Aug 01 2012

Scarecrow’s Review Forum

Published by at 3:12 pm under Review Forums

Scarecrow is working on a book titled Harvest.

 

Plot Summary: During the height of human civilisation, a secret society, dedicated to the decoding of an ancient book, finally make a break through, and learn abilities that can only be described as magical. However, their virtually unlimited powers eventually corrupt them as they gain a lust for power and wealth, which turns them against one another. The inevitable magical war destroys human society, leaving a shattered world in its wake, governments broken, entire nations wiped off the face of the earth in the mages quest for power against each other, leading to the war being regarded by what remains of humanity as an apocalypse. A few million people are left scattered across the world, gathering together in order to survive in the ruins of the apocalyptic world. Many are normal human beings, but others have been affected by the magical fallout, gaining abilities that are superhuman, though not nearly as powerful as the mages who broke the world and led to their creation. In the midst of this post-apocalyptic world, Arc, a young man with the ability to generate and control electricity, struggles to survive….

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Scarecrow’s Review Forum”

  1. Scarecrowon 23 Aug 2012 at 11:43 am

    K, Bmac, could you put the following above the comments please? 🙂 Thanks.

    Title: Harvest

    Plot Summary: During the height of human civilisation, a secret society, dedicated to the decoding of an ancient book, finally make a break through, and learn abilities that can only be described as magical. However, their virtually unlimited powers eventually corrupt them as they gain a lust for power and wealth, which turns them against one another. The inevitable magical war destroys human society, leaving a shattered world in its wake, governments broken, entire nations wiped off the face of the earth in the mages quest for power against each other, leading to the war being regarded by what remains of humanity as an apocalypse. A few million people are left scattered across the world, gathering together in order to survive in the ruins of the apocalyptic world. Many are normal human beings, but others have been affected by the magical fallout, gaining abilities that are superhuman, though not nearly as powerful as the mages who broke the world and led to their creation. In the midst of this post-apocalyptic world, Arc, a young man with the ability to generate and control electricity, struggles to survive….

  2. Scarecrowon 24 Aug 2012 at 7:19 am

    Main Characters:

    Arc: A young man, around seventeen, with the ability to generate and control electricity. This includes being able to manipulate electrical devices and casting electricity from his body, through the air, into another object. He’s recruited by James Surket to a training school in Harvest for people with special abilities. He’s serious and driven towards perfecting his abilities, which brings him to the attention of the school’s director, and gaining the dislike of several other students in the process.

    The Berserker: Another young man, of about the same age of Arc. When he gets angry or afraid the rush of adrenaline causes him to transform into a huge, practically invulnerable monster filled with bloodlust, leading to him wreaking destruction whenever he turns. As a result his mind is constantly monitored by a team of telepaths, who keep his emotions dulled, preventing him from transforming. He’s depressed due to being ostracised by almost every other person in Harvest, barring Arc and his group of friends, resulting in him feeling a fierce loyalty towards them.

    Adam Highland, Nexus: A telepath of the same age. One of the few living telepaths, he studies under the school’s practical trainer supervisers, a man and a woman known only as the Twins. His sarcastic and smooth talking ways provide a foil for Arc, and the two quickly become good friends. He tries to help the Berserker to learn to control his abilities, with little success, but his efforts are met with loyalty and gratitude.

    Aanya Patel, Gauntlet: A young girl, of the same age, gifted with hyperintelligence. She befriends Arc early on, guiding him around the city of Harvest, a sanctuary containing two hundred thousand people, built over the ruins of a huge city destroyed by the apocalypse. Her intelligence results in her having many responsabilities in Harvest, despite her young age. She feels isolated by her friends due to her lack of combative abilities, resulting in her designing a pair of metal gauntlets, capable of emitting a sonic pulse, electircal blasts and granting her increased strength.

    James Surket: A middle-aged man with the ability to control and generate fire. He works as a recruiter for the school for metahumans in Harvest, and works as the firearms trainer in the school. His backstory is unclear, but he has lost both his wife and son to an unknown tragedy, leading to him becoming a bitter, drinking and chain smoking in order to forget the tragedy that plagues him and interrupts his sleeps. He likes Arc, and mentors him, seeing much of himself in Arc, and uses him to replace his lost son.

  3. Gnomeon 25 Aug 2012 at 2:17 pm

    This is an incredibly amazing idea!

  4. Scarecrowon 06 Sep 2012 at 6:41 am

    Ok here’s the first chapter. Please be as critical as you want, I’m aware parts of this chapter is lacking, and I just want it to be as good as it possibly can be. Thanks.

    HARVEST

    Chapter One

    Sand whistled through the wind as a cloaked figure made his way through this sandstorm, hurrying through the open gates with the long tarnished sign above it reading: TERMINAL ONE. The sun shone from far above, causing the air to shimmer, particularly above the rusted sign. The figure passed by mounds of rusted scrap metal, occasionally pausing to pick through several, holding a small pile of indistinguishable shards of metal cradled in its arms. Its cloak was of a reddish hue, causing it to essentially fade into the sand, where it to stand still for just a moment.

    A gust of wind, stronger than the others previous, caused it to drop some of these pieces. The figure quickly stooped to the ground, cursing under its breathe, snatching the shards with urgency, as the sand began to cover them.

    It paused to check it’s pile and seemed to nod to itself, satisfied that it had found everything that it had dropped, and, muttering quietly, made its way through the scrapheaps to a huge long rusted structure, its sides dotted with small cracked windows, where it found the handle to a door, opened it with considerable effort, and the creak of rusted metal overcame the sound of the wind.

    The figure ducked its head and passed through the threshold, closing the door behind it, shutting out the piercing wind and harsh sand. It placed its pile of scraps in a corner, on top of a larger heap of similar scraps. It stood up and lowered the hood of its tattered cloak, revealing a young man, no more than sixteen years old, his hair the colour of the sand that covered the floor of this rusted refuge, his eyes a piercing green, his nose long and slightly crooked, indicating that it had probably been broken at an earlier point.

    He picked up one of these shards, and made his way over to another section of his home, where the remains of a fire lay, the ground covered in ashes and soot. Walking over to another door, which opened with less of a creak, he walked back out again with several branches and pieces of timber in his arms, arranging them in a rough circle on top of the remains of the previous fire.

    He pulled off his cloak and threw it across the room, where it landed onto a rather battered and torn mattress. Underneath his cloak he was wearing a stained grey t-shirt and faded blue jeans, with one of the knees torn out, showing the bruised skin underneath. He reached one of his jeans pockets, almost reverentially taking out a small piece of rock, and hunkered over the heaped wood, rubbing the rock against the shard of metal, throwing up dozens sparks in an attempt to light a fire. However, the wood stubbornly refused to light, and the young man sighed, shrugged and stood up, returning the rock to his pocket and the metal shard to its pile.

    He left the wood where it was and threw himself down onto his bed, displacing the sand that had accumulated on the mattress since he had been gone, coming in through the cracked windows that dotted the walls of his home. He sighed again, frustrated with the woods refusal to light, but lay down on the mattress, shutting his eyes until all that existed was darkness and the noise of sand whistling against the metal exterior of his home.

    A voice interrupted his brief moment of tranquillity. “Do you need help with that?”

    He sat bolt upright, hand reaching underneath the mattress, producing a small axe made out of a length of copper pipe, metal wire and a large shard of serrated metal, slightly less rusted than the other shards he had spent the day collecting. His eyes darted around the room, searching for the voice’s source, when a man strode out of the shadows. He stood a few inches shorter than the younger man, clad in a rather impractical black trench coat, somehow untouched by the sandstorm that raged outside. His black fedora made up the gap in height however, pulled down at an angle which hid the man’s features.

    There was a moment of complete silence as the two sized each other up, neither daring to make the first move, both tense and wary, not entirely sure what their next move would be. The older man broke their staring match first, slowly moving forward, all too conscious that the slightest move could spook the other.

    “I’m sorry to have startled you.” He said, still slowly walking towards him. “I’ve come here with a proposition for you. I mean you no harm.” He continued, nodding pointedly towards the axe in the young man’s hands.

    “I represent a group of people, much like yourself, who’ve gathered together in a city far away from here, to teach and to learn how to control their abilities. We’re a… a school if you will. A school for… talented people. For people like us.”

    At this the young man stirred. “You know…about…about what I can do.” He croaked, his voice not used to talking above a murmur, his hand, however, maintained a firm grip on the makeshift axe.

    The man took off his hat, revealing a heavily aged face, though the man couldn’t be older than forty, his brown eyes hidden behind a pair of thick halfmoon glasses, a bright red scar running along the right side of his face from temple to the end of his jaw, running through his trim black goatee, leaving a gap where no hair grew.

    “We only know that you can do something, but not exactly what that is. We’ve been tracking you for weeks. It’s hard to get an accurate reading in the middle of an old airfield. Too much… interference.”

    Noticing the younger man’s confusion he simply smiled and proffered his hand. “We have people who can track people like us. That’s their… ability. They’ve proved very useful when we try to track down people like us. It’s a big world after all, and we’re a scattered bunch.”

    He paused, suddenly aware that he had been forgetting something. “I’m so sorry, where have my manners gone? My name is James Surket. I’m… I guess you could say I an enrolment officer. I track down… gifted people and make them the offer I’m about to make to you.”

    The young man’s confusion only increased, staring at the hand as though it was infested with disease, still refusing to let go of the axe. “James Surket? That’s an… odd name.”

    Surket smiled, withdrew the hand and nodded. “I guess it is. Not many people have names like that these days. What’s yours?”

    The other man hesitated for a moment. “I…I’m called Arc. Yeah… Arc. Now what were you saying about this offer? What exactly does this involve?”

    “Well, Arc, I come from a city on the far side of the desert. A place where we can learn to hone our abilities, to reach our full potential. We’ve created a haven out there. For both people like us and ordinary people. It’s a dangerous world out there, and we’ve long since learned that only by standing united can we survive.”

    Arc snorted. “Then what have I been doing? I’ve lived most of my life out here.”

    “But have you truly been living? Sure, you may have eked out a living for these last few years, but every day it must’ve been a struggle. You’ve never known what safety is, you’ve spent every single second of your life wondering if this could be your last moment. Where I come from, we’ve learnt to live again, to trust others, to rebuild what humanity lost so long ago.” He smiled grimly. “So tell me, Arc, will you trust me? Will you come with me and discover what you’re meant to be?

    Arc leaned forward, his eyebrows knotted in concentration. “How can I trust you? I don’t even know who you are? I’ve survived by sticking with what I know, and you’re asking me to endanger all of that for what? For the hope of a better future? To be around other people?”

    Surket smiled. “No. To become as powerful as you could be. To become a god among other, weaker men. We’ve all been gifted with incredible powers Arc, you have a duty to learn how to use them to your best ability.”

    With that, he held out his arm, clicked his fingers and the room was suddenly bathed in light as the piled wood burst into flames.

    Surket gave a slightly smug smile and shrugged self-consciously as Arc stared at him in astonishment, the axe almost, but not quite, slipping out of his grasp. “I control fire. What I want to burn, burns. I can create it, extinguish it, move it around, and generate sparks and throw fireballs. I can keep up a stream of fire almost indefinitely. My power is practically limitless. What can you do?”

    Arc looked around his home before shrugging and shaking his head. “I can’t do it in here.” He mumbled. “Not when I’m surrounded by metal. It’s too dangerous.”

    “Why? What would it do to you?” Surket asked, his curiosity aroused.

    “Ha, I’m sorry Mr Surket, but it wouldn’t be me getting hurt. Trust me on that.”

    He carefully placed the axe back in its spot underneath his mattress, walked over to the door and pushed it open, motioning for Surket to follow him. The sandstorm was beginning to die down, and Arc led him out into the scrapyard, to a mound of rusted metal only marginally different from the others, perhaps showing signs of maintenance, although that was hard to discern underneath its veil of sand.

    Arc brushed some of the sand off with his hand, and then placed his hand flat against the surface of the metal. He breathed in deeply and shut his eyes, his face a mask of concentration. He muttered something underneath his breath, which was lost in the wind, and Surket began to bore until a blue spark suddenly crackled from Arc’s fingertips. This was quickly followed by another, then another, until sparks were streaming along Arc’s arm, through his hand into the metal. The heap took on a whirring noise, and suddenly an engine, buried beneath the heap burst into life, and Surket suddenly realise the heap was the rusted remains of a car.

    “Impressive. You can generate an electric current. But is that all? Do you need contact with an object to pass the current through it?”

    Arc looked up at him, his triumphant smile fading slightly, his eyes narrowing. He walked away from the heap and set his eyes on another. He held his hands out in front of him, standing still for a moment as electricity flowed down his arms and collected in his hands, building into a ball of crackling blue sparks. He grunted; sweat building on his brow, before releasing it into the heap. It sprang from his hands, tearing through the air at an incredible speed, before crashing into the heap. The electric current spread throughout the metal, the rusted surface taking on a bluish sheen before slowing ebbing away, leaving the heap steaming in the sunlight.

    “Very impressive. I think you’ll fit right in. Whatever you can do now, pales in comparison to what we can teach you. We can make you unstoppable.” He offered his hand once again, smiling to Arc. “Will you come with us? Will you allow us to help you?”

    Arc stared at him for a moment, glancing back to the ruined car, which had broken down once more, and to the rusted plane which had been his home for the last few years, smoke billowing out of the cracked windows as the fire Surket had lit continued to burn fiercely. He looked back at Surket, indecision written all over his features, before it slowly cleared and he nodded, taking on a determined look.

    “I’ll go with you. Providing you really can deliver on what you’re promising.”

    Surket smiled once more. “Oh, I can deliver. You should see some of the things we’ve done down there, what some of our students are capable of. You’ve spent your whole life being extraordinary. When we get there, you’ll be nothing. An incredibly gifted person maybe, but surrounded among peers, many of whom are going to be stronger than you. Much stronger. Can you cope with that? Can you let other people have a say in how you use your abilities?”

    Arc glanced back at the smoking plane, before taking Surket’s hand in his and shaking it solemnly. “If you can make me stronger, I’ll do whatever you need me to do. I’ll run through whatever hoops you want me to.”

    Leaning forward, Surket looked deep into Arc’s eyes, stared for a moment, then nodded to himself, appearing to have found whatever he was looking for. “Very well then, Arc. It’s good to have you on board.”

    He lifted up his left arm and placed his hand against his temple. “Wraith, we’re done here now. Need you for extraction.”

    He glanced up and noticed Arc staring at him quizzically. “Wraith runs our transport.” He offered as an explanation.

    “Ok, leaving the whole “I can talk telepathically” situation, what’s he going to do? Beam us up?”

    Surket began to chuckle to himself. “Not far off kid. Something like that anyway. He should be here any second now.”

    With that, an odd sensation came over Arc, his ears bopped and eyes began to water as a haze crept across the scrapyard. A loud crack echoed throughout the yard and when the haze settled a man stood before them, readjusting his coat, shading his eyes with his arm due to the harsh sunlight and sand still being blown about by the wind. His shaved head shone in the sunlight, and glimmered as he turned to Surket, revealing a raven tattooed onto the left side of his face.

    “Is this the kid?” he asked, motioning towards Arc. Surket nodded, grabbed Wraith’s arm and offered his to Arc one more time.

    “Last chance to opt out kid. From this point forward, there’s no turning back.”
    Arc hesitated only for the briefest of moments, before stepping forward and taking his hand. “Let’s do this.”

    Wraith shut his eyes, and a vein on his forehead pulsed. Everything went black, and Arc felt as if the ground had dropped from below his, and he was falling, the sense of vertigo overriding all of his senses, his eyes watered, every blood vessel in his body throbbed, and he felt the overwhelming urge to throw up. He gagged, legs buckling from under him and, just as his vision began to return, his head swimming. He collapsed, all the strength in his body having left him, and his vision went once more, along with his consciousness.

  5. Hobbeson 06 Sep 2012 at 5:51 pm

    I like it! I think that maybe Arc’s motives for going with Surket could be better. The world is destroyed what would be the use of power? He could have all the power in the world ( quite literally) but what’s the point? Most of the worlds population is dead. Sure he could kill all the other powered beings or make them worship him, but for what? There’s no purpose if the world is gone. Money is useless.

    I think you should show more how life outside of the settlement is horrible. The magical fallout could’ve caused mutation in an insects or animals that may have survived. Maybe Arc has to fight tooth and claw everyday just to survive. Maybe he has to change his shelter every couple of days to avoid ” The Swarm ”

    Ha! Sorry I’m coming up with things without permission. But you should definitely consider how to show a more apocalyptic earth. Show us just how bad it is, make it so no matter how skeptical Arc is of Surkets invitation he relishes the idea of food, water, shelter, people, and above all Secruity.

  6. Scarecrowon 27 Feb 2015 at 10:11 am

    Coming back to this a very, very long time later is a bit surreal. I’ve got to a point where I’ve written about 40,000 tentative words of a novel that, while quite different from what I had hear, still had its roots here. What I was wondering is, when B. Mac sees this, is whether you’d be okay with having a look at my expanded plot summary (about 3,500 words), and let me know what your thoughts are on it? The scenes that I have written I’m pretty happy with, but I would like another opinion on how I transition from A to B to C etc., before dedicating myself to finishing this novel.

    Thanks anyway, your site has been incredibly helpful to me for the work I’ve done so far, and it’d really mean a lot if you would look over the breakdown of the novel. Because it’s extensive, I’d rather not post it on an open forum, but if there’s a contact point that I can send it onto, I’d really appreciate it.

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