In our ongoing lessons on story development, I give you part 2 of “Wanted, A Superhero to Save the World.”
As you read, continue noting the elements of a story’s beginning that I provided in this list:
- Grab the reader’s attention with a hook beginning
- Raise questions that the reader wants answered
- Provide a goal for the protagonist
- Show the protagonist’s qualities and flaws
- Set the physical scene with only essential details
- Begin building a bridge to the back story
- Establish a feeling that a crisis of some sort is coming
- Complete the journey toward the initial goal by showing success or failure
You will see #2 clearly when you read about the mysterious invention in Eddie’s closet. In part one, Eddie’s goal (#3) to protect his family from crime in Nirvana becomes more specific as he encounters bank robbers. His qualities (#4) become more evident as he employs ingenuity and gadgets in his quest. I add more details to the physical scene little by little (#5) in order to avoid an information dump of descriptions. When Eddie thinks about his father, his back story takes shape (#6). The last few paragraphs provide a definite feeling that something big is about to happen (#7).
The completion of the first goal (#8) is still yet to come.
If you have any questions or comments, please post them.
Wanted, A Superhero to Save the World – Part 2
You can read Part 1 here.
She batted my hand away. “All right, all right.” She dashed for her bed and slid under the covers.
Finally! I pulled my flexible cowl over my head. I imagined Mom leaning out her window to look for the source of the gunshots before coming to check on us. She would arrive in less than a minute.
I flipped a switch on my closet’s inner wall. At my bed, a holographic image appeared—myself under the covers. The projector was my greatest feat to date, though the new invention in my closet would surpass it if I could get it to work. But that was one contraption I hadn’t dared try on myself yet. Sure, I wanted to be a real superhero like Damocles, but radioactive rays were just too dangerous.
Leaning into my closet, I looked at the switch at the rear wall—disguised as a black widow spider. All I had to do was flip it, and the rays would bathe me in energizing ion emissions … or maybe a fatal dose of radioactive poisoning.
I shuddered. It would take a while to get the nerve to try it.
Footsteps creaked beyond our bedroom door. I rushed to the window, climbed out, and dropped to the fire-escape landing. After closing the sash, I crouched and peeked inside. Mom opened the door. Light poured in from the hall. Still wearing her waitress smock, she walked close to each bed, then approached the window, looking worried, as usual. Ever since Dad died, she never seemed to be as …
I shook my head. I had to concentrate.
Pressing my back against the brick wall, I watched her out of the corner of my eye. She gazed through the glass for a moment before locking the window. No problem. With all the gadgets on my belt, getting back inside would be a breeze.
The moment she left and closed the bedroom door, I pulled the laser pen from my belt, flicked it on, and aimed the beam at the electronic eye of the streetlight at the alley entrance about thirty feet away. Two seconds later, the light blinked off and cast our alley in shadows.
Now under the cover of darkness, I shot an anchored line from one of the spools on my belt. It looped around the streetlight’s protruding metal arm again and again until it stopped with a click.
I pulled on the line. Good and tight. Of course I could use the fire-escape ladder, but I never missed a chance to practice.
I leaped from the landing and swung down. When I neared the street, I pushed the detach button on the spool. It released, and I hit the ground running.
Without slowing, I made a right turn at the alley entrance toward the sound of the hum. The streetlight, now behind me, flashed on. I ducked into a shadow at the side of the closest building—the bank where Mom kept her money.
I craned my neck to listen. The hum seemed to be coming from inside the building. A bank robbery? If so, why all that noise? Mephisto wouldn’t be so careless, and he already robbed a bank last week. Being repetitive didn’t fit his pattern. Maybe this new robbery was a diversion—a stunt designed to attract the police to keep them busy while Mephisto pulled off a bigger crime—a reasonable theory, but so far the street remained deserted.
A scrap of paper drifted on a breeze and settled at my feet. I snatched it up and scanned it—a bank deposit slip. I walked to the bottom of three steps that led to the bank’s entry and eyed the front door—wide open. Suspicious. Very suspicious. A real burglar would have hidden his tracks. But why would they disable the alarm and yet be so careless about the obvious break-in? The pieces weren’t coming together.
I jogged to the top of the steps and sneaked inside. At the lobby’s far wall, a thick metal door stood open, probably the safe. The hum emanated from there—maybe a drill bit grinding through the metal of an interior door.
I hurried back to the stairs and looked up at the underside of the entryway overhang. Yes, this would be perfect. Working quickly, I withdrew a pair of wire coils from my belt, reeled them out a few feet, added adhesive tape to the two ends, and threw them upward. They stuck to the overhang. Now two wires dangled, one on each side of the stairs. With the push of a button at the wires’ bottom ends, I activated a stun field between the two lines.
The field emanated a slight buzz. Not good. The robbers might hear it.
I withdrew the hologram gun from my belt, spun the dial, and browsed the images in the memory. A cop with a rifle? No, they would back off from him. A woman juggling bananas? No, that would be stupid. A bag of money? Perfect. Just the bait I needed to make them face plant right into unconsciousness.
I jumped to the side of the stairs, backed into a shadow, and pointed the hologram projector at the bottom step. When I pushed the button, a fabric bag appeared, the size of a big pumpkin. Dollar bills stuck out through a drawstring at the top.
Now I just had to wait. I pressed the record button on the camera in my belt buckle. I would likely need video evidence of the robbers leaving the bank with their loot, and seeing them flop on the ground like fish out of water would look good in my online video journal.
Across the street, a human form prowled along the rooftop of a three-story building. Mephisto? I shook my head. Not his style. Tunneling with a magna-gopher? Yes. Bulldozing with an octopus tank? Definitely. But sneaking across a roof? Alone? No way.
The form dashed briefly through a light, revealing an unmistakable cowl—black and gray, covering his face except for his eyes, nose, and mouth—just like mine.
I swallowed. Damocles!
Categories: Story Development