Category Archives: Terrific

Terrific — Chapter One

Yes, yes, yes. I’m still working on my upcoming superhero novel, Terrific. What, you don’t believe me? Well, here’s the proof!

Below is the current draft of the first chapter. Note that it is just a draft and will undergo revisions later, but things are coming along. When you self-publish, it’s vitally important that you reject your own work to ensure you put out the best possible book. I’ve rejected two full previous versions of Terrific, as well as another half a manuscript, but I’m feeling confident about how this one is turning out.

So read it, enjoy, and bug me to get the thing finished and published.

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Copyright 2017 Daniel R. Sherrier. All Rights Reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Terrific

–a novel–

By Daniel Sherrier

1.

Miranda Thomas liked pretending to be someone else. Her true self receded behind a persona she had spent innumerable hours crafting, rehearsing, and perfecting to the greatest possible extent. And her hard work paid off as she made her regional theatre debut in The Reluctant Guest.

They enjoyed her. Several dozen strangers laughed at all the right moments. Everyone returned to their seats after intermission. They cheered when the lights went down at the play’s conclusion. And audiences never lied. Miranda loved that about them.

She had graduated from Olympus University a mere three months earlier, and she was already doing her favorite thing in the world…as a professional. Her castmates were fun, the reviews were strong, and the nonprofit company owned a charming venue. This was not a poor start.

Today’s matinee wasn’t quite finished. Miranda had one last moment on the stage, the only one as herself.

Warm light enveloping her, she crossed the polished floorboards of the Aeschylus Theater for her curtain call. The stage was smaller than most, and its house seated a mere eighty-eight on three sides. An intimate performance space, perfect for a four-person contemporary comedy. It minimized the barrier between actors and audience, filtering none of their reaction. Right now, it was Miranda’s stage. Continue reading

More than halfway!

Back in May, I decided it would be a swell idea to review one comic book a day for a year. Earlier this month, I hit the halfway point, and I somehow haven’t given up on it.

For those of you just tuning in, I’m writing only positive reviews to highlight the good stuff. (There’s enough negativity elsewhere.) I think of it as a lengthy thank-you to an industry that has provided me with countless hours of enjoyment since I was eight years old. Some books I’ve read many times over the years, some I’m reading for the first time, and some I hadn’t read in well over a decade.

It’s not a “best of” list. The books appear in no particular order, and I’ll end up excluding many great ones. It’s just whatever I happen to be reading or whatever old favorite I feel like sharing that particular day. Usually I’ll focus on just one issue, but occasionally I’ll highlight a full storyline or miniseries all at once. There really is no grand plan at work here. You never know quite what to expect as you check in each day…and I usually don’t either.

Maybe you’ll find some good recommendations to try out, or maybe you’ll just be reminiscing along with me. Perhaps a bit of both. Any which way, I hope you enjoy.

And I apologize for the very unpolished prose. The pace leaves little time for revision, and I am still hard at work on my novel, Terrific, in which I’ll contribute my own superheroes to the literary world. (That will be polished.)

That book is coming. In the meantime, check out the many excellent comics I’ve highlighted.

A “Terrific” task indeed

I’m still working on Terrific, my superhero novel and first true novel (as opposed to series of novellas and novelettes). I’ve already written it twice, and now version three is under way. The first version wound up being an ongoing comic book series in novel form. The second version wound up being a movie in novel form. Now to write a novel in novel form.

Technically, I started this project in January 2015, right as I published Earths in Space vol. 2, but it also dates back to college, 2003 specifically, when I wrote a play called Super! It was workshopped at William & Mary and also appeared in a small Chicago theater a few years later. The main theme was escapism—adulthood is hard, so how do we hide from it? Into what can we disappear, and how unhealthy is that disappearance?

An old postcard for the play. Dates are 2008.

An old postcard for the play. Dates are 2008.

It was partially a superhero deconstruction, though I wrote a sequel that was more of a superhero reconstruction (also workshopped at W&M, though never professionally staged—probably for the best). I re-envisioned that reconstruction in a television pilot I wrote. Called Selfless, it was a set a year after the end of the play, using it as backstory but obviously needing to stand on its own. It was basically about a young woman who felt compelled to keep helping other people rather than do the hard work of sorting out her own life, but helping others winds up helping her, too.

I had fun mapping out a season of episodes that told individual stories that built on each other (kind of like Earths in Space and RIP). But it would’ve been a hard sell, and I realized building a television career wasn’t the right path for me. So I set the superheroes aside and put my comic book sensibilities to work in Earths in Space’s sci-fi adventures. Continue reading

A ‘Terrific’ Prologue

Prologues are tricky. They must abide by a certain set of rules: be concise, don’t drown the reader in tedious information, make sure something happens, and adopt a viewpoint other than your protagonist’s. Basically, a prologue must act like the teaser before a television show’s opening credits.

I wasn’t originally planning on using a prologue in Terrific, my upcoming novel featuring the world’s greatest superhero — Mighty Woman! But then I realized it could provide an effective way of introducing the villain and laying the foundation for her arc.

The results are below. It’s still rough, unedited, and very much a work in progress, and you may well spot a typo or five. But it is evidence that, yes, I do remain hard at work on this thing. Plus, I feel like sharing something. So here we go…

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Copyright 2016 Daniel R. Sherrier

Terrific

Prologue

Doctor Death Junior was a cackler. This child who had barely entered her teens deigned herself worthy of succeeding the greatest genius who ever lived. Dumb luck alone granted her the opportunity.

Graffiti was her hobby, and a police officer had caught her in the act of “painting” beneath a highway bridge. While eluding arrest, she stumbled upon Doctor Death’s subterranean lair, where an unavoidable lack of maintenance had degraded the security system, granting the juvenile delinquent access to the arsenal of a superior intellect. But acquiring his tools did not mean she acquired a sufficient understanding of his mission. Therefore, Doctor Death Junior became one of the ridiculous ones, yet another narcissistic super-villain who wreaked pointless havoc for no grander purpose than her own inane entertainment. She purloined the infamous name of Doctor Death for escapist fantasy.

Clarissa needed to kill the pretender. Her father would have wanted it that way. Continue reading

Kids need Terrific role models

Kids need role models, and adults sometimes need role models on how to be role models.

This, of course, brings me to superheroes. Too many of today’s costumed crimefighters tend to fall short in this regard. Even Superman has stumbled—I would not recommend kids emulate the version of Supes we see in the recent Man of Steel movie.

While I was a member of the Comics Experience workshop (which I highly recommend for all aspiring comics pros), I was working on scripts for a superhero series that would be perfectly appropriate for ages 9 and up. Along the way, the notion crept into my mind that this should be a novel, and while it should remain appropriate for younger readers, it should be for adults who have little ones in their lives. Whether you’re a parent, teacher, coach, etc., you may feel you have to be near-perfect in the eyes of these children…even though you’re not, and you may even have a whole other life that occurs out of their view (parents’ jobs, teachers’ own family lives and hobbies).

This novel will be called Terrific, and it will feature the greatest superhero of its world—Mighty-Woman. And at the start, she has also been the world’s only superhero for the past several years, though she did start as part of a team. Things just went…wrong.

I had a full draft written, and then I attended the Taliesin Nexus Calliope Workshop for Fiction and Non-Fiction Authors last weekend and received excellent feedback, which I’m now implementing in a rewrite. The first draft was entertaining, and I’m excited to make it even better.

Terrific will be my next book and first full-length novel. Next on the docket will be volumes 2 and 3 of RIP, which will continue the established format of episodic novelettes that build on each other. That series is like my Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but with very human ghosts. Then I’ll return to Earths in Space for a third volume of fun, somewhat pulpy sci-fi action/adventure as my team of explorers continues to visit alternate Earths across the universe.

Superheroes, ghosts, and space travel—I’ll be busy, and I’ll be having fun.

In the meantime, RIP vol. 1: Choices After Death has joined Kindle Unlimited, and Amazon Prime members can borrow it for free. If that goes well, Earths in Space may follow suit.

Now, time to work on Terrific

Meet Mighty-Woman, the world’s greatest superhero!

It’s easy to say Mighty-Woman is the world’s greatest protector, but the challenge of actually being the best and living up to ever-growing expectations never ends for Miranda Thomas. When her former mentor returns to Earth after a long, self-imposed exile and steals the world’s sunlight, Miranda reunites with her old teammates—and even older friends—as they band together in an adventure that forces her to confront not only her self-centered past but the reasons she continues to serve in the present.

I’m excited to begin talking about my current work-in-progress, Terrific, which will give us a world’s greatest superhero who happens to be a 30-something fully clothed woman. That’s something pop culture needs, but it would be counterproductive if her gender was the book’s defining quality. This is a story about perseverance, friendship, and striving to do right by those who consider you a role model.

So, here’s the first full chapter. It’s still a work-in-progress, so plenty of polishing remains to be done, but I hope you enjoy.

*****

Copyright 2015 Daniel R. Sherrier. Do not reproduce without permission.

Terrific

By Daniel Sherrier

Issue #1: Perfect

“I asked nicely, but the dummies insisted on being evil,” Miranda told the police while she stood atop a pile of clobbered super-villains who had apparently competed to see who could design the most garish costume.

Miranda wasn’t Miranda in that moment, not as far as anyone present knew. To all concerned, she was Mighty-Woman, and her costume did not offend any eyeballs, perhaps because the vast majority of the law-abiding populace was biased in her favor. The gentle breeze animated the yellow cape, which matched her thin belt, fashionable boots, and large letter “M” imprinted on her shirt in a stylish calligraphy that the best graphic designers wished they had thought of. The insignia and cape complemented the magenta spandex, blending everything into a distinctive streak of scarlet whenever she’d fly off at impossible speeds.

Right now, though, the costume was in less than perfect condition. Several minor tears dotted the long pants and sleeves, and the cape had been hole-punched by unconventional fists. Scorch marks tarnished portions of the insignia, and her golden brown hair was a disaster. A careful observer might have thought a bomb had blown up in her face and subsequent action had swept away most of the ashy residue—and such an observation wouldn’t have been too far off the mark. Continue reading