Jan 13 2013

Silverfish’s Review Forum

Published by at 12:55 pm under Review Forums

Silverfish: “I’m writing a novel about facing your fears and learning from your past mistakes. The story is told from the perspective of a superhuman with incredible power, but a flawed personality and with much to learn. He is chased by the demons from his past: not only the hauntings from his past mistakes, but also the superhuman cult he has recently betrayed. At least at the start, a lot of the updates on this forum will be character and setting development.”


“My target audience: 16-20 year olds that enjoy action with moments of emotional turmoil. This will probably be targeted more towards a more stereotypical male audience, as I do not intend on including a romance throughout the novel, and the violence might be quite graphic.”


“Author experience: I have no professional experience in writing, though I definitely need to improve my writing skills as they are, put mildly, bad. Therefore, I would ask that you please be polite, but do criticise my work when needed.”


Please see the comments below to learn more.

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Silverfish’s Review Forum”

  1. Silverfishon 13 Jan 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Ok, so to start off, here are the main characters I have so far in the novel. I will be going into more detail for the characters, in order to better define their personalities and motivations.

    -Alistiar aka ‘Antaeus’: the protagonist. Born with powers, society regards him (along with all other super powered humans, or ‘deviants’) with fear and were afraid to interact with him, thus he never really grasped an understanding of people and some of the harder parts of life, such as learning from your errors and moving on from them. Due to this, Alistair is constantly running from his mistakes (the most important of these being the murder of his friends and family when the full extent of his powers manifested). Alistair’s personality and mindset are present and future orientated; he is ruthless and quick thinking, though he often fails to take things into consideration before acting. Alistair has the ability to manipulate earth substances, including stones, soil, sand and minerals. He can use his abilities in a variety of different ways. However, his abilities only work as long as he is in contact with the earth: standing on a concrete pavement will reduce his powers, whilst being held in the air will render him useless.

    -Tobias: the main antagonist. Leader of a superhuman group called the Divine, Tobias is a religious fanatic who believes that the powers that he and others received are a test from god, which the world is failing. He created the Divine with the secret intention of wiping out the deviants, whilst under the false pretence that he wants to unite them and become superior to mankind. Tobias’ intelligence and faith is only matched by his paranoia and fear: he is scared of deviants because of the destructive power they wield, and he is scared of the wrath of god if he does not succeed in his mission. Tobias has telepathic powers, allowing him to read and control the minds of those who let him in. Once he gets in your head, it is hard to get him out again.

    -Claire aka ??? (any suggestions would be good, something to do with protection): unlike most super powered people, Claire did not develop her powers until her teenage years, meaning that she is still not completely adept at using them. The closest to a friend that Alistair has at the moment, Claire joined the Divine with her brother, Sam. Almost the opposite to Alistair, Claire is methodical, analytical, and has great compassion towards others, making her a sister figure to many of the younger Divine members. She is, however, quite emotional at times, and will do anything to keep those she cares about together (ranging from blackmail to threats). When Alistiar leaves the Divine, Claire goes in pursuit after him on the request of Tobias. She does not understand how Alistair could possibly have left her the way he did (in her eyes, they were as close as siblings), and she converts this sadness and confusion into anger towards Alistair. Claire’s power is the generation of forcefields, which she will progressively start to use in more violent ways.

    -Zoe: although not alive in the novel, Zoe has a big affect on the plot. A past friend and love interest of Alistair, Zoe was one of the few who accepted Alistair for what he was. This, along with her idealistic personality, made Alistair smitten for her. When his powers began to arrive, Zoe encouraged him to experiment with them, regardless of the social repercussions that could have occurred. In the end, this encouragement turned out to be her downfall when Alistair destroys his entire neighbourhood in a burst of power, killing almost everyone in the process. Alistair never got over her loss, but he refuses to face his fears and learn from them. Therefore, his voice of doubt, self judgement and fear is often that of Zoe’s, and he won’t he free of the guilt until he accepts that she is gone and isn’t coming back.

    -Harry Marshall: secondary antagonist. A powerful politician, Marshall gained a lot of power when deviant cases started arising, fearing that they would become dangerous. Marshall formed MAP (mutant apprehension party), with its own militia included. Since everyone was in a state of panic, nobody went against him, as Marshall seemed to know what he was doing. Extremely right wing, Marshall is arrogant, charming and power hungry. It is debatable as to wether he actually hates deviants, or if he just wants power. Unlike Alistair or Tobias, Marshall is against killing, regardless as to if they have powers or not. Whilst the public think that MAP is executing superhumans, they are in fact just imprisoned until MAP can find a way to inhibit their powers.

    Main worries with characters:
    -showing the change in Claire from caring to hatred towards Alistair. I want the change to be slow, but noticeable.
    -making Alistair’s voice sound distinct. I want to make sure that his personality shows through when he speaks.
    -motivation for Alistair to turn on the Divine. In the Divine, he has a home and a family of sorts. I need to find an answer to this: what would be more important to Alistair than his new family?
    -showing Marshall as a nice human being. Yes, he is a bit of a jerk, but his intentions are pure.
    -making Zoe an individual, different character. I don’t just want to say ‘Alistair loved Zoe’. I want to show the reader WHY he does, and what makes her so special to him.

    Next up, setting and organisations.

  2. Silverfishon 13 Jan 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Here are the two main organisations in the novel: MAP and the Divine

    MAP: standing for the Mutant Apprehension Party, MAP was made not long after the first deviants started breaking the law. Originally planned to merely catalogue those with powers and help them integrate into society, their ideology changed when Harry Marshall became their head political figure, choosing instead to remove any risks to mankind and work on removing the powers of deviants. Political power was gained- or should that be taken- during a state of mass panic when deviants began fighting amongst one another. With nobody brave enough to stand against them, MAP took control of the government. Marshall then began his plan to round up deviants in Britain. In order to do so, he put a lot of power and money into his ‘security team’, a large militia mainly compromising of pro-humanists, the unemployed and the homeless. Known for their violent tendencies, it became common to see the, cruising the streets at night, paying visits to the houses of those with powers. Propaganda was released, urging the public to report signs of deviant activity. By the time the novel takes place, MAP is in almost complete control, and they have already created several deviant prisons and research centres. The public does not really care about what MAP does to the deviants, as long as they are kept safe.

    The Divine: created by Tobias, the Divine began as an underground support group for deviants when MAP began kidnapping deviants. They spoke of superiority, of more rights of humans, and of regaining their human rights. The popularity of this group increased, and at their height they had several hundred members. Eventually, they took over part of the British countryside, forming a Hooverville like settlement to live in. Whilst there, the members dwelled on their situation, turning to Tobias for the answers. Tobias was only too willing to guide them to resist MAP, fighting them when possible. Unfortunately for the Divine, Tobias has alternative intentions. Hating what he has become, Tobias intends to send his lambs to slaughter, making sure that members of the Divine will not survive their campaigns. The Divine, meanwhile, remain ignorant of this, either through their own lack of perception or the mind control powers of Tobias. It is to the Divine that Alistair retreats to when he has nowhere else to go, and that Sam and Claire join when Sam thinks they can actually make a difference to the world.

  3. BMon 14 Jan 2013 at 2:43 am

    I think Alistair sounds sort of promising, though I think you could probably give him more room to make unusual decisions. (Most superheroes are quick-thinking and impulsive, so they won’t help you much in making him memorable, I think). Ruthlessness, perhaps. And whatever is causing him to run from his mistakes rather than confront them. Tobias sounds a bit like he could be fleshed out more as you write the book—he sounds a bit more like a goal (exterminating mutants) than a character so far.
    –Why do Alistair and Claire have aliases? Do they need them?
    –Are Alistair’s friends and family killed accidentally? If not, then I’d recommend against calling it “murder.”
    –Claire sounds interesting. Her conflict with Alistair sounds more three-dimensional than what Tobias has going on.
    –“extremely right-wing…” Unless it’s necessary for understanding the plot, I’d recommend against labeling a villain in this way. It makes it sound like the story is veering into ideological propaganda. (Also, the mutant vs. human tension angle already sounds very similar to X-Men—anything more you could do to differentiate this character from Stryker would be helpful).
    –“Motivation for Alistair to turn on the Divine. In the Divine, he has a home and a family of sorts. I need to find an answer to this: what would be more important to Alistair than his new family?” Some possibilities: something Claire does drives him away (e.g. she does something which reminds him uncomfortably of his past, like pushing him to use his powers, and she doesn’t recognize his “I’m getting uncomfortable” signs until he’s gone). Most cliché: Tobias asks him to do something objectionable. Or maybe Alistair is concerned that someone in the organization is setting them up on suicide missions. Or maybeother members of the organization (and perhaps Tobias) object to his ruthlessness and he decides to leave on his own. Maybe he bristles at some personal restrictions in the group (it is, after all, a cult—they’re generally pretty restrictive)—perhaps Tobias abuses his psychic powers in a way that makes Alistair very uncomfortable? Perhaps Alistair is deeply closed off about his past and it bothers Tobias that he can’t read this part of Alistair’s mind as well as he would wish?

  4. Silverfishon 14 Jan 2013 at 9:20 am

    That response was definitely helpful, so thanks a lot for the feedback.

    I will be uploading more detailed character descriptions later on, so that will go into more detail on both Alistair and Tobias (there will definitely be more development of Tobias- I refuse to just let him be a religious fanatic), as well as the other characters. I also need to figure out why Alistair is running; probably the fact that, being emotionally skewed, Alistair doesn’t really know how to cope with the deaths of so many people that he caused (I think ‘accident’ is probably the better term instead of ‘murder’).

    My thought process for the aliases went something along the lines of trying to dehumanise the Divine: this makes the Divine feel better than humans as they have ‘higher’ names. Also, seeing as a lot of Divine members were treated with prejudice due to the propaganda hanging around, they felt like the alias was a fresh start at life. At the same time, the lack of a name made them seem less human in the eyes of the MAP ‘security team’ (see how easy it was for the Nazis to kill Jews when they referred to the Jews as anything but human). I might be thinking a bit strangely here though, so please do tell me if the use of aliases is not needed.

    I have worked a bit on the intentions of MAP. I think that MAP is less like a ‘bring in the military’ group, but more of a ‘lock them up until we know what to do with them’ group. MAP basically doesn’t want the deviants endangering lives by (for example) blowing something up and killing people. They also differ from Stryker in that they are less willing to use technology to capture deviants, opting instead for tasers and riot shields instead of missiles and other deviants.

    I think a mixture of Claire’s pushing and Tobias being angry at Alistair’s closed mind would be enough to make Alistair impulsively leave. Tobias is definitely the sort of person who doesn’t like secrets, and whilst he does know parts of what happened to Alistair, he wants to know the full picture. As for Claire, she is a firm believer in achieving your full potential, so if she got an idea that Alistair is holding back (which he is), then she wouldn’t be afraid of trying to make him use his powers more. Then, in an attempt to find out why he doesn’t use them, she would probably become more inquisitive and persistent until Alistair runs off.

  5. Silverfishon 15 Jan 2013 at 10:32 am

    Here is a bit of backstory of Tobias. Hopefully it helps flesh him out a bit more as a character than just a goal.

    Tobias had a life that he would describe as ‘a disappointment to himself and to god’ before he became the telepathic cult leader shown in the novel. With a psychology degree and no job due to his narcissism and pathological lying to potential employers affecting his social skills, Tobias turned to religion for a way out if the hole he had dug himself. Fortune struck when MAP needed anyone who had any form of experience to work for them; they needed to understand how the minds of deviants worked, and if their powers caused any psychological trauma. Tobias leapt at the chance (seeing as MAP would take anyone, he was accepted), and began working with patients for the first time in his life. Unaware of his telepathic powers, Tobias began to think that his ability to make his patients do exactly as he said and to know how they felt to simply be his own characteristics- adding to his ego. Tobias started to develop a theory that being a deviant led to eventual insanity and loss of morals; this would explain the tendency for deviants to become violent not long after gaining powers. He began to believe that his work was what god put him on this earth for: working with deviants, making god’s gift to mankind useable. This idea dwelled in his mind, twisted and malformed until Tobias felt like the messiah reincarnated, whose destiny was to unite man and god. Tobias’s transformation was finally complete when the location of his workplace was destroyed in a deviant riot/fight. In the few moments it took for it to go up in flames, Tobias had an epiphany: the deviants were not gifts from above, but tormentors from below. It was up to him to stop them. It was his destiny. Tobias set to work on his holy mission to eradicate every deviant on the earth, starting with those in Britain. He found those deviants that would follow him: the homeless, the needy, and the rejected. Tobias turned their minds to mush, manipulating them to follow him. He created the fabrication of wanting to support the deviants on their rise to glory. His telepathic powers and cunning manipulation of deviants eventually led to the creation of the Divine; a cult with enough deviant firepower to blow up a small country, controlled through deceit and well-planned hierarchies. Tobias now devotes his time to plotting the demise of his followers one by one, until he can find a better way to appease his lord.

  6. Silverfishon 18 Jan 2013 at 11:53 am

    Here’s a rough plot premise:

    Alistair has become restless recently. Just like normal people, Alistair has problems: the stresses of work, occasional bad dreams and tension between friends & co-workers. Unlike normal people, Alistair works for a superhuman supremacist cult, where his job involves turning men into bioterrorists being led by the zealous fanatic, Tobias. Unlike normal people, his co-workers can read minds, fly and make force fields. Unlike some normal people, Alistair dreams of a world destroyed by dust, earth and stone- and the dreams are becoming more frequent. Unable to find a way to stop the nightmares, Alistair keeps running away from his fears, knowing that he wouldn’t like what he would see if he turned to face them.
    This all changes when Alistair is sent on a mission, and a fight between him and soldiers from MAP (a ‘government funded mutant pest-control service’) cause Alistair to see and feel things he hasn’t known in several years: a face. A house. A loss. The images claw at his memory, begging to be put together. Alistair leaves everything he knew behind in order to find out the meaning of his nightmares and visions. Alistair flees from the Divine in order to seek out those he thinks can put his memory back together, whilst at the same time being hounded by cult members and MAP, for his violent tendencies do not go unnoticed. Will he find out the truth? Or will he do what comes naturally, and flee when all seems lost?

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