Jan 03 2013

Deep’s Review Forum

Published by at 11:31 pm under Review Forums

Please see the comments below. Thanks!

10 responses so far

10 Responses to “Deep’s Review Forum”

  1. Deepon 11 Jan 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Basic premise: a normal sixteen year old girl with no powers, skills, etc. must save her city.

    The story takes place in the ciy of New Boston during a depression. The year is never mentioned, though it can be inferred that it’s the near future (2020’s/30’s). Because of the depression poverty is at extreme levels and nearly everyone is dirt poor. Crime is also at all time high, and the desperate conditions have caused the rise of gangs, corruption, homelessness (there’s a Hooverville type area in New Boston) and desperation. One paticular effect of the depression has been on kids. Kids are made to work from extremely young ages (6/7) and usually spend their early mornings (4-7am) searching for work. The work is then “promised” to them in the evening. The kids then go to school, work, come home at about 9pm, study* and go to bed at 1 or 2 am. There is no time for play or fun for the kids. Also, if the kids fail to find a job in the morning (competition is high) then that means no food for the day. (starvation is something the kids of New Boston are used to). Also, finding work makes the kids easy prey for kidnappers and other criminals. Some families are so desperate for money that they give their kids to the rich as “servants.” In reality these kids are slaves and are treated as such. The pay for these “servants” is minisucle.
    *Due to the depression, competitivness in extremely high. Getting into college is every kids dream as they can leave New Boston and all its misery. Because of this, kids are made to study for hours on end.
    Family trouble is also an issue kids deal with in New Boston. Most families are dysfunctional due to the depression (dad away at work for weeks, mom blaming kids for being a financial burden). This causes many kids to view their lives as a prision, with the work, studying, starvation and family trouble. Many kids run away.

    Now, remember when i said the depression caused the rise of gangs and corruption? One of the gangs that started is the gang of Brock Nichols. He owns New Boston, and controls its businesses, police force and government. No one questions his supremecy. The police do nothing, the mayor is his puppet. His power even reaches all the way to the federal govt. and military. Many people consider his power on par with that of the President’s, if not greater. His secret is his use of kids as foot soldiers. The kids of New Boston who run away are left on the streets with no food, no shelter and no chance of survival. Brock takes them in, and accepts them into his “family.” There the kids are given food, warmth, love (from him) and an escape from the troubles of their lives. This has made his gang a haven for runaways, orphans and other kids who had reached their breaking point. These kids are effectivly brainwashed, and call the gang the “family.” They call each other “brother and sister,” and even call Brock “dad.” They are extremely loyal to him, and are willing to carry out any order. Brock acts fatherly, and doesn’t dress and act like a typical mob boss. He hugs them, plays with them and it’s easy to forget that their not actually his kids. Because of this, kids across New Boston view joining his gang as their one dream.

  2. Deepon 11 Jan 2013 at 4:46 pm

    The main plot: Brock has a plan. For reasons unknown* (this is done on purpose) he gets the idea of literally conquering New Boston and making himself dictator. Using his immense power and influence, he acquires 15 chemical weapons and places them across New Boston. He places bombs on all the bridges, tunnels, and the airport. During a Christmas play (on a big screen in the city center) he projects a live message of his intentions. He has the mayor tied up and the police on his side standing next to his “kids.” He tells the city that he has put 15 bombs across the city and that if anyone tries to escape he will blow them. To prove that he’s not bluffing the screen turns to a view of a camera on a helicopter, flying over the govt. district of New Boston. The scene is of people walking, people buying from shops, a school with kids, etc. Then, a green flash appears and a thunderous noise erupts. The people watching the video hear the noise and see a green mushroom style bomb expanding. Back at the screen, everything is green. Once the green mist disappears, all that’s left is bones. The builidings are still there, but the chemical bomb has reduced everyone into a pile of bones.

    People start panicing and try to escape. The people go onto the tunnels and bridges are purposely let on before the tunnels and bridges are blown up. People rush into the airport, but as the first plane flies away it is blown up in the air. (Brock has every plane rigged.) People try to make it into the main harbor and get a boat, but Brock has his “kids” stationed and they shoot everyone trying to get out. Brock’s “kids” flood the street, and kill a good amount of people before the truth sinks in. THEY ARE TRAPPED.

    The next day, Brock orders everyone onto the city center where he makes a speech on how he is their new leader. He orders everyone to bow. Anyone caught not doing it is publicly executed. Anyone caught uttering his name in vain is publicly executed. Everyone is forced to have a framed picture of him in every room. Anyone caught not having one is….you guessed it. Publicly executed. Brock basically turns New Boston into some Nazi/ Stalinist/ (Insert crazy brutal dictator here) regime. He has spies, a secret police (nicknamed the “Aunts and Uncles” by the gangsters), 6pm curfew, he shuts off heat and electricity (it’s winter), he rations food, etc. But, he does know how to repay favors. For doing nothing to stop him, the police are given the homes that once belonged to the wealthy elite of New Boston. The rich, now homeless, are forced to sleep with the homeless in the Hooverville. Also, Brock has his “kids” advertise his “family” to the now even more desperate kids of New Boston. The size of his gang increases greatly.

  3. B. McKenzieon 11 Jan 2013 at 5:42 pm

    Hmm. I’d recommend fleshing it out more from Dark Knight Rises. One possibility would be taking it in a different thematic angle. For example, DKR worked in (or at least tried to work in) themes like honesty vs. comforting lies and class resentment. I’d also recommend fleshing out the villain more–he sounds like he could use more depth and/or at least style.

  4. Anonymouson 11 Jan 2013 at 6:29 pm

    haha you’re the first person to realize that my story is based off TDKR. Most people think it’s from V for Vendetta (superhero vs dictator). The themes of my story are going to be different than TDKR’s. I’ll explain more at the end of this post. And as for the villain, you’re right. I haven’t really thought of him more than what’s already written. His style would be of a fatherly type figure/ Santa Claus (i picture him as a cuddly man). The depth for him would be questions posed by the characters. For example, i purposely left out why he wants to conquer the city as the characters are left to wonder why as the whole situation seems unbeleiviable. They ask each other and wonder on dictators of the past and why anyone would do something like take over land. Also, one of the characters (who was once part of Brock’s gang) tells the main character how he viewed Brock/ views him now. He says that to him Brock isn’t acting like a fatherly figure just to trick the kids into joining him but is actually like that. He says that Brock may need the kids more than they need him. So in essence the reader is left to wonder if Brock is a broken indiviual like his kids or is just a manipulator.

  5. Deepon 11 Jan 2013 at 6:46 pm

    ^ previous comment from me

    as for my characters:
    Sarah is the protaganist, she’s a 16 year old girl with no powers, skills, etc. She’s always scared. Scared of death. Scared of getting hurt. Scared of her loved ones getting hurt. The story is about her and her mission to save her city. After Brock takes over she realizes that she must save the city. Her goal is to disable/destroy the 15 bombs so the people can overthrow Brock. Her main inner demon is her fear. The bombs are guarded by multiple gangsters on orders to shoot anyone who gets near them. This would be a pretty scary situation for a 16 year old.
    *I purposely did not give her more depth. I’ll explain later in the post as this relates to my main issue with the story.

    Sarah’s life is the same as an ordinary teen’s in New Boston. She gets up at 4am, looks for work, goes to school, does the work, studies and goes to bed at 2am. She is smart at school (not genius level, but smart) and has a shot at college. Her parents (Martha and Greg) are in a failed marriage. The full story of her parents is:

    They fell in love and married when they were 18 years old. At 19 Martha got pregnant, and so they moved to New Boston to give their daughter (Sarah) a better life. (New Boston was apparently a nice place before the depression). Because of the pregnancy and the rising cost of college tuition they had to stop college. Greg started working and for a while, it was enough to get by. But when the depression hit their financial situation crumbled. Greg couldn’t get enough money to support the family and as the years went by their marriage started to fall apart too. Martha blamed Greg for their financial woes and blamed herself for marrying him. He claimed that he was doing all he could, but he knew it wasn’t enough. Add in the fact that they had another daughter and their problems only got worse. Martha blames her daughters as well for their financial problems and because of that Sarah and her sister Kristi hate their mother. Greg does random odd jobs for a living as that’s all he can do, and only comes home about once a month. Martha is in a depression and never speaks or does anything at all really (cliche Young Adult genre mom). Whenever Greg comes home a fight always follows, resulting in Greg’s tantrums (he breaks things) and Martha going to her room in tears and becoming quiet again the next day. The only reason they’re still married is because of the children.

  6. Deepon 11 Jan 2013 at 7:06 pm

    Kristi is Sarah’s sister. She’s 10 years old, and wants a better life (don’t we all?) She’s starving half the time, lives in a dysfunctional family and is miserable. She sees how happy the gangsters always are, and wants their life. She wants a family like them, she wants to not starve and she wants to be finally happy. Being the sister of the person who’s trying to stop Brock, you can see where the conflict’s going to come from. During the course of the novel (especially after Brock’s takeover) she gets more and more conflicted on whether to join Brock or not. Doing the third quarter, she finally leaves Sarah and joins the gang. She tells Sarah that there’s no way she can win and has finally reached her breaking point. She also says that even if Sarah does take down Brock, their–and everyone else’s life–will go right back to the way it was.

    Dusty is Sarah’s boyfriend. He’s 16 and is in essence Sarah’s hope. But before i get ahead of myself, backstory:

    Dusty’s mom died during the “Crazy Days” (the first few months when the depression hit and everyone went “crazy.” There were riots, violence, etc.) He lives with his dad, who reguarly beats him because he fails all his classes. Dusty always has brusies on his body, but still manages to keep a smile, something Sarah can’t. One day, when he was 12, his dad beat him so badly that he ran away. With nowhere to go, Dusty joined Brock’s gang. Dusty doesn’t like to talk about his experiences in the gang and what he did, but at 13 he was arrested (he won’t say for what) and was returned to his dad. His dad beats him less after that, but still does. His experience in the gang gives him an insight on Brock that Sarah does not.

    More backstory:
    One day, when Sarah was 14, she reached a low in her life as she hadn’t eaten for 2 weeks. There was no work, and no work means no food. She was starving, and in a desperate state. Her dad came home that day, which resulted in the usual fight between him and his wife. During the fight Kristi was scared (Greg is a scary man when angry) and Sarah was in disbeleif that her life was this bad and there was nothing she could do about it. Her mom blamed her for their money problems, and told Sarah that if she’s never been born they would still be happy. Sarah ran away in tears and walked the streets begging for food. That night, one of Brock’s gangsters gave her food, and invited her to the gang. Sarah almost did, but outside was Dusty, who started talking to her. Sarah recognized him as a classmate, but they never really talked before. Dusty asked her why she ran away, and after she told him he called her selfish for leaving Kristi behind all alone. Dusty said she had a responsibility to her sister and had to be her parent as her real parents can’t be considered parents at all. Sarah returned home, where she found the house littered with objects (from the fight) and Kristi hiding in tears. Sarah promised Kristi that she’d never leave her again. (So when Kristi leaves in the story, it’s crushing to Sarah. She “failed” her.) The next day, Sarah thanked Dusty and asked him how she could repay her. He said by going out with him, and she did. (Cliche, i know.)

  7. Deepon 11 Jan 2013 at 7:29 pm

    So back to Dusty being Sarah’s hope:

    Sarah and Dusty are more best friends than boyfreind and girlfriend. They still kiss and stuff but there’s no time for dates and fun in their lives. They find work, go to school and work together. But they also have a secret, a “deal” they made. The deal is that one day, they’ll run away together, to somewhere far away. They don’t know where, but they hope it’s somewhere where they can escape the troubles of their lives and finally be happy. This is what keeps Sarah going, and is the her one dream.

    Themes of the story.
    1. Anyone, even a sixteen year old girl, can make a difference.
    2. There are no heroes
    3. The depression caused Brock. The depression caused the takeover.
    4. Even if Sarah defeats Brock and saves the city, their lives will go right back to normal.
    5. The “deal” Sarah and Dusty made.
    6. Life under a dictatorship.

    There’s more, but these are the main ones.
    1. The first is what Sarah’s trying to prove, as she’s taking on an entire army in essence with nothing. She can’t fight. She’s not strong. She’s not fast. She’s not anything. She’s just like you and me.
    2. The second is something that i want to add. Basically, over the course of the novel, as Sarah destroys the bombs, she becomes a legend and people start regarding her as a superhero. She hates this, as it defeats the point she’s trying to make. Also, her mission is NOT to stop Brock, but to destroy the bombs so the people can overthrow him. I feel this adds to the theme by her letting the people be their own heroes.
    3. The third one is kind of obvious, and is something the characters will reflect on. The kids in Brock’s gang for example. They’re not evil, their just broken. The crime, the homelessness, the poverty, the desperation. The depression ruined everything. It’ll be to remind the readers how possible the world of New Boston is.
    4. The fourth will be something that haunts Sarah as she does her mission. It’ll be on the back of her mind, letting her know that her entire mission is worthless. Kristi will also let her know when she leaves. This will be something that the reader will also see and hopefully reflect on. You can stop the dictator, you can kill the villain, you can save the day. But the poor are still going to be poor. The desperate are still going to be desperate. You can’t save them.
    5. For the fifth, it’ll be like Rachel’s agreement to Bruce that one day they can be togther. The deal Sarah and Dusty make will serve as a remainder that there can be happiness from such a dark and misery oriented story. Sarah, like all people, just wants to be happy, and can’t wait for the day that she can leave her life behind. This would also be a light in the end of the tunnel so to speak, as the deal is the promise of a future we all desire.
    *I feel this one is lacking in depth.
    6. This one is sometihng that i feel TDKR left out, probably either because it would’ve made the movie too dark or because it wasn’t critical to the story. This is critical to this story though, and the story is dark so it would fit right in. Writing down exactly how bad Brock is would take too much room, but just think of crazy dictators from the past and you can get an idea. This will add to the stakes as the people will suffer and Sarah will know she has to do something. Everyone second she hesistate, another person dies under Brock.

  8. Anonymouson 12 Jan 2013 at 8:58 pm

    Now, about my main issue with the story.

    Sarah’s reason for being a hero is simply that she’s tired of feeling powerless. She sees crime and poverty everyday and feels powerless to do anything about it. That is the trigger that turns her into a hero, not a single tragic event. Unlike Batman who loses everything in one life-defining moment Sarah’s desire to be a hero builds up across the years until she can take it no more and decides to do something.
    *There is a possibility of a life-defining moment in the event that finally causes her to become a hero.

    Since my story is a superhero story, this irritates me as i’ve always hated the standard normal guy=>tragic event=>becomes a hero=>stops random crimes=>main villain comes, real story starts. I feel that the story would be stronger if Sarah is a hero from the start and the reader comes to understand her reasons as they read the book. (The story will most likely be in first person, so conveying Sarah’s thought process should be easy.)

    But on the other hand, Sarah is supposed to be a normal, powerless person. She’s not supposed to be brave. Having her as a hero from the get go would go against the very nature of the story, which is of her and her fear. So far, this is the story:

    1. ?
    2. Brock takes over New Boston
    3. Sarah gives herself the mission of saving the city
    Brock’s dictatorship sets in, Sarah tries to be a hero, but doubts herself and lets her fear get the better of her. She begins to realize that she was way in over her head and could never stop Brock. Like everyone else she waits for the government to save them.
    4. Sarah learns that the government will NOT save them. Through his power, chemical weapons and friends in the right places, Brock has eliminated any chance of the government saving the city. That’s when the truth really sinks in for everyone that there is no hope.
    5. Sarah realizes that she has to save the city. She begins to destroy the bombs/chemical weapons. She’s still scared, but it doesn’t matter to her. She has to do something, as no else will. (That’s also a big theme in the story. The fact that no one does anything. Everyone to afraid to step up to Brock.)
    6. The climax/ending. I have vague ideas on how it’ll end, but they’re still ideas. It’s a given that Brock loses, but it’s not Sarah who does it. What i want is that as Sarah destroys the bombs people see her and her mask. (She has to wear one to keep her identity secret from the regime.) She becomes the one hope of the people and everyone starts considering her a superhero/legend/ hero. Like Batman, she becomes a symbol. That goes against what she’s trying to prove though, as she’s not anything extraordinary. In the end, she takes down Brock, but doesn’t take down the thousands of gangsters that control the city. Using the live video system thingy that Brock used to send his live message on his plan, she takes off her mask and tells the people (who think she’s a messiah) that she’s just a 16 year old girl, and if she can do all that she did (destroy the bombs/ get Brock) then they can take back the city. The people rebel and overthrow the regime, as was always Sarah’s intention. (It was NOT to stop Brock, but to destroy the bombs so the people could stop him. Making them their own heroes.)

  9. Richardon 13 Jan 2013 at 2:18 am

    Hi Deep,

    Have you looked at the article yet on this website for interesting character motivations? There are plenty of motivations there that you could use from the beginning without making your protagonist brave. For Sarah in particular, you could have a mixture of fear and desperation. If Sarah thinks that nobody is going to save them, then she might become more inclined the think of more radical solutions to her problems. Therefore, she could become desperate, and try to save everyone herself. Being scared and desperate will also make Sarah more of an interesting character; nobody wants to read an entire book of someone telling us how frightened and sad they are. Instead, they will be more likely to enjoy it if she acts on her fear (which so far seems to be what she is doing, which is great!).

  10. Deepon 13 Jan 2013 at 9:55 am

    Hey Richard,

    Just read the article. From what i know about Sarah, in addition to fear and desperation another one of her motivations is to distinguish herself. Being a 16 year old girl in New Boston everyone treats her as if she’s a second from death 24/7. ( to be honest though she is.) Sarah is overconfident by nature, so becoming a superhero just to prove that she (and anyone like her) can become one seems like a viable motivation and is in line with her personality.

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