Apr 05 2013

Blackscar’s Review Forum

Published by at 8:48 pm under Review Forums

Please see the comments below. Thanks!

11 responses so far

11 Responses to “Blackscar’s Review Forum”

  1. Blackscaron 06 Apr 2013 at 8:49 am

    My novel, Uprising, is slightly hard for me to explain, so forgive me if I’m less than articulate.

    Ace Grayson is your typical high schooler. He’s sarcastic, responding to most situations with a snarky quip or a ridiculous metaphor. He has a penchant for playing the piano and sword fighting. His best friend is a criminal mastermind, and he himself is actually a demon. He dreams of demons one day being treated as equals, but as the demons are lower on the social hierarchy than Kinetics, or people with powers, he knows that this isn’t likely to happen any time soon. The Kinetics themselves are treated as the scum of the earth, persecuted for something they didn’t do.
    Ace accepts this fact, and tries to carry on with a somewhat normal life to the best of his ability. However, the peace is soon shattered when he discovers that his mortal enemy Alice Blackfang is actually a Pyrokinetic. Desperate, Alice begs, barters, and finally threatens him into keeping her secret. Alice enlists Ace to join her in starting a rebellion against the powers that be, dragging him off to see the leader of the Anarchists, the most dangerous rebel force that Argento City has ever seen.
    They agree to let Ace join, but at a price: he must wield a deleterious sword to prove that he is, in fact, loyal to them. One false move and the sword explodes, killing him and anyone nearby.
    Ever the wise one, Ace does the only thing that anyone in his situation would do: he accepts.
    There’s only one slight issue: the Anarchists aren’t beyond assassination or homicide to get their point across, and now Ace must face an even bigger decision: sacrifice his morals, or sacrifice his life?

    (Aaah! It’s horrible, I know, but I at least wanted to start something off. I can probably contribute a bit more later on, though!)

  2. B. McKenzieon 06 Apr 2013 at 9:12 pm

    “Ace Grayson is your typical high schooler.” I’d be VERY careful about describing your character in these terms.
    1) He’s not — he’s a superpowered demon whose best friend is a criminal mastermind. He sounds more interesting than “typical.”
    2) Describing him as “typical” makes him sound sort of forgettable.
    3) Please lead with what makes the character interesting. For example, what’s his personality like?

    “Ever the wise one, Ace does the only thing that anyone in his situation would do: he accepts.” In general, I’d recommend having the story hinge on decisions most other characters WOULDN’T make in the same situation. In general, the less typical and more distinct the character comes across, the more memorable he will be. (Unusual decisions are also great opportunities to establish memorable character traits). Right now, it sounds like he mainly makes decisions which other characters would make in the same situation and/or because he’s forced to, whereas a character who gets more opportunities to make a unique impact on the plot will generally stick out more to readers.



    I like the protagonist-vs-protagonist conflict between Ace and Alice, though it’ll probably take some work to explain his decision to work with this crazy rebel group (with his mortal enemy Alice) that is trying to blackmail him to do dangerous things which he is morally opposed to. In particular, I think it’d be helpful if he had at least some secondary reason to want to join this group to accomplish something for himself besides just not getting blackmailed/killed (e.g. maybe he’s actually thinking about sabotaging the group and he thinks that playing along will give him the best chance to out all of the members to the cops so that he can safely make his break without them hunting him down).



    I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, so I won’t belabor the point, but I think changing either the name of “Ace” or “Alice” would really help. Either one of them would be a fine name by itself, but I think virtually every reader will confuse one for other at least 10 times over the course of a book, which would be very annoying.


    “He’s sarcastic, responding to most situations with a snarky quip or a ridiculous metaphor.” I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a submission with a protagonist aged 15-25 that wasn’t snarky and sarcastic. Personality-wise, what separates him from other young protagonists? (If/when you submit to publishers, the readers will have already read 50+ submissions about a snarky young protagonist and rejected 49-50 of them. What will set your protagonist apart from the pack? I think the demographic/demonic angle is a good start, but personality is another opportunity). For example, I’d recommend checking out what Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, Kick-Ass, Scott Pilgrim, and Harry Potter did with their young protagonists in terms of personality.

    “Aaah! It’s horrible, I know…” Life is too short to be your own player-hater. Play hard, practice harder, and enjoy the game.

  3. Blackscaron 07 Apr 2013 at 8:27 am

    @B. McKenzie

    Thank you for taking the time to respond! I appreciate it.

    When I was writing the above paragraph, my use of the word ‘typical’ was supposed to be sarcastic, but tone doesn’t carry very well over the internet.

    -I actually did plan on having him try to usurp the group’s leader at one point, since he does want demons’ rights more than almost anything. I’m not sure what direction to take it, since I believe most protagonists would try to use the group for good.

    -You have a good point about the personality. I think that instead of just making him seem snarky, I’ll make him a total jerk about it. He’s always sarcastic, and as a result he won’t have too many friends, or even that many casual acquaintances. He’ll try extremely hard to be considered cool, so that’s why he’ll act like a sardonic jerk.

    -I looked over what you said about explaining his decision, and I’ve decided that she’ll literally threaten him at flame-point (Pyrokinesis would be very useful under those circumstances), and he won’t have much of a choice.

    -As for name changes, I’m working on finding a better name for Ace, since I’m fond of the name Alice.

  4. Blackscaron 07 Apr 2013 at 8:55 am

    Also, I have a fight scene that I’d like someone to take a look at. I should be able to get it posted in the next few hours.

  5. Blackscaron 07 Apr 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Ace’s name has been changed to Seth. Crisis averted.

  6. B. McKenzieon 07 Apr 2013 at 10:24 pm

    I think Seth will be much easier for readers to keep apart. I like it!

  7. Blackscaron 10 Apr 2013 at 6:58 pm

    Argh, so sorry! I haven’t had much time to post, what with a field trip and tests and all…

    I’ll have something up soon, I swear!

  8. Blackscaron 11 Apr 2013 at 7:42 pm

    All right, inquiry time! Haha.

    I plan on including a vampire character in my novel, because I feel that a vampire’s mind would be interesting to look into. (I’m a sucker for morality conflicts.)

    I’ll give you a brief description of vampires themselves (my variety, at least), and then tell you about my character in a later post (I need time to compose it, haha). Vampires themselves can only be turned into vampires by consuming the blood of another vampire. (Is that a unique idea, or has it already been used?) Usually, it is not planned. For example, a vampire chef could accidentally cut his or her hand, and the blood may drip into the food and elude detection. The customer would then consume the food, and be transformed into a vampire approximately one hour after ingestion.
    They won’t catch on fire if exposed to sunlight, but it is somewhat painful if they don’t apply sunscreen or carry a parasol. Their eyes are sensitive, and they risk blindness from prolonged exposure.
    There is no cure for vampirism, other than decapitation. The severed head must then be burned, or else the vampire will not die. It’ll be headless, but still alive. Not very pleasant, hm?
    They have increased stamina, but specialize in either superspeed or superstrength. Never both, and they are NOT invincible, nor are they invulnerable to pain.
    As for blood, they can consume either human or animal, but animal is the equivalent of drinking a glass of water when you’re hungry; it doesn’t do much. Blood bags stolen from hospitals are a decent solution to the rare vampire opposed to killing.

    Does it sound cliché, or no?

  9. Blackscaron 12 Apr 2013 at 7:58 am

    Oh, I nearly forgot: holy water is extremely painful to a vampire.

  10. Blackscaron 23 Apr 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Good point. I think I’ll end up including some unique situations that force Alice to use her powers creatively, though I can’t think of any at this present moment.

  11. Blackscaron 14 Jul 2013 at 12:23 pm

    I think I may post the first chapter on here sometime today.
    I don’t know. Hmm…

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