Dear Miss Snark,
Below is my Crapometer submission, "Direct Current." It's a story of rivalry, friendship, and love among superheroes, in a world not so different from our own. Thank you for reading.
You mention superheroes, first thing I want to know is whether this is for grownups or kids. Word count is helpful, so is an idea of the plot. I'd probably keep reading cause superheroes are sort of cool right now but we're not off to a good start here.
Alex's eyes shot open when he heard the noise. Electricity crackled beneath his fingertips, and he shook his hand to dispel it; like a cold sweat, the sensation was never pleasant. He stood slowly, nervous despite the knowledge he was 30 floors up and about as well-protected as a semi-private citizen could be, and threw open the blinds.
Nightstalker was sitting on his balcony.
It had to be Nightstalker; it was too dark to see clearly, but even in the shadows, Alex could make out the ridiculous half-face helmet, the goggles, and the great billowing mass of a cape trailing behind the man as he crouched on the balcony railing. Alex was absolutely sure
he'd posed that way on purpose.
He was sorely tempted to close the blinds and go back to bed, but against his better judgement, he opened the door. "What the hell do you want, Nightstalker?"
"Nice place you've got here," Nightstalker replied. "It was a bitch and a half to climb, but the view's amazing. I guess being a corporate rentboy has its perks--hey, is that a jacuzzi?"
The apartment was pitch-black--so he was using nightvision, then. Alex flipped the switch by the door, flooding the balcony with light. Nightstalker swore loudly, nearly losing his balance as he punched a button on the side of the helmet. "Jesus, Surge, that was uncalled for. I could've fallen."
"Maybe you shouldn't be standing there, then. What are you doing here?"
"Have it your way." Nightstalker swung his legs down to sit on the railing. "I just came to tell you you're a prick."
Alex rolled his eyes. "Look, if this is about tonight--"
"You're damn right it is, Sparky. I told you to stay out of Westfield."
It was pure coincidence he'd seen the heist; he'd had an afternoon photo shoot, and was just trying to avoid the freeway. He couldn't always immobilize a perp on the first try, but stopping their getaway was easy enough; one quick jolt from his fingers blew every fuse in
their car. Nightstalker had appeared just as the first cops were congratulating Surge on his good work. "You don't own the neighborhood. I was there, and I saw something going down. This 'territory' thing you keep bitching about is childish and stupid."
"Yet you're the only one who doesn't respect it."
"Give me a break--"
"And if you try to deny it, you're full of it. Everybody knows Strongman's got downtown," said the shadow on the balcony, ticking off points on his fingers, "Lady Blade's covering the business district, you're uptown, and Captain Fancypants or whatever the hell he calls himself now has Harbor Village. And I take care of Westfield."
Alex snorted. "Like you did tonight? You should be thanking me."
"I had it covered." Nightstalker's voice was quiet, but something sharp and dangerous lurked beneath it. "I had surveillance; I'd have caught up in twenty minutes if someone hadn't had to swoop in and save the day."
"Whatever." Every major city had at least one Nightstalker: the rich heir or self-made millionaire who decides he's going to be a big famous hero by buying some expensive toys and living out his adolescent power fantasies. Usually they got ridiculed; sometimes they just got killed. They never noticed that their gadgets didn't make them invincible. Alex knew better than to argue. "I'm going back to bed. Go stop crime and defend the innocent, if it's so
important to you."
"Yeah, it's important to me, and I'll thank you to let me do my job," Nightstalker growled. "We can't all have million-dollar sports drink contracts--I work my ass off to be taken seriously around here, and it'd be a hell of a lot easier if you'd keep out of my territory. If I need your help, I'll fucking ask for it." He clipped a rappelling cartridge to his wrist, then took aim and fired at the condominium towers across the street. Giving the line a couple of sharp tugs, he
straightened and stood on the railing. "You'd better get your beauty sleep, Surge--I wouldn't want you to jeopardize your precious paycheck." And then he was gone, swinging away into the night.
Alex watched long after he'd disappeared, his cheeks burning. "Fuck you, nutjob."
I'd keep reading, and if I liked what I saw, I'd ask for more but I'd also ask for a synopsis just to make sure both the Green Shadow and I know what evil lurks in the heart of the novel. One thing you won't know but I do is that Harcourt is publishing a very funny book about the "real" lives of superheros. Third Class Hero I think it's called by Charles Yu. It got a big push in the Harcourt pr stuff for the upcoming season and it was announced at Publishers Lunch. I'd be looking at this to see how it compares.