Feb 08 2012

Richard’s Review Forum

Published by at 4:48 pm under Review Forums

Richard writes:

“My main character is called Edward Snyde, but is mainly referred to by his surname. He is a bit of a misanthropist, and is easily agitated, but he tries to keep a mainly calm state of mind. This is because of his superpower: he can control people. This is done through a chemical he produces through his skin, that turns those that inhale it into a hallucinogenic state, in which Snyde can tell them what to do. This sounds great, but it has two drawbacks: Snyde must be completely focused at all times, and if he controls the person for two long, their basic brain functions stop, and the person being controlled dies.


In the world Snyde inhabits, all those with powers work for the Company: a large organization that pretty much serves as a superhuman military service. Anyone with powers who does not work in the Company (this includes criminals, old people- anyone) are collectively known as Manics, and are brought down by the heroes. Hero training begins at thirteen, and they can stop doing active crime fighting (but not leave the Company) after 30 years of service.


The main plot of the story revolves around Snyde and his division of beginning heroes (they have all just started in the Company). There are five mutants in the group:
-Shepherd (Snyde’s codename)
-Bonfire, a character who I also want to go into depth with. He can release large quantities of thermal energy, as well as absorbing other forms of energy, then converting them. He is the opposite of Snyde: Whilst he is resourceful, calm and antisocial, Bonfire is headstrong, arrogant and eager to be the center of attention.
-Specter, the stereotypical ‘little miss backstabber’. She has the power to enter people’s dreams, something that scares Snyde (he hates the thought that others can enter his head when he is unaware of it).
-Electron, the daughter of their first villain, Techulon (excuse for the cheesy name: her mother was an old school hero fan). She has the power to control technology through electrical signals
-Division, a highly religious boy that can replicate himself. He is also a sadist, and this troubles him deeply.


I want to show the development of the team members as individuals, and how the actions they take change one another (spoiler: Snyde becomes a manic). I also want to show the Company as both a good thing and a bad: whilst it keeps those that the public would be afraid of on a leash, and uses their powers for the good of mankind, there are some things that seem a little off (for example, using children as bio-weapons, and categorizing them based on their powers: Snyde has a purple ring on his chest, because he is psychic, and Bonfire has red, as his powers are energy based. This open discrimination creates a lot of tension, as psychics are generally seen as trouble, energy powers as big headed, and the children of Manics as evil.)


Any comments are greatly appreciated, as I want this novel (if I ever write it) to be as good as possible.”

18 responses so far

18 Responses to “Richard’s Review Forum”

  1. Smallvilleon 15 Feb 2012 at 5:10 pm

    sounds cool, cant wait to see more?

  2. B. McKenzieon 15 Feb 2012 at 5:14 pm

    “In the world Snyde inhabits, all those with powers work for the Company: a large organization that pretty much serves as a superhuman military service.” I would recommend tweaking the name because the concept sounds similar to a Heroes group also named the Company. Some alternatives might include the Office, the Agency, the Firm, the Bureau, etc.

    For a minor tweak that I think will make the characters feel a bit more original, it might help to make Specter a guy and either Bonfire or Division a woman. I don’t have a very strong feeling about that, but the conniving backstabber is more stereotypically a woman than a guy. (Which is not to say that it couldn’t work, if the character has enough style and/or development. For example, Lt. LaGuerta in Dexter is one of my favorite female characters).

    I like the names for Specter, Electron and especially Shepherd–the names aren’t just based on the character’s powers. In particular, Shepherd suggests that there’s more to the character than the superpowers. With Bonfire, you might be able to come up with something based on his personality, which is more memorable than fire-based superpowers. For more potential ideas, I’d recommend this article.

    “This open discrimination creates a lot of tension, as psychics are generally seen as trouble, energy powers as big headed, and the children of Manics as evil…” Hmm, this could be interesting. I can understand why psychics and the children of Manics might be looked down upon. It’s not intuitive that energy powers would be big-headed, so that might warrant a bit of explanation. However, the discrimination angle might be more subtle if it weren’t worked into the character’s costumes. (Unless there’s a compelling reason that people need to be able to immediately identify which group an agent falls into? For example, if you’re in a company where some secrets are deadly, forcing psychics to wear something that identifies them as such could be a security precaution. But I’m not sure it would make sense to force EVERYBODY to wear something like that–the discrimination against certain protagonists will probably be more dramatic if there are some protagonists that aren’t getting it*).

    *E.g. Xavier or human-looking McCoy vs. Mystique and blue-looking McCoy in X-Men: First Class.

  3. Richard Son 16 Feb 2012 at 2:04 am

    Thanks for the replies, they are greatly appreciated! This message is a reply to B. McKenzies response, and my next post will probably be character development.

    I was thinking of changing the name of the Company anyway, because I was pretty sure someone had used that before.

    Division being a woman works fine with me. I will have to tweak the personality a wee bit though. Specter being a guy should be interesting, but for the plot to work, Bonfire must remain a guy. This is because I want to develop the relationship between Shepherd and Bonfire. Oh, and I can change the name of Bonfire too. Would something like Hothead work?

    Energy powers are generally big headed, as their powers make them human nukes, if trained properly. Shoot them with bullets, and they will absorb all of the kinetic energy, then use it it fry your eyes out. This extreme level of power can get to their heads quickly, and with the powers being hereditary, the father of Bonfire would likely pass this behavior to his son.

    With the costumes, they are colour coded for three reasons. One, so that the public can see who is out doing justice, and so that fellow heroes know who they are calling to at a distance. Two, so that the Company knows who is around when saying certain things (I want there to be quite a bit of secrecy with the Company). In effect, they actually like the psychic discrimination, as it stops them crossing boundaries, or getting too curious. Finally, going with the secrecy, I want to get some darker themes into the novel (colour coding, children being used to fight wars, removed from families because of genetics, sound familiar anyone?)

    That is all for now, but I will add more soon!

  4. Richard S.on 16 Feb 2012 at 7:28 am

    Ok, I’m going to try my best here to give you a better idea of what the characters are like.

    Edward Snyde (codename: Shepherd)
    Edward can appear at first as a generally negative person. His dislike of change means he can be can be seen as a loner, and he is hostile to strangers. He dislikes people in general, mainly because of how we are (in his eyes) all controlled by greed, pride, rage and lust. He is easily irritated, but tries hard to keep his emotions at a constant state. If pushed enough, he can be very hurtful, using words as weapons.
    However, he does have positive points. He has excellent memory and observational skills. This means that, after two days with his squadron, he knows them reasonably well, without having to talk to them. As he is a physically weak person, he relies on being resourceful and planning ahead in order to force his opponent into making a mistake that Snyde can take an advantage of.

    Drew Stanford (codename: don’t know yet, something to do with fire or energy)
    Drew is very headstrong, and feels he can take on any situation. He is physically active, and uses his size to get what he wants before becoming a ‘hero’. Drew has an aura of confidence, and makes sure that everyone knows his thoughts and opinions. Despite his seemingly obnoxious behaviour, he can be a very charming person…when he wants something, of course.
    Drew is full of flaws. He cannot keep stable relationships for long, as he is always out for ‘new game’. He is also an occasional bully, enjoying the helplessness of those he targets. His overall personality puts him in initial conflict with Edward, as Drew tries to get reactions from Snyde, and when he does, all hell breaks. Finally, he feels like he should always be the centre of attention. This does not help much with the energy-powered stereotype.

    Amy Powell (codename: Electron)
    Amy, being the daughter of the dangerous manic, Techulon, is thought of as a manic waiting to happen. However, this could not be further from the truth. Amy is a mainly optimistic person, content with her life. A very inventive person, Amy takes apart electronic items and builds new ones that she and her teammates can use. She is a bit of a tomboy, enjoying sports and computer games. Amy is a very social person, who is able to socialize with almost anyone.
    On the other hand, she is stubborn of her beliefs, and sometimes forgets to see when the point she is fighting for is obviously wrong. Amy is also a bit too kind, and can be easily controlled by people she thinks are her friends. She also tends to look at only the good parts of people. She still believes that her mother can become good again, which the rest of the team thinks is impossible.

    Cheryl Miller (codename: Division)
    Cheryl is a very religious person, which is something she was mocked for at school. She does not fight back, and can keep her composure in stressful situations. This would make her a good leader in battle. Cheryl is good at keeping secrets, and she is very patient. Her pacifistic nature can often make her seem weak willed, but the fact that she has managed to do this all her life means that she is in fact in control of herself physically and mentally.
    The bullying she received as a child has had an unfortunate side effect. On the rare occasions that she does strike back at someone in either self-defence or as part of a mission, she takes pleasure in seeing the pain they are in. This troubles her afterwards, and she thinks that she is being cursed by god for not using her powers to their full potential. She cannot do this, as each clone she makes is slightly different to the original, until they have completely different personalities all together. This puts her in mental conflict, and she tries to hide this from the others in her team.

    Cedric Webb (codename: Specter)
    The oldest in his team, Cedric takes it upon himself to keep the team together. His persistency and positive demeanour make him sound like the perfect leader. He is a good tactician and marksman, so he tends to take control of situations during fights. He is also open about how he feels, declaring himself a homosexual straight away.
    Unfortunately, he is a natural born back stabber. If one of his teammates goes against the rulebook, he will stop everything until someone with authority knows about it. Cedric also feels the others should do as he says because he is the oldest. The second someone disagrees with him, even on the smallest of things, Cedric will literally haunt their dreams for weeks. He can appear to be snotty when not fighting, and if he wants to know something, he will nag at you in the daytime and enter your head in the nighttime.

    I hope this is a good starting point. Any suggestions are welcome.

  5. Richard S.on 16 Feb 2012 at 11:36 am

    I have a bit more information on the group that heroes work for.

    Nicknamed the Zoo, this company controls the lifestyles of all people with powers from the ages of 13-43 officially, but they will hold on to some more powerful individuals for much longer. They train heroes so that they can take on large scale events (country riots, wars, epidemics, natural disasters etc) when military and police are unable to take part. In fact, the zoo has almost replaced most law/military forces, reducing them by a total of 40%

    The Zoo naturally has met some criticism, mainly by religious groups, but their influence over political groups and their direct connections to the UN mean they get little direct conflict. The original reason the Zoo was made was so that people with powers would work with their fellow human beings and make the world better, whilst also making sure that the public did not have to be afraid of superhumans.

    Any thoughts?

  6. YoungAuthoron 16 Feb 2012 at 5:36 pm

    what is your target audience?

  7. Richard S.on 17 Feb 2012 at 2:00 am

    Probably 13-16 year olds, but I am not 100% sure.

  8. Smallvilleon 17 Feb 2012 at 1:59 pm

    i would do it for an older teenage audience personally, but it what suits you ath the end of the day (maybe 15 to 18ish it could easily be made into more of an adult comic, what do you think?)

  9. Richard S.on 17 Feb 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I agree that an older audience might be better, as I intend to use some more mature themes in the novel.

  10. Smallvilleon 17 Feb 2012 at 2:20 pm

    ok, well do what you think is best for what you are working on?

  11. Richard S.on 17 Feb 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Well, as a younger writer, I think it would be easier for to write for the 15-18 year old group (I myself being at the younger end of this group). The main characters are also in this age group, so they will be more relatable to the audience, as long as they are developed well.

  12. YoungAuthoron 17 Feb 2012 at 7:11 pm

    I personally agree with that age audience, it seems appropriate. With spector being a homosexual, i cant see 13 and 14 year olds being as open as those older. Also,i like that your powers are very unique and your hero names are top-class. Division is my favorite:) However, Edward’s last name makes him seem villainous. Might wanna change that if you agree

  13. Richard S.on 18 Feb 2012 at 1:51 am

    Well, Snyde is a shorter version of Snyder, which is an actual surname. As I mentioned in my first post, he does become a manic at the end of the novel, and Snyde becomes his villain name, as he wants to loose all connections to the Zoo.

    Glad to see you like the names. Do you have any ideas for a code name for Drew?

  14. Smallvilleon 18 Feb 2012 at 3:13 pm

    lol, as a laugh dont do it though, Mountain (Mountain Drew, see what i did?)

  15. Smallvilleon 18 Feb 2012 at 3:21 pm

    by the way if you wanna check out my review forum its here http://www.superheronation.com/2012/02/01/dan-lees-review-forum-2/ (havent got much on it at the min as i am starting over and just running through ideas). im about to put up an idea for a powersuit.

  16. Richard S.on 19 Feb 2012 at 5:17 am

    Ok, I have a quick back-story on the first super villain Snyde encounters, Techulon.

    Christina Powell worked as a superhero behind the scenes, acting as a spy, computer hacker and organizer of missions. Her technopathy meant she had the potential to control every computer system in the world simultaneously, but the truth was she really wanted to do field work. As a child, she idled to comic book heroes of her time, and chose her codename to symbolise this (she would have originally also had the codename of her daughter, Electron). Eventually, she had the chance to go into a battle with the technology stealing criminal group, the scrappers.
    From here, information gets hazy. Official reports from the Zoo say that she was captured by the scrappers, and joined them in order to stay alive, using her technopathy to advance their weapons. However, with all the secrets that the Zoo holds, there are many who feel this is not the whole story.

    Techulon uses power armour to attack her enemies. It is armed with tasers, acoustic weapons, tranquiliser darts and retractable blades. It also has other devices, including a jetpack, cloaking device and a power inhibitor. A lot of this company is based on Zoo technology, so it is unknown if this was stolen, or got through other means.

  17. Richard S.on 21 Feb 2012 at 11:03 am

    Bit of a backstory here on Snyde, it should hopefully show why he tries to suppress emotions, and why he sees the world the way he does.

    Snyde’s mother was a psychic, with the power of telepathy, taking the codename Network. Her powers fluctuated greatly; the more emotional she is, the less control of her powers she had. She had worked in the Zoo around the same time as Techulon and Drew’s father, but they never met one another.

    Snyde’s father is a businessman, who met Network during one of her missions, and it was love at first sight. Relationships with normal people were looked down on, but the two still got married. They eventually had a child; a son who they named Edward. At the time, life seemed like bliss.

    However, Mr Snyde’s business started failing, and when money was running out, he turned to loan sharks for money. When they were not getting paid, they came to the Snyde household, where Network found out for the first time what was going on. She was overwhelmed with emotion, becoming overwhelmed with thoughts in the process, putting her in a coma. The loan sharks soon left, in case they were accused of manslaughter.

    Mr Snyde went into a depression soon after: this meant he spent little time with the young Edward Snyde. Because of this, he grew up in a family where his father was rarely around, and when he was he was stressed, sad and generally mentally unstable. From this, Edward felt it was best to keep his thoughts and feelings to himself, as his father was a loose cannon. His bad experiences with family made him socially awkward, leaving him to be the ‘kid whose mommy went crazy’. It was in school that he saw the negative parts of human life, thus only assuring him that people were bad, and the further he distanced himself from human nature, the better.

    Any thoughts?

  18. scarletton 08 Sep 2012 at 3:44 am

    The one thing I would reccomend is changing the name of the Company. When I read it, all I could think of was heroes.

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