response on SM’s behalf. I’d like if he were more proactive here. His extreme deference to superiors seems like an obstacle to that. Perhaps he speaks out of turn because he very surprised by the woman’s accusation. Or perhaps the characters might directly address him more often.

    “What the hell did you do the kid Mage” — I think the word “to” is missing after “do.” Also, comma after kid, because when a line is addressed to somebody, the name of the person being addressed should be set off with commas.

    “Little scratches and a little tool never hurt anyone.” A little tool? What?

    “Little scratches and a little tool never hurt anyone. However I am curious as to what his name is,” The Patriot said in response to the woman who looked dissatisfied as she shot another glance at Kenji before she looked at the other members of the council. They didn’t say anything but Kenji wasn’t sure if this was because they had no suspicions about him, or if they didn’t want to go against the Golden Patriot.

    “He didn’t know if this person was trying to brag about his superior dental health or if his teeth had some sort of magical power that made every attempt to smile an awkward experience for everyone, but it just came off as annoyingly unnecessary.” Haha! I really like the style here.

    “According to the briefing you sent me they were supposed to be meeting on the third floor conference room correct? I can take him there in a heartbeat so we can get to business.” This could be shortened to a “Let’s go” directed at Kenji. I don’t think it needs to be explained how he knows where to find them.

    “If you can teleport people, then why did you fly here?” Haha, good question. I think this ties in nicely to how defensive he got when the guards tried to search his plane. (Presumably he brought the plane because he has something on board he doesn’t want them to know about). In any case, it’s strong foreshadowing.

  34. A.Joneson 26 Oct 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Sorry for the long hiatus:

    —————————————
    Chapter 4

    Before he knew it Kenji had found himself in another part of the building as he was facing down another Replicate clone and a metal door. He assumed he was near the area where he was supposed to meet his teammates as he was still wondering what his master was about to say to the other head Union members before being warped away. He figured that his master probably didn’t want to tell him since he didn’t mention anything of why they were going on the jet when he was coming here so he put tried to put those thoughts towards the back of his mind as he focused on meeting his new teammates as he walked up to the door.

    “This way,” was the only thing the Replicate clone said before he placed his hand on the security lock allowing the door to open. It opened towards a hallway that had pictures of many of the heroes he had already met with his mentor with an open room at the end of it. As he walked down that hallway he could hear their voices getting louder and louder as he approached the room. Their voices were mostly of laughter with a small dose of yelling he didn’t care to make out but it sounded like the person was not in a proper state of mind.

    When he was entering the opening of the room he noticed a small boy dressed in white was wobbling his way towards him. He could tell that this person didn’t look to know where he was as the laughter continued. Normally Kenji would just move out of the way and let this person crash into the wall for doing something that would get him in some sort of state but he didn’t have much room to move and didn’t feel like jumping over him so he caught him. When he looked down he realized that this little scrawny boy was the one called Psyon.

    “I… so dizzy… so fun,” was all Kenji managed to make out as the boy was too disoriented to even speak properly. His glasses were on the floor next to his feet as the two new teammates were now looking face to face. Psyon looked at him with a questioning look as Kenji doubted the child would even be able to see properly let alone be able to recognize that he was leaning against someone that was a complete stranger. The whole display was quite pathetic as far as the newcomer was concerned and was about to casually cast him aside until he notice Psyon’s face get a bit green and his body starting to jerk a little bit. Immediately Kenji threw the boy to the floor before vomit started to exit his mouth. Within a matter of moments bodily fluid was all over the floor with a skinny body lying near it.

    Kenji in the meantime inspected his uniform to see if there was any stain on it while not even looking back to check on the status on the person he threw to the floor. It seemed that his entire uniform was still clean thanks to his split second decision to pick the state of his uniform over the state of his new ally. Kenji wasn’t very keen on ruining something that had just been given to him by his mentor.

    “What the hell was that for?!” came a female voice to the left of Kenji which he assumed to be directed at him since there wasn’t many people in the room. When he turned around he saw a man and a woman giving him rather scathing looks next to a broken vehicle of some sort. He immediately recognized them as the other two members of the team with the one addressing him being Justice Girl and the other male being the one called Roberto Silva.

    “I don’t want vomit all over my uniform,” Kenji said clearly as he no longer felt the need to hold back his feelings as he did when he was around Silver Mage. This didn’t get a positive result from the two glaring at him as their looks just became sterner but he just stood calm and still in front of them. He did casually look back at the moron on the floor

    Justice Girl glared at him for a few more seconds until Psyon could be heard groaning on the floor. In a split second she was beside her fallen comrade lifting him to his feet with ease and placing him on the nearest sofa gently. “Are you okay Harvey?” She asked as she started to cover the bruise on his forehead that he suffered from hitting the ground with his hair but it didn’t have much success. Kenji didn’t even bother even do a quick glance of what was happening behind him as he just let out a small exasperated sigh after being with these people for less than ten minutes.

    “I’m okay but please remind to never mess around with the food cart ever again,” Psyon said weakly as Kenji turned his head slightly towards the busted up vehicle he saw earlier next to Roberto and started to make out what had happened before he walked into the room and concluded that without doubt that the boy on the sofa was an absolute idiot. “NINJA, NINJA, NINJA!!!” Psyon screamed quickly as he saw Kenji who was quickly shaking his head in disgust as he turned his attention towards the screaming boy who was highlighting his moron status as far as he was concerned.

    Then he headed towards the open window of the conference room in order to briefly observe the outside surroundings and to check for anything that could be exploited by attackers (such as the open window in front of him). He was interrupted before he started by a red orb of energy headed his way that he had to dodge. He had figured it was Roberto that had attacked him since Justice Girl was occupied with Psyon who was demonstrably too stupid and incapacitated to try to harm him with his back turned.

    “If you wanted my attention you succeeded; if you wanted to do some actual damage than you failed miserably,” Kenji said as he didn’t even bother to grant his attacker anything more than a slight turn of his head as he could see the supermodel glaring at him as intensely as he was a few moments ago. It was a worrisome sight for the ninja as he could now pinned the idiot label on every single one of his new teammates in a matter of minutes.

    “I suppose that will do for now,” Roberto snarled as his hands were glowing red as his hand was arched back as if he was going to throw a ball. “You are not welcomed here Mr. Mask so why don’t you just leave otherwise I will make sure you get hurt,” The Brazilian stated as he was still poised to perform his attack.

    Kenji looked at the one threatening him and casually turned his entire body to face him while seeing Justice Girl and a recovering Psyon watching the situation unfolding in front of their eyes. “I have business to take care of here so I won’t be going anywhere, but if you want to try your hand against me my katana will be more than to oblige,” Kenji stated before grabbing the hilt of his katana with his left hand. His hand twitched a little bit in nostalgic excitement as his sword was hungry for fresh blood after years of famine. It was unfortunate that his sword would go starving for a little while more as he knew Silver Mage wouldn’t approve of chopping his teammate’s head off.

    Justice Girl didn’t approve of it as well since she immediately got up from Psyon’s bedside and glared at him intensely. Kenji didn’t pay much mind to it since Roberto still seemed more ready to attack than she did. His potential opponent kept on shifting his eyes back and forth between him and Justice Girl which prompted Kenji to produce a cocky smirk underneath his mask which no one else saw. “Well? Are you going to attack or not?” Kenji remarked as Roberto’s reddening face was an indicator of what he wanted as the Brazilian threw a red orb at him that Kenji estimated to be at about 95 to 100 miles per hour using his experience at handling shuriken (ninja stars) as reference.

    He quickly prepared himself for a counterattack but quickly stopped as the energy orb dissipated in front of his eyes. An orange translucent wall had formed between him and Roberto that had appeared out of nowhere. “You’re finally here!” Justice Girl screamed before she immediately ran to hug the person that was seemingly responsible for creating the wall. Kenji immediately recognized him as Captain Calgary, his supposedly new “mentor” and the one that his real mentor had warned him about.

    “Glad to see you Fiona,” Captain Calgary said as he hugged the girl back as he looked down at Psyon and his vomit covered shirt and then immediately looked at the food cart that was wrecked while chuckling. “Did you try to hotwire the food cart again? At least it wasn’t like your graduation party where you puked all over your mom’s dress,” He said as Harvey’s face became pink as he shot a quick glare at his brother. “Steve! Don’t embarrass me in front of the enemy,” Psyon moaned as he pointed at Kenji who began formulating plans to end this experience in the most violent way possible.

    Captain Calgary shot a serious look at Kenji as he started to walk closer to Kenji. Once he was right in front of Kenji he lowered the wall he created with a casual movement of his hand. The ninja had his hand gripped tightly on his sword expecting a fight but Calgary dissipated any tenseness in the environment with a friendly smile. “You must be the one that Silver Mage was bragging about. Welcome to the team,” He said before extending his hand out to the ninja who was staring at him right in the eyes.

    Kenji’s hands remained at his sides after the handshake was offered to him causing his teammates to glare at him even more than they had before. “How can anyone see this guy as superhero material? He was willing to slice my head off a few moments ago.” Roberto yelled as the disbelief on his face was very clear even from behind a translucent orange wall. Kenji cared enough to only glance at him for a fraction of a second before positioning his eyes to zone in on the pupils of the man across from him. He figured that this man wasn’t going to show his true colors in front of everyone but he still didn’t want to lower his guard in front of a group of super powered beings that were more likely to gang up on him rather than help him.

    “Does this room have a special entrance?” Kenji asked as the others looked baffled by his question. Captain Calgary was taken slightly aback by the question for a moment until he regained his composure. “What would make you say that? Could it be possible that I just came in the door without you noticing?” He asked the younger person standing in front of him. The question seemed innocent enough but Kenji felt that he was somehow mocking him. Some of the others did as well as there were some chuckles that were heard throughout the room.

    “If you were to have entered through the door I would have definitely noticed you. You couldn’t have secretly entered through the window since they were locked and you would have made a noise loud enough for me to hear while trying to unlock them. You also weren’t warped here my mentor’s teleportation spell since I have seen it enough times to know when to sense that he is teleporting into a room.” Kenji explained as he heard his teammates muttering unfavorable things about him. Their new teacher seemed impressed with the explanation as he smirked a little bit.

    “Impressive. It seems that Silver Mage doesn’t pick his protégés lightly. There is in fact a secret teleportation network that all of the heroes use. It isn’t as fast as Silver Mage’s teleportation spell but it allows us to get around the base faster if there is an attack or if we are too lazy to walk and use an elevator. Though don’t tell the Council about that as they get a bit annoyed at everyone crowding the teleporters so they can get to the cafeteria faster. You should have seen what Lady Violet did to the last group she caught using them for doing that. You already met her so you should know what I am talking about,” Captain Calgary responded as he chucked light heartedly at that last statement.

    “No, I don’t,” Kenji responded as he just wanted him to shut up after he finished describing their little teleportation system. He didn’t care that there were some heroes that lacked discipline since he could already figure that one out by the stories he had been told by Silver Mage. Some of the heroes would break buildings with reckless abandon while trying to stop mere bank robbers.

    Calgary’s calm demeanor wasn’t changed one bit by Kenji’s curt response. “That’s funny because I heard you two had a terrible introduction,” He responded as the Japanese boy figured out he was talking about the woman that had analyzed him and accused his real teacher of abusing him. “She just made some bad judgments about me without thinking,” Kenji responded before feeling a strong gust of wind only to see Justice Girl standing in front of him while glaring at him intensely.

    “What did you say about my mom?!” She rhetorically asked while her fists were by her side trembling with emotion. Kenji was already aware that she had some strong superhero lineage since she was the Golden Patriot’s daughter but he didn’t know that her mother was not only a superhero but a Council member as well. “I don’t know what your deal is with Silver Mage, why you are here, or even your name but you are getting close to being launched into space,” She added while glaring into the eyes of the person before her.

    Kenji stared right into her eyes while still maintaining a casual demeanor despite the super powered female in front of him who was about to attack him. “Your mom is an idiot. Silver Mage is my mentor. I am here for the same reason as you are, and you can call me Seigi. I do hope you were able to comprehend that,” He said before hearing footsteps to his right hand side accompanied by a strong herbal flagrance that immediately gave away any chance of a sneak attack. He immediately stepped to the side and grabbed the attacker by the hair and slammed his head into his knee then a punch to the throat to send him to the ground. Kenji then pounced on him and held his the blade of his sword towards the throat of his opponent while the other hand held his head back. He could now clearly see that his attack was his newest male teammate Roberto who was looking at the katana blade with great concern.

    “That’s enough!” Their new leader yelled as orange translucent walls began to separate his sword from the Brazilian neck and isolate all of the new teammates from each other. “I think we’ve had enough introductions for one day,” Captain Calgary said with a much calmer voice as his face turned serious. “My main purpose for coming here was to tell you that I will be testing you on your battle abilities. The task is simple enough as I will be battling you guys in separate two on one battle,” He added as Seigi got off Roberto and sheathed his katana. Everyone seemed to take the news in stride except for Psyon who was definitely nervous.

    “Me and Psy shot first!” Justice Girl said as she had a very excited expression on her face while Psyon’s had a look of relief on his face. Kenji and Roberto immediately shot glares to each other as the thought of their partnership didn’t bode too well with them. Calgary seemed to be pleased with the proclamation as his friendly smile had returned. “Perfect. Then I suppose we are done here. Justice Girl and Psyon follow me to the arena floor. Seigi and Roberto can follow Replicate to the spectator’s area. Apparently the Council are quite intrigued by you guys and want to see you action,” Captain Calgary said as Justice Girl wrapped her arm around a nervous Psyon while Seigi was curious to see what the daughter of two council members could do in battle.

  35. A.Joneson 29 Oct 2010 at 6:02 pm

    I can understand if you have a busy schedule and everything but I’m just leaving this reminder here just so you know.

  36. B. Macon 29 Oct 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Chapter 4
    –I think the setting could frequently use more details. “Kenji had found himself in another part of the building” is a sort of banal way to describe what I think is a sudden teleporting. You could use bolder language here, describing this unusual experience. Also, “the area where he was supposed to meet his teammates” could probably be more specific. It might help to replace “the area” by naming the place where they’ll be meeting.

    –In each of the three sentences of the first paragraph, Kenji is the subject. (“Kenji had found himself… He assumed… He figured…”). You can mix it up occasionally by shifting to the setting (i.e. by describing what’s going on in the background) or making Kenji the object of a sentence.

    –This sentence could be shortened dramatically: “He figured that his master probably didn’t want to tell him since he didn’t mention anything of why they were going on the jet when he was coming here so he put tried to put those thoughts towards the back of his mind as he focused on meeting his new teammates as he walked up to the door.” Perhaps something like “His master was always cryptic and did not encourage idle wondering. He walked toward the door without another thought.”

    –““This way,” was the only thing the Replicate clone said before he placed his hand on the security lock allowing the door to open.” This could be shortened to “The Replicate clone led him through the security gate [or hardened door or whatever].”

    –I think you could be more specific about the pictures of the heroes mounted in the hallway. Are these… heroic and really idealistic, romanticized pictures? Realistic and occasionally messy action shots, like we’d see from a newspaper photographer? Something else? What sort of mood are you trying to create with these pictures?

    –“ Their voices were mostly of laughter with a small dose of yelling he didn’t care to make out but it sounded like the person was not in a proper state of mind.” This felt a bit awkward to me, especially the shift from several people speaking to suddenly focusing on one individual that has not been mentioned before. I get the feeling that you had a sentence saying something more about the person that might not be in a proper state of mind but later removed it. One way to make this transition smoother would be to say a few words about the voice that sticks out from the group. What does it sound like? Can he guess anything about who’s speaking?

    –“a small boy dressed in white”—I think this visualization could be more effective. I would recommend checking out this article on color and visualization and this one. I’m almost positive that there’s something more distinct-looking about the character than that he’s wearing white. So Kenji is seeing this kid for the first time—what are some impressions he gets of the kid? Would he be useful at all as a teammate? Is he someone that can be relied on? Etc.

    –I really like the phrase “wobbling his way towards him,” although “his way” is probably unnecessary. It suggests physical inability.

    –I would recommend cutting the line “When he looked down he realized that this little scrawny boy was the one called Psyon” and just inserting Psyon’s name into the phrase “he noticed Psyon, a small boy…”. He’s seen Psyon’s picture in the briefing information, so I think it’d make sense if he recognized him.

    –“ he was leaning against someone that was a complete stranger” could be shortened to “he was leaning against a complete stranger.”

    I like the detail that Kenji checks his uniform for vomit without checking on Psyon. However, I think that it would be subtler to remove “while not even looking back to check on the status on the person he threw to the floor.” If he checks on his uniform, I think readers will notice that he’s ignoring the kid. See the comment that begins with an asterisk (*) for more details.

    “It seemed that his entire uniform was still clean thanks to his split second decision to pick the state of his uniform over the state of his new ally. Kenji wasn’t very keen on ruining something that had just been given to him by his mentor.” This could be shortened to something like “Thankfully, his uniform was still as sharp and dignified as it had been when it had been presented to him. His mentor would be proud.”

    ““What the hell was that for?!” came a female voice to the left of Kenji which he assumed to be directed at him since there wasn’t many people in the room.” I think this could be shortened to something like “What the hell was that for?!” yelled Justice Girl.” (I don’t think that you need to specify that it’s directed at him because I think we can infer that).
    “I don’t want vomit all over my uniform.” It might help to make this more of a statement of habit/character than a more temporary desire. Maybe a challenge. “If you’d like to let somebody throw up on you, I bet he has more in him.”

    The punctuation is looking good so far, although there’s a period missing after floor and a comma missing between okay and Harvey.

    * “Kenji didn’t even bother even do a quick glance of what was happening behind him as he just let out a small exasperated sigh after being with these people for less than ten minutes.” Generally, I’d recommend against saying what a character isn’t doing. In this case, the sentence says that he doesn’t glance behind him. Generally, I think it’s more effective to say what he IS doing and letting the reader infer what he’s not doing.

    “concluded that without doubt that the boy on the sofa was an absolute idiot.” This could maybe be more distinct. Perhaps something like “concluded that without doubt that the boy could not be counted on in any way whatsoever, not even [minor thing he would appreciate]” to help develop what sorts of things he’s looking for in his teammates.

    –“ who was quickly shaking his head in disgust as he turned his attention towards the screaming boy who was highlighting his moron status as far as he was concerned” could be shortened to “who quickly shook his head in disgust.” By the way, I like that Kenji responds with disgusted silence even though Psyon is speaking about him. I think it helps imply how much contempt Kenji has for Psyon.

    “NINJA, NINJA, NINJA!!!” Normally, I’d recommend against using more than one punctuation mark at a time. However, I think it was a reasonably effective choice in this case because the character isn’t supposed to come off as very smart/well-spoken.

    “He had figured it was Roberto that had attacked him since Justice Girl was occupied with Psyon who was demonstrably too stupid and incapacitated to try to harm him with his back turned.” This could be shortened to “Probably from Roberto, since Justice Girl was occupied with the demonstrably useless boy.”
    “He was interrupted before he started by a red orb of energy headed his way that he had to dodge.” Possible rephrase: “He was momentarily interrupted by the need to dodge an energy bolt aimed at his back.” I took out “red” because I don’t think it feels consistent with his point of view. (The only way he could see the color would be if he saw it, and I don’t think that he sees it right away because it’s at his back, right?)

    –I would recommend checking through the chapter for all of the times a character glares at somebody else. (If you’re on a PC, Control-F for glar ). Please work in some more types of body language. (For example, what does their posture look like? What are they doing with their limbs?)

    “You are not welcomed here Mr. Mask so why don’t you just leave otherwise I will make sure you get hurt…” “You are not welcomed here” could probably be removed (because it’s redundant with the energy attack and “why don’t you just leave”). Maybe “Leave now or you will get hurt.”

    I would recommend using either “shuriken” or “ninja stars” but not both (“shurikens (ninja stars)” )—I can understand why you’d translate it, but I think it wouldn’t be a major disaster here if you used “shuriken” and a few readers didn’t know what they were. Alternately, “ninja stars” would be fine, too.

    I liked the tension about Kenji getting annoyed by Calgary entering the room without him noticing. Perhaps in time Kenji will learn that Canadians outrank ninjas on the scale of subterfuge and wiliness.

    –I think it might help to let the bad feelings simmer a bit more before “your mom is an idiot.”
    –Some missing commas in the last page. For example, in “Justice Girl and Psyon follow me”, there should be a comma after Psyon. When a sentence is addressed to somebody (or several people), the addressed party should be separated off with a comma.

  37. A.Joneson 24 Oct 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Sorry I have been gone for nearly 2 years. I’ve been very busy with life and I have pretty much lost my muse on this story.

    However I was thinking of having a new story revolving around the question of whether heroes should kill villains or let them live.

    I was thinking of basing the story on a young high school senior who does not have superpowers but belongs to a family of superhero consisting of his mother and two older siblings. His views on villains are that they are trash not deserving of living that comes from his father dying to save him after his arch-nemesis kidnaps him once discovering his dad’s secret identity. I was thinking of the story starting with the boy getting powers through some magical means and using them on his quest to kill those responsible for his dad’s death while hiding it from his family of do-gooders.

    I do not have much in terms of character development beyond this idea.

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