Feb 01 2012

Green Kid’s Review Forum

Published by at 12:05 am under Review Forums

Green Kid says: “I’ve started work on a teen superhero novel about a boy who develops super powers after being exposed to a chemical dumped in the local lake by a large corporation conducting research on possible ways to create a superhuman. It’s very early in the process and I’ve barely written anything, but I’d like to see what people have to say about my ideas and how I can make them better. By the way, I am very new at this and I don’t have a lot of experience.”

5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Green Kid’s Review Forum”

  1. B. McKenzieon 07 Feb 2012 at 12:10 am

    One idea that comes to mind is that faceless-evil-corporations are pretty common, so if possible, I’d recommend thinking about how you can give the company and/or its most important employees a personality so that they are more distinct and interesting. For example, Apple, Google and the U.S. Postal Service aren’t one-dimensionally evil, but they have some highly unappealing traits.

  2. greenkidon 07 Feb 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Hmm… I’d never really thought that through. Though now that you’re saying it, it sounds right. Perhaps the company specializes in something else, but the corporate heads have some sort of special interest in the development of superhumans. I wouldn’t want the employees to have that unnecessary evil quality either.

    Well, my idea isn’t exactly too thought out yet, but I have a few characters sketched out in my head. The main character is going to be Ian, a high school student living in the shadow of his older brother, the star of the football team (though I’ll probably change that, as football players are very cliche characters for a story like this). Ian faces pressure from his father to join the football team and act more like he did in high school. Ian’s father is one of the company’s employees and I haven’t decided yet if he knows about this superhuman research. Anyway, Ian is an environmentalist and is becoming very involved with the environment. He does some research and decides to incorporate his father’s company’s poor environmental record into his term paper. To investigate, he goes as far as following a company employee home one night to discover him dumping a container of leftover chemical into the lake. Ian is discovered and the employee shoots him in the chest, causing him to fall in the chemical and let it into his body. The employee flees and Ian is soon found and brought to the hospital. He manages to heal amazingly fast and slowly realizes his developing super powers when he gets out of the hospital. Though I’m not quite sure what powers he develops yet. I want it to be something original and something that won’t make him too strong. He goes on to investigate a series of murders and disappearances happening around town.

    Daniel is another character that I’ve thought out. Much like Ian, he’s an ambitious high school student who has his future mapped out pretty well. He’s very intelligent and sort of a know-it-all, as he thinks highly of himself (though his ego isn’t giant like that of a stereotypical villain). Daniel’s father also works for this company, but works at a higher position than Ian’s dad. He does more of the research and is more involved with the company. After testing the serum on animals, they soon realize that they are in need of a human test subject. Daniel’s father is initially approached and asked to test the serum on Daniel. He refuses. However, his boss retaliates by threatening him with his job. Every night for the next month or so, Daniel’s father knocks him out by putting something in his food or a drink. He then proceeds to inject Daniel with the serum after he’s knocked out. Daniel continues to carry out his normal life, showing no signs of any change. When his boss sees this, he decides to fire the man despite his initial promise to not fire him. At first, Daniel’s father doesn’t say anything about it and he’s unable to find a job, forcing the family to downsize and Daniel to give up his choice of going to a prestigious university after high school. Daniel becomes frustrated and angry at this news. However, he slowly starts to realize that he is developing abilities. Like Ian, I’m not quite sure on Daniel’s powers, but I’m leaning towards an ability that will allow him to mentally move objects. So he goes back to his dad and confronts him about it and finds out the truth. Angered, Daniel tracks down his father’s old boss and kills him. This scene is where I would like to begin the novel. Daniel goes on to murder several other people as payback for doing him wrong or standing in his way. He serves as an antagonist, but I think he’s going to be featured a lot throughout the story and will become more of a main character rather than a distant antagonist.

    So these are my two main characters. I’ve got a few more in mind, but they haven’t been developed too much just yet. These two aren’t necessarily developed yet either. I’m definitely going to have to spend some time developing their personalities. I don’t want them to fall into a one-dimensional category. I just have their back stories set up and I’m sure they’ll change and more detail will be added to them. I just wanted to know what you thought. Thanks for the help.

  3. YoungAuthoron 07 Feb 2012 at 5:12 pm

    I like your story a lot! i had a very very similar type of story brewing even tough i’m writing a different one right now. how long have you been writing? oh and for an original power suggestion, you can make ian or daniel become whatever surface they touch. (i.e. if ian touches metal he becomes metallic and takes on those properties. or if he touches concrete he becomes as solid as concrete and such.)

  4. B. McKenzieon 07 Feb 2012 at 6:59 pm

    “To investigate, he goes as far as following a company employee home one night to discover him dumping a container of leftover chemical into the lake. Ian is discovered and the employee shoots him in the chest, causing him to fall in the chemical and let it into his body.” Hmm. Is there some reason for the guy to shoot the protagonist here? (At this point, all the kid knows about is a minor environmental violation, and he might not even be able to prove it yet. Murder is really risky and opens the shooter up to criminal charges vastly more serious than polluting a lake).

    Based on the circumstances, it sounds like Ian knows quite a lot about who shot him. (He definitely knows who the shooter works for. Additionally, because he was following the shooter, he might even know the shooter’s name). It might be more dramatic if the character knew relatively little about who shot him. For example, maybe he was following John Doe and watched John dump the chemicals, but it was ANOTHER employee that pushed* him from behind into the chemicals. Depending on John Doe’s morals, he may or may not be on board for an attempted murder of some random high schooler. One possibility is that it sounds like he may actually be thinking about cooperating with the police, so John Doe is the next “accident” victim.

    *One reason a would-be killer might opt to go for a push rather than a shot is that the push makes it look more like an accident. The bullet wound might show up in an autopsy. Also, guns are really loud and, unless it’s absolutely in the middle of nowhere, people will hear a gunshot. (If it’s in the middle of nowhere, let’s assume that the shooter doesn’t know if the kid came alone. Anybody within a few hundred feet will be able to hear a gunshot).

    Does Ian have a secret identity? If so, how does Ian get taken to the hospital and make a miraculous recovery without the would-be killer realizing that something is amiss? (One possibility: he’s left to die in the acid but makes a full recovery on his own. When he comes back home (the next day?), his parents will suspect SOMETHING but there’s no obvious evidence to the company yet that he’s the kid that they’re looking for). Another possibility would be that an ambulance gets alerted somehow (maybe gunshots were heard), but the paramedic never gets his name. The paramedics will probably check for an ID, but he probably wouldn’t have brought along a real ID if he were doing illegal stuff like trespassing). So maybe the paramedic finds his fake ID but Ian (perhaps disoriented by the chemicals and/or the shock of what has happened to him and/or paranoia about whether the paramedics are actually working for the company) escapes from the ambulance before it gets to the hospital.

    “After testing the serum on animals, they soon realize that they are in need of a human test subject. Daniel’s father is initially approached and asked to test the serum on Daniel. He refuses. However, his boss retaliates by threatening him with his job.” I think this could be more believable. First, is it believable that Daniel’s dad actually goes through with this rather than just getting a new job? (Maybe they threaten him with more than just a firing? Maybe they have blackmail material on him, like illegal research he was involved in). Second, is it believable that they would be willing to piss off one of their own (fairly high-ranking) employees? If so, why?

    One alternate possibility: the son has a rare disease. The serum they’re working on could conceivably help him survive it, but the treatment is risky. The father demands that they let him include his son as one of the test subjects. The company may be uneasy (the boy’s medical condition will probably affect how he reacts to the serum, so the boy is not a good test case for the general population). Maybe the father steals enough of the serum to start secretly testing it on his son anyway (but he wouldn’t tell his son, because his son might talk about his great new medicine to his friends and word might get out). Or maybe the father convinces/coerces/blackmails the company into letting him include his son. In any case, the son might feel betrayed later on that the father didn’t trust him enough to tell him he was giving him a potentially dangerous and poorly-understood medicine. Also, the son might feel angry at the company because the drug actually DOES work, but if the father wasn’t able to steal enough to give him a proper dose schedule, the son may have some medical complications there.

  5. greenkidon 08 Feb 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Definitely interesting. As for Ian and the scene where he’s shot, I knew there would be some complications with that. I wasn’t exactly sure that he would be shot, but I knew that he somehow had to come in contact with the chemical or the serum, whatever. I figured a gunshot would be the best way, but then again, there are some complications. I was planning for it to not be traceable back to the company or the employee. Or perhaps the employee is nowhere to be found after the incident and the company heads claim they have no knowledge of anything he was doing. But your idea of a push into the acid sounds pretty good. What I didn’t mention was that I was planning for Ian to take a trip following the employee with a friend who works for the school newspaper (a possible love interest, though I haven’t really developed her yet) who is interested in doing a story on the company and its poor environmental record. I was planning for him to take the bullet for her when they get caught, but I could easily see him getting pushed into the acid when he’s discovered and she stays behind, watches them leave, and pulls him out of the acid. She tries to get him to go go to the hospital or a least the police, but he refuses because they’ve done illegal things, such as trespassing. So they both know about the illegal dumping, but they don’t tell anyone. They decide to investigate further. As he develops powers, he doesn’t tell his friend about it and tries to deal with it himself.

    As for the other character, your idea sounds good. When thinking about his back story, I knew that his father would have to be threatened with more than his job. Maybe his life? Under your scenario, I don’t necessarily see how Daniel is angered at the company. I think it’s a great idea, but I need to get some motivation for his killings. Under my initial scenario, I see Daniel more angered at the fact that his father was fired even though he was promised not to be. As for pissing off the dad, I’m thinking he was a major contributor to the product and the company heads are upset that he’s used up so much of their time and money and haven’t received any results. That’s his motivation for killing the father’s former boss.
    Well, let’s go with your scenario. I think it would be easily believable that the serum that supposedly gives superhuman abilities also would allow the son to heal. In my initial plan, Ian managed to heal pretty fast from his gunshot wound. So Daniel is given the serum and he begins to heal. He then learns about the serum his father has been giving him and he gets upset because he doesn’t feel trusted. Is he more angered at his father or is he more angered at the company? I would like for him to be more initially frustrated with the company producing this serum. As he seems to be healing, I don’t understand why he’d be upset. Unless there’s a side effect to his new abilities, or like you said, medical complications. But they’d have to be serious. And I don’t think I’d like to give him a very serious medical complication. I’m really going to have to think this through. I wanted this character to sort of try to screw things up for this company behind the scenes until the company heads realize what has happened. Realizing their serum has worked, they’d probably go after him OR he’d go after them in the end to bring the company down. However, I’m thinking the ending will be a fight between Ian and Daniel. Ian wins, of course, and unknown to Ian and his friends, Daniel has been found by the company head and they transport him to a research facility far away. This will most likely set things up for a possible sequel. Thanks for the help and I’ll be thinking these things over

    @YoungAuthor, thanks! I haven’t been writing long at all. Well, as a kid, I’ve always wanted to be an author and I used to read books all the time. I would attempt to start writing something, but nothing ever came out of it. I started writing a young adult werewolf novel over the summer, mostly due to the fact that I hated Twilight and I wanted to see a teen paranormal novel with more of a horror aspect. However, I haven’t been working on it lately and I thought i would take a break from it. And thanks for the suggestion on the powers. That sounds interesting and I’ll definitely consider it.

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