I have had an idea for a story in my head for the past two years or so and I want it to finally take shape. It is a fiction intended for manga readers. However, I would like some feedback and help before actually taking on this commitment. Please provide me with some constructive feedback on my concept so that I can get an idea of what the general community expects/thinks about this concept. I know I can't do it enough justice so I need a little help from you guys to give me different perspectives and bounce off some ideas. Thanks for your time.
Another component of this project is that I am trying to squeeze some time out to learn how to draw artistic manga, so that I can make a few illustrations (manga art style) of important scenes.
****Also if you are interested in being a part of this project, please PM me, I will tell you what I have planned in terms of general plot and characters and character development and we can discuss on how to make it better. If you are kind enough to volunteer to do some illustrations for this project, please pm me as well.****
Concept: This will be a story about American criminal underworld, I realize this isn't a theme many of you can open your mind towards, however, I truly believe this theme will be great material for the story if written right. Themes will include: waring factions, conflicting perspectives on society (I know its a bit ambitious), supernatural powers, power and authority.
Background HistoryRise of the Underworld
The story takes place in an alternate modern world where criminal underworld is more powerful and prominent than in our own modern world. During the 1950s (of the alternate world), a powerful Italian American gangster expanded all criminal operations by creating a pact with the government of the United States: the mafia conducted business with foreign factions, bringing money into the country, and help the government control the exploding population through fear and wealth. In turn, the government tolerates slightly more mafia operations as long as the mafia cooperates in eliminating anyone who disturbs this balance. The man who created this pact successfully keeps the underworld in control and thus, crime became politics, politics became crime.
Fading of Mafia Presence
However, the natural evil in men turns this situation on its heels. The government got greedy and used the mafia to rule with an iron grip. While the mafia attempts larger scale crimes no one dared committing before. By the late 60s, North America, especially the United States became regions of constant power struggles between criminal organizations. During this period of much espionage, bribery and betrayals, very few people were recruited into the underworld due to lack of trust and high mortality rate. The mafia became smaller and smaller as the wars raged on until it eventually faded back into shadowy secrecy shrouding the underworld. During the 80s, the North American underworld only consisted of 30 organizations or clans illegally collecting money for the government.
Despite the lack of mafia operations in the 90s, many infrastructures and footholds created during the violent days of the past remains. Each clan still holds a territory of its own, and their members enjoy freedom and wealth under the pact with the government created decades ago. Many military innovations from the waring period remains in service today. These include biologically enhanced soldiers, bulletproof clothing, various enhancements to guns, reintroduction of bladed weapons and many unconfirmed supernatural weapons.
Our story starts in the 21st century, following a young orphan working under a Don (boss) of New York. As he quickly rises to power, he becomes inclined to make change upon discovering frustrating truths about the world. Along the way he receives unworldly aid and faces many obstacles.
- Planning to give main character and his close companions supernatural powers.
- Main character will of unidentifiable race, comes into play in a very important part of who he is.
- Most male protagonists will be bishounen.
- Considering writing this story in the perspective of two male protagonists who have very different roles in the story.
- Lots of hidden supernatural powers and lots of encounters between the extraordinary and modern society.
- Currently trying to learn how to draw so I can make illustrations for this.
***************BEGINNING OF CHAPTER***************
In a small orphanage of Sicily*: 2005 A.D.
Ever since I can remember, I felt out of place. Everyone treated me differently, looked at me differently... even among the other orphans at the orphanage, I knew I was the irregular. Somehow I know the apparent everyday life I observe around me isn’t everything. Getting educated so that you get a job so that you can get paid so that you can be enslaved by consumerism so that you can satisfy your material desire, socializing with peers so that you can get attention so that you can find partners of the opposite sex so that you can satisfy your social and sexual desire, and overachieving so that you can get recognition so that you can be better than others so that you can satisfy your competitive desire, to me, these things seemed superficial and… primitive. There must be more to existence than this… maybe… maybe these thoughts stem from the fact that I am actually supposed to become a great messiah or innovator that changes the world. Or maybe I have finally succumbed to loneliness and social rejection and refuse to accept the society that does not want me… damn… this is confusing…
Tonight, I abandon such childish thoughts because I finally became a part of society… well… the darker part of society.
The solemn rain poured down on me as I wandered around the ruins of an ancient church near the orphanage. The church sits on top of a grassy cliff; its back faces the blue sea. Moss covers the broken stone walls; eroded statues lifelessly stare at the ground. The cries of the sea birds and the bashing of the waves make this serene location like a scene out of a fairy tale. I have been coming here since I was very young. However, this time I noticed a cavern entrance blocked off by large boulders. Out of curiosity, I walked over and examined this cavern. As soon as my hands fell upon a boulder, the entire set collapsed into numerous smaller pieces at my foot revealing a dark and spacey interior of the cavern.
As if being drawn by some strange force, I wandered into the cavern and discovered what seems to be a gigantic metallic gate accompanied by two giant angel statues carrying beautifully decorated swords each with the other palm faced upwards as if receiving something from the air. As I walked closer, black flames lit off from the open palms of each angel and the gate slowly opened. What in the hell is going on?! My mind was completely bewildered as my legs moved themselves forward. Inside was a very well preserved and almost untouched, circular altar of some sort with vivid images on the walls; I couldn’t tell whether they were paintings, carvings, tile mosaic or any other art form. This place is incredible… The most prominent feature of the altar was a human sized obsidian angel in the very center, facing towards me. I first examined the battles on the walls, strangely they seemed to be representing different time periods as the warriors’ uniforms and weaponry were vastly different from image to image, some even had modern guns. Is that a musket? Is that a Thompson*? When were these images created? I stopped a few feet before the angel and for a moment, we exchanged stares until I finally noticed the light source illuminating us from above grew brighter and brighter then quickly dimmed back to normal. I looked up and found a strange glowing orb spinning in place above me. Incredible… is this true magic..? Suddenly, something within me urged me to head back to the orphanage and I quickly left the altar, the cavern and the ruins.
I heard the breaking of windows and explosions coming from the orphanage as I closed in. Oh no… what happened?
“Hey! There’s a kid!” a masculine voice said in Italian.
“What? I thought we got all the orphans out before the fighting started?” said another.
There were about 20 men in suits standing a few blocks away from the orphanage. Many were smoking cigarettes and some were outer leather jackets but all were carrying guns. Underneath their feet were some dead bodies of well dressed men. The Cosa Nostra*!!
“What are you doing here kid? Didn’t you leave with the staff of the orphanage? It’s dangerous here, are you trying to get yourself killed?” He was a strong-looking middle aged man with seasoned sideburns and shaved facial hair.
“…I just came back… what happened? Where did everyone go?” My head started to fill with worry and distress. What will happen to me? Can I still live in the orphanage?
“Do you live there?” He pointed at the orphanage.
“Bad luck kid, we had to cause some damage around here. The orphanage’s director was a former boss of the Cavallo* clan, he was disturbing our business by going to the authorities so we had to eliminate him.” He pointed at a dead body.
“So what about the orphanage?”
Suddenly an older man with white hair and a jacket slung over his shoulders came up to us. He smiled at me as if realizing I was someone he knew.
“What is your name son?” His voice was clear and resonant.
“Your last name?”
“…I’m an orphan… I never had parents, so I don’t know.”
Suddenly, the old man's face lit up.
“Ah… well, would you care to have a word with me?” He waved the younger gangster away.
What does he want?
“You seem to be a youth full of potential, what are you doing wasting your life in this orphanage?”
“How do you know me? We have only just met.”
He chuckled a bit then continued.
“My son, I have come in contact with all kinds of people in my many years, I have a gift of judgment. Now tell me, does this really satisfy you? Average schooling, average peers to socialize with, average unexciting life of an orphan no one cares about.”
“….” He’s definitely got a point.
He signaled for one of other gangsters to bring a package to him. He then took a slight bow.
“Let me introduce myself. I am Alfonso Capone*, Don* of the Capone clan.”
The Capone clan! The legendary American mafia clan which has survived the warring period* of American organized crime. Every Sicilian knows their stories and tells them to children as bad examples.
“How would you like to join us? We rarely recruit these days, but I see something in you.” He took the package from the gangster who brought it and handed it to me.
“Why? How are you so sure when you just met me?”
He smiled, wrinkling his cheeks. “Remember, I have a gift for judgment.”
I stared long and hard at the package, the other Capone members smiled at me with curiosity and acceptance.
Why are they being so nice to me? Aren’t they supposed to be the bad guys?
At this time, some staff of the orphanage herded the children back into the building as others made administrative phone calls. I stared at the package as I headed back along with the other children.
“We will be returning to America next week. Come to the church in the center of the town when you have made up your mind.” Don Capone said as he entered the backseat of an expensive looking black car.
For the next few days the only things I thought about was the Don’s offer. Me? A mafia recruit? Why?....Why not? I really started to think about my future for the first time, can I study hard and become a legitimate businessman? A lawyer? A scientist? Or do I join the Don in murdering, stealing and extorting? I opened the package, inside was a black suit, a hand gun with no bullets, and a copy of the pact between the U.S. government and Don Corleone himself that changed the influence of organized crime forever. What a history altering motion. I stared at that pact as I dived into thought…
On the day the Capone clan was leaving, I walked towards the church.
Maybe… I can make change. Maybe I am special.
I see the church now, nothing impressive, white, small and old.
There isn’t anything meaningful about organized crime, but for me, living the average life of a businessman, lawyer or scientist is the same as waiting for death, forever tormented by my own insignificance.
A few townsmen gave me frightened looks as I passed by in my new tale-telling suit.
Power, ambition and most importantly opportunity to make significant change.... The altar, the coincidence of meeting Don Capone, they are signs, given to me by my own destiny.
I swung opened the door with both arms wide apart.
My destiny is set.
“I have made my choice.”
***************END OF CHAPTER***************
*Sicily: A part of Italy.
*1 Thompson: An automatic weapon commonly used by American Italian organized crime during the first half of the 20th century. Use google to learn more about the gun.
*2 Cosa Nostra: Name used to distinguish Sicilian mafia from other mafias. Almost like a formal name for American Italian mafia.
*3 Cavallo: Last name of the director of the orphanage. Also the name of his criminal clan. Means "horse" in Italian.
*4 Luciano: Name of the narrator/protagonist. Derived from the roman Lucius a common name used in the first millennium C.E.
*5 Don: Means boss. Honorific title for the boss of a clan/mafia family.
*6 Alfonso Capone: Name of the boss of the Capone clan.
*7 Warring Period: Referring to the late 60s and 70s of this fictional world. Please read the background history more more information.