Feb 03 2012

Ani’s Review Forum

Published by at 5:26 pm under Review Forums

“Hi there, I’m Ani, a newbie to posting but a long time reader, and I’d like some opinions.

 

My newest idea is about a teenage girl named Jessie who has been working to defeat the forces of the supernatural since she was ten years old, when the ghost of her mother returned to help her grandfather train Jessie. She’s seventeen now, and she regularly fights these forces, what she fights varies from week to week, but includes things such as vampires, werewolves, and ghosts – all in the classical sense. However, the biggest thing she fights are the Boogeymen, ghosts of emotions who cause havoc and pain wherever they go in their quest to destroy. Boogeymen can only be seen by those who know exactly what they are and believe in them – such as Jessie and Derek (we’ll get to him), and children, who believe in such monsters under the bed.

 

Jessie is not focused on being popular or getting boys, and will not fall apart the first cute boy she comes across. The drama comes mostly from her two worlds intersecting, her friends finding out about her abilities and ‘night job’, and the tension between her grandfather and her over the ‘future of the family power’. Her abilities come from meditation and balance, meaning that she needs to stay focussed and calm or run the risk of getting herself killed in action. Essentially, she’s a ninja. A redheaded, British descended ninja.

 

The rest of the cast includes Samantha a.k.a. Sam, Jessie’s sports loving, tomboy best friend who has a major crush on Derek. Tristan, the childhood best friend of the girls, who is not actually in love with either of them. He’s into technology and inventing. And then there’s Derek, the stereotypically hottest and most popular guy in school, who, in all actuality, is a huge dork and loves all things supernatural, often tripping over his words in trying to protect his reputation. He’s generally a nice guy though, and hangs out with everyone, particularly Jessie and Co.

 

There’s not much in the way of plot yet. But I do know that Sam already knows about Jessie’s little hobby, Tristan is suspicious of what they do in their spare time – which actually leads to a subplot where he thinks they are secretly dating and ‘outs’ them to the whole school. He later finds out the truth though and proceeds to try and make new gadgets for Jessie. And Derek ends up in the middle of it all due to his paranoid and supernatural loving ways. Add on the fact that Jessie’s Mom tends to hang around and chat with her, though Jessie and her grandfather are the only ones who can see him, and her grandfather constantly pushing her to become the ultimate fighter and wanting her to take over the family, and I think I have something relatively interesting.

 

Thoughts?”

15 responses so far

15 Responses to “Ani’s Review Forum”

  1. B. McKenzieon 08 Feb 2012 at 6:12 pm

    “…The drama comes mostly from her two worlds intersecting… and the tension between her grandfather and her over the ‘future of the family power’.” When you submit to publishers, I’d recommend giving a detail filling in what the grandfather-Jessie dispute is about. It could be clearer, I think.



    You’ve obviously put thought into Jessie’s personality. I think it would also help to add a fold to her personality that will help make her memorable. For example, Peter Parker has a bit of a petty side to him (e.g. not stopping the robber out of spite). Tony Stark isn’t a stereotypical scientist by any stretch–he’s hyper-charismatic and cocky. Bruce Wayne/Batman is hugely successful by almost any measure and can more or less bend reality with determination and training, BUT he’s generally unable and/or unwilling to have healthy relationships (romantic or otherwise). Kickass’s Big Daddy isn’t just another casual sociopath–his affection for his daughter is real and heart-felt (even though it’s rough around the edges).

    Her powers are affected by her concentration level, right? One possibility (which might lead to conflict with her grandfather) is that her mindfulness and/or ability to concentrate are lackluster. Her grandfather might want her to give up the job to some other family member, maybe one that has a better control over her* mind but is more limited in some other way. (This may be analogous to Steve Rodgers, who competed with Captain America candidates that were physically stronger but not nearly as brave or mentally tough).

    *I used “her” here because I think the rival will be more interesting and threatening if female. If the grandfather backs a male candidate, readers might be able to chalk that up to “well, he’s an old guy, of course he doesn’t want a girl in a combat role.” In contrast, if he backs a lady, I think it’ll raise more doubts about whether Jessie actually is the best candidate. I think that giving Jessie a chance to overcome the readers’ doubts (rather than merely the grandfather’s doubts) will help her make a bigger impact with readers.



    “I do know that Sam already knows about Jessie’s little hobby, Tristan is suspicious of what they do in their spare time – which actually leads to a subplot where he thinks they are secretly dating and ‘outs’ them to the whole school.” I like the misinterpretation of facts here*.

    *Some facts that could be misinterpreted: Jessie’s not rushing into flings with boys, Jessie and Sam are much more secretive than average, they might communicate in code, and he might see things that would be really hard to explain any other way. For example, let’s say he sees the two ladies entering somewhere private (like one of their bedrooms). He may notice something that seems really strange (like one girl walking out wearing a shirt from the other girl), but in reality there might be an innocuous-but-supernatural explanation like Jessie getting a boogeyman’s blood on her shirt.

  2. Anion 08 Feb 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Thanks for the feedback. The only problem I see with a female rival, or a rival of any sort is that Jessie is supposed to be the last one in her family, that’s where the conflict between her and her grandfather stems. He knows he isn’t going to be around very long, and so he needs to train her NOW instead of later. And while she is good at forming focus, her fighting is mediocre at best and she relies too much on her supernatural abilities instead of her physical ones – the ones that don’t disappear when she loses focus.

    However, there are other families in the country who deal with the supernatural, so perhaps he could call one in and ask for their help? It would probably have a similar affect, perhaps an even greater one, considering the rival would then be from an entirely different family.

    As for the misinterpretation, that was exactly what I was going for. Though I was also thinking that perhaps they speak in a sort of code, sort of like how friends will say ‘stuff’ or ‘thing’ if they don’t want other people to know about what they are talking about. They would do the same thing about the supernatural. Part of this misinterpretation is also what leads Derek to hanging out with them.

    Something else I forgot to mention is that Tristan can see ghosts and Boogies, like Jessie can, but never says anything because he thinks they’ll think he’s crazy. So when he comes over to Jessie’s house and sees her Mom, he kind of flips out. Just a mini thing I thought of.

  3. Hobbeson 08 Feb 2012 at 10:44 pm

    I like this. I think it will be really interesting to see the excuses Jessie and Sam come up with when caught doing these weird things.

    Also I don’t wanna jump ahead but a Halloween Dance would be good. The monsters could come everyone would see them as people in costumes.when asked what she’s wearing to the dance Jessie could sort of shrug and say i have something special planned. Knowing in her mind she doesnt,when she slays all of the monsters everyone could applaud like it was just the ” special ” thing she had planned.

    Ha I know I’m getting carried away but yeah I’d love to read more.

    Also I think it’d be interesting to see our characters meet. My main characters name is Felix Claude. He’s a werewolf.

  4. Anion 08 Feb 2012 at 10:59 pm

    Heh, that might just be interesting in a crossover Hobbes. And she doesn’t so much slay them as she does get rid of their abilities or send them to alternate dimensions.

  5. Anion 13 Feb 2012 at 9:32 am

    So I came up with a rival: A girl from another family of Guardians – that’s what Jessie is – who is called in by Jessie’s grandfather to help Jessie with the recent influx of Boogies. She’s better than Jessie, naturally, but follows the old ways of killing instead of the new ways of curing. Thoughts?

  6. Sparxon 15 Feb 2012 at 3:43 pm

    1- A vampire who abandons her life of luxury (she was part of a rich family of vampires with high class like ‘dukes’ or ‘barons’ or something like that.) to hunt down her own kind, not all of them, just the ones who stand out as being the most “evil”. She would be socially akward around others (not humorously), a drifter to avoid those who brand her a traitor, uses a Katana made of a metal mixed with silver and engraved with incantations to kill nearly any supernatural being.
    The most stand-out features about her is her abnormaly long, black hair, which when spread out can cover her body completely and make her appear invisible in darkness (she can’t control her hair like a telekinetic, she just had extensive training to move her body to match the motion of her hair in a way to do it quickly and quietly while moving around to get where she wants to go.)

    2- A slasher, just like the ones from the 80’s and 90’s. Disfigured face, doesn’t talk, doesn’t die, can kill a person with anything he can get his hands on, etc. He could start out as the average slasher who kills anyone who tresspasses on his property, but loses a victim and follows him/her to wherever jessie lives, and gets defeated by her hands. He then comes back to life (after a number of other adventures jessie goes on) and focuses on jessie’s hometown, but loses to jessie again. This would anger the slasher enogh to when he comes back a third time, he focuses soley on jessie, and becomes a reccuring villan time and again.

  7. Anion 16 Feb 2012 at 6:26 am

    So you’re giving me characters? I was actually looking for feedback on my idea, not more characters. But thanks, I guess.

  8. Hobbeson 16 Feb 2012 at 8:20 am

    I think the rival sounds like the complete opposite of Jessie. Thats good I know they’ll argue alot but I think you should write how good they are together when on the same page.Maybe over time they may even begin to like each.

    I think the term guardian is kinda overused I’ve read the post on this site and I think changing that name would be for the best. I can give some suggestions if you want.

  9. Anion 16 Feb 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Sure. Thanks.

  10. Hobbeson 16 Feb 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Ok what about: Conducters, a conductor directs the music in an orchestra. Just like Jessie directs the monsters into other dimensions.

    Messiah: Jesus is suppose to be the worlds savior and guide the world in the proper direction much like Jessie who is trying to be the savior of her town. While at the same time guiding monsters back into their on world.

    Restrainer: Self explanatory

    This is all I’ve got for now feel free to use any of these or maybe you’d like to ask others for further help. Of course if you absolutely want to you can always stay with guardian.

  11. Sparxon 16 Feb 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Sorry about that last comment. I had no intention of upsetting you on your work, I was just really interested in your idea and thought I’d add something to the table. I’m a storyteller who also dreams of having his work become a reality like you, I have a plethora of original characters, but the actual adventures they go on are lacking, and i’m not that good on names. Your idea on the other hand sounds really great with its plot and character emotions. Once again, sorry about piling on more characters. Feedback commence:
    1- Jessie’s friends “Sam” and Tristan, the potential legal problem with using the name Sam is that there is a similarity between her and the character “Sam” from the Nickelodeon cartoon show “Danny Phantom”, she’s best friends with the main character, she knows that the character secretely fights against supernatural forces, has a sense of rebellion, and then theres’s Tristan, who like “Tucker”in the same show, has a fascination for technology, and uses that to help the main character.
    I personally don’t have a problem with these things, but there are people out there who are freakishly obsessed with the idea of copycats, tend to waste storage space on computers with endless complaints. (fanboys are the worst I tell you)
    2-When you finally do finish this story, I suggest showing your idea to Darkhorse Comics (unless your’e starting your own business, or already have someone in mind).
    They have a great history in stories about the supernatural; Hellboy, Hellsing, Hack/Slash (I’m guessing they did that one too), Tri-gun. I’m have a feeling they’ll like yor work.
    3- Do you plan to tell your story as a comic book, novel, or manga. Depending on your target audience, choosing one type of book will attract a larger audience than another. I think that your idea of having Tristan mistakingly think that Jessie and Sam are dating will have a huge impact if your story became a manga (as that type of comedy is a popular trend in manga), plus you’ll get to be as graphic as you please with the content of your story (if you feel you’ve gone too far with a scene you could just use a sillouette instead of going with the actual picture, I’ve seen that done all the time).
    4- Finally (for this comment) be sure to have all your ideas written down somewhere, or saved on a file. The think of as many additional ideas for your story as you can, whether you use them or not in the final draft. Not all your ideas will make the cut right away, but later on when your work becomes more and more popular those spares will come in pretty handy for Jessie’s future adventuers, or for a new story altogether.

  12. Anion 17 Feb 2012 at 5:26 am

    Danny Phantom? Seriously? I never even saw the similarities. Man, I watched that show for years! Oh well. *shrugs* Back to the drawing board. Hmm… I wonder what I could do with cloning….

  13. Sparxon 17 Feb 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Cloning is always an excellent idea for fictional stories. No matter how many times it has been done over the years, it never gets old (Spiderman comes to mind the most as he has a variety of clones, most of which you wouldn’t be able to tell cause of their physical stature or mental stability).
    I can see a lot of potential for comedy segments when it comes to clones, but it all depends on the clones themselves. How do you plan to go about this idea? Is it just going to be one clone for one specific story arc, or will there be a number of clones (some bad, some good, others confused). Another important issue is who exactly is the one getting cloned, and how (With this being a story about the supernatural, my best guess would be a villan trying to achieve a means of cloning himself with magic but something goes wrong and Jessie is the one who gets cloned, or one of her friends ,or the entire group for that matter and have it be a who’s who conflict)

  14. Anion 17 Feb 2012 at 2:18 pm

    I might as well scrap the Jessie thing, unfortunate as it may be, because now that I can see the similarities, I can’t stay with it. It makes me cringe and shake my head, turn away even. So I think I’ll just have to get another story going, a novel, I think, or a comic, depending. Sigh… I have the story, just a matter of figuring out the details.

    Thanks anyway guys!

  15. B. McKenzieon 17 Feb 2012 at 2:34 pm

    “I might as well scrap the Jessie thing, unfortunate as it may be, because now that I can see the similarities, I can’t stay with it.” I think you have a LOT of room to take familiar concepts/archetypes and put your own spin on them. For example, there are some similarities between Peter Parker and Kick-Ass, but Kick-Ass takes Spider-Man and makes it into a dark comedy. Moreover, although there are some similarities Kick-Ass and Peter Parker, most of the major characters in KA don’t have any Spider-Man analogues (e.g. Big Daddy, Hit Girl and probably Crimson Mist).

    If I could use an example from my own writing, one of the main characters in The Taxman Must Die (Agent Orange) has some extremely noticeable similarities to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (he’s a crime-fighting mutant reptile), but his personality, voice, perspective and goals/motivations are so different that he feels like a totally different character. For example, he doesn’t act anything like a TMNT character would in this scene and the character he works with most closely (his partner, the titular taxman) doesn’t have any TMNT analogue.

    Do what you’re comfortable with, but I think that you could rewrite your way around any potential similarities to Danny Phantom.

    To recap:
    –Your plot can put characters in situations that wouldn’t ever come up in DP.
    –Your characters might have totally different personalities/voices/goals/traits/etc.
    –Your characters might make decisions unlike anything seen on DP.
    –Even if one or two characters are vaguely similar to characters in DP, you could have them interact with characters that have no DP analogue.
    –Your story could have a totally different mood and/or style (e.g. Kick-Ass vs. Spider-Man).

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