Feb 08 2012

Zyrion’s Review Forum

Published by at 9:16 pm under Review Forums

Zyrion is writing a novel (target audience 12+) about a girl with brain cancer who gains telekinetic powers after her operation is interrupted by a fight between a superhero and a villain.

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “Zyrion’s Review Forum”

  1. Zyrionon 16 Feb 2012 at 6:13 am

    Ah! I see how you do this now. Thanks, B. Mac!
    So, as I said this is a novel about a girl who gets powers after a botched operation on her brain tumour. I am as of yet unsure where to start with the story, as I do not want to just jump into the story without showing some personality and a bit of the world first. Here is a very short first draft of the first scene. Any and all criticism and comments are welcome!

    The tense atmosphere in the car after the awkward appointment was below freezing point as they left the clinic. The tension in the air could have been cut with a knife as the silence stretched on, as they left the suburbs that the clinic was located in and entered the edges of the city. Both of her parents were still completely, resolutely silent and still, and Taylor herself was twisting the fringe of the backseat rug between her fingers, trying not to explode with tension and anger and fear, because she couldn’t see how or why this was all her fault, or how she could have prevented it all from happening. No, that was a lie- she could have stayed silent and meek as she was expected to, nodded when she was told to and agreed in the right places. She had expressed her opinion, and now her parents were both angry and somehow it was her fault.
    Her father’s jaw was clenched and he directed his glare at the road, his knuckles white from gripping the steering wheel. Occasionally Taylor would catch him darting glances at her with the rearview mirror, a deep scowl on his face. Whenever this happened she tried to catch his eye, stare him down, but inside she was a mess of anger and confusion. Why was he angry?  Why was he blaming her? Didn’t he know that this was her last chance, the only way she could even hope to live past the end of the month? That it was her only option because he had taken all other options from her? Chemotherapy, radiation, chemicals, all rejected by her father out of some irrational fear that she would end up like the ‘freaks’ on the television, the ones with laser eyes or flight or superspeed. Because under one percent of the population had mutated, her father would let her die to ensure she wouldn’t end up like them. Taylor dug her fingers into the leather of the seat and tried not to let her emotions be too obvious on her face.
    Her mother sat in the passenger seat, with a vaguely sympathetic expression pasted on her face. The effect was somewhat marred by the frequency with which she checked her watch, scowling, and then rechecking their sat-nav for their time of arrival. She was dressed in a suit, Taylor noticed for the first time that day, feeling rather slow. She probably had some sort of work commitment scheduled, something that would keep her away from the house until people had calmed down or changed their minds. Taylor didn’t think that her mother entirely knew how to act around her now that she was ill; certainly she worked more and was hardly ever at home during the day, while Taylor was too sick to go to school and was left lonely and bored in her room. It was days like those that drove home the point that she wasn’tvjust Taylor anymore. She was Taylor-plus-tumour, Taylor-with-cancer, sick Taylor, invalid Taylor who couldn’t get out of bed without the world spinning.
    Her mother must have realised that Taylor was watching her because she craned her neck around to look at her and said, “Have you calmed down yet?”
    Taylor considered a wide variety of ways to answer this, but settled for simply saying “Yes”.
    “Good.” Her mother paused for a moment, glancing aside at her impassive hsband and awkwardly smoothing down her skirt. “Sweetie, can you see where we are coming from? It’s very unwise for people like you, people with your… problem to-”
    “It’s called a brain tumour,” Taylor said helpfully and tapped the side of her head to illustrate her point. Her mother winced slightly at the words.
    “Right. Yes, brain tumour. Well, it is probably not a good idea for you to decide on your own treatment, especially as you’re underage and your- growth may be affecting decision making. Do you understand?”
    “No,” Taylor said, which wasn’t entirely true.
    “Maybe it would be for the best-” her mother glanced at her husband again. “If we decided what treatments would be best for you.” The car slowed as it reached a long line of cars.
    “You won’t,” Taylor said.
    “Sorry?”
    “You won’t,” Taylor repeated. “Decide, I mean. You haven’t decided anything since I was diagnosed, you don’t let me decide, you shoot down all of the suggested treatments like the chemo and the radiation-”
    “You know why we had to reject those,” her father said stiffly.
    “No, I don’t!” 
    “We can’t risk it.”
    “Risk what?” Taylor demanded, though she knew the answer, but before her father could say anything, something small and round like a tennis ball soared over the car and hit the building on the right, hard. It wasn’t quite large enough to do any damage,  but it stuck easily to one of the glass windows. Taylor saw a light on it flash red. In her experience, red was a bad colour. “Duck!” she yelled, and didn’t wait to see them follow her advice. She ducked down, wrapping her hands around her head just as she heard the smallest, softest clicking sound imaginable.
    Click.
    And then the building exploded, or the window at least, but chunks of building came with it too as it exploded outwards. Huge glass shards rained down on them, and their car only barely avoided being crushed by a huge piece of twisted metal that looked vaguely like an ex-desk. That honour was awarded to the car in front, whose hood was flattened like a pancake while they watched. Taylor lifted her head up just enough to look out the window. The building on their right, the one that had exploded, was a bank. Of course. Taylor wanted to roll her eyes, but felt that such a casual gesture might be unsuitable in a situation such as this.
    She was just wondering where the villains were when two masked figures shoved their way between her car and the one that had been flattened by a desk, both clutching guns of some sort; the shorter one held a machine gun, the taller a handgun. They had slits for their eyes and mouths in their masks, and were dressed all in black. Taylor half expected them to be clutching bags with the dollar sign stamped on them. So this explained the long line of traffic. 
    The two thieves moved towards the bank and climbed inside, careful to avoid the glass pieces. Glancing at her parents, she realized that the shock of the attack had worn off and both were looking impatient, as if they were waiting for something. The car was hemmed in on both sides by cars, so they couldn’t leave. Taylor stared at her parents’ irritated, impatient faces and wondered when they had grown quite so cold as to not even care if a bank was being robbed right outside their car. She had a tumour pressing on her brain- what was their excuse?
    And then there was a shout, and the man in the car in front of them was pointing. Taylor followed his gaze. Of course. Who needed decency or bravery when there were ‘freaks’ to do the hard work for you? No wonder her parents were looking impatient; the superhumans were five minutes later than usual. There were three of them, two guys and a girl. Taylor had seen them all before, although she didn’t know their names or how old they were or where they lived. None of them went to her school, anyway.
    The dark haired guy was obviously in charge, and gave swift orders to the others as they walked down the street. They were dressing plain, no superhero outfits, just t-shirts and jeans and masks. The leader wore a white coat to stand out.
    The tall girl with red hair darted forward to the bank and glanced in the smashed window at the bank. She frowned and shook her head. Taylor was too far away to hear what she had said, but say her mouth ‘No sign’. White Jacket was about to say something when they were interrupted by loud, loud bangs on the other side of the street. Someone was firing at them. So the robbers had friends, or at least back-up. The superhumans looked briefly alarmed as they searched for the gunmen. Taylor looked too, but she couldn’t see them either, although she could see where the bullets were being fired from. Invisibility? Taylor wondered. The third superhuman, the blond guy, put a hand to his head and shouted something. Taylor saw the figures of the gunmen briefly fade into view before disappearing, and was confused all over again. Were they all superhuman? And all of them had the same power? Taylor found that a bit difficult to accept. White Jacket said something, and the red-haired girl nodded, put up her hands, shut her eyes as her fingers began to glow. The blond guy put a hand to his head again, and the gunmen slowly faded into half-view again. All of the superhumans were so busy addressing this problem that they missed the thieves silently leaving the bank, still no money in sight. All of the superhumans except White Jacket, that was. Taylor glanced at her parents. Both were watching the superhumans, both looking angry at something. Taylor looked back at the thieves, who were threatening White Jacket with their guns. Taylor wondered how that had happened, and why he hadn’t just stopped them with his powers. She could see their fingers tighten around the triggers. And no one was doing anything- White Jacket still hadn’t noticed that they were going to shoot him, even if he did what they said.
    His friends were busy beating the crap out of the gunmen. And everyone in te cars, just hanging around, were waiting for the superhumans to do something about it. Taylor gritted her teeth and opened the car door. “Hey!” she shouted. Her parent looked unbelievably alarmed at this.
    “Taylor, shut the door!”
    “Hey!” Taylor shouted again. “Dumb and Dumber! Over here!” She waved her hands just to indicate where ‘here’ was. The thieves glanced over, and levelled their guns at her, looking unsure in the split second they had before White Jacket punched them. He caught Handgun in the face, and wrapped an arm around his neck, yanking him close and shoving the gun out of his grip. The gun skittered across the sidewalk, and over to Taylor’s car. Taylor stared at the gun, then back at White Jacket, and then back at the gun. Feeling slightly dizzy,she silently slipped out of the car to grasp the gun. It was warmer and heavier than she had anticipated, and she carefully held it away from herself, pointing it at the ground. When she looked up, White Jacket and Machine Gun had seemed to have reached an impasse, Machine Gun threatening White Jacket with his gun, White Jacket threatening Handgun in response. If Taylor knew anything, then she knew that Machine Gun wouldn’t hesitate to shoot down Handgun if it got what he wanted. It was all in his body language- he held himself casually, not worried. He kept the gun pointed, finger still on the trigger, his eyes flickering from White Jacket to Handgun, who was rapidly losing consciousness with the pressure White Jacket was placing on his neck.
    Neither of them had noticed Taylor, which she found both irritating and stupid.
    She had seen guns fired in movies, and although she knew that action movies weren’t exactly a manual for learning to shoot, it was better than nothing. And if an idiot like Handgun was able to use one, then it shouldn’t be too hard.
    Point and fire.
    She pointed and fired.
    The bullet went far over Machine Gun’s head, but it surprised him and turned his head to look. Taylor found the time to find it idiotic that he had fallen for the same trick twice. White Jacket lunged forward, allowing the collapsed Handgun to slip to the ground, and managed to drop Machine Gun in a flurry of attacks Taylor couldn’t quite see.
    “Taylor!”
    Taylor glanced back at the car to see her parents looking horrifid and angry and- and yes, her mother looked impatient. the more things change…
    “Get back in the car!” her father ordered. Taylor frowned, unwilling to become Sick Taylor again, but obeyed, feeling the left-over adrenaline rush through her like a dizzy spell. She slid into her seat silently, dropping the gun onto the road before she shut the door.
    “You shouldn’t have,” her father snarled as the line of traffic began to move again.
    “Shouldn’t have what?” Taylor stared at the superhumans and the thieves. White Jacket and his blond friend were busy tying up the thieves and gunmen, while the red-headed girl was delegated to running traffic. Taylor wasn’t very surprised to hear people shouting at her as they past by, complaining about the building and the delay and didn’t they have any control over their powers?
    The building was beyond repair now,she thought, the windows shattered from the bombs and the walls gouged open by the gunmen and the suprhumans’ fight. Bullet holes decorated the neighbouring buildings also; despite this, there was no blood on the pavement.
    “It’s us and them, Taylor. You shouldn’t have sided with the freaks.”
    Because that was what he had been saying earlier. That they couldn’t risk her getting chemotherapy or radiation-for fear that it might do something tp her genes or her DNA or some crap like that, and that she might end up like the superhumans outside- rejected, living outside society, but expected to protect the people who hated them.
    “I’m still getting the treatment,” she repeated stubbornly.
    Her father looked like he was too tired of the argument to argue. At least thwee was only a minimum chance she would become a freak.”

    Thoughts? Comments? Good, bad, boring? 🙂

  2. Zyrionon 16 Feb 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Hmm.. does anyone know whether this would work best as a dramedy or a straight out drama (or comedy)? A few pieces in this is overtly comedic, but later it becomes very serious and solemn. Thoughts?

  3. Hobbeson 16 Feb 2012 at 2:57 pm

    I’ll get to this soon just give me a minute.

  4. Hobbeson 16 Feb 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Ok !! It was pretty decent! I think your characters seem really developed. Taylor, she seems like the type to make rash decisions often. I like how the people in the city seem to know exactly how things are gonna play out the bad guys come the hero beats them up. But I don’t understand why the heroes would choose to be heroes. They get no appreciation, or respe t for that matter. I think that your heroes will have to really have an interesting background. Something that makes them want to be heroes. Maybe to change the way people view the so called freaks? But I don’t think every hero should ha e that as his reason. Be creative with their history.

    Overall, I think you can do a lot with this it all depends on how you do it. Keep up the great work I’ll look forward to reading more.

  5. Zyrionon 16 Feb 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Thank you! Well, many superhumans choose not to do anuthing to help the humans, but these three decided that no matter how they were treated, they needed to help people when they could. The red haired girl wants people to accept them, White Jacket wants to help people and the blonde guy mainly wants to take down crime in the city, after his little sister was killed.
    Yes, Taylor is very rash, and hates that her parents are treating her like a child and an invalid. She really quite craves adventure and does reckless things just to get a buzz.
    Thank you very much! I will probably post more tomorrow. Any more comments or criticism welcome!

  6. Zyrionon 17 Feb 2012 at 7:58 am

    Okay, so here is the list of the main superhero characters. What do ypu think of them? Also, I’m having huge problems coming up with codenames for them all- does anyone have any ideas for names?

    Taylor Blunt (no idea for a superhuman name yet, any ideas?)
    Rash, quick to act and impulsive, Taylor has a hot temper and trouble controlling it. As she has brain cancer, everyone around her treats her like a child and walks on eggshells around her. Her parents ar very prejudiced against superhumans and refuse to allow her to get radiation or chemotherapy for fear it would mutate her. She has problems with people in authority and wishes that her life was a bit more exciting. She gains powerful telekinisis which she can only use on things she can see, and is very difficult to master- it appears when she least wants it to, and never turns up whn she needs it, so she has to be creative and fast at coming up with alternatives. She is very pragmatic, and would prefer to distract the villain rather than engage him in hand-to-hand.

    Rob Brown (I wasn’t going to give him a codename as he doesn’t interact with the public very much- he leaves that to the others!)
    Rob is the leader of the group of superhumans (which doesn’t have a name either), and takes his role very seriously. Rob has a stoic, serious personality for the most part, with a disciplined attitude towards work and training. He has a dry, deadpan sense of humour and is prone to sarcasm for absolutely everything. He has a hot temper and a protective attitude towards his friends. He works hard.and can be quite competetive at what he does. He is loyal to a fault and can be perhaps overly protective, but serves as a mediator when his friends get in fights, stopping things from getting out of hand. He has no powers, something he goes to great lengths to mask, as he feels he would not be as easily accepted by the others. He briefly had powers, which is why he was shunned by the community, but the villain managed to successfully take them from him.

    Theo Xiung (I was thinking that ‘Brainwave’ would be too obvious, but what about something like Neuron?)
    The youngest in the group and the most laid back about, well, everything, Theo is quite arrogant and relaxed, completely self confident and self assured. He is the most immature most of the time also, and likes to think of himself as the comic relief character. He has extremely powerful telephathic powers, which allow him to read and control minds. However, readin thoughts is not as easy as it is in movies- the thoughts are jumbled up and full of strong emotions, so much so that it would be all too easy for Theo to lose himself in someone else’s mind. He is not as good at mind control as he dislikes doing it, but can successfully distract opponent’s minds enough to negate their powers temporarily.

    Rose Johnson (codename-Phosphorus)
    Rose is the people-person of the group, confident and friendly and social. She can be opinionated and loud at times, but serves as the group’s liasion between the public and them due to her easy attitude and pretty appearance. She hates to be stereotyped as the ‘girl’ of the group, and goes out of her way to prove that she is just as capable as all of the others, sometimes resulting in accidents and even larger problems. She is constantly arguing with Theo, who teases her as only being on the team for her appearance. Ironically, although she is viewed as the ‘weak’ member, she has the power most suited to combat- namely, she can fire concussive power, energy, and light from her hands. She usually uses this in the form of lasers, and glows when sh is using her abilities, resulting in her nickname.

    What do you think? Any ideas for names? Thank you!

  7. Smallvilleon 17 Feb 2012 at 2:07 pm

    so are the four protaganists in your last comment in a group or not (just skimmed over, sorry) like the sound of the white jacket guy (again, skimmed over!) he sounds like an interesting character just looking at his nickname.

  8. Zyrionon 17 Feb 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Yeah, White Jacket is Rob, the red haired girl is Rose and the blonde guy is Theo. They’re the main group of superhumans.

  9. Zyrionon 19 Feb 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I could improve the excerpt or characters?

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