I’m excited, because a brave soul has stepped up to be the very first critique on this blog. Applause for our brave volunteer. And a little extra excitement from me because I L.O.V.E. love superheroes (spelling it out means that I love it more than just regular love, in case you didn’t know).
Dear Ms. Nelson,
Balancing high school with saving the world isn’t stressful for seventeen–year-old Susan Black. I have seen a lot of openings about balancing high school and some supernatural trait. I am a little intrigued that it ISN’T difficult for her. But I still think it can be made stronger by just jumping to exactly what’s unique about her. I don’t care that she goes to high school (telling me she’s 17 makes me assume she goes to high school, anyway). When crime rears its ugly head, she transforms into The Vine Vixen to protect the city of Caperville This sounds more MG from evildoers. By hiding under a mild mannered persona, Susan is able to fool her classmates and friends. At this point I’m going to guess she has super powers, but I don’t actually know what they are. Something to do with plants, I’m guessing. But if she can shoot vines at bad guys (or whatever), that’s the sort of cool thing I want to know like first line.
When an arrogant new superhero called The Gray Eagle rolls into town and steals her thunder, he becomes an instant celebrity and a pain in her ass. His alter ego, Grayson Clark, enrolls in her school, to spend more time with her. Surprised by his willingness to reveal his identity to her, Susan insists on staying away from Grayson in school. With each day, Grayson’s popularity grows, and the line between him and The Gray Eagle blurs. His presence puts Susan’s own secret identity at risk. My only comment on this paragraph is that I’m unsure whether he actually knows her alter ego or if she just knows his. And if he does know, how did he find out? Overall, good conflict established in this paragraph.
As the two heroes grow closer, Grayson reveals his real reason for being in Caperville. He’s tracking down the mad scientists who started a lab fire that killed his father. Susan suspects Grayson’s still hiding something from her. His instinct to protect Susan from the truth unintentionally puts her in the line of fire. His connection their foes could unlock the origin of Susan’s powers. There’s a lot going on in this paragraph. The last thee sentences each seem to hold a distinct plot thread. I’d rather see one plot line given time to shine in this paragraph than have a bunch hinted at. Or tie them together so I feel like they connect naturally. The idea of her finding out about the origin of her powers especially seems a little sidetracked, because up until now I didn’t have any reason to believe she didn’t know where her powers came from.
With all the secrets between them, she doesn’t know if she can trust him anymore. She wonders if her true enemy has been staring her in the face the whole time. This is good. Consider combing it into once sentence. Something to the effect of “With all the secrets between them, Susan starts to wonder if her true enemy has been staring her in the face the whole time.”
SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF is a 58,000 word YA superhero romance. I’d like to see some comparable title’s here (will appeal to fans of…). I recommend Natalie Whipple’s Transparent and Michael Carroll’s Super Human. You could even say something about how the popularity of recent superhero movies like Avengers suggests that people are interested in superhero stories.
Thank you for your time and consideration.