Jul 23 2012

Sera’s Review Forum

Published by at 12:36 am under Review Forums

Please see the comments below. Thanks!

26 responses so far

26 Responses to “Sera’s Review Forum”

  1. Seraon 30 Jul 2012 at 8:08 pm

    I’m writing a story about a reckless girl trying to prove herself as a competent hero to her chauvinistic father. In the midst of detentions, overdue homework, and threats of suspension, she gets caught up in a rising war between supers and civilians.

  2. Seraon 30 Jul 2012 at 9:00 pm

    My main characters are:

    Raye- My impulsive hero-in-training. She’s always ready to fight to prove she’s not a helpless little girl. She starts the story as a selfish person, only being a hero to prove herself to her Dad. Her attitude towards civilians at first is that they should be grateful for the hero’s services. As the story progresses, she learns to sympathize with civilians. Her power is enhanced strength.

    Jack- Raye’s brother and non powered hero. He’s currently a teacher at Raye’s school to watch over her. He’s a very careful and protective person. Even though he’s favored by his dad as his only son, Jack disappointed him by having no powers. Still working on his character. He fights with various mundane weapons and gadgets.

    Their father is a well respected retired hero in-story. I’m trying to come up with a hero name for him. He’s basically a flying brick type.

    There are several other minor characters, but they aren’t worth mentioning right now.

    ————————–

    The settings is a school for training young wannabe heroes, both powered and not. Classes are divided by academic courses and hero classes. The school has dormitories for both girls and boys on campus. Faculty there can be eccentric, for example the dorm mother carries around a whip, ready to strike anyone who isn’t punctual and does so with a smile on her face. I’m thinking maybe allowing some students to teach certain classes.

  3. B. McKenzieon 31 Jul 2012 at 3:00 am

    “She starts the story as a selfish person, only being a hero to prove herself to her Dad [at first].” This motivation sounds unusual and promising. I like the growth potential.

    “He’s currently a teacher at Raye’s school to watch over her.” Hmm. The idea of having him watch over her makes their relationship sound less interesting than it would otherwise be, I suspect. Unless, perhaps, she REALLY bristles at the idea that she needs somebody watching over her, because she’s really into proving herself like that.

    “Her attitude towards civilians at first is that they should be grateful for the hero’s services. As the story progresses, she learns to sympathize with civilians.” This sounds interesting, maybe a more interesting take than Incredibles had (the heroes went back to being superheroes, and the civilians decided to like them again without much cause for this major change).

    “The settings is a school for training young wannabe heroes, both powered and not. Classes are divided by academic courses and hero classes. The school has dormitories for both girls and boys on campus. Faculty there can be eccentric, for example the dorm mother carries around a whip, ready to strike anyone who isn’t punctual and does so with a smile on her face. I’m thinking maybe allowing some students to teach certain classes.”

    –If at all possible, I would recommend giving the school flavor and/or personality. Although it’s not a superhero academy, I think Pratchett’s Unseen University sets the standard here. I’d give Hogwarts an honorable mention. Memorable faculty will help a lot here.

    “The faculty can be eccentric. For example, the dorm mother carries around a whip, ready to strike anyone who isn’t punctual and does so with a smile on her face.” Hmm… I like the idea of doing something unusual with faculty, but eccentric isn’t the first thing that comes to mind here. If you’re going for an eccentric and strict teacher, one possibility that comes to mind would be having a professor march into the final exam and announce that the essay prompt will be “whatever you jackanapes dare to give me.” (Hat tip to Ratatouille there).

  4. Seraon 31 Jul 2012 at 2:17 pm

    “He’s currently a teacher at Raye’s school to watch over her.” Hmm. The idea of having him watch over her makes their relationship sound less interesting than it would otherwise be, I suspect. Unless, perhaps, she REALLY bristles at the idea that she needs somebody watching over her, because she’s really into proving herself like that. – Do you suggest I change this? They were supposed to stick together, but would that be too dull?

    –If at all possible, I would recommend giving the school flavor and/or personality. Although it’s not a superhero academy, I think Pratchett’s Unseen University sets the standard here. I’d give Hogwarts an honorable mention. Memorable faculty will help a lot here. – Do you have any suggestions? I’m drawing up a blank here.

  5. B. McKenzieon 31 Jul 2012 at 2:52 pm

    “Do you suggest I change this? They were supposed to stick together, but would that be too dull?” Maybe you could add some element of conflict between them? For example, given that she’s superpowered and their father has been hard on him for not having superpowers, it’d make sense if it was a sensitive issue for him. She might make a social blunder while discussing and/or interacting with regular civilians. I can imagine he’d probably empathize with them more than she would.

    Another potential area would be their approach to superheroics–especially at first, I would imagine that a rookie superhero with strength will probably take a “running brick” approach to the enemy. Her brother is an experienced instructor and a non-powered hero, so he probably has a more finesse-oriented approach (e.g. if Batman just rushed at 30 mooks, he would be shot to pieces). She might be convinced that this training is better-suited for someone else, particularly someone else without the superpowers to take the punishment. In addition, she might get really frosty if he starts berating her while other trainees are watching.



    Anyway, I guess my main point is that I’d like to see the character struggle more. Having her brother the instructor watching over her seems like it would reduce the potential for her to actually prove herself as a superhero.

  6. aharrison 01 Aug 2012 at 7:45 am

    Hmmm, Ok, Why does her brother watch over her? Is it because he cares about or is there maybe something else going on? How does she feel about that? Is he watching over her to protect her from getting hurt, or is he really watching over her to protect civilians from her and her dismissive attitude?

    What is the relationship between these two and their father, and who is their father? Fleshing that out might help you figure out some of these issues.

  7. B. McKenzieon 01 Aug 2012 at 11:48 am

    “Is he watching over her to protect her from getting hurt, or is he really watching over her to protect civilians from her and her dismissive attitude?” I think any sort of concern on his part that she might be a problem in some way (whether it’s because of her dismissive attitude towards civilians or something else) would be a strong opportunity. It would make his watching over her a lot more dramatic and urgent/high-stakes than a guardian angel sort of relationship

  8. Seraon 01 Aug 2012 at 8:48 pm

    “I think any sort of concern on his part that she might be a problem in some way (whether it’s because of her dismissive attitude towards civilians[…]”

    There’s some of that in there, but it wasn’t like a main reason. But you’re right, it is more interesting.

    ” would imagine that a rookie superhero with strength will probably take a “running brick” approach to the enemy. Her brother is an experienced instructor and a non-powered hero, so he probably has a more finesse-oriented approach”

    That’s exactly what I had in mind for the story.

    aharris: Raye’s relationship with her father is strained, because he’s grown up with the belief that men>women. Jack’s relationship with him is better, but still mixed. Their father favors his son, but is disappointed with him for not having powers. Raye is the one who got them, but since she’s a girl, he isn’t happy.

  9. Contra Gloveon 02 Aug 2012 at 5:10 am

    Is Jack like Batman-type superhero — a Badass Normal, as TV Tropes calls them?

  10. aharrison 02 Aug 2012 at 8:25 am

    Is it that the father really believes that men are superior, or is it that he thinks men are better suited to being superheroes because they are naturally more physically powerful (which is a little odd given his daughter’s superstrength)? I’d have an easier time buying the second unless we’re talking about a special cultural bias of some kind. But then, in my lifetime, I really can’t say that I’ve run up against too many men who actually believe that women are inferior. I know it’s a popular trope though.

  11. Seraon 02 Aug 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Contra Glove- Yes he is.

    aharris- Both, he thinks men are of more useful than women, therefore they make better heroes. Raye does have enhanced strength, he still thinks of her as a girl. He was raised in another culture by the way, forgot to mention that.

    I’m also adding rebel civilian groups that fight against the heroes. They’re all scattered, save for one main one that’s adding fuel to the fire. My friend thought about calling them E.R.O.S (which apparently stands for ERadication of Supers, a play on the word Hero(es)). I can’t really come up with anything else.

    Plot wise, I was thinking of adding some extremist groups that actually go and exterminate supers. But these won’t be introduced until later in the story.

  12. Seraon 02 Aug 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Brian, do you have any advice on giving super schools personality? Maybe an article *hint hint*?

  13. B. McKenzieon 02 Aug 2012 at 10:21 pm

    “Brian, do you have any advice on giving super schools personality? Maybe an article *hint hint*?” I’ll look into it.

  14. Contra Gloveon 03 Aug 2012 at 3:48 am

    E.R.O.S., huh? I assume they’re very lovey-dovey with each other?

  15. B. McKenzieon 03 Aug 2012 at 6:18 am

    I think “Eradication of Superheroes/EROS” could be smoother. First, its name is a goal and not actually a group name. It’d be like a superhero team calling itself “Justice” rather than, say, the “Justice League.” Second, is there any reason this group would acknowledge its enemies as “superheroes”? Third, for a more rebel/partisan feel, it might help to do something along the lines of “Action Front” or “Liberation Front.” I’m not sure what is motivating this group to want to kill superheroes, but if it’s a human vs. nonhuman identity issue, something like the the Human Action Front (HALF) or Human Liberation League (HULL) might fit.

  16. aharrison 03 Aug 2012 at 4:17 pm

    E.R.O.S. does conjure up a pretty specific type of mental image. If you could change the O to an A in your acronym, it comes out to E.R.A.S. for a play on “erase” which might work a little better for a group dedicated to getting rid of supers.

    Also, if your supers aren’t exactly always heroic in the way I think of when I think heroic. And, if you have rebel groups running around who are seeking to overthrow or liberate themselves from the supers, then it seems that life with the supers may not be all it’s cracked up to be. Are these rebels simply malcontents who are just rebelling because they think they know better, or do they have legitimate grievances with society? Are the supers perhaps abusing their powers? If that’s the case and you want to present it that way at the outset, then you might reconsider using the term superhero as a blanket term for every super-powered person.

  17. B. McKenzieon 03 Aug 2012 at 4:28 pm

    “If that’s the case and you want to present it that way at the outset, then you might reconsider using the term superhero as a blanket term for every super-powered person.” That’s a good point.

  18. Seraon 03 Aug 2012 at 6:00 pm

    First of all thank you so much for helping me out guys. You don’t know how much easier this is with unbiased input.

    Naming is something I am terrible at, so I asked my friends for help. I’ll keep your suggestions in mind Brian.
    And yours aharris.

    The rebel groups want to overthrow the heroes because some do abuse their powers. Some even think themselves gods (I might make mention of a small place where the supers actually oppress the people and want to be worshipped). They want to get rid of powers becaue that’s their disadvantage. The only way to depower them, is to kill them. Or could there be another way?

    People’s motivations are all over the place though, that’s why there are several groups out there, but they mostly protest and stuff. The main organization actually adds fuel to fire by exposing super’s faults and getting stuff done. They aren’t all unified though.

  19. Seraon 03 Aug 2012 at 6:19 pm

    I was thinking of spending maybe the first 5 chapters building on Raye’s personality, her motivations and the school with only mention of the growing war against the super-powered. Then go into her trying to further prove herself after being expelled and causing enough trouble to be the straw that intensifes the war. Maybe have her join another hero group with her same mentality? After that…I haven’t a clue. That’s why it’s a work-in-progress though. And I have yet to come up with a suitable ending. I was thinking that maybe they could find a compromise or end the hero system for good.

    Eh, something will probably come up while writing or just thinking.

  20. B. McKenzieon 04 Aug 2012 at 3:47 am

    “They want to get rid of powers because that’s their disadvantage. The only way to depower them, is to kill them. Or could there be another way?” In addition, a third possibility might be coming up with a way (perhaps chemical or mechanical) so that everybody could have access to superpowers.

  21. Seraon 04 Aug 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Going the Syndrome route (is there a term for it?). I was thinking of using the Tall Poppy Syndrome, but I guess I could use it for the extremist groups.

  22. Seraon 05 Aug 2012 at 5:38 pm

    I need some help with the general ending. I mentioned the two possibilities above, but if I went with the former (the compromise) I don’t know how I would get both sides to from a truce. Any thoughts? Or would it just be better if I have them end the hero system?

  23. B. McKenzieon 05 Aug 2012 at 6:00 pm

    “I was thinking that maybe they could find a compromise or end the hero system for good.” Perhaps there’s something or someone (or a group of people) that is generally responsible for the abuses. The compromise might be mainly dealing with that problem. And/or they might put a system in place so that abuses will be rarer moving forward. For example, if one of the problems is that many superheroes are not empathetic enough towards the people they’re serving, it might help to axe the academy because educating supers separately makes it harder for them to socialize normally with regular people. It might also help to install a civilian-controlled executive board which can review suspicious cases and allegations of abuse.



    Ending the hero system… Okay, but how will they deal with supervillains? (I guess you could just have freelancers do it on their own, if it looks like the organization itself was the source of most of the problems…)

  24. aharrison 05 Aug 2012 at 6:13 pm

    You said the brother has no power but is a super? Perhaps that winds up being his calling. He must be able to hold his own with those who have powers if he’s trusted enough to be an instructor. Maybe his ability to hold his own against supers as a normal human could be instrumental in helping right the balance? Who knows? Maybe the brother is already working toward that goal in secret …

  25. Seraon 06 Aug 2012 at 7:56 pm

    I like your idea, Brian. I think I can work off it.

    aharris, I had in mind that Jack would play a vital role, but nothing in specific.

    Thanks for your suggestions guys.

  26. Seraon 21 Aug 2012 at 6:51 pm

    I was thinking of having them make outlaw superhero-ism. That would open way for the next book.

    Honestly, I never consider sequels because hello! first time author here. But while brainstorming one of my other books I came up with that and it just so happened that it would fit in the same universe if I end the first book like that. What do you guys think?

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