Friday, November 29, 2013

(32) YA Science Fiction: BECOMING HERO

TITLE: Becoming Hero
GENRE: YA Science Fiction

Comic-book superhero Skye takes on awful plot twists every day, but when his parents die in a nasty cliche, he's had it. He shoots his author. Will murder save his world, or damn his soul?

Comic-book Universe: Issue 339

Rain trickles across a fading green dumpster in a narrow alleyway. A dark shadow, a superhero gone bad, stalks the rooftops above, heaving a giant gun off his back as he readies it for his prey.

Skye ignored the stench of the banana peels and burger wrappers crushed against his face and forced himself to breathe steady. He clenched his fingers tighter around the bleeding wound in his shoulder, trying not to think about the infection he'd get from hiding in the dumpster. Just breathe. In, out. In, out. Any change in that pace, and his hunter might hear him. Hunter--that's how he had to think of his best friend now.

The thought sunk into Skye's chest like another punch. Dammit. He squeezed his eyes shut and clenched his teeth against the hot tears. How could he--

"I suppose you're wondering how I could do this to you," said a soft voice just above him. Skye heard light footsteps on the dumpster lid, but didn't reply. Mark had walked past his hiding places before.

"You can hear me, right? I know you're nearby. Please just show yourself. Just end this."

Skye heard Mark's feet crunch against the pavement. He heard the rustle of plastic bags being kicked; a nearby window smashed.

"None of this would have hurt if you'd just let me take you out the first time. I didn't want your parents to die. Come on, Skye, you think I wanted Jackie to die for you? She was my friend, too. I didn't want you to see any of this."


  1. Your logline definitely piqued my interest- love the idea of a comic book character going after the author! I really enjoyed your first page, too. The descriptions were great. I felt like I was right there in the dumpster with him. I would read on!

  2. Okay, the logline has me for sure.

    Very, very captivating. Nice tension throughout, and yet I'm also expecting some good humor from this book too. The dialogue is slightly cheesy--a little bit of exposition through dialogue sort of thing. But it fits so well with the overall thrust of the story that I'm happy to roll with it.

    As in, I'm ready to buy this book now please :-)

    Best of luck with it!

  3. I thought this opening compelling, with immediate conflict and strong writing. I'm a little confused with how this "self-aware" comic book character is able to go after his author, and how the self-awareness comes about in the firs place, but I'd keep reading. Best of luck!

  4. I *loved* your logline--this sounds like such an insanely cool concept. However, I wanted a bit more from the opening 250 to show me more of this world and your MC's voice (which is strong in the logline).

    You've definitely got some great descriptions--I felt like I was right there in the dumpster with Skye--but I wondered if this was where the story should start. You could also give some hints re: the superhero stuff in little details, perhaps what Skye is wearing or the weapon Mark carries, something more to show us why this is a comic book world. Overall, though, I'd want to keep reading. Good luck!

  5. The title is strong and I thought the logline was attention-grabbing. I personally can't think of anything else similar to this, so kudos to you on a unique premise.

    My breath caught at the fact that he is being hunted by his best friend. I loved the wording of those two sentences. A lot of suspense and intrigue in the first 250 words which is what keeps me turning pages. Good luck :)

  6. This is SO FUN! I would definitely read this, just after the log line. Love the original idea.

    The scene works great for me -- the only nit-picky thing is, shouldn't he breathe "steadily" rather than "steady?" I don't know. Maybe that's more what they say in comics...

    I really think the idea is original and fun. Best of luck with this. I hope to see it on the shelves!

  7. Awesome logline. It sounded so much fun I was praying your first page would live up to it and it completely did. I don't have any criticism, I would just LOVE to read more of this.

    Really well done, good luck!

  8. I like the dynamic between Skye and Mark. I would keep reading.

  9. I thought the log-line was excellent! I did wonder, though, why his hunter wouldn't just look in the dumpster. Seems like an obvious hiding place. :)
    Love the concept. I would definitely read more!

  10. Hey, there!

    Love the action that's introduced immediately thanks to the stalking/running away introductory scene. Like others have said, I'm very intrigued by the synopsis. I wonder if the "author" is another character in the story, or if it's actually breaking the fourth wall and it refers to you, the real author. Either way, I'm intrigued!

    My only concern is that this doesn't lapse into--to use a word from your synopsis--cliche. Skye's parents die in a cliche way and that's why he takes his revenge against the author, and I like that idea. But the opening itself feels a bit of a cliche to me. Hiding in a narrow alleyway dumpster, rain drizzling, "hot tears," etc. If this is the point of the opening, then that's OK. I would leave it. But it's something I'd be on the look-out for after the first excerpt.

    But I would definitely keep reading. I'm interested to know just how the parents died, who Jackie is, and what will happen between Mark and Skye.

    Nice job, and good luck!

  11. oh I'm so totally into this premise. Reminds me of Scalzi's redshirts, except superheroes instead of Star Trek.

    I would definitely keep reading.

  12. Terrific premise! Wow!

    I did wonder where we are in the story though. Has SKye already shot the author, and the story starts after that, or is Skye trying to shoot the author, and Mark is trying to stop him? Is Mark the author, as well as his best friend?

    I think what's here is good. It's written well, it's descriptive, you have action, suspense, and tension, but I really would like to know when I was in this story.

  13. Really like the premise. Reminds me of "Stranger than Fiction."

    My only quibble is it seems to get into the premise right away. I think it might make sense to let the reader adjust to this world a little bit before having the fact that the character is in a comic book come out. That seems to be more of a "hook" to me (or something that is revealed about 5,000 words in.)

    Either way, fascinating idea. Good luck! :)

  14. This is a cool idea. I agree with CaitlinSineadJ that it reminds me of Stranger Than Fiction (which I LOVED BTW).

    Log line was great. It peaked my interest.

    First 250 words were strong. I agree that it would make sense for the bad guy to check the dumpster. But that doesn't mean his cover has to be blown. Maybe Hunter overlooks or the lighting is so bad he doesn't see him. Just a thought.

    My biggest issue was with the mentioning Jackie. First he tells Skye he didn't want to kill his parents. Then he says he didn't want Jackie to die for him because Jackie was his friend too....but the way the information is shared I assumed that Jackie was maybe his mom (because Hunter mention the parents then immediately transitioned to Jackie). Could just be my reading it...but it confused me a bit.

    Great premise and strong intro. I really enjoyed this post. Best of luck!

  15. Shit, jumped the gun.

  16. DID I WIN!?! I think I won!!!!

  17. For the record, this is still OPEN. Three bids at 137. Pam ruined it for everyone and I didn't do good math either. :P

  18. 157.

    There still has to be one more bid after this *before* a full, people! Can you be quicker than me?

  19. Damn it. Yes, yes you can.

  20. WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!!
    I Win the auction!!!!!

  21. You still have all your cheerleaders. :)

  22. Totally not Lauren MacLeodDecember 3, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    Would like to point out how very classy the Lauren MacLeod agent behaved on this. I'd probably pick her as my agent, if I was picking between her and Michelle. So much class!

    Also I hear she is as brilliant as she is beautiful.

  23. Thank-you for your bids, and everyone else for your comments. = )

  24. There's a lot of good natured teasing that goes on among the agents via twitter and email in the weeks leading up to the auction. Of course you are free to judge us here and everywhere since the agent/author fit should be a two-way street.

  25. Okay fine, I totally am "Totally not Lauren MacLeod."

  26. Are you really?? I even sent you an email and have been ignoring my other bids. I was like holy shit someone is bent out of shape about this!!! I should have known from the "as brilliant as she is beautiful" line. I thought that seemed a little bit over the top, not that you aren't brilliant and beautiful, but sheesh!! You totally got me. I hope that makes you feel better that I TOTALLY WON THIS ONE. ;)

  27. OMC you didn't know that was Lauren?? LOLOL!!

    *would know Lauren's craftiness ANYWHERE*


    The full goes to Michelle Wolfson!

    A can of Diet Coke goes to Lauren MacLeod.

  29. I'm a RUINER! But I realized Lauren I have a partial of this from another pitch contest. *rubs hands together*.

  30. Petre, Congrats on the full (I'm assuming based on your thank you comment that this is yours...also, have to mention that I've been very much enjoying your crits of the other entries, well done!)

    I adored this log line (and as someone who has a superhero novel on the back shelf somewhere it's a genre that's very near and dear to my heart). The first line of your log line is simply perfect. I knew, right there, that I wanted to read the whole thing.

    I would agree with the comments about whether or not this is a cliched opening on purpose or not, especially the hiding in the trash. So long as you have a purpose for this scene, I'm more than willing to give you the benefit of the doubt based on the writing strength.

    Great use of setting and the tropes of the superhero comic world. Loved this, best of luck with the full!!