Dec 30 2007

List of Superpowers

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

Generic Physical Superpowers

  1. Superstrength
  2. Speed
  3. Durability
  4. Agility/reflexes
  5. Healing/regeneration
  6. Supersenses
    1. Sight/hearing/smell/taste/touch
    2. Sensing danger (spider-sense)
    3. Sensing other types of events (dishonesty, murder, etc.)
  7. The ability to remove senses (like inflicting blindness, etc.)
  8. Longevity/immortality

 

Forms of Transportation

  1. Climbing/wall-crawling
  2. Swimming/water-breathing
  3. Flight
  4. Teleportation
  5. Exceptional leaping (e.g. the Hulk)
  6. Phasing/intangibility

 

Time-Based Abilities

  1. Temporal manipulation (like The Matrix)
  2. Time travel
  3. Prophecy

 

Elemental Control/Manipulation

  1. Basic elements (fire, water and/or ice, earth, wind)
  2. Electricity
  3. Light
  4. Darkness and/or shadows
  5. Gravity
  6. Magnetic forces
  7. Radiation
  8. Energy
  9. Sound
  10. Nature

 

Generic Mental Abilities

  1. Skills and/or knowledge
    1. Popular categories: science, mechanical, computer/electronics, weapons-handling/military, driving, occult/magical.
  2. Super-intelligence
  3. Resourcefulness (“I’m never more than a carton of baking soda away from a doomsday device”)

 

Psychic Superpowers

  1. Telekinesis (moving objects mentally)
  2. Telepathy (reading minds)
  3. Mind-to-mind communication
  4. Mind-control
  5. Possession (total mental control)
  6. Memory manipulation (may include creation/alteration/deletion)
  7. Mentally generated weaponry/objects
  8. Mindblast
  9. Ability to locate someone mentally
  10. Forcefields
  11. “Psychometry”–the ability to learn things about the past or future of an object by touching it

 

Biological Control

  1. Acid/poison
  2. Controlling plants and/or animals
  3. Shapeshifting (animals).
  4. Shapeshifting (people)–mainly useful for disguises/stealth.  

 

Miscellaneous Talents

  1. Elasticity
  2. Self-destruction
  3. Self-liquification
  4. Gaseous form
  5. Growth/shrinking
  6. Self-duplication
  7. Invisibility
  8. Absorbing someone else’s powers
  9. Negating someone else’s powers
  10. Luck manipulation (good luck for hero and/or bad luck for enemies)
  11. Illusions
  12. Pocket space–the ability to hold and remove objects so that only the user can retrieve them.  It could be used for carrying really heavy equipment, hiding valuable and/or stolen and/or highly explosive goods, concealing weapons, smuggling candy into movie theaters, removing a hostile explosive, etc.  
  13. Ability to control density

 

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1,475 responses so far

1,475 Responses to “List of Superpowers”

  1. KooLon 01 Apr 2008 at 7:53 am

    Thanks! Can you add more unique superhero abilities that are not common to other heroes? I’m making my own superhero story, but I have no idea what abilities to give my superhero. I need a unique power for my main character. Your website has helped helped me a lot with some of my other characters. Thanks a lot!

  2. B. Macon 01 Apr 2008 at 10:50 am

    You could try altering these powers by changing their scope in some crazy way. For example, in Read or Die!, the main character has telekinesis that applies only to paper. Magneto has telekinesis that only works on metal. Maybe the character has a pocket-space which only applies to one category of items (e.g. only metal, only small items, only weapons, only items related to Green Lantern service, only badass things, only magical items, whatever).

    If you take a generic power and only allow the superhero to use it on some random category of material, that could probably create a fresh-feeling character.

  3. J.Ron 11 Oct 2008 at 9:23 am

    What’s a good weakness for someone with super speed?

  4. B. Macon 11 Oct 2008 at 9:36 am

    Superfast heroes rely on good footing and would probably need a lot of space to do things like turns. (For a real-life analogy, drivers take turns slowly). The villain could take advantage of that by building his lair so that there’s relatively little room for someone to dodge bullets and lasers. He could also make the floor slippery, so that the hero will lose his footing.

    If you’d like to get more technical, speedy heroes would create a tremendous amount of friction when they ran. Friction creates heat with the ground. The villain might slick the floor with flammable oil so that the hero would set himself or bystanders on fire if he moved too quickly. If your villain is very technically savvy, he could play around with gravity. It’s extremely difficult to move around in a no-gravity environment and a high-gravity environment would also be very tricky.

    Finally, you could look at what the hero is actually able to do when he’s superfast. For example, what he could he do against someone in a suit of armor? Probably not that much. If he tries punching the armor, he’s more likely to injure himself than his enemy. Generally, a superfast hero is only powerful when the enemy has exposed vulnerabilities. The villain should try to remove any vulnerabilities he has, probably with armor or something similar. Then the hero has to improvise, which could be interesting and dramatic.

  5. Holliequon 22 Nov 2008 at 11:35 am

    I had an idea for a character, sort of based on a “balance” idea. Her right hand heals but her left hand withers/injures (I’m not really sure how to describe it). The idea is that she can’t use her healing on herself (so, no regeneration) because it’s always counterbalanced by her other powers. And these powers are always “switched on”, so if she grabs hold of somebody with her left hand she could seriously hurt them or even kill them if she held on for long enough – except the person was also in contact with her right hand, which goes back to the whole balance thingy.

    To mix things up slightly, I was thinking of making it so she’s left-handed, and therefore whenever she automatically goes to touch somebody or do something with her left hand she has to check herself and make sure she’s not going to cause injury.

    I can’t really think of any other limits/problems to this apart from exhaustion, but that’s a pretty abvious one. Is this enough, or do I need to come up with some? Any suggestions?

  6. Ragged Boyon 22 Nov 2008 at 1:03 pm

    When you say her right hand hurts people, how do you mean? Does it drain them, poision them, weaken them or just cause them pain until they die?

    I essentially like the power, the balance idea is very fresh. She has no control over her powers, so that would hurt you or. Do her powers come with a side-effect and can they be controlled/halted by wearing gloves. Can her destructive or healing powers be manifested into anything, like a ball oh healing energy?

    I think a good factor that she has is that she is essentially human with a superboost, this could lots of improvised scenes where she has to think on her feet, but this can also be bad, what if the villian is cross town and she doesn’t have any mode of super transportation to get to him?

  7. Holliequon 22 Nov 2008 at 1:24 pm

    You raise some very good points. I was thinking that her powers could be controlled by wearing gloves, because otherwise I could see her developing into this angsty character who says “woe!” a lot. Organic material only.

    I’m still not sure about the left hand, but the idea is in general that it hurts (uh, yeah >>;).

    Draining has potential, because that could give her a boost by stealing their energy and ultimately make her feel stronger. I detect potential angst, though. The idea i had in mind was sort of like aging – I suppose weakening with an unhealthy dose of pain for good measure would be the best thing. And easy to describe.

    I didn’t want her powers to be used without touch – so no healing-ball-of-energy, no destructive-blast. On the other hand, she was supposed to fill a semi-support role so I don’t think this is a massive problem.

    Your point about the villain on the other side of town is a good one, but that’s part of the fun/challenge. ;) Also, the idea I have in my head places her as part of a team.

    Good point about the left-handedness. I may leave that out – or even make her ambidextrous, lol.

  8. Silason 24 Nov 2008 at 8:56 am

    I was trying to decide what my main character’s minor power should be, and this is what I came up with. I’d just like general thoughts or opinions on it, please. Maybe suggestions of how it should be different etc.

    Okay, so she can see through other people’s eyes. She can’t hear their thoughts, or hear what is going on around the person she’s seeing. She has to have had some sort of physical contact with the person in order to establish her relationship of being able to see them. The power is very draining for her at first. (She has to build up endurance to use it for greater lengths of times) Since it’s basically her minor power, it’s the first one she learns she has.

    I think this is a good minor power because it obviously has its limitations. For example, if she’s trying to find someone, she can see what they see, but she would have to know what she was looking at to determine where they were. Also, when her she sees into other people, her eyes change. I’m thinking either she takes on their eye color for a more subtle effect or her irises completely disappear for a more dramatic effect.

    What do you think? I’d appreciate any help.

  9. Bretton 24 Nov 2008 at 9:44 am

    Very interesting. It sounds similar to the Eragon scrying concept, where you can only see what you are familiar with, but with a slight reversal. I find your take on this refreshing. But I would reccomend adding something to make it a bit more visceral, and make it somewhat easier for your heroine to identify what she’s seeing. I’ve been advised that smell and touch are very visceral senses, so maybe your heroine can also feel what the other person feels, or smell what they smell. Feeling would probably be better, because it offers more clues, is more dramatic, and seems more useful. For example, if your character was looking for a missing friend, and felt pain, that would increase the urgency of finding the person. Also, another potential weakness is that if the person she’s seeing through blacks out, she’ll either go temporarily blind (until she returns to her own perspective), or she’ll also go unconscious temporarily. Alsom she could be threatened with death if the other person dies while she’s in vision.

    All thoughts welcome.

  10. Dallason 10 Dec 2008 at 5:12 pm

    What about a powerless superhero?

    Not even at Batman standards, just below Punisher. The character in my book only survives because he has enough willpower to fuel a car. He uses blunt objects he finds around, or chemicals he mixes. He’s not extremely strong, or big for his age.

    He feels like he’s ‘the only good guy in a sea of drugs and gangs and murder and he’s the only one that can save his city,’ that kind of thing. I have the origin story down: his GF gets drugged, raped, and kills herself, and he could have saved her if he hadn’t been afraid. But what about for mere vigilantes? Any advice?

    I’m trying to work around him not using a gun, but it’s hard when all the gangsters in the story have them and he doesn’t. The book’s target audience is mature readers, because I’m trying to make it as realistic as possible. So when people get mad, they swear, and drugs, partying and sex are involved.

    I’d appreciate any advice.

  11. Ragged Boyon 10 Dec 2008 at 5:36 pm

    I, personally, am not a big fan of powerless heroes, but they are very workable and they can be very interesting. They have to improvise at all times, so that would make for alot of interesting scenes.

    My recommendation would be not to kill off the girlfriend, but have her severely changed. Experiences like rape can drastically alter personality. Maybe making her more closed off and she doesn’t want to be intimate (not just sexually) with the main character. If you wanted to go to EXTREMES, you could have her go into severe repression so much so she gives herself amnesia, and forgets the MC.

    It would seem this character has some strong connections and is very intelligent (burning drugs, putting gangs against each other). I think giving him a degree of gadgets would be more plausible, but you don’t have to go all out (retractable zip-lines, cloaking devices). If he doesn’t want to kill maybe a small tranquillizer gun or firing taser. Or you could move into gun territory, but know your facts about guns before you use them.

    “But what a bout for mere vililantees?” I’m not sure what you meant by this. If you meant “more” vigilantes, I would recommend a small team seeing as he is trying to accomplish alot for one person. If you meant “mere” vigilantes, as in weaker heroes, that is also very workable, it allows you to improvise alot of scenes, which is very dramatically appealing.

  12. Ragged Boyon 06 Feb 2009 at 9:41 am

    I think your heroes lean towards more natural and elemental based powers, so you may want a counter-intuitive villian, maybe a villian with technological abilities. Alternatively, you could go with an opposite force of nature like fire and heat.

    I like your heroes they sound like a fresh bunch, although I do agree they may not be melee suited. But, I suspect you can use Wilma and Wayne as meleeists, particulary Wayne. And possibly Joshua.

    I’m a little concerned about Bre’anna, what can she contribute by having uncontrolllable noxious gas? Does she ever gain control? What else can she do with her gas?

    Could you give me a general idea of your plot? Maybe that would give me some ideas for an appropriate villain.

  13. Holliequon 06 Feb 2009 at 10:08 am

    I’d reccommend changing Bre’anna into Brianna. Depending on her backstory, I think this a bit more of a natural sounding name.

    Joshua has the power to manipulate air. How exactly would this be helpful? What could he do? The only thing I can think of is that he can stop air from getting into peoples’ lungs, but that wouldn’t make for very good fight scenes. Also, how would you describe this in a novel/show this in a comic book visual? You may want to tweak this power slightly so it’s a little easier to use.

    Wayne’s powers seem very plant-based, which is a good start. However, I’m not really feeling ‘turn himself into a plant-like substance’. I think this overlaps a lot with his ability to copy plant abilities and I’d suggest simply getting rid of it.

    I don’t think Bre’anna’s abilties will be very useful. Heck, they seem more likely to be a liability than anything. Unless my memory fails me, chlorine gas is what they used in the trenches in World War 1, and it’s VERY dangerous and often fatal. I don’t think that I’d want anybody like that near me. I would reccommend changing her powers (maybe something more simple, like creating poisons in her body) or give her some sort of control over the gas.

    I feel that Wilma’s powers will be hard to describe or show in a visual. Also, something about your description of her powers feels a little off to me. Sound is basically particle vibrations, right? You could tweak your description a little to fit this (for example, she has slight control over particle movement and can prevent them from entering the ear, which causes deafness). Ha, my physics isn’t great.

    This is just a minor nitpick, but I think Wayne and Wilma’s names sound pretty similar. I’d recommend changing Wilma to make it easier to distinguish the characters.

    As for the villain, I wouldn’t recommend a fire-based villain, simply because it seems to have been done in a lot of other things. Depending on your origin story, how do you feel about a more psychic- or technological-based villain?

  14. Ragged Boyon 06 Feb 2009 at 10:32 am

    Holliequ, I agree on your other points, but one stuck out to me.

    I’m pretty sure there are quite a few intersting things that can be done with wind abilities. Pushing, pullling, flying, forming weapons, and maybe constructs, tornadoes, etc. I think with a little creativity Joshua’s air ablities can be interesting. Although, I’m not sure exactly how you would depict this in a novel.

    Maybe:

    “Joshua gestured with hand, sending a ball of air hurdling at this opponent. Gesturing upward, he created a current that lifted him off the ground.”

    Or something like that, but I suspect all that gesturing my get annoying. Alternatively, he could control his air through speech, this may be ok, if it doesn’t come off like an anime with all the ability yelling

    I like your idea of creating poisons from her body, but as a slight tweak, maybe she can create a variety of gases. Sleeping gas, knockout gas, dizzy gas, tear gas, seering gas, and maybe truth gas.

    Thinking back a fire villian may not be all that fresh (I find fire a very uninteresting ability. Conversly, I had once dreamt up a hero who uses purely heat instead of fire), but I’d definitely advocate the technological villian.

  15. mysticguston 06 Feb 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Thanks for the help. I’m thinking about making a novel and maybe a comic here or there. I like to draw. :) This is very helpful. I’m thinking about what ragged boy said about the different gases and I think that’s a good idea. I think maybe Wilma and Bre’anna could gain more control later on and I think I came up with a good villain.

    I thought about having a guy who absorbs a lot of people’s abilities but can only retain one, which is okay… but when when he absorbs ability augmentation he can supercharge his ability so he can recall abilities he already absorbed and use them on a higher scale than anyone who originally had the ability.

    What makes him bad is that an alien race came to Earth looking for specimens to plant their eggs in (when the eggs mature they become they permanently take over the bodies they inhabit), so when he got injected and they found out he had abilities they started looking for superhumans for the queen to lay her eggs in. But when they are immune, they force them to mine ores to build ships and weapons to capture the rest of the human race. So please tell me if you think this is a good idea and be brutal… I will keep updating.

  16. Ragged Boyon 06 Feb 2009 at 2:59 pm

    So basically the villian is an Ability Theif, he can absorb a multitude of powers, but only use one at a time. When he uses the power, it’s stronger than the person who originally controlled it. Ok, that sounds like it can work as long as there are more people with powers instead of the main characters.

    I’m confused on the origin of his evilness, the way you worded it confuses me. So when he got injected with the egg, they found out that humans had powers, thus they looked for a sperhuman to implant their queen in.

    So basically, he was immune and they forced him to work in a mine. That doesn’t explain why he’s evil. Is he working for the aliens? or is he on his own? did he ever even get out of the mine?

    Could you re-explain it to me?

  17. mysticguston 06 Feb 2009 at 4:02 pm

    The main villain has the ability to copy powers but can only retain one at a time. Until that is he copies the ability of superpower augmentation(ability supercharging) so he used it on himself allowing him to recall his abilities he’s absorbed. When he got injected with the embryo it took control of his body. After seeing that his host had an ability, they decided to find other superhumans to inject.

  18. Chi.Rhoon 17 Feb 2009 at 8:23 pm

    If I use gene splicing to explain the origins of a chracters abilities…would the character have to resemble the animal used to grant the hero abilities?

  19. B. Macon 18 Feb 2009 at 7:50 pm

    CR, I think readers would be okay with him not looking like the animal he shares genes with. For example, Spiderman has some genes from a spider but doesn’t look like a spider.

  20. Chi.Rhoon 22 Feb 2009 at 10:11 am

    Hey guys….I was wondering are some tips on creating characters and making sure that their primary and secondary powers work together….For example would it be pointless to create a character who can turn invisible and have superspeed? Thanx

  21. Ragged Boyon 22 Feb 2009 at 9:23 pm

    Well, usually when you have a character with a primary and secondary power, the primary is usually generic. This gives you the opportunity to give them an exotic secondary power. Wallcrawling and web spinning is cool, but spider sense takes it over the egde (in a good way).

    Alternately, you could choose a primary power and edit it to make it more interesting or exotic. For example, telekinesis but only over paper or marbles. Or summoning, but only things that you have drawn before.

    I hope this helps. I think B. Mac can give you more insight.

  22. B. Macon 22 Feb 2009 at 9:51 pm

    Hmm… as a rule, I think exotic powers require more attention from the audience, particularly if they have unusual parameters (like the ability to use telekinesis but only on paper or metal).

    If a power requires a lot of audience attention and/or explanation, I think it’s important to make it front-and-center. For example, Spiderman’s webs are his most distinctive and most-used power (besides the more generic agility/strength), but Superman’s eye-beams and icy breath are just minor tricks that rarely see action.

    Invisibility is a good power, and superspeed is ok (although superspeed will make it especially difficult to write in fights with unpowered criminals). However, I’m not sure about the combination. First, they don’t seem to go together very well. Second, I don’t think they’re very complementary. For example, Wolverine’s agility and claws are complementary because he can work in crazy acrobatics as he tries to claw someone. Likewise, Spiderman can do acrobatics or wall-crawl as he tries to shoot webs.

    I think invisibility would work better for something like a stealth theme, or maybe an intangible ghost theme. Superspeed is more limited. Usually, the character is just a speedster (like the Flash or Quicksilver).

  23. Brittanyon 02 Mar 2009 at 8:44 am

    Hi, great site! Well, I’m starting to write a super hero novel. Here’s the backstory:

    After the Cold War, much of the nuclear waste had to be dumped. They picked five remote areas across the country and dumped tons of this radioactive waste in lakes, swamps, forests, etc. For a while it was left undisturbed until population grew in these areas. People started going missing. Myths and legends were created around strange stories of people with extreme powers, or deformities.

    How does that sound so far?

  24. Brittanyon 02 Mar 2009 at 11:11 am

    It’s set in the present time. The main character is a 16 year old guy named Jayden Smithson. After both his father and older brother go missing, the father during a delivery (he was a trucker) and his brother during a camping trip, his mother remarries and has another son, Tyler. Well, Jayden’s stepfather gets leukemia and they are forced to move from Boston, MA to the small town of Greenwood Lake, NY because of Jayden’s mother’s economic turmoil. Greenwood Lake is one of the the dumping zones for the nuclear waste.

    How does that sound? I’m having more trouble coming up with names and powers. I’m not sure if the names of the heroes should somehow relate to their power. I’m not sure if that makes them more corny.

  25. Wadeon 02 Mar 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Thanks OK like i said my super human story is about five teenagers who discover they have abilities this is set in a world where superheroes only existed in comics or thats what people think i have got the the characters made now save for they powers and i just can’t decided what to do can any one give me some suggestions

  26. B. Macon 02 Mar 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Wade, what are their personalities and backstories like?

  27. B. Macon 02 Mar 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Brittany, five separate areas is a lot of ground to cover in a novel. You might find it easier to work with something like three: two to explain where the heroes come from and one to explain where the villain(s) come from.

  28. Wadeon 02 Mar 2009 at 5:27 pm

    Thanks a lot. Well, so far I thought of this. It’s about five teens from fifteen to sixteen that go to the same school. They are all very different. There’s Dan, who is popular, smart and handsome but is very arrogant and a bit of a sociopath. Jake is a rebellious and criminal teen. Emma is sweet and naive, while Stacy is enigmatic, elusive and desirable. Lastly, Will is Dan’s friend, an unconfident and weird day-dreamer. There are other elements like the genetic research company Honex. I’m having some problems with the powers and origins, partly because there are so many powers to choose from. It’s really hard.

  29. Chi.Rhoon 13 Mar 2009 at 8:50 am

    What kind of limitations would you put on a memory manipulator so that they wouldn’t seem too powerful? I mean for a person that can create/alter/delete memories. Thanks.

  30. B. Macon 13 Mar 2009 at 9:33 am

    I don’t think that the character would likely be overpowered, given that his powers seem kind of useless in combat. The problem is that memory manipulation is confusing and usually unsatisfying. (See #4 here). For example, a regular superhero has to use cunning and guile to protect his secret identity. That’s interesting! A psychic that can delete memories doesn’t really have much on the line when it comes to protecting his secret identity. Having the ability to erase memories makes the stakes much lower.

    Here are some limitations you could use to shake things up.
    –The psychic can only delete memories with the consent of the target. (This will force him to use persuasion or maybe coercion rather than just rely on his power. When a hero just relies on a power without any adding any sort of creativity or cunning, it tends to be unsatisfying).
    –The psychic can only delete memories he knows about. This will force him to do some investigation on his own.
    –Be really careful with the ability to add memories. That power tends to be confusing as hell. Who remembers which fake memories? It’ll probably be hard for readers to keep it all together.
    –A distance restriction. If the hero has to touch the target to use his power, it might make things more interesting. Also, if the power looks really unpleasant and makes the target start convulsing or act similarly agitated, it would probably be more interesting. What does the hero do if the target is in broad daylight? That’s an obstacle that will give you an opportunity to let the hero try a creative solution.

  31. Chi.Rhoon 13 Mar 2009 at 11:00 am

    What are some cool ways to put a twist on teleportation? I was thinking about a character who can teleport through shadows. But do you guys have any other ideas that maybe cool? Like mirrors or water. I might make a character who can teleport through water. That would be tight, now that I think about it.

  32. Tomon 13 Mar 2009 at 11:05 am

    Maybe he can only teleport through certain ‘nodes’. For example (but don’t use this example) he can only teleport through computers. I say don’t use that because almost every home has a computer nowadays so it’s not much of a restriction. But something along those lines. Maybe something totally random or crazy like he can only teleport between public swimming pools, or something ‘plausible’ like he can only teleport between TVs tuned to a certain channel. Either way, teleportation is a pretty powerful superpower so it needs some kind of restriction to keep it in check (Nightcrawler’s range is very limited, for example).

  33. Chi.Rhoon 13 Mar 2009 at 11:58 am

    Yeah, I understand. But there are also very powerful teleporters like the Vanisher (Marvel) and Misfit (DC). So I think there is some sort of balance. What kind of limitations would you put on a shadow teleporter besides distance?

  34. B. Macon 13 Mar 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Hmm. The obvious restriction would be that he can only teleport into places with shadows. (That’s not much of a problem at night, but eventually his enemies will figure out that leaving lights on all the time will screw him). He might need to have line-of-sight with the place he’s teleporting to. He might need to have visited or seen the place in question (such as in Jumper). The power may have a cooldown time, so that he can’t just instantly teleport away as soon as the going gets rough. There might be a limit on how often he could teleport.

    He might have problems with relativity. For example, if you jump off of a train that’s standing still, you’re fine. If you jump off of a train that’s doing 90 mph, you’re moving so fast relative to the ground that you will be seriously hurt. Likewise, if he teleports from an area of low-speed to an area of high-speed (or vice versa), he’s going to get slammed into something that’s moving a lot more quickly than he is. If relativity applies, he’d have to be very careful about teleporting onto or off of a moving vehicle (unless he somehow has approximately the same speed and direction before he makes the teleport).

  35. Ragged Boyon 25 Mar 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Jumper? The name says Justice. ;-)

    Ok, I’m bringing back my Masquerade story for a second. I’m changing his origin from the drug to the mask. His powers stim from a neurological boost he recieves when he puts on the mask. I’ll probably have other characters use drugs for their powers. That should clear up the controversy with the “drugs for good use” issue.

  36. Chi.Rhoon 27 Mar 2009 at 1:08 pm

    So I have a question. Is it possible to have characters that seem to be extremely powerful and still have a good story? My belief is that there can be a balance. Every character can’t be super powered but there would be people who have certain abilities and multiple abilities that make them more powerful than other people. So what are your thoughts on that?

  37. Chi.Rhoon 27 Mar 2009 at 1:09 pm

    And when i say every character cant be super powered i mean every character cant be superman. Which is why you have the batman and green arrows. lol

  38. Holliequon 27 Mar 2009 at 1:34 pm

    @Chi.Ro: I think it’s possible. In fact, I believe most of Stefan’s plot revolves around this idea. Some characters are probably going to be more powerful than others. As long as the difference isn’t huge, I don’t think that would be a massive problem. Of course, the weaker characters should also be valuable.

    For the purposes of your story, I think it would be more interesting to use characters who aren’t extremely powerful. A weaker character who overcomes an adversary will probably come across as more sympathetic.

  39. Chi.Rhoon 27 Mar 2009 at 1:56 pm

    So is Superman considered a bad character because he is extremely powerful? Or the Silver Surfer for example?

  40. Holliequon 27 Mar 2009 at 1:59 pm

    I’m not very familiar with the Silver Surfer, because I’m not a comic book reader. But yes, Superman is overpowered (super-strength, -speed AND invulnerability?)

  41. Chulanceon 28 Mar 2009 at 8:08 pm

    Also, how can you make someone who can manipulate time interesting? For example if armed men break in he can freeze time and leave or slow the bullets down in time. One of my antiheroes has that ability.

  42. B. Macon 29 Mar 2009 at 12:48 am

    Place a tight limit on how long he can freeze time. Maybe a few minutes.

  43. Tomon 29 Mar 2009 at 9:53 am

    See Peter Petrelli from Heroes for how NOT to do a mimic. By season 3 he was pretty much a Swiss army knife of superpowers. Invisibility, flight, super-strength, lightning, time manipulation, healing factor, telepathy, telekinesis, precognition. Yeah, he was unstoppable.

    That was a shame, because they handled his powers so well in season 1. It took him about 16 episodes to learn how to use his powers; he had to either be close to the power’s owner, or think hard about them. He had to train with Doctor Who-I mean… the Invisible Man…I mean Claud Raynes to learn how to use his powers.

    But they fixed his overpoweredness quite nicely in Volume 4. They made him lose all of his powers and now he can only have one ability at a time, and must touch people to take their ability. So if he hugs his brother he’ll be able to fly, but then if he slaps Matt Parkman he will lose his flying ability and be able to read minds.

    Yeah, power mimicry needs strong limitations.

  44. Tomon 22 Apr 2009 at 1:45 pm

    What do you think of giving my non-powered hero gloves and boots that enhance strength? By that I don’t mean with them on she’ll be able to lift heavy objects with ease, but when she punches and kicks, which are her main ways of attacking, the blows will be enhanced, sending ordinary people flying and causing damage to superpowered beings, something she normally wouldn’t be able to do.

    Also, what do you think of giving her an extendable staff like Robin from Teen Titans?

    She needs something to help her fight crime other than a black belt in Karate.

  45. Dforceon 22 Apr 2009 at 1:59 pm

    I think the gloves could work– though, you should keep in mind what could happen if she were to loose them/break them during a battle. Or what if someone stole them? Or accidentally tried them on? The intrigue goes on…

    Melee weapons are nice, I think. Robin was the more bad-a with one; and one of my leads also has a bo staff. Using that should be fine, but have you thought about other melee weapons? There are maces, hammers, nunchucks, swords (another character of mine may use one– still debating that), whips, boomerangs; and does it have to be extendable? These are just suggestions though.

    Is she a thinker? Does she lay traps for her foes? There are other ways to bring down crime.

  46. B. Macon 22 Apr 2009 at 2:00 pm

    I assume she’ll have superstrength and maybe some agility as well. I don’t think she needs a weapon.

  47. Yogion 22 Apr 2009 at 8:24 pm

    Okay, for one of my heroes, the one that controls heat, in my original draft a few years ago, he was ridiculously overpowered in comparison to the one that controlled light. So, I’ve redone his powers, and I’ve decided to make him manipulate heat, but not the temperature, so that, if the setting is at room temperature, he can force the heat to clump up at one certain area, so that certain area becomes very hot, but the surroundings become cold. And if he’s in a really cold area, and his friends are freezing to death, the only way he can help is by expunging his own body heat. :? Is that a good weakness?

  48. Lord of Darknesson 04 May 2009 at 7:57 am

    Hi. I was thinking of writing a story or novel about a boy. It’s set in the distant future. Lark is a multi-trillionaire’s son that is good at almost everything. One day, his Dad pulled a publicity stunt by hiring terrorist to plant a few bombs at a charity event which Lark was attending. Lark goes to give money for charity when he is caught in the explosion.

    His father repents and tries to save his son but none of the top scientists can help Lark, who is barely managing to survive with hardly any organs or limbs. His father goes back to the terrorist because there is no one who can help him now. He pays the terrorist kingpin millions of pounds to fix him but they do much more than that.

    They fix him but also turn him into a living weapon machine. They tell him that if he tells the police, Lark has a massive atomic bomb which is enough to rip a hole in the solar system. So they use the new and powered Lark to win a massive war against Russia and the USA. When Lark escapes and removes the bomb from his body, he plans to stop the Kingpin and end his ways no matter what.

    Is this a good story plot.

  49. B. Macon 04 May 2009 at 11:52 am

    Hello, Lord of Darkness. I’d kind of have to see how you executed this, but I have a few reservations so far.

    –The main character does not seem to have much of a personality yet. Things happen to him. He goes to the charity event, is passively blasted by his father, is passively turned into a machine, etc. So there’s not much that he chooses to do. In contrast, I think that the most compelling superhero origins use the personality and choices of the characters. For example, Daredevil threw himself in the way of an oncoming truck to save a pedestrian, Wonder Woman chose to disobey her mother by secretly competing to represent the island abroad, Spiderman initially chose not to use his superpowers and it got his uncle killed, etc. In contrast, it feels like your hero is pretty much forced to be a superhero.

    –”Lark… is good at almost everything.” It sounds like he’s kind of a Mary Sue, an overpowered character that might be hard to challenge.

    –It feels kind of flimsy to me that the father decides to kill his son for publicity and then has second-thoughts. Or that he has to turn to the terrorists to heal his son. (I can’t see why terrorists would know more about medicine than the world’s best doctors).

    –Even though it’s a bit cheesy, I kind of like the angle of a father trying to kill his son. I think a better reason might help, though.

  50. Tomon 12 May 2009 at 9:56 am

    One thing to add to that- control over time. How far does that power go? If he can time travel you may want to rethink that. If he can go forwards and backwards by a few seconds at most then it’s fine. Basically you can’t have the guy undoing deaths via time-travel, but you can have him using some kind of limited precogniton to fight.

    If his main way of fighting is using his powers to age things that will be very interesting.

  51. Holliequon 13 May 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Actually, whilst I’m thinking about it, I’d like to run a few supers past you too. (Does anybody remember that story from the POV of a dead superhero I was thinking about? Yeah, I’m thinking about it a little more. I’m a bad, bad person, but I’m stuck in a rut with Victor and Zoe. I’m kinda hoping this will kickstart my creative juices or something.)

    Spook (Jonas Miller)
    Very strong ESP, which includes chanelling, astral projection, communication with the dead, and weak precognition. (Also teleporting after he dies.)
    For personality, I’m thinking sarcastic and serious, but bordering anti-social. Being friends with ghosts for most of your life will do that to you.
    (Dies at the beginning, so he’d probably only use teleporting and astral projection. Precognition might be mentioned, and the chanelling is a major plot point. I’m also well aware of the likability issues, but I think being a Deadpan Snarker could cover that one until more likable characters get introduced.)

    Cinder (Leslie York)
    Your basic fire-powered superhero. Heat manipulation abilities too.
    Personality: senstitive, mostly calm, confidant, helpful. Also unquestioning of authority and a little too willing to compromise on the moral front. (Yes, a fire-based superhero who isn’t hot-headed, brash and arrogant!)

    Spectrum (Terence Craig)
    Manipulation of the electromagnetic spectrum – stuff like invisibility, X-ray vision, infra-red vision, etc.
    Methodical, eloquent, intelligent and charming, but self-centred and arrogant. I’m thinking he’ll be a traitor and the one responsible for Spooks’ death.
    (Not too sure about this guy’s name or powers. I’m open to change on this one, but I want something sneaky that could be powerful, but not over-powerful).

    Asclepius (Sean Brady)
    Poison creation, super-agility and a healing factor, but not a particularly powerful one. (Asclepius was the Greek god of healing, and fond of using snakes.)
    Reformed criminal. Dutiful, confidant and blunt, but also secretive, aggressive, critical and sometimes reckless. He’ll probably be my friendly neighbourhood badass, but with a really strict moral code. Slightly ironic given that he used to be a criminal, but then again he did pick a god as his alias.

    The Ripper (Doyle D. Brannigan)
    Bone manipulation, super-durability (NOT invulnerable), very minor healing factor (only because of the bone thing).
    Disinterested, arrogant but cautious, smug, and ever-so-slightly unstable. Will probably serve as the Big Bad. I wanted him to be very hard to kill and also to have a power that was slightly creepy.

    What do you think? Should I start over, tweak, prepare to be laughed at or other?

  52. Holliequon 13 May 2009 at 3:24 pm

    “Theoretically this can involve the ability to emit enough gamma radiation to kill someone in an instant.”
    Yeah, that occurred to me. He can’t emit gamma radiation in a huge amount like that. If he were to ever come across gamma radiation, he could control it, but he can’t create it. Also, gamma isn’t particularly dangerous in small doses, so he couldn’t use it to kill somebody in a fight.

    Radio signals – he’d have to have some way of producing the radio waves. And the other person would have to have a way of recieveing them.
    Intense light – no. He could probably divert light away from the eyes, if he concentrated really, really hard.
    Heat vision – isn’t the same as infra-red? (If no, I didn’t do the research, I guess . . .)

    Any other suggestions of powers that might fit this character? I think I’ll probably need to keep the invisibility. Anything that would pair neatly with that?

  53. JAMMYJon 16 May 2009 at 6:17 am

    Hey, everyone. I just wanted to know what people think of the superhero I’m creating. He can make a forcefield around his body (like an invisible second skin) that can withstand any force but at a cost of becoming extremely exhausted. He can also shoot his forcefields to do a variety of things from knocking back enemies to devastating small buildings. His forcefields give him superhuman strength. I thought I’d give him a floors, so he has an extremely short temper.

    What do you think?

  54. Ragged Boyon 17 May 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Hola, Jammy J

    You’re character seems very similar to the minor Marvel mutant Armor. She has pretty much the same ability. This could be a later issue, but I’m not sure. I like the concept, though. :-)

    Ola, Warblade, you said:
    “His race is a god race, they have all the power in the universe (including Deity) but they don’t use it because of their nature. They only use their powers for the needs of other living beings not themselves.”

    This feels like an internal obstacle, which are usually unsatisfying. I recommend having an actual limitation for their power use. You could do this like Bruce Almighty, in which his powers simply didn’t work when he tried to bend the rules.

  55. notsohottopicon 18 May 2009 at 8:46 pm

    I’m having trouble finding unique abilities for my characters, it takes awhile. The plot is sequenced properly, and the idea’s going in an unknown direction.

    Kir: Female, a viral parasite(brings science to shame, sorry) that has sucessfully invaded the host’s brain and has taken over the conciousness of the body. There’s no struggle for mind-body control for most of the plot because the parasite has already ‘won’, I guess. Key notes:

    The virus explanation:
    -Hosts are ideally humans, but animals and plant beings are also infected sometimes.
    -The parasite travels through the host’s bloodstream, passed on through bodily fluids. There are more than one parasite in the body, all compete to reach the brain first in order to gain control of the brain.
    -The dominant parasite that reaches the brain first usually allows the other parasites to live within the host as well, and they must obey the dominant parasite in return.
    -Since some parasites may linger in the bloodstream, when they are expelled out of the body inside the blood, they prioritize to enter a new host. The expelled blood will start moving rapidly to enter the bloodstream of another host through, let’s say, an injury or cut of the host.

    Abilities:
    -Kir(the dominant parasite takes on the identity of the host)can instruct the parasites into restructuring the host’s DNA. It takes a long period of time depending on how extreme the mutation is. Changing physical features(facial structure, eye colour) will take a few months. More complex traits(nearly inhuman speed, strength, faster regeneration)can take years.
    -Again, depending on whether or not Kir orders it, faster regeneration is possible. Varies in speed, whether or not the injury involves complex restructuring.

    Weaknesses/Disadvantages:
    -Regrowth of a limb is impossible. Reattachment of the limbs possible if ordered.
    -Probability that the DNA can screw up, turn into something undesirable.
    -If Kir is mortally injury anywhere neck up, the entire body dies. If she cannot properly command the parasites, they won’t act and will escape out of the wound and into different hosts.
    -Sleep deprivation, or else parasite Kir will lose conciousness of the body to another parasite, or to the original owner of Kir’s body, which would be Kir(what).

    So as you can tell, too long. I need to simplify the abilities and limits. Can anyone please help fish out a few flaws as well? Thanks…

  56. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 17 Jun 2009 at 11:24 pm

    “So there’s been other posters that’ve been using Paladin for their superheroes? Cool. I got a Sentry in my comic, too”.

    My Paladin is a hacker/inventor/superhero who works as part of a team. My Sentry is a girl who was bedridden with a horrible disease, and when her father bought a last-ditch cure – a medicine developed by the military using the Guardian’s DNA – she gained superpowers like his and got better.

  57. Sammuuon 20 Aug 2009 at 6:51 am

    Captain Light (Sun Kim)
    Captain Light

    Real name: Pytros (birth name): Sun Kim Wong (adopted name)
    Alias: Captain Light
    Identity: secret
    Race: Novarian
    Affiliations: League of superpowered
    Relatives: Maxtrus (birth father) Uma (birth mother) Jimmy Wong (adoptive father) and Lee Wong (second adoptive father)
    Citizenship: Citizen of America
    Gender: Male
    Height: 6’5”
    Weight: 255 lbs
    Eyes: Green
    Hair: Blonde
    Marital Status: Single
    Occupation: Superhero
    Origin: Sent to earth by his warrior dad to avoid execution in his home world. Pytros would become a superhero in earth.
    Place of Birth: Avon, Novaron

    History
    Pytros was the son of Queen Uma and Maxtrus the greatest warrior in planet Novaron, but when King Delco the husband of Queen Uma found out that his heir and son was not his at all he got so furious he ordered the execution of his wife and general at once in the last attempt to save her son Queen Uma decided to hide her son inside a trading ship that was heading to a nearby planet to trade. While in space the ship was accidently blasted by meteor showers and crash landed on earth. Landing on earth, Pytros was found in Central Park (New York City) by Jimmy Wong and Lee Wong, who adopted him as their son and raised him.

    Powers and Abilities
    He can manipulate light to generate force-fields and shoot light-beams from his hand. He has superhuman strength and can lift more than 70 tons with ease, lift mountains with little effort. His strength depends on how much energy he has absorbed, so he could lift in excess of 250 tons. He has superhuman speed and can run a mile per second and can fly at the speed of light. He tends to fly at the speed of 23 miles per second in the atmosphere. He has great maneuverability in the air (like flying backwards and lifting heavy objects), superhuman durability and healing. His most powerful attack, solar flare, is an energy beam fired from his eyes that can blind an entire town.

  58. B. Macon 20 Aug 2009 at 9:15 am

    Hello, Sammuu. Here are some thoughts and suggestions.

    –This character has three sets of names (Captain Light, Pytros and Sun Kim Wong). I’d recommend bringing it to two.

    –By my count, we get about 150 words on his origin story/backstory/family. And another 230 words on his superpowers. These are not remotely as important as his personality and traits. I would strongly, strongly recommend developing your characters more. You might find this article useful.

    –I think the powers for Captain Light strike me as more workable than Zael’s did. (Erm, at least I assume you are the same author that did Zael). However… when you submit to publishers, do you think you could cut down the 230 words on Light’s superpowers into 1-3 sentences? Ideally, one or two sentences totaling a max of 20 words. (Some simplification of the powers might be in order).

  59. Blazeon 23 Aug 2009 at 8:11 pm

    This helps a lot! I was wondering whether I can have characters have mixed origins– for example, can my hero get his powers through magic and the villain through science? Would that all make sense in one universe?

  60. B. Macon 23 Aug 2009 at 8:27 pm

    Generally, I don’t recommend mixing magic and sci-fi. It’s pretty rare outside of DC Comics and might come off as tacky. In most cases, magical superheroes do not sell particularly well (please see Zatanna, Dr. Strange, etc). The magical superheroes that do perform well tend to have a more consistently magical universe (like Buffy, Sailor Moon, etc). You might find this article helpful.

    It could just be a coincidence when there are so few successful magical superheroes, but I find it notable that both of the ones I can think of star a female lead. It seems like magical superheroes tend to perform best when women comprise a significant part (or even a majority) of the readership. Perhaps many male comic book readers grow unreceptive to magical heroes as they get older? (That doesn’t seem terribly accurate with regards to fantasy novels, though).

  61. Ice boyon 03 Sep 2009 at 10:48 pm

    I need some help. I’m making a comic book about a team of teenagers who find out they have super powers. There’s also another team and some powerful villain, but I have a few problems:

    1-I don’t know what to name my heroes or villains. For most of them I just use other superhero’s names on them. The good team’s leader has cyrokinesis so I used the name Ice Boy for him, but I’d like you to help me with characters and team names.

    2-I want help with new super powers. I gave one of my villains “ropekinesis,” the power to create ropes of any size and control them mentally. I gave him the name Rope Master– is that good?

    3- I want my target audience for this comic book to be boys at my age. Should I include females in it?

    4- I need costumes.

  62. Luna Jamniaon 04 Sep 2009 at 8:44 am

    Hmmm …
    I have an alien (possibly super heroine later) but I can’t really come up with anything ability-wise. Her race’s skin/whole self is naturally very, very tough (like if she fell or whatever, or a knife was thrust at her, it would not have the same result, it takes a lot to make her bleed and even more to break her bones) and so can jump from higher places or whatever, not worry so much about being ‘careful’. In other words, her whole race is pretty enduring.

    But the problem is, of course, obviously that it’s not really a superpower and actually her personality makes it so she’s not very reckless, though she could be, so the possibility of taking advantage of that natural protection isn’t there.

    Maybe since her skin/bones are harder, she can really pack a punch? I don’t know. Her hair and eyes pale, too, when she’s frightened or feeling sick. But that doesn’t really lend any ideas as to a superpower. :/

  63. Ghoston 04 Sep 2009 at 11:03 am

    Luna,
    I agree with lighting man, your character outline sounds pretty solid so I wouldn’t add any abilities. You just need to find new ways use what you have already given your character. Like maybe you alien is stronger on earth because of lighter gravity, but has to work ou alot to keep her body from aclimating(spelling?), or maybe as a result of her having superhard bones and stuff her body is to dense to float in water. Oh by the way with the gravity thing I mentioned earlier, astronauts experience bone loss in space because the low gravity their bones dont need to be as strong, so maybe your character is slow losing her advantage over time.

  64. Ragged Boyon 04 Sep 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Hola, Ice Boy

    If we haven’t met already, I’m Ragged Boy, a part-time contributor. Let’s see if we can’t help you out, buddy:

    1: I’m not really feeling Ice boy. It’s way generic. Personally, I prefer names that tell me about the heroes persona like Showtime or Chicle. Give me a brief bio of each of your characters and villains.

    2: I love coming up with superpowers. I like the power of “Ropekinesis”, but the name is ick. I think with that power it’s okay to explain it in a short description. It’s not a self-explanatory power like super strength or flying. I’m not feeling Rope Master. How about Slipknot? As for the others what types of superpowers do you like?

    3:I’m hoping number 3 isn’t a general question. I don’t think boys would like a world with just boys. But if you’re talking about in your team, I’d recommend for it. Girls usually play an important role in teams. They’re usually the voice of reason or the level-headed one or the love interest through which you can develop your male characters and vice versa. I’d definitely vote “yes” on girls. I think it would reflect poorly on your ability as a writer if you could only write one type of character. Also, a world with just boys is gross. Haha!

    4:Ah, costumes. Have you seen this article yet? I can help you with any questions you have.

    On a side note, I’d recommend working on your grammar and your organization when posting. It makes it easier for us to help you.

    So, what do you think?

  65. Wingson 04 Sep 2009 at 1:07 pm

    Perhaps I can also be of use to Ice Boy – I have an ice manipulator known as Frostbite.

    Oh, and can anyone give me a minor-yet-workable ability for Remembrance aka Maya? This ability would be her power originally, before she was given the Titan’s Diamond powers. For instance, the other fighter created by Crimson in the same manner was Harbinger aka Julian, an empath. Any ideas?

    - Wings

  66. Lighting Manon 04 Sep 2009 at 1:58 pm

    A minor ability? I can’t remember at the moment if your universe has a mass origin or not, but if it does, it might be interesting for it to be something that would require an Eigen plot to be discovered, for example, an individual with the ability to regrow her kidneys, that just happens to offer to give one away, or get kidnapped by an organ stealing criminal. She could be using this to test medications for pharmacutical companies earlier then the law allows, when Crimson finds her.

    Or if you were looking for a suggestion more combat oriented, how about the ability to rapidly repair dermal injuries through increased intake of folate? This could cause her to run around eating inordinate amounts of Sunflower seeds, or kale. You could allow this habit to survive the presumable loss of that power when she gains her new ones, and tie into her name. The actual why of how folate increases her healing ability can be attributed to her possessing a unique physiology.

  67. Luna Jamniaon 04 Sep 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Lightning Man and Ghost, thanks for your input. Yeah, I guess you’re right. It’s actually pretty interesting because I’d never have seen that. I mean, I thought of it as just a trait and maybe she would be more difficult to injure but yeah, when her personality really starts coming through and she gets more confident-or reckless-on Earth …

    Ghost, that ‘denser so she can’t float’ thing is pretty cool. :D
    Only thing is now I’m worried I made her into a Mary-Sue a little bit, because technically she hadn’t, you know, eaten or anything for several months or more (however long it took her cramped Pod-meteorite to everyone else-to travel to earth). And I remember B.Mac’s thing about aliens having to look like, well, aliens/not human and not being so super-powered they were way superior to humans.

    Then again, considering how many planets and stars are out there-disregarding for a moment this is for a book-though I don’t believe in aliens, it is at the same time entirely possible. If there were aliens for there to be at least several planets with human-like aliens on them, with incredible (or not so incredible) powers. So shes kinda safe that way, though still perhaps somewhat of a Mary-Sue.

  68. Chandleron 13 Sep 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Okay. Build a story around the original premise..hmm. I have something. Perhaps this particular scientist has been studying the Obsidian race, and he uses Obsidian DNA to create the ultimate prototype, or blueprint?

  69. StarEon 13 Sep 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Alrighty Chandler, but what’s the “Obsidian Race”? :) Why is the scientist studying them? Why does he decide to make a “prototype” based on their powers? What kind of prototype is it? Is it a prototype for a machine, weapon, or a super-serum to give other people powers? (A “prototype” is a test version of something, so what kind of thing is he making? How?) What does your character intend to do with that prototype? Is he in it for the money? Did somebody hire him to do it? Does he want to give people superpowers? What’s his motivation?

    What is your researcher/scientist character’s name? What kind of personality does he have? Is he a very serious, intelligent person who is always highly concentrated on his work? Is he light-hearted, ethusiastic, accident-prone? Does he have any close friends or co-workers working with him on this prototype project? Where does he live? Does he get paid very much? Who funds his research? The government or a private contracter?

    Once the scientist makes the prototype, what happens? Does it turn out differently than he thought it would? It is horrendously dangerous and he must stop the “monster” he’s created? Is there an accident in the lab? Do villains start trying to kill him in order to stop his project? Maybe villains try to steal his research papers so THEY can use the super prototype, or they want to kidnap the scientist so he can help them with their evil schemes?

    Answering these questions will help you flesh out your main character, his motivation, and your storyline. :) Give it a try! Right now, you’re still being too vague for anyone to give you suggestions. All I can do is try to ask you questions to help you get started. Try to give us a little description about what happens in your story, and who the main heroes and villains are.

  70. Chandleron 14 Sep 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Well, the prototype was used for himself because he has cancer, and he’s trying to cure himself. The Obsidians are a race of beings born with a gene known as the Obsidian gene, which when activated, grants the individual with superhuman abilities. The gene can be activated as a result of changes in the environment. The scientist’s name is Ben Mitchell, and he works for an observatory in New York City. His specialty is developmental biology, and he’s studied the Obsidians for years. Max Crenshaw, a terrorist, heard about this research and has sent followers to steal the prototype, and build the ultimate weapon.

  71. StarEon 14 Sep 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Heya, Chandler! Good start. Lemme see if this all makes sense…

    So Ben Mitchell works for an observatory, but specializes in developmental biology? I think people who work in observatories study astronomy (stars, planets, etc.). If he’s a biologist, he probably wouldn’t be stationed in the observatory unless his work related to outerspace or he needed a giant telescope.

    He’s got cancer and wants to cure himself, so he makes a prototype SERUM (chemical/medicine) out of the blood of the Obsidians. He wants the superhuman abilities because he believes that if he’s got superstrength and stuff, it might give his immune system the extra boost it needs to fight off the cancer? So he develops this medicine and tries it on himself?

    And then the terrorist guy hears about the research and wants HIS scientists/thugs to steal the medicine that Ben made, so he can power up his own legion of soldiers? Or is his “ultimate weapon” more like a machine that can be powered up by Ben’s medicine? Do the terrorists succeed in stealing Ben’s research? How does Ben avoid them at first, and how to they finally take his research if he’s got the super-powers already? What does he have to do to stop them? Does he learn that the super-powers have a time limit (or life-span cost, side-effects, etc.) that the terrorists don’t know about?

    Also, tell us more about the Obsidians. How do they play into the story? Who are they? WHAT are they? An alien race? Mutatations amongst humans? A recently discovered breed of animal? I imagine that you’ll be using an Obsidian character somewhere in your story, because when you were planning on a fanfiction, you were going to have the Incredible Hulk in the story. In your original idea, how did Ben Mitchell get the Hulk’s DNA? What role did the Hulk play in the original story? That’s probably how you should start thinking about where to use the Obsidian people. :)

  72. Chandleron 14 Sep 2009 at 10:11 pm

    Oops, I didnt mean “observatory”. I meant a lab in New York City known as Trinity Labs. I completely took the Hulk out of the story line, but I was thinking, Ben could use the serum to cure himself, and perhaps turn himself into a hulk-like character. I dunno. Maybe some suggestions from you guys would suffice in this case. Anyway, the Obsidians are an alien race, and some of them came to Earth to escape their war-torn planet called Absentia,

  73. Chandleron 14 Sep 2009 at 10:16 pm

    Oh, and yes, the serum does cause a spike in his immune system to help him fight off the cancer, and since it’s caused a radical mutagenic effect on Ben’s cells, it turned him into a humanoid being with strength (kinda like the Hulk). The two Obsidians, Micah and Belarus help Mitchell keep the serum from getting into the hands of Max Crenshaw and the members of his terrorist organization.

    Any suggestions.

  74. StarEon 15 Sep 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Am I the only one trying to review Chandler’s story? lol, it’s hard to do by myself!

    Anyways, it’s great that you’re getting some of the details planned out! I’m not really sure how to help other than asking some more questions for you, so here I go!

    At this point, I’m mostly interested in how Micah and Belarus play into the story. How do they feel towards humans? Have they been on Earth long? Why do they let the humans scientist, Ben, take samples of their DNA to cure himself? Do they do this willingly, or does Ben make some agreement with them so the aliens would GAIN from the DNA donation? Imagine if you, a human being, wandered into an area full of exotic, four-headed aliens that resembled centipedes. If they took a genuine interest in you and wanted a “sample of your blood” with some foreign medical supplies, I doubt you’d be jumping to volunteer, no matter how well you were getting along with those aliens. This is what the situation might feel like for Micah and Belarus.

    Maybe Ben finds them injured or sick, and for whatever reason, Ben convinces them that it’s okay to trust him and he shuffles them to his lab, where he’s got all his medical supplies. (You’re really gonna have to work on motivating Ben AND the Obsidians for allowing this to happen. Why doesn’t Ben run away from the aliens? Why do the aliens decide to trust Ben, at least temporarily? The aliens are probably DESPERATE and plan to either kill Ben or run into hiding if he makes a wrong move with them)

    Anyways, perhaps while Ben is applying medicine to the injured Obsidian, he realizes that it almost instantly takes effect. Normally, an injury would have to be cleaned and covered with bandages for awhile, but the wound starts to heal almost immediately after the alien is given medicine. The aliens aren’t surprised by this, but Ben is. They tell him that everybody heals like that, as long as they’re given medicine. There might be a culture shock as the aliens realize that humans are more fragile, and take longer to heal. Ben might realize that studying their blood could come up with a MIRACLE CURE, though he doesn’t know what kind of side-effects there may be. He might strike a deal with the Obsidians – maybe offer to protect them and show them how to blend in on earth, if they’ll give him a sample of their blood.

    Then after Ben has made his medical prototype, he uses it on himself and it has HUGE side-effects. His immune system gets a boost, alright, but the blood reacts wildly with human blood and starts turning him into a hulk-like monster. So then Ben and the aliens are working together this whole time, and the aliens wonder if it’s, “ordinary for humans to become massive and snarling without warning…”

    Haha, that’s the best I’ve got for suggestions. I don’t think I should be suggesting so much, though. You’re gonna have to start generating lots of ideas so you can get your story going! If any of these ideas sounded good, start trying to build off of the basic premise. You’ll need to come up with what happens during the plot, and how you’re gonna motivate these characters to work together.

  75. Chandleron 15 Sep 2009 at 8:56 pm

    Wow. That’s a good premise that I could go with. Thanks. I was going to add like, after Mitchell is treated with the prototype, and the Obsidians are wondering if humans innately has this ability, Crenshaw and his cronies learn of Mitchell’s research, and try and get a hold of it.

    I do have one question, in Ben’s mutated form, what color should his skin be? What should trigger off the transformation?

  76. StarEon 15 Sep 2009 at 10:14 pm

    Maybe you should make Ben’s transformation more unique than just getting big and changing colors like the Hulk does. :) Otherwise, he’ll seem a bit like a copycat hero. Try to think of an interesting “monster-transformation” for your character that will go along with the “boosted immune system” idea. Think like the Hulk or a werewolf sort of transformation, but make it unique to your story somehow.

    As for what triggers the transformation, it could be any number of things… Maybe it happens at night, like with werewolves? Or maybe it happens every time he sees his own reflection or something? So he’d just be walking down the street and see himself in a puddle, then all of a sudden he starts transforming and he has to freak out and run into an alleyway or something? Haha, that one sounds difficult to write about, though… But think about that sort of thing.

    Maybe think about the five senses? Sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch… Anything related to one of those might set off his transformation. Think about the Obsidians, too. What are they like? Since THEY’RE blood causes Ben to transform, maybe the conditions of the transformation are similar to the aliens’s culture…?

    I’m not sure about this one. Try brainstorming for a little while. :)

  77. akim92on 15 Sep 2009 at 11:34 pm

    can anyone give opinions on my superhero? i don’t know whether this hero has been created or not.. but this was my one month idea.. (sorry.. i’m pretty bad in english.. hope u understand).. Well, this is my superhero..

    He is a teenage boy.. age around 17-19 years old.. one day, he had a trip with his friends.. one night, he and his closest friend discover that the place that they go has an abandon chemical factory.. then, rain fall down. it was a heavy rain.. he and his closest friend enter the factory.. after a while in the factory, suddenly, a lightning struck the factory and made it explode.. they both “fly out” from the factory.. his friend died because the chemical in the factory had fell on him.. the main character seriously injured.. he couldn’t move.. suddenly, some black radioactive liquid gonna fell on him.. just a few inches above him, suddenly, an enormous lightning struck him.. he fainted.. okay.. thats just a scene on how he got his power..

    now.. he can move as fast as lightning(he didn’t run).. when he moves like a lightning, his body changes to a electric particles.. so, when he move, he appear like a lightning struck.. he also can move to the sky( this event make people think that it was a lightning).. he can generate eletric(lightning) from his hand.. he can control the voltage of electric(lightning) that he wants to generate.. he can summon a lightning from the sky.. only his left arm can generate normal electricity/lightning(yellow, blue, red).. due to the black radioactive, his right arm can generate a very powerful lightning, the black lightning.. this lightning can penetrate anything in its way(including mirror, insulator, and titanium steel).. he also can change his body to lightning form.. when on this form, everything get near to him will be struck… even more powerful, he can change to his black lightning form.. everything that near him will be struck by the black lightning and even worse the lightning will penetrate anything on its way.. huh.. thats it..

    anyone please comment and give ur opinion on this hero…

  78. StarEon 16 Sep 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Hey there, Akim. :) Welcome to Superhero Nation! I’ll try to give you some comments and opinions about your superhero and his origin story.

    About your hero’s origin, why did he and his friends travel to an dangerous, old, abandonned factory? What would make them do that? Is it a dare from their classmates? Maybe the hero and his friend are supposed to help with the “Senior Prank” in high school this year, and there’s something they need from the chemical plant? Do they need a hide-out for some reason, so they hope to hide at the factory so no one will look for them there? Are they lost in the woods one night in the rain, and they decide to take shelter there? You’ll need a good reason for the boys to risk going to such a dangerous place!

    About the hero’s powers, I think they sound pretty cool. :) You might have too many powers, though. I like that he turns into molecules when he travels at lightning speed, but make sure his speed has limitations. I also like that he can summon regular attack lightning with one hand, but extremely dangerous black lightning with the other hand. You should definitely make your hero struggle with the black lightning at first – it must be REALLY easy to hurt someone with it, or hurt himself, or accidentally start electrical fires and burn buildings down. Maybe your hero decides not to use the black lightning because whenever he does, someone gets hurt or something really terrible happens? The power might be really unstable, and might go completely out of control and cause disasters. But as your story continues, he learns not to fear the black lightning and trains with it very carefully so he won’t kill anybody?

    I don’t think I liked the idea of your hero being able to summon lightning from the sky. Why do that when he can do it from his hands? And being able to “move into the sky” might be too much. That’s kind of like being able to fly, and you shouldn’t make him fly if he ALSO has the super speed. Maybe pick one or the other?

    How are you going to challenge your superhero? What are his weaknesses? What keeps him from being “too strong”?

    Um, that’s all I can think of! Good luck with your story, Akim. :)

  79. Chandleron 16 Sep 2009 at 1:37 pm

    I was thinking of coming up with a premise for triggering Ben’s transformation. What about physical exertion? Whenever he gets into a fight with someone, his body “fears” being infected with a foreign substance from the individual he’s in the brawl with, and as a result his immune system sends a special group of antibodies, protecting him and causing the initial transformation?

  80. Chandleron 17 Sep 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Thank you StarE. This site has been very helpful in fleshing out my ideas. I started writing sci fi/fantasy when I was in elementary school, and I’ve been writing stories every since. I also wrote a vampire series, where all seven vampire clans were at war with each other over an ancient text, and I’m still trying to flesh that out to “perfection”.

  81. Chandleron 19 Sep 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Hey guys, what about a sorcerer that has a talisman enabling him to absorb mystical energies from certain dimensional pathways, like the ones he’s familiar with?

    Okay. I have a premise. A sorcerer named Brahmin, a third initiate in the Tarot Order discovers a talisman, which enables him to absorb mystical energies from certain dimensional worlds. He becomes Grand Master and starts a rivalry with a mutant named Wildcard

  82. Chandleron 20 Sep 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Brahmin is the antagonist (bad guy), and he had his herald, a being that was resurrected in a Tarot ritual steal the talisman from the Makai temple, but the mutant Wildcard tried to stop him. Wildcard had been rivals with Brahmin from some time back, due to “killing” him, and having him imprisoned in a pocket world. As far as him absorbing inner-dimensional mystical energies, perhaps, he would learn how to use them all, to become a more effective sorcerer. That sounds like a good idea.

  83. volxwagonon 02 Oct 2009 at 6:12 pm

    Im starting my own novel company and im stillon the basics.One i got over 42 superhumans in all , divided equally in to good and bad. I know how it is going to start and end. By once there was a time were there were super heros who did one differently then the others, and they andIm st one of them end up killing a (unneeded) superhero , so they split and each section wich is about 15 for each one maybe more , it goes they fight intill some crecooperate into the nextplanet mars and thats the good guys and they set up base but whil that happens they get ambushed by the vilians and it drags onto the last planet Pluto where the leaders call the fight between them ( wich are Good:American Arrow and the Bad:still in process of thinking of a name) fight and they battle and they back off and the rest is pretty good.

    I was wondering if i could get some tips from you guys.

  84. B. Macon 02 Oct 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Hello, Volxwagon! I have a few suggestions…

    1. I know one guy that started up a novel publishing company. Even more so than other endeavors in the publishing industry, it is freakishly difficult. It also requires a lot of technical savvy, experience and seed money. I would recommend a more limited project like trying to get a novel published (which is a feat in itself) rather than taking on a vastly more difficult and financially dangerous business endeavor. If you are dead-set on starting your own publishing company, I would recommend at least getting a job in the publishing industry for a few years if you have not done so already– it will probably be superbly difficult to find venture capital without a history of success in the field, particularly in this business climate.

    2. I think that brushing up a bit on grammar/punctuation/spelling will help a lot, whether you start your own publishing company or just want to sell your manuscript to a publisher. For example, “Im starting my own novel company and im stillon the basics.One i got over 42 superhumans in all , divided equally in to good and bad.” Here’s how I would proofread those two sentences: “I’m starting my own novel company and I’m still on the basics. I have over 42 superhumans in all, divided equally into good and bad.”

    3. Just to make sure I understand this correctly… There are 42 superhumans. One of them kills another, and the 42 split into 2-3 groups of ~15. The groups fight and the good guys flee to Mars. The villains attack and force them to Pluto, where the leaders square off in single combat. Right?

    4. Who’s the target audience?

    5. I think that it would really help to develop the characters a bit. For example, what are some of the distinguishing characteristics of American Arrow? Is he the main character? Why will we like him? What’s his signature flaw? (For example, Peter Parker gets in a lot of trouble because he isn’t responsible enough… that’s why Uncle Ben gets killed). What are the groups fighting over? If the groups split up into sections of about 15, there might be a third group. What’s its deal? Why aren’t they going along with the other two?

    Good luck. Huah!

  85. Chandleron 07 Oct 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Hey, guys. I am rewriting a vampire novel (which I’d like to turn into a graphic novel) titled Dark Millennium. The Templar (who is like a Freemason) is planning to start a new world order. Within the Templar, you have lower level initiates, who are vampires from younger bloodlines, and then you have the upper initiates who are highly evolved. They’re trying to build a hybrid race by mixing Carpathian DNA with vampire DNA. The Carpathians are a Nephilim bloodline that they had been feuding with for centuries.

    What do you think? Thanks.

  86. B. Macon 08 Oct 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Here are some impressions, Chandler…

    1) There are three imaginary words here: Nephilim, Carpathians and Templar (which is a real word, but probably made-up in this context). I feel that’s a lot for ~90 words.

    2) What’s a Freemason? Rather than comparing your villain to a concept that readers might not be familiar with, I’d recommend just focusing on the New World Order.

    3) Not sure about mixing fantasy elements like vampires with sci-fi elements like genetic engineering. I think that many readers will accept urban fantasy like Dresden Files and most vampire stories set in the modern-day, though. The difference, I feel, is that modern technology is just a part of the setting in books like Dresden Files. In contrast, technology is a major part of the plot of yours– also, it’s science fiction rather than real-life technology.

  87. Roon 11 Oct 2009 at 6:09 am

    Hey wuzup SN? I was wondering if anybody knew what kind of abilities someone would have if they could manipulate electrons, photons, and neutrons….

    nanokinesis is the name of it…. Nanokinesis- Manipulation of subatomic particles, like electrons, protons and neutrons, including their motion behavior and their chemical processes

    thanks guys

  88. Ragged Boyon 11 Oct 2009 at 6:37 am

    You make some good points, particularly about compromising my book’s seriousness. Ultimately, I think I can pull it off. It will be a challenge to make it look serious, but I think I can do it. I think I’ll take away the offense and defense distinction. I agree that it doesn’t add much. I don’t think it will be counterproductive (maybe I have a self-serving bias) simply because he can’t control what he gets. It’s more along the lines of working with what you have and oppose to just getting perfect things. I think it can still be serious, but sort of like One Piece in that there is usually an element of comedy.

  89. ForsAkenon 24 Oct 2009 at 9:04 pm

    I have a couple main characters but i cannot put them together in the same story so if any of you have some advice please help. Oh and so far i have “Recon” a genetically and bio enginnered super soilder, “Shade” a former supernatural hunter who leads a rebellion group against vampire control, im not sure on a name for this one yet but can manipulate time (in my mind kind of a matrix thing) also she was a former quantam mechanic. I am forming a plot but i need some help thinking of putting these people together so if you have any help please post.

  90. Wingson 01 Nov 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Depends. One power, if there are ways to use it creatively and it hasn’t been overused (Super strength, flight, and speed are some of the most common overused examples) can actually be better than an assortment. For instance, a character with hydrokinesis, or water manipulation could, in the hands of a good writer, do a variety of things – create a bubble underwater in order to breathe, make a cloud of steam to conceal a retreat, make water swallow up an enemy, even possibly change the weather by using the amounts of water in the air.

    Characters with multiple powers tend to be overpowered if done wrong (Looking at you, Superman) but if the powers have limits/are relatively small-scale (Being able to tell if someone is lying as opposed to reading minds, for instance) and if the powers aren’t drastically different (Say, water and ice manipulation as opposed to fire and ice).

    Above all, the powers shouldn’t require too much explanation. Maybe…one or two sentences tops. (I dare someone to make a list of all of Superman’s powers – and i mean ALL of them. Even the ones that only lasted for one issue). Keep it simple.

    Hopefully this helped.

    - Wings

  91. MacGruberon 02 Nov 2009 at 6:41 pm

    I’ve been tossing around the idea of a villain for my hero Phase (detailed information here for those who don’t know what the heck I’m talking about: http://www.superheronation.com/2008/01/05/8-common-problems-with-psychic-superheroes/ )

    Ivan Didrier was once a police officer on Manhatten island. He was taken seriously by his coworkers and was on the fasttrack to be the police sergeant when the current one retired. But everything changed soon enough.

    One day, Didrier’s station is called to the home of three notorious gangsters, all well-known (and hated) throughout the community as drug dealers. The station is called in to bust the home, with six men (including Didrier) being dispatched to the scene.

    In the ensuing firefight, stray bullets strike Didrier in the eyes, causing them to swell and bleed out. Once the three drug dealers are subdued, Didrier is rushed to the hospital.

    Too late to save his vision though. The doctors remove Didrier’s now-useless eyes and, in an experimental surgery to save his vision, the doctors insert synthetic eyes.

    These eyes are basically biomechanical orbs, about the size of your average eyeball. Light is absorbed through a glass-like apparatus at the front of each synthetic eyeball. Computer chips at the back of the eye read and interpret this pattern. The data is sent along a near-microscopic wire, which is attached to the now-clipped optic nerve, to the brain for the signal to be interpreted. The light then bounces back out of the eye.

    However, the bullets that destroyed Didrier’s vision have also destroyed his sanity. Unlike before the accident, Didrier now is obsessed with revenge, and is insane with it. And he’s got plenty of things to get revenge for. He wants to get revenge on the police station for forcing him to resign due to his disability. He especially wants revenge on the three gangsters who ruined his life.

    In preparation for his ultimate revenge, Didrier tweaks his synthetic eye just slightly. He covers the glass-like apparatus with an intense magnifying glass-like lens. This lens focuses the light that bounces back out of the eye, intensifying it into a sort of laser (remember frying ants with your magnifying glass when you were kids?).

    So one night, after Didrier has finished all his preparations, he revisits the police station that ruined his life. Didrier, his face covered in a dark red ski mask, body with a dark red sweatshirt, lower body with dark red pants, and hands and feet covered in white gloves and boots respectively, enters the station and melts the security cameras along his way to the cafeteria.

    Didrier sneaks into the kitchen and grabs eight long, skinny knives, which he sharpens with his laser vision. He rushes into the cell block, where he sees the three drug dealers and a guard, patrolling the row of cells. Didrier sneaks up behind the guard and trips him, causing the guard to fall to the ground. Didrier flips the guard onto his back and shoves two of the knives into the guard’s eyes.

    Didrier does this to the three criminals as well, though he uses his laser vision to get into the cells without keys and to subdue the more violent criminal.

    When Didrier is finished, the knives now shoved through his victims’s eyes, he carves an eye into the nearby wall with his laser vision, and walks off.

    Ivan Didrier has two powers (three if you count insanity):
    - heat vision (the ability to sense heat)
    - laser vision (the ability to shoot lasers)

    The laser vision takes a toll on his synthetic eyes’s batteries, meaning he has to recharge fairly often.

    Ivan Didrier calls himself Gamma, after Omicron, after the Greek letter omicron, which reminds him of an eye.

    Didrier/Omicron’s personality/physical traits:
    - He is extremely vengeful
    - He is obsessed with the human eye, calling it the most valuable piece of Nature’s ingenuity
    - He has recruited a team of about twenty henchmen, who were all originally blind, but given sight by Didrier when he installed the synthetic eyes into his henchmen. His henchmen (called Pupils) do not have laser vision, but instead possess guns with heat-seeking bullets
    - He is bent on crushing the Manhatten police force and replacing it with himself and his cronies, feeling that he could do a better job of not screwing people over
    - He considers himself the chief deliverer of justice, painfully killing anyone he believes has committed a crime on sight, no questions asked
    - He sees Phase, the police, and anyone who still puts their faith in the police as a threat to his perfect world
    - He has an average thirty year-old’s physique, with dark black hair and expressionless eyes
    - His uniform is all dark red with a large eye in the center of his chest

    Let me know what you think!

  92. B. Macon 04 Nov 2009 at 5:54 pm

    A few quick questions. Does the operation restore his vision successfully? Second, if he does get his vision back, why’s he so obsessed with revenge? What has he actually lost? I’d recommend making the insanity stem from something else– for example, maybe his eyes look REAL freaky and everybody gives him 10-20 feet. Or maybe the vision works but not in a way that it used to. For example, maybe he only sees in black-and-white. That would drive me bonkers.

    Does it really matter what he’s wearing when he goes in the police station?

    Calling his henchmen Pupils is maybe a bit too punny for a fairly dark, serious story. It’d work better in Venture Brothers, I think.

  93. MacGruberon 05 Nov 2009 at 5:43 am

    No problem (remindng you).

    Yes, the operation does restore his vision successfully, but the vision goes out at inopportune times.

    People do tend to avoid him on the street (just like people tend to avoid people with glass eyes).

    He’s bent on revenge because:
    - His wife left him after the operation, due to ugliness of the eyes
    - The police station fired him. They didn’t want his vision to go out when they’re at a crime with guns involved

    Because of these two things, he blames the criminals for getting rid of the two best things in his life. Plus, he blames the police for not trusting him with his new eyes. Thus the grounds for his revenge.

    Or the vision could be on a two or three second delay. For example, if someone throws a ball, you’ll realize someone threw the ball three seconds after they threw it. It could have already hit you by then.

    But I personally prefer that the vision just cuts out at inopportune times.

    I don’t even know why I added what he was wearing that night.

    I see that now (the Pupils thing). What is your suggestion for the collective name for his henchmen?

  94. Lighting Manon 05 Nov 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Personally, I don’t think one is needed. Beyond the more campy versions, there isn’t a collective name for the majority of supervillains henchmen, even if they have a theme. Most Joker henchmen wear clown make-up, for instance, but they’re just underlings, nothing more decorative then that.

    What if instead of the delay, his vision has small fugacious moments where they blank out, I mean mere milliseconds. To use a comparison, if his vision were a film or animated clip, he’d miss every third or so frame, essentially making his life choppy, like a video game running on a system that can’t handle it. It wouldn’t be a significant weakness like the delay, but it would make it physically hurt to see, which would presumably limit the amount of time he could comfortably see in a day.

    I like B. Mac’s suggestion of black and white vision, but perhaps instead of that, the eyes could have been derived from military testing and use light intensifying night vision instead? This would limit his activities to night time due to his greatly increased sensitivity to light. This would also explain why his eyes look so weird, they would presumably glow green quite brightly in response to their nature.

  95. RPG-92on 12 Nov 2009 at 5:49 pm

    I think someone should make a new superhero universe because DC and Marvel are already too full. I mean, how can any other hero become famous if everywhere you see it’s Batman, Superman, Spiderman or the Hulk tv shows or movies. The only time these heroes got any spotlight was on Batman: The Brave and the Bold or Teen Titans. I wish to make mine a tv superhero first (on a kids’ network like CN) then make it a comic book (hey, it worked for Megas XLR). I think someone (me, if possible) should make a new universe, so how can someone do that?

  96. B. Macon 12 Nov 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Launching a new superhero universe is not freakishly difficult; making it popular is. The most feasible way would probably be to start off a comic series.

    Here’s an abbreviated how-to guide.

    First, you’d get a concept for a plot (rather than a universe), a character or team trying to accomplish a difficult goal. I’d also recommend thinking about target audience at this point–that will help prevent distractions from plot elements that don’t fit the audience.

    Second, you’d write a pilot issue, either designed as a stand-alone or as the first of an arc of probably 3-6 comics. (The fewer, the better). It depends on the publisher, but you’d probably to want your issue’s script at ~22 pages if you were submitting to Dark Horse or Image. (The first draft should probably be 40-50 pages, though; that will give you ample material to work with when you’re rewriting).

    Third. If you’re submitting a comic that would be the first of an arc, then you’d want a synopsis of what happens over the course of the arc (the 3-6 comics, including issue 1). 1-3 pages. I’d recommend giving each issue a paragraph (more on the rest later). Each issue needs to 1) contain enough material to fit the page count and 2) end with a cliffhanger or discovery or some other development that makes the audience want to keep reading. (That’s crucial because you need to show that your series can retain readers from one issue to the next). Then I’d recommend spending the rest of your space discussing arc-wide plot issues (like how the most important character evolves). I’d also recommend discussing business details like your target audience and competing series.

    For the competing series section, pick a few well-known works that appeal to a similar audience as yours and then explain why they will pick your work rather than theirs. What makes your work better? For example, if we were doing this for Static Shock, we might write something like “As a regular nerdy student, the protagonist of Static Shock has a similar audience appeal to Spiderman. However, my series will be able to appeal to minority readers because Static Shock is black and deals with issues like racism.” Just come up with something that makes it sound plausible that a few thousand readers a month will pull your series off the shelf.

    If you’re submitting a standalone, then I’d go back to your ending and make sure that the character accomplishes enough to leave the reader satisfied but leaves enough open that an editor might think “we could do an issue about that.” For example, if the hero’s main goal is getting revenge against a thug that just killed his family or whatever, he might do so but discover that the problem is actually a lot bigger than just a single thug. If you’re submitting a standalone, the synopsis probably shouldn’t be longer than a page.

    Fourth. Check your script again. Is it really as stylish and smooth as you can possibly make it? The publishing company will probably reject the entire proposal unless they really like the first issue, so it’s critical that issue 1 hits whatever notes you’re going for (hilarity, intense action, suspense, wit, engrossing romance, etc). Also, make sure that it’s easy to follow and uses as little exposition as possible. (For example, rather than the narrator telling us the story is set in PARIS, FRANCE, you could show the characters doing something with the Eiffel Tower or Arc de Triomphe in the background).

    Fifth. Check out the submission requirements for the publishers you’re interested in. Make sure you meet any additional requirements, obviously. For example, Image requires five fully colored pages but Dark Horse does not. (Every publisher appreciates colored pages, though; if the pages are good, they will instantly make your proposal more professional, feasible and fleshed-out). If you plan to do art before submission, you have to line up at least an inker and a colorer at this point. These have to be the artists that you will use for the series– the sample art is no good if it will not actually look like the comic book you will actually produce.

    Sixth. Read through all of your materials again and make sure that they are coherent and persuasive. Why will thousands of readers want to buy this? Remember, show-don’t-tell. It is not good enough to say “they will want to buy this because it is an exciting thriller about a relatable protagonist.” Your opinion does not matter to the editor. It is much, much more effective to give the editor the evidence so that he can decide on his own. For example, “Dead on Arrival is about a poisoned high schooler who has two days to solve his own murder,” etc. It’s easy to see why that would be exciting and why high schoolers would want to read about this protagonist.

    Seventh. Once you’re sure you have everything, submit to publishers. You’ll be waiting for a while, so in the meantime I would recommend writing out your next issue.

    Eighth. Best case scenario: the publisher says yes. Next best case scenario: the publisher gives you a list of changes it would like to see and asks you to resubmit as soon as possible. Next best scenario: a personalized rejection letter. (This shows that the editor liked your submission more than most of the other rejects). Most likely scenario: form rejection letter or silent rejection. Unless you get accepted, revise your story and keep submitting until you get accepted. This will probably take months or years.

    Ninth. Once you are accepted, get your book out. (Your editor will lay out what he wants to see and when, so that’s a big help).

    Tenth. If the sales on your standalone impressed the publisher, they might ask for more issues at some point in the future. If you started with an arc and they’re impressed with the sales, they might ask for another arc or maybe even offer an ongoing series. But, yeah, the sales are really important. If you have them, you can take it from a single issue to a gradually expanding series (and maybe even a true universe someday). If sales are bad, the publisher will probably let it end as scheduled. If sales are REALLY bad on an arc, the publisher might pull the plug before all of the issues have been released.

    If the sales are really, really good, you might be able to make a cartoon out of it someday. I wouldn’t get your hopes up, though; there are extremely few superhero cartoons that aren’t licensed by DC or Marvel… if working on a superhero cartoon is what you want to do more than anything else, I suspect it would be best to work for either.

    As I noted above, I think comic books (or novels, for that matter) are most feasible. Comic books and novels are fairly cheap to produce. Releasing a first novel might cost a publisher tens of thousands of dollars (the author’s advance, the cost of printing and distributing a few thousand copies, editors, any promotions, etc). Comic books are probably somewhat more expensive. If we’re talking about an arc of series, I imagine we’d be somewhere in the low six figures. I’m pretty sure that a cartoon would be vastly more expensive than that. I’m trying to remember the figure cartoonist Harry Partridge (the guy that did Saturday Morning Watchmen) quoted me, but I think it was $10,000 for a 90 second cartoon clip. EVERY EPISODE is 20-22 minutes long. If you’ve ever looked through the credits on a cartoon show, just count how many people are involved in the production. I find it hard to imagine that you could get a cartoon show out for less than a million. This raises huge obstacles for an unproven, young writer. What 50 year-old studio executive wants to bet millions of dollars (and probably his job) on a 20 year old? Hell, he wouldn’t even bet millions of dollars on a well-established B-list series like Hellboy. It’s a lot safer to go with another iteration of a series that has demonstrated appeal to young viewers (Superman/Batman/Justice League and Spiderman/X-Men, mostly).

  97. B. Macon 13 Nov 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Hmm. Screenwriting is definitely not my forte, so take this with a huge chunk of salt. Generally, I’d recommend submitting a sample that’s as close to the end product as possible. If they’re evaluating a 20-22 minute show, I’d recommend giving them a sample script that’s 20-22 minutes long. Is it common for cartoons to do an hour-long pilot? (Well, Justice League started out with three sequential episodes, but they aired separately).

    I suspect that they would not require you to have the scripts for all of the episodes in season one ready when you make your pitch. Perhaps Tom could help you more about the particulars; he’s making a run at getting a superhero cartoon on the air and sometimes I can sort of conceivably imagine him pulling off something that feels so batshit impossible to me. (Don’t take that as a judgment on your talent, though–convincing a businessman to bet millions of dollars would be prohibitively difficult for anyone).

    If TV writing is really your thing, I think it’d be more feasible to work your way up the ladder by writing for a show currently on the air or taking a position at a studio and networking like crazy. I’m struggling to come up with the name, but I vaguely remember reading about a 20-something Marvel writer that worked his way up through its studio and writes for Ironman now.

  98. bretton 14 Nov 2009 at 4:41 am

    I’ve got a question– I’m concerned with putting too many heroes and villains into my story because of the trap my favorite show, Heroes, fell into. B. Mac, what would you recommend?

  99. B. Macon 14 Nov 2009 at 12:24 pm

    “I can’t see the story being longer than 200 pages. Is that bad?” Well, it depends on your target audience. 200 pages is probably around 50,000 words, which sounds workable for a young adult novel. (Note: publishers count words, not pages– the amount of words per page varies based on type settings). If you’re looking at readers older than 16, I wouldn’t recommend submitting with less than 65,000 words. But you need to write more than you end up submitting; it will be very difficult to pull off a rewrite without having the flexibility to cut out sections that aren’t working as well as the rest.

    If you’re having trouble making 65,000 words, I’d recommend checking out How to Beat Writer’s Block Parts One and Two.

  100. B. Macon 14 Nov 2009 at 1:45 pm

    “I’ve got a question– I’m concerned with putting too many heroes and villains into my story because of the trap my favorite show, Heroes, fell into. B. Mac, what would you recommend?”

    Don’t lose track of what’s important. I think that the Invincible comic book series successfully pulled off a large cast because it had a main character and didn’t try to keep working the same characters into the plot. For example, I think Heroes had a lot of trouble after the first season because the writers couldn’t bring themselves to admit that Syler never really had a plausible role after that. (Spoiler) He really should have died in the final episode of season 1. After that, they tried an increasingly convoluted series of idiot plots to keep him around even though there is no remotely sane reason ANYONE would trust him for a moment. (For example, the Company put him in a minimum security prison at the beginning of season 2, made him an agent later, Denko not only made him a cop but let one of his own men get killed in his place, and Matt Parkman decided not to execute Sylar to let Mrs. Petrelli keep a son). Invincible did better because there was a single recurring plot– Invincible maturing and trying to stop the conquest of Earth by alien forces– and worked in the side-cast in a natural and fluid way. This means that you may have to let side-characters go when they are no longer useful to the plot. Not a problem.

    In novels, I really like how the Wild Card novels handled a big cast. They didn’t have a main character. It wasn’t even centered on a single team (unlike, say, the Avengers). One of the reasons that I feel this was effective for Wild Cards was that the first novel is set up as a string of mostly self-contained short stories. For the most part, the reader doesn’t have to remember the characters that showed up 20 or 40 pages ago because they’re already out of the story. Although the characters don’t overlap much from one short story to the next, the plot events do.

    In general, though, I think it’s easier to keep the plot focused with a small number of main characters. Even if the characters have a fairly simple goal (like “kill the bad guy”), it will be difficult to try something like 7 main characters because it’s so hard to develop that many characters.

    Justice League successfully pulled off a large cast, but I think only because most of its main characters are already well-known and don’t require much introduction. Additionally, the Justice League TV show tended to focus on just a few heroes in any particular episode. This is similar to Wild Cards’ setup.



    Also, villains. If you’re writing a novel, I’d recommend having only one main villain. Trying more than one is very dangerous because it’s easy to end up with an incoherent mess of a plot. For the purposes of plot coherence, it would probably be best if the other villains were subordinates/henchmen/lieutenants of the main villain.

  101. PaintedSainton 07 Dec 2009 at 10:23 am

    Stereotypically-wise, characters who are lazy and won’t act without bribery are usually forgiven if they are above and beyond competent. Characters who are weak or have difficulty with controlling with their power are usually nice guys if they happen to be the protagonist. However, from what I know, characters who are whiny, lazy, and altogether incompetent are generally hated by the

    But I have the same request as Ragged Boy, can you please give more clarification on your main character’s abilities and the reasoning behind it? I am rather confused.

  102. God of Comedyon 09 Dec 2009 at 1:37 pm

    My Inconvenient Life

    The story revolves around the everyday life of Michael Williams, who is a jobless, 18-year-old teen. Michael is usually surrounded by a collection of crazy characters that, in his point of view, act as if they dislike him. He struggles to live a normal life because he is often caught into events that are often set in motion by events, ranging from the fairly typical to the supernatural and extraordinary, which frequently happens upon him.

    Michael is often delusional and most of the time, is controlled by his own imagination. He tends to make jokes every time he feels uncomfortable; this acts as a defense mechanism. He is often confused by the contradictory and hypocritical behavior of many people; they mysteriously turn like this when Michael is caught in another adventure. Michael does have powers; he can create things from nothing, warp reality, and shape shifting.

  103. B. Macon 09 Dec 2009 at 3:58 pm

    “The story revolves around the everyday life of Michael Williams, who is a jobless, 18-year-old teen.” That sounds like an autobiography I wrote once.

    Anyway, I think this sounded promising until the last sentence or so. First, I think that the powers are pretty out-there. I’d recommend going for powers that are a bit more down to Earth– it might keep him and the story more relatable. Second, umm, what’s the plot? If I had to guess, it sounds like “A string of random things happens to a character.” That’s probably not much of a story. A central goal and antagonist may help give focus. Third, why is Michael the protagonist? Is there any reason HE gets embroiled in all these random adventures rather than somebody else? Luck/contrivance is usually an unsatisfying explanation for events in a story…

    Finally, what’s the event that kicks the story into motion?

  104. PaintedSainton 09 Dec 2009 at 10:22 pm

    God of Comedy:

    So, this is one of those “Only Sane Man” stories? Ok, so he can warp reality and shapeshift, but what about these ‘crazy characters’ around him? If he’s so ordinary, why are these crazy characters attracted to him or want to wreak havoc on his life? Usually I think that pleasantly normal characters that are repeatedly put into crazy situations work well as a gag, but gets stale quickly, because by the end of the story segment, the normal characters wants to undo all of the damage and makes things go back to normal.

    I will be shameful and use Timmy from Fairly Odd Parents as an example. Though the plot is meant to be episodic, Timmy repeatedly wishing “I want everything to go back to normal!” is annoying at the end of every episode. He abuses the reset button over and over and doesn’t gain anything from the original wish. Everything’s back to normal, what was the whole point of the conflict?

  105. Luna Jamniaon 26 Dec 2009 at 9:26 pm

    What about a fifteen year old kid who has sort of what the alien boy from ‘Race To Witch Mountain’ has?
    I got the idea while we were driving home from a party. (this topic isn’t about plots so I’ll leave it at that).
    Thing is, I need help with the particulars. I was thinking his ability is like his skin turns into Superman’s, kind of, or like metal or something. … this isn’t helping I know. Let me try again.
    When he’s about to impact something (like go through a windshield and hit the pavement) his skin becomes like rock, so that he doesn’t get a gazillion cuts or break his neck. But then wouldn’t his bones have to be hard too?
    -Would whatever he hit just react normally and he’d get a little jarred but otherwise be fine; or would the ground give?
    -What if he punched something, would it simply not hurt him, how would it affect whatever he punched?
    -What if he jumped off a building?
    -Would he be heavier?
    -Should there be any visible difference when his skin turns all metal-ish or rock or whatever, or should it just look normal and nobody can tell the difference except for the fact he’s not injured? Aaand …
    -is this a sort of gary stu power, what weaknesses could he have? (that is, if I’m turning this into a superhero story, I think I am but I’m not sure, I haven’t written anything superhero-ish in a long time. But maybe he should have weaknesses anyway, right?)

  106. B. Macon 27 Dec 2009 at 12:47 pm

    I’ve never seen Race to Witch Mountain.

    I think that most of the questions you’ve asked are purely at your discretion. For example, if you wanted to, you could have his legs get tougher when he jumps off the building (allowing him to jump farther and faster). If he has REALLY powerful legs, he might cause some damage to the part of the roof he jumps from and the pavement where he lands (each reaction has an equal and opposite reaction). If his skin looks metallic when he gets hit, it’ll be much harder to keep it a secret. Maybe even implausible that he’d have kept it a secret, if it is.

    As long as you can come up with practical ways for his antagonists to defeat him, I think that he’s limited enough that we’d wonder if he could pull it off. It sounds like he’s more or less bulletproof, but I imagine that a 15 year old could be defeated if he’s not careful. Especially if he’s up against enhanced antagonists.



    Scientifically speaking, the bones (and probably most of the body) would have to harden to survive being thrown from a car. (Watch a crash dummy test sometime and bear in mind that the character might be in combat when the crash happens rather than safely buckled in). But that’s a scientific detail that most readers probably wouldn’t care about. If you want to say that the skin only gets hard at the point of impact, I think that would work.

  107. Echoon 09 Jan 2010 at 7:38 am

    Hey,

    I’m starting to write a novel about someone (Adrieene) who hunts down people with superpowers – not entirely by choice. Than, due to some complicated situation that I haven’t entirely figured out yet, she is injected with a needle and given powers herelf, creating a small conflict of interests.

    Anyways, my question is this: Is darkness a good power to give her? I thought that it could have potential, but I don’t want to choose it just because it sounds cool.

    Any Ideas?

    –Echo–

  108. Ragged Boyon 09 Jan 2010 at 9:05 am

    I think the power of “Darkness” is a little too broad. I’d recommend coming up with a definitive list of abilities associated with her powers. When I think darkness the powers that come to mind are:

    - controlling shadows (including pulling them out of the ground to form objects and constructs.)

    - the ability to become a shadow or hide in existing shadows.

    - the ability to make a dark fog that can blocks out light.

    - the ability to make someone’s shadow into a sort of voodoo doll (whatever is done to the shadow is done to the person.)

    - converting shadows into energy for projectile attacks.

    I’m sure there’s more just use your creativity. As for fitting into your story, I suspect darkness powers could work well. I need to know more about the setting, though.

  109. Echoon 09 Jan 2010 at 10:24 am

    Ragged Boy,

    Thanks for the advice! Your right, I should have been more descriptive. What I was thinking was that she could hide in shadows, as well as be stronger in the dark – kind of “super senses,” I guess. I really like your voodoo doll idea – although completely controlling someone would be pretty hard to beat. Unless, of course, she couldn’t do it at night… and I guess she’d probably make a lot of enemys that way. And I could probably avoid the whole “emo” thing easier, which was what I was worried about the most.

    As for my setting… at this point, I pretty much have no idea. I was thinking of doing it in New York, but that seems a little difficult, seeing as I’ve never been there, and it seems to have it’s own culture/ lifestyle that I don’t think I could really pull off. For now, I’m leaning towards creating my own city.

    The atmosphere would probably have an underground feel. The general public doesn’t know about people with powers, and both sides are trying to keep it that way. I thought that that could maybe make some other obstacles – good idea?

  110. Ragged Boyon 09 Jan 2010 at 12:10 pm

    I think your atmosphere could work well with your character’s abilities. I like it. I’d recommend staying away from NYC as your setting it’s been done, and done, and done. I think a fictionalized city could work well. I know I’m using one, although, mine is heavily based after a real city (Los Angeles). As long as you can make it interesting I say go for it.

  111. Wingson 09 Jan 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Although one of my novels is set in the “real” world and some of the heroes reside in NYC, the main reason I did this was so that I could lampshade the crap out of it. In my other novel, I am also working with a fictional city, as the “universe” there is more akin to a Marvel-or-DC superhero world than the real one.

    To be fair, it depends on your story…If you’re sticking with the “real” world research is a lot more important. Fantasy and advanced science fiction elements might not mesh as well in a real-world setting. If it seems plausible enough (Milder science fiction elements and natural mutation based powers falling under “plausible”) it could probably be pulled off in a “real” world. More fantastic/magical elements seem like they would fit better in a fictional universe.

    In short, it could go either way.

    …I’m no help at all, am I? ;-)

    - Wings

  112. Seraph-Fireon 11 Jan 2010 at 6:56 am

    Hey guys…I’ve recently started working out a superhero story that involves a society in which superheroes start being cut down in a series of strange murders. Anyone that starts to become a successful vigilante is almost guaranteed to be killed soon after. As such, ten years later, a small group of people aim to find unsuccessful superheroes (who would not be targeted), and make them fully-fledged heroes, to inspire hope in a dull, lifeless world that has become too scared to stand up for others…

    The point of their powers is that they are not completely cut out for being full-on superheroes, but have high potential. The main group’s powers are:

    1: A sporty girl who can channel her chi (or bodily energy) into different parts of her body, like her fists (to deal shattering punches) or feet (to make large jumps and boost her speed). However, in the brief moment her chi is being chanelled somewhere, the rest of her body is VERY fragile. This, combined with her reckless nature, makes her vulnerable for serious injury.

    2: A boy who can shapeshift into his inner animal…in this case, a ferret. Good for evasion, agility and stealth, but not very offensive, and can make him vulnerable.

    3: A young man who can make air molecules vibrate so intensely, he can create shockwaves that explode from his body…however, he can only use his powers when in a state of rage. His anger, plus the severe headaches that come with his ability, make his powers almost impossible to direct or control…making him just as dangerous to allies as he is to enemies.

    4: A girl who’s parents had come into contact with alien spores during her conception. She is born covered in microscopic barbs that inject a paralyzing venom into anyone who touches her, much like a jellyfish. Her hair is particularly potent, but cannot be cut since it contains thousands of nerve endings (yes…she can feel pain through her hair). Although her venomous touch is good for disabling enemies, she cannot come into contact with allies, victims or civilians, and her poison can be lethal if accidentally applied to certain parts of the body.

    5: A young man who’s skin is made up of a hard, organic, clay-like substance, which can endure most blunt and sharp attacks, even bullets. It also gives him a certain degree of physical strength. However, like clay, he cannot get it too wet (or he goes soft, and therefore vulnerable) or too dry (or his skin solidifies and cracks apart).

    If I could get some feedback (and possible hero name ideas, if any come to mind) it would be very much appreciated.

    (Characters are still in development, but still owned by myself. Do not steal!!)

  113. Lighting Manon 11 Jan 2010 at 11:31 am

    I like the assortment of characters, personally, nice bit of variation on popular standard characters, and natural limitations are a plus. The plot sounds like a nice mixture of Mystery Men and Watchmen.

    Two concerns I would voice is the mixture of science fiction (Jelly Girl) and mystical (girl with the Chi power, and possibly the ferret one as well) tend to only exist beyond a compiled force from a widespread existing universe (Marvel’s Avengers and DC’s Justice League, for instance, typically, each character has existed for years or even decades before joining the team) and comedies / parodies (Mystery Men, Soon I Will Be Invincible) which, if your work is not, might send the wrong message.

    Another concern is, the girl afflicted by the spore’s predicament is extremely close to that of Rogue’s of the X-Men franchise, in case, you’re not aware, she has uncontrollable potentially fatal power-absorbing abilities that prevent her from engaging in any physical contact. it is entirely possible that the planned handling of the character is far different from that, but it is a competing angle that should be considered.

    As far as name suggestions, the only real suggestion I have would be considering incorporating the word Golem into the name of your clay person (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golem) as it is a creature from Jewish folk lore, generally held to be animated clay.

  114. Seraph-Fireon 11 Jan 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Good advice all around, thanks very much! The Golem aspect is something I hadn’t thought of, but it fits perfectly with the character. I hope you don’t mind if I use that.

    As for the mystical/sci-fi mix, I was really going for an all-round superhero-themed story…many stories do fix around a core concept that results in superhuma characters (genetic experimentation, mutation, magical effects etc), but I wanted to create a world in which the superhero origins would vary greatly…indicating that heroes are still being born, by various means, just a lot fewer of them have turned to vigilanteism. But I see your point. I’ll have to see what others think of the mix.

    Also, I created my jellyfish-girl-character more over my interest in jellyfish than my interest in creating an ‘untouchable’ character, but I was aware of her resulting similarities with Rogue. As such, I’m planning on making it an important point that the girl in question is completely asexual, and thus not as likely to be concerned about wanting physical contact. In fact, others tend to be confused as to why she seems realtively unbothered about her predicament.

    She develops a close friendship with my clay person (who is immune to her touch), but as a character, she has few qualms concerning physical contact. Instead, the main focus on her character is more about where the spores came from, why they affected her…and more worryingly, if she might be a host for producing more of them. Her inability to touch others is obviously a problem at times, but it takes a back seat in her character development.

  115. Bretton 20 Jan 2010 at 8:50 pm

    B. Mac, I’ve gotta ask you something. Realistically, is there even a remote chance that an agent or publisher would look at any new superhero story since there’s so much out there?
    I know I’m sounding negative but it’s just I’m worried, you know what I mean?
    I know it’s still a long shot but does the fact that it’s a superhero put me or anybody else at a disadvantage
    Again, not trying to discourage but for me personally I’d like that there’s some chance.

  116. Ghoston 20 Jan 2010 at 9:17 pm

    B. Mac, I’m interested in hearing your response to Brett’s question as well.

  117. Ragged Boyon 20 Jan 2010 at 9:57 pm

    Well, I’m not B. Mac, but I hope my input has some credibility.

    Uh yeah, I’m pretty sure publishers are still interested in superhero stories. Most obviously if that publisher focuses on superhero stories. But even so, I don’t even feel that one is at a disadvantage for wanting to make a superhero story. What counts is the writing, talent, and originality. How many fantasy stories with elves and magic are there? Or sci-fi stories with a psycho alien parasite that takes over human bodies? Tons of them. And they continue to make them even if the genre has been there and done that. Why? Different writers can bring new and interesting things to the table to keep it interesting.

    I suspect that if your idea is relatively fresh, your style is unique, and writing capability is publishable that you can get an agent or publisher interested in your work. I don’t see any reason in particular reason they would turn you down. I doubt they’d say “Oh, a superhero story!” and toss it in the trash. Unless the market for superhero stories is destined failure or a well-known minefield, I think you have a shot at getting published. What you should focus on now is improving your writing ability. Getting published is a step that comes much, much later (About a year if you’re just starting the first draft of the manuscript).

    Hope this helps!

  118. B. Macon 20 Jan 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Ragged Boy said: “Well, I’m not B. Mac, but I hope my input has some credibility. ”

    Well, I am B. Mac, but credibility is really not my thing. If you want credibility, I’d recommend talking to someone who isn’t named after a burger. ;-)

    “B. Mac, I’ve gotta ask you something. Realistically is there even a remote chance that an agent or publisher would look at any new superhero story since there’s so much out there?” There have been a few superhero novels that have sold pretty well (e.g. the Wild Card series and Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay). Publishers will put out whatever they think is most likely to sell.

    But how can you get YOUR superhero story to stand out? Differentiate Your Writing Or Else. If your story feels like a thin knockoff of a popular franchise, it’s probably dead on arrival. The publisher has to feel that your book will add something to what is currently available. For example, there have been many superhero comedies, but I bet that my office comedy about a taxman-turned-sidekick will feel fresh.

    So here are a few questions that may help you distinguish your work.

    –How is your hero different from other heroes on the market? What sort of interesting traits does he have?

    –How is your writing style different from other authors handling similar material? For example, Avatar and District 9 are both sci-fi movies about (SPOILER) a human turning into an alien (/SPOILER) but they handle the experience in a totally different way. In D9, the protagonist’s change causes him to lose something: his wife, his job, his freedom, his innocence, etc. In Avatar, the protagonist gains something: a wife, full use of his legs, social acceptance, the disgust of any Marines in the audience, etc. The plot is similar (a guy turns into an alien and has to deal with the obstacles that follow), but it all depends on which details you use to tell which story.

    –What do you bring to the table that other authors don’t? For example, when you’re submitting to publishers, it’ll help if you’ve amassed an audience through your day job or your blog. Excellent grammar and spelling (or money to pay for proofreaders) are pretty much required. What sort of unusual and interesting experiences do you have? Do you have any technical skills that will help you write and market the book? (For example, web coding… professional-grade artistic skills… salesmanship… networking skills, etc).

    Finally, the last thing I’ll say is that you can’t let yourself get discouraged. Getting published is like pounding your head on a prison wall until you can get loose. There is no way to know how close you are to freedom. Just take it on faith that you’ll get better and better as long as you work at your writing. It will probably take years to get published; I’ve been a paid writer for three years and am still probably several months away from getting published. UPDATE: I wrote this comment originally in January 2010 and believed that it would be several months before publication. In actuality, it was about a year.

  119. Bretton 21 Jan 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Thanks B.mac sorry for the downer. I think ‘m comfortable enough to share my premise with everyone now.
    Being that I have a disability. I figured I am in the perfect position to create a disabled superhero and write it from a true and honest perspective. Writers can do all the research they want, but they’ll never get something like that exactly right unless they’ve been. Please don’t think that I’m going to be catering to only people with disabilities because I most certainly am not. he’s just a run of the mill teen who happens to have a disability. There are two different sets of powers of planning i can’t decide on which one. the first is superstrength,flight, and the ability to sense other people with powers near by. In this version, he senses one of the villians henchmen and ends up falling down so he doesn’t have very good balance the ability to sense others’ powers makes him dizzy. so the main ‘baddie’ and the henchmen kidnap him and he gets rescued by another group of heroes although only three of them have powers, and the rest of them are just regular people helping them. The heroes train him and Brett fights the main baddie at the end of the story. now hears the fun part. the main baddie goes to school with Brett and he happens to be disabled as well. the book alternates between their two perspectives. obviously, a lot more goes on that i haven’t talked about what do you think?

  120. Bretton 21 Jan 2010 at 5:51 pm

    aw man i didn’t see you mention avatar but there are literally HUNDREDS of disabled characters in scifi. cameron shyed away from the disability because his mind was transfered into the avatar and he could as u said. im not gonna lie, i’ve been working on this story for almost seven years and i found out about Avatar in september 2008. but the more i researched the more i realized the only things i had in common with the story was that both characters are disabled and the disabilities are totally different. we’re going see my character perservere in spite of disability. its the constant elephant in the room

  121. B. Macon 21 Jan 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Hmm. I think a story about disabled characters could work. If Hero (a novel about a gay superhero) could become a bestseller based on what I imagine to be a fairly niche audience, a publisher could probably pick up a disabled superhero if he’s really well-written.

    Professor X and Oracle/Barbara Gordon (UPDATE: and the protagonist of Avatar) use wheelchairs, so I think readers will feel pretty comfortable with a physical disability. Now, I notice you didn’t specify whether it was a physical disability, but a mental disability could also work (although it’d probably be trickier). I’m not familiar with such superheroes, but Flowers for Algernon and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time sold quite a lot of copies despite using a mentally retarded protagonist and an autistic protagonist, respectively.

    So… let’s talk about your character.

    –What sort of traits does he have going on besides the disability?
    –Does he have any flaws NOT related to the disability? (One potential problem with using disabled characters that the author may use a disability to make a character unaccountable for his flaws– I’d recommend giving him at least one flaw that is definitely his fault rather than beyond his control).
    –How does his disability affect his work as a superhero?
    –An agent or editor would probably want to know something about whether the character can connect with your readers. Who’s your target audience and why will they want to read about him?
    –I notice that it sounds like the character is named Brett, which is also the pen-name you’re using here. Will you be able to maintain adequate authorial distance between you and your character?
    –Is he dealing with a disability similar to yours? If so, that’s something that might raise huge red flags for a literary professional about whether the character is a Mary Sue stand-in for the author.



    I really like the twist that the villain is also disabled. I was sort of worried that he’d be a 2-D guy that hated on disabled people, maybe Nazi-style. It’s far more interesting that he himself is disabled.

  122. ForsAkenon 05 Feb 2010 at 4:24 pm

    I am helping one of my friends with his story, and he has asked me to supply him with a character. I named the Character Theireq, he has a laid back personality, he values friendship a lot, he would always try to do what is right instead of whats popular though. I need help with a power though. I was thinking on giving him a charisma or some sort of power that has to do with water. If anyone has ideas please let me know. Oh and his story is fantasy, and there is really no specific time period.

  123. B. Macon 05 Feb 2010 at 5:58 pm

    I think water control would work. It lends itself well to interesting fight scenes and is versatile and easy to understand.

    I’m not so sure about charisma. I think that having the power to persuade people to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do would be significantly less interesting than reading about a character who persuades people without superpowers. Not having the power will force you to work harder to make him show how good his skills are, rather than just using a superpower.

    I’d recommend rounding out his personality more with a flaw. Right now, he sounds like a mostly generically nice guy. I’d recommend playing up these personality traits so much that they might conceivably get him into trouble– maybe he’s so laid-back that he treats people far more casually or nonchalantly than he should. Maybe he doesn’t care about what’s happening as much as he should. Maybe he values friendship too much and sometimes makes unreasonable (or unethical) requests of his friends. Maybe he gets into trouble because doing what he thinks is right is a hell of a lot harder (and/or dumber) than going with the flow would have been.

  124. ForsAkenon 05 Feb 2010 at 6:28 pm

    Well I was thinking about the villian he will be pinned against in the story, and the Villain has the power to use someones power against them. So i was thinking that a charisma power would help him along some lines.

    There is also multiple enemies and many heroes in this story so far. So a charisma power wouldnt be making it to less intresting.

    I was also working on his background ealier, and if i give him a power like water, it will be more of a ice power.

  125. Anonymouson 07 Feb 2010 at 9:35 am

    Hey, I’m just curious about this- how well does shapeshifting work out for a character? You don’t see a lot of it, (well, I don’t) and I’m just wondering what the pitfalls might be and what the advantages might be. I don’t read much superhero fiction, but off the top of my head, the only characters I can think of that are capable of transformation are Mystique and Beastboy.

  126. B. Macon 07 Feb 2010 at 10:21 am

    Myriad (Dynamo Five) and the Martian Manhunter come to mind as well.

    I think shapeshifting is a bit better suited for a support character. The character would have a lot of options for sneaking and infiltration, but probably wouldn’t be too interesting in combat. Even if the character can turn into animals, there are only so many ways to show a dinosaur/tiger/wallaby slamming someone. If your series is mature enough to use blood, you may be able to add variety with maulings–if your series isn’t that mature, you could have him show off the claws/teeth on insentient enemies.

    Also, one useful aspect is that the shapeshifter would have a lot of opportunities to run off on his own. If the combat scenes ever got too unwieldy because too many characters were involved, it’d be easy to give him something else to do elsewhere. For example, while everybody else is fighting, maybe he’s looking for an important plot item.



    If the shapeshifter is a lone character, I’d recommend giving him another power to make the fights more interesting. (Sort of like the Martian Manhunter, although he’s better-known for his work on the Justice League than his own comic).

    I don’t think it lends itself particularly well to interesting fight scenes.



    I think that the ability to transform into other humans requires that the author have a strong grasp on character voicing. If you have many characters that sound very different, it’ll be fun to read the shapeshifter try to emulate their manners of speech. If the characters don’t have distinct voices, having a shapeshifter will draw attention to the fact that all of them sound alike.

  127. Kolbyon 19 Feb 2010 at 1:24 pm

    im trying to write a comic book at the ae of 14 and i need to come up with a superpower thats Orignal and i cant think of anything

  128. B. Macon 19 Feb 2010 at 1:42 pm

    I don’t think that the originality of the powers matters much. In almost every case, there will be previously published heroes/villains that share your character’s powers. That’s usually not a problem for publishers, as long as you put some thought into the character’s voice, personality, style, goals, problems, obstacles, etc.

    I’d recommend focusing less on whether your powers are unique than on whether they give you the ability to tell an interesting story.

    For example, right now I’m working on a nightsight-themed criminal. I that it will give me opportunities to mix things up for the heroes by cutting the power supply to the building.



    Good luck getting published! If I could make a suggestion that would have helped me at 14, I think that it would have helped me to work on proofreading skills and practice writing as much as possible.

  129. Montyon 20 Feb 2010 at 10:29 am

    I want to give my superhero the ability to mentally controll gravity, but I do not know what all he would be able to do with that ability. Can you give me any ideas on how to showcase his powers?

  130. MOODYon 27 Feb 2010 at 7:21 am

    To Monty:

    Gravity can be used as following:

    1-It can move/fly objects
    2-bind other people
    3-make protection fields

    By emitting gravity from body you can:

    1-get people nearer or farer
    2-use it in offense
    3-expose objects/people to pressure

  131. B. Macon 27 Feb 2010 at 12:57 pm

    One of the minor antagonists on Static Shock used gravity control, or something like it, to try crushing people.

    In practice, I think that gravity control will probably be very similar to telekinesis. (The only difference I can think of is that many telekinetics cannot or do not use their powers to fly or levitate). I suppose one difference between TK and gravity control might be that gravity control is less useful at manipulating small objects in precise ways? A telekinetic or magnetic guy might be able to fight someone off with psychically controlled weaponry, but my guess is that the ability to control gravity wouldn’t give that sort of precision. (Or maybe it does. Your story is yours, obviously).

    PS: I’m sorry to hear about the laptop, RB.

  132. Auxilaryon 02 Mar 2010 at 5:40 pm

    I’ve been having trouble creating new characters whenever I make another story. Could you guys offer some constuctive criticism? I was given a few names from my cousin, Mysticgust because he discarded them:

    Joshua: Has the ability to become animal-like when in danger or in a fight. When he goes “animal” he is only operating on instincts and is completly ruthless. His senses become elavated to animal levels.

    Wayne : Ability to draw people to him emotionally and physically and want to protect and help him. Only works on a few people at a time.

    Brooke: Ability to shut off powers that affect peoples minds. It tires her out very qiuckly so that she is constantly sleepy and her power shuts off after several minutes. She usually uses her gift in bursts.

    Zack: ability to sense powers and weaknesses in others. Can cause people to not notice him for breif periods of time. ( He must move slowly while being ” unnoticed”)

  133. Ghoston 03 Mar 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Auxilary,
    First off, I think that Wanye’s powes is to passive. It doesn’t really “do” anything. Remember you want your heroes to be doing the actions in the story, so that means you want their powers to doing things also. Wanye’s power could be problematic, because he won’t be the one doing anything. Other people will be doing it for him. I suggest you give him mind control or something along those lines.
    I would also recommend giving Brooke Zack’s first power. It makes sense to me that if Brooke can turn other people’s powers off that she would be able to sense their weaknesses as well.
    For Zack, I think that his “unnoticability”(is that even a word and if so did I spell it correctly) could work well. From your description, I imagine his powers as something like being mentally invisible to people as oppose to him actually turn invisible. Almost like him using a hypnotic suggestion to make people not notice him.
    I like Joshua’s power, but your description is a little unclear to me. Does Joshua change at will like a Lycan from underworld? Or is he like to hulk and he can only change when he is angry. I think that his powers could work either way.
    By the way, what are your character’s origin stories?

  134. Miss Mynaon 06 Mar 2010 at 8:53 am

    I always thought a cute power for a bookworm would have some sort of paper-kinesis… I’ve seen it a lot in anime where characters could control paper and wood and ended up telekinetically creating an origami army or something. It’s really cool. <3

  135. B. Macon 06 Mar 2010 at 9:23 am

    Also, the librarian protagonist of Read or Die! has paper-kinesis. It’s surprisingly versatile. I haven’t seen any origami armies yet, but she has escaped a crashing helicopter by making a hang-glider out of paper, which possibly the most intense action sequence I’ve seen in a cartoon.

  136. Wingson 06 Mar 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Oddly enough, there was originally an end scene in HTSTW (This was the time before the sequels) designed to foreshadow the existence of superhumans other than the Specials, that mentioned a little girl making origami birds fly around her.

    I might bring her back in the maybe-sequel to Darkstar Rising or the Third Book, just because of the sheer awesome of an origami army.

    - Wings

  137. Miss Mynaon 07 Mar 2010 at 10:56 am

    Yeah… I have a bookworm character and I’m tempted to give him that power, though that’s probably anvilicious…

    Maybe give it to his brother? HE doesn’t read at all. XD

  138. Ragged Boyon 07 Mar 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Hello, Auxilary

    Here’s my input on you team.

    - First off, if this is a team I don’t think your powers are configured well enough. I believe there too much focus on support powers. As off now you only have two characters that could feasibly do combat. Also, Wayne’s powers are situational so that makes one all-time combatant, a part-time combatant, and two support members. I’d recommend reconfiguring their powers to make them a stronger team. A personal rule of mine is that each character should be capable of at least one type of combat.

    - Joshua’s powers are a bit vague. There are over 1 million animal species in the world and I’m hoping he’s not like each one. I’d recommend narrowing it down to one type of animal. Big cats, monkeys, reptiles, etc. I think cats are a bit generic, but a monkey warrior would be pretty sick if pulled off well.

    - I’d recommend going all the way with Wayne’s powers and give him empathy. Empathy encompassed what you said and makes his powers a little more whole. Also, to make him a bit more active I’d recommend givig him psychically produced weaponry. I think the combination would make him solid in and out of battle.

    - Brooke’s powers are a bit negative-heavy. They don’t apply to everyone, can only be used in bursts, and make her tired easily. I don’t know your setting so I’m not sure if her powers are effective or not. I want to recommend giving her a new power altogether. In my opinion, she seems a bit like an easy target with no offensive ability and a defensive powers that only works a percentage of the time.

    - I’d summarize Zack’s powers as detection. He can detect others powers and weaknesses and become indetectable. All in all, I thik his powers work out. You may mant to tweak him a little for combat effectiveness.

    - As a side note, I also recommend cleaning up your writing mechanics. I noticed a few grammar mistakes when editing your comment.

    What do you think? Hope this helps.

  139. auxilaryon 10 Mar 2010 at 6:00 pm

    This is very helpful , i have a few changes on the characters.
    I was thinking Brookes power might have been too powerful when i was creating her so i limited her severly. So after your comments I think I might alter her powers some. She could shut off all powers that invole anyones mind ( like telekenesis, but not superstrength) And making her be able to draw peoples energy slightly in combat to power her sheild. ( sleepy while not fighting). Okay in hand to hand combatants. I might limit her to knocking out everyones powers instead of only select people, but I might not.
    I think Zach’s ( zach not zack, misspelling above) power is okay. I’m not sure how to tweak his powers offensivly ( please help)
    Waynes power is basically having a few people, maybe one or two, become drawn emotionally to him for a short period of time. when they are drawn to him they want to protect him. Like wanting to help him to fight off someone/something. Ex. two gaurds helping him break into a jail ,while taking out other gaurds during it. (wayne wouldn’t be breaking into a jail anyway, but i pulled it off the top of my head) When the people come too (depending who they are) they could suddenly turn on him. The time it takes them to break free depends on their will strength. Okay at self defebse, well, good enough to protect himself until he either gains control of them or takes them out ( knock them uncounsious).
    After a while of thinking I thought that Joshua’s power would mainly be in the mind. He could have enhanced strength/ speed/ durability, but the main shift is in the mind. See, animals fight tooth and nail , completly ruthless tearing at throats and doing any thing to gain the upper hand. So maybe he could just, basically, become extreamly savage. Couple that with his other powers you would have a crazy strong, crazy fast, and crazy durable nearly sixfoot teenager, that wants nothing more than too tear your throat out. I was also thinking about adding a natural ability that would allow him to go on a “white run”, which would allow him to just go on instincts while trying to escape. Example, he could run up a wall for a few steps, then jump out in a flip typr thing, grab a bar swing up, stand on it then jump out of a second story window in like, half a second. change is voluntary unless he is attacked, kie an ambush, then its automatic.
    i will write their origin stories but i have to get off now. Thanks for any and all comments. I will help others who need assistance as well.

  140. Ragged Boyon 14 Mar 2010 at 1:57 am

    In addition to Wing’s excellent inquiries, I’d like to add:

    - What are the members of The Clan personalities like? An inveterate trait of new (or relatively new) writers is not enough focus on the person and more on their powers.

    - Is “the power to conflict death” the same as immortality? Be careful with immortal characters, if a character can die and come back whenever or never die it lowers the stakes and makes death mundane.

    - I’m not fond of names that reflect a character’s powers, it comes off as a bit cheesy. If you wanted to make the names reflect the powers I’d recommend being a little more creative than Shadien for a dark character or Seaaz for a water one.

    I think I’m going to need more information before I can decide to like it or not, not that my opinion is important or anything.

  141. Dark_Minionon 19 Mar 2010 at 7:00 pm

    I am having a little trouble with mixing espionage elements with superhero elements in my novel that i want to start. Any suggestions

  142. B. Macon 19 Mar 2010 at 9:37 pm

    Hello, Dark_Minion. This is probably going to sound counterintuitive, but I would recommend against using stealth-related superpowers like invisibility. I think it’d be significantly more interesting to see the hero try to, say, sneak past a guard than just go invisible and walk past him.

    If the hero will be sneaking in and out of heavily fortified facilities, I would recommend against teleportation and phasing. Forcing the character to come up with some alternate escape/entry plan would give you more opportunities to challenge the character, I think.

    If intrigue and/or paranoia are a significant part of the plot, I would recommend against mind-reading and lie-detection.

  143. Asayaon 19 Mar 2010 at 10:26 pm

    Yo Dark_Minion! If you don’t mind my commenting, psychometry is an interesting ability that would suit the espionage genre well enough.

    If you didn’t know psychometry, it is the ability to pick up information by touching an object.This special information generally gives info regarding who and what last touched that particular object in the past. Your character, for example, might be on some sort of recon mission were collecting intel on their surroundings is important. I remember there was a character in Heroes that had psychometric abilities.

  144. Asayaon 19 Mar 2010 at 10:33 pm

    Another interesting power to use might be remote viewing. This ability allows the viewer to visualize an area where they are not physically present. This usually comes in the form of visions. Your character could use this power to scope out restricted areas.
    In the case you think I’m making these up off the top of my head, I’m gonna post links to the site I found them on (Wikipedia actually).

  145. B. Macon 20 Mar 2010 at 12:10 am

    I think psychometry would be conducive to an interesting espionage story. For one thing, it requires the character to get in close to the object, which can be dangerous and dramatic.

    I think remote viewing might make the hero’s life too easy and safe. (People would much rather read about a spy than a spy satellite, right?) On the other hand, it might work a bit more smoothly for villains because it lets authors give the villains important information without getting bogged down in details about how they found it out.

  146. Bretton 26 Mar 2010 at 2:09 am

    So I sort of have a strange question. Has an unpublished author ever gotten an offer for their book and then for one reason or another, said no?

  147. Lighting Manon 26 Mar 2010 at 12:01 pm

    There’s actually an excellent film named Suspect Zero about while not technically superheroes, a vigilante using remote viewing in order to fight crime. It stars the man that would eventually play Harvey “Two-Face” Dent in the Dark Knight as a detective investigating what he believes to be a serial killer but is in fact a brutal government-created psychic vigilante. If the power interests you, I would suggest viewing it if you get the opportunity.

    I agree with B. Mac that psychometry definitely has a greater potential for drama, as it has the benefit of being an active instead of passive power, but it also has the negative requirement of essentially requiring magic. There’s an element of believability to remote viewing because generally whatever they would be viewing would have a person actively viewing it or in the room as it, but psychometry stretches that to requiring that there be psychic tethers on the object, attaching the object to the memory of whoever they would see, or psychic remnants leftover which allow essentially the same thing to occur. In a universe with limited superpowers, it might be a bit too much. Hellboy and Hellboy 2 both featured a character with the ability (Abe Sapien) but they also featured the titular character as a large red demon with hooves and a giant hand, and his girlfriend Liz, an accidental pyrokinetic, not to mention Seth McFarlane as ghost juice stuck in a metal suit and a giant squid-god that wanted to eat Metropolis and had to die by grenades.

  148. B. Macon 26 Mar 2010 at 12:59 pm

    I haven’t seen Suspect Zero, but some of the things I’ve read would give me pause about using remote viewing. The original version of the script was a mostly realistic police procedural. The remote viewing superpowers got added by the guy that wrote Volcano.

    “But psychic visions? For one thing, it removes any and all tension from the detective work in the film. In Penn’s script, Mack was a good detective, and he managed to piece together enough information to find O’Ryan. He’s a great profiler, and that makes him a worthy adversary for O’Ryan, the best profiler, even while gripped by madness. In this new draft, these mysterious faxes do all the legwork for Mack, rendering him inactive, and whatever blanks are left open are filled in by his psychic visions that begin to come more and more frequently, along with blinding headaches. And those visions… they keep him linked to O’Ryan, who the FBI says never existed. Because, you know… the FBI can just erase one of their own from existence. Happens all the time. All of a sudden, Quantico and a university and someone’s family and friends are all just convinced to not remember that someone exists. The way that Mack begins to track O’Ryan down in this new script is ludicrous, based on luck and magic. They weren’t content to just have one set of preposterous coincidences in the film. Instead, every new beat seems to be built on another coincidence.”

    Jonathan Last at Weekly Standard reached a similar conclusion.



    To make remote viewing more interesting, perhaps you could use it as a way to give minor clues to start the search for information. I think it could be dramatic as foreshadowing. However, powers that keep the hero out of harm’s way may undermine the danger to the hero of getting in close.



    Psychometry could be adapted for a more realistic story. If the idea of getting information by magically touching an object is too fantastical, you could give a character skills in forensic examination or crime scene investigation. A forensic examiner checks out a corpse and determines how the person died, when, whether the victim knew the attacker, etc. A criminal investigator would check a scene to determine how it all went down. (For example, a lack of signs of forced entry suggests that the assailant either had keys to the place or was let in). Similarly, a realistic story may be able to substitute satellites, aerial surveillance or binoculars for remote viewing.

  149. Dark_Minionon 26 Mar 2010 at 4:11 pm

    I had an idea that these superhumans work with the government to fight evil threats such as terrorists, evil corrupt corporations and other bad superhumans but when the goverment has no further use for them they would kill them. any suggestions.

  150. B. Macon 26 Mar 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Hey, Brett.

    “Has an unpublished author ever gotten an offer for their book and then for one reason or another, said no?”

    Stephenie Meier (Twilight), for example. Meier’s agent rejected a deal for $300,000 and was eventually offered a three-book deal for $750,000.

    Jim Munroe published his debut novel through HarperCollins and turned down their offer to publish his second novel. He ended up self-publishing it.

    Here are a few reasons that I think an author might pass on an offer…
    The author (or the author’s agent) is very confident that better offers will come. (The agent usually knows more about the market for a work than the author does, so I would recommend deferring to the agent’s assessment). The agent has a strong financial incentive to get you a deal as quickly as possible. If your agent is urging you to decline an offer, he is very confident that a significantly better offer is coming.

    The author is not confident about the book the publisher has in mind. . Maybe a publisher is willing to run with your story, but wants to move it in a direction you’re not comfortable with. For example, if a publisher offered to publish my book about an accountant-turned-superhero but wanted to do a more conventional sci-fi with supersoldiers instead of superheroes, I’d probably pass. I don’t have a strong grasp of military fiction.

    The author and agent are not confident that this publisher can pull off this project. According to one editorial assistant, “it’s better to be unpublished than published in an inferior way.” In most cases, the editors that go for a particular book are enthusiastic about the genre and target audience. It couldn’t hurt to make sure. Has the editor worked with books like this before? Did they sell at least fairly well? Is this publisher/editor experienced with your target audience?

    –The author has political/cultural issues with the publisher. Jim Munroe cited Rupert Murdoch (the guy that owns HarperCollins, Fox News and several other media outlets) as one of the reasons he left HarperCollins. I’d only recommend making a decision based on this if you have some reason to think that the political/cultural issues would create major problems for your work. Realistically,a senior manager of a media empire won’t even glance at your project unless maybe you’re selling millions of copies or somehow attract major media attention and/or controversy (e.g. a Salman Rushdie situation).

  151. bretton 07 Apr 2010 at 1:58 am

    Would a writer stand just as much of a chance at getting a one-shot graphic novel published at image as he/she would a story arc?

  152. B. Macon 07 Apr 2010 at 2:56 am

    You’d probably have a better chance of getting the one-shot published.

    –It requires less financial commitment on the part of the publisher. For example, if your art team makes something like $120 a page, which I think is fairly low for a professionally-published comic, that comes out to $2900 per 24-page issue for artistic labor alone. After you factor in the writer(s), the editor(s), the printing costs, distribution and (possibly) promotions/marketing, each issue will probably cost the publisher tens of thousands of dollars.

    Publishers aren’t rolling in money and it’s easier to risk tens of thousands on a one-shot than maybe a hundred thousand dollars on a limited series. (And God help those unpublished authors proposing ongoing series). If the publisher is pleased by the quality and sales of the standalone, it will be receptive to adding on issues.

    –It’s much easier to pull off a one-shot without delays. For one thing, when you submit your one-shot, you’ll probably have it fully scripted. In contrast, you’d probably only have 1-2 issues of a series scripted at the time of submission. I think it’s wiser/safer for an inexperienced author to have his scripts ready at the onset of the project because scripting an issue is typically a tortuously slow process for rookies. (It gets faster as you practice).

    –If you’re doing a one-shot, it’s easier to avoid resolving very little and saving it all for the next issue. There may be a bit of downtime here and there, but generally I’d recommend a steady stream of plot resolutions. One way to do so is to work in intermediate goals–the heroes probably won’t defeat the main villain right away, but you can have them beat a henchman/lieutenant or acquire something significant or achieve something else while we wait for the final confrontation.

  153. bretton 07 Apr 2010 at 8:56 pm

    how long should a graphic novel be?

  154. B. Macon 07 Apr 2010 at 10:45 pm

    I think 168 pages is the average. My brief Google search mostly uncovered GNs in the 140-180 page range. I’m not sure if that includes ads or not, though.

  155. Talyaon 21 Apr 2010 at 11:26 pm

    My superhero is suppose to be the most powerful superhero among them all. But according to the plot, I limited his powers to the four original elements…is this a bad move?

  156. Ragged Boyon 22 Apr 2010 at 3:51 am

    Well, if your hero is meant to be the greatest superhero of them all you should think of other things besides his powers to give him an edge above the others. Maybe he’s an expert tactician? Is extremely cool under serious pressure? Is he willing to make sacrifices that most other heroes wouldn’t?

    I suppose your powers are okay. Being that I don’t know the range of powers you gave other heroes it’s hard to pinpoint whether or not the hero is overpowered. But it’s definitely a possiblility. Packing the four elements would make someone pretty tough.

    I have a few questions:

    - What about his personality makes him the best hero? What is his personality?

    - For reference, what are some other character’s abilities? Also, what was it that exempted them from greatness?

  157. Talyaon 22 Apr 2010 at 11:39 pm

    Well he is cool under preasure, and is a technician and all that. He is a warrior!

    As for the extent of his powers, I still haven’t decided yet, since he is not one that turns to his powers, or avoids situations where he may have to use his powers to their full extent I doubt I’ll have to in the near future.

    Well there is one who can change reality, another who can subdue the powers of others and even their energy; but then those two are sages rather than fighters.

    I haven’t gone to the extent with others yet I am still developing their powers, I just am afraid I might cross the line! Especially with one, who is like Peter Petrali

  158. Con-Elon 23 Apr 2010 at 6:47 am

    Hey guys. Does anyone have any suggestions on creating armored/robotic/tech based heroes and villains? I’m developing my universe and find it much easier to create characters that have superpowers and such. Any advice?

  159. Wingson 23 Apr 2010 at 9:36 am

    Con-El, where’s your universe set – a typical superhero world, a sci-fi world, or a futuristic world (Note: By sci-fi here, I’m differentiating that from futuristic by meaning a story not set on Earth)?

    I’m not great with such sorts of heroes, but I’ll do the best I can to help.

    - Wings

  160. Ragged Boyon 23 Apr 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Hello, Con-El!

    I guess my suggestions would be not to make all of your characters skills rely on their tech. I understand that this is there power, however, if a hero is useless without their suit or tech I’d recommend rethinking their skill parameters. For example, Tony Stark has the Iron Man suit, but outside of it he is great with machinery, a genius, excellent tactician, and a charmer.

    - Technological malfunctions or E.M.P’s would be great ways to force character’s to work without their gear.

    I’ll keep thinking…

  161. B. Macon 23 Apr 2010 at 2:14 pm

    RB said: “I guess my suggestions would be not to make all of your characters skills rely on their tech. I understand that this is their power; however, if a hero is useless without their suit or tech, I’d recommend rethinking their skill parameters.” I think that’s important for every superpowered character, actually. Give them something going on besides the powers. Particularly if they got their superpowers primarily by accident, luck, birth or something else outside of their control.

    One thing that bothers me is when a manuscript makes the character sound like a collection of powers rather than a person that happens to have powers. Powers are just a part of a character, and almost never the most interesting part. (Personality, traits, voice, etc).



    With powersuited heroes specifically, I’d recommend occasionally forcing them into tough situations where they can’t just rely on the armor. What does your hero do when he’s caught in a situation where he isn’t wearing the suit? What does your hero do when he’s in a situation that isn’t well-suited to a powersuit at all? (For example, maybe his suit is a bit too clunky to handle something delicate like moving the Mona Lisa out of a dangerous position or defusing a bomb). Or maybe he’s in a situation where his suit is too lethal. For example, if armed juveniles are robbing a bank, shooting them would be unseemly. How does he subdue them without getting any bystanders hurt in the process?

    Also, I agree with RB that malfunctions and EMPs are effective ways to force the characters to improvise. Relatedly, you might be able to do something with computer viruses and/or hacking.

  162. Con-Elon 23 Apr 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Ok thanks guys. To answer your question Wings, the universe I am attempting to create is populated by various individuals with extra-human capabilities. Their are people who utilize advanced technology and/or powered armor, people who can manipulate magic and superpowered humans. The emergence of advanced tech, superpowered people and magic users all suddenly began to emerge about six months before my universe starts. An event no one can explain, but that everyone has been trying to find the truth behind, left hundreds of people superpowered or able to harness magic in the modern world. So yeah, the s*** is still hitting the fan but the people in power seem to have everything calmed down and stable.

    I plan to write three stories to introduce my future audience to my universe. These stories will prominately feature one of the three types of heroes in my universe. I’ve already got one story planned for the most part. I can’t decide whether to start planning one of the other two or stick with the other one for a while longer. I like to try and get everything in order before moving on, but I tend to try and force ideas when I get strung out on a project. So I’m having a little trouble but so what, that’s the writing process right?

  163. Wingson 23 Apr 2010 at 8:58 pm

    Off topic: You know, some times character traits that aren’t superpowers can be just as useful/more useful than the actual powers: For instance, on my character encyclopedia, I list “Charismatic” as a superpower for Shift just because he utilized it so well. As a human shapeshifter, he made the perfect infiltrator, but it was his acting/mimicry skills and ability to make people like him that made him excellent at spying.

    - Wings

  164. Koveon 23 Apr 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Hey guys,
    I’ve been troubled by a few things that I’m working on in my story and I’m hoping I can get some help/advice.
    My main character does seem a bit over-powered (check out my review forum) but I think he’s relatively weak as well. His power allows him to do a great number of things, but it is physically taxing and unless he prepares himself properly, he cannot use his powers at night. I think that’s one heck of a weakness. My question is this: What can I do to make him seem more human? I mean, he’s a teenager, with no skills or training whatsoever, and the only thing he really has going for him is his powers. Without them, he’s just a scared kid. His personality is well-rounded enough, but he doesn’t trust anyone and has a tendency to run from his problems instead of facing him down. How can I tell if these are going to be likable traits or not?
    My second question revolves around the use of super-strength as a power. One of my characters, named Truck, has super-strength and a form of body resistance that makes him quite resistant to most forms of damage. He is very young as well, and has had trouble adjusting to his abilities. He is a very likable character, and his power is a constant thing. What I’m hoping to get are some suggestions on how to put HIM in situations where he can’t use his powers or a situation where they would be completely useless. Hopefully you guys can help me out with that. Thanks a bunch

  165. Con-Elon 30 Apr 2010 at 6:25 am

    Hey guys, I’ve got a question. I’m currently attempting to develope this character with the ability to rewind time to a limited degree. I’ve always liked that power and so I’m attempting to put my onw personal stank on it if you will. My question is this, how for should he be able to rewind time?

    There was an episode of ‘The Batman’ called ‘Seconds’ in which a time-rewinder was fought. He could rewind time for only twenty seconds but it was enough to steal components in order to build a nerve gas bomb; defeat batman, Robin and Batgirl; and kill everyone in Gothom City with said nerve gas bomb. In the end however, he was somehow able to rewind time enough to prvent all of it from happening.

    I know one of the problems with time manipulaters is their ability to retcon stuff. But all I want this guy to do is rewind time for a short period. That’s all. I’m not gonna do anything that would let him go past his limit. So what do you guys think? What would an appropriate length of time be?

  166. B. Macon 30 Apr 2010 at 8:11 am

    I think the power sounds very interesting. Because the events are being changed almost at the same time they happened, I don’t think there will be retcon problems. (You’re undoing the events before they have the chance to gel in the readers’ minds). Also, it seems like an excellent way to build urgency with a ticking clock. Can the hero undo [Event X] in however many seconds/minutes?

    As for the time limit, I’d recommend keeping it short. Probably less than five minutes. It’ll make it harder for him to completely avoid dangerous situations with his powers.

    I haven’t seen the episode, but one thing you might consider is that the ability to rewind time is useless if the antagonist is such a better fighter than you that he will beat you each time. So, while the ability to rewind time may help give me the initiative against (say) a tiger that attacks me, even if I know he’s coming, what can I do about it? (However, if he kills or knocks me out before I have the chance to use the power, then I definitely wouldn’t have the initiative).

  167. shwow12on 02 May 2010 at 9:55 pm

    Hey everyone. i was hoping you guys could throw in your two cents.
    So I’m starting a new comic and i want my main character to have a more unique power (no super strength, speed or anything else like that) and i can’t really come up with a solid idea, i was hoping you guys might have some.
    Some powers i thought of are weight manipulation: he can change his own weight from a fraction of a pound to (insert really high number here).
    and i was also thinking about sonic scream.
    if you guys have any advice or ideas they’re much appreciated. thanks.

  168. Pon 03 May 2010 at 6:33 pm

    Here are a few interesting powers that come to mind:

    Foresight: Able to see a certain amount of time into the future. I made a character whose power was seeing 10 seconds into the future which allowed him to counter nearly any attacks his foes threw at him. If you feel it is appropriate, you could make his powers to see into the future even greater, but of course that normally leads to a lot of holes in a story

    Spines: Bones are stronger than people give them credit for. You can limit it to be related to Wolverines, though I strongly advise not too, or you can go extreme and make him a calcium behemoth, complete with spikes and natural bone armor.

    Sharkskin: One interesting character I had made was covered with near microscopic spines which enhanced his fists with one hundred tiny blades, allowed him to climb walls, and even gave him resistances to certain attacks. It’s like spines, but they are all a lot smaller.

    Limited Manipulation: You could have your character be able to manipulate certain items into weapons. Such as, he can turn an item into an explosive, but the item has to be a certain material, like wax, or cheese if you want to be ridiculous.

    Well, there’s a few things. By the way, your ideas of weight manipulation of sonic scream are not prevalent or overused, so they seem good to me. Anyway, these were just a few suggestions, I’m sure the others on this site can help you more than I did.

  169. Wingson 03 May 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Hmm…To add on to P’s statement, bone manipulation is definitely unique and unusual so long as you use it plausible. Agility’s kinda underrated as a power, so that could also make an interesting skill.

    If anything, take a well known power and reinvent it. For one of my characters, I combined the powers of mind reading and creating illusions to create the ability to “animate” the memories of others for a certain period of time.

    - Wings

  170. Ragged Boyon 03 May 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Here’s a few unique powers off the top of my head:

    Smoke Manipulation: This could also involve the character being able to become temporarily incorporeal. Common uses include gusts, smokescreens, illusions, environmental blending, etc.

    Minions: The character can summon up a team of little kickass helpers (I, personally, would’nt go over five helpers unless it was a major event). Each helper could perform a different action or they can team up for devastating and cunning tactics or both. For a limitation I would have the helpers linked directly to the hero’s body. If one is taken out it impacts the user.

    Black Knight: Any pain inflicted on the hero can be retained, strengthened, and fired at enemies (I imagine the pain in the form of a purple or crimson red lance). Of course, the pain does tax the user, but they would have a higher tolerance to pain given their ability. Pushed to the limit the character’s suicide or death causes a death wave.

    Full Body Control: Heavily taxing the user this would probably be a time-based power. For a period of time the user have complete control over their body and can morph and create things like claws, fur, wings, a tail, tentacles, spines, scales, sharp teeth, elongating limbs for harpoon attacks, etc. I imagined a character named Freakshow with this power.

    Additional Voice Capabilities: In addition with sonic screams (did you know that past a certain decibel limit you can deflect bullets?), you could add pitches that can overload the brain and knock them out and undo locks. Also, voice mimicry and sound mimcry would be great for tricking enemies.

    That’s all I got for now. Like any?

  171. Con-Elon 04 May 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Hey fellas, I got another question. I’m developing characters for a comic involving a supergroup and am having trouble powering one of them.

    What i’m thinking about using is the power of sublimation, the ability to turn into an incorpreal being of some kind of smoke/gas. So this is my question, how do you guys rate that ability. I mean is unique enough to use effectively? Is is powerful enough on it’s own? What do you guys think?

  172. Roon 04 May 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Whats good Con-El, I would like to know what abilities the other characters on the team have. But In my opinion I think that would work well for a spy or stealth based character. I think you could definitely make it work!

  173. Con-Elon 09 May 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Ok fellas, here’s a question. How can a comicbook universe developer get away with having superhumans, magic users, demon/angels, armored heroes/villains in the same universe, make it all seem normal enough to portray and NOT have it be compared to Marvel/DC like I imagine it will be. What do you guys think?

  174. B. Macon 09 May 2010 at 8:37 pm

    Introduce it all gradually, Con-El? For example, Dr. McNinja introduces a few ridiculous concepts in each issue (like banditos riding raptors or Ronald McDonald as the end boss or a gorilla as a receptionist or Dracula in space or time-travelling astronauts turned zombie-fighting mayors, etc).

    Also, I think Marvel and DC comics often skip or gloss over the part where the characters meet each other. Most independent stories take more time showing how the characters meet each other, how their relationships evolve, etc. I think it’s because Marvel/DC characters are usually better-known to the readers beforehand than independent characters are. (Also, I’d expect that an independent comic would spend more time introducing the character because you can’t assume that your readers know anything about Captain Awesome, whereas most Superman fans are at least pretty familiar with the character’s concept and major backstory).

  175. hopefulon 10 May 2010 at 2:37 pm

    First of all the snake-head is a fish, second, yes he can shoot water because he can turn into a monster. The fish state is the main power, the water shooting comes second.
    Thanks! Cortex is just the name I’ve been looking for.
    That last line sounds a little scarcastic. I’ll take that back if you can explane to me a plasuable way to explane Superman-like flight.
    To prove that I know what I’m talking about, Laser vision. It could be atcheved by providing a large amount of energy to the victerious humor in the eye, which would have to contane a large amount of carbon dioxide. That would cauce the humor to floress laser light. A mirror like substace in the back and you have Laser Vision.
    See this scientific, and it could work.

  176. ekimmakon 12 May 2010 at 3:48 am

    Hey, I’ve been working on a superhero team novel for quite some time now. I could use a bit of feedback.

    The backstory to the area is that during World War II, both sides began developing supersoldier experiments to give themselves the edge. But, when the war ended, the superhumans had nothing left to do. Some became heroes, some became villains, some just went on to live normal lives. But, one major supervillain managed to recruit the majority of the villains to his side, and started world war III. The rest of the free world fared poorly, until a superhero elected himself as global defender, and created superhuman control laws, forcibly drafting any superhuman into the army to fight back.

    My story starts in the middle of this war, with a group of superhuman teenagers. Some of them know each other, some of them don’t, and some of them loathe each other. But, when the city is put in jeopardy, they all turn up at the same place, and save the city, only to be marked by the government as draftees. In evading the police, they find out about an even greater threat. (Ironically, the first disaster would have plunged the city into chaos, but the second would anhilate the city entirely)
    Finding that they work well together, the group decides to form their own superhero team, naming themselves after the team that owned the base they use.

    Comments please.

  177. B. Macon 12 May 2010 at 4:43 am

    It sounds interesting, ekimmak. I like the on-the-run angle.

    When you write your query to publishers, I’d recommend focusing more on the protagonists (personality, key traits, key relationships, etc).

  178. Dark_Minionon 21 May 2010 at 7:35 pm

    what if three superhumans wanted justice but they each had their own methods of achiveing it:

    Cross: everything about him is unknown, his abilities are superhuman aim which makes him a very skilled marksman and he also has enhanced speed.

    Nina Cruz/Angel Cruz: a girl with a split personaility. Nina has very strong light powers. with her powers she can fire a burst of light energy, flight and she can also make different things out of light ( sword, animals, etc) but when nina’s dark side Angel takes over she has darkness powers.

    Jax: a man with physical strength and enhanced senses.

    any suggestions, i need help on there methods

  179. jmilbon 21 May 2010 at 8:14 pm

    Dark_Minion

    Here is what popped into my mind when I read your descriptions, take them for what they’re worth.

    Cross: Sounds like a sniper. They are generally patient, scout out their targets and the terrain to learn routines and escape routes. A planner comes to mind, someone more likely to take out whoever he was after with one shot, be that finding the one piece of damning evidence to put the person away or other, more permanent, methods. That being said, a totally different person comes to mind when I see enhanced speed. That person I see as more reckless, impatient, and more likely to rush into events instead of considering them. Are you absolutely married to the idea of that particular combination of powers? Also, are we looking at a dark and gritty setting where “justice” can include killing? If so, he sounds most like an close-in assassin. Someone who scouts a target, then uses his speed and skill to get close to take out whoever he’s stalking in a hit and run attack.

    Nina Cruz/Angel Cruz: The Nina part of her personality feels more like the straight superhero type, where justice means defeating the bad guy (not killing him) and turning him over to the authorities for prosecution. Angel sounds more cruel and capable of killing without compunction. She also seems more likely to destroy her opponents mentally by preying on many people’s instinctive fear of the dark. For a twist, maybe switch the personalities I described.

    Jax: Sounds like a bruiser, someone who would confront their enemies and pound them into submission. He would probably take the law into his own hands. The enhanced senses suggests someone more stealthy and a spy-type (Superman excepted). Someone who would use those senses to eavesdrop on conversations, track an opponent from a distance, etc., to dig up dirt on him to turn over to authorities.

    Would you be open to giving Cross the enhanced senses and Jax the enhanced speed? Superhuman aim and enhanced senses seem like a more natural fit to me, as does strength and speed. Cross could work as an ultimate sniper, especially if you give him some kind of super-weapon that works at insane distances. Of course, all of this depends on your type of setting. Hope this gives you some ideas.

  180. B. Macon 21 May 2010 at 9:19 pm

    Cross sounds like he’d fit more easily into a well-organized group, like the Company from Heroes or a criminal outfit or maybe a government agency. I’d recommend going with the criminal outfit or something like the Company because I think that he’d be more interesting if he had to worry about getting busted by the authorities. (Or, maybe if he is a government agent, he’s involved in seriously dirty stuff that his government can’t admit to, so they won’t bail him out if he gets caught). (One thing I’d recommend against doing, though, is making him somebody that is just a mindless killer that kills without asking any questions–I think that there’d be a lot of overlap with the Wolverine: Origins version of Agent Zero).

    I’d recommend going with short-range guns (pistols, rifles, etc) instead of sniper rifles. It might be hard to give a sniper dramatic entry/escape scenes and I doubt you’d get much chance to use his speed.

    It doesn’t look like his personality is fleshed out much yet. One option would be to do something like an archetypical Marine (organized, ridiculously tough, maybe uptight) with an unexpected personality trait. Maybe he’s brilliantly philosophical or doubles as the team diplomat/charmer or scientist. Another option would be to do an archetypical gangster/hitman with a twist. Or an archetypical street rat.

    I don’t have much to add on Nina/Angel. The concept sounds more workable than Heroes’ Nicki/Tracy, in any case.

    I’d recommend differentiating Jax’s personality from Cross’ in some way. For example, maybe Cross is a hitman and Jax is a do-gooder superhero. Or maybe Cross is a squeaky-clean cop/soldier/whatever and Jax is a mob enforcer. Maybe one character is substantially more methodical/patient than the other (I’d expect that it’d be Cross that’s the planner, but there’s no reason that it couldn’t be Jax). Maybe one has a radically different goal than the other. That could be something as simple as a do-gooder vs. somebody that’s more selfish, or maybe one is putting on the guise of joining the team to get the best opportunity at killing a particular target, or is joining the team to act as a mole for another organization.

  181. Dark_Minionon 21 May 2010 at 11:45 pm

    Cross-basically is the “by any means nessecary” type

    Angel- im gona leave out the split personality thing.

    Jax-he is the “boy scout” type

  182. B. Macon 22 May 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Give them an unexpected trait (or possibly an unexpected background) to differentiate them from other “by any means necessary” and “boy scout” characters.

    For example, Tony Stark is a brilliant scientist that isn’t a stereotypical nerd but actually a quite charming lady’s man and a wildly impulsive thrill-seeker. The protagonist of Monk is a private investigator and former police detective that isn’t tough or street-savvy but rather a super-precise, neurotic guy that freaks out when he gets dirty. For a demon, Hellboy is surprisingly compassionate–the first movie played that up to the point of ridiculousness with kittens. The protagonist of Avatar is a Marine that isn’t super-athletic but rather physically crippled (he lost his legs).

    The point is, if we know or can guess pretty much everything there is to know about the character based on his archetype (whether that’s “ruthless/amoral,” “boy scout,” “brilliant scientist,” “Marine,” “private eye,” “demon,” etc), the character probably isn’t very interesting or well-developed. Giving characters unexpected traits helps make them feel like people rather than two-dimensional walking cliches.

    In addition, maybe you can give Cross some reason for being willing to use any means necessary and why Jax is more restrained/principled. For example, maybe Jax is a father and so he really worries about being a bad role model for the bajillions of kids that look up to superheroes like him. Maybe Cross had a partner that died because Cross or the partner hesitated when a civilian got in the way. (Similarly, Scarface’s life went to hell because he refused to kill women and children–he called off a bombing and missed his chance to kill a critical gangster).

  183. Anonymouson 28 May 2010 at 1:43 pm

    What kind of powers can you get from nanotechnology

  184. B. Macon 28 May 2010 at 3:00 pm

    I think you could use nanotech to sort of plausibly explain pretty much anything physical, most mechanical or electronic abilities, maybe intelligence, maybe bio-control, stretchiness, etc.

  185. Five-manon 04 Jun 2010 at 3:04 am

    Hey, I’m new to novel writing but I find it quite enjoyable if frustrating, anywho, life story out of the way, I’m after some help.

    I’ve got a five man band story going on, (TV tropes is my new wikipedia, thank you superhero nation), and figure I’d ask if they seem over/underpowered and whether you think they mesh well.

    Adam Cadman-The Hero. Agility and relfexes. (Point of veiw character) His origin story is actually revealed near the end but he discovers his powers at the start.

    Force/Barty Shepherd. Power armoured hero. Suit has [miniturised]jets for flight, wrist mounted/concealed machine guns and a cup holder. He is the mad character, likely to break the fourth wall.

    Lizard. Super Strength, Reptilian scales give durability. Trapped in Lizard form, which is a different personality to the original form. Prone to Hulkspeak.

    Retribute/Dirk Steel. Martial artist with good reflexes and hand to hand skills. These are increased further because he is a conduit for the hellforce, which grants him the ability to ‘shoot’ hellfire. If he does it to much he becomes weak untill he eats.

    Kate Manna-The Psyker. She had immense psychic abilities until the ‘baddies’ implanted a mental block which prevents from using her powers unless she’s angry which causes her to go out of control. This leads to the Lizard mentioning ‘Lizard not like her when she’s angry’

    What do you think?

  186. Ragged Boyon 04 Jun 2010 at 8:08 am

    Hello Five-Man,

    Your team does remind me of the Avengers, but working in different team dynamics and social conflicts can easily extinguish any problems with similarities. My only concerns would be Force and Lizard. Force’s repeated breaking of the fourth wall could compromise the seriousness of your work. It works for Deadpool and a few other character, but it’s a risk. I’d recommend spacing his breakings and focusing on the execution. I do believe that you can break the fourth wall stylishly. As for Lizard I’d recommend making sure that his Hulkspeak doesn’t become a nuisance to read. Also, if his Lizard personality is his primary side I’d recommend making sure he has some relatable/likable traits.

    All in all, sounds like a workable team. I’d recommend focusing on their personalites thoses are the aspects that really need to mesh to create interesting teams. For example, The tension between Captain America’s clean-cut style and Iron-Man’s flashiness makes for dramatic conflicts. These conflicts rose to their apex in The Marvel Civil War.

  187. Five-manon 04 Jun 2010 at 8:26 am

    Thank you for the response Ragged boy.

    Perhaps I could make Force genre savvy rather than breaking the fourth wall, but still keep him a bit mad. (The madness and ‘genre savvyness are what I believe differentiate him from Iron man to be honest. Also giving him weaponry that isn’t repulsors kinda helps somewhat.)

    Instead of hulkspeak for Lizard perhaps simply speaking in 3rd person would suffice?

    A final note, Deadpool is awesome.

  188. B. Macon 04 Jun 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Okay, so Cadman is a hero that relies on his reflexes and presumably fights unarmed. It looks like there’s a lot of overlap with the martial artist, who also has good reflexes and fights unarmed. I’d recommend differentiating their roles in battle a little bit more or, alternately, if the characters are too similar it might be worthwhile to consider getting rid of one. For example, maybe Retribute becomes a bit more of a long-range kind of guy.

    Just so we’re clear, when you say Force is “mad,” you mean crazy/insane, right? (In the U.S., I think “mad” usually means “angry” rather than “crazy”).

    What are the characters’ personalities like?

    I agree with R.B. that breaking the fourth wall tends to reduce the seriousness of a story. I’m not sure that’s a problem for this novel, though. The cupholder in the power-suit and the play on the Hulk’s overwrought line suggest to me that it’s a comedy. I also agree with RB that it’s risky, whether in a comedy or not. (For example, if the author isn’t careful, it may end up disorienting the readers and many readers want an immersive reading experience rather than one that reminds them they’re reading a book). One way you might be able to break the fourth wall in a somewhat intrusive way is if the crazy powersuit guy is convinced that he’s a character in a comic book.

    The Hulk-like lizard strikes me as problematic. I don’t think the Hulk (or another barely-sentient hero) lends himself well to a novel. Novels almost always have a hell of a lot more dialogue and less action than comic books do, and I’d assume that the people that will read a novel for fun are probably older and more literary than the typical Hulk fan. Two mitigating factors: it’s a five man team, so you could just focus on the other four characters in dialogue, and if it’s a comedy, you might have more leeway to use his voice to do something other than annoy the middle-aged, probably female editor evaluating the submission (“HULK SMASH!”). I’m not sure having Lizard speak in the third-person would resolve the issue, but it’s definitely better.

    I like the idea of having Force be genre-savvy instead of breaking the fourth wall. I think it might be pretty funny if it’s the insane guy that knows the most about what’s going on.

    I think it’s slightly cliche that the woman on the team is the psychic, but it’s a minor thing and you might even be able to use it for comedic effect. If the martial artist asks her about it, maybe she can respond like “Well, I was in martial arts training, but then I accidentally blew up my sensei’s brain.”

  189. Five-manon 04 Jun 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Thanks B.Mac

    Yeah, when I say mad I mean crazy/nutjob but I guess thats what I get for being a brit. Oh well never mind.

    Lizard, I’m hoping will gain a lot of dialogue with Force.
    The banter (in my head, wait does that mean I’m mad?) between them will be something like,
    Force makes a joke, “Oh no, not more generic mooks,” or something thats actually funny and Lizard would reply with,”hah hah… wait, Lizard doesn’t get it.”

    Is it cliche for women to be psychic. Susan Storm, Jean Grey, Psylocke…. crap. Hmm perhaps an easy substitute (at least for the scene in my head, wait, now I’m worried) could be magnetic force control. Whereby when she gets angry, things start floating around and arcs of lightning/cheesy special effect(hooray another line for Force) start shooting everywhere.

    A thought as struck me. Have Lizard somewhat intelligant but no-one takes him seriously because he talks in 3rd person.

    A final note, I’m stealing the sensei brain explosion line.

  190. Jammyj93on 08 Jun 2010 at 8:42 am

    Hey ive been thinking of some superhero ideas.
    1. The superhero has a unique chemical in his brain which they can release into their blood stream and into their muscels increaseing the superheros strength and endurence to superhuman levels…but the chemical has a side effect which makes the superhero increasingly aggressive over certain periods of time and the amount released, maybe even transform into something more than a human.

    2. The superhero can negate other powers if they are physical power the superhero still gets hit but as if it was average human strength, if the power is a ranged power e.g. a concussive beam, lightening, fire etc it would reflect off the superhero, the superhero could even channel the power back at the user or store it for some other time…but to much negateing and channeling other powers will make the superhero increasingly dizzy untill they become unconscious perhaps even die.

  191. B. Macon 08 Jun 2010 at 8:53 am

    “1) multiple hearts, impenetrable heart and blood vessels, hyperelastic heart and blood vessels, etc. something dealing with heart” — allowing him to do what, exactly?

    “2) Double nerves, hyperelectric nerves, or hyperelastic nerves, etc.” Again, I’m not sure what exactly having double nerves would let him do. Fast reflexes? Electric powers? Immunity to pain? Superintelligence? Psychic stuff? (I suppose you might be able to explain some psychic powers in terms of being able to read and/or influence and/or control the electrical impulses of another person’s brain).

    3) superhuman senses — this is okay, but I’d recommend it as a supplemental power because it probably won’t make for very interesting fight scenes on its own.

  192. B. Macon 08 Jun 2010 at 10:19 am

    No problem, Jammyj. As for your comment

    I like the idea that using his powers come with a cost, which he voluntarily takes on (instead of, say, the Hulk, which is usually an involuntary transformation). I’m not sure whether you’re doing a comic book, but if you are, one potential area for concern would be whether strength and endurance will give you enough interesting visuals to work with. If you’re doing a novel, I think that’d be less of a problem, but even so you might want to give him a minor, more exotic power to help keep his fight scenes from getting monotonous.

    I feel that the power negation/channeling ability would make the character maybe a bit too limited, particularly if the character is a solo hero rather than just one guy on a team. Will the character be able to do anything in a situation that doesn’t involve fighting a superpowered bad guy? (For example, rescuing somebody from a wreck or burning building, or fighting unpowered bank robbers, or finding a stolen MacGuffin, or stopping a building from collapsing, or whatever). I think it worked a bit better for X-Men’s Rogue because she was just a teammate, so she could be off on the sidelines in a situation where she couldn’t steal a power from a villain. (Alternately, in some situations she contributed by stealing the power of an injured or otherwise unavailable hero). Alternately, maybe the character’s powers are only useful in terms of fighting supervillains, and he has to rely on his wits/training/weapons/whatever to deal with everything else.

  193. Jammyj93on 08 Jun 2010 at 10:32 am

    Thanks you gave me an idea the two together could make a team and when the hero with the superstrength gets too angry the other superhero can help him calm down by channeling the heros powers.

    Also for visuals maybe becuase of the chemical the heros veins and arteries appear to be on top of his skin also he could become red all over because of the chemical too.

  194. bretton 08 Jun 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Hey guys. I came up with a really cool superhero idea.
    20 years ago almost all the superheros were wiped out.
    Zane Wyatt is a 15 year old with superstrength who has just moved to Sunridge City to live with his dad Who is one of the higher ups in the local police department.
    Erik Mason is the lead villian and can shoot fire from his hands and eyes He cannot go in the pool or be outside when it rains becauswe he can’t use his powers when he’s wet.
    Zane is accidentally discovered by Harry Carson and he takes him to meet Jan Mathers a disgraced PI who has superspeed. Jan seends Zane and Harry out on cases and they soon discover the source of the latest superhero boom

  195. Jammyj93on 15 Jun 2010 at 10:53 am

    Hey its me again I was thinking of very different power. The heros power comes from some sort of demon/spirit/dark energy/alien symbiote…(havent decided yet) that dwells inside the hero. It appears on his skin as tattoos of animals on the heros skin. As they are alive they can move around his body, the hero can even make the “tattoos” leave his body and use them to aid him in his strength, endruance, flight, speed, all the hero sences and even in combat. The power comes with a cost to much use of the power could drain the heros stamina making the hero fatigue, another idea was that the hero could lose controll of the “tattoos” or mabye the heros “tattoos” begin to engolf the hero turing them into a demon/spirit/dark energy/alien symbiote (which ever i decide the tattoos are made of.)

  196. B. Macon 15 Jun 2010 at 11:06 am

    That sounds interesting.



    Would he have a secret identity? If so, the moving tattoos might make it tricky for him to keep the identity secret. (He could probably mostly deal with that by wearing long clothes even in hot weather, but it would make having a romantic relationship rather tricky ;-) ).

  197. Herojockon 19 Jun 2010 at 4:20 am

    What’s the advice on creating your own fictional element, material, isotope or atomic particle. My story has humanity (well a private company) mining one comet, a presence on the Moon and Mars. I suspect the whole ‘this material is the strongest known to man! and could easily cut through our toughest metal’ is kind of boring now?

    Thoughts welcomed.

  198. B. Macon 22 Jun 2010 at 10:29 am

    “What’s the advice on creating your own fictional element, material, isotope or atomic particle.” Hmm. If it’s really important to the story, I’d recommend giving it a brief origin of its own. For example, Ironman 2 had a rather hilariously destructive scene where Tony creates a replacement for palladium for the first time.

    I think having it fit the mood of the piece helps, too. The MacGuffin mineral in Avatar is called “unobtainium,” which is a geeky hat-tip to the TV tropes concept of the same name. I felt the name was goofy and out-of-place in a movie that otherwise treated itself seriously. (Too seriously, I think, but James Cameron didn’t ask me and I think he’s pretty happy with how it turned out).

    I vaguely remember a wacky story where a mad scientist made rockets tipped with explodium. I think that fit the style of the piece and was pretty funny. Incidentally, “Made of Explodium” is itself a TV Tropes page.

  199. Dark_Minionon 23 Jun 2010 at 5:00 pm

    a guy named Devin Dash has the ability to manipulate all forms of energy( electricity, heat, light etc) he wakes up from a coma in a city called New Fenix. The city is controlled by a militia group named The Legion, which is led by a man named Murdock. Murdock and The Legion are all about “human purity” and they want to get rid of all the non-humans running around New Fenix by any means. Devin Dash does not like this and he begins to rebel againist Murdock and The Legion.

    ANY SUGGESTIONS????????

    i need help coming up with a weakness for Devin Dash

    Devin can also absorb a non-humans energy to mimic their powers

    Devin has a “hidden potential” which allows him to fully generate & have control over the 7 elements ( fire, earth,water, electricity, wind, darkness and light)

  200. Bronteson 23 Jun 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Maybe Devin needs to be in proximity of a source of what he wants to control. The more exotic or the less there is for him to manipulate into something useful exhausts him. Maybe if there is a lot of it, the energy overwhelms him/the more difficult it is for him to control.

  201. Bronteson 28 Jun 2010 at 9:14 am

    I want the superhero from the story I’m writing to have entropy-based powers, but I don’t wanna be a subject to failed physics. This is what I’ve come up with;

    He is able to force entropy on any kind of matter, altough it is easier on solids. He then is able to absorb the energy released from deconstruction and apply it for different means, like blasts. He is able to reconstruct the object entirely if he does not use any of the energy produced. He is able to recnostruct the object partially and with the energy absorbed make the object a projectile (this can be used for flight as well). He is able to augment the mass in himself and/or other objects by moving the energy from one to the other (sort of like E=MC²). He is able to use his power through any part of his skin. The problems are that he is loosing control of the powers, deconstructing food and oxygen at a much latter stage, also radiation poisoning from deconstructing matter. His imminent death is one of his main motivations in the story.

  202. Hopefulon 06 Jul 2010 at 1:59 pm

    What does mentaly generated weaponery mean?

  203. B. Macon 06 Jul 2010 at 8:17 pm

    Weapons created by a superpower. I think they’re typically melee weapons wielded by the character. (See Youngblood‘s Knightsabre and Rifts Cyber-Knights, etc).

    Sometimes they’re weapons that are mentally manipulated at a distance by the character, like Green Lantern’s projected weaponry. (Picture courtesy of Superhero Universe). Insert your favorite hammer time joke here.

    Rarely, they’re semi-intelligent floating weapons that fight on their own.

  204. Dark_Minionon 17 Jul 2010 at 8:35 pm

    if i have color & ink manipulation, what can i do?

  205. Wingson 17 Jul 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Dark_Minion: It depends on what you mean. If you mean, say, drawing something and the drawing coming to life, you have infinite possibilities but your character may come off as overpowered. Literal control over ink? I suppose it’d be like a much more limited version of hydrokinesis. Control over color itself would be difficult to use well in combat, I think.

    - Wings

  206. B. Macon 17 Jul 2010 at 9:55 pm

    “if i have color & ink manipulation, what can i do?” Well, it’s your story. You tell me.

    If I were writing a story about someone with that power, some things that come to mind would include:

    –visual illusions (a la Mysterio)– he wouldn’t be able to do anything with sound, though, which probably makes it more interesting than Mysterio.

    –camouflage

    –maybe some minor Green Lantern-like powers with the ink, like the ability to draw things that come alive. For a variation on GL powers that strikes me as more interesting, maybe the ability to create inanimate objects that he has to use himself.

    –maybe the ability to slightly alter reality* by drawing things. For example, if you’re trapped in a room, maybe you can draw a door.

    –Maybe he can do some stuff with ink. Slow people down with a flood of ink gunk? Use ink as a fire-starter? Defend law and order by garishly recoloring people’s pants pockets?

    *As a rule, I think any power with “reality” in it is usually a disaster because the limits are so hard to define, but I included it just to brainstorm.

  207. Ragged Boyon 25 Jul 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Dark Minion, what happens when one of his drawings or tattoos is killed. You could have a biological link so that when his creations are destroyed it saps his energy. Maybe, the more things he summons, the more he has to concentrate and the weaker his creations are.

    Alternatively, He (Shade? Wasn’t it?) doesn’t seem to be invuinerable so it doesn’t really matter if he has a concrete weakness. Showtime, for example, doesn’t have an explicit weakness, but his pheromones can be neutralized making him nearly powerless. However, he can just as well be overwhelmed by an opponent strength or tactic. As long as he can be challenged in a dramatic manner a weakness doesn’t really matter.

  208. B. Macon 25 Jul 2010 at 4:46 pm

    Have you seen our Superhero Weaknesses and Vulnerabilities category, Dark Minion?

    I agree with RB that it matters more that the character is challenged than how he is challenged. However, giving the character a weakness like Kryptonite is probably not your best option, I feel.

  209. MHon 17 Aug 2010 at 12:55 pm

    Here’s a superpower I thought up for one of my characters: He can make himself completely flat, becoming a one-atom-thick silhouette of himself. He can then be folded into any shape (he can’t fold himself, but he can unfold himself). While in flat form, his edges are extremely sharp, and can cut through almost anything, but he is also very light and fragile.

    Thoughts?

  210. Ragged Boyon 21 Aug 2010 at 9:24 am

    MH,

    That powers sounds like a double-edged sword. While it could be extremely effective for evading attacks and combat, if he got hit wouldn’t he come apart easily? I’m not sure, quantam physics isn’t really my specialty.

    Although, if you have enough writer know-how you can spin up a reason why he doesn’t get obliterated. I think the power is interesting. I’d like to see it in action.

  211. Ragged Boyon 16 Sep 2010 at 5:33 pm

    I’m trying to come up with a character that can control space. I’d like some general idea bouncing. Off back, I figured he’d be pretty overpowered. In dangerous situations he could easily warp the problem away or warp away from the problem or warp to the problem, if need be, without going through mooks. So I tried moving some of the extreme things and brought it down to a set I think could be workable, if not longwinded. ;-) But grooming will come later.

    - Control over one’s own gravitational aura: The character could use this to fly, but as limitations, doing so is quickly taxing. Instead I’m seeing some thing super leaps. Also, the character would be protected by a repulsion field that weaken incoming attacks and enhancing his own attacks.

    - Repulsion and gravitation at a limited range.

    - Limited matter extension: He can’t expand matter for some reason I would cover with a joke, but he can extend it. Like extending a kitchen knife to use as a sword. However, extending thing does not increase their constitution so he’d have to extend things made of sturdy material.

    What do you think? Too much? Too convoluted? If I were ever to explain this in-story I’d probably do something like a training scenario and people are analyzing his abilities. That way explanations will seem warranted.

  212. B. Macon 16 Sep 2010 at 7:40 pm

    I think it could work. The three uses you named seem interesting and the character will probably be pretty easy to challenge.

    However, the power will probably take a fair bit of explanation. I don’t think that would be an insurmountable challenge for a major character, particularly the lead, but I think it might not be worthwhile on a minor one.

    There may also be some potential for confusion. Will your readers understand the distinction between expanding and extending matter? I like the idea of it only working on sturdy materials–it feels like a very realistic restriction on the power.

  213. Ragged Boyon 16 Sep 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Indeed. I didn’t want to include expansion because I think it opens his powers up in a way I didn’t want it to go. I was going to qualify it saying that expansion of matter has the potential to create rifts in space and that extension is a safer alternative.

    However, the power will probably take a fair bit of explanation. I don’t think that would be an insurmountable challenge for a major character, particularly the lead, but I think it might not be worthwhile on a minor one.

    Yeah. I usually save the exotics for my leads. This one is Finesse. My sides usually have powers that need little to no explanation. I’m up for the challenge, though.

    I’m making this character for a world I’m building. I have no idea of the medium I want the story to be in, but my working title is Sapien Plus. It’s basically about a universe in which a Higher Intelligence contacts Earth after the planet unites to stop a crisis. As reward the H. I. boosts humanity’s’ innate abilities; our ability to break down mental barriers and directly affect reality with one’s mind. This ability manifests itself differently for everyone.

    Also, the H. I. basically gives Earth a solution for the energy problem at the cost that they must use their newly acquired skills and resources to protect the bonds that the H. I. has made with other planets. Of course, there are those that would seek to use their gifts to overpower the H. I. And so, there are a group of particularly enlightened individuals who use their abilities to protect Earth and the H. I.’s mission, Finesse being one of them.

    What do you think? I’m need help fleshing out idea.

  214. Ragged Boyon 17 Sep 2010 at 5:35 am

    Hmm. I’ve noticed that this keeps happening when I’m the last to post a comment. My name and comment won’t show up on the recent comments. I’m not sure if it’s just my computer or if the name ‘Ragged Boy’ has some kind of jamming code.

    [Update: Now they have appeared in the recent comment widget. Woohoo!]

  215. bretton 15 Oct 2010 at 10:14 pm

    I just saw unbreakable, and it got me thinking, do the villains powers HAVE to be the opposite of the heroes?

  216. B. Macon 16 Oct 2010 at 9:50 am

    No, but I think it’s helpful if the powers are distinct enough to make each fighter stand out. (Alternately, perhaps they have similar powers but totally different styles of combat?)

    So, for example, if one character is a superstrong brawler like the Hulk, I’d generally recommend trying something like a villain more based on finesse and/or agility or psychic and/or mental abilities or maybe some sort of ranged combat because there are only so many ways to show two Hulk-like or Superman-like characters going at it. (The only thing worse than one flying brick is two?) On the other hand, I think finesse vs. finesse or psychic vs. psychic has more promise.

  217. Jennyon 19 Nov 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Hey everyone, I’m having difficulty figuring what tense to write in because of my hero’s powers. She can see parts of the future in her dreams, so what tense would I write in if she’d having the dream, but then wakes up to realize it was a dream?

    ie. **“Oh look, your little girlfriend is protecting you” the man sneered into the student’s ear as he pressed the gun deeper into his temple, “Bad move, kid” And with that he pulled the trigger.**
    Stella’s eyes shot open as pain ricocheted inside her skull.
    “Another dream?” Josh questioned; Stella nodded weakly.

    Would the tense be present or past, or even super past? (sorry, that’s what my English teacher calls it)

    Thanks in advance!

  218. Sean Higginson 19 Nov 2010 at 9:18 pm

    I would suggest, if you are writing in past tense, continue to write in past tense during the dream. For the character, it’s happening the same time as the rest of the story.

    Of course, if she were aware at the time that it was a preminition, that could be something totally different.

    Those are my thoughts, others may say differently.

  219. B. Macon 20 Nov 2010 at 2:13 pm

    I agree with Sean. If the story is mostly in the past tense and the character doesn’t know they’re dreams as they’re happening, I think the past tense would feel truest to the narrator’s perspective. (Possible exception: the character is narrating the story looking back, and she knows now that they were dreams, but did not know it as they happened).



    PS: Could you give an example of super past? I’m not familiar with that phrase.

  220. Jennyon 20 Nov 2010 at 2:53 pm

    So to clarify, I should write the dreams in the past tense, but the rest of the story in the present?

    And B. Mac- The super past (or past perfect) is an event that happened in the past and ended in the past.
    ie. – I had been to the U.S once before.
    – We had had that car for ten years before it broke down.

    Hope that makes sense (sorry if it doesn’t, I stink at explaining stuff)

    Major thanks to the both of you!

  221. Sean Higginson 21 Nov 2010 at 1:42 am

    Depending on narrator’s perspective, assuming that as the dreams are taking place, the character is unaware that they are dreams, then the dreams should be written in the same tense as the rest of the story.

    B. Mac’s exception is this (and looks unlikely from what you’ve written) – if you are writing the story from the dreamer’s perspective (first person past tense) and she is now aware that the dreams were visions of the future those should be written in future perfect (I think that’s the correct term, ie: “I saw that Sean was going to become a best selling author”).

    [My dreams are not always direct reflections of the future.]

  222. B. Macon 21 Nov 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Yeah, Sean is right. I would recommend past tense for the story and past tense for the dreams.

    Sean, your dream may be right, too. In contrast, I dreamed that the Saints would beat the Vikings 46-40 in the NFL season opener. The Saints actually won ~14-10. (Latest dream: the Bears blow out the Packers in the World Cup, which is impossible in so many ways I don’t even know where to begin. Like I’d get caught dead watching the World Cup!).

  223. Sean Higginson 21 Nov 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Let’s do something somewhat on topic – imagine a world where superpowers are commonplace (say 50% of the population), how would this affect professional sports?

  224. B. Macon 21 Nov 2010 at 8:24 pm

    I imagine there’d be segregated leagues, some open to only people with supernatural abilities and others open to only regular athletes. (Unclear cases like Larry Fitzgerald could pick).

    If the proportion of people with powers were smaller, like 5%, I think the professional leagues would be limited to regular people for competitive reasons. A few superpowered people (probably mostly people without powers strong enough to compete with Superman, Thor, or other guys who really won the superpower lottery) might still try sneaking into the pros. Discerning fans have often wondered as much about Larry Freakshow, Kurt “The Bagman” Warner (who bears an uncanny resemblance to a certain superpowered serial killer), the Nigerian Nightmare and T-Bone, among others.

  225. Sean Higginson 21 Nov 2010 at 10:41 pm

    That’s what I was thinking too. I just wanted outside insight.

    Next question – would the superhuman league get better ratings than the NFL?

  226. B. Macon 22 Nov 2010 at 1:25 am

    Would the superleague get better ratings than the NFL? I think it could plausibly go either way.

    If you wanted people to be more interested in regular competition, you could draw on…
    –Superpowered sports would put a preposterous premium on what you’re born with rather than how hard you work or how smart you are. I think one of the major appeals of sports (especially football) is the idea that every team has a chance of winning any given game. But if your guys were born with crappy superpowers, do you really have a chance?

    –Most fans feel that steroids are unacceptable because they give some players an unfair advantage and cheapen the history of the game (records and the like). Letting superpowered people into the game would be even worse. It would be a disgrace if Brett Favre’s or Cal Ripken’s incredible start streaks were broken by someone that was actually invulnerable. It’s not a fair competition.

    –Some superpowers would make the game extremely uninteresting/uncompetitive. “Touchdown #12 for Speedy! Scoring drive: 1 play, 95 yards, :02.”

    –Some superpowers would make the game hard to officiate. How do you call 12 men on the field if one of them is the Invisible Man? Alternately, how do you call unnecessary roughness against a psychic?

    –I think that most professional sports have some degree of relatability, like the hometown heroes, the Kurt Warner rags-to-riches success stories, heroes from the hood, etc. I think that superpowered athletes would have less relatability to fans without superpowers. Also, even superpowered fans might have trouble relating to freaky athletes (e.g. Beast or Reptile).

    –The potential for severe injuries would probably concern fans, the government and TV stations. It’s hard enough to avoid injuries as it is. Add superpowers and you might end up broadcasting an on-field fatality to tens of millions of viewers. I don’t think the FCC would be amused.

    If you wanted people to be more drawn to supernatural competition, you could go with…
    –Supernatural competition has more variety? Each new team will have superpowers you haven’t faced this season. In contrast, if you’ve played the Jets, wouldn’t a game against the Ravens feel sort of stale? (Both have a strong run, strong defense and an okay pass attack). There’s absolutely no difference between the Bills and teams that are relentlessly bad at everything.

    –More spectacular play. Why do so many more people watch professional ball games than college ball or high school ball? The players are more capable and the plays are more incredible. With superpowers, you get all that and more.

    –Unlike steroids abusers, most superpowered players didn’t bend the rules of the game to get their powers. Fans of a super-league might argue that letting someone born with superpowers play is just as honest and natural as a basketball player having a competitive advantage because he was born tall.

    I think nonpowered people would generally prefer nonpowered play, and powered people would mostly prefer powered play. In a country that’s half-and-half, I think both leagues would draw roughly even levels of fan interest.

    However, feel free to do whatever you feel your story calls for. If a major theme of the story is that superhumans are treated as invisible even though they’re like 50% of the country, then it’d be thematically helpful if nonpowered sports leagues were the only game in town. (Maybe there’s a lot of interest in a superpowered sports league, but legal authorities won’t let it happen because the risk for injury/fatality is too high).

  227. Jennyon 24 Nov 2010 at 11:03 pm

    Hello again, so my problem this time is my teleporting character (or course)

    I need to give her a restriction so her power doesn’t dominate and ruin the plot (she’s not the protagonist).
    As well, I can’t think of a creative way to write someone teleporting. I really don’t want to have to write “..as she teleported” or “…she teleported into the room” for my entire novel.

    Is there a way to write creative teleportation?

    Major thanks in advance!

  228. B. Macon 25 Nov 2010 at 2:16 am

    One possibility would that there are limits to how quickly she can teleport or how reliable her power is if she can’t concentrate. If she has to wait a second or two before teleporting, it’d be harder for her to dominate a fight on her own.

    The first time the character appears in a scene, I think it’s more important to be pretty clear that she teleports in. (One way you could liven that up beyond “she teleported into the room” is to describe some unusual side-effect of her teleportation–maybe her teleportations send a chilly breeze throughout the room or have a distinctive smell or otherwise affect other people in the room). However, after that, I think you can be a bit more stylized because readers will know she’s the teleporter, so you could describe her kicking one character and then punching another and kicking a third and kneeing a fourth in one fluid motion and it’d be pretty clear she was teleporting from one opponent to the next even if you didn’t explicitly say so.

  229. Sean Higginson 25 Nov 2010 at 8:28 pm

    Ok, I use the term Bamf as a verb for teleportation, but this probably won’t work unless you are doing a very slapstick comedy.

    Also, limitations for teleportation are seemingly endless. I had a character once who had to concentrate, sending hist asteral projection to the location first before his body could join. Nightcrawler can’t teleport unless he can see the place he’s teleporting to because otherwise he might wind up in a wall (ouch). In Harry Potter, the teleportation spell had the dangerous side affect of leaving your limbs behind.

    As for stylistic ways of writing the teleportation – from a scientific stand point there is a great one I feel. When entering a location through teleportation, the character would essentially be displacing his volume in oxygen which could easily explain the breeze B.Mac mentions above. When you telelport out of a location, you basically create a human size hole where air would immediately rush to fill, which would create some kind of noise, realistally probably like the pop of a champagne bottle being opened.

  230. Jennyon 25 Nov 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Thanks for those ideas, they’re better than I would have thought of

    A friend of mine suggested (after reading B. Mac’s post) that the person leaves a smell when she teleports, but the smell reflects how she’s feeling.

    IE- When she’s happy, with would be crisp and clean (like the clothes just came out of the dryer smell)
    Or when she’s angry, it would be like sulfur, or something putrid like that.

    I think overall it’s a cool concept, but I’m afraid it might confuse and/or throw off the
    reader some how

    What’s the happy medium?

  231. Helen T.on 26 Nov 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Greetings,
    I’m writing a sci-fi novel where the characters become superheroes after devoloping these abbilities. I’ve been hesitating, though, on choosing which power to give to my main character.
    She’s 17, your typical high school cheerleader who seems to have the perfect life. Off course it isn’t perfect. Her father is an alcoholic who beats her mom and tries to rape her.
    Sooo I had thought about giving her psychic abbilities (telekinesis, telepathy, psychometry, forcefields) and I had even created weaknesses that suited her powers perfectly.
    Then I read the article “8 Problems with Psychic Heroes” and realized it would be difficult. So I changed my mind and thought maybe she could have the abbility to generate plasma blasts?
    But I found this overdone and not as original as I could make the psychic ones?
    I don’t know. Any help, advice, recommendation would be enourmously accepted.
    Thanks in advance,
    Helen.

  232. Sean Higginson 26 Nov 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Just reading what you have listed here Helen, I immediately thought of some power to do with kinetic energy, being able to force things away from her body (maybe a reverse kind of gravity). Reason it came to mind was I had a great visual of the girl’s father attempting to rape her when her powers manifest and him being thrown away.

    Also, the power can create some of it’s own weaknesses (especially while she’s learning control).

  233. Helen T.on 26 Nov 2010 at 9:01 pm

    Thanks Sean, but would you explain me a bit better how that power would work? What conditions or weaknesses it would have?

  234. B. Macon 28 Nov 2010 at 4:17 am

    Helen, what sort of main goal(s) do you have in mind for her? It seems like her drunken father would not be much of a match for her superpowers, unless maybe the point is that her superpowers aren’t enough to fix her family. (Obviously, the situation is more complex than “let’s just beat the hell out of him!”)

    Alternately, if the main antagonist is her father, another option would be giving him powers as well. Superpowers could be hereditary.

    Another possibility would be challenging her by making it very difficult for her to use powers against her father. For example, if the father learns about her powers, maybe he can sell her out to villains that will kill her. And, if she kills the father, the police and media will get involved, which will alert the villains. So, how does the hero thwart her father without either alerting him to her superpowers or killing/maiming him? I think that will present interesting challenges for her to overcome.

    Finally, you could use the father as a secondary antagonist (like the robber that kills Spiderman’s uncle) and then use a supervillain as the main antagonist.

    If the father is an unpowered but major antagonist, I think something messy would be interesting, like barely-controlled telekinesis. That’d raise the stakes because it’d be harder for her to use her powers without directly endangering her loved ones and outing herself to the bad guys.

  235. Comicbookguy117on 03 Feb 2011 at 9:26 pm

    Hey listen fellas, I have a problem that hopefully you guys can help with. So I’m developing this character, he’s a acid generator. And I want him to be visibly distinguishable. You know like people can look at this guy, remember who he is and go “Oh s***!” So I’m thinking of giving him completely cauterized skin, from head to toe. The reason is that this is one of those people that is not exactly immune to their powers. So my question is what exactly does cauterized skin look like? I mean is this a compelling idea, or just too disgusting? I’d like some advice please.

  236. B. Macon 03 Feb 2011 at 11:11 pm

    “So my question is what exactly does cauterized skin look like? I mean is this a compelling idea, or just too disgusting?” I’m not a scientist, but I scanned through Google and found some examples of cauterization that were mild and some that were nightmare fuel.

    I’m not sure if you’re doing a comic book or novel, but I think a skilled comic book artist could illustrate the character without repelling readers. Swamp Thing and Batman’s villain Clayface look pretty tolerable (at least not repulsive) despite having physical disfigurement built into their plots. Deadpool and maybe Spawn also come to mind.

    Swamp Thing
    Batman's Clayface
    Is the character a protagonist or antagonist? If he’s a protagonist, the extent of his physical disfigurement would probably raise relatability issues. However, I don’t think that would be a major issue if the story had other protagonists that looked more normal. Another way to preserve his relatability would be to show as little as possible. For example, we don’t see Deadpool’s horribly scarred face much because he wears a mask. (Similarly, Darth Vader).



    (Another type of extremely exotic-looking protagonists is aliens/nonhumans like the Martian Manhunter and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I found those examples mostly extraneous because they look a lot “cleaner” than a horribly charred human, but maybe you’ll see something there I missed).

  237. Comicbookguy117on 27 Mar 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Hey B.Mac, I’d like your advice but I’m not sure which thread to post under for this specific inquary. So I apologize if this feels out of place here ok?

    So as I have mentioned before I am developing my own comic book universe. A daunting but overly worthwhile endeavor. My ultimate goal is to have a series of individual stories that will eventually become a supergroup story. Like how Batman and superman had their own super careers before founding the Justice League. My question is this, how can I create characters that are different from each other? I know that may seems very vauge, so let me try and clarify. I have several ways to ‘power’ people within my universe and am working to develope a protagonist from each of these factions that will eventually found a team together. The problem is that they all seem to come out as dark, brooding or highly serious. I do take my work and characters very seriously, but I also feel as though I need a character that cracks wise or somehow lightenes the mood. I don’t know I guess I’m looking for advice on building a team.

  238. B. Macon 27 Mar 2011 at 8:55 pm

    One possibility would be a different setting for one or more of the characters. My guess is that a superhero story set in Detroit, Gotham, Baltimore (“Bodymore”) or Oakland would probably be relatively dark. When the crimes are more brutal, I think the mood is likely to feel more hopeless. Robberies where no one get seriously injured are PG-friendly, whereas elements like drug abuse/sales, rape, brutal and frequent murders, torture and other similar crimes push a hard R. In contrast, a lighter series like Spiderman or some versions of Superman are likely to deal with murders pretty infrequently and usually in a pretty clean way. (IE: Gwen Stacey dies of a fall and Uncle Ben gets killed off-camera, which are pretty tame as far as murders go).

    Another possibility is how the characters deal with crime. I think Spiderman’s crime-fighting methods lean towards PG or PG-13–he never kills anyone and I don’t think he even inflicts a lot of pain. His powers lend themselves very well to nonlethal takedowns. Batman never kills anyone either, supposedly*, but his takedowns are quite a bit more brutal. For example, in The Dark Knight, he pushes a criminal ~15 feet onto a street. The Punisher is possibly even harder on criminals.

    *Arkham Asylum give you explosives that can rip through walls and has you use them against people. To “stun” them. Sorry, not buying it. It’s even farther out there than the premise of a billionaire dressing up as a bat and kung fu-ing 20+ armed criminals at a time.

    Another possibility is how the villains are developed. I think pretty much every Batman villain is either pathologically insane and/or a hardcore sadist. Few of them (besides, say, Two-Face and the modern Mr. Freeze) have a significant precriminal history to humanize them. In contrast, a lot of Spiderman’s villains were relatively normal people that knew Peter Parker before becoming villains (such as Dr. Octopus/Otto, Lizard/Curt, Venom/Eddie Brock, Green Goblin/Norman Osborne) which helps put a face on them. Some of Spiderman’s and the Flash’s villains flirt with redeemability. For example, the situation is not hopeless for Lizard or Venom; with the right help, they might be able to cure (or at least neutralize) their reptilian/alien killing impulses. In one episode of Justice League, Flash steps in to make sure that a villain is taking his medications, which actually helps fix the problem. In Batman’s universe, pretty much none of the villains are redeemable. What little we see of the “treatment” going on at the Arkham Asylum is both inhumane and utterly ineffective.

    Another possibility is how you use your side-characters. For example, in Spiderman’s NYC, the police sometimes get in his face a bit, but there’s never any hard feelings and they basically mean well. In contrast, the police in Gotham run the gamut from corrupt to crazy to woefully incompetent. (Gordon is clearly fighting a losing battle, not only with outside criminals but also within his own ranks). Even when there is an authority figure that seems remotely likable and sane, like Harvey Dent, it’s only to get the audience’s hopes up. ;-)

    Another possibility is the traits of the heroes, of course. I’ve already mentioned the way they deal with crime and their obstacles, but I think their personality and key traits are at least as important. I think a darker hero would be more likely to be dark, brooding, asocial or antisocial, romantically dysfunctional, and just generally more troubled by what he’s seen and done. A darker hero’s backstory may be more brutal and probably presented in a rougher way. (For example, the Punisher, Batman, Spiderman and Superman lost family members, but Spiderman and Superman cope with the losses much more maturely and sanely).

    Some other elements that tend to be darker than not:
    –Authority figures as a major villain (i.e. governments as ethnic cleansers in X-Men)
    –Characters crazier than relatable
    –Silent/serious/brusque/paranoid vs. traits like outgoing, friendly, forgiving, understanding, quippy/light-hearted, etc.
    –Substance abuse, particularly the lows of addiction. (IE: Comic books deal with Tony Stark’s struggles with alcoholism pretty seriously–it’s messy and not terribly fun–but the PG-13 Ironman movies use his alcohol more for comedic relief and to make his life feels fun/exciting).
    –Strong cynicism. Kick-Ass comes to mind here.

    I hope that helped! Please let me know if I can offer any other suggestions.

  239. ekimmakon 03 Apr 2011 at 4:09 pm

    There may be a better article for this question, but a quick browse of the names doesn’t seem to reveal any, so, whatever.

    If you have a hero who is seeking to remove their powers (Rogue and Bruce Banner come to mind), chances are they’ll get it. ONly to find out later that it’s temporary, or it didn’t really work. How often can you do this before it becomes bad writing?

    (I’m asking this because when Farley is a bit outlandish to go out into public. Being a vampire and all. I’m thinking of giving her a temporary cure or something along those lines, but it appears at first to be a real cure. Which could make for some excellent emotional breakdown when it turns out to not be the case.)

  240. B. Macon 03 Apr 2011 at 9:53 pm

    In a comic book series, particularly for Marvel or DC, I think it’s VERY hard for writers to make long-term changes that would compromise the publisher’s ability to keep printing stories with the characters. For example, if a character’s powers get removed or the character dies, it’s extremely likely that things will be back to normal within a year or two. Perhaps the most extreme example of this is the third X-Men movie: Magneto gets “cured” of his mutation at the end of the third X-Men movie and he starts to regain his powers as the credits roll. His powers are gone for maybe 10 minutes of screentime.

    I think comic book publishers are more amenable to keeping changes that lend themselves to new stories. For example, since getting paralyzed in The Killing Joke in 1988, Barbara Gordon has been portrayed pretty consistently as a wheelchair-bound information specialist rather than as an athletic Batgirl. In terms of story potential, that’s workable–she still has a role in the Batman universe as a hacker and all-around genius assistant. In contrast, if the Hulk actually lost his powers forever, he’d probably be pretty much useless for storytelling purposes. (Bruce Banner isn’t a particularly interesting character and Marvel already has a bajillion brilliant scientists). Likewise, in most cases a dead character will either be revived or replaced.

    One of the principal differences between A-list comic franchises and novels is that the comic franchises are designed to be indefinite. DC and Marvel will be selling Batman and Spiderman series 50 years from now. In contrast, Scholastic won’t be selling new Harry Potter books or whatever 50 years from now. Novel series almost always end when the original author walks away. This makes it much easier for novel characters to permanently change, even in ways that negatively affect their future story potential (such as dying).

    So, keeping that crucial difference in mind, I think that novel publishers and readers are much less patient with rug-pulls like introducing something that appears to be a major change and then quickly undoing it. I’m not sure what the context of your character’s temporary cure for vampirism is like, but it could potentially be problematic. Or not. One setup that would probably totally work for me would be that the cure itself works, but for whatever reason the people offering it cut off the protagonist from additional doses. (For example, maybe they try to use the cure to blackmail her and she won’t play ball). One setup that I’d probably find more annoying than not would be “Oh no, the cure didn’t take!” for no readily apparent reason besides that actually curing the character would make the author’s life harder.

    I think one of the key differences between a cheap rug-pull and a development that actually feels satisfying is that the rug-pull usually brings the story back to square one without much (if any) long-term impact. For example, the cure that randomly doesn’t take probably has rather little impact on the story moving forward. In contrast, if the cure wears off because she’s been blackmailed and runs out of medicine, introducing the cure still develops the story moving forward–for example, it raises the question of whether the character will cave in to their pressure and/or whether she try to procure doses of the cure on her own.

  241. Armond H.on 10 Apr 2011 at 7:56 pm

    I had the idea to have my hero enhanced by nanomachinces infused in his body. The nanites can stimulate his muscles for limited super strength, agility, durability etc. but the other usefull ability is that the nanites produce bio-electricity that my hero can expel from his hands. Im just having trouble coming up with a way to limit him

  242. B. Macon 10 Apr 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Depending on how strong/agile/durable he is, it sounds like he’s pretty limited already. I could envision a variety of situations where I think he’d be challenged. (For example, anything relying on speed/reflexes, like a fast-moving hostage situation or a chase scene where he’s trying to apprehend as many criminals fleeing a bank robbery as possible, etc).

  243. ekimmakon 07 May 2011 at 4:56 am

    I remember at one point, it was mentioned that a team of superhumans should have powers that work well together. Could you explain further? Are we talking City of Heroes archetypes or Ultimate Alliance fusions?

  244. B. Macon 07 May 2011 at 9:38 am

    I think it’d be helpful if the character’s roles didn’t overlap too much. For example, if you had one guy that was superstrong and another guy that was indestructible, they’re probably both going to be tanks. Alternatively, if you have a character like Superman on your team, he will probably make a character like Flash redundant*. Superman can do everything Flash can and more–Flash isn’t even the fastest character on the team!

    *Redundant in terms of superpowers, anyway. There are other reasons you might want to have a character around.

  245. Aineon 15 May 2011 at 12:29 pm

    For my new comic (I tried to make the old one lighter and it lost all its humor X’( I’m thinking of returning to the traditional superhero genre. I have a team of two heroes (plus their friend who does hacking for them, but doesn’t where a costume. He’s the equivalent of a scoobie on BTVS-useful but no powers). There’s Tempest (\Juno\ June Sizanyuk: weather powers, there are limits to what she can do without giving herself a headache or knocking herself unconsious), and Resilience or Sandstone (Danny Calthorpe: sand based powers- similar to Sandman but he can’t morph his limbs into hammers/morningstars or grow. He can just turn into sand or hard as a rock. Strong winds/currents mess with his powers and in aquatic situations his powers are extremely limited. In addition, he has to eat a lot to make up for the inevitable loss in body mass).

  246. NotSuchAMisterEon 19 May 2011 at 10:32 am

    Hi. I’ve posted on here before as E. when I was younger and my ideas were less developed, therefore some of my characters or origins may seem similar to what I said a few years ago.

    For now I have just one question, and for lack of a better section I’ll post it here, since this seems to be the most active.

    I have ideas for various storylines involving different superpowered individuals and set in different locales. Here’s the thing though: I was wondering if it would be the right decision to all the different series exist in the same universe, e.g., one superpowered team lives on Emerald Island, another superhero is In New Haven City, and a third on another planet entirely, but all exist in the same continuity. In which case they could possibly react with each other in their respective stories. Does this seem workable, or is it too complicated?

  247. Crystalon 19 May 2011 at 4:19 pm

    @NotSuchAMisterE:
    Yes, I think that that could work. I actually think that I’d like to read that series. It would be interesting to see how the different superheroes interact with each other!

  248. Freshon 29 May 2011 at 12:32 pm

    I’m making a superhero with mass manipulation the ability to grow and shrink matter, and I need help establishing the pros and cons of the ability and various sizes.

    So different sizes for how small stuff can get, and for how large. So 5 inches, 1 inch ect and 50 feet, 100 feet.

    Just trying to work out pros/cons.

  249. B. Macon 29 May 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Well, I think a good limit on how small it could get would be something visible to the naked eye, so maybe he can’t shrink stuff smaller than around an inch tall (or about 1-2% of its original size, if you’d like to go with a proportion). If he’s visible to the naked eye while shrunken, I think it’ll be easier to challenge him. 5 inches may be too limited for him to be very versatile. (Can you think of many situations where it would be advantageous to be 5 inches tall rather than human-sized?)

    As for the maximum size limit, if you’re doing a comic book I’d lean towards something like maybe 20-30 feet so that you can do panels that include the giant character without ALSO making everybody else look like invisible ants. If he’s Godzilla-sized, expect to do a LOT of panels where we can only see his heel, because any panel focused on a regular-sized human pretty much needs to be at the level of Godzilla’s heel. If you’re doing a novel or a short story or some other prose, I think you have more flexibility to go bigger. In a novel, it wouldn’t matter much whether the limit was 30 or 50 or 150 feet or whatever, although it’d probably be easier to challenge the character if the limit was tighter. (For example, a 150 foot tall colossus would be able to stop a semi or maybe even a tank careening out of control, but a 30 foot giant would have more trouble with it). Generally it’s helpful to give yourself more ways to challenge the character.

    Another limitation that might help is how long it takes him to use his ability. If he needs (say) 30-60 seconds to complete the shrinking or growth, it’d be easier to challenge him by catching him off-guard.

  250. Freshon 29 May 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Mhmm I see what your saying, and as for smaller sizes I didn’t plan on going microscopic, but maybe the size of a penny or something.

    The Character is a villain, one of the main villains so I intend for them to be powerful, and be a challenge to the protagonists so they have to work together to defeat said character.

    I’m probably not going to do a comic,because I’m no artist. A Television program, and since this an antagonist while I want to know strengths and weaknesses. Liek how would bullets effect a 100 foot person versus how they’d effect them at 50 feet, and what size things would be in comparison to them.

  251. B. Macon 29 May 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Realistically, I think rifles would be as lethal to an 100-foot giant as it is to a 6-foot human.* The good news is that that you don’t have to be realistic. If you wanted to say that an 100-foot giant took on Godzilla-like resilience, I think that’d be okay even though biologists would probably bite their tongues. Ahem–it was believable in Godzilla even though it was probably biologically unrealistic. Readers will give you a lot of slack on realism when superpowers are involved.

    *Realistically, having bones 15-20 times bigger might offer some protection against lower caliber bullets, but I doubt even MASSIVE bones would prevent bullets that can majorly beat up metal plating and punch through tanks from inflicting terrible, terrible damage.



    Speaking of guns, if you’re doing a cartoon show, getting guns past censors might be tricky. I’m only familiar with a few instances where handguns got on cartoons. For example, Gargoyles had a protagonist get wounded in a Very Special Episode about why kids should stay away from guns, the Gotham Police fired pistols but (as far as I can remember) never hit ANYTHING in Batman: The Animated Series and the Joker had a pistol in one episode of Justice League but didn’t fire it. On the other hand, you might get more flexibility on cannons not recognizable as handguns (i.e. a gundam cannon or Megaman’s plasma shooter) and GI Joe-style lasers and nonlethal rays (i.e. Mr. Freeze’s ice gun) are generally acceptable, I think.

  252. Freshon 29 May 2011 at 10:15 pm

    Thanks, I’m glad to know I can get away with some lack of realism. And that the bigger you get the stronger your bones are, plus the more muscle mass means more strength, and durability correct?

    I don’t have the money for a cartoon or recognition/fame xD. So for now I’ll be starting with novels. I’d like to have gun usage, not heavy gun usage but guns. I’ve always thought lasers, and stuffa re too silly.

    What should a limit on size be for the villain? This should be a powerful antagonist, but one the protagonists can beat if they band together? I’ve thought about for example heights ranging to 1000 feet?

  253. B. Macon 30 May 2011 at 4:10 am

    Hmm. Okay, bearing in mind that this is reasonably difficult science that I wouldn’t expect most readers to be familiar with (read: feel free to violate this without consequence), but one scientific problem with growth on the scale of Godzilla or something 50 feet tall would be that the character’s weight grows faster than the ability of his skeleton to support his weight. According to scientist James Kaklios, in The Physics of Superheroes, a body that became three times as wide and three times as tall would be nine times stronger, BUT the character would weigh 27 times as much. Even factoring in the extra strength of the bones/muscles, the character’s skeleton will eventually break under his own weight as he keeps growing.

    Now, the good news is that you’d probably need a scientific degree to understand that (personally, I don’t), so again please feel free to disregard it. Do whatever makes sense to you. Personally, I’d recommend making him tough enough that he’d have the advantage against the heroes. (They should really have to work to beat him, right? A greater obstacle is more dramatic to overcome).

    One minor logistical issue, though. On average, humans are about a third as wide as tall. So, if this character is 1000 feet tall, he’ll be about 300-350 feet wide, right? If you were planning on having a battle royale in a city, he’s way too wide to fit in a city street (usually in the ballpark of 75 feet at the widest). At about 12 feet per highway lane, a 1000-foot tall villain could ALMOST fit on a 26-lane highway (America’s widest).

    So, one possibility would be that the character is 225 feet tall (still absolutely enormous, so much so that he barely fits in the biggest city streets. One way that the characters might be able to turn that against him is that he wouldn’t have as much space to maneuver as something smaller, like a blue whale. :)

  254. Freshon 30 May 2011 at 7:02 am

    I see the science in that. I guess I’ll have to violate science in this lmao. Ah AH but in this case the character is using a superhuman ability to control their mass, wouldn’t there skeletal system now massive as with the rest of the body be able to support the body? Godzilla rapidly grow, this person changes grows/shrinks every aspect of them. I see what the Physics dude was saying, but it’s different from rapid growing? (Correct me If I’m wrong I’m no science major haha.)

    Yes, the heroes the main one’s have to work together, I’m planning a little battle royale at the end where they work together, and manage to bring this Goliath down. I just don’t want a character where one character can hog all the spotlight, and beat the villain with ease.

    mhmm I can somehow see how 1000 foot person, are you sure they’d be 300 feet wide? I mean how wide was Godzilla, and what if it’s like Attack of the 50 foot Woman where their mass makes them taller, and was she wider in the film I forget. What if they get bigger but have a similar width then normal size. Wouldn’t their foot just destroy massive parts of a street with one step? Plus 1000 foot is the equivalent theyt’d look like a human the size of the empire state building/eiffle tower correct ??Anyway I see your point about keeping it in the 100′s tho.

    The Characters using his size against him, that sounds like a good idea, and would be funny as that could be a funny way to piss the villain off lmfao. I could write some humour in this, but I’m thinking the Military can take down someone in the hundreds with their heavier bombs, while someone in the 1000′s can wis-tand more serious harm, since by my estiates a person/suv would be about hte size of a 1000 foot person’s finger nail, but I’m here for advice so whatever you say I’m listening.

    And I have question on another power. Energy Absorbtion like absorbing kinetic, solar, thermal, whart are some other energies an energy manipulator can use so far I’ve thought of
    Kinetic Energy
    Thermal Energy
    Solar Energy
    Gravitational Energy.
    Nuclear Energy.

    But I can’t think of any others.

  255. B. Macon 01 Jun 2011 at 3:02 am

    “I see the science in that. I guess I’ll have to violate science in this lmao.” That’s completely acceptable. I mean, it’s a cartoon, right? I doubt scientists are a major part of your target audience. :-D

    “I mean, how wide was Godzilla?” Well, one version of Godzilla was 100 meters (~320 feet) tall, and another was half of that (roughly the size of the Statue of Liberty). So if his proportions are roughly human, he’d be about 100 or 50 feet wide. (I’m looking at a picture of him and it looks like he’s a bit wider at the base than most humans are).



    If you’re planning on urban combat, 1000 feet would be rather tall. As a measure of comparison, the tallest building in the United States, the Sears Tower, is 1500 feet. You don’t need to be realistic, but there aren’t that many spaces in a city where you could just fit 2/3 of a Sears Tower without flattening several buildings in the way. However, if you’re doing a cartoon, one difficulty of going too tall is that it’ll make it harder for your artists to illustrate a urban fight without making the streets so wide it looks weird. (That’s something your audience might actually be able to notice–if you took a city and made the streets several times as large so that a really tall villain could fit, I think it’d look off even to some kids).

  256. SpazTazon 06 Jun 2011 at 3:03 pm

    hey,

    I got an original character for a fanfiction, X-Men, and she got her mutation from another mutant when he was dying. He could deconstruct, alter and reconstruct DNA, organic matter and non-organic matter.

    She got almost the same mutation as him, but she can only deconstruct and reconstruct organic and non-organic matter. Something similair to disintegration. She has some control over it, but if she loses her temper she can do some serious damage.

    Not only to others but also on her own body, nosebleeds and major headaches if she uses it for long periods of time and even disintegrating her own body when she uses everything she got.

    Let me know what you guys think about it and if I should change something.

  257. B. Macon 06 Jun 2011 at 6:18 pm

    I think the superpower is okay, but just don’t forget the character’s personality.

  258. Marquison 08 Jun 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Rather than simply using powers in the most obvious of ways i like to try and think of other ways the powers can be used.
    For example( This example is taken from my story) if a character had the power to absorb heat and convert it into energy blast. I would think how could i use this in a more complicated or advanced way.Since the charcter is absorbing heat the temperature would drop drastically which could make the character appear to have an ice ability. At the same time if one could change the temperature in the air from hot to cold or vise versa this difference in air temperature would effect the wind pressure which would make the character appear to have wind based powers. At the same time most powers are heat based so if the character absorbed the heat in a fireball it would make the character appear to have absorbtion powers. And finally since he could convert the heat energy into actual blast it would appear as if he had multiple powers rather than just one.

    All in all my point is that depending on how you chose to look at it. your character could truly improvise any situation ,all you have to do as his or/her’s creator is think about how a power can be used differently depending on the circumstances. I hope this helps anyone that feels like their characters powers just arent enough or maybe too weak or simple. Its all how you look at it.

  259. Marquison 08 Jun 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Also many people dislike pyromancy. ( I dont truly like it myself seeing as it is very destructive but I’d still use it in a story just not as my main characters power)
    I’m writing this as a sort of add on to my previous comment. Rather than simply using pyromancy to shoot fireballs and what not. Why not make where the character could actually mold the flame . Maybe he could create a claw made of fire and use it to do battle. Another example would be to use it as a sort of discharge ( another example from my story just not with fire) Lets say your character is sorrounded by many enemies and his/ her allies are not around.( also bystanders) What if he/ she simply gathered together the flame around his/her body and released the fire to clear out multiple enemies with one fell swoop. Maybe by swirling the flames in a circle or expanding the flames to make a flat burning disc he/she could use the flames as a shield or even throw the flaming disc similar to the destructo disc used by krillin in DBZ. Its also a good idea to pay attention to physics a spinning disc of fire wouldnt slice through an object but would explode on contact.

    Anyway just remeber to think about powers and how they can be used. If you have any questions or just need help with a certain power you want to be better post them on my review forum.

  260. ekimmakon 22 Jun 2011 at 4:23 am

    A very distinguished power:
    A gothic, depressed girl with zero sense of humour. However, when she starts laughing, she turns into a genki girl with superspeed and ice powers (no one’s sure about the ice part, when they ask, she replies “How else could I keep my drinks cold?”). Her powers and personality fade when she starts to feel depressed again.

    It’s not something I’d work with, but I thought it was an interesting take on distinguishing someone’s powers via personality shift.

  261. Comicbookguy117on 23 Jun 2011 at 8:29 am

    Hey guys. I’m working with an idea now that giving me a little trouble and I i’d some opinions, if that’s ok. So I’ve got this government agency that works for global stability and I’ve got this idea that, to achieve that goal, they begin to develope a series of suits or powered armor. Now some of these suits are develoed to aid in normal jobs such as deforestation and firefighting. Some are developed for the military. But for the life of me I can’t think of a large number of jobs that a suit of powered armor would be practical enough to build for. So does anyone have any suggestions?

  262. B. Macon 23 Jun 2011 at 9:49 am

    “Some are developed for the military. But for the life of me I can’t think of a large number of jobs that a suit of powered armor would be practical enough to build for.”

    –Hazardous conditions (fires, the moon, intense biohazards like working on Ebola patients, deepsea exploration, etc).
    –Any position involving a lot of violence (soldiers, SWAT police, peacekeepers, IED/ordnance disposal, civilians doing dangerous fieldwork in war zones or disaster relief like Iraqi census-takers, etc).
    –Anywhere you’d need a computer or mechanical assistance immediately available but holding one was not practical. For example, defusing bombs or possibly doing surgery.

    If you wanted, you could do a set of more specialized suits based on the circumstances. For example, a surgical powersuit would probably not have much armor–the main point of having one in an ER would probably be to enhance the user’s precision and maybe give him/her immediate access to various computer programs.

  263. Samuelon 14 Jul 2011 at 5:33 pm

    I’m writing a novel where my protagonist is a villain trying to get revenge against another villain. He has extreme elemental control; so he can create tidal waves and and make giant pillars of rock. He has the four basic elements (fire, earth, water and air). he breathe underwater and fly. As his major weakness i decided that if he does something to drastic with his powers then he’ll lose control, kind of like Phoenix from the X-Men.

    There’s also another character that can use magic and teleport. I don’t know what his limits are yet or what exactly he can do with his powers but i think he should be able to create objects from thin air. Kind of like Daniel-X by James Patterson. I don’t want that to be a huge part of his powers though. I also don’t know what type of weakness he should have.

    Another character; what kind of weakness can a man that can duplicate himself have? He has an infinite amount of duplicates and there controlled with a “hive mind”. I’ve also made him to be able to duplicate small inanimate objects like a gun or clothes but not a motorcycle.

    As the antagonist i have a necromancer that is quite powerful. but again i don’t know limits or weaknesses. i think he can only raise the dead that actually exist close by, not just have a random skeleton jump out if your in a building. I’d also like him to be able to mash skeletons together and make a dragon but i don’t know if that’s a good idea or not.

    I’d appreciate any comments you have on any of the stuff i wrote.

  264. B. Macon 14 Jul 2011 at 6:26 pm

    “What kind of weakness can a man that can duplicate himself have? He has an infinite amount of duplicates and they’re controlled with a hive mind.” Maybe if he duplicates too many, they get harder to control and/or coordinate. Perhaps he runs the risk that they will become less useful in combat because the hive mind can only handle so many. (And/or perhaps one of them goes rogue on him and convinces himself that HE’S the real one).

    I think it might help to narrow the protagonist’s powers or limit them in some other way. For example, perhaps there’s some cost to him even if he’s doing something relatively small with his powers. (For some ideas of potential costs, please see #2 here).

  265. Muggleon 23 Jul 2011 at 1:34 am

    gravity control is a good one. You can control the gravity in an area and you can make everything in there lighter (so you can lift really heavy things like cars and stuff, it looks like super-strength but its not) heavier or even levitate (including yourself), invert it so you can walk on ceilings and walls without the blood rushing to your head, and choose to absorb it when you please to make yourself a little stronger. oh and you can jump around like your on the moon :D
    cons: emotions are involed (like with any power) so strong emotions can cause the gravity near you to turn off or become too great, etc…

  266. invader-mynaon 26 Jul 2011 at 1:16 pm

    What do you think of a power like this? http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PaperMaster

  267. B. Macon 26 Jul 2011 at 2:41 pm

    I’m a fan! I mentioned the paper powers in Read or Die here. It strikes me as a versatile power with a lot of potential for memorable visuals.

    PS: It’s a lot more interesting to see a librarian flying on a giant paper airplane than Superman or Angel flying with actual flight powers. If the character has to slap together a solution, I think it’s more creative and dangerous/suspenseful.

  268. invader-mynaon 26 Jul 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Thanks! ^.^ I really want to use it, it’s such a cool power to me (origami ninja stars? YES!) but my only aversion, is that paper is kinda weak as a power. It can’t cut into skin very well, not very good for defensive either, etc. However, the main villain in this particular story is pyrokinetic, so it struck me that if the hero made like a bunch of ninja stars or something, and the pyro got the bright idea to light them thinking they’d crumple, it would give the hero an opportunity to use them as flaming projectiles…

  269. From the Soulon 28 Jul 2011 at 7:54 pm

    So it feels a bit weird commenting on this ultra long forum almost 4 years after the article was written, but here it goes. I have these characters:

    1. An ex-boxer from Russia, male, who isn’t the brightest (average intelligence) with anger issues and an anti-mutant sister (who knows all of the characters have superhuman abilities. She feels this way because Nikolai had accidentally turned her fiance into a quadriplegic) He has the ability I call Power Surge (though it probably exists elsewhere), Nikolai ability is to either give a boost to a superhuman’s ability (allow a teleporter to port further, power up an energy beam by 100x or so, allows a healer to heal more of a person, etc) or cause their ability to falter (Force field becomes too weak, stop an energy beam as it’s being released, cancel self-healing, etc) and even (with contact and much concentration) totally cancel their ability for 1 hour. His abilities also power up a regular human’s physical abilities (reflexes, agility, stamina, etc. Though cannot cause super strength and things like that) but if he uses the draining side on a human, he can cause paralysis, comas, or even death. Also, his power is initiated by eye contact or touch, but he has control over the touching aspect of his powers (can’t say the same for eye contact)

    2. A worldly Hispanic genius, female, with a photographic memory (this causes her short term memory to suffer occasionally) but is overly emotional named Magdalena “Lena.” Her ability is 100% knowledge of a person’s body. This allows her to visualize all the major organs in a person’s body, the pressure points, joints, and bones after 1 minute of processessing. She can use this ability to read a person’s physical movement and after 30 seconds of processessing, be able to know exactly how to replicate their movement (this is kind of like adoptive muscle memory) but due to her occasional short term memory issues, can only use the move 1 day after she processes it (but can call upon this at any time thereafter, due to her photographic memory) Lena can also use this ability to think of the 10 most probable moves the person will use next.

    3. A concert violinist, male, somewhat of a coward though he talks big, who suffers a inferiority complex because he is always compared to his boxer cousin (character 1, Nikolai) who also has the girl he wants (Character 2, Lena) and an ability somewhat similar to his (but in his eyes, more useful than his own ability.) He has the superhuman ability to activate and deactivate mechanical, electronic, and even human objects. If he turns something on (but only if it is electronic) he can control it for up to 20 minutes. By human objects, he can power up or disable a person’s 5 senses, sense of balance or coordination, and ability to feel pain. He can use this ability on himself by turning off his ability to feel pain (physical pain, and not emotional pain and is still worn down by the injuries he receives) and power up one of his five senses to 100% at the expense of the other (Hearing is 100% but he cannot see, for example)

    So I know I haven’t provided everything about these characters, but I have just a few questions about this three characters. Will the combination of abilities be combat worthy, both offensively and defensively? A non-cliched group of characters? Overpowered abilities? And don’t think that because Aleksander (aka Character 3) has so much disdain for his cousin, that he’s going to become a villain “just to prove himself” He’s a different fate.

    Yeah…if anyone wants to answer this query, go ahead!

  270. B. Macon 29 Jul 2011 at 12:04 am

    Hello, From the Soul.

    –In a superhero story, I would recommend being very careful about an ability to cancel out other people’s powers, particularly if the character has other powers. (One limitation on power-cancelers that I’ve found helpful is that if they don’t have any other powers, they can be overwhelmed by an unpowered foe that’s better-trained and/or better-armed). Depending on how much he’s able to weaken other people’s powers, he could be very difficult to challenge, which would probably make the story less dramatic. Since he already has several other powers that are probably more combat-worthy than what the other characters are working with, it might even be worth considering eliminating the power-cancellation altogether.

    –I’d recommend being a bit more consistent about how much more powerful he can charge people up. “allow a teleporter to port further” and “allows a healer to heal more of a person” sounds like he’s making a fairly modest improvement, but “power up an energy beam by 100x or so” sounds like a vast improvement. I’d recommend going with a weaker charge-up because it’s just one of his abilities.

    –I think it’s a bit cliche to make the Latina overly emotional. For example, Heroes already had one. I don’t feel like it ties into the rest of her character traits and/or background very smoothly, either.

    –”Will the combination of abilities be combat-worthy, both offensively and defensively?” I think Aleksander will have trouble contributing in combat, but that might be thematically appropriate. (He’s not the boxer, after all). In time, maybe he gets REALLY creative with his powers and can make them work well in battle.

    –I think Aleksander’s powers could be simplified somewhat. For example, instead of “mechanical, electronic and even human objects,” I’d recommend making it electricity, including the impulses from the eyes to the optic nerve or whatever. I think that’ll make it a bit more coherent. (Otherwise, what’s the connection between his ability to activate/deactivate mechanical and electronic objects and human senses?)

    –I see some promising signs of personality, but it’s hard to tell from a description of this length. Anyway, the relationship triangle sounds interesting.

  271. From the Soulon 29 Jul 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Thank you for answering so quickly. I total see what you are saying about the power-cancellation thing, so I took that out altogether. WIith the boosting part of his abilities, the 100x was just a random number so that’s changed to powered up by 15%.

    Yeah, over-emotional Hispanic thing may seem overdone so, would switching it to her having slight Asberger’s (pardon the horrible spelling on that) be a good fix?

    With Aleksander, I aslo had the idea of him being able to be able to switch an object nearby or in his possession with another object either nearby or in another’s possession, but had felt that it didn’t really fit with the other characters. Or maybe could just have the ability to power up or disable a person’s 5 senses, sense of balance or coordination, and ability to feel pain. He can use this ability on himself by turning off his ability to feel pain (physical pain, and not emotional pain and is still worn down by the injuries he receives) and power up one of his five senses to 100% at the expense of the other (Hearing is 100% but he cannot see, for example) Any suggestions on that?

    I do have their entire personalities mapped out, and it IS possible for me to share those on here (yeah reeeal sacrifice) so if that’d help I’ll share it.

    Again thanks

  272. Phantomon 29 Jul 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Hay, B. Mac I have a question concerning plot structure. Say you have a main character that knows some of his powers but not that he has more that are dormant. Shortly after the character is established. He finds out that his powers are not from a mutation or anything like that, but he is actualy part demon. Once he finds this out, he is exposed to another side of our world seldom seen by humans. After which his new powers become active, and he must control the as new powers. At the same time learn to service in his new twisted reality.

    Do you think that would be a good sell for a plot?

  273. B. Macon 29 Jul 2011 at 6:49 pm

    “Say you have a main character that knows some of his powers but not that he has more that are dormant.” Does he have any idea what is causing the superpowers? (For example, if there are mutants in-story, he might assume he’s a mutant).

    “Once he finds out [that he's part-demon], he is exposed to another side of our world seldom seen by humans. After which his new powers become active, and he must control the as new powers. At the same time learn to service in his new twisted reality.”

    It sounds like it could be workable. I think I’d be more intrigued if the setup had the main character doing something interesting and/or making interesting choices and/or having something at stake. It might help to use a few sentences going into specifics about his “service in his new, twisted reality.”

  274. B. Macon 29 Jul 2011 at 7:06 pm

    From the Soul, I think Asperger’s would be interesting.

    “With Aleksander, I also had the idea of him being able to be able to switch an object nearby or in his possession with another object either nearby or in another’s possession, but had felt that it didn’t really fit with the other characters. Or maybe could just have the ability to power up or disable a person’s 5 senses, sense of balance or coordination, and ability to feel pain. He can use this ability on himself by turning off his ability to feel pain (physical pain, and not emotional pain and is still worn down by the injuries he receives) and power up one of his five senses at the expense of the other (if he could hear extremely well, he could not see, for example). Any suggestions on that?”

    If he can power up his sense of balance and coordination, I suspect he’ll be at least somewhat useful in combat.

    One thing I really like about just having a power influencing the senses, balance, coordination and pain-sensitivity is that it feels pretty coherent to me.

  275. From the Soulon 29 Jul 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Okay gotcha.

    “One thing I really like about just having a power influencing the senses, balance, coordination and pain-sensitivity is that it feels pretty coherent to me.”
    I guess I found Aleksander’s concrete ability. And yes, I’ll have him power up his own sense of balance and coordination, so he atleast has SOME use in combat.

    I switched Lena’s personality. However, I’m not sure if it turned out well…

    19 years of age, female, Hispanic, and she also has mild Asperger’s Syndrome. Lena speaks without contractions, does not easily understand the emotions of jealousy, pride, greed, or lust, and is somewhat obsessed with researching things she’s never heard of, including a few pop culture references. She likes to go to movies, the library, and also public debates/political gatherings. Growing up with a low-level senator of a father, Lena had to get used to being in the public eye and putting on a good girl image. Because of her condition, she didn’t become a bad girl to spite her father, found it hard to maintain a conversation without having the need to look something up, but managed to seem less socially awkward then she might have. Lena is not a fan of meeting new people, and subconsciously has something against people of a heavier than average weight. She blinks a little too fast, her eyes do not focus on one thing for long, and also she seems like she has a short attention span. When Lena was 9, she read the dictionary for fun and knows almost every word’s approximate definition. She can get stressed easily and also has occasional issues with falling asleep. Lena does comprehend being in love, and is in love with Nikolai, though she may have issues showing it. She only feels totally comfortable meeting new people when she is with Nikolai, and he can help her sleep more easily. She and Aleksander, to her, have a friend-friend relationship, and she tells him a lot of her secrets. Due to her ability and her photographic memory, she has a few issues with her short term memory.

    So yeah….Thanks for your wonderful input! (Though I suppose I still found a way to weasel in one more thing for you to critique)

  276. Shockwaveon 01 Aug 2011 at 12:34 pm

    I have a character who has the ability to manipulate the energy of anything made of paper. This means she can set it on fire, charge it with electricity, or mold it into something entirely different. The only weakness is that what she can alter about it is restricted by its size and the amount of energy available for her to manipulate. I’m afraid this is too powerful, or too “Gambit-like” to use though.

  277. Rogon 07 Aug 2011 at 1:35 am

    I think i’m having a bit of trouble trying to mae sense of a self-liquifying character. he’s suppose to be a hero, but I don’t exacly know how he’s going to work. what would happn if he lost some mass of himself, or how his shapeshifting would work. would you be able to help me on this

  278. B. Macon 07 Aug 2011 at 3:14 am

    For the most part, I’d recommend doing whatever you feel comfortable with.

    If you wanted it to be a problem that he lost mass, that could work. Maybe something like heat or unusually strong wind causes him to dehydrate/lose mass, which limits his powers or causes other problems for him. If you didn’t want mass to be a problem for him, maybe his body just naturally regenerates mass. (Humans naturally shed about 500 million skin cells per day–the epidermis is constantly being rebuilt from ingested material).

    As for shapeshifting, I’m guessing that he has the ability to control the way his liquid molecules move and solidify them into a body, right? So maybe he shapeshifts by rearranging and solidifying his molecules. Again, depending on your preferences, you could work in a mass limitation here. Maybe he’s limited to forms that have roughly the same mass as his regular form, so he can’t do something the size of an elephant. Alternately, if you wanted to give him larger forms, maybe he can absorb excess moisture from the air and use that to make forms bigger than he usually is. If he wanted to do something really small, he’d probably have to leave some liquid behind (or get really dense), but he could just grab more water from the air when he was ready to return to normal size.

  279. Basilon 22 Aug 2011 at 7:29 pm

    I have to ask, is it possible to have a character with similar powers and a similar theme to Spider-Man without him or her being a complete ripoff?

    I ask because I’ve had similar ideas for characters years ago, before I even really knew who the heck Spidey was (I never read many comic books as a kid). Also, I really like his general powerset – not too strong, not too fast, able to sense danger but not to a degree where he’s untouchable, etc.

    Anyway, just thought I’d ask.

  280. Brian McKenzie (B. Mac)on 22 Aug 2011 at 9:27 pm

    “I have to ask, is it possible to have a character with similar powers and a similar theme to Spider-Man without him or her being a complete ripoff?”

    –I think you’re totally fine on agility and strength. Those are generic powers. But the ability to sense danger is fairly unique to Spiderman. Even though you developed the idea independently, prospective readers will not know that and may conclude that the older, much better-known character is being ripped off.

    –I’m not sure what you mean by a similar theme to Spider-Man. If you mean that the character gets his powers in any way related to spiders or that his superpowers are connected by something related to spiders, I would highly recommend considering alternatives. Like slinging webs, spider-themed powers are SO distinct to the Spiderman universe that I think it’d be really hard to use them without making prospective readers think it was a ripoff.

    –What’s the connection between agility/strength and the ability to sense danger? The Spiderman series tries to connect the two by saying that they’re both abilities related to spiders, which fits with the character’s origin. How would your character’s powers be connected? I think that a unique connection could soften the ripoff concerns. (For example, I think Star Wars Jedi sometimes get premonitions from their connection with the Force. That strikes me as unique enough that the similarity between the two danger-senses is not immediately obvious). For example, if the character’s power to detect danger is not supernatural and is just a careful attention to detail (situational awareness), I think you’d be TOTALLY fine.

    –Marvel’s legal department is aggressive about protecting its characters, and Spiderman is a billion-dollar franchise.

    –If the ability is supernatural, what is the symptom that alerts the protagonist? Spiderman is alerted to danger when he gets a tingling sensation or his perception of color goes haywire. I would recommend coming up with a different mechanism(s).

  281. Basilon 22 Aug 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Okay, that makes sense. I appreciate it.

    By ‘similar theme’ I meant kinda like Arana or Mohinder Suresh or something insectoid. But I get that it’s hard to do something even vaguely similar without flirting with a lawsuit.

    In the few characters I’ve had that could sense danger, it was always in a nebulous way, only really noticeable as a niggling gut feeling, rather than a direct ‘spider-sense is tingling’ type of thing. And I usually had it granted as sort-of a souped-up intuition. But then that runs the risk of either being not connected to the other powers at all, or being just cliche, or both.

    I gave up on the web-slinging (or just swinging) part long ago. Other than the occasional use of a borrowed grappling gun, the only swinging my character would have been doing was on a swingset.

    Anyway, thanks for the help. Take care.

  282. Brian McKenzie (B. Mac)on 23 Aug 2011 at 2:00 am

    “But I get that it’s hard to do something even vaguely similar without flirting with a lawsuit.” Well, there are exceptions. For example, if your work is a parody of Spiderman or heroes like Spiderman, that could count as “fair use” of copyrighted material in the U.S.

  283. Davidon 09 Sep 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Like my character for example can use the power of elements and he has a great skill with knives and blades

    and my other character is half cyborg armor witch he can shoot plazma beams and blasts but he has a virus in his armor so when he drains power from humans he has no controll over friends and enimes but he is frikin powerful

  284. Hollyon 19 Sep 2011 at 7:17 pm

    So, I dreamed a new power that I’ve never heard of before, the ‘Commonplace’ power. It effects both animate and inanimate objects, and makes them ‘think’ that ther person who has this power is normal in any given situation, despite their appearance. (Like a hero amung military-dressed minions would be considered commonplace and not anything to worry about, and machines would accept thier codes, prints, and eyescans as if they were always in their databanks)

  285. Breatheon 25 Sep 2011 at 7:49 pm

    I’ve been told countless times that teleportation is an unfair power because it’s hard to beat (or something along those lines) and has barely any drawbacks (again, something along those lines at least.) Would the following list of drawbacks help out with toning down the “cheating”

    -Must be to a place either in her line of vision or where she has left a phsycial marker behind (Old jewlery, library card, concrete imprint, etc)
    -Like Shadowcat’s phasing, they can only teleport as long as they hold their breath (so like a 30 second or so interval between each ‘port)
    -If they do not concentrate, they could leave behind part of their body (kind of like splinching from Harry Potter)
    -Sudden movements (sneezing, flinching, etc) cause them to randomly teleport to somewhere in their line of vision
    -If there is someone or something right where they are teleporting, they might combine with each other (Their arm sticking out of that person’s body or the object, for example)
    -If they teleport somewhere more than 5 miles away, they are literally paralyzed for two minutes

    So yeah, just wondering if that list of drawbacks helps balance out the advantages of teleporting (or if teleporting is “cheating,” in the first place)

  286. CCOlsonon 05 Oct 2011 at 6:00 pm

    I’ve been thinking about teleportation and one thing might be to think of HOW this ability functions. I know that the most common explanation is “it’s secretly magical and defies all physics” but if we come up with some physical mechanisms for a power we can immediately get some drawbacks.

    So, one way to teleport would be to spontaneously generate, enter and exit a wormhole between oneself and the target location. Theoretically, this is possible, but it would have some drawbacks.

    To start with, creating a wormhole would require a ridiculous amount of energy. Like, New York’s powergrid ridiculous, at least. Sure, the energy for superpowers comes from somewhere, but this immediately suggests that someone who teleports via wormhole might get far more tired from one wormhole that goes a few miles in a single instant than another hero would by cutting through fifty feet of steel with his eye lasers (as the energy required for the two acts is vastly different, despite the eye-laser feat appearing more difficult).

    Additionally, a wormhole is created by folding the fabric of spacetime together between two points with an intense concentration of gravity (like a quantum singularity), then punching a passable hole through that connection and spreading it open. This could have rather devastating implications for everything surrounding the entry and exit point of the wormhole, perhaps warping and destabilizing buildings, attracting unanchored objects toward the point of teleportation at a hundred-gravities of accelleration for the fraction of a second it takes to teleport, and so on.

    Also, one way of lessening the power consumed by making a wormhole is to only make a tiny wormhole and then somehow fit the object, or person, in question through that tiny opening. This would entail some survivable form of spatial compression, or perhaps derezzing, which would probably be extremely disorienting/discomforting/disconcerting, such that the person teleporting ends up puking their guts out on the other side of the teleport 4 times out of 5.

    If wormholes don’t intrigue you, let’s try hyperspace (though there are many interpretations of what, exactly, hyperspace is). In this one, we’ll assume that hyperspace means entering a higher dimension. In this concept, every point of existence that exists in the normal dimension also has a matching point in hyperspace, except that the points in hyperspace are all somehow closer together.

    To illustrate, let’s say our teleporter, Bob, wants to get from point A to point B. In our dimension, point A and point B are 100 meters apart. However, in hyperspace, point A and point B are only 1 centimeter apart. Bob’s power takes him into hyperspace at point A, then immediately opens a way out at point B, which is conveniently almost right on top of point A as far as Bob is concerned, and drops him out back in our regular dimension, 100 meters from his original location.

    Fairly straightforward. What are the drawbacks?

    Well… What is hyperspace like?

    Is it a vacuum? If it is, then even an instant of exposure is going to be VERY uncomfortable, and the farther Bob needs to teleport, the MORE uncomfortable it’s going to get, until it becomes harmful or fatal.

    Is it energetic? If hyperspace is much smaller than our universe, but contains the same amount of energy in some form, then it might leave Bob a little singed every time he goes through it unprotected.

    It it occupied? What if hyperspace in your world is like hyperspace in Warhammer 40k? THAT hyperspace is filled with demons and chaos deities who want nothing more than to destroy or enslave all life in the universe. You CAN teleport through that hyperspace, but its not something most people would ever consider fun, or safe, or even worth doing except in the most dire of circumstances.

    On a completely different front, teleportation is very easy to beat. Like most active, non-sensory powers, it is completely useless against a surprise attack. Example: a .50 cal sniper round to the back of the head.

    Also, you can have an enemy with an area-effect power that nullifies other powers, or that stabilizes space preventing all powers based on spatial distortion.

    Or you can have a villain whose base is set up to immediately taze/shoot/vaporize anyone who teleports in.

    Or the villain can kidnap loved ones and keep them hostage somewhere the teleporter doesn’t know how to get to.

    As long as your teleporter doesn’t have omniscient teleporting he CAN be beaten. And even if he does have omniscient teleporting, he has to sleep sometime, somewhere, and GPS tracking devices have become very small and easy to attach to people.

  287. Halleon 08 Oct 2011 at 7:31 pm

    I’m creating a villain and hero.
    Hero: Anni, she has pyrokenisis. She can control fire.
    Weekness: Water (duh)
    Past: She was orphaned at a young age. Her family was killed by the Dark Angle. She has been looking for Dark Angel for years.

    Villain: Dark Angel, she posses the ability of darkness. (origanal power) She can bring back the dead, (in skeleton form) shoot knives out of her wrists, and fly. (wings)
    Weekness: Unknown
    Past: When she was young she was killed. She was an evil angel. So she became “Dark”. She has been killing out of anger.

    Any suggestions on powers, weekness, anything.
    Thanks!

  288. B. McKenzieon 09 Oct 2011 at 2:32 am

    Some thoughts that come to mind:

    –”She was an evil angel. So she became ‘Dark.’” Why did she become evil? I feel like it might help to flesh out her motivations here to make her a more three-dimensional villain. In my opinion, even the most heinous people truly believe that they’re doing something good for somebody. So, unless she woke up one day and decided to be evil, it might help to think about what she’s trying to do that she thinks is good.

    –What is DA’s personality like? How is she different than other evil characters? (For example, Hannibal Lecter is distinct from most evil characters because he’s notably brilliant and wry–also, his background as a psychologist is unexpected for a serial killer and helps give him an interesting role in a story about tracking another serial killer).

    –What’s Anni’s personality like? How is she different than other heroes, especially other heroes with slain parents? What sort of major choices does she make and why? (One that comes to mind: She decides to look for DA, whereas most of DA’s victims are probably not that brave).

    –I’d recommend being careful with making one element weak against another. I feel that sort of classification fits more smoothly in video games.

    –I think DA’s name could be more unique. Replacing Dark with a more distinctive term implying darkness or corruption might help. Alternately, replacing Angel with a more unique term tied to the character and her personality might help. Another option would be sharpening the contrast between the two words in the title. (Maybe something like Dark Guardian if she sees herself as protecting something?). I won’t even try to tie this into anything, but some over-the-top football nicknames might include the Nigerian Nightmare, the Dark Wanderer, the Hooded Stranger (no, not Bill Belichick), the Green Reapers, etc.

  289. Halleon 09 Oct 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Thank you.
    Well the bio’s were just an example. I have much more details and stuff. But, should Dark Angel have a weakness? Since she is already dead, is there anything anyone can do to her?
    (I’m not too good at this… -_-)

    Thank You!!!

  290. B. McKenzieon 09 Oct 2011 at 6:55 pm

    “Since she is already dead, is there anything anyone can do to her?” Well, presumably there will be SOME way for the hero to pursue revenge against her. It may or may not entail beating DA directly in combat. For example, in the first two Terminator films, I feel the main goal for the protagonists is surviving rather than destroying the Terminator. In the second film, the heroes try to stop the Terminators from ever getting invented by sabotaging the company that is trying to make them. If DA gets her power through a plot device, like an artifact or something, maybe losing the artifact (or getting it unpowered somehow) is DA’s weakness.

    “(I’m not too good at this… -_-)” I wouldn’t worry about that too much. Just keep practicing and it’ll get better. Writing is a learning process and I feel that my own writing has gotten demonstrably better in the past 2-3 years.

  291. Halleon 10 Oct 2011 at 2:17 pm

    OMG! Thank you so much for your help. You have no idea how grateful I am.

    If DA has a power source, should it be so obvious that you wouldn’t think of. Or should it be very unknown? I was thinking, a stone. Like a certain black and red stone found only in New Zealand. And it holds the power of her. And if destroyed, she will become mortal, but still hold all of her abilities to fight and her powers. So them Anni would have a chance of hurting or even killing DA…

  292. ShyVioletson 11 Oct 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Hello everyone!

    I’ve been working on ideas for a superhero novel for quite a while and have finally got them to the point they might actually be worth someone reading.

    I need help with the powers of my main character. She has a super advanced form a eye sight that allows her to see all sorts of things like lies, illness, pregnancy, poison in water or food and other stuff like that. She can also track people by the the unique energy signature every living person gives off and has a Macgiver (my apologies for not knowing how to spell it) like resourcefulness.

    Generally, these abilities work very well for finding/tracking/searching and as far as the resourcefulness goes, for occasionally blowing stuff up. What she needs a quick access battle ready power that will allow her to defend herself in a pinch. I was thinking something to do wither her eyes since thats where her powers are based. I also want it to be kind of subtle and small because it fits more with the story and her personality.

    Many thanks,
    ShyViolets

    PS: any and all suggestions are welcome

  293. B. McKenzieon 12 Oct 2011 at 6:39 am

    Hmm. I feel that most combat powers (eye-rays or otherwise) would probably make her visual acuity feel forgettable. One possibility that comes to mind is that her combat skills are not supernatural (maybe she’s just generically tough and/or skilled at armed or unarmed combat).

  294. CCOlsonon 12 Oct 2011 at 10:22 am

    Another possible source for the combat ability, if she can perceive lies (you could actually do this, mostly, if you could read a person’s physiological responses nearly perfectly. Isaac Asimov had a little girl in Nemesis who could do this) is that she perceives the subtle shifts in posture, muscle tension and direction of motion that forecast an enemy’s attacks.

  295. B. McKenzieon 12 Oct 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Ah, I like that, CCOlsen. It ties in very nicely with the enhanced perception.

  296. ShyVioletson 14 Oct 2011 at 12:48 am

    I think I’m going to make her somewhat naturally tough and actually learn to fight properly along the way which hopefully will provide opportunities for character growth. I plan for her to start out as someone who kind of becomes a hero by accident and ends up growing into her role. I feel like it will be a lot more interesting to have a hero that defeats a much stronger villain using mostly intelligence and resourcefulness than having a very powerful hero take out the bad guys easily. Plus her sight abilities are very important and having those be over shadowed by a combat power would be a shame.

  297. ShyVioletson 14 Oct 2011 at 12:58 am

    to CCOlson’s suggestion: I’m thinking I can use a slightly altered version of that. She can see the subtle movement so she can tell that something is coming and as she trains to fight she can also learn what EXACTLY certain muscle movements mean so she can counter them effectively.

  298. CCOlsonon 14 Oct 2011 at 8:03 pm

    B. Mac, have you written an article on ordinary uses for superpowers? Like Mr. Fantastic stretching his face to shave it? Or the superpowered wrecking company in Ultimate Spiderman?

    These things don’t beat the badguys, but they do make the world and characters seem more real.

  299. ShyVioletson 18 Oct 2011 at 6:36 am

    What would an interesting power for a thief be?

  300. CCOlsonon 18 Oct 2011 at 11:19 am

    Define “interesting”.

    Interesting as in Useful?

    Interesting as in Funny?

    Interesting as in “How does this help out a thief in any way?”

  301. B. McKenzieon 18 Oct 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Well, I feel the most cliche powers for a thief would be something like phasing, teleportation, invisibility/stealth/camouflage, etc. I’d also pass on those powers because I feel like they tend to make it too easy for the character to get away if things go wrong, which will probably make the thief’s work less interesting. (In contrast, a character like Catwoman has more to worry about and has to be more clever than JUST turning on a superpower to enter or escape).

    What do you think about telekinesis for a thief? It’s not the first thing that comes to mind (which I think is a plus if you want something unusual) and it’s pretty versatile.

    Alternately, for something rarer, maybe something like control of a pocket space. (For example, maybe he/she can reach into a jacket and either deposit something in a secret space only he/she can reach or pull out equipment from the same space). It could be used to hide/conceal incriminating goods, steal bigger stuff than she’d easily be able to carry, carry equipment and/or gadgets without looking out of the ordinary, perhaps plant incriminating evidence, etc.

    Alternately, something like agility would probably make for more interesting stealth scenes than something like invisibility would.

  302. ShyVioletson 18 Oct 2011 at 8:31 pm

    I really like the idea of a pocket space. The thief in question is currently reformed but having a pocket would be a great way for him to have gained infamy. For example stealing a painting is bad but stealing the Venus De Milo (not sure if thats right) would make a huge ruckus. The guy who stole the Venus De Milo wound gain a lot of attention from the international media. It wound also make the thief very hard to catch because he could slip in (after disabling security) and slip out again without being noticed. Plus a pocket space has all sorts of every-day applications.

  303. B. McKenzieon 18 Oct 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Depending on his personality and/or history, he might also use the pocket space to take invaluable art as hostages. For example, “If you kill me, you’ll never see the real Mona Lisa again.”

  304. Rogon 08 Nov 2011 at 11:32 pm

    hey, would you happn to know a plausible way to explain something like pyrokinesis? having a bit of trouble with it.

  305. Wingson 09 Nov 2011 at 11:49 pm

    @Indigo: Yep. Way too many abilities for one person – though I admit the butterfly angle could be cool. Just the antennae wings, and tactile substance identification would be enough for that. Adding the UV rays angle essentially makes her godly – I’d strongly advise against it.

    Hmmm…Limitation wise, if the character didn’t have the wings and antennae and whatnot all the time, then maybe, in a reference to the short lives of butterflies, she can’t stay in “powered” form too long (Maybe only for a day’s amount of time, or she dies? Could be an interesting limitation). Flightwise, butterflies glide a lot, so she might no be able to get airborne in close quarters or in places with no wind. If the antennae are sound sensitive, then even a dog whistle or microphone feedback could be a problem for her.

    @Rog: How’d your character get the power in the first place? Mutation, lab accident, genetic experimentation, awesome gadgets, or something else entirely?

    - Wings

  306. Indigoon 10 Nov 2011 at 12:06 am

    @Wings

    That’s what I was afraid of :(
    Although I was tryin to come up with an idea based on the short life span of butterflies; I like your idea of limiting her butterfly form to only a day :) Now forgive me if I sound like I’m desperate to combine these powers with the UV energy abilities, BUT what if the UV powers don’t kick in until she’s NOT in butterfly form? Like 2 separate sides to her? OR she loses her butterfly abilities at some point but gains the UV abilities? Hmmm I don’t know, I think I’ll try to limit her as much as possible, that way she won’t be too powerful. I also think I’ll incorporate what you said about her not being able to get airborne in small spaces and the higher sound frequency messing with her antennae.

    Thanks so much for your advice! :)

  307. Wingson 10 Nov 2011 at 10:28 am

    You could try limiting the UV ray powers severely. The power to create anything is a tricky one – 99% of the time it can’t be pulled off, and for a lot of readers it sets off the Mary Sue warning bells. Maybe if you just limited it to energy blasts or some other small scale energy attacks – none of butterfly-girl’s powers thus far are offensive, and that might actually help her in the long run.

    - Wings

  308. Marquison 10 Nov 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Grenac I haven’t been on in awhile so I’m not sure if you’ve actually gone through with the rewrite ( I Hope Not). Anyways about the whole modified weapons idea, I think it seems kind of like an add on. It’s not really needed. If Ianthe can control plants n plant growth, I think she’d be pretty strong. Unless of course if the story takes place in some type of futuristic tech type of era. Other then that she could always have seeds in her pocket, she’d always have some type of plant nearby usually. And on the rare occasion that she doesn’t the training her dad gave her would come in handy. Great Combat skills, Great Marksman skills. She doesn’t have to be perfect but I thought you had something great going with her. Maybe you should think about some techniques she could use.

  309. Indigoon 10 Nov 2011 at 4:35 pm

    I think you’re right Wings-she doesn’t have any offensive powers, which is probably why I’m so intent on including the UV abilities. So I believe it may be best to leave it at energy blasts to avoid the whole Mary Sue thing-thanks again for helping me :)

  310. Wingson 10 Nov 2011 at 10:15 pm

    Grenac: So her control over plants is directly proportional to her physical strength/health?

    Indigo: No problem. We all started out once, y’know? Gotta help each other out and whatnot.

    To borrow the words of someone far wiser than I, great powers do not a great character make. I mean, look at Superman. Sure, he’s a superhero icon, and he has pretty much every power ever and no real weaknesses (kryptonite doesn’t count). But if a character like him was introduced today? They’d be eaten alive. Who could challenge them? No challenge, no conflict, no plot. That’s how it goes.

    Keeping the UV powers as energy blasts should suit your character. Glad to have helped out.

    - Wings

  311. ShyVioletson 10 Nov 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Hi Indigo :)

    I agree with Wings. Tone down the powers and you have a potentially interesting character. The MC for my story has no really offensive powers at all so its very feasible that she’ll get her sorry butt kicked into neck year so it adds drama :

  312. Grenacon 11 Nov 2011 at 1:29 am

    @Wings: Yes, she tires easily with her power.

    @Marquis: No, I’m just thinking ahead during my sleeping times.

    @Both of youse: The thing is, when she gets her power, she’s thrown into the hero guild. She can’t control large amounts of plants and for expended periods of time. I was going to have her use the weapons with the plants cause she can only use the plants to ensnare enemies only. If that fails, she has the artillery for backup. I thought it’d be a nice way to tie in her little weapons knowledge. I don’t want to make her a Sue or anyting though, so she wasn’t going to be this competent fighter because even though she trained some with her Dad, she has grown up to sit in front of the computer all day. She’s way out of shape basically. So all she can do is fire away, pretty much how she plays her games, spamming the attack button. I was just wondering if it was okay or not.

  313. Anonymouson 05 Dec 2011 at 5:28 am

    What sort of abilities would one hypothetically have if they were to be using 100% of their brain capacity?

  314. B. McKenzieon 05 Dec 2011 at 9:32 am

    Basically any mental power could be vaguely believably linked to it (e.g. anything psychic, anything related to intelligence, etc). However, it’s an urban legend that humans only use 10% of their brains on average. According to Scientific American: “‘Though an alluring idea, the 10 percent myth is so wrong it is almost laughable,’ says neurologist Barry Gordon at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore… What is correct, however, is that at certain moments in anyone’s life, such as when we are simply at rest and thinking, we may be using only 10 percent of our brains. ‘It turns out though, that we use virtually every part of the brain, and that [most of] the brain is active almost all the time,’ Gordon adds.”

    That said, human brains DO use only a small proportion (20%) of memory-forming neurons. If somebody was somehow able to use super-science or some other means to tap a greater proportion and stimulate mental activity in the midbrain, it’d be believable if his memory and/or learning ability were vastly better than average.

  315. CCOlsonon 05 Dec 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Having an Eidetic Memory is one the real life abilities that I would rank as a superpower. There actually are people who remember everything that they read or see or hear. C.S. Lewis was one such. Oh to be able to do academic citations from memory…

    I know I mentioned this before, but one thinking superpower that a person could conceivably have is supercharged empathy. In Isaac Asimov’s “Nemesis” there is a little girl who is an empathic genius. There’s nothing at all psychic about her powers, though. She’s just so incredibly good at reading and interpreting body language, physiological signs, voice inflection, eye movement, tone, word choice and context that she functions as near infallible lie detector and can make pretty reliable guesses about what a person is thinking at any given moment.

    Other thinking superpowers might include having a brain that works like a squirrel’s, able to rapidly plot crazy-insane parkour routes through streets, parks, buildings, tree branches, etc.

    Also, there was “The Pretender”, a TV Series with a main character who was so smart and imaginative that he could adopt not only a believable, but also an effective, persona as just about any kind of career person in the world. At various points he pretended to be doctors, lawyers, investigators, etc, and he was so smart he could actually do the work associated with those professions.

  316. B. Macon 05 Dec 2011 at 6:53 pm

    “She’s just so incredibly good at reading and interpreting body language, physiological signs, voice inflection, eye movement, tone, word choice and context that she functions as near infallible lie detector.” One study found that police officers, lawyers and polygraphists couldn’t detect lies with any degree of accuracy. If you flipped a coin with “TRUTH” on one side and “LIE” on the other, it’d be about as good as detecting a lie as they were. However, Secret Service agents and, umm, aphasics beat the coin by a substantial margin. In both cases, researchers speculated that the lie-detector succeeded by paying extremely close attention to “micromomentary” cues in the face that indicated the person was lying. In contrast, the average listener focuses on what the liar says and that tends to work out pretty well for the liar.

  317. KolendaMaon 22 Dec 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Wow, me and my friend are wrighting a book on super heros. Their are 3 main charecters. Kate, Rose, and Dawn. Kate’s Powers are Invisibility, And Water manipulation. Rose’s powers are Ice manipulation, and flying. Dawns powers are Electric manipulation, and shape shifting. The story start with these charecters and they go to a school called West Rock HighSchool. They eventually find out that they have superpowers and they train with heir new friends who all have super powers also. Then soon they find out that dillion a school bully is actually a super villon. Then later after the team (Here are the others who are part of the team, Claire: super strength, Jordan: sublimation. Alex, super speed. Richard: duplication, and Kyle, his power is telekinesis, The super heros are training to defeat the mysterios scarlem. The scarlem are evil, and are trying to turn all the super heros into super villions. Then they plan to take over the world.
    How does this book sound to you!

  318. Indigoon 24 Dec 2011 at 11:52 pm

    It sounds like it could be interesting :) My only concern is that I counted 8 main characters (not including villains) and it could be difficult to develop each of these characters individually. Unless you’re focusing on the three girls you first mentioned and the other members of their team get less spotlight and are therefore secondary characters. And since you have such a wide range of powers, try to use them in unique ways so that they stay fresh.

    Have you come up with any distinguishing personality traits for your characters? I’d like to see a list of your characters, along with their personalities and powers if you don’t mind. :)

  319. Klutzon 27 Dec 2011 at 9:00 am

    Hello!
    I’m working on refining the powers of some characters in the comic I’m creating and I’m asking for some advice regarding weaknesses and their powers overall.
    Decibel: Sonic screams and other forms of sound manipulation. Over use causes stress to his vocal cords.
    Cobalt: Projects blue disc-shaped force fields that eventually develop into telekinesis. Her mind becomes strained if she projects discs that are too large or if she projects too many.
    Electrode: Can absorb and project electricity. He cannot absorb large amounts of electricity without losing control of his power causing damage to his own body.
    Paragon: He can transmute his hands/forearm into any metallic/geological material. He also has enhanced strength and bone density.
    Blaze: Absorbs heat from the sun and uses it to generate fire. She has to store solar energy to use her powers at night.
    Are these descriptive enough and do they provide enough weakness? I was also thinking of adding another member with either super speed, invisibility and intangibility or healing. Any ideas?

  320. Crystalon 02 Jan 2012 at 10:49 am

    I’m writing a story about a guy named Royce Black (Electro) who has electrokinesis, but the bad thing about that is he’s always charged and has to wear rubber gloves and wrap himself up in plastic.

    And I made up this character, who calls herself Plastique, whose powers I came up with when you said ‘Telekinesis that only applies to a specific thing’. Her TK applies only to plastic, and she can do everything Magneto can with metal, but with plastic.

    So Plastic and Electro meet each other and start a relationship because Plastique is immune to electricity. But while Electro falls for Plastique his friends are noticing weird things about her. Nothing that implies she is actually luring Electro into a careful trap.

    What do you think?

  321. B. McKenzieon 02 Jan 2012 at 1:12 pm

    It sounds okay–at first, I thought it felt contrived that he wrapped himself in plastic and she just happened to control plastic, but it turns out that plastics actually are generally good at resisting electricity.

    I think the false romance/trap could be really good if you executed it well. For example, what’s she setting him up for?



    I have a highly tentative sideplot (making fun of the tendency that even average-looking guys in comic books somehow land smoking-hot women, a la Mary Jane) where (SPOILER–maybe?) an IRS agent new to a super-agency suddenly has a highly friendly and intelligent model interested in him. The guys at the office start taking a pool about which country she’s spying for and/or why else she might be interested in the IRS agent. (“Can I get odds on Russian spy AND visually impaired?”) I’m not sure what the payoff would be, though. Maybe Gary comes tantalizingly close to the perfect romance but his new job and/or his coworkers get in the way. Maybe she was into him because he’s so super-normal, but is completely thrown off by all the danger and/or strange acquaintances she’d have to put up with to date him.

  322. Crystalon 03 Jan 2012 at 12:23 am

    Thanks! I like your idea too :)
    Electro wraps himself up so that he can touch people without killing them and so he doesnt burn his clothes off or destroy electronics. I haven’t yet figured out what Plastique’s intentions are or what Electro’s friends are noticing, but she wants some kind of revolution. Any ideas?

  323. B. McKenzieon 03 Jan 2012 at 7:36 pm

    One possibility is that she comes to him with either a mysterious offer of assistance and/or a desperate request for help. Then she subtly causes him to fall for her.

    For example, maybe she shows up with a BIT of credible evidence and claims that somebody close to him is trying to kill him. “I was on the trail of [a criminal] that’s bought hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of military-grade electronics* he couldn’t possibly know how to use. I found these [personal effects, maybe a security card or blueprints or something] in his safehouse. He must have gotten them from somebody close to you. Do you know anybody who would be good with electronics?*” I imagine he’ll be initially skeptical, but start to wonder when an assassin (secretly collaborating with Plastique) narrowly misses killing him with something electronic*.

    *Subtly frame one of his teammates, maybe somebody he doesn’t get along with. Feel free to swap out “electronics” for anything that might plausibly be linked to the implicated character. For example, if she’s trying to frame an expert marksman, Electro might start to wonder if she’s right if he nearly gets killed by a sniper rifle and the sniper character has been acting strangely and/or rudely. One way that she can make it seem like the sniper character is a suspect is by coming to Electro shortly after he has a relatively major spat with the implicated character. Alternately, Electro might get really suspicious if the sniper character is the one that is the fastest to suspect something of the mysterious new girl.



    “She wants some sort of revolution.” What doesn’t she like about the current system? (Her reasons for wanting a major change may show us a lot about her personality and choices).

  324. TheGhostManon 08 Jan 2012 at 4:33 pm

    In my story, my main character has the ability to shapeshift into any person he’s seen (usually he has to have met them in person, but overtime he is able to do it with just pictures). This also pertains to clothing and other accessories. He uses this power in a multitude of ways – to throw pursuers off his trail, to gather intelligence which he would otherwise have no access, to infiltrate enemy camps, or to just play mischievous tricks.
    However, his shapeshifting comes with fatigue parameter, as the act of shapeshifting and remaining in a guise requires a significant amount of conscious mental power. If his concentration falters, then his guise is likely to “slip”. For example, skin tone and eye colour may change, or his facial features might begin to morph.
    Does this sound like it would be a good power?

  325. B. McKenzieon 08 Jan 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Sounds workable–I like the concentration aspect more than, say, Mystique’s powers, which just seem to work without any thought or effort. The character might not be able to participate in superpowered fight scenes to the same extent as other characters, though.

  326. TheGhostManon 09 Jan 2012 at 6:56 am

    My story is still in the early planing stages – do you think that maybe the shapeshifter would be better as, say, a supporting character? I just want my MC to be involved or able to be involved in superpowered fights.

  327. Charlieon 09 Jan 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Hi,

    I’m a 6th grade teacher who is in the process of putting together a fictional narrative unit. I’d like for my students to write a superhero comic book story. They’ll be using an online app (toondoo). I have many questions. First, how many superpowers should my students select for their characters. I’m guessing a superhero can, theoretically, have a combination of some, or many. However, might it be best for the kids to choose a single superpower for coherence sake?

    Thanks, and I hope to hear from you. This blog is a fantastic resource.

    Charlie
    Vermont

  328. B. McKenzieon 09 Jan 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Charlie, I’d encourage them to stick to 3 or fewer (so that they have space to work on story elements besides just describing the characters’ superpowers). I wouldn’t worry about it too much, though, because sometimes counting superpowers is surprisingly hard. (For example, is Storm’s flight a separate ability, or is it just part of her ability to control the weather?)

  329. Comicbookguy117on 10 Jan 2012 at 7:04 am

    Charlie, I would recommend you let them choose one or two powers. I’m developing my own comic book universe and found it easier to go with one power per character. It allows me to give them a power that allows them to be challenged in their heroic endeavors. So I’d say one of two powers would be good.

    Now shadowhazard, I must be honest. I was a little confused reading your top post. Ok the blind kid can use his other senses to superhuman levels, I get that. But where did the adaptation come from? Just curious.

  330. Marquison 22 Jan 2012 at 11:43 am

    Ok I want to know how I would write Maves shadows taking damage by bolts of electricity.should the shadows simply dissipate or should they simply be stunned for a period of time?

  331. L05T 80Yon 25 Jan 2012 at 1:40 pm

    i’m writing a superhero story, are these good ideas for superheros and their powers?

    Dead: immortality (only discovered later)

    Ion: Cybernetic DNA enhancments, flight, energy blasters on each wrist, increased sight and hearing

    Ms. Electric: Production and control of electricity and ‘blue lightning,’ which is like radioactive lightning.

    Firewall: Biomechanical familiarity with electronic devices, superhuman hacking ability, limited control over electricty itself.

    i’ve got a few more characters, but i’m still finetuning them

  332. HomuHomuon 07 Feb 2012 at 6:02 pm

    I like Viv’s choice for her character’s power. It’s not too common, unlike super strength and fire abilities, and it isn’t overpowering that her character can’t be challenged.

    People make the mistake of bending over backwards just to make sure their characters have tons of powers so they won’t be caught in a situation they can’t escape from. When they are challenged, it all seems contrived. I think it’s much more interesting when a hero can use their power to get out of any trouble, even if that power isn’t all that powerful to begin with.

  333. Pungoon 14 Mar 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Long time reader, but never posted…

    So my hero has various abilities, while that are very impressive, are not superhuman (climbing on near-flat surfaces, 20mph run, a high jump, spend 15 minutes underwater, etc.)

    Does this seem too overdone? I would love to hear your opinion.

  334. B. McKenzieon 14 Mar 2012 at 7:38 pm

    The powers are fine. That said, most superhero stories succeed or fail based on whether the characters are interesting and the plot is exciting.

  335. YoungAuthoron 14 Mar 2012 at 8:40 pm

    @Pungo- are you trying to make you character super? b/c none of these powers are super powers, unless your going for the non-superpowered hero.

  336. B. McKenzieon 14 Mar 2012 at 10:29 pm

    YA, the character above sounds like an Olympic-level athlete (a la Batman). For example, Usain Bolt can run 27 miles per hour, so 20 miles per hour would be pretty close to the limits of what is humanly possible. 15 minutes underwater would basically make this guy an honorary amphibian.

    This doesn’t strike me as a Paste Pot Pete scenario where the character’s powers are so limited that it’d be difficult to show him doing impressive things. (And, even then, I think it’s a matter of execution. Ozymandias is one of the most interesting supervillains of the past ~30 years even though his powers were highly limited).

  337. Rex Nihiloon 22 Mar 2012 at 7:57 am

    Greetings all! I have been inventing super-powered characters for a bit now. Recently, I fear that I may have invented a character with far too many abilities. Bear with me. I am fond of animal themed heroes and created one of my own. He is called Frogmun*:

    Frogmun is a literal frogman (probably a genetic mutation) based on dendrobatid frogs. His outward appearance resembles a regular man, albeit tall and narrow with flipper-like feet. What is unique is his internal structure giving him an array of natural abilities:

    Abilities:
    - Dense, pliable bones and durable skin, joints, and muscles make his body resilient (although not immune to pain).

    - Unique structure of his core and legs amplify his energy output exponentially allowing powerful kicks and jumps as well as grace and speed.

    - Animal instincts give him enhanced senses.

    - His skin sweats/secretes a film with a controllable viscosity. He can make it extremely thick and pasty or thin and slick. His blood is a neurotoxin and causes paralysis.

    Removed abilities:

    - Extending, prehensile tongue with viscosity control.

    - Throat bladder capable of firing anything Frogmun can fit in his mouth.

    - The sweat was originally going to be a neurotoxin and have viscosity control. This could have been an interesting limitation (as he cannot touch innocents), but I felt as a good-guy this made his seem too villainous and over-powered.

    - A special secretion that allows his hyperactive speed and reflexes and greatly augmented strength for a period of about 4 minutes. Known as Berserk, this ability also allows him to jump off air and removes his other secretion abilities. This ability leaves Frogmun completely exhausted afterwards. (This was supposed to be his greatest adaptation).

    I could use some assistance in refining this character. If anyone could recommend different combinations or weaknesses to help limit this character while maintaining the animalistic appeal that would be tremendously helpful.

    *Frogman is C/D-list Marvel superhero with springy boots and a goofy, padded suit. Among Marvel’s** other Frog themed characters are Leap-Frog and Ani-Man. I think my character has enough of a uniqueness to avoid being reminiscent of the aforementioned fellows.

    **DC featured a circus freak frogman as a minor antagonist in Batman & Robin (When Grayson was The Bat). One of his leader’s men later exterminated him.

  338. B. McKenzieon 22 Mar 2012 at 10:59 am

    The frog theme brings Marvel’s Toad to mind (human-looking guy with frog powers). If the character has a unique personality, voice and motivations, I don’t think the (possibly superficial) similarities to Toad will scare away prospective publishers.

    If I could use an example from my own writing, one of the main characters in The Taxman Must Die (Agent Orange) has some extremely noticeable similarities to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (he’s a crime-fighting mutant reptile), but his personality, voice, perspective and goals/motivations are so different that I think the similarities are superficial. For example, he doesn’t act anything like a TMNT character would in this scene and the character he works with most closely (his partner, the titular taxman) doesn’t have any TMNT analogue.

  339. Richard S.on 22 Mar 2012 at 11:05 am

    Hi Rex!

    For character weaknesses, you could play a lot with the social aspects of being part poison dart frog. For example:

    - Dendrobatid frogs are brightly coloured. Maybe your character is as well. This would make it hard for him to do normal daily routines, like going shopping
    - Animal instincts. For example, the desire to eat insects, the need to keep his skin moist (as with all amphibians), or the urge to mate (not only do frogs have mating seasons in which they croak non stop [maybe this is involuntary] but also they are dedicated parents. Plus they are aggressive to other males, thus leaning toward more social issues).
    - Whilst he may be more durable than normal people, is he immune to fatigue? If he has an increased output, will he need an increased input of food?
    - With enhanced senses, this could be used against him. Frogs rely mainly on sight to find prey, so they will be more sensitive to motion and bright colours than humans.

    Hope this helps!

  340. Angus L.on 01 Apr 2012 at 9:43 am

    Greetings,
    I’m writing a novel and I need comments, ideas as well as critics on the plot, characterization of MC, powers and abilities and weaknesses as well. Thank you all a great deal!

    Here’s the bio for the MC:

    Real Name: Oscar J. Willowby (He does not reveal his real name in the series.)
    Known Aliases: Oz (In the origins novelization), Teddy Brian.
    Age: 16 (but looks younger)
    Occupation: None.
    Citizenship: U.S.A.
    Place of Birth: New York
    Known Relatives: Diana Willowby (mother, deceased), Jack Willowby (father, deceased), Elizabeth Mae Willowby (sister, unknown), Lucy Browns (stepmother), Daniel Browns (stepfather), Patrick Adams (stepbrother).
    Education: Attended one year of Public Elementary School. Practices auto didacticism, aka. self-directed learning.

    Height: 5 ft. 7 in.
    Weight: 156 lbs.
    Eyes: Lavender-Amethyst.
    Hair: Black.

    Past: (Origins of Teddy, which I am working on as well)
    Eternally optimistic, innocent and radiant, Oscar was a 5-year-old boy whose world was thrown into chaos when his father was killed, and his mother stuck in a comatose state. Separated from his sister and mother after the accident, he was sent to an orphanage in Brooklyn, and was later adopted by the Browns along with another boy, Patrick. The hectic environment that they must live in forced him to take on certain adult responsibilities and watched in helpless silence as his stepbrother was physically abused. He then sacrifices himself and took on the role as the Brown’s “punching bag” as to relieve Patrick from abuse. Despite the extreme pain, Oz remained strong and preferred to suffer silently, knowing that if his complaint would only satisfy the Browns and cause Patrick more worries. His innocence and sacrifice reflects a maturity and control which is uncharacteristic at such a young age.

    He was also remarkably intelligent and possessed photographic memory which he kept hidden from the Browns, confiding his talents only to Patrick. Patrick accidentally revealed Oz’s secrets to the Lucy Browns, which prompted Oscar to run away. He returned for Patrick late at night, only to be caught by Daniel Browns who beat him up severely, nearly killing him. Patrick and him was then sold to a private science facility (NEED A NAME, HELP!), who took an immediate interest in Oz’s abilities. The science facility gave birth to a wide variety of dangerous mutants, which not only will become a threat to post-war humanity, but will also serve as the means by which the “Directors” of said facility sought to achieve their goals. Helpless, Oz was caged, experimented with drugs and tested. Yet he never forgo his duties as Patrick’s brother, striking a deal with one of the Director to protect his stepbrother. However, little did he know, Patrick was left at the tender mercies of the facility’s genetic scientists. The geneticists used Patrick as an experiment, splicing his DNA with that of a wolf in order to create a new breed of “werewolf”, which ultimately failed. Enraged and torn with grief, Oz activated his powers, destroyed the facility with a flare of “glowing magenta-pink energy” and escaped.

    Present:
    Naturally intelligent and with an eidetic memory, Oz makes a living taking tests for other people. He changed his maternal name and adopts a new identity, Teddy Brian. (Still working in plot.)

    Powers/Abilities:

    Teddy is a sentient being composed of pure Mana and likewise, is able to freely manipulate it to his every whim.

    Mana, in my case, is a blanket of energy that seeks material elements to inhabit, thinning and condensing in this invisible tempest Also known as Life Energy, Chakra, Chi or Quintessence, Mana itself is a form of energy which, in its raw form, does not have a specific physical representation. It remains on the ethereal plane, until it is being used to fuel an effect, and even then, unless it is pure Mana manipulation, the Mana generated is not seen.

    Teddy’s manipulation of Mana basically involves numerous ways and uses of pure pink-and-magenta-colored energy to erect force fields of tremendous strength for a variety of effects. The fields are able to repel solid objects, even those of great mass and momentum, and can repel all but the very strongest energy attacks.

    Since his power is an extension of his mind and Mana, Teddy is affected by inertial forces acting upon his projections. Thus, if a car travelling at 60 miles per hour hit a wall of his Mana that was 6 inches thick, unless he generated a bracing shape against a sufficiently sturdy object, he would be affected as though he were hit by the car directly. He can vary the texture and tensile strength of his field to some extent, rendering it highly rigid or as soft and yielding as foam; softer variations on the field enable him to cushion impacts more gently, and are less likely to result in a psionic backlash against Teddy himself (in rare cases, sufficiently powerful attacks on his Mana fields can cause him mental or physical pain). He is also able to make his shields opaque or translucent (magenta) as well as reflective (outside and inside of the field) like Milk glass to effectively block variations of light such as laser-beams, or make them semi permeable to filter oxygen from water though the latter is mentally taxing. He is capable of generating and manipulating multiple force fields simultaneously.

    Teddy can shape his Mana into constructs, usually magenta shapes such as barriers, columns, cones, cylinders, darts, discs, domes, platforms, rams, ramps, slides, spheres and globes. The complexity of the shape is limited by his ability to imagine (mentally visualize) a particular form and keep it in sharp mental focus: not even he is able to see the forms he creates. The size of a given Mana projection is also limited by his ability to imagine. The smallest Mana projection he can visualize (and maintain the visualization) is the size of a marble. The largest solid Mana projection he can visualize and maintain is about 100 feet in diameter. He can project larger Mana-objects if they are hollow. For instance, he could visualize and project a dome of 1 foot thick about a mile in diameter (5,280 feet) and a dome 1 inch in thickness he can project for about 3.3 miles. Small objects at high speeds become missiles; large objects at slow speeds become rams. He can make these objects grow or shrink as desired, up to a size of 100 feet (30 meters). However, the constructs made out of Mana are volatile; once he stops concentrating on the projectiles, it shatters and ceases to exist.

    By forming one of his force fields within an object and expanding the field, Teddy can cause his target to explode. He can manipulate the energy of his force fields around other objects to simulate telekinetic abilities. Also, beams or torrents of pink-magenta glowing energy that are generated from his hands enables him to ensnare or slice through objects with a slashing strike. In addition, stepping disc or platforms are generated to travel through air.

    Teddy is also able to heal others or even temporarily strengthen and intensify powers of a nearby living being by projecting essence of his Mana into others. However, this will greatly drain him of his powers and if it is ever depleted, would result in his imminent death. Projecting Mana is very taxing, often Teddy will collapse of exhaustion before this happens – as sort of biological fail-safe. With discipline and fortitude, he is able to push himself to his limits.

    Teddy is able to draw Mana from his surroundings, living beings as well as inanimate objects to power his abilities and replenish his Mana. However, he needs sufficient rest to recuperate and to convert the procured Mana into its purest form.

    Limitation:
    The size, number, and movements of these objects are limited only by his powers of concentration. Once he stops concentrating on an object, it ceases to exist.

    Also, the experiments conducted on him in his past damaged his circulatory system: Teddy now suffers from Haemophilia B, rendering him physically vulnerable. He is also physically untrained, rendering him useless in combat battles.
    Please comment on both the plot, characterization and powers as well as abilities.
    Comments and ideas (and critics) are accepted with gratitude!!
    Thanks in advance,

    Angus L.

  341. B. McKenzieon 01 Apr 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Hello, Angus. There’s a lot here that I feel I’ve already touched upon in my articles on characterization. For example…

    –When you’re submitting to a publisher, I would recommend against listing characters’ demographic traits–for example, the above list gives us 9 character names before we learn anything about the plot. I think that it would help to give publishers information in a more organic way (i.e. tell the story rather than list things, introduce characters gradually, etc).

    –I’d also recommend cutting extraneous details like his height/weight/eye color/hair color/birthplace unless these are relevant to the plot.

    –I feel like I’m missing some premise details here. E.g. the story goes from “the mother finds out Oscar is special” to “the mother selling Oscar to a private lab for research.” Depending on the premise and setting, this could make sense (e.g. if mutants were thought of as less than human in this world), but if the setting is supposed to be a completely normal Brooklyn, my suspension of disbelief would probably be completely blown. Also, he’s remarkably intelligent and has a photographic memory, but (unless I’m missing something) neither one of those is superhuman or particularly remarkable. It might be more believable if they get rid of him because he manifests a superpower that is more obviously supernatural and/or scary. In contrast, most people WANT their kids to be remarkably intelligent.

    –Granted, I’m not very experienced with young adult fiction, but these one-dimensionally evil foster parents strike me as a bit cliche and unappealing. I’d like to contrast them with Harry Potter’s Dursleys. The Dursleys are proud of their normalness and don’t take well to the magically-inclined Harry, especially when he does magical things and/or impedes on their normalness. I would characterize them as “trying far too hard to be normal” rather than one-dimensionally evil. In contrast, the description of the foster parents strains my suspension of disbelief because they don’t seem to do anything or have any goals besides being evil. In particular, this strains my suspension of disbelief because they apparently chose to be foster parents even though they virulently hate kids. In the Dursleys’ case, I think it sort of makes sense that they’d take in their nephew after his parents were murdered because, umm, what would the neighbors think if the Dursleys turned away their next-of-kin? Moving forward, I’d recommend coming up with some overarching trait for the Browns that explains their nastiness in a way besides just making them mindlessly evil. For example, the Dursleys are trying far too hard to be normal and care a lot more about their own son rather than their adopted nephew.

    –The science institute is also straining my disbelief for similar reasons. They’re one-dimensionally evil. Also, it’s a criminal operation, right? If so, how did the Browns (i.e. non-criminals) find them? Most criminal organizations make themselves hard to find.

    –By my count, you spent about 50 sentences (800 words) on his superpowers. I would estimate that it would take the average publisher’s assistant 5-10 minutes to have even the most basic idea what’s going on with his superpowers. The main problem is that PAs have to get through hundreds of unsolicited manuscripts per week and reject most of them within 2 minutes. I would HIGHLY recommend slashing those 50 sentences down to 1-2 sentences.

    –The characterization of Teddy strikes me as one-dimensionally pure. It would probably be more interesting if he had some flaws. (For more advice on how to use flaws to make characters more interesting, I’d recommend this article). Also, I’m a bit alarmed that his superpowers got 800 words of space but his personality got less than 20 (“Eternally optimistic, innocent and radiant… naturally intelligent” was all I was able to find at a glance). Besides that he’s extremely protective of his brother, I’m not sure whether he’d be able to do or say interesting things out of combat. He doesn’t seem well-developed beyond his superpowers.

    – What are some things Teddy would do that most other characters wouldn’t do in the same situation? These unusual decisions/actions tend to be more memorable and will help the character stand out in a sea of submissions. Please see this article on writing interesting, distinct characters for more details.

    Please let me know if you have any other questions.

    BM

  342. Angus L.on 02 Apr 2012 at 9:47 am

    Dear B. Mackenzie,

    Thanks alot on your comments and critics. I really do appreciate them.

    Yes, the plot does sound stereotypical. (I’m a Potter fanatic after all!)

    I did some changes based on (nearly) everything you suggested.

    Here goes:

    (Prequel: Origins of Teddy Brian)

    Real Name: Oscar J. Willowby (He does not reveal his real name in the series.)
    Known Aliases: Oz, Teddy Brian.
    Age: 5 years old

    Intro:

    - Oz is sweet and innocent; he is easily frightened.
    ————————————————————————————————————————-
    Excerpt from The Origins of Teddy Brian:

    “Brooklyn is our new home now,” Eli smiled at him. “She won’t be scary-looking. And she won’t be mean. If she were, she ever would have agreed to take us.”

    “But witches do that sometimes, Eli. Remember Hansel and Gretel? They trick you. Because they want to eat you. They all do that. I know; I read books too.”

    “So long as I’m there, no witch is going to be bothering you.” She gripped his arm, showing off her strength, and he finally relaxed and looked over at the other occupants of their sleeper compartment.
    ————————————————————————————————————————-
    And this:
    ————————————————————————————————————————-
    Oz looked at his own hand and saw there the transfers of rich soil from the handshake. He smiled because it was as though the two had just undertaken the blood brother ritual. A brother! Now that was something Oz could get excited about.
    ————————————————————————————————————————-

    - Oz is whip-smart, quirky and dorky as well.
    ————————————————————————————————————————-
    Excerpt from The Origins of Teddy Brian:

    “My dad is Jacob Willowby. He’s a very famous writer. You’ve probably heard of him.”

    The young man didn’t grunt or even wiggle a finger. The road ahead apparently held fascination for him that a dose of Willowby family history simply could not compete with.

    Getting into his sister’s spirited attempt at conversation, Oz said, “He’s dead, but our mom’s not.”

    This indelicate comment drew an immediate scowl from Eli, and just as quickly Oz looked out the window, ostensibly to admire the countryside.
    ————————————————————————————————————————-

    To sum it all up, Oz is sweet, charming, innocent, quirky, dorky, intelligent with insecurities and can be reckless and unruly at times. He is also sensitive, and extremely protective (of Patrick, a young boy who is affiliated to him).

    -The story progresses: Separated from his sister, Eli and comatose mother after an accident, Oz was sent to a development organization, Liberty Children’s Home, which aims to provide a place of transition where children can stay while waiting to be reunited with their families. The orphanage also houses many children who are not orphans, but have been sent there by their parents, who are unable to care for them. The owner of the orphanage manages the operation like a business, using the kids as bait to bring in donations from foreigners and international aid which she kept while selling children for adoption or as indentured servants. There, the orphans are subjected to serious physical and emotional abuse… A scientist sees potential in Oz….yada…yada…etc (Still working on it)

    ————————————————————————————————————————

    (1st Novelization)

    11 years later…. (Oz adopts a new name: Teddy Brian)

    Hounded by the past, Teddy is the unmotivated boy wonder. He’s that guy who has talent coming out of his ears, but can’t be bothered to do anything with it.

    In the pilot, Teddy becomes slightly indifferent and aloof: he is largely just interested in himself … in getting paid, and later in avoiding the cops and whatever punishment they’d mete out. However, later in the story, he regains his passion in helping others. He matures and learns when he makes mistakes.

    Yet he can also be immature, reckless and unruly at times. Those flaws, I hope, makes Teddy three-dimensional. They flesh him out. His journey is a realistic one, with detours and growing pains. We will see him as a complete individual, understanding who he had been, who he was, and who he can be.

    Teddy also retains his quirkiness, dorkiness, sweet and charming personality.

    Powers/abilities:
    Oz is a sentient being composed of Mana. He is able to manipulate Mana, aka Life Energy or Ki. He is able to erect force-fields, project blasts, create constructs, generate healing powers with Mana. Oz draws Mana from his surroundings, inanimate and living beings, to power up his abilities and replenish his Mana. Mana manipulation is extremely taxing, and depleting one’s Mana results in imminent death.

    Oz also possesses eidetic memory and encyclopedic knowledge though he has never attended school.

    I am actually planning to work on the 1st book before I do the prequel, but I was bombarded with ideas simultaneously…
    Please do comment and critic. Thank you in advance.

    Angus L.

  343. B. McKenzieon 02 Apr 2012 at 4:33 pm

    –This looks significantly better.

    –It’s hard to tell from the brief excerpts, but what I’ve seen suggests to me that the Hansel & Gretel usage may be a bit saccharine/cloying. That said, I like the incorporation of excerpts.

    –“Oz is sweet and innocent…” Really? In the excerpt, he’s the 5 year old that is so worried about his new foster parents that he brings up Hansel & Gretel nearly getting eaten by a cunning witch. He comes across as more paranoid than innocent—I think that paranoia would probably be more interesting, but if he is paranoid, it might help to explain what would cause a 5 year old to be supersuspicious rather than, say, a prototypical victim that goes with a creepy stranger into a seedy van because the stranger offered free candy. One possibility that comes to mind: he might have trust issues stemming from his father’s death and his mother’s disappearance/possible death (e.g. if your parents couldn’t save you, who could you count on? Probably just Eli, in his case). One way to transition that into a flaw would be to present him with situations where he fails to trust someone that actually means well and there are negative consequences. For example, that scene where the scientist offers to help him? Maybe Oz brushes him off (because he thinks it might be a trick).

    –“[Oz] is easily frightened…” Are there any points where his fear creates problems for him and/or causes him to do something different than most other protagonists would do in the same position?

    –“Oz is whip-smart, quirky and dorky as well.” Could you show these traits with plot details? For example, when he suggests that they might be walking into a Hansel-and-Gretel situation, is he just guessing, or is he making an observation based on something he has seen? (For example, maybe they have an initial meeting where they promise him food and a room, but didn’t ask what food he likes or what he’d like in his room. That might feel cold to a possibly-paranoid five year old). Or maybe they’re sort of creepy, like asking for a blood sample before asking for his name or introducing themselves. Or spending more time doing a medical checkup in their first visit than actually talking with him. If the kid is really sharp, he might notice that these doctors don’t act like the doctors he’s seen on TV* or the doctors that he’s been to before his parents were lost and leap to the conclusion that this operation is suspicious. You could work his other traits into this sort of scene—after he’s made this conclusion, what does he do? A reckless and unruly kid would probably act differently on this deduction than, say, a very mild-mannered child.
    *This is obviously not the most sensible source of evidence in the world (what you’ve seen on TV), but it might fit the point-of-view of a really young character. Kids sometimes have trouble distinguishing fiction from reality, especially fiction that isn’t obviously a fantasy.

    –Eli is his sister? I think Eli is a boy’s name. Speaking of names, I tripped up a few times on Oscar and Teddy being the same person. (If you go down that route, I’d be helluva careful about when you use one name rather than the other. It might help to explain why he’s using two names—for example, if you were writing about a character like Superman/Clark Kent, you’d probably mention that he’s trying to hide his given name to protect his family from Superman’s enemies). Also, I’d recommend giving Teddy a more common surname than Brian.

    –“ My dad is Jacob Willowby.” I think this sort of contradicts “(He does not reveal his real name in the series.)”

    –I like the new setup for the orphanage a lot better. A for-profit orphanage strikes me as a much more believable villain and I think that makes it feel more threatening.

    “His journey is a realistic one, with detours and growing pains. We will see him as a complete individual, understanding who he had been, who he was, and who he can be.” When you’re pitching to a publisher, I’d recommend avoiding sweeping claims like these and focusing instead on specific details about your story which will cause the reader to reach the conclusion you’re going for. For example, instead of telling us that his journey is realistic, maybe show us some things about it that are unusually realistic. (Case in point: I think the for-profit orphanage strikes me as a lot more realistic than the one-dimensionally evil foster parents selling the kid to science—the motivation is much easier to understand).

    “Teddy also retains his quirkiness…” You’ve mentioned his quirkiness twice, but it hasn’t actually come up yet. It may help to cut the mentions of quirkiness and instead showing us an example of something he does that’s a bit unusual.

    “Teddy also retains his… sweet and charming personality.” Hmm, I’m wondering how. His childhood was pretty traumatic (e.g. missing parents, abusive and/or neglectful orphanage, police trouble pretty early on, etc). How did his innate sweetness survive all that?

    “Oz is a sentient being composed of Mana…” Uhh, what? 1) Is there any origin here? (E.g. was he special from birth or did something happen? Did his parents know?) 2) This may be an idiosyncrasy, but my impression is that it’s probably somewhat harder to market a story which mixes elements of sci-fi (e.g. scientists) and fantasy (e.g. Mana). “Oz also possesses… encyclopedic knowledge though he has never attended school.” This sort of comes out nowhere.

  344. R.L. Junioron 05 Apr 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Does anyone know what its like to have awesome ideas and then get in front of the computer and feel like you have lost it all? Any advice?

  345. Marquison 06 Apr 2012 at 6:37 am

    R.L it happens, but I think its always best to be ready for critique it not always good but it definitely helps your writing skills. As far as forgetting its best to write down all ideas for novels. Or even ideas for story ideas. Also an important note, remember not to change anything last minute before posting, because most likely it’ll really mess up a good draft.

  346. Comicbookguy117on 12 Apr 2012 at 10:58 am

    Hey guys I’ve got a big question about my universes magic users. Now magic is usally represented as this myterious, ethreal force with universal accessibility to anyone who can manipulate it. Meaning that magic can have any number of visual styles and mages have access to all the same spells, charms and relics. That’s fine, it works.

    But I wanted to try something different. So I devised a system for magic in my universe that, I think, is unique enough for me to pursue. A mage in my universe is capable of manipulating magical energies to perform various feats. However all of these feats are of a certain classification and are manipulated with a certain type of magic. The feat is represented by a physical, colorful glyph on or near the mage and what is being manipulated. For example a spell used to manipulate a natural element such as fire, gravity and metal is designated with a red glyph. Manipulating biological matter is designated with a blue glyph and so on. So what do you guys think?

  347. Blue Xon 12 Apr 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Greetings everyone! I’ve been in a large mess for a while and have been searching the web for something to help me. I must say, I love this site. So I was wondering if you all could help me with my problems. I’ve been working on my series now for over a decade, starting when I was seven and it’s my pride and joy. However, like me, it has been growing and developing and now I have too many holes that need filling.

    Here’s the first hole…
    I have an organization of villains who serve under one (the main villain of my series). However, I’m having trouble coming up with names, characteristics, and powers for these villains. If anyone has any ideas, I would appreciate it.

    ~Blue X

  348. Comicbookguy117on 12 Apr 2012 at 7:46 pm

    I devised a system for magic in my universe that, I think, is unique enough for me to pursue. A mage in my universe is capable of manipulating magical energies to perform various feats. However all of these feats are of a certain classification and are manipulated with a certain type of magic. The feat is represented by a physical, colorful glyph on or near the mage and what is being manipulated. For example a spell used to manipulate a natural element such as fire, gravity and metal is designated with a red glyph. Manipulating biological matter is designated with a blue glyph and so on. So what do you guys think?

  349. B. McKenzieon 12 Apr 2012 at 9:05 pm

    CBG, the magical system in question doesn’t sound like a noticeable improvement over what I’m used to. It’s not clear to me how this would raise interesting storytelling possibilities beyond, say, a Harry Potter-style magic system. In contrast, I thought the magical systems in Bitter Seeds and The Amulet of Samarkand were pretty incredible. For example, Bitter Seeds had magic fueled by demonic negotiations with human-hating spirits which demanded various nefarious deeds in exchange for their assistance. Every negotiation gave way to an impressive scene and the nefarious demands exacerbated a conflict between the protagonists.

    When you’re pitching your book to publishers, I would only recommend going into the details of how the magic works if it will make the book more appealing and/or we wouldn’t understand the plot/characterization otherwise. So far, I’m not getting that vibe from the color-coded glyphs. One possibility that would be more plot-relevant is that the segregation of different magical powers among different groups of people is key to the plot (e.g. if necromancers gravely mistrust time mages, and everybody hates those freako healers*). If you’re putting time into developing the mechanic, make sure you’re actually getting something out of it.

    *Oh, God, please do something with healers besides making them the affable saps that everybody gets along with. I’m not sure where this comes from. In real life, doctors don’t get along with anybody. ;-)

  350. Blue Xon 13 Apr 2012 at 7:56 am

    I was wondering if someone could critique me on something. I was thinking about starting off with eight characters, three villains (which one defects to the main character’s side), and multiple supporting characters. I understand this is a little much, so I was wondering is their a way I can do it without overwhelming the reader? The character’s are pretty unique as far as their personalities.

    ~Blue X

  351. Comicbookguy117on 13 Apr 2012 at 8:58 am

    “CBG, the magical system in question doesn’t sound like a noticeable improvement over what I’m used to. It’s not clear to me how this would raise interesting storytelling possibilities beyond, say, a Harry Potter-style magic system.”

    Well see the problem is that I’m trying to develope a system of magic for a comic book, not a fantasy novel. A novel benefits from a more verbal style, while a comic book needs a visual style in order to be interesting. Plus, I really like the idea and am gonna try my best to make it work in my universe and be interesting for my potential readers.

  352. Blue Xon 13 Apr 2012 at 9:24 am

    CBG, if you’re going to do something like that, then why do they have to use magic? It seems to me like you’re just going to use elemental powers. Are you going to use anything like levetating or summoning?

    ~ Blue X

  353. B. Macon 13 Apr 2012 at 10:49 am

    “A novel benefits from a more verbal style, while a comic book needs a visual style in order to be interesting.” Okay, fair. However, I think an artist could make negotiations between a wizard and demonic/human-hating spirits visually interesting. (And the contributions to character development and conflict are useful whether the project is a novel or comic book).

    What would the advantage be of having glyphs versus, say, showing a beam come out of a wizard’s wand?

  354. Comicbookguy117on 13 Apr 2012 at 4:10 pm

    First off, Blue X, I did want to display truly magical feats such as summoning, necromancy and dimensional travel. It’s just that the examples I gave were common known and were used simply to explain what I’m trying for. But yeah, magic will be allowed to be amgic while still being represented with colored gylphs.

    “What would the advantage be of having glyphs versus, say, showing a beam come out of a wizard’s wand?” I have seen that a million times! Just because my characters are manipulating magic doesn’t mean they have to have the image and skill set of a stereotypical wizard from an RPG. Even magic users in other comicbooks, like Thor, have this sort of aura where you can tell he is magical. I’m not saying that I want to go in the complete opposite direction, but what I am saying is that I’m trying to display magic in a new way. Maybe it doesn’t have to always be this etheral force that only a few individuals have knowledge of. Maybe the world could not only know it’s there, but are capable of using that knowledge. Just something cool and new, you know?

  355. B. McKenzieon 13 Apr 2012 at 5:02 pm

    “…I’m trying to display magic in a new way.” Okay. Then be ready to explain the benefits of that new approach to a prospective publisher*. If nothing comes to mind there, then don’t cover it in depth when you’re making your proposal.

    *For example, is it somehow relevant to plotting or characterization? Will it set up really interesting scenes?

    I notice that you alluded to magic being something that pretty much everybody can do (“Maybe it doesn’t have to always be this ethereal force that only a few individuals have knowledge of”). That sounds vastly more relevant to the story and potentially interesting than the details of the color-coded glyphs they use.

    PS: Have you read Alan Moore’s Top 10? It’s set in a city where everybody has superpowers, so you might be interested.

  356. B. McKenzieon 13 Apr 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Blue X: “I was thinking about starting off with eight characters, three villains (one of which defects to the main character’s side), and multiple supporting characters. I understand this is a little much, so I was wondering is their a way I can do it without overwhelming the reader? The character’s are pretty unique as far as their personalities.”

    First, I’d like to clarify. You have five protagonists and three villains (including one villain who becomes a sixth protagonist), right? I’d need to look at the characters more closely, but I suspect you could probably eliminate 1-2 characters by merging them with overlapping characters and maybe demote another to a supporting role. My rule of thumb for first-time authors* would be at most 4 major protagonists unless you are unusually adept at managing large casts and you have a really good reason(s) that all of the characters are necessary.

    Another possibility would be simplifying the villain situation. For example, instead of having 3 villains (including the defector), maybe you could do 2 major villains (including the defector) and demote the third to a supporting character (a la the Admiral Tarkin supporting main villain Emperor Palpatine and eventual defector Darth Vader).

    *I think publishers will give experienced authors more latitude on this front because an experienced author has a better idea of what he/she can successfully pull off.

  357. Blue Xon 13 Apr 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Thank you for the advice B. Mac! I would like to confirm, and apologize for not stating it clearly, that it is eight main characters and three villains. (Much worse than you expected right? This is why I need help!) As far as the “non experienced writer” thing is concerned, I have a plan for that.

    This isn’t going to be the first book I send to the publishers. I have multiple other stories (not related to this story) that I plan to send in first. (I have those stories all wrapped up, I just need to type them up.) The reason I have this problem with this story is that I planned on it being a series and I’ve been working on it for over a decade. That’s why I have that many characters in the beginning, to lay the foundation. I suppose I could simplify it a little bit, I’m just reluctant too.

    Here are some of the protagonists:
    Jason (Main Character)
    Age: 12 (It plays a big part in the series)
    Personality: A very determined person who always seeks to do what he considers is the right thing. He works incredibly hard to train his power. His dream is to become just like his father, who he considers to be a hero, however his dream changes drastically once his father dies to save him.
    Power: Water

    Ann (Plot Driver)
    Age: Looks 12 (Actually much older)
    Personality: Around her friends, she’s happy. Around anyone else, she could be compared to the secret service, monotone, grim, unemotional, unreadable. She holds so many secrets in her life, secrets that are very significant to the plot. She doesn’t try to hide the fact that she has secrets; she just doesn’t tell what those secrets are.

    Power: Unknown to the reader until the end

    Ty (Technician)
    Age: 12 (Again, significant to the story)
    Personality: The happy go lucky guy who everyone laughs at. He’s the guy who brings down the tension. He also has a immense background in technology.
    Power: Wind (Which he’s upset about!)

    The Love Interest
    Age: 12 (…)
    Personality: Gets clingy to anything she likes, including the main character who, since he’s not ready for that kind of thing being a 12 year old boy, resists. Also very protective of her younger sister and can get easily influenced by people.
    Power: summoning

    So what do you think? Please keep in mind that I have four more.
    I appreciate the help.
    ~ Blue X

  358. B. McKenzieon 14 Apr 2012 at 1:07 am

    Blue X: “I would like to confirm… that it is eight main characters and three villains. Much worse than you expected, right?” Harder, but not necessarily worse. I’d recommend reading the Wild Cards series—the first installment is probably the finest superhero novel/anthology I’ve read even though it has an absurdly large cast. However, most authors and editors aren’t as good as George R. R. Martin, particularly when it comes to huge casts…

    Okay, some thoughts on the characters here:
    –Jason comes across as bland and sort of forgettable. “Very determined” and “always seeks to do what he considers is the right thing”* apply to pretty much every protagonist ever written. To make the character more memorable, I’d recommend giving him traits that will cause him to do/say things that most other protagonists wouldn’t do in the same situation. Please see this article for more details. What sort of unusual choices might he make?
    *”always seeks to do what he considers is the right thing” is tautological and doesn’t tell us much about the character. Everyone — even Hitler and serial killers — think they generally do the right thing. It’d probably be more distinct/interesting to talk about what he thinks the right thing is. Also… I would recommend checking the article on generically nice characters because it sounds like he could use some rougher edges (e.g. does he do anything disagreeable at all?)

    –If you’re thinking about a series, one possibility is removing some characters from this book (or perhaps demoting them to a really minor role) and introducing them in another book, when you have more space to work with.

    –If the only purpose of Ann is that she has secrets, I think she could be merged with pretty much any other character. What else does she have going on? (Also… it’s hard to tell from the description here, but I suspect that she’d come across as overly cryptic to me in the book itself. Make sure you’re giving readers enough information to speculate or it’ll be a helluva lot more annoying or confusing than intriguing). For the secrets to be interesting, I think the SURFACE needs to be interesting, and it sounds like her surface (e.g. what we know or can observe relatively quickly) has fairly little going on. Also, I would definitely recommend tantalizing hints at what lies beneath the surface. (I think Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books are rather excellent at building up a mystery with a few bizarre scraps of evidence–we see enough to wonder about what we aren’t seeing).

    –I suspect that Tyler’s skillset (which looks to be his main role in the story) could be passed off to anybody—the love interest, perhaps? I really like that he’s upset about wind.

    –I’m getting the vibe that your heart isn’t really in the romance. If so, I’d recommend staying away from the romance angle. (Nobody will fault you for that, especially since the characters are 12).

    –It sounds like these characters have, for the most part, personalities that can be summarized in 1-2 words. E.g. the love interest is clingy/protective. Jason is generically heroic. I’d recommend more three-dimensional combinations of traits. For example, Tony Stark (Iron Man) isn’t a stereotypical scientist… although he’s brilliant, he’s preposterously confident and charismatic. His main flaw is a total lack of self-control, which is definitely not the first thing that comes to mind for a scientist character. I’d recommend mixing in more things about each character that we wouldn’t expect for their archetypes. For example, the laidback wind guy hating his wind power is a good start.

    –Because these characters strike me as more one-dimensional than not, I think that merging some would probably help create more unusual combinations. For example, what if a very laidback and easy-going character has some major-league dark secrets lurking?

  359. Blue Xon 14 Apr 2012 at 6:57 am

    Thanks for responding B. Mac! I understand what you’re saying about one dimensional characters. They do have more traits, I was just in a hurry that to show them to you that I didn’t write them all down. Let me try them again with the two most important characters, plus one more. And Angus L., I will also list their flaws.

    By the way Angus L., they come from a race that already has powers. But because of a war going on, they were transported somewhere that they could live safely without standing out… the closest thing was Earth. Since they grew up in Earth, they didn’t expect to have powers. Some realized them earlier, some realized them later. (Is this enough information, or should I say more?)

    Jason (Main Character)
    Personality: Let me summarize this better. He follows the code his dad left him; he never kills, he always does his best to safe someone in need, etc. Here’s what makes him unique.
    #1. He doesn’t lie, ever! How is this interesting. (Ex. A character cooks some food and it’s terrible. All the other characters say, (Wow, that was good!). Jason says, (That was awful! Did you follow the recipe???) Or when he met the powerful and cruel leader of his race, Jason says, (You’re a terrible leader, how can we replace you?) Which gets the army to aim their weapons at the young hero!
    #2 He’s able to convert people over to his side. This isn’t a power, it’s just who he is.
    Flaws: Jason is extremely gullible and trusting because of his good natured core. Not to mention if someone mentions his family in a bad way, he’ll go berserk and unleash his power without consideration to those around him.

    Ann (Is much more different than the other characters)
    Info: First, she isn’t even from the same race as the others. She’s a powerful member of a more powerful race of beings. How powerful? She was supposed to be the leader, but her parents, simply because she looked different, chose someone else to succeed them and threw her out on the streets. That’s when she’s near death and the main character saves her.
    Personality: Ann has experienced much in her life. As a result, she has become a key player in this battle for the universes (yes, there’s more than one) that the heroes get thrown in. As a result, she wants her friends to be key players as well. She’s been betrayed often, but trusts the main character completely. As a result, she’s herself around him. Kind, caring, compassionate, but still secretive. Around anyone else, she’s cruel, suspicious, unforgiving, monotone, etc.
    Flaws: Ann has lived a long time. She’s nearly as old as the universe! (So are other main characters, the just experienced a massive time skip in the story!) As a result Ann doesn’t make many mistakes. However, she is a bit of an extremist when it comes to protecting her friends. Ex. She’ll wipe out an entire planet if they just looked at Jason the wrong way.
    PS. She took a page from the main character’s book and doesn’t lie too! I wanted the readers to have a mystery. So every word she says is 100% true. Since I know how I’m going to end it, I made her say hints about her secrets as early as the first chapter of the first book! Plus, she’s a bit crueler when it comes to the truth. (Ex. She meets someone. Says, “Don’t worry, I’ll treat you like family.) However, based off of what we know about her, she hates her family .

    Wasp (Love Interest, not her real name, just the one she goes by)
    I’m stating this because I do take a huge interest in the love aspect. Here’s what I got.
    Personality: At first, she’s a girl who is obsessed with Jason. Once she joins his team, however, she gets to know him better and gets even more attracted to him… until they fight one enemy and Wasp gets knocked out.

    Here a metamorphosis happens. Wasp realizes that she and the rest of the team had been alive for a long time, just unconscious, and she regains access to her lost memories and learns most of the secrets that Ann holds. She finds out that her cousin Kenya, has wiped out her branch of her people, except her and her sister. (There were different branches of their super race.) She was saved by Jason, which explains why she liked him so much. This part about her stays the same, but the rest of her changes. She becomes a girl bent on revenge for her people. She thought summoning was a weak power, but someone from her past (the main villain) offers to help her if she would join their side. Once Wasp leaves, (she’s about 13) Jason starts to like her and it becomes a struggle to save the girl he likes from being consumed with power. Wasp even goes so far as to attack her little sister, nearly killing her, to get her to be stronger. At the age of 16, Wasp becomes a key player in the universal battle.
    Flaws: Um… is it obvious??? 

    That it for now, what do you guys think, does that help?
    I look forward to hearing you!
    ~Blue X

  360. Comicbookguy117on 17 Apr 2012 at 11:49 am

    Hey guys. I’m trying to create a ‘tank’ character and have a few questions. Does a tank character HAVE to have a similar body-type to the Hulk? If so, can a female be a true tank? If not, what are the required concepts for a character to be a tank? I will be thinking on this myself and may come up with an answer on my own. However, your opinions do matter to me and will be greatly appreciated. Thank guys.

  361. YoungAuthoron 17 Apr 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Not necessarily. by tank i’m assuming you mean aggressive and super-strong. thier body type doesn’t really matter but they are usaully aggressive, stubborn, and probably pig-headed

  362. B. Macon 17 Apr 2012 at 2:12 pm

    There are some female tanks (e.g. Wonder Woman, She-Hulk, Power Girl)… I think the only requirements are that the characters depend more on their strength and/or resilience than most other characters do. If the character’s first move in a battle with a new foe is usually throwing a large object or attempting a bum-rush, the character is probably a tank.

    Characters that rely on strength and/or resilience tend to be stubborn and not terribly bright, but not always (e.g. Beast, Superman, Henry Kissinger, She-Hulk).

  363. B. McKenzieon 19 Apr 2012 at 8:35 pm

    “What would you say is the limit for major characters in the first novel? (Not including the main character.)” I think it depends totally on how many characters you’re able to handle–some authors (GRR Martin and JRR Tolkien) work quite well with huge casts. If I had to put out a number out there without knowing anything about a first-time author’s ability to handle a big cast, my instinct is that anything more than a total of six main and major characters would make me a bit skeptical of the depth of the characterization. I’d want to see right away that 1) the author actually does have interesting, three-dimensional characters (especially the main characters) and that 2) there actually is some discernible reason to have as many characters as there are.

    For example, if this is a horror series where most of the major characters get offed, it will be clear why the author has included so many characters and also why it might not be a problem (if characters get killed off or otherwise removed quickly, they won’t take much space later on).



    Also, one other vaguely related note. Many first-time authors working with large casts write queries that are lists of character descriptions. Please don’t do that! It is pretty much never the smoothest or most interesting way to walk us through a plot and show us how the characters fit into the plot–I’d strongly recommend coming up with a more coherent paragraph-based approach incorporating new characters only as they are necessary to understand the plot.

    (If it seems impossible to come up with a coherent way to write a 1-2 page description of a story in sequence rather than leaping from one character to the next, the story probably isn’t coherent enough to begin with. To any authors in this situation: make sure you’re introducing characters in the story to advance the central plot, whatever that is. If any characters aren’t contributing to the central plot, I’d strongly recommend rewriting or removing them).

  364. Blue Xon 20 Apr 2012 at 9:23 am

    That makes sense, thank you B. Mac! I think I may be able to pull it off because even though I have not had anything published, I’ve been working on this for over a decade. That’s why I have eight characters to which the plot center around. Even if they didn’t have distinct personalities (They Do!), I would need them for the plot elements I have in the future.
    My first, (and hopefully not my last) book will be about how the team came to know each other. It’s built as a stand alone, but I plan it to be a large series. The characters each have different roles to play in the team once they assemble.

    Jason- Leader (Main Character)
    Jessica- Medic
    Tyler- Technician
    Derek- Scout
    Kevin- Strategist
    Tracy- Sniper
    Ann- Sensei (Main Character)
    Wasp- Base Defender

    They each have different personalities (I can put them if needed…) but are these too many characters or do you think it can work?

    ~Blue X

  365. B. McKenzieon 20 Apr 2012 at 11:04 am

    “I would need them for the plot elements I have in the future.” Then I would recommend introducing them at the time you actually need them, or perhaps briefly mentioning that this team has other members, but for whatever reason they aren’t present now (e.g. maybe we’re looking at just one of two squads and the other squad in on its own mission for most of this book).

    It’s a bit hard to tell from these one-word descriptions of the roles of the characters, but it sounds like you can merge and/or eliminate 2-3 characters fairly easily. Ideally 3.
    –If Wasp’s main role is defending the base, you could probably have Tyler come up with some mechanical system to do that and cut her. Is there an advantage to having a character for base defense?
    –I don’t know what the difference between “Leader” and “Sensei” is (e.g. Leonardo and Splinter of the TMNT?), but you could probably merge the “Strategist” into either. If the Sensei is a main character, I’d probably give it to her because it sounds like she will get fewer opportunities to lead in the field.
    –You could merge “Medic” with “Technician.” Is there an advantage to giving these capabilities to two separate characters?
    –This wouldn’t be my first choice, but you might be able to merge “Scout” with “Sniper” since snipers can perform a recon role.
    –This would not be my first choice, because I think both of these roles should be merged elsewhere, but you could merge base defender and strategist because it’s likely that both of them serve mainly a logistical role rather than coming along on most of the missions.

    PS: Listing them and their roles, rather than going with a plot-centric approach, suggests to me that the cast size is unwieldy. Do you really have this many characters because it is necessary to build THIS book or because they’re necessary for OTHER books? If it’s for other books, I’d recommend bringing them out only at the point they are necessary (likely in other books).

  366. Blue Xon 22 Apr 2012 at 5:03 pm

    I though about what you said B. Mac, and here’s my answer…
    They’re not all main or major characters in this book. The ones who are really involved are Jason, Ann, and Tracy since the enemy wants her (long story… literally!). The others do play a major part, but not in this book. They are probably present 15% of the time (which by your standards and mine, would not make them a major character). However, they all still have a impact on the story, which makes them difficult to take out. (Not just this one, but the ones following them too.)
    Ex.
    Tyler- Contains numerous files the team needs.
    Derek- The whole reason Tyler, Kevin, and himself ever make contact with the main protagonists.
    Kevin- A rival for Jason
    Tracy- The enemy’s target
    Jessica- Little sister of Jason, Does a lot of small things that aid the team, plus, she’s the only family member Jason has, so he’s protective of her.
    Wasp- Love Interest, and, drives the plot. Wasp plays a major part of the story soon after this, so I thought it would be good to mention her.
    I’ll also list a post about their personality traits.

    ~Blue X

  367. Blue Xon 22 Apr 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Here are their personality traits.

    Jason- A determined individual whose lost everyone in his family except his father and his step-sister. As a result, since his father isn’t around a lot because of his profession, (Comparable to being in charge of Area 51) Jason is very protective of his sister. He’s also very reckless when it comes to accepting near impossible challenges, and does so with a smile.
    Catch: What makes Jason unique is that he never lies. That creates some interesting scenes when he’s hiding secrets and tells you what he’s thinking all the time. (Ex. Others will say someone’s cooking is good and its not… Jason will tell you the truth!) The other thing that makes Jason unique is that he has an incredible imagination, allowing him become an interesting fighter to watch. You don’t know what he’ll do next!

    Tyler- A carefree individual who’s upset about his power, air. (Since he loved technology, he was hoping to get something tech based. Imagine his surprise when he discovered he had wind!) Tyler is the character you look to for comic relief. He’s always cracking jokes and, despite his careless attitude, incredibly smart.
    Flaw: Sometimes, Tyler will get too carried away and end up annoying or insulting someone.

    Derek- A kid who lives for speed. He likes life in the fast lane and trains endlessly to become the fastest who ever lived. He loves his power of light (something that really annoys Tyler) since it will, with training, allow him to travel at the speed of light. He also loves playing pranks on people, especially Tracy, his sister.

    Kevin- The quiet, calm, and sensible member of the boys. Kevin is a master at strategy. He’s able to plan multiple steps ahead of his opponent. (Not even Tyler was able to beat him in chess!). For the most time, he’s in the background until the characters need some help, then they turn to Kevin. He’s also able to handle most problems with ease, and is the best gravity user in the story.
    Flaw: Kevin often gets flustered when having to talk to new people.

    Tracy- Being isolated from others for 12 years of her life, Tracy is the most easy to influence. This happens multiple times where she’s tricked into doing something that can harm herself and others, (Mainly the other members of her team) and they’ll have to convince her otherwise. Since she’s tricked a lot, she also has trust issues with others, particularly Ann, who at first she considered a friend, but later on became to despise her greatly, because Ann refused to tell her secrets. Her power is force.

    Jessica- She’s the youngest of the group. Being a fire user, she’s quick to anger. Although, she brings a lot to the team. She’s skilled in healing techniques (Which is good since she’s the one hurting people… or is that bad?) She also is one of two of a deceased race, the other being her older sister Wasp (Who she adores).

    Wasp- At first, Wasp is introduced as the love interest, obsessed with Jason (He doesn’t feel the same way, being only 12; She is too, but girls mature faster than boys) However, later on Wasp, whose power is summoning, feels like she has the weakest power and thinks she is useless. (She didn’t know how to control it) However, she accidentally stumbles onto one of Ann’s secrets and it changes her drastically. (I won’t say what it is!) The next time the team sees her, she’s attacking Jessica, and leaving the team to go to the other side, and it’s here that Jason starts to like her.

    Ann- The main female protagonist, much of Ann remains a mystery, with her keeping secrets until the last chapter of the last book. (She has a lot!)
    Info: First, she isn’t even from the same race as the others. She’s a powerful member of a more powerful race of beings. How powerful? She was supposed to be the leader, but her parents, simply because she looked different, chose someone else to succeed them and threw her out on the streets. That’s when she’s near death and the main character saves her.
    Personality: Ann has experienced much in her life. As a result, she has become a key player in this battle for the universes (yes, there’s more than one) that the heroes get thrown in. As a result, she wants her friends to be key players as well. She’s been betrayed often, but trusts the main character completely. As a result, she’s herself around him. Kind, caring, compassionate, but still secretive. Around anyone else, she’s cruel, suspicious, unforgiving, monotone, etc.
    Flaws: Ann has lived a long time. She’s nearly as old as the universe! (So are other main characters, the just experienced a massive time skip in the story!) As a result Ann doesn’t make many mistakes. However, she is a bit of an extremist when it comes to protecting her friends. Ex. She’ll wipe out an entire planet if they just looked at Jason the wrong way.
    PS. She took a page from the main character’s book and doesn’t lie too! I wanted the readers to have a mystery. So every word she says is 100% true. Since I know how I’m going to end it, I made her say hints about her secrets as early as the first chapter of the first book! Plus, she’s a bit crueler when it comes to the truth. (Ex. She meets someone. Says, “Don’t worry, I’ll treat you like family.) However, based off of what we know about her, she hates her family!

    Hope to here from you!
    ~Blue X

  368. B. McKenzieon 22 Apr 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Blue X, if you were inclined to, I think you could give most of those roles to other characters.

    For example, readers would probably care more about the enemy’s target if the character is a major character. Would it be possible to get rid of Tracy and have the enemy focus on a more significant character?

    We’d probably care more about a rivalry between Jason and a major character than we would with a minor character. Is there any reason that Jason’s rival needs to be Kevin rather than any of the other characters?

    “Derek–the whole reason Tyler, Kevin and himself ever make contact with the main protagonists.” If that’s the main thing he does, can you get rid of him after they’ve made contact with the main protagonists? What’s the advantage of keeping him? Alternately, can you make it so that Tyler and Kevin have the ability to make contact on their own, so that Derek can be removed beforehand?

    –”Tyler- Contains numerous files the team needs.” Could these be given to some other character?

    –”Jessica- Little sister of Jason, Does a lot of small things that aid the team, plus, she’s the only family member Jason has, so he’s protective of her.” This sounds the most promising so far. However, given the cast size, it might be worth double-checking whether you actually have the space to do anything with Jason’s family. Alternately, it might be worth giving her somebody else’s role and then eliminating that person… for example, maybe she becomes the medic and/or the technician.

    –I’ll look at the most recent comment soon.

  369. Kenry Skyleron 27 Apr 2012 at 11:27 am

    Hello and thank you for the suggestions. I’ve been trying to think of a “super-reflexes” character, but I don’t want him to come off as a cheesy Robin-ripoff, so I’m trying to make his powers more supernatural. What I have so far is a guy who can slow down time substantially. Now he’s not a time manipulator, because he slows down along with everyone, (and everything), else. The only thing that doesn’t slow down are the synapses from his eyes and ears to his brain. So I guess another way of looking at it would be to say he dramatically increases the speed of those electrical synapses. While he can’t make drastic changes if he’s slowed down as well, it does give him extra time to think about the situation at hand. For example, if a guy pulls a gun out of his jacket and shoots you, you have fairly little time to react. However, this character can slow down time to perceive such an event, giving him more time to get over the initial shock, and consequentially more time to react to the gun being fired. What do you think of this ability?

    ~Kenry Skyler

  370. B. McKenzieon 28 Apr 2012 at 2:32 am

    “I’ve been trying to think of a “super-reflexes” character, but I don’t want him to come off as a cheesy Robin-ripoff…” I think readers will generally cut authors a lot of slack on similar superpowers if the personalities/main traits are different enough. For example, Wolverine and Deadpool share some similarities (they’re melee combatants with enhanced agility and regeneration/longevity), but their voices and personalities are so different that I don’t think there’s much meaningful overlap between the characters.

    “so I’m trying to make his powers more supernatural. What I have so far is a guy who can slow down time substantially. Now he’s not a time manipulator, because he slows down along with everyone, (and everything), else. The only thing that doesn’t slow down are the synapses from his eyes and ears to his brain. So I guess another way of looking at it would be to say he dramatically increases the speed of those electrical synapses.” If you wanted to create a contrast between Robin’s capabilities and his, the origin story could help make it feel more supernatural (e.g. maybe his powers come from outlandish science rather than Robin’s incredible training).



    PS: When you’re pitching to publishers, I’d recommend covering his superpowers in just 1-2 sentences (e.g. “After [origin summary], he develops incredible reflexes” is fine). That will help you save space to cover the details that will make or break the project (mainly character development and plotting.

  371. MisterEon 29 Apr 2012 at 12:51 am

    Hi,

    In the story I’m focusing on a the moment my main protagonist has the ability to absorb most forms of energy, e.g., kinetic, solar, electrical, etc, and convert it into enhanced physical powers, e.g., super-strength, super-endurance, etc, energy projections via his eyes, hands, and/or mouth, or form small force fields, as well as giving him flight. He can’t absorb magical energies, and is vulnerable to mental powers. Most of his energy comes from passively absorbing solar radiation. Kinetic energy is easy to absorb, but difficult for him to convert, and most other forms of energy are difficult to absorb, but easy to convert. Even though he can absorb these energies, he can still be harmed and/or overpowered by them.

    Anyways, his arch-nemesis will be the leader of the cities criminal underground, and I need a good ability for him that will enable him to have the advantage over my protagonist. I wanted him to have to wear a bulky metal mask over his entire head as a way to contain his powers; which led me to originally consider either generating poisonous vapors or being composed of complete energy capable of overwhelming even the protagonist. However, I dismissed the energy one as being both obvious/convenient and potentially too easy for the hero to overcome. I haven’t given up o poisonous vapors completely, but I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’m looking for viable options.

    Any thoughts?

  372. Kenry Skyleron 29 Apr 2012 at 11:53 am

    If he can absorb kinetic energy, doesn’t that mean he’s virtually unstoppable around any/all moving objects? I think you need to limit the forms of energy he can absorb, say, just solar energy? With that in mind, maybe the arch-nemesis can have some form of darkness-related ability? Not sure about the bulky metal mask thing though.

  373. Okovangoon 01 May 2012 at 7:04 am

    Hey, I’ve thought of an idea for a superhero book and would just like some thoughts on it. So pretty much there is a hidden “world” or “civilization” of genetically enhanced humans, living hidden within our society(generic I know but it works). The MC is a teenage boy who discovers that he has superpowers, and begins to learn more about them. He meets another kid who has powers, they go off to find kids like them, and find a secret organization trying to strip people of their powers. Yada yada blah blah and it comes down to this, I was thinking that all powers are generated through these “super super-humans” essentially, so people who have really strong powers that are very varied. These would also represent the seven different colors of light(red,orange,yellow,green, blue, indigo, violet) so there would be seven of them, and when one dies the ultimate power gets placed upon someone else. The evil organization is trying to get all seven of them together, so that they can form a “white light” someone with pretty much all power, because that will also create someone with Black light, or absence of light, who the organization can use to strip everyone’s powers with. That is the basic concept, any thoughts? Also I need help/thoughts on the sevens powers, I want them to be big. Here’s what I have so far:
    Red: Ability to “summon” and object from thin air in. Also able to teleport. (She pretty much bends space to her will)
    Orange: MC here, he can control all of heat, melt things/freeze things, control lightning and fire, but was wondering if he could either fly or make things float and have it to be something with the fact that hot air rises.
    Yellow: Not so sure, I’m thinking it will be someone with increased psychical properties and senses (inhuman speed,strength, sight, smell, hearing)
    Green: Controls the four basic elements
    Blue: Invisibility, able to change voice and appearance for ultimate disguise and can sense other peoples powers.
    Indigo: The ability to control gravity
    Violet:not really sure about this one, quick idea was shape shifting and talking to animals
    Also I was trying to think up names that represented those colors in some ways, such as Ruby for red or Violet for Violet. Thanks so much!

  374. Kenry Skyleron 01 May 2012 at 8:36 am

    I really would rethink the whole “all 7 colors” thing, because I haven’t seen it done that well. Don’t get me wrong though, it can be pretty awesome if done carefully, but it usually comes of as cheesy to me. Even considering the color route, I don’t think you should do all seven colors. Red has the summoning thing and the teleporting thing, orange has heat, lightning, fire, and flight, and already right here I think there’s too many powers. I would recommend stick to 3, maybe 4, colors. Probably White, Black, Red, and Blue. Cliche, I know, but it works. Plus it’s usually easier to work with because a lot of readers are accustomed to the whole blue-means-water, red-means-fire, etc. To make things more interesting you could tweak these a bit, change the character’s personality,(please no more hot-headed fire guys), and give them interesting weaknesses.

  375. B. McKenzieon 01 May 2012 at 12:46 pm

    I agree with Kenny’s take on the color system. Color-coding characters might help in a TV show or perhaps a comic (e.g. Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) to make it easier for readers/viewers to tell which character is which at a glance. In a novel, I suspect it would make the characters feel more one-dimensional, especially if they are named after their color.



    I think 7 main protagonists would be a lot to work with. Unless you’ve published a novel before, I’d encourage you to stick with 3-4 main protagonists because that’ll give you more space for characterization.



    When you’re pitching a superhero novel, I would generally recommend spending 1-2 sentences total on the superpowers. Maybe 3 sentences here because the superpowers play a major role driving the formation of the team and the villain’s plot. When you’re pitching your story, almost all of those 133 words spent on superpowers could probably do more for your story developing characters (e.g. personality, key traits and/or motivations) or the plot.

  376. Kenry Skyleron 01 May 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Well, while I’m here, I might as well throw in my main character’s bio.

    Name: Kenry Skyler
    Alias: Haze
    Age: 15
    Location: Toronto, Canada
    Power(s): Control over shadows, genius-level intelligence, and graphical user interface connection to his brain for better data and memory handling.
    Weakness(es): His abilities can be stopped by a significant amount of fire, electricity, or light, or if he can’t maintain his concentration.
    Race: Naturally evolved human.
    Occupation: Anti-Hero Vigilante, sometimes supervillain.
    Personality: Paranoid, obsessively-compulsive, wild/aggressive, and authority problems.
    Background: Kenry was orphaned by his parents as a baby, who are unknown, at was adopted into the Greay household. From an early age Kenry displayed remarkable skills in logical and analytic thinking, testing at an IQ of 140 at age 13. He lives with a form of “orphan complex”, constantly cleaning, cooking, etc. He feels as though his life was planned out for him; that he has no choice but to succeed. Due to his high paranoia, he keeps an underground room in his backyard loaded with information on supposedly “supernatural” beings,(vampires, pyromancers, etc.).
    Origin Story: The United Supernatural Federation,(USF), since their inception 2 years prior to the start of the story have been facilitating most of the “supernatural” beings across the world. They carefully pick the smartest and strongest of the supernatural beings to induct into their organization. A group of supernatural rebels formerly from the Canadian Branch of the USF take an interest in Kenry Skyler and enlist him in their quest to bring down the USF. But when Kenry discovers his incredible abilities, he has other plans in mind.
    Family: Mr.Greay,(adoptive father), Mrs.Greay,(adoptive mother), and Cathy Greay(adoptive sister).
    Relationships: Cathy Greay
    Comments: I decided to make the USF a worldwide organization so that Kenry could travel to different parts of the world.(Plus, like you said, a supervillain would be pretty dumb to fight in the same state as a bunch of superheroes). Kenry’s power really works by transmitting a sort of sonic wave that specifically interacts with shadows, which lets him not only control shadows, but also lets him see in the dark. And no, he can not turn into a bat, shadow, or fly(he can use his powers to glide though). And he does have a reflection. It would be pretty hard to explain why you don’t show up in any school photos. And on a final note, I wanted to make him the “unconventional anti-hero”. So basically, instead of having him just torture his enemies, he actually kills them,(when necessary). He also causes a lot of destruction with his abilities, which, of course, causes a heap of civilian casualties. That’s the main reason he’ll get in trouble with the police.

  377. B. McKenzieon 01 May 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Some thoughts:

    –When you’re pitching to publishers, I’d recommend covering the character in a more organic way (e.g. starting with the character at the start of the book and covering major turning points so that we can understand the progression of the plot).

    –I feel like there might be some personality discrepancies. For example, he’s “wild/aggressive,” but constantly cooks and cleans? Cooking and cleaning sound about as unwild as it gets (especially for a guy).

    –”The United Supernatural Federation,(USF), since their inception 2 years prior to the start of the story have been facilitating most of the “supernatural” beings across the world.” I’m not exactly sure what it means to facilitate a supernatural being, but if there are many supernatural beings that require facilitation, it might help to make the organization a bit older than 2 years. (Two years might not be long enough to make it feel believable that this organization has developed a global reach or that it has splinter groups).

    –I would recommend making it clearer what the USF is set up to do. A more specific name might help. Also, why are the rebels opposed to the USF?

    –I’m not seeing much connection between Kenry’s powers. He has some sort of graphical interface and the ability to control shadows. Did these powers come from the same place/origin?

    –One element to your characters that I think could be smoother is that their personalities tend to boil down to a bunch of psychological problems. For example, what does this character have going on mentally besides being a head-case? Also, you’ve listed a number of psychological problems for him, but it doesn’t sound like they affect his decision-making and/or his role in the plot very much.

    –Especially if he’s supposed to be unconventional, I would recommend covering major unusual decisions and/or actions for him. What are some things he does that most protagonists in his genre wouldn’t do in the same situation?

    –The character’s extraordinarily smart, right? What are some points where his intelligence leads to unusual decisions and/or actions? What makes his intelligence important enough to mention?

  378. Okovangoon 01 May 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Okay I totally agree with the color thing now, I was going to say it seems to “power rangers-y” but it looks like someone beat me to it :P. However I still like the idea of having lots of powers, I was hoping to go for something along the lines of, if any normal super being has a power then either one or multiple of the original seven can match that with their powers. I think this would either cause lots of characters or lots of powers on a little amount of characters, I like the latter because it makes them more unique which I was going for. I also think the number seven just fits for like things of legends, you know? But I understand that seven characters would be a lot to manage. But I was also planning on introducing them one by one at a certain rate, because they’re not all in the same place at once. I was planning on two of them traveling around to follow the others. If you think that would help managing them at all, because I really like the seven characters idea.(Also it would only be through the point of view of one character, and so the rest on them would be like secondary main characters.)

  379. Kenry Skyleron 01 May 2012 at 7:13 pm

    “I’d recommend covering the character in a more organic way (e.g. starting with the character at the start of the book and covering major turning points so that we can understand the progression of the plot).”
    -I wasn’t sure if I should start with him getting his powers or the organization’s background. Should I make a prologue?

    “For example, he’s ‘wild/aggressive,’ but constantly cooks and cleans? Cooking and cleaning sound about as unwild as it gets (especially for a guy).”
    -My original idea was that he was sort of reserved when he was at home, not really able to do anything on his own. When he notices his superpowers, he uses them as a sort of outlet to make a “dual-life” for himself, one where he can be free to make his own choices/decisions.

    “I’m not exactly sure what it means to facilitate a supernatural being,”
    -Well they basically “bag-and-tag” the ones they find to keep from causing too much panic. They’re sort of like The Company from Heroes I guess.

    “…but if there are many supernatural beings that require facilitation, it might help to make the organization a bit older than 2 years.”
    -That’s actually really interesting, because I always thought that if an organization was too old it would make it seem unrealistic that they wouldn’t already have their stuff together and not have many people rebelling against them.

    “I would recommend making it clearer what the USF is set up to do. A more specific name might help.”
    -I sort of just thought of that, lol. I’m not really sure what they’d call themselves, if they even had a name. I mean, why would a secret underground organization need a name, I guess?

    “Also, why are the rebels opposed to the USF?”
    -I tried to keep some of the details out because I wanted to make this just about Kenry, but mainly for the whole “bag-and-tag” deal. They think it’s not fair that they don’t get to choose what sort of life they want to live.

    “Did these powers come from the same place/origin?”
    -Actually I was going to go all sci-fi on this story so he was sort of born with the whole GUI thing. My explanation was going to be that he was born with an enlarged hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls memory, and as a result he can sort of “interact” with his long-term memories. So to answer your question, they didn’t really come from the same place. Their sort of two separate abilities. Though I wouldn’t really call the first one a “power” as it’s more of an extension of his thoughts.

    “you’ve listed a number of psychological problems for him, but it doesn’t sound like they affect his decision-making and/or his role in the plot very much.”
    -Mainly his paranoia effects his trust issues. He’s not very trustful of his teammates and tends to withhold information from them as a result. As for the decision-making, the main problem he has is his approach to fighting his enemies. He tends to make decisions based on impulse, which sort of contradicts his normal calm, analytic demeanor. For example, if an enemy goads him into destroying an “evil weapon”, it may actually be a bomb, or support pillar for a building full of hostages. His main enemy will be the police and the USF leaders, so I’m still trying to think of interesting ways to challenge him.

    “What are some things he does that most protagonists in his genre wouldn’t do in the same situation?”
    -I think I sort of covered this in my previous answer, but mainly making rash decisions is the “bad” thing that other protagonists wouldn’t do. He’s not just a screw-up though, and some of the things other protagonists wouldn’t do, like letting a villain fall to his death, or destroying a building to kill the enemy, he would do in a heartbeat. I’m trying to keep him just good enough so that he’s not crossing supervillain territory all the time though,(because he occasionally does).

    “What makes his intelligence important enough to mention?”
    -I can’t believe I forgot to mention this part. One of the reasons,(among many others), the USF originally wanted him to join their organization was because he is an aspiring bio-chemical engineer. With his help they thought they could identify what exactly was causing people to be born supernatural. He actually contributes immensely to studying the neurological, or whatever, aspects of what gives people their abilities. I thought it would be a fitting career choice, mainly because most of the supernatural beings’ abilities are linked to their brains,(e.g in the character I mentioned earlier, faster neuron data transfer for enhanced agility and reflexes).

    ~Kenry Skyler

  380. Kenry Skyleron 01 May 2012 at 7:21 pm

    @Okovango
    Do you know if you’re going to make a series of these? Because if so, maybe the first one could have you develop half the original cast, and the second,(or third, maybe), develop the rest? Even disregarding the color thing, I still think you should limit the cast. Maybe you could make the 7 people with the powers a sort of sub-plot. For some reason, I keep thinking of them as a group of naked people in suspended animation in a darkly lit room. So maybe you could limit them greatly, like only one of them can use their powers at a time, or something. I just think they seem too godlike, having so much power. Plus, if they hoard all the superpowers, what powers will all of your lesser supervillains have,(assuming you have any lesser supervillains)? B. McKenzie said it was okay to share powers across different books, but I doubt readers would take a liking to 3 guys with superstrength, 2 psychic girls, and 6 pyromancers in one book. Along that line of thought, instead of having a few people with all the powers, maybe have one machine that disperses powers,(Green Lantern Core-like), to a wide range of people. Then focus on the ones with the more plot-significant powers? I don’t know these are all just suggestions off the top of my head.

  381. B. McKenzieon 01 May 2012 at 9:03 pm

    –I would not recommend a prologue. I would probably lead with the main character rather than the organization, because one is the main character and the other does not sound particularly central to the story. (Plus, the smoothest way to introduce the organization will probably be as the main character learns about them). As for starting with the main character… starting with him getting his powers is one possibility, but I would also recommend brainstorming some alternatives.

    “My original idea was that he was sort of reserved when he was at home, not really able to do anything on his own.” But he does have some sort of paranoid collection of information about paranormal activity. This sounds vastly more interesting and not all that reserved (particularly if he’s planning on using it in some way?).

    –”They basically ‘bag-and-tag’ the ones they find to keep them from causing too much panic.” So they’re killing and/or capturing and/or conscripting supernatural beings which are some danger of causing a public panic? Or they’re killing and/or capturing and/or conscripting any supernatural beings which they can find?

    –”I always thought that if an organization were too old, it would make it seem unrealistic that they wouldn’t already have their stuff together and not have many people rebelling against them.” Hmm… I think it takes time to grow really unhappy about something and organize an opposition. It was about 1500 years from the formation of the Catholic Church to Martin Luther publicly posting the 95 Theses. It was about 100 years from the formal formation of the U.S. government to the Civil War and at least another 30 before the U.S. did much of anything globally. It took communism about 60 years to take over a country and another ~40 years for the two largest communist countries to part ways. I think it was about 75 years between the founding of Disney and the departure of several Disney employees to found Pixar–it took a while for a critical mass of Disney employees to get sick of its model.

    “Why would a secret underground organization need a name, I guess?” It might be difficult otherwise to refer to the organization (e.g. it might be awkward to ask someone to join a nameless entity). I am not aware of an organized crime or terrorist group without a name (although I’ve heard of Islamist groups changing names when they’re facing too much heat).

    “BM: you’ve listed a number of psychological problems for him, but it doesn’t sound like they affect his decision-making and/or his role in the plot very much.”
    KS: “Mainly his paranoia affects his trust issues. He’s not very trustful of his teammates and tends to withhold information from them as a result.” That sounds a lot more interesting.

    “He tends to make decisions based on impulse, which sort of contradicts his normal calm, analytic demeanor. For example, if an enemy goads him into destroying an “evil weapon”, it may actually be a bomb, or support pillar for a building full of hostages.” Uhh… Uhh… In the context of the story, I’d recommend using more complex examples here because a genius better be able to tell the difference between a bomb and a support pillar at a glance. For example, it might not be immediately clear what is connected to a particular electrical grid or computer system and/or what would result from sabotaging them. Alternately, perhaps he’s been told to plant a roadside bomb but doesn’t know who the intended target is and somebody else will be handling the detonation.

    “What makes his intelligence important enough to mention?”
    “I can’t believe I forgot to mention this part. One of the reasons,(among many others), the USF originally wanted him to join their organization was because he is an aspiring bio-chemical engineer.” Aging him up might help? Also… if he’s a valuable biochemical expert, what’s the advantage of risking him in the field? (Perhaps his point of contention with the USF is that they don’t want to risk someone that young, particularly a biochemist, but he chafes at that because he’s got authority issues and the rebels offer him a more… active position).

  382. Kenry Skyleron 01 May 2012 at 11:37 pm

    @B. McKenzie
    Interesting points there, I’ll definitely keep them in mind while I’m working out my rough draft, especially the last part about the point of contention with the USF. I had originally planned for him to be a sort of free-lancer anti-hero, who sort of came and went when it best suited him. He was sort of like the first “vigilante” among them, because the USF wanted to stay secret and the rebels wanted to become publicly known, and that was going to be my point of contention, but I really like your idea. Oh, and they’re killing and/or capturing and/or conscripting any supernatural beings which they can find. I feel that if they were only capturing the ones that were causing trouble, it wouldn’t really make sense to rebel. Capturing and/or killing any/all that they find makes it seem more evil. Also, about the “rebels”. I’ve already mentioned one of them, the super-reflexes guy, and one of the other two is a teleporter. I’ll post her bio soon. I’m still not sure about the last one though. I don’t really like overly-generic powers,(super-speed, flight, super-strength, etc.), because I like to be able to explain their powers, preferably something to do with a neurological defect/enhancement. I feel that powers linked to the brain seem more believable, even if the power itself is astronomical. If you haven’t seen it, I would recommend Alphas if you’re not really following me here.

    @Okovango
    Hmmm, that sounds a lot like Avatar: The Last Airbender to me,(the part about when they die their power is passed down to someone else), so you might wanna look at that show for some inspiration. I mean even in Avatar where there were only 4 basic elements, they “invented” new ones, like Toph’s Metalbending,(which I personally thought was awesomely innovative), so there’s still a lot of room to work with. And if the organisation tried to kill all the super humans, why should those guys stay? I guess my main concern is that it feels sort of forced. Does the organisation have something hanging over their heads to keep them there? With superheroes, I’ve always wondered why they take orders from people.(E.g Why would Superman let the police order him around?) And what age are you targeting this book for. It sounds pretty adult with the whole “killing all the super humans” deal, but if one of the characters is 13, it seems sort of juvenile. I seriously recommend you watching The Last Airbender if you haven’t already. Just don’t watch the movie though, because you will be seriously ticked off.

    ~Kenry Skyler

  383. MisterEon 04 May 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Okay, so a week ago I posted about needing a power for my main antagonist to have, and Kenry Skyler offered his help. I think I’ve come up with a suitable ability for him; the generation and manipulation of a powerful, black flame that he calls ‘Hell Fire’. This could potentially explain why he wears a mask; his face was horribly burned the first time he created his Hell Fire and he wasn’t able to control it (thanks to Kenry for suggesting his face be deformed).

    Any thoughts?

  384. Bunnyon 05 May 2012 at 1:48 am

    Hi! I’m writing a story called ‘School of His Talented Individual’ and I am making one main character (Called Brook Gates) and she finds out that the reason that her and her baby sister suddenly live in a big house is that her older sister (Jaclyn) started working for the government since she is a Dragon Born. Meaning she has super powers. There are a lot of support characters but I can only think of so many powers. Please Help!
    The names are:

    Kayla Baker
    Riza
    Ashley
    Ebony
    Dawn

    Caleb
    Tate
    Blake
    Dustin
    Corey
    Royce Black

    Also, I need last names please!

    If you want to read any of my other stories, search ’5abunnylover’ on Fiction Press.

    Thank you!

  385. Kenry Skyleron 05 May 2012 at 11:08 am

    @MisterE
    Sounds cool, but is there anyone else who can manipulate this fire? I sometimes don’t like reading books about people who are the only ones who can see/use some mystical force. It just always seemed sort of contrived to me. But like I said, sounds cool. I would recommend brainstorming some restraints to his powers, like they are hard to control,(reason why his face is burned?), or something to limit him.

    @Bunny
    Wait, you have 13 characters’ names but no powers or personality yet? Plus, 13 characters is a huge cast, even if they are support characters. If they’re all going to have powers too, I would seriously recommend cutting it down to like 4 or 5, and even that’s pushing it. What’s the plot of the book? Her sister’s a super-powered Dragon Born* whatever so they move to a really fancy house and…what? I’d really recommend getting the plot, character personalities, etc., down before you worry about their powers. Btw, there’s a whole wiki devoted to super powers. I’d recommend watching The Avengers movie for how to handle reasonably large cast. I think they did it pretty well and developed each of the character’s equally.

    *P.S.
    I don’t know if you’ve played Skyrim, but Dragon Born is already taken. And no, they will most likely not let you get away with it. You will most likely get sued. Skyrim’s pretty popular. You might want to change the name?

  386. MisterEon 05 May 2012 at 11:30 am

    Not planning on anyone else being able to generate and manipulate black fire. The odds of someone else in my character’s universe having that same exact ability is slim to none. And no need to recommend restraints/limits, all my characters have them.

    Also, on the subject of Dragon Born… Dragonborn is also present in the book Song of Ice & Fire, as well as it’s tv show, Game of Thrones, and D&D. Dragonborn/Dragon Born isn’t the most original thing, so I don’t think you need to worry about another company laying claim to the name as it’s a generic term used in most fantasy worlds, and therefore doesn’t belong to any single company.

  387. Kenry Skyleron 05 May 2012 at 5:17 pm

    @MisterE

    I meant to ask this in my last post, but does Black Fire have any special traits? I mean, can it do something that normal fire can’t,(i.e burn the soul(like in Ghost Rider), kill anything it burns, etc.), because I think you could go pretty far with that. If it’s pretty much the same thing as regular fire, I think it would be a wasted power. Also, where does the Black Fire come from? Is it within him, found in the natural world, etc.?

  388. B. McKenzieon 05 May 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Hello, Bunny. By my count, I see at least 13 characters here (plus villains, presumably). I think it would be very challenging to develop a cast this large and would not recommend it unless you’ve been professionally published before. Would it be possible to merge and/or delete, say, at least half of these characters? I think that will give you more time/space to develop the remaining characters and make us care about them. (Generally, I’d recommend 2-5 superheroes on a team?)



    Regarding “Dragonborn,” I think there’s some potential that your eventual publisher will ask you to rename it, but I doubt that a publisher would turn away an otherwise publishable manuscript over that issue alone. (Names can be changed relatively easily). If I were the publisher, I’d be less concerned about the potential for a lawsuit and more concerned about the potential that people who have played Dungeons & Dragons or Skyrim would think that your work was derivative of another work. That would be problematic.



    I would recommend putting more development into the character’s personalities and distinguishing traits.

  389. MisterEon 06 May 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Regarding your earlier question, the black fire’s abilities would probably be to burn anything and everything and leave a distinctive burn mark. However, it would be incredibly difficult to control for extended amount of times. I’m thinking the ability would be mystical in nature, and therefore come from within. Though I’m not too sure.

    Regarding blood manipulation, usually it’s a pretty powerful and dangerous ability, but if you’re limiting it to his own blood, it would be drastically less powerful. Especially if you’re not giving him the ability to re-generate his own blood at an accelerated speed.

  390. Kenry Skyleron 06 May 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Yeah, it’s just his own blood. I’ve done some more thinking on my main character and after lots of brainstorming, I’ve decided to cut the whole graphical user interface with his brain. I’m not sure if I’ll give another character that ability yet, but probably not. After thinking about how paranoia can affect decisions, I’ve thought about him “over-thinking” situations. For example, he might misinterpret a villain’s plan to destroy a bridge as a hoax to lure him into a trap so he doesn’t come, and the villain actually blows the bridge up. Also, one of the primary uses of his intelligence comes into play when he’s fighting. His umbrakinesis,(telekinesis of shadows), lets him construct any object,(solid or gaseous, but not liquid), so long as he completely understands the inner and outer workings of such object. So knowing how the parts of a gun interact with each other thoroughly and how much each part roughly weighs, etc., would be crucial in constructing a gun. What do you think about that?

  391. MisterEon 06 May 2012 at 9:48 pm

    I think you should choose one major power for your main character, and, possibly – if you feel it’s necessary – give him one or two sub-abilities that derive from his major power. I think the only way having both shadow and blood manipulation would work would be if he was some kind of demon, and even then I’m not sure about giving him both.

    Regarding his shadow-constructs, I think you should further limit him aside from him having to understand each object. Gaseous shadow constructs also seems like a little much. But, I’m no expert, so feel free to ignore my input.

    Finally, is your character the hero or villain? Because although him being paranoid to the point where he ignores his self-proclaimed duty to protect others may give him conflict for you to work with, I’m not sure how appealing it would be to readers. Unless you’re going the comedic (dark humor most likely) super-hero book/comic route. In which case, I can see that potentially working.

  392. Kenry Skyleron 07 May 2012 at 11:40 am

    @MisterE

    No, he’s not the blood manipulator. I was thinking of one of my side characters. One of the main reasons I decided to let him do gaseous shadow constructs as well is because when he makes his guns, he also has to make the gunpowder, and I didn’t think it would make sense that he could make gunpowder but not the gas that results from its ignition. Lastly, he’s actually an anti-hero. He doesn’t really have any “self-proclaimed duty to protect others”. He sort of freelances crime-fighting. A “conditional vigilante” so to speak. Also, regarding the weakness of his powers, that’s just in the construction of the object. Any sort of electrical interference, fire, or sunlight will deteriorate his power. And no, he does not roast in the sunlight. Sunscreen easily provides more than enough protection.(Yes, he is a vampire). I think the main reason he counts as an anti-hero is because he really only fights crime to keep suspicion off himself. I mean, his job is to kill/capture supernaturals, so fighting crime keeps the pressure off. The story mainly focuses on his experiences up to the point of him coming out to the world, which is actually another point of contention in the series,(revealing a group of people who have kept hidden for decades vs remaining in the shadows,(no pun intended :])).

  393. Bunnyon 11 May 2012 at 3:21 am

    How is this for a power and weakness:
    Scarlet can read peoples mind, but she is actually deaf, so she can’t hear them but can read what they are thinking. She hides the fact that she is deaf since she can understand what they are trying to say. However, she is looking out a window as her friends are arguing (She does not see their lips moving) And eventually she yells at them to shut up. They had actually stopped fighting a few seconds before but they were thinking of insults. They soon find out that she can not hear them.
    Is this a good idea?

  394. B. McKenzieon 11 May 2012 at 4:52 am

    “They had actually stopped fighting a few seconds before but they were thinking of insults. They soon find out that she cannot hear them.” She told them to shut up a few seconds after they had stopped fighting. Erm, would they actually notice that something is off there? It might help to do a version of this where the impression she gets from her superpowers is entirely different than what a regular person would get from hearing. (For example, maybe two characters are having a conversation that is, on the surface, not very heated but under the surface both characters are seething and angry). Alternately, maybe they figure out that she’s deaf because she didn’t hear an inanimate object coming (perhaps a car or truck), and then someone wonders about how she has been able to keep up in conversation. (The first possibility that comes to mind would be that she’s an expert at reading lips, but someone observant might notice that she seems to do pretty well even when she’s not facing the right way to read lips. Depending on whether she wants to keep her abilities secret, she might start faking incomprehension in situations where a lip-reader would struggle).



    It might also help to place some limits on her ability to read minds so that her deafness comes into play more often.

  395. Bunnyon 11 May 2012 at 5:36 am

    The thing is, I think about four people are arguing at once and by the time she yells at them, they had already stopped. I think before this happens, I might make a car nearly hit her since she can’t hear it. They notice it becouse Insted of her reacting a short second after they had stopped, it was at least five seconds or longer. Thanks for the feedback.

  396. Sarahon 11 May 2012 at 2:04 pm

    What if you have two heros that want to have similar abilites but not the same? Nothing elemental or clique.

  397. Jacobon 11 May 2012 at 2:05 pm

    you could go for the senses that have to do with sight and sound. EX> A person with the ability to manipulate sound might be able to deafen and mute someone. Also they could have extreme hearing, and perhaps have the ability to hear a persons thoughts. Many heros such as Daredevil have a range of abilitie due to his hearing.

  398. Saraon 11 May 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Thanks! Does anyone else have any ideas for me? I need powers for two, possibly three, that are similar. Nothing clique please!

  399. MisterEon 11 May 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Hmm, I’m not sure where best to ask this question, so here’s as good a place as any.

    Do you think it would be difficult/strange if the main character in a comic is a metahuman who was born with his abilities, but his ally/partner, major enemy, another major enemy (this time an entire organization), and a lesser ally all have mystical/magical origins and/or abilities?

  400. ehrichon 11 May 2012 at 9:58 pm

    i personally have never been a big fan of magical or mystical powers/orgins. i like a little bit of plausability in the story to get just an ounce of truth to it.

  401. B. McKenzieon 11 May 2012 at 11:17 pm

    “Do you think it would be difficult/strange if the main character in a comic is a metahuman who was born with his abilities, but his ally/partner and major enemies all have mystical/magical origins and/or abilities?” It feels intuitive to me that genre consistency would help, but I would note that Marvel and (especially) DC have some genre inconsistencies.

  402. Juan D'Marcoon 12 May 2012 at 5:40 pm

    So I need Superpowers that aren’t very destructive but aren’t useless either
    Any suggestion?

  403. MisterEon 12 May 2012 at 9:27 pm

    “It feels intuitive to me that genre consistency would help, but I would note that Marvel and (especially) DC have some genre inconsistencies.” But most comics have a diverse line-up, whether it be racially, sexual orientation-wise, power-wise, origin-wise, etc etc. Frankly, I would find it odd if in an entire country people of different power origins didn’t ever live in the same general area.

  404. B. McKenzieon 12 May 2012 at 9:49 pm

    In terms of powers and origins, I am not sure that most comics outside of the Marvel and DC universe have many diverse origins for the protagonists. Outside of Marvel and DC, I would gauge that it’s more common for most, if not all, of the protagonists to get their powers from the same source (or at least a source in the same genre).



    Outside of Marvel and DC, I can’t think of many comic or graphic novel series which combine magical/fantasy and sci-fi origins. For example, BPRD/Hellboy has one or two characters which rely more on technology than anything mystical/magical/mythological, but the series tilts heavily towards (urban) fantasy rather than sci-fi. One of the characters in Top 10 comes from a fantasy background, but it only comes up in a spinoff series and is barely mentioned in Top 10 itself. Scott Pilgrim has antagonists ranging from demon hipster chicks to giant death robots to (sort of) ninja fathers, but it’s not a superhero series.

  405. B. McKenzieon 12 May 2012 at 11:52 pm

    “I need superpowers that aren’t very destructive but aren’t useless either. Any suggestions?” I think pretty most superpowers could fit that description if the limits were strict enough. For example, if someone has enough telekinesis to exert about half as much force as a boxer’s punch, it could be useful in a fight but would probably be more useful in noncombat situations.

    Some other possibilities that come to mind:
    –Illusions and/or any ability affecting the perceptions of others.
    –Enhanced intelligence, particularly if the character is not gifted at science. (For most comic book scientists, science means creating things which could be destructive).
    –Animal shape-shifting, possibly using size limits to limit the destructiveness.
    –Suggestion/limited mind-control
    –Telekinesis limited to a particular material. Magneto’s metal-control is obviously pretty dangerous, but something like paper-control could still be extremely useful despite being less destructive–please see Read or Die.
    –EXTREMELY limited time-control, like the ability to go back in time up to a minute or a few minutes. It’s not enough time to redo every mistake and avoid every trap, but a character might be able to make a big difference at certain points with it.

  406. King Applebutteron 14 May 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Heyho, I’ve been lurking through this website for a little while now, and so I figured I’d ask for some input on my character’s powers.

    His powers come from a plant-like parasitic organism (which will mostly likely be alien in origin, it’s still in the works) which has taken host in his body. This parasite slowly feeds off of what I simply put as his sanity, causing him to slowly go insane. However, in exchange, he is able to produce malleable vine-like tendrils* to achieve a variety of different effects. Some include using them as wings, for propelling him off the ground, extra limbs, shielding himself, or even walking around with them like Dr. Octopus does.

    I’ve thought about how all of that may be overkill and I’m having difficulty justifying them. My main allowance is that as he loses his sanity, he’ll become what will essentially be the main supervillain and afterwards lose his powers for good.

    (*I’m not entirely sure how to describe what these are. I was thinking of something similar to the Biomass from the webseries Romantically Apocalyptic)

  407. Marquison 15 May 2012 at 7:02 am

    King Applebutter,

    I don’t think your character is overpowered, he’s simply powerful.His powers come from a parasitic plant-being meaning most fire damage should harm him ( Shield or Not) Also He’d be very vulnerable to most bladed weapons ( depending on who’s using them of course).

    As Far As the Tendrils, if its a comic you’re working on make the tendrils seem more like something venom from spiderman would use or something like the powers in prototype.

  408. HomuHomuon 15 May 2012 at 10:05 am

    I would take that web series more seriously if Alexiuss would just draw everything himself didn’t just smudge photographs. And his attitude is piss poor.

    On a more relevant note, as long as he isn’t a completely invincible villain sue, then you should be fine bro.

  409. B. McKenzieon 15 May 2012 at 10:31 am

    “His attitude is piss-poor.” I’m not familiar with any of the particulars here, but I’m inclined to sympathize here. I sometimes behave far more curtly on the Internet than I would in person–e.g. this guy had a not-thoroughly-idiotic (albeit thoroughly implausible) concern and I sort of went off on him. The publishing industry in general… I don’t know. It has more than its share of jackasses*. I’m wary about becoming one of those jaded husks of a human that apparently exist mainly to complain about how bad the bottom half of the submissions pile is (or about how bad Bestseller X is).

    *Aggravating factors include New York City, low profit margins, huge technological shifts AND a workforce which is mainly arts-and-letters rather than math-and-science, a multitude of not very good fiction submissions, New York City, widespread feelings of inadequacy/self-doubt (even for many phenomenal writers and editors), paychecks which are scandalously small and unreliable, a certain correlation between being an underpaid artist/writer and abject depression, unreasonable customer criticism** AND sometimes disdain for the audience, and tension between sales/marketing and storytelling.


    **I think people tend to have much more polarized opinions about books than about most other products. One thing goes wrong and suddenly the book is terrible and the author should be ashamed for inflicting it on the public. In contrast, almost no one would leap from “Pharmaceutical Product X has a serious side-effect” to “the people that made Pharmaceutical X are horrible idiots.” I’m working a lot harder on being more understanding of writing decisions that I don’t think are very effective.

  410. HomuHomuon 15 May 2012 at 10:54 am

    Unless you’re a regular dA and other sites lurker, I really wouldn’t expect you to be hahaha. It’s just these “popular artists” with huge egos that behave themselves like children.

    Oh, I saw that. I understand their concerns, but the way it was worded was like an accusation rather than just an expression of genuine concern. But surely anyone with an ounce of a brain would realize just how incredibly pretentious that sounds, especially coming with someone with questionable grammar.

    Personally, I think you handled that well (if just a bit too soft).

    >I’m wary about becoming one of those jaded husks of a human that apparently exist mainly to complain about how bad the bottom half of the submissions pile is.

    I’ve seen my fair share. Not really a problem unless you make it one. In my case, I may outwardly voice my complaints about something/someone, but I never hold ill-feelings towards anyone really. I still hold a positive attitude as long as I’m treated with respect :)

  411. HomuHomuon 15 May 2012 at 10:58 am

    >I think people tend to have much more polarized opinions about books than about most other products. I’m working a lot harder on being more understanding of writing decisions that I don’t think are very effective.

    Indeed! Even when it comes to art. It’s a tricky thing to get into. I’m inclined to be more understanding because I’ve been there before.

  412. YoungAuthoron 15 May 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Due to a tragic computer mishap, i may or may not have lost the two manuscripts I had started. :( (it’s getting fixed so i’ll find out what i lost and and didn’t lose). Therefore, i have started upon a new idea! *applause*. I think I gave my character a unique power set and I want to know how it sounds. His name (Kevin Hartline) will be Black Dragon. His powers will be the ability to breathe fire, super-strength, and flight. ( from a freak accident in his dad’s lab.) Any and all feedback is welcome!!! :D

  413. B. McKenzieon 15 May 2012 at 3:52 pm

    “Due to a tragic computer mishap, I may or may not have lost the two manuscripts I had started.” Whether the manuscripts are lost or not, I would recommend saving your files somewhere online–that way you’ll have a copy in case your computer is suddenly lost, damaged or stolen. Personally, I use Amazon Cloud Drive.

  414. B. McKenzieon 15 May 2012 at 4:26 pm

    “Hey, how exactly would you use radiation as a power?” If we’re just talking about the ability to control radiation, I think it’d be somewhat believable to turn it into some sort of laser beam (like Captain Atom does). Besides that, I guess he could dish out cancer like it’s going out of style, but Saturday Morning Watchmen got there first.

    It might help to expand the idea of radiation beyond controlling radiation–for example, radiation caused some physical and mental changes for Bruce Banner (the Hulk) and Dr. Manhattan. It also made Captain Atom a lot more physically tough, so he’s not just a ranged hero.

  415. HomuHomuon 15 May 2012 at 11:20 pm

    >Yeah, I usually spend a few minutes rewriting each comment. I think it helps make them more coherent, useful and diplomatic.

    Before or after posting? I usually review what I write as I type and make changes accordingly. Though there is the occasional typo that manages to slip through.

  416. Anonymouson 15 May 2012 at 11:24 pm

    I have a character who is a sentient liquid substance with the ability to morph into any shape/form (with some limitations). It becomes attached to my other MC and becomes his “sentient powersuit” or sorts. Is this ok for an ability?

    - The one who is too shy to post as any name anymore

  417. Comicbookguy117on 16 May 2012 at 8:00 am

    Anonymous, I thinks it’s a cool idea for an ability. A sentient powersuit, like the venom symbiote. Hopefully yours won’t have any of the psychological problems, :).

    You don’t have to be shy, this is a welcoming community. We help each other out. So hopefully I helped.

  418. Kenry Skyleron 18 May 2012 at 10:04 pm

    Okay, so I’ve been doing more thinking and planning for my story, and what I came up with was a world full of supernatural people,(my own multiverse), most of whom don’t know they have abilities. Some people’s abilities are far less supernatural than others, such as increasing lung capacity for longer breaths and more supplied oxygen, but one trait they all share is the “early indicator”. The early indicator is a universally shared characteristic of their abilities that typically manifest itself before or at the start of puberty, in Kenry’s case, being able to see in the dark. Throughout puberty the rest of the ability develops, umbrakinesis* in Kenry’s case. My first arcs will cover Kenry coming to terms with his abilities and starting his crime-fighting career. After a particular incident where he is forced to kill one of the criminals, he begins to question his reasons for being a super-”hero”, and not just being an anti-hero. This is how he becomes the dark hero that he is.

    *Umbrakinesis is telekinesis over shadows*

    The next arc will cover him exposing himself to the world,(with an alter-ego of course), and subsequently his conflict with the police. I’m still not sure if I should introduce the team of supernaturals at this point, or if I should introduce them before now.

  419. Leiion 30 May 2012 at 1:12 am

    So what about the manipulation of electromagnetic fields? I’m not sure if this was already listed, but it would include basic telekinetic powers (as all things are influenced by the pull of charge at some level), as well as things like creating plasma arcs and using the charge to float. Just a first-round idea, which needs some refining. Thanks

  420. B. McKenzieon 30 May 2012 at 3:14 am

    “So what about the manipulation of electromagnetic fields? I’m not sure if this was already listed, but it would include basic telekinetic powers,… creating plasma arcs and using the charge to float. Just a first-round idea, which needs some refining. Thanks.”

    Those superpowers strike me as totally workable–just make sure that the characters and plot are interesting enough to drive the story. Based on the superhero manuscripts I’ve read, superpower selection strikes me as a major barrier to publication in maybe 5-10% of cases (the most common issue there: the powers make it very hard to challenge the character and/or reduce the stakes of failure–e.g. immortality). In contrast, characterization* and plotting** strike me as a major barrier to publication in ~95% and ~75% of manuscripts, respectively.

    *Most common characterization issues: lack of distinguishing traits for main characters (the main characters act more or less like pretty much every other protagonist would act in the same way–very forgettable), inconsistent personalities, overly passive main characters, utter lack of likability for main characters, etc.

    Most common plotting issues: the plot is too hard to follow, the beginning is too slow, the stakes are too low and/or the goals are not urgent enough for the characters, the plot hinges on inexplicably stupid decisions from characters (e.g. a villain just letting the hero go), the main characters don’t make any mistakes or disagreeable decisions, the characters aren’t challenged enough, etc.

  421. Leiion 30 May 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Right, my protagonist is (tentatively) going to be a rage-oriented vigilante, who acts according to his own plan after some major loss, causing conflicts with people on both sides of the law (villains and police).

  422. B. Macon 30 May 2012 at 8:51 pm

    That sounds pretty good. Some thoughts: 1) Does he have a personality besides being angry? 2) One potential concern for characters in the mold of the Punisher is likability. Both Batman and Punisher are revenge-driven antiheroes, but I think Batman is significantly more likable… the two main factors that come to mind there are that Batman has a personal code (nonlethality) and that Batman is more stylish/witty/clever).

  423. Leiion 30 May 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Yes, he does have other traits, however his actions are driven by anger (and possibly the potency of his power–not to the degree of the hulk, for example, but the greater his anger, the more damaging his power is, for example his electromagnetism is more likely to cause plasma arcs than to act more like telekinesis).

  424. Helknighton 07 Jun 2012 at 8:11 pm

    In my book half of the population on earth have a kind of tattoo that with them they have special apilitys mostly dealing with the five sences but I can’t think of what to call them

  425. Helknighton 07 Jun 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Also they have them since birth so kind of like really detailed birthmarks

  426. ehrichon 08 Jun 2012 at 9:00 am

    @Helknight to give ya some inspiration i googled a bit about lore involving birthmarks and tattooing of people in many cultures here’s what I’ve found…

    In folklore significance has been placed and generally three theories appear across cultures and time:

    1. Birthmarks signify are an omen which may denote a characteristic or life path
    2. Birthmarks are leftover from a past life/ re-incarnation
    3. Birthmarks are the result of events that happened to the mother while carrying her child or actions she took during her pregnancy.

    In this theory, the location of a birthmark signifies something about the person. For example it has been suggested that a birthmark on the right arm is an omen for prosperity, while a birthmark on the left arm conversely signifies financial struggle through life. The parallel of the right and left side of the body however does not always correlate to an opposing meaning of an omen. If a birthmark appears on the right foot, it is thought that the person in question will have an overpowering love of exploration and travel, while if such a birthmark appears on the left foot; this would be a sign of great intellectual ability.

    The meaning ascribed to a birthmark can also differ depending on the gender of the person; marking on the ankle for a man denotes personal refinement, while for a woman such a marking is considered to represent independence and a zest for life.

    there’s more to it involving re-incarnation too but I’ve skipped posting that.

    as for the tattoo part, try using them as an enhancement of the birthmark powers. so the birthmark will determine one of the 5 scenes and as that grow up, the tattoo’s will be made depending on factors of that person.

    i personally would need more info to help ya out more in naming the characteristic, cause many things for me are involved in naming stuff. like what happens when 2 different people with different scenes have a baby? is there a formula to determine the mark of the baby? is it random? does society even allow two different marks to pair up? whats the social status of the scenes scale?

    cause different wording would mean different things written in different order or context. so please post a bit more on this for some help.

  427. Helknighton 08 Jun 2012 at 12:38 pm

    If two diffrent peaple with marks have a baby the tattoo is random it depends on the baby what the tattoo is and they are born with the tattoos where it is and what it is determans what find of power they have
    One of the character has a dragon circling his arm from shoulder to wrist and he is one of four on the planet with enhanced strength

  428. helknighton 08 Jun 2012 at 1:48 pm

    all of the powers are completely random

  429. ehrichon 08 Jun 2012 at 3:55 pm

    what about social status? is everyone on the same scale? or are some powers more revered than others?

  430. ehrichon 08 Jun 2012 at 4:00 pm

    do you want it to sound modern? ancient? English? foreign? there is really a lot that goes into naming stuff, lol.

  431. Helknighton 08 Jun 2012 at 4:17 pm

    There are 4 diffrent social levels 1st the god and goddesses level 2nd demigod 3rd monster 4th mortal the tattoos give the power from the Greek/roman mythology and it’s about 200 years in the future

  432. ehrichon 08 Jun 2012 at 4:33 pm

    are the tattoo’s a gift from the gods?

  433. Helknighton 08 Jun 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Sort of they were given to stop a war from tairing apart the earth

  434. ehrichon 08 Jun 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Marks of Theora (which means gods gift)
    Marks of Kratokas (which means power of a seal)

    you can change the marks parts but those are the best sounding “greek” terms for use of power combos that are both real and unque

  435. ehrichon 08 Jun 2012 at 5:30 pm

    but on that note time to play WOW. let me know if there good, i can find something else if ya want a different sound or style to them.

  436. Helknighton 08 Jun 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Thanks they sound good

  437. Helknighton 08 Jun 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Also what do you have that sounds modern

  438. YoungAuthoron 08 Jun 2012 at 6:43 pm

    I have a superhero named Black Dragon, the alter ego of my main character. (think Bruce Wayne/Batman type of personalities). He has an armored body suit (like Iron Man) thats midnight black. His mask is like batmans, but starting at the top of his head there is a mohawk of spikes like a dragon’s spine going down his spine. He has the ability to breathe fire, super-strength, and flight? How’s he sound?

  439. B. McKenzieon 08 Jun 2012 at 8:12 pm

    YoungAuthor, I think worrying about superpower selection is generally a fruitless time-sink compared to the story elements which will determine whether the story gets published or not. I’d recommend allotting more of that time into character development and plotting.

    From a previous article:

    “If you’ve put more thought into the main character’s costume and/or superpowers than personality and defining traits, I’d recommend going back to the drawing board. When editors and publisher’s assistants evaluate a novel manuscript, their reader’s reports will usually mention the characterization, the plot and the quality of the writing, etc. Superpowers and costumes, not so much.”

  440. ehrichon 08 Jun 2012 at 9:49 pm

    @helknight one name I’ve always liked but have never been able to use is Tiberius, and yes i know its capt. kirk’s middle name but i still like it. there’s many different ways to spell it but still sounds pretty good. also it have a more modern Greek myth sound to it if ya ask me.

    FEODORA its the same meaning as Theora but is from Russian decent and more modern form of the name.

  441. Helknighton 09 Jun 2012 at 8:45 am

    Thanks I think I’m going to go with Kratokas

  442. YoungAuthoron 10 Jun 2012 at 11:53 am

    @B.Mac-I’ve spent more time on the character and plot development than on superpower selection and his costume. I read that article too.

  443. slickon 21 Jun 2012 at 9:49 am

    the best way to manipulate the ability of speed is finding another power that can benefit and support it. the 2 weakest powers up there is super speed and elasticy as a user of speed cannot do much against heavily armored foes and tbh cant do much but dodge and elasticy is good and if you have ever watched the anime one piece than you would see that using certain techniques of elasticy can resort in a very powerful attack as in if you was to throw your arm away from you than launch it at the enemy than it would resort in a super punch and shooting a rubber man would only resort in your own death as the bullets would bounce of him making him almost invinsable but the weakness is that a blade can easily cut through rubber making it a weakness so putting speed and elasticy together would mean a man whose only weakness it a sharp blade or maybe shrapnel using speed and rubber attacks to create a super powerful combination that can fire super fast super powerful punches or kicks

  444. Yuuki12on 23 Jun 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Hello everyone. I have a brief question. Is spatial manipulation a complex power to work with? I mean, it’s plausible to understand why time manipulation is difficult to implement, given how it can it make challenging heroes nearly impossible (like traveling back in time to prevent a crime). But I am wondering if this might to due with that space is an innately hard concept for most humans to understand.

    The basis for why I’m asking is that I have an idea for a hero who’s an private investigator/ conspiracy theorist who gains spatial powers.

  445. Carl Shinyamaon 23 Jun 2012 at 1:23 pm

    If you can clearly show the how the powers work and what, if any, limits there are, then not really. Streamine the powers into a core concept, and let the reader ride with it.

  446. Yuuki12on 23 Jun 2012 at 2:55 pm

    @ Carl Shinyama

    That’s the thing. I’m unsure as to what limitations as to spatial powers. The only thing that in my mind that is conceivable is that these powers require the user to understand space and that they take time to home.

    Perhaps, then, this ability is very complicated to work with. The other alternative I had was sound manipulation. This would be for another hero, Derek, who I had conceived. The shortcomings for this power are easy. The first is that sound requires a medium, like air, water etc. to transmit. Thus, areas which are vacuums render him powerless.

    The next disadvantage is due to his emotions. Given his powers are tied to them, excess emotions, like anger or frustration might trigger them.

  447. Comicbookguy117on 23 Jun 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Yuuki, spatial manipulation is not that hard to work with. In essence, teleportaion is their main skill. Moving themselves, others and even objects around three dimensional space. Where it can become complicated is considering the other applications for manipulating space. For example, is it possible for a space manipulator to influence objects over more than three dimensions. And speaking of the three dimensions, spactial manipulation could allow such a character to manipulate an objects height, width and depth. This can be done indepently of each other or all at once, allowing for gigantic or microscopic objects. I hope this helps. I’ve got a handful of space manipulators in my universe, so I’ve don some research.

  448. Yuuki12on 23 Jun 2012 at 7:21 pm

    @Comicbookguy117

    Yes, it does help a lot and I thank you. To address your claims ,some of the things I do see my character doing is teleportation. HOWEVER, to keep the power in check, he will need to see where he’s going prior to teleporting.

    So if he wanted to teleport to paris, he would need to see the layout of paris, like a specific location. But he does manage to get over this, by learning to use his space powers to visualize the area. This is kind of like a form of scrying.

    Other abilities include being able to take objects and teleport them into pocket dimensions. However, he can only do it to small objects, like a deck of cards or at biggest a laptop. He can’t do it a car, or any other huge object.

    The final ability would be a type of spatial slicing. By utilizing specific energy, my character can slice or pierce through objects. How this is explained is that it is slicing the third dimension, so in essence it’s breaking the object away from space.

    So items, like diamonds, are rendered useless as they are being taken away from space. That said, this is a very DANGEROUS ability. My character uses it with extreme caution, because he knows that something sliced spatially, like a human flesh, is most unpleasant.

    So how’s that?

  449. Comicbookguy117on 23 Jun 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Interesting. I like it. Can’t wait to hear more.

  450. Superpowers! | Rosey's Imaginationlandon 25 Jun 2012 at 7:09 pm

    [...] http://www.superheronation.com/2007/12/30/list-of-superpowers/ This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← What I want to be in 10 years ATTENTION STUDENTS!!! → [...]

  451. Epic Battleon 27 Jun 2012 at 4:35 pm

    is gravity control becoming a more used power now because this is the second time something has listed gravity control, have you seen or heard of any one using gravity control in any book, or movie because one of my characters has that power, and i wanted it to be orignal, if it hasnt been used in one thats published or produced, anyway thanks

  452. B. McKenzieon 28 Jun 2012 at 11:10 am

    I wouldn’t consider it very common (unless you consider it interchangeable with telekinesis, which is arguable). There are a few published examples (e.g. WildStorm’s Freefall), but they aren’t well-known.

    Personally, if I were reviewing a manuscript or comic book script for publication, I wouldn’t be terribly impressed or concerned by the uniqueness or clicheness of the superpowers. Furthermore, even if the superpowers were a pressing problem, that could be changed readily enough (e.g. swapping out superstrength for, say, telekinesis would probably take less than a workweek). I’d recommend focusing instead on characterization (e.g. personality, memorable traits, and unusual decisions) and secondarily on memorable uses for the superpowers. For example, Batman has essentially the same capabilities in Batman & Robin and The Dark Knight, but TDK used the superpowers in more interesting ways–for example, compare and contrast Batman using his nonlethal fighting skills to prevent a SWAT team from mistakenly killing hostages dressed as criminals AND stop the actual criminals vs. everything in B&R.

  453. rogon 28 Jun 2012 at 2:09 pm

    hey, i’m trying to come with a “trinity” of superpowers, I don’t exactly know what powers to use, I though of using a trinity of people with telepathy/telekinesis/pyrokinesis or super intelligence/super strength/ pyrokinesis. what do you think?

  454. Janon 28 Jun 2012 at 4:06 pm

    I hate to be biased, but super smart and super strong are two traits that are not commonly found in the same individual. Then again, it could make for a good story, but pyrokinesis (controlling fire for anyone who might not know), super intelligence, and super strength have little or nothing to do with each other. The first one may be better in that regard.

    But if you haven’t already, check out ‘Eight Problems With Phsyic Heroes’ for some insight on that. Have a nice day.

  455. rogon 28 Jun 2012 at 4:52 pm

    well i meant this in the regard of a team, as in these would all be powers for different individuals: one would have intelligence, another strength, and the last one would have pyrokinesis. I mean a trinity in a sense of giving a variety of people different powers.

  456. rogon 28 Jun 2012 at 4:53 pm

    I really just wanted to see if there could be a different set of powers that might be more interesting combined or something like that, or maybe a different third wheel other than a pyrokinetic

  457. B. McKenzieon 29 Jun 2012 at 6:08 am

    “I thought of using a trinity of people with telepathy/telekinesis/pyrokinesis…” The character whose main power was telepathy would probably have trouble being useful in a variety of situations, I suspect. I think the strength/intelligence/fire control split would make it easier to find uses for all of the characters, especially in combat scenes. Outside of combat, if you were having trouble giving each character things to do, you could give them skills (either related to their superpowers or not–for example, maybe the intelligent guy has a strong grasp of first aid and the strength guy is a hunting/wilderness enthusiast, or vice versa*).

    If you wanted to get rid of the pyrokinetic, one possibility would be a power that lent itself better to use outside of battle royales. For example, an agility-based hero (e.g. Batman or Spider-Man) might be useful in stealth/subterfuge situations.

    *If it seems strange that the medic would be somebody besides the designated genius, I would point out that it worked for Holmes and (Dr.) Watson.



    Another possibility (which might make it easier in noncombat situations) would be a split more along the lines of occupations or skill-sets appropriate to the genre and plot (e.g. soldier/scout/medic or soldier/demolitions/pilot for a military-themed team or wizard/warrior/ninja* for something fantasy). The abilities might or might not be closely linked to those skills.

  458. rogon 29 Jun 2012 at 6:47 am

    the alternative does sound pretty cool, but I don’t really know what would count as a “stealth” power; wall-crawling, invisibility?
    and for the most part, its mainly super-hero/military

  459. B. McKenzieon 29 Jun 2012 at 7:15 am

    A stealthy character’s superpowers might or might not be explicitly stealth-related. For example, Batman mostly uses superior climbing/jumping/gliding/melee skills to accomplish stealth effects. I think that approach is more interesting than, say, the ability to turn invisible–with a made-to-order superpower like invisibility, it’s harder to challenge the hero and generate suspense.

    Some superpowers and abilities which strike me as potentially helpful in stealth situations (but not necessarily very dramatic). If the power would make common situations too easy (like invisibility might in a story with a lot of stealth), then I’d recommend using limitations to make it more challenging (read: interesting) for the hero.
    –Shapeshifting (animal or human). Failing that, acting ability and/or a knack for disguises. Bruce Wayne’s disguise skills are pretty outlandish–look up Almost Got ‘Im if you haven’t already seen it. (Killer Croc: “It was a really big rock!”)
    –Camouflage
    –Invisibility
    –Short-range teleportation (but I would recommend putting a limitation on this so that the exit requires more skill than just teleporting out. Maybe the ability has a cooldown or there’s a tight weight restriction).
    –Illusions/the ability to influence perception.
    –Electronics skills (for disabling cameras, opening doors, locking doors to thwart guards, maybe disabling/subverting security droids and drones, distracting guards with false alarms, etc).
    –Canadianness
    –Superior athleticism (in particular: climbing, jumping/landing
    –Melee skills (especially the ability to silently disable someone from behind)
    –Pocket space (the ability to put away items and withdraw them later–could be useful for getting bulky equipment, explosives or stolen goods past guards or into secure facilities).
    –Shrinking
    –Relatively quiet movement
    –The ability to handle long falls (e.g. Batman’s cape)
    –Some psychic skills might lend themselves well to silent takedowns and/or other stealthy solutions. For example, telekinesis could be used to distract guards and/or knock them down stairs or ledges. Mind control or suggestion might help an intruder clear a guarded checkpoint or deal with a guard who is about to sound the alarm.

  460. rogon 29 Jun 2012 at 8:39 am

    well I think camouflage or invisibility might work in dramatic situation. one limitation I can come up with is that the invisibility somehow creates a faint shadow, or maybe make it some sort of technology that can’t get wet or it shorts out

  461. Edgukatoron 29 Jun 2012 at 9:34 am

    @Rog – I often find TVTropes is a good website for looking at the existing stereotypes, either to live up to them or undermine them.

    Some possibilities:

    - Brains / Brawl and Beauty (Beauty could include seduction / stealth ala catwoman)
    - The RPG trio – Fighting / Stealth / Intelligence (warrior / rogue / mage)
    - Fire / Ice / Lightning (could be the abstract of these as well – a fiery martial artist, a cool calm and collected brick, a super quick speedster)
    - Land / Sea and Sky (a brawler, a swimmer, a flyer)

  462. rogon 29 Jun 2012 at 10:11 am

    pretty neat, I was mainly stuck in the rpg trio thing because it would seem the easiest to explain, but the other ones I might wanna consider, thanks

  463. scytheon 29 Jun 2012 at 1:06 pm

    me,I like the unholy power of death and shadows.

  464. B. McKenzieon 29 Jun 2012 at 7:08 pm

    “Brains / Brawl and Beauty (Beauty could include seduction / stealth ala catwoman)” — if so, broadening “beauty” to be social skills in general (and/or charisma) might give you more to work with than just sex appeal. This person might be, say, a skilled poker player, a police negotiator or a savvy agent rather than a face that could stop traffic.

  465. Gameron 02 Jul 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Me and 5 of my friends play a verbal game in which we work for a place called the gild and try to stop evil. We all have some crazy powers for example mine is super strength, my friend has Telekinisis, Teleporting, Forcefields,Plasma, Healing Plasma, my next friend has powers to go to a sacred world of dead people and make weapons of gold and gold armor yet the weapons and armor are stronger than normal gold, he can also use electricity, my next friend has wings and laser vision, and last my friend also has super strength, My final friend is the creator of the game and the narrator. I am hoping to use this list to gain better powers

  466. rogon 03 Jul 2012 at 3:54 pm

    I was also planning on explain the super-humans in this world created as militant weapons by a genetic-engineering corporation. some of the powers that I think I use are super-strength(tanks), hypnosis(spys), telepathy(communication), intelligence(engineering), flugokinesis(energy fuel), bio-healing(medics) and super-speed(scouts). what powers that might be used for the likes of militant or practical needs do you think might work?

  467. B. McKenzieon 03 Jul 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Control over metal (e.g. Magneto) could be used to detect and disable buried landmines/IEDs and perhaps suicide bombers, disable and/or redirect rocket-propelled grenades, perhaps stop incoming bullets in some cases, and perhaps resolve hostage/human shield situations at close range more accurately and effectively than a rifle could (either by grabbing the gun or perhaps by lethally stabbing the hostage-taker from behind).

    Weather control could be used to avoid adverse conditions (e.g. sandstorms)*, reduce enemy visibility, perhaps destroy enemy fortifications more quickly and perhaps cost-effectively than calling in an airstrike, clear skies for airstrikes/helicopters/medevacs/supply drops, make it easier for citizens of allied districts to grow legitimate crops (rather than growing drugs or taking payments from the enemy for sabotage) and convince wavering chieftains that cooperating is a better long-term plan than working with the enemy.

    *This could be really useful for missions that are extremely time-sensitive (e.g. special forces operations like Desert One — Iranian sandstorms created severe problems for Desert One).

    Enhanced intelligence could be used for better investigations (e.g. glancing at the detonating mechanism on a defused IED and figuring out useful information about the bomb-maker), ballistics (maybe determining the location of a shooter by glancing at the impact of the bullet), better research and design (more obviously, working in a lab somewhere on weapons and vehicles, but less obviously doing things like smart phone apps which can help soldiers detect bombs and unexploded ordnance), etc.

  468. rogon 03 Jul 2012 at 7:23 pm

    thanks, this can do a really good job helping me be more creative with the intelligence and suggesting magnetism, really cool ideas. I don’t really think i’ll be making superhumans that can control weather however, seems a bit too powerful for the kind of story I want to make, but thank you for the other stuff.

  469. Shadow Forceon 05 Jul 2012 at 4:09 am

    Hi there :)

    I’m thinking of plunging my heroine into a super-power filled world without any super powers herself (getting your power is kind of like going through puberty- it happens to everyone mostly). Would it be terribly flaky or mary-sue ish if she obtains a power towards the end- and even more so if its an unusual or powerful one. A good example would be from Lissa Dragomir in Vampire Academy- instead of having a ‘normal’ elemental ability, she has one thought to be dead.

    Your site rocks by the way and has made me reconsider even non-super hero books. (It even got me thinking on this plot :D )

  470. Superheroes « To Know Betteron 10 Jul 2012 at 7:40 pm

    [...] walls, etc. Superheroes mean serious business, and they have the powers to back up their promises. This is a superhero-worthy list of superpowers that goes into depth on all of the possibilities, by category. Who doesn’t want to have that [...]

  471. Leegirlon 12 Jul 2012 at 9:09 pm

    This is kind of an outlandish thought, but I think that every superpower is sort of cliche. I wanna be able to make up a new ability that no one’s ever thought of before. Of course that’s going to be next to impossible cuz Stan Lee and DC comics have done something close to that. But guys seriously, what if there were other superpowers out there? I’d love to make a story out of that.

  472. B. McKenzieon 12 Jul 2012 at 9:52 pm

    “This is kind of an outlandish thought, but I think that every superpower is sort of cliche.” Not so outlandish, although occasionally someone will come up with something out of the blue (e.g. as far as I know, webbing and danger-sense are original to Spider-Man). The good news here is that you can tell an awesome superhero story with very unoriginal superpowers. For example, Watchmen is very possibly the best superhero series introduced within the last 30 years, but only one of its characters (Dr. Manhattan) has remotely creative superpowers, and even those came largely from Captain Atom. The Incredibles was an incredible superhero movie, but it used basic powers almost entirely from the Fantastic Four. I’d recommend focusing on personality and character development instead.

    Failing that, unusual costs or limitations might make a conventional superpower feel unique. For example, Magneto was hardly the first telekinetic character, but he was probably the first telekinetic character whose power only applies to metal. Bitter Seeds was hardly the first story with magic, but the magic comes across as fairly memorable because the magic is fueled by making horrible sacrifices to angry spirits.

  473. Anonymouson 13 Jul 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Hey everybody, got a question. Well, more of a concern. Basically I just need input. So I’ve got a whole group of characters running around my universe that are wielding a special kind of magic. They use magic to summon creatures from another dimension. Some choose to summon only a handful of creatures that they’ve acquired through a process of ‘trial and error’. Some are capable of summoning a vast array of creatures. And rare among them, are those that are dubbed ‘kinship’ summoners. These magic users can summon only one creature but they are capable of altering this creature to adjust it to a variety of situations.

    Basically I’m concerned about differentiating a whole lot of characters that can summon. I mean I know some characters might summon the same of similar creatures. I just don’t want my potential readers to get bored. Any questions, comments or insight will be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys.

  474. Aj of Earthon 13 Jul 2012 at 12:44 pm

    @Anonymous

    Perhaps theming each characters summons with elements particular only to that character? Ex.: Character X’s summons are all made of shadow because the character… where Character Y’s summons require some sort of tithe in exchange for its services because the character… Or maybe a character can only summon during the day. You get the idea.

    Use what you know. Brainstorm some creative ways to reflect the qualities of your characters through the beings they summon and I bet that would help make them really unique. :)

  475. Rebekkaon 31 Jul 2012 at 7:13 pm

    thanks to you i can continue my stories and make them better! i hope you add more that are unique and out of this world.

  476. Rachelon 07 Aug 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Hey, I’m fourteen and I’m trying to write my first novel. Roughly, the plot is that an ex-gov scientist experimented on kids when they were young and now they have powers, then the gov takes them in and trains them to defeat the guy who made them. They were all taken from their foster homes to live at a secret gov building they call the ‘complex’.The main character is Hazel, and I’m not sure what her powers are yet. I’m leaning towards the idea of having her be able to control energy (ex. she can stop a bullet speeding toward her by controlling the energy particles in the air to create a sort of force field. Or she can infuse energy into an injured or dying person to help heal them)
    Are there any suggestions to help improve her?
    And I could really use some help figuring out powers for the others:
    Gavin–the guy Hazel falls in love with, really muscular–maybe super strength??
    Blake–the rebel, doesn’t like the way they are treated, hates being a “freak”
    Raina–kinda like the popular girl of the group, really beautiful
    Mason–the teacher’s/trainer’s pet
    Calvin–the quiet one
    Andrea–nice, becomes Hazel’s best friend at the complex
    Please Help!!!!!!Thanks

  477. Rachelon 07 Aug 2012 at 10:52 pm

    Oh! Almost forgot:
    I want one or two of the “heroes” to turn into villians later on in the story, perhaps when they go to battle the evil scientist. Hazel definitely stays good, but which one(s) should become bad?? Or just become unsure, not good but not overly bad??
    And how should the ‘good’ find out about them? I’m trying not to be to cliche, but I don’t know how to further the story from the common themes.

  478. Edgukatoron 07 Aug 2012 at 11:51 pm

    Hi Rachel,

    Some thoughts,

    - The ability to control energy is kind of a biggie, and the two uses you mention are vastly different, suggesting that your character to basically use it to do anything she wanted. I recommend reading this article:

    http://www.superheronation.com/2011/04/13/superpowers-checklist/

    to help define the powers.

    - Beware of the word “nice” as a character trait. B.Mac explains it here:

    http://www.superheronation.com/2009/06/15/please-do-not-make-your-characters-generically-nice/

    - Why would a government agency risk the lives of teenagers to get revenge on a mad scientist? That would be an act of child endangerment.

    - As for who to turn evil, I think you need to deeply think about your characters and your villain.

    First, nobody thinks that they’re evil – well, there are some cases where people have psychological issues, but generally they are a lot less evil than people who think they’re doing good. People like Stalin and Hitler, for example, believed that everything they were doing was for the betterment of their people, which made it a lot easier for them to commit such horrible acts.

    Anyway, think first about your bad guy. Who is he and why did he carry out these experiments? What was he hoping to achieve? Then, flesh out your teenagers and think how they would react to bad guys motives.

    A good example is can be found in X-Men: First Class. And MAJOR SPOILER ALERT (if you haven’t seen the movie, I’m sorry)

    (I recommend reading B.Mac’s breakdown here: http://www.superheronation.com/2012/07/12/learning-writing-skills-from-x-men-first-class/)

    We believe Magneto, and to a lesser degree Mystique’s turn to the bad side because the choices are consistent with the character that has been developed throughout the story. Magneto has seen the worst of humanity, and while he opposes the bad guy, it’s out of a need for revenge. Meanwhile, Mystique struggles throughout the movie with how she looks, and when she is rejected by two of the “heroes”, but embraced by Magneto, she knows where her allegiance lies.

    On the other hand, another character (Angel Salvadore) switches sides, there is the barest of explanations as to why.

    Come up with a clear goal for your bad guy, define who your teenagers are, and then find plausible reasons your teenagers would be attracted to the bad guy’s goals.

  479. Rachelon 08 Aug 2012 at 9:30 am

    Edjukator,
    Thanks for the advice, it was really helpful!
    For the main character’s ability, I think I’m going to cut off the healing bit, and just go with the force field sort of thing, and possibly combining that with being able to teleport herself a short distance (no more then ten feet or so) by rearranging her body into pure energy and transporting it to a different spot. This will make her a good defensvie fighter.

    To answer the question of why the bad guy is evil, and why he experimented on the teenagers, it was an illegal test which is why he got fired in the first place. This made him angry, and trying to get back at the gov, he experimented on himself and became insane in the process. He believes he is saving the world by creating superhumans to defend against other countries.

    The government is just trying to tie up loose ends, they don’t want uncontrolled teenagers with powers running loose, so they train them to fight the villian, not really caring whether they get hurt or not. If the kids and the villian all die, then its a win-win for them(they obviously don’t tell the heroes about this, but a few of them have suspicions which causes them to take the villains side to help take down the gov)

    Motive for fighting villian:they think of it as their duty, and the gov basically brainwashes them. They can’t leave the complex until they fight the villian because they are dangerous to others.

    ‘Nice’ was just referring to that out of the two other girls there, one is mean to the MC because she fears MC might become more popular, basic high-school cliques, just in super heroe form. The other girl helps stand up for MC and becomes her friend.

  480. YellowJujuon 12 Aug 2012 at 11:37 pm

    What kind of powers do you imagine a robot having? They dont have to be “super” but just things that are implied I guess.
    For example not “It can turn invisible.” More along the lines of “It’s stronger than a human being.”

  481. B. McKenzieon 12 Aug 2012 at 11:50 pm

    “What kind of powers do you imagine a robot having? They dont have to be “super” but just things that are implied I guess.” I think you have a lot of options here. Increased strength/endurance and reflexes/mental speed strike me as very intuitive. I could also envision that it’d be somewhat lacking in creativity and innovation (e.g. it might struggle to deal with problems it hasn’t encountered before). If you had something in mind like ranged weaponry (e.g. a laser and/or firearms), it would be believable if the robot was more accurate than a human would be.

    Alternately (or additionally), you could go in a more exotic direction. For example, Terminator 2 had robots which could shapeshift, a capability not usually associated with robots.

  482. mythos manon 13 Aug 2012 at 2:53 am

    hey what do you think of lightning as a power for a super strong flight superhero

  483. YoungAuthoron 13 Aug 2012 at 6:03 am

    Lightning is a very compatible power for a flight/super strength power hero.

  484. ewanon 14 Aug 2012 at 11:07 am

    who is your favourite superhero or heroine mines got to the flash or kid flash

  485. Ragged Boyon 14 Aug 2012 at 11:26 am

    Black Panther for Marvel. Batman for DC. Personally, I’m a fan of the human level heroes. Even if they have some pretty superhuman resources.

  486. Braden H.on 15 Aug 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Pardon me, super power gurus.
    I’m working on a character for a story… not exactly a generic superhero (no tights) but he has a super human ability. The character is already athletic and strong, but an ability that improves his fighting style (which is just punching, kicking and jumping around) would work best. Something that alters his body perhaps, nothing telekinetic.
    Help is greatly appreciated! :D

    also, my favorite super hero is Captain America. Yeah!

  487. B. McKenzieon 15 Aug 2012 at 3:46 pm

    In keeping with the theme (no tights, not exactly a superhero), I think generic physical abilities would be the most intuitive approach. For a somewhat more superheroic feel, maybe generic physical abilities + a minor power or two for flavor (e.g. Spider-Man uses generic physical abilities plus webbing and danger-sense and Captain America uses generic physical abilities plus uncommon proficiency with a sci-fi shield).

  488. C_C_Son 15 Aug 2012 at 5:31 pm

    I like to create superheroes with personalities and powers just for fun. Someone mentioned this set of powers might be over powered. Thoughts?

    Power: : Either with reflective surfaces/mirrors or a reflective surface that she creates with her hands, she can use it to reflect back an energy based power or elemental based (but only fire and water, not earth and rarely air) power at the same force as it was sent towards her. The mirror/reflective surface can also be used as a force field that breaks after one use, and even as transportation if she’s visited the place before. She can only transport one other person with him and no more than that. Lastly, with a lot of concentration she can use mirrors as viewing screens but she must be using one mirror to look through another

    Flaws: Can only transport herself, if she tries to transport someone else, she collapses and goes into a coma for a length of time dependent on the distance travelled. Each force field breaks after one hit, and it takes some effort to create them, so it tires her out. Can only reflect energy based power and only fire and water elemental based powers. Her eyes are light sensitive as her eyes are composed like mirrors and that intensifies her sensitivity to light

    Also, this character has more of a chameleon type personality with a manipulative side and I wanted her powers to show how she basically “reflects” what people want to see in a person (If that make sense… It sounded better in my head) to get what she wants/needs

  489. Braden H.on 15 Aug 2012 at 6:37 pm

    So the mirrors reflect energy, but not matter I assume, hence their being easily broken. That works well as a weakness I suppose, she couldn’t stand a chance against characters like the Hulk, cause they can just smash her mirrors, but she can still evade them. She doesn’t seem too over powered to me. It sounds good!

    In response to B. McKenzie, for the purposes of the story, I can give the character generic abilities like you said, all I need to figure out is the minor power. Thanks for the helpful suggestion.

  490. C_C_Son 15 Aug 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Thanks Braden! And your first sentence is something I’ve been trying to explain about her powers, but didn’t know how to, so that really helped!

  491. crsitofon 16 Aug 2012 at 2:21 pm

    I’m working on a book about a bunch of teenagers that take certain pill that give them powers but I’m having trouble explaining how the main conflict starts between the team of people who use their powers for good and the organization of criminals that uses their powers for evil. I mean i know what their plan is and all that but i need advice about how to have the doctor who created the pills tell the main character about it.

  492. Braden H.on 16 Aug 2012 at 10:40 pm

    Feel free to ignore me if the following doesn’t suit your story, but maybe the “doctor” tested the first pills on the villains, causing some bad effect that could make them evil, then perfected the pills and gave them to the heroes, so they can stop the villains. Perhaps the original pills have some sort of addictive effect, and the bad guys are hunting and killing for supplies to make more.
    Is that of any use?

  493. Hotrod198on 17 Aug 2012 at 2:33 am

    I wanna give some characters some side abilities as well as their main ones. But I am stuck.

    So far, I’ve used some of the elements as main powers and giving them an extra power, as follows:

    Water Manipulation-Regeneration of body parts
    Earth Manipulation-Super Strength
    Wind Manipulation-Flight
    Thunder Manipulation-Super Speed (Thunder sounds cooler than lightning, but it is really lightning manipulation)
    Shadow Manipulation-Teleportation

    Now, where I’m stuck is with these:

    Fire Manipulation-I’m not sure what to give him as a secondary ability
    Energy Manipulation (Psychic powers)- Also not sure what to do here either. Was thinking the ability to make copies of himself.

  494. Gnomeon 17 Aug 2012 at 5:31 pm

    I have a question:
    Today i got an idea for a novel. Basically, there is an entire city full of supers. Each person is born with powers. The Super Council, a group of leaders, decreed that when each person turns 16, they must choose a costume, name and side. Villians cannot commit crimes outside of the city, and heroes cant kill. These are the laws set forth by the council. The book follows Nate Richmond, a boy who can control the weather. On his 16th birthday, his parents are murderd by a villian called shadowhawk. She breaks the rules by fleeing to LA, so Nate decides to follow her and break the rules as well, by killing her. The Council hears about his plan, and he is declared a fugitive. Now he must defeat shadowhawk aswell as other heroes. However, his adoptive father, inferno, is with him. They also meet a vigilante called Red Raven in LA who aids them. My question is, how do I start this book? Should I explain the reason why everyone has powers, or start another way?

  495. Gnomeon 17 Aug 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Also, I am not sure whether to tell this in the first or third person.

  496. Super79on 17 Aug 2012 at 7:52 pm

    A good way might be having an introduction by a narrator. A short, epic speech describing the setting, and perhaps introducing some characters.

  497. crsitofon 17 Aug 2012 at 8:37 pm

    it all depends on what psychic ability you end up giving him/her but at least i feel that teleportation would be a good pair with fire manipulation

  498. mythos manon 18 Aug 2012 at 1:28 am

    Gnome
    “Today i got an idea for a novel. Basically, there is an entire city full of supers. Each person is born with powers. The Super Council, a group of leaders, decreed that when each person turns 16, they must choose a costume, name and side. Villians cannot commit crimes outside of the city, and heroes cant kill. These are the laws set forth by the council. The book follows Nate Richmond, a boy who can control the weather. On his 16th birthday, his parents are murderd by a villian called shadowhawk. She breaks the rules by fleeing to LA, so Nate decides to follow her and break the rules as well, by killing her. The Council hears about his plan, and he is declared a fugitive. Now he must defeat shadowhawk aswell as other heroes. However, his adoptive father, inferno, is with him. They also meet a vigilante called Red Raven in LA who aids them.”

    this sounds really, really good. shadowhawk,red raven are sick superhuman names.

    the idea of a super council setting rules for superheroes and supervillians is really cool.
    i also love the idea of the boy being a fugitive and having to fight villains as well as heroes. good stuff

  499. mythos manon 18 Aug 2012 at 1:30 am

    Gnome

    instead of them being heroes their more like super powered enforcers who are tasked to make sure that the rules are kept. i’d sugest having the council as superhumans who officially take no sides but have a bunch of members unofficially working as villains.

  500. Gnomeon 18 Aug 2012 at 4:56 am

    That was what I was going to do, mythos man. You’ve helped a ton, thanks. I know how to start the book now, but should i tell it in first or third person?

  501. Gnomeon 18 Aug 2012 at 5:03 am

    Also, Nate can control the weather, so his codename is going to be Stormy Knight. He wears a suit of armor.

  502. Edgukatoron 18 Aug 2012 at 7:30 am

    @ Gnome – you may want to check out Alan Moore’s Top 10, which has a similar idea of a city where everybody has superpowers, but it sounds like a completely different tone to what you have developed. It might give you ideas of the things you have to think about when creating your world…

  503. McBurchmanon 20 Aug 2012 at 8:10 pm

    What’s the best best super power for someone who rides a bicycle?

  504. B. McKenzieon 20 Aug 2012 at 9:03 pm

    “What’s the best superpower for someone who rides a bicycle?” I generally wouldn’t recommend picking superpowers based on choice of vehicle. Also, unless you’re writing a really wacky comedy, hopefully the character isn’t using a bicycle in combat*, so superpower selection wouldn’t have much of an effect on vehicle selection (or vice versa).

    *Unless we’re talking about a motorcycle?

  505. Maxon 21 Aug 2012 at 5:30 am

    BMX bandit!!!

  506. Ragged Boyon 21 Aug 2012 at 9:38 am

    Brainstorming: What types of powers would benefit a character with medical aspirations?

    Enhanced senses and controlled synesthesia: Combining touch, hearing, and sight could give a person the ability to x-ray people. Smell could be used to detect health and toxins. A character can equate a certain aspect of a person’s body with a medical condition (“Hmm, feels like grey with a hint of violet. Either the common cold or scurvy. I can never tell.”). Could be used with “the sixth sense” to detect life/vitality.

    Selective intangibility: Perform operations without incisions (strong knowledge of anatomy required). Removes toxins and obstructions by hand.

    Enhanced memory or photographic memory: Learn and remember procedures quickly.

    Biological manipulation (I like it, but it’s way too easy. Maybe it can be limited): Control cellular division and glands. Control blood flow and neural systems. Literal healing hands.

    Toxicological manipulation: Make remedies, antidotes, vitamins, and performance enhancers. Make poisons?

    I’m thinking of using the enhanced senses and synesthesia along with some type of minor glandular manipulation through touch. I just don’t know if the latter of those abilities will make him overpowered If you guys have any other ideas feel free to post them. I could use any assistance available.

  507. Janon 21 Aug 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Some sort of see-through-skin X-ray vision could be helpful.

  508. Ragged Boyon 21 Aug 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Yeah, the x-ray was what I was going for with the synesthesia. But I’m sure x-ray vision alone would be invaluable to the prospective medic. Thanks.

  509. Kipppermoon 30 Aug 2012 at 8:48 pm

    What about a story of kids with, rather then super abilities, they have super disabilities. I thought of a story of two kids who have super hardships rather then powers, one is a kid that randomly travels through time with no control over it and the other is a kid that travels through different dimensions(or verisons of our world) without control over it either, not really something I’ve thought a ton about just thought it would be a cool idea, any thoughts?

  510. B. Macon 30 Aug 2012 at 9:38 pm

    “I thought of a story of two kids who have super hardships rather then powers, one is a kid that randomly travels through time with no control over it and the other is a kid that travels through different dimensions…” That sounds promising, although as with superpowers, I’d definitely recommend making sure that the characters have more going on than their capabilities (or, umm, anti-capabilities ;-) ).

  511. Kipppermoon 31 Aug 2012 at 5:43 am

    More going as in?

  512. B. McKenzieon 31 Aug 2012 at 6:09 am

    Personality/distinguishing traits, memorable goals/motivations, interesting conflicts/relationships, evolution/development over time, maybe voice, etc.

  513. Kipppermoon 31 Aug 2012 at 7:01 am

    Well yes for the characters I would do that, like I said I haven’t really thought about it all that much just wondering if it seemed a good idea, or a good place to start.

  514. Emily M.on 31 Aug 2012 at 9:23 am

    Hi! One of my main characters, Spitfire, is blunt, mean-spirited, snarky, and hard-edged. This is a result of being verbally bullied by two vigilantes when she was twelve.

    She has the power of vocal/sound manipulation, but I’m taking a different approach to it.
    Instead of giving her the classic Canary Cry/Sonic Scream, the emphasis is on what Spitfire says. She can destroy buildings, start wildfires, & reduce enemies to tears with just a few vicious insults. The catch is once she’s started, she doesn’t know when to stop. She takes out her rage on enemies and innocent people just for looking at her the wrong way.

    Would this work as a superpower? And are Spitfire’s personality and origin story interesting enough to keep the reader’s attention?

  515. B. McKenzieon 31 Aug 2012 at 9:51 am

    I really like her personality and the challenge that she doesn’t know when to stop.



    The power vaguely reminds me of Umbrella Academy’s Rumor (a character that bends reality with words). One potential concern is that it may be hard (especially for male readers) to take the character seriously–the idea of trash-talking an opponent to tears sounds more CW than BAMF. I don’t know–I’m probably not in the target audience for the work and I would especially recommend running it past beta readers in the target audience (ladies 12-18, I’m guessing). The bullying/bullied aspect of the origin story might also present obstacles with male readers–personally, I feel like it might make it harder for me to enjoy the character’s perspective, particularly if the bullying happened a long, long time ago but she still hadn’t gotten over it.

    *How old is the character? If the character isn’t ~12-15, I’d recommend having her traumatic moment come at a later age than 12 (i.e. making it more recent and easier for older readers to take it seriously).

  516. Emily M.on 31 Aug 2012 at 11:49 am

    Spitfire is seventeen years-old.
    And I can definitely see how male readers wouldn’t be sold on a pint-sized teenager who picks fights because the big kids hurt her feelings. It does sound a bit lame.

    What if the cause of Spitfire’s bad temper ran much deeper than just being called names? Would it be more interesting if the source of Spitfire’s rage was her loss of faith in superheroes as a whole?

  517. B. McKenzieon 31 Aug 2012 at 12:13 pm

    “What if the cause of Spitfire’s bad temper ran much deeper than just being called names? Would it be more interesting if the source of Spitfire’s rage was her loss of faith in superheroes as a whole?” That sounds more promising. One possibility: most superheroes would, without much mental difficulty or inner conflict, choose to save 2+ people even if it meant that they were unable to save 1 other person. In a very abstract, utilitarian way, that makes sense. However, if you were the son/daughter/spouse/best friend of the one other person that got left to die, that utilitarian reasoning might feel cold and/or inhumane, especially if the superheroes in question treated it like there was never any option of saving the last person and/or were trying to cover their asses in some way. (I think most superheroes, especially experienced superheroes, would try to shield themselves from worrying about what they could have done differently because that is a road which probably ends in hopelessness and doubt–there might also be legal and/or career implications to admitting fault).

  518. Emily M.on 31 Aug 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Thank you! I’ve been trying to incorporate the idea of vigilantes abusing their power into the storyline, but I have no idea how to incorporate it without the motivations sounding childish.

  519. B. Macon 31 Aug 2012 at 3:05 pm

    “I’ve been trying to incorporate the idea of vigilantes abusing their power into the storyline without the motivations sounding childish.” Another possibility would be that the hero had the opportunity to save 2+ people but opted to instead save 1 person that mattered more to him (e.g. saving Mary Jane rather than a few random bystanders).

  520. Emily M.on 31 Aug 2012 at 3:58 pm

    “Another possibility would be that the hero had the opportunity to save 2+ people but opted to instead save 1 person that mattered more to him (e.g. saving Mary Jane rather than a few random bystanders).”
    So let’s say that the sidekick, Adam Average, was in a situation where he had the opportunity to save either the heroes or Spitfire. And in the end, Adam chooses to save the heroes, who treat him like dirt, rather than the little girl that looked up to him.

    It would be more interesting and dramatic for Spitfire to hold a grudge against Adam rather than the heroes. It would also give the reader a look at Adam’s perspective
    What’s ironic is that she actually winds up working alongside the very same sidekick that abandoned her. He now goes by the name Poindexter and is unrecognizable without his mask. Spitfire doesn’t recognize him, but Poindexter remembers Spitfire all too clearly. Spitfire serves as a haunting reminder that the little girl he failed to rescue did die that day, in a sense.

    I think some of the story just wrote itself. THANK YOU.

  521. B. McKenzieon 31 Aug 2012 at 4:04 pm

    “It would be more interesting and dramatic for Spitfire to hold a grudge against Adam rather than the heroes. It would also give the reader a look at Adam’s perspective…” I think blaming Adam more for this is very intuitive–it’s not the heroes making this decision.

    “I think some of the story just wrote itself. Thank you.” You’re welcome.

  522. Emily M.on 31 Aug 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Now the fun part will be writing a scene in which Poindexter faces the music. And Spitfire’s reaction.

  523. scarletton 01 Sep 2012 at 8:01 am

    Is pyscometry useful in combat in any way?

  524. Aj of Earthon 01 Sep 2012 at 8:47 am

    Hi there Scarlett

    Good question. I’d say it depends entirely on the context of your character’s situation. I think overall non-physical psychic powers (mind reading, astral projection, psychometry, etc.) are generally a little more difficult, though not impossible, to use effectively in high-action/combat scenes, if for no other consideration than the mere concentration and subtlety of their nature. That said, however, feel free to think outside the box.

    Perhaps one of the bad guys in the fight is a complete unknown to the heroes; shadowy, mysterious. If by chance the psychometrist can get their hands on this person, or on an object or weapon this bad guy is using, the heroes would be able to gleam a little more information about them. It doesn’t need to be an Ah-Ha! moment, in which everything about the villain is revealed, but what little pieces the psychometrist picks up might be enough to point the heroes in the right direction. That sort of thing…

    Ultimately, and I think most importantly, actively decide what your character is trying to accomplish in the scene. Is there a specific intent for the psychometrist? A motive? Is there a really good reason to risk injury or death for this character just so they can use their powers? Or would it be better to let the tank take care of business and then have the psychometrist “interrogate” the bad guy’s personal belongings after? Think about it. In either case, as long as you understand what your characters are doing and why, I see no reason why you couldn’t utilize your psi during a combat scene. Especially since it moves away from the stereotype that psychics are sideline characters only when it comes to hand to hand combat. Dig it.

    Good luck! :)

  525. B. McKenzieon 01 Sep 2012 at 12:46 pm

    “Is psychometry useful in combat in any way?” I could imagine that it might be useful to tip the character off to an ambush. But, aside from that, it might be hard to work into a combat. It might help to give the character some other ability if combat is a major aspect of the story. For example, mind-reading and telekinesis are psychic abilities which lend themselves more directly to combat (e.g. a mind-reader can gain a tactical advantage by reading the opponent’s minds).

  526. Emily M.on 03 Sep 2012 at 11:03 am

    “I think blaming Adam more for this is very intuitive–it’s not the heroes making this decision.” Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

  527. B. Macon 03 Sep 2012 at 3:25 pm

    “‘I think blaming Adam more for this is very intuitive–it’s not the heroes making this decision.’ Is that a good thing or a bad thing?” If your goal is establishing a conflict between Adam and Spitfire, I think it would help that the conflict is believable. In contrast, if she had NOT had a good reason to blame Adam, the conflict would have been weaker.

  528. Emily M.on 03 Sep 2012 at 6:50 pm

    “If your goal is establishing a conflict between Adam and Spitfire, I think it would help that the conflict is believable. In contrast, if she had NOT had a good reason to blame Adam, the conflict would have been weaker.” In other words, if the conflict was based solely on a personality clash, it would make the plot & relationship between the two characters shallow?
    Adam (Poindexter) knows his abandonment of Chickadee (had to change Spitfire’s name) is the root of her rage and her destructive power. He’s haunted by what he didn’t do. He believes that by not abandoning Chickadee this time around, he’ll be in her good graces. But Chickadee’s pretty outspoken on how much she hates Adam Average, so he feels very uncomfortable around her.
    Conversely, Chickadee is confused by Poindexter’s distant, painfully shy nature. He’s the closest thing to a friend she has, but she gets the vibe that Poindexter is scared of her. While Chickadee wants revenge on the boy who made her life a living hell, Poindexter wants to find forgiveness and regain his peace of mind. The problem is if Poindexter tells Chickadee who he is, she’ll turn against him, or worse.
    Chickadee takes out her rage on other people and Poindexter keeps his sadness bottled up inside.
    Until the two can acknowledge the elephant in the room, neither can let the past go.

    Would that work as a conflict?

  529. Ravenon 09 Sep 2012 at 2:45 pm

    I’m thinking of writing a novel and i want to know what everyone thinks of this idea and my characters.
    So heres the idea:
    People are born with superpowers that don’t show up until around the age of 14, the government takes the supers to a facility where they brainwash them and turn them into soliders to opress the normal people. Ten girls escape the facility and form five hidden bases in five important cities, NYC, Boston, Seattle, Chicago, and LA. Their mission is to find people with the Omega gene (super powers) and protect them in the hope that they will one day overthrow the government.
    Plot:
    My story follows Base 5 in LA where Marcy Evers and Kayla Carmicheal run the base but have not yet been able to save anyone from the gov. They then run across these two brothers who both have the Omega gene and are on the run. They take them in and try to train them but the base is attacked and they have to find the others before the other bases are destroyed as well.
    Characters:
    Marcy Evers: age 16, black, and is originally from San Francisco where her family died trying to stop the Alphas (the brainwashed supers) from taking her, musical, sarcastic, a little shy and quiet, and was a dancer before her powers came. Powers: she can manipulate earth and can turn people to stone with one touch.
    Kayla Carmicheal: age 15, bubbly, a little naive, gentle, creative, blonde hair blue eyes, originally from New Orleans so she has a slight southern accent, she was born into a fanily of normals, has an older sister. Powers: she can manipulate light and darkness, can make light solid, and can blind people. She can also fly.
    Ian Benson: age 17, Josh Benson’s older brother, his powers came late, sarcastic, bad boy, has a low self confidence but hides it, would do anything for brother, speaks his mind, good solider. Powers: can manipulate his aura (aura blasts or solidify it to make a kind of force field) and the auras of other people, it is extremely draining.
    Josh Benson: age 15, Ian Benson’s younger brother, warm, kind, his powers came first, does wrong thing for right reasons, questions everything. Powers: absorbtion (his body becomes what ever inorganic material he touches), can control it but has the weakness of the material. ex: glass breaks or metal melts

    I would really like some input if this is a good idea and I am open to suggestions. Thanks!

  530. Ravenon 09 Sep 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Oh and the brothers are from San Diego where they ran away to protect Josh from the Alphas but then Ian’s powers show up when they meet Marcy and Kayla in downtown LA.

  531. Cayon 14 Sep 2012 at 4:28 am

    Hi! I love Gambit ^^ for those of you who have no clue what I’m talking about, Gambit is part of the X-Men!! ^^ I love his power… Kinetic Energy Manipulation

  532. YellowJujuon 14 Sep 2012 at 7:08 am

    All of us probably know who Gambit is. lol

  533. B. McKenzieon 14 Sep 2012 at 11:12 am

    “All of us probably know who Gambit is.” Perhaps. With people younger than 20 (especially those that do not read comics), I would not be so sure. Outside of comics and video games, he hasn’t had all that much exposure over the past 15 years. I vaguely remember he had a bit part in Wolverine’s movie and two cartoon series, but at least 20 characters in the X-Men franchise have had more screentime.

  534. Cayon 14 Sep 2012 at 2:30 pm

    I’m 13, and I still know how he is lol ^^

  535. Cayon 14 Sep 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Did u know that Gambit is the 65th fan favorite superhero? (out of 100) ad Gambits been in many things, not too recently, but he was first created by the X-Men

  536. Comicbookguyon 14 Sep 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Raven, I find the charactera and their powers to be interesting. But what really has my attention is the plot. An opressive government

  537. Comicbookguyon 14 Sep 2012 at 8:01 pm

    Raven, I like your characters and their powers. But what really interests me is your plot. An opressive government WITH an army of brainwashed supers? I mean how do you fight that? I’m very interested to find out how all your characters will handle this fight.

  538. B. McKenzieon 14 Sep 2012 at 10:56 pm

    “I’m 13, and I still know who he is.” Would you happen to remember how you first encountered the character? (TV, movies, comics, or something else?) I’m always interested to see how stories/characters spread.

    PS: On a possibly related side-note, one teacher in a juvenile detention facility asked his students what sort of superheroes they were most interested in. I guessed that the superheroes that resonated the most among this audience would probably be Batman or Spider-Man (mostly-likable characters that have conflicts with the police and deal with fairly realistic problems on the home front) or maybe the Hulk. The overwhelming favorite was actually Iron Man. That initially appeared counterintuitive (how much does an adult billionaire MIT valedictorian have in common with juvenile detainees?), but I can see how a lot of guys (in particular) might look up to him: he’s brilliant, tough/determined and charismatic… the trifecta of manliness. A few of the students noted that Stark made his own luck more than most other heroes did (e.g. surviving as a hostage more through his own ingenuity than by being born a Kryptonian or getting a lucky spider-bite).

  539. Ravenon 15 Sep 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Comicbookguy, I was thinking that a way to fight it was that they would destroy the brainwashing facility freeing all the supers inside. What I’m having trouble with is how to free all the supers already brainwashed. Any ideas?

  540. Thorgronon 15 Sep 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Hello Everyone!

    I am currently fairly deep into writing what I intend to be a superhero novel. i have a slew of characters with powers I have tried very hard to keep from the usual (fire, super-strength, flight, etc.). The plot is a little complex but basically there is a man born with limitless potential (he can be or do anything) but refuses to use his abilities for fear that he will not use them justly. For years he is studied by the government and currently a group known generically as the Agency. After some time he can no longer handle the burden, wipes his own mind and turns his body into a flower. This flowers pollen is viral, with two strains being released ( Alpha-which gives people manipulation abilities like control over water or air, and Omega-which causes physical changes in someone’s body). This virus sweeps the United States, killing most who become infected and giving powers to a small percent. The story focuses on a small group bent on curing the virus.
    They are;

    Issac Specter: Personality- loner, brash, has a need to prove to himself that he is worth something. Life- mid twenties, lives alone, works as a key-grip, competed in underground fighting rings for amusement. Powers-Omega- cannot be detected by the five senses as well as being unable to be remembered, except by the few characters who can see him, items he is in physical possession of take on the same properties as himself

    Alistair Gendo: Personality- devoted, intelligent, driven, will do anything for his son. Life- lost his wife in car accident, late thirties, heart surgeon, rarely home, spends all free time with son. Powers-Omega- after the death of his son at the hands of his babysitter, Alistair ripped out his own heart and implanted it into the body of his son in a fit of insanity, he and his son our now linked, both bodies controlled by Alistair’s mind, however the son’s body is the only one alive and healthy, Alistairs is dead but unkillable, Alistair can also remove the hearts of other’s and implant them into his son’s chest, gaining control of that body

    Toby Eckrin: Personality-flighty, apathetic, sneaky, money hungry, Life-grew up poor and on the streets, late teens, always looking for a way to make money. Powers-Alpha- with enough focus he can force himself or a situation to be lucky in his or another’s favor

    The Conducter: Personality- kind, quick to act, not very intelligent, honest. Life- passionate for lacrosse and music, early twenties, broke his leg freshman year of college rendering him unable to play lacrosse. Powers- can create sound with thought, can condense and project it how he sees fit, often into large blasts of concentrated sound he refers to as “dropping the bass”

    Let me know what all of you think, I’m open to suggestions and would love to here your comments. Thanks!

  541. Thorgronon 15 Sep 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Sorry i forgot to mention that the Conductor is an Alpha :)

  542. Yuuki12on 16 Sep 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Hello everyone. If anyone would mind, I need some help, regarding a superhero style short story I am writing. The basis for me writing this story is (aside from just wanting to), is to get prepared for National Novel Writing Month.

    Now I understand the differences between short story writing and novel writing in regards to mechanics, but I need some feedback in regards to my main character, Jenny’s superpower. I understand personality matters more than powers, but I wish to see if they are balanced.

    Here’s the two sentence summary:

    “Being blessed by Tonatiuh, an Aztec god, Jenny has gained the powers of the sun. She can generate manipulate, as well as become sunlight”

    I apologize if the two sentence summary was clunky, but I wished to convey the point. Jenny ‘s powers manifest as white yellow flames, which she calls “Helio Fire”. She has the basic attacks like fireballs and blasts.

    One variant is where she launches fireballs from her fingertips in the form of bullets. Alas, forgive the rambling.

    The major point has to deal with Jenny’s next characteristic of her power: elemental intangibility. As stated above, the character can transform herself briefly into fire to allow attacks, such as bullets, knives, to pass through.

    My major concern is that this might make her overpowered, given she can do this ability. It is here that I have a couple of solutions, but I don’t know if they are good enough.

    The first obvious weakness to this power is DURATION. To turn briefly intangible requires plenty of concentration for Jenny. That said, while being able to phase through stray gunfire and melee attacks, continuous attacks, like rapid machine gunfire, will push her to the brink.

    The second weakness to this variant is the idea of Active usage. Now, for Jenny to phase through an attack, she needs to see it and actively turn on the power. With that said, sudden or sneak attacks might catch her off guard and thus, cause her damage.

    This idea was inspired solely by Kitty Pride, whom after reading about, has a weakness where she needs to actively notice an assault beforehand in order to phase through it.

    Now in regards to her power as a whole, I do have one weakness to propose. Sunlight. Being that she’s an elemental, being connected with the element of the sun is important. This means that Jenny can be at her strongest.

    But in situations, such as nighttime, where sunlight is less, I think that while she has access to her powers, they are to a much more limited degree. So for example, while Jenny could launch off a few smaller attacks, fireballs and blasts etc.; large effects, like conjuring bright flashes and large solar flares, will exhaust her.

    Being that she is exposed to little or any heat, the effect can cause her to tire and potentially put her to the brink of death.

    Also, given that this is an undercover mission for the short-story, Jenny can’t be so flippant with her abilities, with how that could jeopardize the task she has to do.

    All in all, how is that? If anyone has any suggestions please don’t heistate to comment.

    P.S: I know this maybe off topic, but do you think I should give Jenny a unique mode of transportation? While I could easily have her fly (Using her powers to propel herself), I was thinking something else. Given that the setting of my story is steam-punk, I was considering a motocycle, but that’s kind of cliche.

    Perhaps, A special type of air surf board to which utilized her powers to fuel a steam powered engine, connected to a back propeller?

  543. B. McKenzieon 16 Sep 2012 at 9:19 pm

    I like the limitation that it’s an undercover mission, which would probably present major obstacles for someone with solar-themed powers. Additionally, I’d imagine that many of the missions would be conducted at night, so there’s some nice tie-in there with her other weakness.



    I’m not sure what tone and/or target audience you’re going for, but if you were going for a serious tone and an adult audience, I think a flying surfboard may create some challenges there. I think there’s also a bit of a genre disconnect between the mythological origin of her powers and the steampunk surfboard… it might be more coherent and require less explanation to tie her flight (if any) into the blessing–e.g. something like the ability to soar on thermals and/or sprout wings.



    One (probably minor) potential challenge I see is how you might incorporate these details about her superpowers into the story. The above description took 600 words. That’s a lot of space to cover one character’s superpowers, especially in a short story. If at all possible, I would recommend 1) slashing that length and 2) using whatever remains to also develop interesting character traits and/or significant plot points. For example, in The Incredibles, two characters spend a few sentences working the limitations of their powers into a discussion about how to save people from a burning building. These details are effective because they’re extremely relevant to the matter immediately at hand. In Bitter Seeds, the superpowers are fueled by demonic sacrifices, which helps develop the two main characters, the conflict between the two main protagonists, and the conflict between the protagonists and the demonic spirits requesting the sacrifices.

  544. Yuuki12on 17 Sep 2012 at 7:34 am

    @ B. McKenzie

    First thank you so much for responding back. In regards to the issue of describing the powers, I am more than aware of the issue. In terms of word count, a short story is about 7,000 words. Not very long. That said, I of course intend to take your adivce.

    Maybe, during a scene to which she is inside the bar ( the plot of the short story, being she needs to rescue the son of a wealthy Entrepreneur from a group of pirates), she unleashes a large solar flare. The effect, while blasting everyone, weakens Jenny where she’s exhausted.

    This would help explain her limitations, by showcasing them; instead of direct exposition. Of course a bit of dialogue could be added (by the wealthy tycoon asking what’s going on, perhaps?).

    In regards to transportation, I understand your concerns. The basis as to why I wanted to use a surf board was for purposes of creativity. But given the story is meant for adults, I can understand the disconnect.

    One method to give her flight, is by propulsion. By pointing her arms downward, she generates a downward thrust to which propels her in the air. Aside from high speed flight, she can utilize this power for stationary hovering.

    Might make for an interesting aerial fight scene. In regards to character traits, I’ll be sure to play them up. The post where list of character traits will be the area to which I describe that, seeing as it would be off topic here to do so.

  545. Dragondevilon 18 Sep 2012 at 3:50 am

    What can you suggest to give a superhero god-like or demon-like abilities?

    Examples:
    *Born to a god/demon
    *Blessing?(would it be believable?)
    *Curse
    etc…

    I would like some suggestions….Thanx a lot!

  546. Cayon 18 Sep 2012 at 1:27 pm

    @dragondevil
    I like where your going ^^ a power I would have as a god would be either creation or the knowledge everything. If you wouldn’t like those, then think of a power that god would have, and anyways, if your god then you can have whatever type of power right? But if I was a demon, I would have either mind-control or energy manipulation. Some examples of people with these powers are below:
    •Creation- well, god. He created everything, right?
    •Knowledge- Proffessor Xavier had a limit of his knowledge, but somehow knew just about everything. I’m sure you know this, but I’ll say it anyways, he is from X-Men.
    •Mind-control- Lelouch Vi Brittania, from Code Geass (awesome show, my fav).
    •Energy Manipulation- Gambit from X-Men… I am in love with that Cajun <3 ^^

    Hope this helped!! ^^

  547. Thorgronon 18 Sep 2012 at 7:05 pm

    I agree with Cay, and although I’m not a regular at this site (yet), I’d like to put in my two cents. If you are going to do god-like powers I would say it really depends on what god you are basing the powers on. Let’s say for example that the god you get your powers from is an Indian god of the hunt, then perhaps his powers relate to having heightened senses useful for tracking among other characteristics of various animals. Or maybe you are looking for something more divine in nature, then I would say to give them things like the ability to heal their allies, flight, the power to see the future, and like Cay said abilities involving creation.

    Along the lines of the demons, I feel you open yourself up to a whole mess of interesting potential (I tend to lean towards the more evil side of abilities). Again I feel it depends what kind of demon your character is getting powers from. You can be anywhere from Spawn to Ghost Rider heck even Dr. Doom has some interactions with demons. But why not look at things like, energy draining, perhaps summoning of minor imps and demons, illusions, enhanced strength, and again as Cay said, mind control.

    Ultimately the powers you give your character should relate to his/her background and fit well with the character but I hope this has helped!

  548. Dragondevilon 19 Sep 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Thanx a lot guys!

    I would also like some suggestions on some unique origin for these powers….
    *What I mean is:If a character has demon-like abilities…then the origin of his power is a curse!
    *What other suggestions can you give?
    *like say…Magical artifact…Maybe he is the son of a demon…etc…

    I would really like some suggestions!

    Thanx! ^_^

  549. Cayon 19 Sep 2012 at 1:28 pm

    You could have the main character be a murder/thief in the begining and then a goddess appears before him. She punishes him for his actions by cursing him with the powers. Then he wants to get rid of his powers, do he tries to find the goddess. He turns good along the too. While he is good, he saves people’s lives and eventually comes up with a name that people can call him by (his super identity). But he learns to appreciate his powers along the way too. So when he finds the goddess, she asks him if he want to get rid of his powers as a reward for finding her. But he declines the offer and leaves. Then it could end with the goddess saying, “I turned a villain into a hero.”
    That’s just what I think would be cool. You don’t have to use that I’d you don’t want to ^^ hope I helped

  550. Dragondevilon 19 Sep 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Not a Bad idea!

    I will look into it! Thanx a lot!

    I wanted some ways in which a hero can gain these powers….hmm…

  551. Cayon 20 Sep 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Another way for him to get his powers is that he could be a mutant like the X-Men. Or maybe be was an experiment that the government created but he escaped. Maybe he was from a different planet and the sun here is different than his original sun, so it gives him powers (well that’s how Superman got his powers). Just think of some creative way, I’m sure you can think of somethin

  552. Dragondevilon 21 Sep 2012 at 3:40 am

    Lol….
    I did not mean these kind of stuff…. :P
    Just some plausible origins for a “MAGIC-based power” thats it….. ^_^

    I have made up lots of plausible origins…but coudnt round-off on one…

  553. Cayon 21 Sep 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Maybe they have magicin their blood, but they can only expell it out of a magic wand or scepter (like Sailor Moon) or maybe they just use their magic power with an object to make the attack more powerful ^.^

  554. V.P.on 28 Sep 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Another idea is that they recive an unsigned pakage or something with a ring or amulet inside that contains some form of magic in it that works oddly eg. charonic (death) communicatin, the ability to summon and control diffrent lizards like geckos or chamealeons or being able to teleport thins with sand,ect.

    and then it fuses to their skin or someting and has some negative effects also.

  555. The Drifteron 30 Sep 2012 at 5:17 am

    I don’t know if anyone is aware but there is a website called powerlisting.wikia.com, I think the site (along with this one) is a good tool to use if you are having trouble finding an ability for your character.

  556. Dekaveonon 05 Oct 2012 at 9:48 am

    My ability to boil, freeze, and manipulate water, It so cool. My power is the best.

  557. Plumon 08 Oct 2012 at 11:07 pm

    Well, hello there :) This is a character idea that is still very much in the works, but I need a second opinion before I really take off with this concept. So… She’s a girl with magical powers. I was thinking that to make it a little more unique, and to avoid the hassle of a spell/magical language, she casts her spells and whatnot using symbols of power (which she can only conjure under certain conditions).

    Honestly, I just need a second set of eyes and some feedback on whether or not this is a solid basic idea. Thanks! :D

  558. B. McKenzieon 09 Oct 2012 at 8:48 am

    It’s hard to tell at this very early stage of development, Plum, but I don’t think the character’s powers will add a whole lot to the story beyond what a more conventional magical system would do. In contrast, I’d recommend checking out the magical systems in The Amulet of Samarkand and Bitter Seeds. In particular, check out how the details of how the magic is fueled/used help develop characters, advance conflicts/relationships, lead to major choices by characters, contribute to interesting scenes, and add to the mood of the books. So far, it doesn’t sound like this character’s magic has that much going on. Granted, the story might be really successful on other fronts–e.g. Harry Potter was wildly successful on a number of levels despite a mostly generic magical system.

  559. Plumon 09 Oct 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Well, you see, the story is much more focused on her actions and interactions with a certain other character, and their flight from a seemingly faceless threat that wants our heroine for her power. Honestly, I just need help finding a good, solid power that the “faceless threat” will have a solid reason for needing.

    If you need me to go into more detail about the basic plot I’ve got forming, I’d be happy to elaborate :D

  560. Mr. Amazingon 12 Oct 2012 at 4:24 pm

    I was thinking about having a hero that can download a superpower as if it were an app, any ideas?

  561. Plumon 12 Oct 2012 at 5:21 pm

    So, like in the Matrix? :D

  562. Hobbeson 12 Oct 2012 at 6:16 pm

    What are the limits to his powers? The story would lose any suspense if he could just create any object/weapon out of nothing.

  563. B. McKenzieon 12 Oct 2012 at 7:11 pm

    Mr. Amazing, it might help to handle the superpowers through hardware/physical means (e.g. a particular chassis of a powersuit or a particular configuration of nanotechnology or a particular Terminator transformation, etc) rather than downloadable software. I think that would make it easier to limit the power that way (e.g. a more stealthy build might require skimping on armor or whatever).

  564. Mr. Amazingon 13 Oct 2012 at 9:06 am

    Or maybe through a wristwatch or gauntlet?

  565. B. McKenzieon 13 Oct 2012 at 10:22 am

    Sure. I think those would work, MA.

  566. CCXon 15 Oct 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Hi. I’m working on a super hero story and am a huge fan of marvel, x-men, and a few other superhero stories. I have read so many amazing books on powers, but i feel like if
    I write one, i’ll fail. The thing is, i don’t want one of the normal plots of teen kids going into a lab and being transformed. It’s classic, but not for me.if anyone has a suggistion for me- thats great. I did try one though, but it didn’t feel professional. Like, it was as if my heart was writing it- not my head. If anyone does have a plot, i’ll gladly listen to it. But i do want the main character to be a guy named Nathan and another main character named diana. If anyone has sugustions, please reply!

  567. B. McKenzieon 16 Oct 2012 at 12:43 am

    Hello, CCX. Because age does not make characters interesting, I would recommend using distinguishing traits to help develop the story. If I were evaluating manuscripts based on one-sentence premises, I’d be very likely to pass on either “Teens go into a lab and accidentally develop superpowers” or “Adults go into a lab and accidentally develop superpowers” in favor of a premise which did something to establish the characters as interesting, develop an interesting conflict, show the stakes, and/or do anything else to differentiate the characters from any other young adult or adult superheroes.

    If at all possible, I’d recommend having the plot hinge on unusual decisions by the main characters, preferably ones which establish crucial character traits. For example, contrast “After blackmailing his way into a top-secret military experiment, juvenile delinquent Jim Anderson must hunt down a deranged serial killer before his commander officer kills him for supposedly working with the enemy” with “Jim Anderson is a teenager who develops superpowers.” The extra details (e.g. Jim being brazen enough to blackmail his way into a military project, the nature of the enemy, and the conflict between Jim and his CO) will help the book come alive.

    –”I have read so many amazing books on powers, but I feel like if I write one, I’ll fail.” I would recommend a different approach here than about writing about superpowers. I think a book about superheroes which is more about incredible capabilities than interesting characters with incredible capabilities is likely to fail. In superhero novels, most characters spend an overwhelming amount of time (usually 70-90% of pages) NOT using superpowers, so it is KEY that the characters are interesting enough to keep that ~80% of the book from being awful. I’d recommend watching some excellent superhero movies (e.g. Iron Man, Incredibles and Dark Knight) and contrasting them with disasters like Batman & Robin, Catwoman, and Green Lantern. The disasters actually have okay action sequences (e.g. GL’s jet fight scene is not much worse than Iron Man’s jet fighter scene), but the bad movies handle nonaction scenes so ineffectively that decent action sequences cannot save them.

    –I’d recommend proofreading aggressively before submitting your manuscript anywhere.

    –”If anyone does have a plot, I’ll gladly listen to it. But I do want the main character to be a guy named Nathan and another main character named Diana. If anyone has suggestions, please reply!” My suggestion would be coming up with a more detailed plot and asking detailed questions. For example, a question like “How can I make it sound sort of believable that a juvenile delinquent gets onto a super-soldier project?” will likely result in gloriously twisted theories of blackmail, intrigue, subterfuge/trespassing, espionage, fall guys, plausible deniability, military emergencies and/or scientific tests so ludicrously unsafe not even Marines would walk in the room. In contrast, I don’t think other people could help all that much with “What should I write?”

  568. CCXon 16 Oct 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Thanks! I’ll work on it!

  569. Dr. Vo Spaderon 16 Oct 2012 at 4:53 pm

    …I have a minor villain whose power is the ability to separate his conciousness from his physical body. Shortly after he discovered this abiltiy, he was murdered because his political ambitions. Instead of dying, as he expected, he roamed around as a sort of cloud of mentality. As he is unable to control people when he enters their minds, he just speaks to them inside their head, trying to get them to do things that will lead to the man behind his death. My hero finds him and prevents this vengance by following a trail of people who claimed to be insane because the villlains whisperings.
    …Does this sound good? Feedback and advice appreciated!

  570. B. McKenzieon 16 Oct 2012 at 6:24 pm

    It might not be an issue because he’s a minor villain, but generally, if you have supernatural powers for a character, I’d recommend giving them something a bit more threatening. Right now, I think it’d be simpler to cut the supernatural angle and make him a really good ventriloquist (and/or perhaps he uses minor gadgets like planted radio receivers to make people hear things when nobody is around).



    “My hero finds him and prevents this vengeance by following a trail of people who claimed to be insane because of the villain’s whispers.” This might be a good opportunity to bring out any notable social skills on the hero’s part. I suspect that many (probably most) of the victims would want to keep completely quiet about it*, so perhaps the hero brings some unusual skills to the table that help him identify who’s involved and/or convince them to tell him what’s going on.

    *Some reasons here: most people wouldn’t want other people (especially strangers) to know that they’re crazy. Also, consider the criminal angle. Most of these victims are probably themselves criminals (targeted by the villain because they know something about his murder or are associated with the murderer in some way). If they confess to hearing voices telling them to do terrible things, that would make it very likely that even friends and family would call the police, which would be very problematic for most criminals. I think the most obvious trail of evidence for the hero to follow would actually come from crimes involving the ventriloquist’s victims. (For example, if a minor gangster snaps and performs some minor act of assistance for the villain to make the voices stop, perhaps he gets caught in the act by his boss and eventually killed by another minor gangster, who will surely tell his bosses EVERYTHING he knows to explain why he suddenly killed a fellow gang member, e.g. “here’s what he said to me before I killed him.” In this case, I think other criminals might actually be more outgoing about what they know (e.g. bragging about killing a traitor someplace the hero can hear) than the actual victims are.

  571. Dr. Vo Spaderon 16 Oct 2012 at 6:59 pm

    …Alright, thanks for the help! One more question: if I have a hero who is near-invincible (best described as bulletproof), how could he discover this? Aside from getting hit by a truck, I mean.

  572. B. McKenzieon 16 Oct 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Perhaps he tries climbing out of a burning house but slips and falls 2 stories. Normally, that’d be an ER trip. He’d probably have some idea something is amiss, but it’s not as in-your-face as, say, getting shot and having the bullet bounce off of him.



    If maintaining a secret identity is an issue, someone might remember something which later proves a challenge for him (e.g. someone asks him how he managed to get out–maybe firefighters were watching the front door the whole time and are puzzled how he got around to the side of the house without anybody seeing).

  573. Dr. Vo Spaderon 16 Oct 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Sweet, thanks! I like the building idea.

  574. CCXon 16 Oct 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Do you think this power is ok? This is not a story question. My charachter is named rose, and she can absorb powers like rouge, but can control it, so she can touch people, but if she wants to absorb powers, she has to touch a place with a pulse. Her eyes change color depending on what power she has. Her eyes are mostly gray though

  575. Shogon 17 Oct 2012 at 7:59 am

    I think you should add the ability to create physical objects from energy within ones self.

  576. Anonymouson 22 Oct 2012 at 2:00 pm

    What do you think of this discovery of powers for someone with poison blood? The MC is having an…”intense” moment with his girlfriend and as they are… *cough* frenchkissing *cough* she drops dead. This leads him to examine his blood under a microscope and he eventually finds that his blood is toxic. What I wasn’t sure about was how to explain why the doctors never found anything any time he went to a hospital, so my explanation is that the toxicity is higher in his saliva than his blood. Does that sound okay?

    **By the way, this is a slightly more adult book, so the “intense” scene fits with the atmosphere of my book.**

  577. B. McKenzieon 22 Oct 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Granted, I’m not a medical professional, but if he’s young and healthy, I think doctors would probably NOT have examined samples of his blood. I think they’d only do bloodwork on a young person if they had some reason to suspect that something was amiss (e.g. if he was showing symptoms of anemia or a clotting disorder), but not as a blind precaution. Alternately, maybe the toxin in his blood degrades fairly quickly when exposed to oxygen (e.g. within an hour), so a basic blood test wouldn’t show anything worrisome a few days later.

  578. CCXon 30 Oct 2012 at 7:35 am

    Hey, i have a question. Could affecting phereamones, aka the feeling of love, be a power? Like, if the user could manipulate the feelings? And also, would having a power to make people want to follow you be a power?

  579. Dr. Vo Spaderon 30 Oct 2012 at 7:50 am

    …Making people want to follow you has been used before, although usually with villains. Emotion manipulation is, in my opinion, an interesting power. Also, it could lead to a good side-story if the protagonist is a politician or married even. How does he know if he didn’t just win his vote/spouse because of his power? A lot of internal conflict would be possible.

  580. kykyon 30 Oct 2012 at 8:39 am

    Can someone help me out cuz I’m trying to write a novel about kids at a supernatural boarding school, I just need some help with story and characters please :) x

  581. kykyon 30 Oct 2012 at 8:47 am

    i mean i know the basics of the story and the characters but i just need some help please x

  582. PlagueHearton 30 Oct 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Could a character using Biological Manipulation be able to assimilate machinery in order to create greater weapons? I had the idea of giving this species the power to transform inorganic matter into organic matter does this sound viable?

  583. Dr. Vo Spaderon 30 Oct 2012 at 5:27 pm

    …I’m not sure how workable it would be (because I’m not really an expert), but this idea sounds awesome!

  584. Dragondevilon 31 Oct 2012 at 1:58 am

    I agree!
    I like the idea of transforming Inorganic matter into Organic matter~

  585. B. McKenzieon 31 Oct 2012 at 3:48 am

    “Can someone help me out? I’m trying to write a novel about kids at a supernatural boarding school. I just need some help with story and characters.” I don’t have much to work with here. Could you give me some details about the story?

  586. PlagueHearton 31 Oct 2012 at 7:38 am

    Oh really well that,s good new for me i was thinking of these creatures from a different dimension with their planet only consisting of living tissue they are senseless and emotionless no pigmentation either. White faceless beings that fight and fight among themselves (they use the survival of the fittest lifestyle to the fullest) and whoever is victorious gets to assimilate the weaker of the two eliminating any flaws in itself better preparing for the next battle. Does this sound weird/horrifying?

  587. Dr. Vo Spaderon 31 Oct 2012 at 8:30 am

    …I think it sounds more scify or fantasy than heroic, but it doesn’t seem too horrifying. I once read a book (trilogy actually) where a species had to take a corpse’s pieces and fit them together to form a non-blob body for themselves. A short while after the first time I read about this process, it started sounding natural. I accepted and expected it during the rest of the reading.

  588. PlagueHearton 31 Oct 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Well it is a hero type of story but more of the mixture of all creatures from all of the dimensions be it vampire werewolf alien or eldritch abomination coming together for an epic battle.

  589. Liam2013on 01 Nov 2012 at 10:44 pm

    Well I have had an idea for a story. So if you guys don’t mind criticism and feedback is always awesome.
    So it takes place in a different universe than ares. And it’s deals with 2 factions that are at a huge debate over government and religion(basically lifestyles). There are the “Primes” and the “Ainsaic.” The primes Are a noble very modern society who believe in maintaining peace and there system of life is similar to ours. While the Ainsaic are a brutal warbound race that look exactly like the Primes, how ever they are born with a strange symbol like a both mark somewhere on there body it’s not usually very large buts it is noticeable. There differences lead them to an all out war fired by their differences. The prime king is with a squadron of soldiers raiding a city when he finds a young boy standing in front of him. This will be the main character of the story. Out of reasons of his past the kings spares the Ainsaic child and secretly brings him to the prime homestead. The story revolves around the Ainsaic boy growing up in the palace with the kings wife and his birth son. Many conflicts occur due to the boys Ainsaic nature and no one knowing about him being one. Some of the superhuman powers ainsaics have is: Rapid regeneration, Increased vision if they are hunting some one, Incredible strength and natural gifts in all melee weaponry, weak form of telekinesis which can be developed, they have a cloaking or invisibility but it can only be used during near death situations for short periods at a time. Though they also have downfalls: If they go 3 days without killing another person(not of their own kind) they grow weak almost powerless, if they do not kill some one in a large period of time it can make them sick almost to the point of fatality, They have natural urges or outbreaks of violence, cannot commit suicide or kill another Ainsaic. The Primes on the other hand are blessed with other gifts that are usually only passed down through royals families such as the king such as: Gift of healing other, Stoneskin(Like a defensive mechanism), and other helpful gifts. The kings son has a gift of incredible strength as well as the ability to summon heavenly armor around himself, he also finds out he can shield others. The story relives around the Ainsaic boy and how he is completely out of place and know one at the time knows it except for him and his “father.” I was thinking if making the king or his father have a Gillian approach were he was only raising him as a super weapon to over throw the Ainsaic people(Would need to edit their ability to not kill each other though.) But tell me what you think please haha, thanks for reading.

  590. Nayanon 02 Nov 2012 at 12:02 am

    @Liam2013

    I did not understand your plot quite clearly (due to some typos, I guess). Still I will try to help.
    The first half of your story looked a bit slow to me and a lot similar to Loki’s origin story. Loki was brought up in Asgard and only Odin knew that he was a frost giant. But the King of prime society using the boy as a weapon against Ainsaic society looked interesting.

    A few things looked odd. Like why ainsaics become weak if they do not kill someone and why they cannot commit suicide or kill each other. But I am sure you will explain these in the story.

  591. Liam2013on 02 Nov 2012 at 6:25 am

    Thanks for the feedback haha. Ya sorry, about the typos using my mobile phone. And I was wondering if it would be good to have some sidecharacters or just focus around the main character.

  592. enchantedseekerson 05 Nov 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Need a super power for a girl who is dark and mysterious

  593. YellowJujuon 05 Nov 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Well enchantedseekers, there’s a lot of powers that would fit.
    Umbrakenisis, invisibility, vampirism, blood manipulation, Telekinesis, no powers (like Batman), etc. Or you could give your girl butterfly powers or something (powers don’t have to be based on personality haha). Your description of the character was really brief so it’s hard to choose a certain power.

  594. Infernoxon 06 Nov 2012 at 2:30 pm

    I’m just wondering, could a speedster vibrate his molecules fast enough to generate electricity and use it in combat and in other ways?

  595. BMon 06 Nov 2012 at 4:08 pm

    “I’m just wondering, could a speedster vibrate his molecules fast enough to generate electricity and use it in combat and in other ways?” I think most readers could probably believe it.

  596. CCXon 07 Nov 2012 at 8:28 am

    Hey, i have a question. Would self-explosion and a combo of immortalty work? Kinda like if the user explodes then would go back in their original form.

  597. CCXon 07 Nov 2012 at 8:29 am

    Oh and another question, how could someone manipulate light and dark?

  598. YellowJujuon 07 Nov 2012 at 11:19 am

    CCX, I could see the exploding power work but you would need to put some sort of cooldown on it.
    You could use dark as a camouflage of sorts. Light could be used to blind or heal or even burn!

  599. Scarletton 07 Nov 2012 at 1:09 pm

    So I have an African American teen who can manipulate electricity. Is this character concept too close to Static Shock from DC comics, or am I okay?

  600. B. McKenzieon 07 Nov 2012 at 4:20 pm

    “So I have an African American teen who can manipulate electricity. Is this character concept too close to Static Shock from DC comics…” Yes, I think so (unless the similarity is deliberate–e.g. a parody or some sort of commentary).

  601. B. Macon 08 Nov 2012 at 11:28 am

    “For a character that can kinda copy any animal nature, like copying the ability to regrow any limb like a lizard or have the stealth of a cat, etc, what animal would be the best of these 3 animals?” I’m not sure I understand… I think it depends on what sort of ability you’re trying to bring in. For regeneration, I think the lizard example is best. I think a panther would do a good job making the reader think of agility and strength but obviously would not be effective for, say, regeneration. Are you asking whether regeneration is more interesting than agility/strength?

  602. CCXon 09 Nov 2012 at 8:31 am

    M.Happenstance, the gravity ability would work by either maybe making the enemy fly up into the air and not being to get down. Another way it could work is that the user puts gravity down to an intensity that they would practically be stuck to the floor.

  603. GalaxyWaffleson 09 Nov 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Can someone tell me what the pros and cons for Force Field and Gravity are?
    Also what they would be weak too?
    Also how you could incorporate that into fighting (Ex: using weapons + power or only power)

  604. M. Happenstanceon 10 Nov 2012 at 12:29 am

    Possible forcefield weaknesses:
    - A set amount of damage absorption. Maybe a given forcefield can only take so many hits before shattering. A “broken” forcefield could also possibly rebound upon the creator, injuring them.
    - Time limits. A character might only be able to sustain a field for a given amount of time, with that amount varying depending on outside conditions like size and damage.
    - Air limits. For nonpermeable, entirely enclosed forcefields, a character might run the risk of running out of oxygen.
    - Energy weapons might be able to penetrate a forcefield.
    - Alternately, maybe a forcefield can only block energy weapons, and can’t deflect physical attacks.

    Other uses for forcefields besides shields:
    - Forcefields as tactile telekinesis. A well-aimed field could pack a serious punch, and even a stationary field could cause some damage against a speedster, as seen in The Incredibles.
    - Forcefields as a method of levitation, or even as a vehicle.
    - Forcefields as an air filtration system. Of course, this depends on the permeability of the field, but it’s a viable option. If the character was skillful enough, this could also adapt itself to underwater survival.
    - A forcefield user could project a small field inside an object, then expand it, causing that object to explode or at least break. This could probably be used as a killing strike against opponents, or, in a less lethal situation, to break open, say, padlocks.

    There’s probably a lot more uses out there, but that’s just what I’ve got off the top of my head.

    Not exactly sure how gravity powers would work, especially in regards to actual science, but I can see a lot of accidental deaths happening in outdoor battles. Gravity alteration could also wreak some havoc on an opponent’s internal organs and other assorted squishy bits, what with pressure and all. Battles against a gravity manipulator: more gruesome than you’d think.

  605. Scarletton 10 Nov 2012 at 5:47 am

    So mu electricity manipulator went undersome major retooling, and now I think he is different from Static:
    He’s white,
    He’s gay
    He’s quiet, and he does not make jokes during combat, like Static does.
    He’s stubborn
    He’s reckless
    He’s determind, but also a shamelss self-promoter. The fame kind of went to his head.
    He can create electrical constructs, like ropes, weapons, ect, which fade after a time.
    His lightning is yellow, not purple.
    He got his powers when a lightning bolt struck him and lightning bonded with his molecules. At first, the lightning threatened to kill him, until a scientist built him a suit, which can contain it.
    He gets around by surfing power lines, not flying.
    Is he different enough now, or should I work harder.

  606. CCXon 10 Nov 2012 at 10:25 am

    Scarlet- i think you’re character sounds ok but that “scientist built him a suit” almost sounds like iron man…

  607. Dr. Vo Spaderon 10 Nov 2012 at 10:35 am

    Speaking of electric characters, Jamie Foxx will probably play Electro in the next Amazing Spiderman. Shocking, isn’t it? (Sorry, couldn’t stop myself. :) )

  608. Scarletton 10 Nov 2012 at 11:08 am

    CCX, I do not mean a power suit, just a regular costume made of a special material which allows my MC to control the electricity he produces.

  609. B. McKenzieon 10 Nov 2012 at 11:30 am

    Scarlett, when it comes to originality, I recommend putting more focus on personality/distinguishing traits than demographics. The demographics have almost always been done before (hell–even something as hyper-specific as “mutant alligator” has been done before).



    “He’s quiet… a shameless self-promoter.” Hmm. There appears to be a discrepancy here. Is it possible to give this character unusual decisions/actions related to quietness (e.g. situations where he’s quiet but 90%+ of characters wouldn’t be) without compromising his (presumed) desire for attention, and vice versa?

    There may also be a discrepancy between quietness and recklessness. (Depending on the plot, it might make sense, though–for example, a cop might be SECRETLY a renegade and/or corrupt, and if so then it would make sense that he might be careful about how much he hides his cards from his coworkers).

    “He’s stubborn… he’s reckless… he’s determined…” Almost every protagonist is. To distinguish yours, I’d recommend taking these traits beyond what is normal for a protagonist. (For example, in Casino Royale, James Bond chases a criminal onto a hostile country’s embassy grounds, which is insanely dangerous and certain to create an international incident–this helps create some distinction between him and other spy protagonists*).

    Bond also shows a reckless edge in the sort of ladies he goes after…


    *Although, to be honest, I thought it was more interesting when he moved towards the other side of the spectrum (overly obedient) in Skyfall. There were more consequences to being obedient in Skyfall than there were to being disobedient in Casino Royale.

  610. Thorgronon 10 Nov 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Hello Everyone!
    I am currently fairly deep into writing what I intend to be a superhero novel. i have a slew of characters with powers I have tried very hard to keep from the usual (fire, super-strength, flight, etc.). The plot is a little complex but basically there is a man born with limitless potential (he can be or do anything) but refuses to use his abilities for fear that he will not use them justly. For years he is studied by the government and currently a group known generically as the Agency. After some time he can no longer handle the burden, wipes his own mind and turns his body into a flower. This flowers pollen is viral, with two strains being released ( Alpha-which gives people manipulation abilities like control over water or air, and Omega-which causes physical changes in someone’s body). This virus sweeps the United States, killing most who become infected and giving powers to a small percent. The story focuses on a small group bent on curing the virus.
    They are;
    Issac Specter: Personality- loner, brash, has a need to prove to himself that he is worth something. Life- mid twenties, lives alone, works as a key-grip, competed in underground fighting rings for amusement. Powers-Omega- cannot be detected by the five senses as well as being unable to be remembered, except by the few characters who can see him, items he is in physical possession of take on the same properties as himself
    Alistair Gendo: Personality- devoted, intelligent, driven, will do anything for his son. Life- lost his wife in car accident, late thirties, heart surgeon, rarely home, spends all free time with son. Powers-Omega- after the death of his son at the hands of his babysitter, Alistair ripped out his own heart and implanted it into the body of his son in a fit of insanity, he and his son our now linked, both bodies controlled by Alistair’s mind, however the son’s body is the only one alive and healthy, Alistairs is dead but unkillable, Alistair can also remove the hearts of other’s and implant them into his son’s chest, gaining control of that body
    Toby Eckrin: Personality-flighty, apathetic, sneaky, money hungry, Life-grew up poor and on the streets, late teens, always looking for a way to make money. Powers-Alpha- with enough focus he can force himself or a situation to be lucky in his or another’s favor
    The Conducter: Personality- kind, quick to act, not very intelligent, honest. Life- passionate for lacrosse and music, early twenties, broke his leg freshman year of college rendering him unable to play lacrosse. Powers-Alpha- can create sound with thought, can condense and project it how he sees fit, often into large blasts of concentrated sound he refers to as “dropping the bass”
    Let me know what all of you think, I’m open to suggestions and would love to here your comments. Thanks!

  611. GalaxyWaffleson 10 Nov 2012 at 1:03 pm

    So I made a character named Surge and he has Gyrokinesis (Gravity Manipulation)
    Applications:
    + Able to reverse gravity (Down is up, sideways or towards an object)
    + Can use Gravity as a force field
    + Weight Manipulation (sluggish movement and/or floatiness)
    + Repel objects and attacks (Can only repel energy attacks, like energy blats and so on)
    - Can’t create wormholes or black holes
    - Can’t use it to fly (has not practiced this ability and has another method of transportation)
    - Useless in area with no gravity
    - Can only control certain aspects of gravity
    - Useless if target/area isn’t in eyesight (Ex: Gravity is unaffected behind him due to the area/target being out of his sight)
    Now Surge uses gravity in a non science way. You could say that he could crush organs and such with gravity but with Surge’s gravity powers he can only affect the outside of a person. So basically this means that his gravity powers don’t affect the inside of a human body, just the outside. (This prevents him from being cheap and/or a killer)
    The only powers able to really rival him are people who have Telekinesis, Time Manipulation, Vector Manipulation and the ability to nullify powers. Other powers do fare well against him but he does have a slight edge over them
    He uses his fists to fight. When he fights he surrounds his hands in a gravity aura to amplify his
    strength and also when he uses his gravity abilities his hands glow purple. If he’s using his powers lightly
    then it glows light purple but if he’s using a lot of power or a big ability (ex: black hole or something)
    his hands glow dark purple.
    He wears a black and purple suit and it has shoulder pads and knee pads (like Kid Flash’s YJ costume)
    Also he has these shoes that give him the ability to do super jumps. (Think of Superboy from Young Justice)
    The only thing is he can’t leap over tall building in one bound and he has a height limit.
    What do you guys think of my character so far?
    What changes should be made?

    *Name is Galaxy Waffles (forgot to add it)

  612. Derp Writeron 18 Nov 2012 at 12:39 am

    So I’ve got a few superpowers that I’m hoping nobody has seen before (all of them are for villains in my stories, BTW).

    1.) Psychokinesis/Astral Projection – More specifically, though, the ability to project one’s negative thoughts/feelings into a semi-physical manifestation that would cause “poltergeist” activity when said feelings were attached to a person. The villain that uses this ability in my stories can then go to sleep at any location he finds convenient and then project his consciousness into that manifestation which he had sent to torment poor soul and bump the level of the “haunting” up to a demonic level and can actually kill his victims this way.

    2.) Spontaneous Combustion – Unlike what this might sound like, the villain uses this ability to cause OTHERS to catch fire suddenly, rather than himself. To make this creepier I decided that the victims wouldn’t be able to light up anything else, even highly flammable materials, with the the flames that they were engulfed in.

    3.) Remote Detonation – Still working this one out, but basically the villain is an expert in explosives and demolition and has the ability to send the right signal (for lack of a better word, at least from what I can think of at the moment) to detonate anything that could be blown up, especially if it was made to do so (like C-4) mentally.

    4.) Induced Schizophrenia (really just a unique use for telepathy, I guess) – As with #3, I’m still working out the specifics, so the details are a bit fuzzy, but the idea is that the villain can turn people into murderers by messing with their perception of things and causing them to kill people via the power of suggestion and false images.

    Thoughts?

  613. Scarletton 18 Nov 2012 at 12:26 pm

    So my friend gave her two MC’s fire manipulation and telekinises, but she is a bit worried that there are too many heroes with these powers and that the story will bore readers because of this. Any advice.

  614. Derp Writeron 18 Nov 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Well, Scarlett, it really depends on how they are used. For example, anyone can tell you that control/production of electricity as a power has been done to death, but even with that being the case, the way Misaka Mikoto (the main character of A Certain Scientific Railgun) uses that same power is refreshing. Rather than just “zapping” an enemy, she uses it in more creative ways, like clinging to the side of a building or, as her signature move, propelling a coin at supersonic speeds to cause larger-scale destruction.

    Maybe setting limitations that sound more scientific would help, as well. For example, anyone who understands electricity even moderately knows that it doesn’t just jump from one thing to another without being guided. That’s why we need wires to make sure our machines get power. So a creative play on a character like Static Shock might be that it takes time to produce this connection between his target and himself before he can reliably attack.

    Pyro from X-Men, for example, doesn’t create fire, but instead manipulates existing flames, which is why he needs his lighter at all times in X2: X-men United. Setting a similar limitation might make it more interesting than “James shot fire out of his hands and scorched the bad guy”, or “Michael turned the dude’s brains into mush”.

    Your friend could avoid this problem altogether by choosing a less common power for the two characters, but if she really likes them, then she’ll have to put a twist on it. At least that’s how I see it.

    B.McKenzie gives better advice.

  615. B. McKenzieon 19 Nov 2012 at 1:57 am

    “Induced Schizophrenia (really just a unique use for telepathy, I guess) – As with #3, I’m still working out the specifics, so the details are a bit fuzzy, but the idea is that the villain can turn people into murderers by messing with their perception of things and causing them to kill people via the power of suggestion and false images. Thoughts?” I’d recommend checking out how the pilot of Alphas showed the victims experiencing the brainwashing–the execution there was very memorable.

  616. Trevor Lon 19 Nov 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Pardon me, super power gurus.
    I’m working on a character for a story… not exactly a generic superhero (no tights) but he has a super human ability. The character is already athletic and strong, but an ability that improves his fighting style (which is just punching, kicking and jumping around) would work best. Something that alters his body perhaps, nothing telekinetic.
    Help is greatly appreciated! :D

    also, my favorite super hero is Captain America. Yeah!

  617. YellowJujuon 19 Nov 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Trevor, theyre are a lot of ways to go about this. You could go the Captain America route, or even similar to Spider Mans or Hulks origins.

  618. Karmaon 20 Nov 2012 at 2:01 am

    @Trevor;

    You can also use various kinds of Fighting techniques.
    Like in Dragon Ball Z/Mortal kombat/Street Fighters : all the characters are actually Martial artists but they have certain [b]‘Key moves’[/b] which make them look like Superheroes.

    On the other hand there also certain Combat-based Superpowers such as:

    *Pyrokinetic- Combat ( Fire )
    *Cryokinetic Combat (Ice) (Example : Subzero)
    *Papyrokinetic Combat (Paper)
    *Chlorokinetic Combat
    *Umbrakinetic Combat

    Or you can also go for moves based on weapons or Give the Main Character a Weaponized Body(Wolverine).

    Hope it helped ~ ^_^

  619. Novaon 20 Nov 2012 at 9:11 am

    I had an idea for an hero who can mimic the abilities of fictional beings (vampires, greek gods, dragons, sandman, etc…) but i don’t know where to start. Suggestions?

  620. B. McKenzieon 20 Nov 2012 at 6:29 pm

    “I had an idea for an hero who can mimic the abilities of fictional beings (vampires, greek gods, dragons, sandman, etc…) but i don’t know where to start. Suggestions?” I’d recommend picking one and sticking to it (e.g. a dragon or a Greek god or whatever). I feel like the ability to take on the abilities of fictional beings in general would be diluted/generic and would probably take more explanation.

  621. Raymondon 21 Nov 2012 at 12:23 am

    I’m writing a story about an American superhero, but it is set in Paris. He and the other main character are American, so they speak English, but what should I do about the dialogue that would normally be in French? Should I have it in French or English. Also, the dialogue in French is never anything important, it’s just stuff like ordering food in a restaurant or asking for directions. The secondary character speaks French, so she helps get the main character around, so I guess she is kind of like a translator. Thanks.

  622. B. McKenzieon 21 Nov 2012 at 5:41 am

    If the French dialogue doesn’t matter, you could either skip over it, add in a line that someone says something which the main character doesn’t understand (and perhaps have the secondary character translate if the main character’s response is critical), and/or have the main character attempt to engage in a scene with imperfect French.*

    *For example, he might only translate the words he understands for readers. Alternately, if he occasionally gets disoriented by his lack of knowledge, it may be fitting to have mistranslate a few words (preferably ones where the readers could obviously tell that something is amiss based on context). For example, if a waiter asks the main character “Hello, how may I kill you?” I think readers will figure out that he’s having trouble understanding what everybody is saying. Alternately, perhaps he asks a stranger what time it is and gets slapped in the face.

  623. Katherineon 21 Nov 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Im writing a book and i need help on a good weakness for different people:
    a girl who can hypnotize people.
    a girl that can take others powers away
    a boy with x ray vision

    they need to make sense though! thanks

  624. NRGon 24 Nov 2012 at 6:25 pm

    My question is, How powerful can light manipulation be?

  625. YellowJujuon 24 Nov 2012 at 10:31 pm

    You could burn up the Earth.

  626. Dr. Vo Spaderon 25 Nov 2012 at 9:37 am

    You could reflect and refract the surrounding rays of light, rendering yourself invisible.

  627. B. McKenzieon 25 Nov 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Solar-powered death rays. There are weaker superpowers out there.

  628. Green Rangeron 26 Nov 2012 at 6:51 am

    Light is also part of the electromagnetic spectrum, keep that in mind

  629. HisWrath777on 26 Nov 2012 at 8:24 am

    I’m writing a book about a teenage American boy who gets caught in an electrical explosion while he and his dad are stuck in their car (a new brand of electrical cars after the world has stopped using fossil fuels). He only gets a touch of the explosion though because a hero named Phantom saves him before the entire car explodes. His father wasn’t so lucky and dies. Soon after he finds that he could control machines and create electrical charges. Question is I don’t know if he is too overpowered…

  630. B. McKenzieon 26 Nov 2012 at 11:22 am

    I’m not particularly concerned about the character being overpowered, but the origin story could be more distinct/memorable. It might help to incorporate something more unique to the character (e.g. give him a decision or action that most other superhero protagonists wouldn’t make in the same situation). I’m not sure that being sort of passively involved in his father’s death (e.g. perhaps causing it accidentally by powers beyond his control) is as interesting as something he’s consciously involved in (e.g. Peter Parker choosing to let the robber go, which ends up getting his uncle killed).

    Also, it might help to give Phantom and the main character a more interesting hook together than Phantom randomly stumbling upon an exploding car (which may feel contrived). For example, maybe Phantom is battling with a criminal, and the stress of being caught near the battle causes the main character’s powers to emerge in a hard-to-control way (which causes the car to explode). One possibility: the boy already knows he has superpowers and decides to take part in the fight with the villain even though he’s not actually that capable of controlling his powers yet. His attempt to power up causes the car to explode, but it’s more his choice than merely being in the car with his dad.



    “I’m writing a book about a teenage American boy who gets caught in an electrical explosion while he and his dad are stuck in their car…” Should have bought a Toyota.

  631. Thorgronon 26 Nov 2012 at 11:48 am

    Hello!
    I am currently writing a super-powered story (not sure if it will be a novel or series of short stories yet) that has a post-apocalyptic feel to it. I am currently having some trouble accurately describing the powers of an anti-hero type character that is going to show up periodically. Currently his name is Looney and his abilities focus on distance manipulation (this is what I’ve taken to calling it). He can change the distance, mainly for himself between objects. I’m just wondering if this is too bizarre of a power to convey or in what ways it could be changed. The way I have him using it is by spinning the dial on his pocket watch to increase or decrease the distance between whatever he is focusing on. So he could walk to the top of a ten story building with one step or expand the distance between himself or an oncoming bullet to prevent it from hitting him. Thanks!

  632. M. Happenstanceon 26 Nov 2012 at 12:34 pm

    So… it’s effectively teleportation?

  633. Thorgronon 26 Nov 2012 at 2:50 pm

    No not exactly, although it could be thought of simply as a sort of “flavor” to a teleportation power. He manipulates the physical space, either expanding or contracting it to his will. So instead of teleporting to the top of a building, he compresses the space the building occupies, effectively making it a foot high, steps onto it, then allows the effected space to assume it’s original shape. So lets say there is a large wall in his way. He could compress the space around the wall in front of him, making a gap in it, step over it, then allow the space to snap back to its original position, without damage to the wall or anything in that space.

  634. Dr. Vo Spaderon 26 Nov 2012 at 3:37 pm

    I think I get it…but what if he expands the space between him and an object? Is matter simply created to do this, or is everything between elongated?

  635. B. McKenzieon 26 Nov 2012 at 3:47 pm

    If I understand it correctly, it sounds a lot like teleportation to me* (although perhaps the ability to change the position of other things as well, like the bullet or perhaps himself and the bullet simultaneously). If it is a variant of teleportation, I think the explanation could be simpler. (Generally, I’d shoot for superpowers that can be explained in 1-2 sentences and I feel moderately confused after 5+).

    *With some quirks. It sounds like it’d be really hard to operate the dial in the heat of the moment, particularly for something relatively complicated (e.g. three dimensional movement rather than 2-D movement). Unless his senses and/or reflexes are supernatural, I’m not sure it’d be believable that he could respond quickly enough to the bullet to teleport away from it. (See what you can do with a dial in under a second–maybe you could turn a volume dial from max to mute or vice versa, but anything remotely complex would be quite challenging). If so, I think the limitations would probably make the power more interesting than 100% intuitive, can’t-miss teleportation.

  636. Thorgronon 26 Nov 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Hey thank you guys very much! To answer Dr. Vo Spader, the space would be expanded, no matter creation. And to answer B. McKenzie, the dial is meant to limit him and yes he would also be capable of moving other objects, examples involving him were just easier to use. Also I don’t intend him to use it much for complex 3D changes such as litterally changing the shape of something but instead lowering it’s height or increasing the distance between two objects without anything actually moving.

  637. [...] when the topic of superpowers arises people think of powers like flying, invisibility, or some super-human strength. But what if [...]

  638. The Wizon 07 Dec 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Is this just where we can drop off some story ideas? Does magic really count as a super power? I was thinking of a story where a kid discovers a magic staff that he can use to do magic whilst camping with his family. He, being a teen of course, starts to use it for his personal gain and just fools around with his powers for a little while, not really looking to be a hero or anything just a kid. Soon he realizes that the more he uses his powers, the more he is getting sucked into this other dimension, a world much like a Earagon/LOTR type of thing. But its pretty much too late by then, and he ends up stuck in this world. He soon is able to be trained by some official “Wizzes” there and they find out that hes from a different world and of course is some sort of wiz with the potential of being the most powerful one ever. Also some sort of dark force begins to come to power with him switching worlds, and he has to learn to become the wiz he has the potential to be and stop it. Any comments?

  639. randomdudeon 08 Dec 2012 at 4:48 pm

    I have an idea for a superhero but its not very good. Help?
    He’s 17. (can’t think of a name)
    He has white hair and purple eyes.
    He’s shy and quite but if you mess with his freinds your dead kind of personality.
    His powers are he can see visions of the past through touch (contact with a living organism lets him see the memories in their perspective but for example if he went to a crime scene and concentrated he can see what happend) and he can “see” 10 seconds into the future so he can dodge attacks.
    When he uses his powers his eyes go compleatly purple.
    Oh and he is Bisexual and in a love triangle with some of his team mates.

    His powers arn’t used for combat that much so does he need more powers?
    He also needs a name. THANKS!

  640. randomdudeon 09 Dec 2012 at 4:52 am

    Ok I made a few changes. (still no name -_-)

    When he sees people’s memories he feels what they felt in the memory e.g.pain, joy etc.If he is not concentrating on a certin time it gives him a random memory.

    He’s going to be gay not bisexual and because there is always complications in superhero relationships (ice man and rouge) his boyfreind has a very painful past so whenever they touch he feels that pain.

    Also he has no physical powers but he does have black belts in karate, taikuando and other martial arts that I don’t know the name of.

    I NEED A GOOD NAME FOR HIM PLEASE!!!!!
    and powers and stuff for his boyfreind and other team mates including names and origin of powers also a team name would be nice.

    Hope i’m not to needy THANKS!

  641. Scarletton 09 Dec 2012 at 6:28 am

    Randomdude, I would reccomend working more on your characters’ personality. All I know so far is that he is shy, quiet, and loyal.(And perhaps dedicated, because of the martial arts thing.) I know absolutley nothing about the team: Goals, why they were founded,ect. could you provide me with more info about the boyfriend, too?

  642. randomdudeon 09 Dec 2012 at 11:31 am

    Okay well he’s kinda scared of new people and doesn’t like people touching him because of his powers but when you get to know him he opens up a bit more his kind-hearted nature kicks in. He blushes alot, acts childish and has a cute giggle that his boyfreind adores he looks up to his freinds as he is the third youngest in the team.

    His boyfreind is a little hard to descibe but i’ll try:
    Brown hair and blue eyes
    He’s 19 one of the oldest so he is extremly protective of the white haired boy since when he was 15 he was beaten by his father because he blamed him fo his mothers death when an orphanage hears about this they take him in. After a year scientists are looking for children as they “can’t have any of their own” later reveald that the children are used for experiments. He becomes able to turn into any mammal and is tortured by the scientists until he escapes with his girlfreind Bianca who becomes resistant to all diseases, she is shot in front of him after they escape.
    When he joins the team he acts like he doesn’t care for them until the white haired boy edmits his love, he goes out and protects him because he reminds him of Bianca.
    He describes himself as bisexual. (can’t think of an exact personality for him but he is American)

    The others I have simplified a bit to help keep this short.

    The Leader of the team is level headed and has beach blond hair and ocean blue eyes his power is the manipulation of water but can turn his body to water aswell. (American)
    (age: 19)

    The optamist of the team is a girl with blonde wavy hair and shiny green eyes she has the power of light and healing she’s always happy and anoying at times.possible love intrest of the leader.(American)
    (age: 19)

    The “goth” of the team is a girl who is depressing and antisocal with short-ish black hair with a blue streak on one side, her eyes change colour(IM BRITISH I SPELL IT WITH A U OK!) from sparkly ruby red, citrine orange, topaz yellow, emerald green, saphire blue, Amthyst purple and crystal white. Her power if you havn’t guessed is earth and crystal manipulation.(She is from Ancient Greece frozen in a crystal)
    (age: 17)

    The joker of the group is a very mischivous boy with black hair and green eyes he has the power of wind and has wings that extend from his back he uses a bow because of his eagle vision. He tries to lighten the mood most of the time he has a copper coloured skin he gets into arguments alot and appears immature.(He is a decendant of the Plains Indians spirits gave him his powers)
    (age: 16)

    The youngster of the team is a small girl with dark brown hair and forest green eyes she is quite and shy to everyone only more social when she likes that guys^ jokes or needs to stop arguments between either the goth and the joker or the leader and the joker as his imature nature does annoy them…alot.She can control plants she is the youngest that everyone tries to protect. (British oh yeah!)
    (age: 15)

    The last person is the “big brother” he gets on with everyone and is the most liked person in the group he has ginger hair and green eyes he is resiliant to being made a fool of though if you push him to far his anger gets the better of him. His power is smoke and fire. (American)
    (age: 18)

    They are in a bording school where there are extra classes for the “needy” children. When the school goes into all out war the students pick sides the good ones are the eight listed above the rest either became the villans or died when refusing to join them. When it finaly ends they stay as a group to fight crime. (though 4/8 die and only one of the four could be resurected)

    Is this okay Scarlett or should i go into more detail?
    (love your name actualy)
    THANKS!

  643. randomdudeon 09 Dec 2012 at 11:33 am

    Oh God longest comment EVER! SOOOOORRY!

  644. nameless.on 09 Dec 2012 at 4:15 pm

    your superhero sounds pretty wonderful alongside your other characters.
    im not very good with naming either, but reading about your main character two names came into my head which i thought match him. alistair or thoe. hope that helps. I’m not sure how to help you on the story though. o:

  645. B. McKenzieon 09 Dec 2012 at 5:53 pm

    “He’s 17. (can’t think of a name)
    He has white hair and purple eyes.
    He’s shy and quite but if you mess with his freinds your dead kind of personality.” So far, I’m not seeing anything which would lead to unusual decisions for the character. What are some things he would do that 90%+ of heroes wouldn’t do in the same situation? For example, maybe he’s too empathetic (because of his superpowers?) and gradually starts to relate too much to the criminals he’s working against–e.g. on Homeland, several characters have either made major mistakes or outright been turned to the enemy because they looked too hard at what was human about the other side. For example, a federal prison was very hard on a terrorist detainee, and a CIA operative trying to convince the detainee to cooperate gave the detainee eyeglasses as a sign of good faith–the detainee shattered the glasses and used the shards to commit suicide.



    “When he sees people’s memories he feels what they felt in the memory e.g.pain, joy etc.If he is not concentrating on a certin time it gives him a random memory.
    He’s going to be gay not bisexual and because there is always complications in superhero relationships (ice man and rouge) his boyfreind has a very painful past so whenever they touch he feels that pain.” While I appreciate that you’re incorporating superpowers into noncombat, incorporating them into romantic scenes like this strikes me as probably more awkward than not. (It might help to ask a few prospective readers in the target audience what they think; I find myself generally unreceptive to all romance and that might flavor my perspective here).



    I’d recommend checking out this article on how to incorporate demographic details. Specifically, I’d recommend not mentioning generally irrelevant demographic details such as hair color, eye color, nationality (I haven’t seen any indication it’s relevant here), and individual age* when you’re describing your proposal to publishers/agents. In particular, one of your characters gets more words for her eye color or hair color than for what she contributes to the plot. When you’re putting together a synopsis and/or query for publishers, I’d recommend focusing overwhelmingly on unusual personality traits, major decisions, motivations/goals, and anything else we need to understand the central plot.

    *It’d probably be worth noting that the characters are teenagers, but I’d recommend against listing all of their ages in the submission, especially if they’re all within a few years of each other.



    I think this article about 3-dimensional character development on a superhero team would help.

  646. Milky Wayon 09 Dec 2012 at 9:11 pm

    My story has two main characters- both with powers. But I * really * don’t want to make their friendship/ teamwork/ plot sound contrived, and don’t want to go down the usual sometimes stereotypical road a couple of authors may go down.

    They’re both fourteen.

    The first main character is Scarlet. She’s a Necromancer. So what she can do is:
    - Know the history of someone who is deceased back to their birth just by visiting their grave.
    - She can negate the powers of an opponent but only for a time period of six minutes.
    - Speed up the lifespan of a living thing until it reaches death. For example, she’d turn a flower into a dried up leaf after a short period of time by pointing at it.
    - She can summon things back from the dead, and once those things are called back, they’re Ghosts. They can only stay on earth for a time period of 24 hours, and she cannot summon that being again.

    Naturally she’s a quiet character, and is a bit more practical than her best friend. She doesn’t have thick skin so she’s sensitive. However, she spends most of her time in secluded areas just thinking.

    The biggest secret she has is a bonsai tree she’s raised from its beginning. It’s a pretty big plot twist because Necromancers don’t have anything to do with life. This is pretty close to enhancing the fact that she is quiet.

    Then we’ve got our second character, Xander.
    He comes from a race of people with these powers, and people who have these abilities are almost always deemed as hopeless as they have a small amount of powers. The only time when a person of this race can actually be worth use is when they turn sixty.

    He’s a Timewinder ( agh, considering on changing the name soon ), and the only power he can do is go back in time and go forward into time. However, going forward into time is forbidden in the society they live in. To be blunt? His powers aren’t even powers. They suck.

    Xander is a bit of a comedic person, and is nothing like the other Timewinders. He actually plans to do something else before the ” clock runs out ” and turns sixty. He’s much more creative than Scarlet, which comes in handy on most of their journey.

    He’s got a defiant nature, which helps drive his want to change the reputation of the Timewinders.

    Xander is the character I want to focus on most while writing this story because he tries desperately to destroy stereotypes of others, and Scarlet is the character that I usually want to outdo Xander in projects involving powers.

    However, the way he plans to destroy stereotypes is kind of a cliche path. I’ll summarize it considering how extensive this post is:

    The weak guy from the weak race chooses to go on a death defying journey with someone who wanted to be the one who takes the journey. In the end, he comes out victorious.

    I’ll just stop it here. Now, I’ve summarized what I’ve been planning for the plot mind you. This isn’t the raw plot-line.

  647. Milky Wayon 09 Dec 2012 at 9:13 pm

    BLAST! I should just publish that comment. It’s as long as a novel!

  648. randomdudeon 09 Dec 2012 at 11:50 pm

    Nameless, THANKS! I love the name Alastair!
    B. McKenzie, THANKS! I like the idea about being too empathetic and i’ll try to make them have more unusual personality traits.

  649. SimaLingon 17 Dec 2012 at 10:36 am

    ok guys i need a name for a male plant manipulator
    his real name will be Sage Green
    but i have no clue for a superhero name help?

  650. Kirbyon 17 Dec 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Chlorophyll could work. Evergreen might, too. His secret identity name does seem to be kind of slamming it in that his power is manipulating plants, though. I would keep the Sage, but probably change the last name to something else.

  651. 494alexon 17 Dec 2012 at 5:35 pm

    My story isn’t really a Superhero story as such, being more of a Western with Sci-Fi elements. However there ARE people with powers, the source of which involves genetic manipulation (there is a backstory to how people get these powers but that’s another matter entirely).

    These powers are strictly confined to the user’s body, and are often rather horrific for the user; for example, somebody with fire powers would have a combustible body and an immune system decked out to rapidly heal burn wounds, but the power would NOT extend to pyrokinesis (mental control of the fire or spontaneous ignition of other objects). Therefore his fighting tactic would be to have a weapon or piece of equipment that compliments his power, like a gas/fuel gun of some sort.

    Being genetic powers, many are likely based off attributes of various animals or plants.

    In this vein I have thought of several characters with the following power/weapon combinations. I’m mostly looking for feedback as to whether they sound ok, bad, or really corny. Displayed in the format: “POWER/WEAPON/VISUAL THEME (if any)”.

    - Improved Long Distance Vision, Night Vision, Improved Hearing/Pistols, Rifles, etc/Owl

    - Six Arms, Multiple Eyes (360 Degree vision and field of fire)/Six Revolvers/Spider

    - Echolocation, Wall or Ceiling Cling/Infiltration Gear/Bat

    - Heat Transfer via physical contact (can heat up or cool down things, results in scalding/boiling/freezing)/No equipment yet/No theme yet

    - Self Combustion OR Emission of Flammable Gas (methane? hydrogen?)/Gas or Fuel Spray (if Combustion), Lighter or similar device (if Gas Emission)/No theme yet

    - Augmented Bioluminescence (continuous blinding or flashbang effect)/Possibly some sort of light focusing device to make lasers/Glow Worm or Fungus or Firefly

    - Augmented Vocal Chords (aka Sonic Scream)/No equipment yet/

    - Static Electricity Generation/No equipment yet/Electric Eel

    - Healing Factor/No equipment yet/Axolotl Salamander

    Also I sort of need an idea for what kind of power/equipment would help a sniper, besides improved/zooming vision.

    Thanks for reading, sorry for the wall of text.

  652. RoLandoLon 25 Dec 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Hey guys, I was wondering if you could give some ideas of how to use Telekinesis in a creative way?

  653. SimaLingon 26 Dec 2012 at 2:27 pm

    for one i belive that it should only work on certin objects or materials
    an example being metal or paper if these are too exact you could use things like tecnology in general or even objects that are emotinal attatchment to the charachter like a stuffed animal
    something like that hope i help (seriously you asked this on christmas)

  654. Anonymouson 27 Dec 2012 at 2:02 pm

    My MC has the power to generate illusions through the use of a magical orb. Is this ability too close to that of Green Lantern?

  655. Commenteron 27 Dec 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Hello! New commenter here, looking for a little help!
    I’m trying to decide on a power for my main character – currently stuck between shape-shifting and intangibility. What do you think? She is a sensible teenage girl who doesn’t like to stand out from a crowd much due to self-interest and pragmatism because of the government in the world she lives in. She prefers to use brains rather than brawn to get out of trouble, and usually improvises rapidly when stuck in a corner. She is a very good liar.

  656. B. McKenzieon 27 Dec 2012 at 5:14 pm

    “My MC has the power to generate illusions through the use of a magical orb. Is this ability too close to that of Green Lantern?” I’d have to see it in action, but I think you’re clear on GL. He’s not much of an illusionist.

    Mysterio, maybe, though you could probably avoid any problems there by making the characterization substantially different. If I could brazenly self-promote, I think my own Agent Orange is sufficiently different from Leatherhead (a Ninja Turtles character) even though they’re both mutant alligators with very similar combat capabilities/superpowers. I think their personalities, voices, attributes, flaws, goals, obstacles, backgrounds, etc. are different enough that they will feel different even though their powers and origin stories overlap. I think that a significantly different character will also find different ways to use his illusion powers than Mysterio would. In AO’s first scene, he uses his abilities in a social context (terrifying an accountant, theorizing on the unique properties of the American alligator, and devouring the accountant’s resume because he thinks the accountant is useless). I think the scene feels unique to AO rather than LH because I don’t think LH has the personality to do this scene (although he’s physically capable of doing it).

    PS: Since Mysterio is associated with orbs (he has a shiny orb for a head), it might help to give the character some other tool than an orb.

  657. B. McKenzieon 27 Dec 2012 at 5:43 pm

    “What do you think? She is a sensible teenage girl who doesn’t like to stand out from a crowd much due to self-interest and pragmatism because of the government in the world she lives in. She prefers to use brains rather than brawn to get out of trouble, and usually improvises rapidly when stuck in a corner. She is a very good liar.” What are her flaws like? What sort of mistakes and/or disagreeable decisions would she make that most other characters wouldn’t make? (One possibility: sometimes she’s excessively pragmatic and is all-too-willing to write off friends/allies if the situation gets too hot and/or as pique if the friend acted foolishly).

  658. Anonymouson 28 Dec 2012 at 6:41 am

    BM, I am totally clear on Mysterio. For one thing, he is a villian, and my character is a hero. Also, I do not think the orb is what creates the illusions, but I could be wrong. I think the technology in his suit makes them. My character is a wizard.

  659. B. McKenzieon 28 Dec 2012 at 7:37 am

    “BM, I am totally clear on Mysterio.” I’m inclined to agree. However, I’d like to offer the caveat that making Character B a villain rather than a hero (or vice versa) might not be enough to differentiate him from Character A–generally, I think personality/character traits and goals matter more. That said, I think the villain vs. hero distinction would probably be sufficient in this case–Mysterio and this character don’t sound like they resemble each other all that much–they’re not even in the same genre).

  660. Anonymouson 28 Dec 2012 at 10:50 am

    Cool, thanks. Now I just need to figure out how to show the MC doing interesting things without jumping into the dragons or embezzelment sceme.

  661. Anonymouson 28 Dec 2012 at 10:53 am

    whoops, I posted that last comment on the wrong article. That was a refrence to our conversation at What to do when you discover your story isn’t original.

  662. Anonymouson 28 Dec 2012 at 1:02 pm

    I think I have an adequet beginning now.

  663. Superguy99on 02 Jan 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Does anyone have any tips on how my characters can discover their Powers?

  664. Dr. Vo Spaderon 02 Jan 2013 at 12:57 pm

    A stressful situation is (in my opinion) the most common and most believable.

  665. Wishon 02 Jan 2013 at 10:34 pm

    B. Mac, I need a little help. Or maybe a lot. I’ve Bren watchig some superhero stuff lately and I’ve been planning an Avengers fanfiction story for a while based off of the 2011 TV series. The main character is an original one of my own creation, but I’m a little concerned about her superpowers. I don’t want a Mary Sue on my hands, but I’m scared I’ll fall into the trap of Sue-ness too easily under the superhero excuse.

    The main character is a 27 year old woman named Silvia who has a dagger that allows her to tell truth from lie (it remains a dagger whenever the person addressing her is speaking honestly but extends into a full sword when they lie). The dagger metally and physically harms the weilder if he/she lies. Silvia also can hover up to a foot off of the ground and can manipulate water vapor and minor amounts of water.

    Part of me thinks she’s too weak/not powerful for the storyline I have set up where she is noticed by the Avengers, but I don’t want a flying brick or crazy powerful hero who’s powers are completely unoriginal, at least in use. Any thoughts? I considered making her eater vapor abilities allow for some form of flight where she gets a boost to the sky closer to clouds and thus more water, but I’m still wondering what could make her an asset to a super hero team that’s already so diverse.

  666. YellowJujuon 02 Jan 2013 at 11:36 pm

    Wish, liars in superhero stories are often villains. Why would you give a villain a smaller weapon only to have it become a larger weapon that is easier to stab you with?

  667. B. McKenzieon 02 Jan 2013 at 11:56 pm

    “I’ve been watching some superhero stuff lately and I’ve been planning an Avengers fanfiction story for a while based off of the 2011 TV series.” First, my usual fan-fiction caveat: if you’re interested in becoming a writer someday, I think you’d probably learn more by building an original story from the ground up rather than taking a story where most of the main characters and the premise and probably the setting have already been laid out.

    Some thoughts that come to mind regarding the character and her powers:

    –I’m still wondering what could make her an asset to a super hero team that’s already so diverse.” Besides Iron Man’s lasers, the team is very light on ranged attacks more powerful than a bow and arrow. It doesn’t have any elemental controllers (besides possibly Thor). It doesn’t have any psychics. Except for Hulk, it doesn’t have anybody with notably messy and/or hard-to-control superpowers (a less reliable form of weather control comes to mind here). Except for Black Widow, it doesn’t have anybody who’s notably intelligent in a non-scientific way. It doesn’t have any mutants. Except for (sort of) Thor, the team is all human (as opposed to, say, a more exotic alien like the Martian Manhunter, a robot, a non-humanoid mutant like Beast, a mutant animal like The Taxman Must Die’s Agent Orange, a Canadian, a lab experiment gone horribly wrong, etc).

    –I feel like the character’s powers don’t really feel like they fit in with everybody else’s. Except for maybe Thor, all of the Avengers have either sci-fi origins (e.g. the Hulk’s radiation, Captain America’s super-serum, and Iron Man’s suit) or are badass normals (e.g. Black Widow, Samuel L. Jackson, and Hawkeye). And even Thor is kind of an alien. This dagger that extends into a sword when someone lies feels more like fantasy to me. One possibility: she uses some sort of sci-fi blade (e.g. a vibroblade or a light saber or whatever) and her abilities to detect lies are more based on her skills than on superpowers.

    –The character’s powers don’t strike me as contributing all that much to the team beyond what the other members can do. For example, is there anything she can contribute with the ability to detect lies that Black Widow and/or Iron Man couldn’t already do with their social skills and mental abilities/perception? (A related concern: if a feat can be accomplished without superpowers, it will almost always be more interesting to do so–e.g. The Mentalist is a very popular TV show about an investigator who uses his skills to detect and uncover lies, whereas Daredevil is a character who uses no-fail superpowers to uncover lies with much less drama/interest. Also, see Batman vs. Superman in flying scenes–Superman’s powers pretty much can’t fail, so those scenes are much less interesting for him than for Batman who has decidedly more limited flying capabilities).

    –I agree with/understand your concerns about the Sue-ness, but I’d generally recommend having the main characters on a superhero team roughly as powerful as each other (it makes it easier to challenge every character without rendering anyone useless). “Part of me thinks she’s too weak/not powerful for the storyline I have set up…” I’m inclined to agree. For example, she can hover a foot, but most of the other members on the team can either fly, pilot or have at least some heightened mobility (e.g. Hulk can jump high enough to get from one skyscraper to the next). She has a dagger (or sometimes a sword), which strikes me as less useful than what Thor and Iron Man and even Captain America bring to the picture.

    –I’d recommend spending a lot more time/thought on her personality and interesting interactions with other characters than on her superpowers. If her personality is interesting, the superpowers won’t matter much (as long as she and the team are properly challenged). If her personality isn’t interesting, great superpowers won’t save her.

  668. B. McKenzieon 03 Jan 2013 at 12:02 am

    “Does anyone have any tips on how my characters can discover their powers?” What’s the plot of your book like? Can you use the emergence of the superpowers to create problems in other ways? (For example, if the main other thing going on for the character is playing on the football team or wooing a significant other, you could have the superpowers emerge at a time which creates major problems on those fronts).

  669. Milanon 03 Jan 2013 at 5:44 am

    Hey Wish, that really is an intriguing starting point, a sword that gets longer when you lie. I can imagine Stark’s glib remarks already about Guiseppe’s foray into weaponsmithing.

    Perhaps the sword is a lightsaber after all, a high tech magic device akin to Asgardian gadgetry. At least it’s “feasible” in the Avenger world. Perhaps it doesn’t actually respond to lies, it just seems to. Perhaps it simply gets bigger when the wielder is significantly threatened, and the wielder has learned to lie to get the right response. “You WILL beat me to a pulp!”, the arcs of the sword stretched ever closer to the retreating Hulk. “You will murderise me completely!”. The sword practically lunged, severing the Hulk’s arm.

    The Hulk scrunched his eyes, but there was no searing pain. He hazarded a look, yet not a drop of blood, green, purple or otherwise, came from the gruesome stump. Looking closer, he saw his bicep ended in a shimmering field. On the ground, his severed limb… shrugged.

    With sufficiently outrageous “lies”, that sword might well serve as a ranged weapon. Such a sword could be wielded by anyone though, so there’s definitely a need for a second dimension to the character to tie her to the sword.

    Its limited programming may have also resulted in it choosing the wielder. Perhaps she has some trait taken to heroic lengths that the other Avengers don’t have. Protective… Captain America. Inventive… Iron Man. Manipulative… Black Widow. Angry… Hulk. Deific… Thor. Okay I don’t understand Thor. Sacrificing! She could cut off her own arm to throw at a keyboard just out of reach. Sharing! Anything can be shared with the sword of (um) Two-th. Or else you could work backwards, figure out a trait that would be heroic in the extreme, and then see how that might modify or relate to the sword.

    Anyway, you really do have a unique power. Toss in a heroic trait and wield your that pinnochioid “Knowsword” as an Avenger :)

  670. Wishon 03 Jan 2013 at 10:22 am

    @B. Mac: Thanks for the tips. While I do aspire to be a professional writer one day, for now I’m just hoping to exercise my writing skills. I’m still in school, though, so I don’t quite have the time it would take to build a whole new universe and story from the ground up. I might try it during NaNo this year.
    As for the character’s personality and character interaction, I already have those pretty well set up. I’ll re-evaluate her like you said and see about fixing the problems.

    @Milan: Thanks! I was always thinking about the dagger/sword’s versatility and many possible uses. I can definitely see her doing the sacrifice play; it would tie in to her personality and thoughts rather nicely.

  671. Amberon 03 Jan 2013 at 9:28 pm

    what kind of power would someone have to take down someone with telikinies but however the person with telikinis would be able to resist them long enough to give another person long enough to run/ get away?

    also I want this power something that would make them one of the most feared suprhumans

  672. Wishon 03 Jan 2013 at 10:10 pm

    @Amber: Perhaps telepathy? If the telekinetic had good reasons for a sharp and strong mind, then the telepathic could be trying to overpower the telekinetic while s/he threw items at the telepathic in an attempt to break his or her concentration. Plus, telepathy can easily scare people. Who would be able to tell if he or she read their minds?

  673. Tamahiroon 06 Jan 2013 at 10:48 am

    can someone help me with a team name their are 3 boys and 2 girls:

    the leader is telekinetic

    another boy is able to change his density
    (low density= levitation and phasing)
    (high density= strength and near invunrability)

    another boy with eagle sight and retractable wings and wind manipulation
    (uses a bow with wind arrows)

    a girl with plant powers

    and a girl who can create energy beings 5x her size controls them from the inside
    (the main two being a greek warrior and a ninja but their is more types)

  674. B. McKenzieon 06 Jan 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I would strongly recommend naming the team based on something besides their superpowers. For example, something about their team goal and/or motivations (e.g. Avengers), something/someone who matters very much to them (e.g. the X-Men or Justice League), something which suggests an unusual approach to being superheroes (e.g. Suicide Squad or Shadowpact or the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense), etc.

  675. Anonymouson 12 Jan 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Hey all!
    I am writing a novel about a teenager named Tom Silverton. He is quiet, curious, impulsive, self-centered, and intelligent. His father was an athlete in high school, so he is all about sports. His obsession grew when Tom’s mother died. Tom hates sports, and instead goes to a live action role playing group. They role play as their favorite superheroes, because everyone knows supers exist. One day, his favorite hero appears at one of his meetings, and so does a villain. The villain kills the hero, and Tom becomes depressed. He sets out to learn more about the hero, and finds some crucial piece of information. I do not know what yet. Anyway, he goes to the team the hero was on, and blackmails them into letting him join. He will not tell them what he found out until they allow him to help track down the heroes’ killer. The leader of the team, who was in love with the hero, says that Tom can join. Tom gains powers through intense training.
    That was pretty long winded, but my question is this:
    What power should I give Tom, super speed or animal mimicry? Those may seem odd given that his origin is training, but everyone has the potential to manifest a power, most people just do not know.

  676. Anonymouson 12 Jan 2013 at 6:50 pm

    There are a couple of things I forgot to mention. Tom is also very stubborn and determined. Also, do you think first or third person POV would work best for the story?

  677. B. McKenzieon 12 Jan 2013 at 10:49 pm

    Hello, Anonymous.

    –Stubborn, determined, curious, and probably impulsive are pretty much a given for a superhero, so these probably won’t distinguish the character very much. What we’re left with is quiet, self-centered, and intelligent. My impression so far (and I may be missing something) is that a character who’s quiet on his own is probably not as interesting as he could be–e.g. Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk was interesting in Avengers, but probably wouldn’t have fared as well as a main character rather than a side-character.

    –I really like the idea of the character blackmailing/pressuring his way onto a superhero team, but as it currently stands, I don’t understand why superheroes would agree to this. The blackmail will probably be more believable if the main character actually knows something damaging. For example, maybe he witnesses a major crime which the superheroes either grossly misrepresent and/or cover up to the media (e.g. Superhero A murders teammate Superhero B for whatever reason; the team silently deals with A and falsely claims that B was killed by a supervillain to avoid the public relations catastrophe of revealing that they let a murderer on the team*). A supervillain that has been framed in this way might correctly guess that the team has some major skeleton in the closet and might be interested in devastating his enemies and/or perhaps clearing his own name** by uncovering what happened.

    *If they killed A in retribution, they might also claim that the supervillain killed A as well.
    **The supervillain probably wouldn’t care about appearing innocent–he is, after all, a supervillain–but he might wonder if the superheroes’ final plan is to kill him as well to tie up any loose ends. You wouldn’t have to be a nice person to worry about some of your most powerful enemies framing you of murdering multiple VIPs, especially if it looks (erroneously) like one of your enemies might actually have murdered both.

    –”The leader of the team, who was in love with the hero, says that Tom can join. Tom gains powers through intense training.” This sounds too easy. I’d recommend instead having the leader offer a more conditional offer and/or perhaps provide useful information — e.g. “If you were remotely qualified to be a superhero, you would have figured out that everyone has the potential to manifest a superpower with sufficient effort.” Then he can push them to revisit their decision when he comes back with either superpowers or perhaps the first symptoms of superpowers.



    “What power should I give Tom, super speed or animal mimicry? Those may seem odd given that his origin is training, but everyone has the potential to manifest a power, most people just do not know.” Super-speed seems counterintuitive for a character that is more cerebral than athletic. Animal mimickry, okay, although it might feel a bit odd that characters can discover such an ability through training/effort.



    The conflict between geeks/dorks and athletes strikes me as overused and not particularly promising. I’d recommend checking out 21 Jump Street for a fresher take on cliques.

    If I were the marketing guy evaluating this proposal, I’d be concerned about the live-action roleplaying angle. It could come across as odd/weird to many readers, and notably anti-aspirational superheroes (like Kick-Ass and his painfully inept attempts at romance) don’t typically resonate with readers as much or sell as well as characters who more consistently show traits that readers look up to. I’d recommend looking at Peter Parker there–he’s not stereotypically cool, but he’s more clumsy than actually a loser. Alternately, Scott Pilgrim’s life has some HUGELY anti-aspirational elements early on (e.g. dating a high schooler at ~24, a total lack of success of the job front, how badly he handled his disastrous relationship with his ex, his dishonesty, etc), but he turns it around on every level. Even then, I would note that Scott Pilgrim didn’t sell remotely as well as more conventionally heroic-and-successful characters.

  678. Anonymouson 13 Jan 2013 at 11:56 am

    I’m not writing this to get published, just to improve my skills. I want to be as excellent a writer as possible.

  679. comicbookguyon 15 Jan 2013 at 11:58 pm

    How is everyone, I’ve been busy working on my comic book universe. Still sort developing my first, of many, projects bu I had a question. At the moment I’m trying to work in a race of aliens that are very important. So i really want their concept to work. One of the biggest details about them is that they possess a triple-helix for their DNA rather than a double-helix. So aside from explaining what a triple-helix IS compared to a double-helix, here are my questions;

    1) Knowing that DNA is basically nothing more than genetic storage devices, what advantaged would come from a triple-helix?

    2) Could the third strand of DNA be artificially created to link this race to the advanced suits they wear to visit other planets?

    Apologies, if this is not the right discussion area to post this. Thanks for your time, attention and opinions.

  680. B. McKenzieon 16 Jan 2013 at 4:45 am

    1) “Knowing that DNA is basically nothing more than genetic storage devices, what advantages would come from a triple-helix?” I think this is purely the author’s choice.

    2) “Could the third strand of DNA be artificially created to link this race to the advanced suits they wear to visit other planets?” Hmm. They genetically engineered themselves so they could use their spacesuits? That seems like a sort of convoluted reason to bring in genetic engineering. Perhaps their DNA/physiology require them to wear special suits to survive on other planets?

  681. comicbookguyon 17 Jan 2013 at 7:11 pm

    Exactly, perhaps I should elaborate. They need these to survive indeed. So the suit must be some sort of bio-tech that matches an individuals genetic code. Thus each member of this race has their own tailor-made suit.

    But also, in regards to DNA structure, what advantages would a triple-helix serve an organism that a double-helix couldn’t?

  682. B. McKenzieon 17 Jan 2013 at 8:15 pm

    Scientific American has an article on GE triple-helixes here. If you’re delving into the science — which I would not generally recommend in fiction* — the unusual genetic structure could allow for proteins not seen in double-helix organisms. Proteins are integral to pretty much everything in the body (including the muscles and brain), so that should cover pretty much anything that would be most relevant to a superhero story. Wikipedia also has an article here.

    *It tends to be VERY slow exposition.

  683. comicbookguyon 18 Jan 2013 at 12:14 pm

    As usual, I thank you B.Mac. I appreciate the help.

  684. j.coulsonon 21 Jan 2013 at 3:34 am

    you missed necromancing the ability to bring back the dead and minipulate them

  685. GalaxyWaffleson 22 Jan 2013 at 8:42 pm

    Hey I came up with a character and I want to know your opinions on him.

    Name: Aventus
    Age: 15
    Weapon: Whips

    So basically his story is that his parents were evil and they worked on alien technology.
    They tried a bunch of alien technology on him at a young age and they did a bunch of other tests on him and they tried out this new alien technology they found of him and it merged with his body. So kinda like Jaime Reyes. So throughout years Aventus develops a type of psychic connection with the alien technology. So basically he could talk to him and the alien technology could reply. (btw they’re baton like things.) So then Aventus’s parents lab explode and they died in the explosion but Aventus doesn’t thanks to his alien baton protecting him and that have now transformed into energy whips. The only thing left was Aventus’s parents journal which talked about their love for their child and many other things.

    So his whips can only be activated by Aventus and unless Aventus gives permission for someone to use it. Also the energy whips are blue. The whips can also extend to become longer (not super long though), are indestructible and Aventus retract them any time he wants.

    Combat wise it’s like the Metal Benders in the Legend of Korra.

    Aventus can also force the whips to fly into his hand and translate certain alien languages and writing.

    Aventus wears a black suit with white gloves and boots and it has a symbol on the chest of to batons overlapping each other like an x.

  686. Cluelesson 26 Jan 2013 at 2:39 am

    My superhero team’s powers are based on colours:

    (YELLOW)
    Appearance:
    A boy with short blond hair, orange eyes and slightly tanned skin he wears sandy coloured shorts, a short sleaved black top with a golden dragon design in the middle, black with gold trim fingerless gloves and is always bear-foot.

    Personality:
    He is the arragont hothead. He never backs down from a fight and seems to have the best comback to everything, he can be moody when he doesn’t get his own way and it is hard for him to admit that he was wrong or at fault. But even with his faults he is very loyal and always trying to help his freinds.

    Power:
    He can turn into a half-dragon: breaths fire; he can fly; has sharp claws; strong tail; enhanced sight smell hearing and resiliant scale armour. His scales are golden he keeps his clothes he has a blond crest (that means a hair going from the head down the spine) and a cream coloured underbelly. When pushed to maximum power he becomes a full dragon but this is unstable as he can lose control when enraged.

    (PURPLE)
    Apearance:
    A young boy with short light brown hair, purple eyes and pale skin he wears purple, grey and black coloured trousers (pants whatever) purple at the front black at the back and a grey line down the side same colour scheme for his converse purple sides, black front and grey tips he also wears a grey hoodie and often has the hood up.

    Personality:
    At first he is timid and quite and stuters a bit but when you get to know him he opens up he is very kinhearted and empathetic towards everyone in any situation this is his downfall as he is too empathetic towards the villans, he trusts to much and he just wants to help people in need. He is reserved and doesn’t like touching people because of his power

    Power:
    He is telekinetic, can use purple mindblasts and can use psycometry.(this is how he is too empathetic because he can feel the emotion or pain in the vision) When he uses his powers his eyes glow purple the things he telekineticly moves glow purple for a few seconds until he can lift the object.

    (BLUE)
    Apearance:
    A girl with shiny blue eye and long dark brown slightly curly hair with one blue streak she wears a blue and black skin tight top with a blue circle with a thist through it on her back she has similar skin tight shorts that go down to the knees and blue boots and a blue skirt.

    Personality:
    ???

    Power:
    she can make blue energy forcefields and fires melon sized blue energy balls from her hands, if she uses both hands she fires a bigger ball. When her power is pushed to the max she fires the bigger ball normaly and a giant ball with both hands.

    (RED)
    Apearance:
    A girl with long black straight hair and kind red eyes.(not evil red eyes)
    ???

    Personality:
    ???

    Power:
    she can create and manipulate red electricity and shadows. She can fly because of her electricity and she can make shadow clones of herself to fight.(not naruto style her shadows become 3D)

    (GREEN)
    Apearance:
    A boy
    ???

    Personality:
    leader
    ???

    Power:
    ???

    (the question marks are the parts I don’t know or unsure about can you help fill in the blanks)

  687. Cluelesson 26 Jan 2013 at 2:48 am

    meaning:
    i need personality for blue,
    costume and personality for red,
    everything for green,
    names (only superhero) and
    team name, backstories and villans

    (if you didnt notice the costumes are all their colour and black sometimes with a symbol)

  688. YellowJujuon 26 Jan 2013 at 10:06 am

    Clueless, I wouldn’t reccomend having color being your most important thing about the characters.

  689. B. McKenzieon 26 Jan 2013 at 12:53 pm

    “Clueless, I wouldn’t recommend having color being your most important thing about the characters.” I agree… Color-coding characters reminds me of Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, cartoons where the main characters only have one personality trait. I’m not sure it would play well with novel-readers.

  690. Jordanon 30 Jan 2013 at 8:35 pm

    Hi, I’m trying to make some supers that have balanced powers, but some I can’t get a good drawback for.
    Name: Energon
    Power: Energy manipulation (can completely alter energy in anything)
    Drawback:???

    Name: Supernova/Arsenal
    Power: Explosion Control/Ace marksmanship
    Drawback: Too angry and loses control/???

    Name: Metallico
    Power: Metal manipulation
    Drawback:???

    As I said, these are some I haven’t figured out yet. Any suggestions would be very helpful.

  691. Mikeon 31 Jan 2013 at 2:06 am

    I’m not sure this is the correct article but thought I’d give it a whirl. I’m coming up with an idea of a superhero who is a martial artist, a Kickboxer to be more specific but I want his skills and powers to be amplified. I’m struggling to figure out why could possibly cause this to happen without being too cliché. Any suggestions would be great!

  692. Anonymouson 31 Jan 2013 at 6:10 am

    There’s a list of superhero origins here. Are you thinking more about a sci-fi or a fantasy direction?

  693. Mikeon 31 Jan 2013 at 3:29 pm

    It’d most definitely be a sci-fi story if any.

    I’m in two minds about my main character having his martial arts skills enhanced by an experimental chemical, ie Captain America or him just being simply superior in hand-to-hand combat, ie Batman.

    My original story is that a young kid named Jordan Monro who lives in the fictional town Skyline City. He lives with his mother after his father died when he was a baby. He takes up kickboxing at aged 10 after being recruited by a mysterious Grand Master Sensei Marcus Senester and his Martial Arts Academy. Jordan is a good-natured kid who used to hate seeing other kids getting beaten up and not being able to defend themselves. But the Academy’s Cobra-Kai-No-Mercy-style of training turns him into a remorseless fighting machine. At aged 13 he earns his first Dan black belt. At 16 he earns his second Dan black belt and is inducted into by Grand Master Senester into his Wolf Pack. The Wolf Pack is an elite group of fighters personally recruited by Senester, similar to the Foot Clan from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Senester is revealed to be a major Crime Lord of Skyline Cityresponsible for all the drug dealing, robberies and hits, akin to Carmine Falcone.

    Jordan rises through the ranks, swiftly becoming a firm favourite of Senester’s, becoming the Beta to his Alpha. However, when Senester orders Jordan and the rest of the pack to infiltrate the labaratory of the biggest pharmaceutical company in Skyline (the same company that Jordan’s mother works for), he has reservations but goes along with it. Senester is after a new experimental drug that’s being developed that he’s looking to sell. Once it’s been secured, Senester orders the Pack to execute all of the workers so that there’s no witnesses, one of them being Jordan’s mother. When Jordan refuses, he is chastised for his compassion and lack of conviction before he kills Jordan’s mother himself and excommunicates him from the Pack, having him killed, or so it seems. The idea would be to have the Pack blow up the lab and make it look like an accident. With Jordan unconscious and the building blowing up around him and he’s accidentally covered in a combination of experimental chemicals which preserves his body. When he wakes up, he’s in a strange room where someone has pulled him from the wreckage. The stranger turns out to be his Dad who is actually alive and well. He reveals that Senester had attempted to kill him but he faked his death for his family’s safety. He trains Jordan to hone his new abilities so they can take down Senester and his Wolf Pack and save Skyline City.

    What’s everyone thoughts? Feedback is really appreciated!

  694. Kalion 31 Jan 2013 at 9:38 pm

    I’m trying to write a book about a superhero and it’s my first time trying to write any book at all. My character has wings and other powers that I haven’t decided on yet. Does anyone have any ideas for a three syllable name for her and possible costume choices (colors, etc.)? I need good ideas, not some ideas that are taken from another superhero or something.

  695. Mikeon 01 Feb 2013 at 6:29 am

    What kind of wings are they? Mechanical? Demonic? Dragon? Insect?

  696. BMon 01 Feb 2013 at 8:23 am

    Kali, especially in a book, I’d recommend worrying a hundred times more about the character development (e.g. personality/distinguishing traits, motivation/goals, etc) and plot than about the costume. You won’t score (or lose) any points with readers because of the costume.

    “I need good ideas, not some ideas that are taken from another superhero or something.” Hmm, good luck with that. There are only so many color combinations, and the 5000+ characters of Marvel & DC have probably hit on all of the ones that might actually look good. I’d recommend focusing a lot more on differentiating your character in other ways. If I could use my own The Taxman Must Die as an example, none of my beta reviewers have complained that the taxman/detective wears a regular suit-and-tie (like pretty much any modern detective) or that the other main character looks too similar to a character from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Again, I think it overwhelmingly comes down to characterization/personality, interesting choices, and plotting. If you can deliver on those fronts, the costume/colors won’t matter. If you can’t, the costume/colors won’t save you.

  697. Kalion 01 Feb 2013 at 6:50 pm

    Mike:
    my character’s wings are normal bird wings, except the color of them is blood red.

  698. Kalion 01 Feb 2013 at 6:54 pm

    BM:
    Thanks, I didn’t know that the costumes don’t really matter for a superhero. I will work more on her personality and the plot. Since I’m 13 I didn’t really know that writing a superhero book is actually harder than it seems to be.

  699. Kalion 01 Feb 2013 at 6:56 pm

    And forget about the name for her; I already came up with one: Archangel

  700. Leegirlon 01 Feb 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Kali, I really don’t mean to burst your bubble, but there’s already a really famous super named Archangel. It’s a guy though. He’s from the Marvel universe and he’s one of the newer X-men members. Sorry, You might wanna rethink that name.

  701. Kalion 01 Feb 2013 at 11:51 pm

    Dang it, I really liked that name. Maybe she could go by Red Angel or something.

  702. Amberon 01 Feb 2013 at 11:52 pm

    Kali:
    I think that that’s a pretty good name for her.

  703. Mikeon 02 Feb 2013 at 1:56 am

    Depending on what kind of bird wings, you could go for Red Eagle, Red Hawk, Red Falcon etc.

    Anyone have any thoughts on my potential story idea as posted above? Really keen to get some other experts points of view :-)

  704. B. McKenzieon 02 Feb 2013 at 2:24 am

    Hello, Mike. Thanks for your patience.

    Why did Senester recruit Jordan? (There might be some interesting reason that they are recruiting a counterintuitive candidate–someone good-natured–for a group that’s very much at odds with that).

    Jordan’s personality could be more distinctive/interesting. What are some unusual decisions he’d make that most other protagonists wouldn’t make in the same situation?

    Jordan’s rise to the lieutenant role sounds like it could be more interesting. Out of all of the people in the Wolf Pack, what’s special about Jordan (besides that he’s the protagonist)? What are some things he does that none of the others would do in the same situation? One possibility: like Senester, he’s unusually determined, so much so that it’s also a flaw… maybe he’s so driven to accomplish his objectives that he’s willing to sacrifice teammates if necessary. However, unlike Senester, he has that compassionate/altruistic angle, so his objectives/goals would probably look substantially different than Senester’s (although there might be some overlap, at least at first).

    Erm… my interpretation of the villain’s plan (having Jordan participate in the killing of Jordan’s mother) would lead me to suspect the villain was a bit of an idiot—how did he expect Jordan would react? One more believable alternative would be if the villain specifically intended it as an affront to Jordan, perhaps as punishment for some transgression*. Or perhaps the villain misled/lied to Jordan about what they were planning, and Jordan wasn’t actually present when the killings occurred.
    *E.g. Jordan interfering with some crime against a civilian without knowing that the perpetrator was part of Senester’s organization. Perhaps Senestro gave him sort of vague instructions about not to interfere with something and Jordan disregarded those instructions because he assumed that he must have misunderstood Senester’s meaning–e.g. “If Senester had actually known what this criminal was involved in, he would want me to get involved to stop him” (obviously this is incorrect, but Jordan doesn’t know that at the time).

    Skyline City sounds like it could be more distinct. What’s something that might happen there that wouldn’t/couldn’t happen in most other superhero settings?

    Jordan seems oddly passive in the key scene where the villain kills his mother, Jordan gets knocked out, the building blows up, he gets covered in experimental chemicals, and his father saves him from the wreckage. I’d recommend giving him a more active role – e.g. giving him the opportunity to do something that most other protagonists wouldn’t do in the same situation. Preferably something more distinctive than getting pissed because his sensei committed a mass murder (including his mother)—that strikes me as something that everybody would do. For example, it sounds like he’s pretty chummy with his father after his father suddenly returns. One possibility: he’s instead really upset with his father because his father 1) misled him and probably Jordan’s mother about the father’s supposed death, and 2) his father was there when Jordan’s mother was killed and didn’t do anything about it. At least at first, I think it’d be more interesting if the two characters were deeply at odds. If they do reconcile later, I’d recommend having it come after gradual character development (e.g. maybe something about the father and/or the son changes that makes it easier for Jordan to accept his father back).

    Also, one concern I’d have about the father randomly entering to train the son is that it sort of relegates the son to a passive/secondary role. I think it’d be helpful if he took a more active role in his development (e.g. it would probably help to focus more on what he learns through practice than what his father teaches him… the stakes are higher and Jordan will probably have more opportunities to do interesting things).

  705. Mikeon 02 Feb 2013 at 9:30 am

    Thanks very much, it’s great to get some constructive feedback! I’ll definitely take your points onboard!

  706. Amberon 02 Feb 2013 at 2:37 pm

    I’m trying to write a book and my superhero has purple fur everywhere, black hair, a tail, and yellow eyes. She can wall-crawl. Do any of you guys have any ideas for another superpower for her? Preferably not things like energy blasts or any cliche powers.

  707. B. McKenzieon 02 Feb 2013 at 4:13 pm

    “Do any of you guys have any ideas for another superpower for her?” I don’t know anything about the plot or much about what sort of feel you’re going for, so I’m at a bit of a loss here…

    Wall-crawling would probably be more interesting with a character that was mainly a melee and/or short-range character, and I get the impression that you’re not a huge fan of ranged combat. Most characters that are exceptional wall-crawlers (e.g. Spider-Man, Wolverine and Beast) mainly rely on some combination of strength/agility/athleticism, sometimes with claws or some other melee weapon. If that is too generic for your tastes, perhaps something like powers that are mainly effective at melee range (e.g. psychic abilities that are much more useful at close range or the ability to disable superpowers via touch).



    In some cases, a character that looks abnormal is intended to evoke a vibe of horror and/or shock and/or wackiness. If any of those apply here, I’d recommend picking capabilities accordingly. (For example, the ninja turtles were originally a parody of the glut of 1980s ninja stories).

  708. Jaion 02 Feb 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Okay, my superhero can fly (no energy or wings, just plain flying), control ice, frost, snow, and is (possibly, still not sure) immortal (can not die of old age, not-can never die by being stabbed or something).

  709. Jaion 02 Feb 2013 at 6:54 pm

    So, what do you guys think? I know I have to come up with what she looks like. Do you think she would look good with white hair? Or should I make her hair color more normal like brown or something?

  710. Amberon 02 Feb 2013 at 7:11 pm

    B. McKenzie:
    The book starts off with her running down an alley, freaking out over what she looks like. She sees a guy getting mugged by two other guys and is conflicted because she wants to help him, but she doesn’t want anybody to see her the way she is. She decides to help the guy and beats up the two guys who are mugging him (she used to take karate).
    That’s as far as I’ve got. I think that the guy who she saved will be from some organization or something, and in exchange for her saving him, he gives her a watch that his organization has been working on: a watch that lets you look however you want to by illusions or something. But she only wants to look like what she used to look like, so she sets up the watch and goes to school. While she was messing with the watch while she was bored during class she accidentally makes it only able to switch on and off for the way she used to look and the way she looks now. (This will be for later in the book): Saving that guy made her realize that she wants to use her abilities for helping people and stopping supervillains.
    Sorry about how long this is, I tend to elaborate A LOT sometimes.

  711. Amberon 02 Feb 2013 at 7:15 pm

    And her sense of justice is kind of like spiderman’s, not in any way like batman or something. (No killing or anything in the book. There will probably be things like bleeding, bruises, broken bones, etc. She is the kind of superhero to turn the supervillain in to the police.)

  712. Amberon 02 Feb 2013 at 7:32 pm

    B. McKenzie:
    What do you think she should have for a power besides wall-crawling? I’m not really into psychic, energy, claw things, or draining powers. I know, I’m picky with superpowers. And I’m sorry, I don’t know what a melee weapon or character is. (I’m 13 and this is my first time writing a superhero book.) Could you please give me a list of some more powers that are good for her and a definition of melee weapons and characters?
    Sorry if I’m bothering you with all these questions.

  713. Clarabelon 03 Feb 2013 at 12:00 am

    I have an idea for a character, but she lacks an actual power instead of a mutation. Okay, prepare for an avalanche of backstory. My character is a completely ordinary receptionist. She is young, but is very depressed about where her life is headed and wants more than anything to be special in some way. Anyway, over the course of a few days , she begins to notice markings showing up on her skin. They are kind of a filigree/vine pattern and look rather alien. At first, she wears them proudly, thinking her life is turning around and she will finally be special and a superhero. However, she is ostracized and experimented on, and she becomes disillusioned. However, at a point where she only wants the “tattoos” gone, she gains for combatant powers and becomes a villain as revenge for her treatment. At a later point in the story, she experiences a turnaround and becomes somewhat of a hero. But what I’m wondering is, what powers could be related to the markings? I know they should be kind of alien or mystic in origin, but I can’t find a power that is strong enough to make her a full-blown villain, but also having to do with the markings on her shin. Please help, this a pretty big hole in the plot.

  714. B. McKenzieon 03 Feb 2013 at 12:15 am

    She’s trained in karate… maybe her power is a mental ability that would affect her ability to do karate. For example, if she were extraordinarily perceptive (e.g. especially keen vision and hearing), she could use those to “read” people more effectively and react more effectively in battle. Conversely, outside of combat, this power could be both useful and a liability–e.g. it might be really hard for friends/family to hide how much her appearance freaks them out (if/when anybody sees her true appearance).



    “I know, I’m picky with superpowers.” The above list has 50 to choose from.


    It’s not a huge problem here, but if you’re thinking about maybe getting this published eventually, I’d recommend fleshing out the plot so that the events tie together a bit more smoothly. For example, the guy she saves just happens to have access to a technological device that’s extremely useful to her. She’s basically solving her problem (her appearance) through extreme luck, which is not as interesting as it could be.

    One alternate possibility that comes to mind: she has this problem with her appearance, so she seeks out this company that can make a hologram watch. She goes in to meet with them and they politely turn her away after finding out that she can’t pay $100,000 or whatever to buy the watch. She tries to make her personal plea but it’s not a charity and the manager would get fired if he gave away an $100,000 watch. On her way out, would-be bank robbers who want the hologram watch to disguise their appearances for bank robberies hold up the office at gunpoint. She steps in to save them, even after they were unhelpful to her, and after defeating the robbers, the manager sheepishly gives her a watch. She thanks him, but he cuts her off along the lines of “Ehh, no thanks necessary. As far as the insurance company knows, one of the watches just got stolen. Let’s leave it at that.” I think that this explanation for how she gets the watch is a bit more memorable and raises the stakes (e.g. if she loses the watch, it’d be much harder for her to replace it–the manager is already breaking the law by giving her this one).

    “Sorry about how long this is, I tend to elaborate A LOT sometimes.” Hmm… if there are any editors out there that can’t handle a 225-word comment, I think they’re probably too distracted to be very helpful.

  715. B. McKenzieon 03 Feb 2013 at 12:41 am

    Hello, Clarabel.

    I think the receptionist angle is an interesting starting point. I’m intrigued…

    “At a later point in the story, she experiences a turnaround and becomes somewhat of a hero.” What causes her turnaround? One possibility: another hero(ine) offers help in accomplishing a major goal (e.g. revenge/justice against someone involved in the experimentation), but only if she stops her villainous shenanigans.

    Besides her desire to become a hero -> actually becoming a villain, and then becoming a hero, how does this character change/develop over the course of the story? One possibility that comes to mind: she treats her tattoos in a human but sort of immature way—out of all the things she could be proud about – e.g. her personality, charm, job skills, intelligence, unusual interest in [ANY INTEREST], physical fitness, whatever – she flaunts only something that she has no control over and is only skin-deep. Eventually, she might realize that she was unhappy as a not-particularly-remarkable* receptionist, but her problem wasn’t that she was born unremarkable but that she never actually made herself remarkable.

    *If the first thing that came up about me in a Wikipedia article was my exotic alien tattoos, 1) I’d be extremely disappointed I couldn’t give them any more interesting material to work with and 2) Wikipedia editors would break their fingers slamming the DELETE – INSUFFICIENTLY NOTABLE button.

    “But what I’m wondering is, what powers could be related to the markings? I know they should be kind of alien or mystic in origin, but I can’t find a power that is strong enough to make her a full-blown villain, but also having to do with the markings on her skin…” Ehh… you could do pretty much any superpower here. For example, maybe the tattoos were markings of an alien operation that caused her to gradually develop a superpower(s). Or maybe the markings are some sort of blessing. Your concept here sounds workable, so I think there are a lot of possible explanations which could work.

  716. B. McKenzieon 03 Feb 2013 at 2:11 am

    “So, what do you guys think? I know I have to come up with what she looks like. Do you think she would look good with white hair? Or should I make her hair color more normal like brown or something?” I’d recommend focusing more on character development than on hair color. Either white or a more typical color would work fine.

  717. Amberon 03 Feb 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Never mind about the melee question, I looked up the definition of it. Does anybody know some good melee powers for her(excluding the ones posted above)? I also need help coming up with a name for her.

  718. Amberon 03 Feb 2013 at 2:47 pm

    I can’t really go any farther in the book without a superhero name. I like names that have three syllables.

  719. Amberon 03 Feb 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Can anyone list names that you think would be good for my character please?

  720. B. McKenzieon 03 Feb 2013 at 3:01 pm

    I don’t know what would work for your character. I don’t know anything about her personality or your writing style and, even if I did, names which make the author happy almost always come from the author.

    My suggestion would be to proceed with the book, using a placeholder until you come up with something that you like better.

  721. Amberon 03 Feb 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Thanks, B. McKenzie. I was thinking about going with something like Shadowcrawler, but it’s a long name and not three syllables, which I like. I’m probably going to have “crawler” in the name, but I need a one syllable word for it. Something like “dusk” or “shade” maybe?

  722. B. McKenzieon 03 Feb 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Hmm. Is the character meant to bring Nightcrawler to mind?

  723. Amberon 03 Feb 2013 at 5:15 pm

    No, wait, isn’t that the character from x-men who can teleport?

  724. Amberon 03 Feb 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Anyway, I wasn’t trying to copy any characters. I don’t even like teleportation! It’s way too hard for me to write and I think it’s a way too powerful power if you don’t put any limits on it. I was just putting the “crawler” part in there because she has the power of wall-crawling. Since I don’t want to copy a character, could you please make a list of names that you think would work for her that don’t sound like nightcrawler? I would think some more about it, but my brain is fried from overuse. I had homework over the weekend! :(

  725. Jacob Strainon 04 Feb 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Hm. If she is into intimidating criminals, perhaps Shadelurker? I don’t know, I’ve never been all that great with names.

  726. nicoleon 04 Feb 2013 at 6:54 pm

    You can ask people for more superpowers cause all you got are the old and boring ones

  727. B. McKenzieon 04 Feb 2013 at 10:20 pm

    Nicole, I think it’s all in the execution. For example, agility and teleportation are definitely two common powers, but Neo’s fight scenes in The Matrix and Nightcrawler’s White House attack in X-Men 2 are still among the best superpowered fight scenes in the last 20 years. Captain America’s and Batman’s physical powers are extremely generic, but they still had some really interesting action scenes and have totaled 4-5 great movies. Scott Pilgrim had similarly generic powers (strength and agility) but executed them in a highly unusual way.

    This isn’t to say that relatively complex and unusual superpowers can’t work (e.g. Inception was a great movie even though its dreaming was a relatively complex superpower), but more common and generic superpowers have definitely had a lot more success in movies over the last 15-20 years. For example, looking at the list of the top-rated superhero movies on Rotten Tomatoes, we see 1) The Incredibles, 2) Dark Knight, 3) Spider-Man 2, 4) Iron Man and 5) Avengers. Except for Spider-Man, these movies exclusively use generic and common superpowers, but nevertheless are averaging 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. In contrast, the movies which use arguably the most unusual superpowers, the Ghost Rider series and Green Lantern and Jonah Hex and Astro Boy, are averaging 25%.

    This is not to say that “a generic superpower makes for good stories and unusual powers make for bad stories” (e.g. see Inception), but if you think that picking an unusual power will make your story more interesting, that generally hasn’t been the case so far, at least not in cinema. It’s all about execution.



    For more advice on superpower selection, I’d recommend this article.

  728. Amber D.on 08 Feb 2013 at 10:31 pm

    My original I used on here was Amber(last post Jan.3) but since it has sorta been taken over I added the D to clear up who is who.

  729. Amber D.on 10 Feb 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Here are more ideas for powers:
    .erasing flaws: erase flaws from people’s bodies however only to an extent

    .hair that will twist into snakes when it is in snake the persons eyes will turn people to stone, whether is normal or snake it can be control’d when it is snake hair this could be used to attack and when it’s normal it can be used to style

    .puppy eyes (sorta like hypnosis) when you look into there eyes you will want to do anything/ every thing for them

  730. Dr. Vo Spaderon 10 Feb 2013 at 5:43 pm

    @Amber D.,

    I think you should be working for the CW. Just sayin. :)

  731. B. McKenzieon 10 Feb 2013 at 6:50 pm

    “I think you should be working for the CW. Just sayin.” Hmm… Amber D., in terms of writing a superhero story, it would probably be helpful if the main character’s powers can be used to do interesting things — e.g. some combination of subduing/thrashing enemies, rescuing bystanders, solving crimes, and/or stealth. Personally, I’d have a really hard time giving a character with the ability to cosmetically alter minor flaws chances to contribute there. What sort of interesting things might you have such a character do?

    One possible tweak would be that the character has very useful superpowers with cosmetics built into his/her origin–for example, Clayface was originally an actor (Basil Karlo) who desperately used an experimental cosmetic to save his career. The cosmetic ruined his body and mind while giving him superpowers which are insanely effective at terrorizing Gotham, such as melee moves like a yoga instructor out of hell, invulnerability to pretty much everything besides Batman, and shapeshifting.



    “Puppy eyes (sorta like hypnosis)…” I could definitely see myself incorporating puppy-powered mind-control as a wacky aside in a comedy. In The Taxman Must Die, perhaps Agent Orange’s criminal mastermind kid nephew discovers at a critical point that he can get much farther with puppy eyes and a grenade launcher than with puppy eyes alone.

  732. Jacob Strainon 11 Feb 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Erasing flaws could be used as a sort of minor identity cover for criminals. If, say, a murderer is on the loose and he’s got a really distinctive facial scar or a black eye, he could make it go away and throw the cops off.

  733. Garreton 11 Feb 2013 at 4:37 pm

    I know a couple you forgot: shadow control. The abilty to shape and use shadows as tools, weapons or armor. Density control to make a enemy super heavy or super light.Can sink through floors or float through ceilings.

  734. Dr. Vo Spaderon 11 Feb 2013 at 5:45 pm

    @Jacob Strain,

    That’s genius. Only, I think they’d work better as a group of people with the flaw-erasing. (As in this ability isn’t uncommon, but not a dime a dozen either. If a futuristic, utopian scify setting was used, they’d make a good type of criminal. Say like, fences.

  735. B. McKenzieon 11 Feb 2013 at 11:07 pm

    “Erasing flaws could be used as a sort of minor identity cover for criminals.” Hmm. It may help to upgrade this to low-grade shapeshifting–e.g. the person can recolor his/her skin/hair and adjust minor facial features but can’t substantially change his/her build. It would probably make it a bit more believable that the police don’t recognize him than just removing a scar or black eye. It might also help avoid the “this feels more like a CW drama than a superhero story” concerns (in contrast, if a superhero’s or criminal’s abilities are 75%+ redundant with makeup, would the character be extraordinary enough to interest superhero readers?)

  736. Jacob Strainon 12 Feb 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Hmm. Low- grade shapeshifting was what I meant… sort of. I think I misread the power.

  737. Jessicaon 14 Feb 2013 at 1:06 am

    Hi! I’m looking for a character that has interesting powers. I am thinking of writing a novel where the characters are not human. So I’m looking for a power that can be revealed slowly but efficiently. To give the readers a more suspenseful story. I plan to make this character go into the human world after an invasion on her race. I’ve already chosen the names of the mane characters:

    Main character:
    Kayla
    About 18 human years
    Power: ???

    Do you think I should have any other characters to suit in with her? Like some humans or others of her race?
    Please help me out.

    Thanks!
    Jessica

  738. Jacob Strainon 14 Feb 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Hm. If I end up writing my sci-fi novel, a minor antagonist might have the low-grade shapeshifting power.

  739. hoaxeron 17 Feb 2013 at 1:33 pm

    for my story the heroine name is Monica. at the beginning of the story she has a bad case of lice so they shave her head to find two eye shaped tattoos on the back. the doctor tells her that judgeing by the marks she got them when she was only a few mouths old. which kind of frecks her out. soon she discovers that her ink can serve as actail eyes. giveing her litterly eyes at the back of her head. what do u think

  740. Jacob Strainon 17 Feb 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Hoaxer, I like the power, but I have two concerns. One: I would reccomend proofreading more agressively and working on your mechanics. Two: What’s Monica’s personality like? What are her key traits?

  741. Celofanon 17 Feb 2013 at 2:28 pm

    I thought of it as an awesome superpower, too… lice! Pretty creative way of discovering it –I’d have recommended her to use an anti-lice shampoo instead of shaving all her hair, though.

  742. B. McKenzieon 17 Feb 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Hmm. It might help to give her something more than the ability to see behind her–the ability strikes me as somewhat limited in utility. Perhaps her supernatural tattoos give her some sort of supernatural sense (e.g. the ability to see something that humans could not normally see).

  743. hoaxeron 17 Feb 2013 at 11:22 pm

    ok thanks for the input

    jacob – Monica is sort of person who acts before she thinks, she basicly wears her heart on her sleeve, never backs down, all ways has something to say,but what id say is her main trait is her unmoveing opinions

    celofan – its true she could have used the specail shampoo but if she did the chances of her discovering her powers is low. so I came up with two reasons why she had to shave her head number 1 – too expensive her family isn’t doing well with the whole ecomey thing, so they kind of had too number 2 – well think about it how did she get lice in the frist place, her parents can only assume she was doing thing behind there back even if she says she didn’t so it was punishment, shave her head. not the most trusting parents but it will make a funny scene when she relizes what there doing

    b.mac- I agree totally limited I might make her be able to see diffent things like heat or thorw walls, even ghosts ill work something out

    okay also Monica’s superhero name is Argus, and her friends call her mo, she is allso naturally athletic

  744. B. McKenzieon 18 Feb 2013 at 7:58 am

    “how did she get lice in the frist place, her parents can only assume she was doing thing behind there back even if she says she didn’t so it was punishment, shave her head… it will make a funny scene.” I’m not sure readers will be on your page. I think the parents come across as one-dimensionally crazy and maybe faintly abusive, and I suspect that playing the scene for laughs would not go over well. What do they think she was involved in, sharing a comb with someone at school?

  745. Anon.on 18 Feb 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Or even bumping into someone who had lice. Seriously. It takes about a second or two of physical contact to cause lice infestation, and it’s a bastard to get rid of.

  746. Dr. Vo Spaderon 18 Feb 2013 at 7:24 pm

    You know, I think I’m going to start saying “life’s a bastard”. :)

    I’ve been thinking about a character who can manipulate emotion. But he has to use this ability subtly – making too much of a change makes the victim aware of his defect on them and they can consciously resist his powers. This has made John (Diamond, I’ve decided) a silver tongued citizen. He has dealt with rejection before, is greedy and generally doesn’t trust people because he is used to tricking/conning/betraying people.

    Now my dilemma is this: what should I make him? The first choice is obviously a politician, but I’m not particularly good at writing political scenes that are interesting or entertaining. Second to mind was a leader of a cult or a con man. Which of these do you think sounds better? I’m also open to suggestions for other paths to take!

  747. B. Macon 19 Feb 2013 at 1:29 am

    “This has made John (Diamond, I’ve decided) a silver tongued citizen… Now my dilemma is this: what should I make him? The first choice is obviously a politician…” I’d recommend going with something unexpected. I think you can incorporate dishonesty pretty much anywhere (e.g. a cop who lies to convict someone he is 99% sure is guilty but would otherwise get off, a businessman embroiled in office intrigue, a scientist or academic willing to fudge results and/or not aware he’s fudging results to generate more market-friendly data, a prosecutor willing to lie to railroad witnesses and suspects, a spy or anybody leading a double-life, etc).

  748. Dr. Vo Spaderon 21 Feb 2013 at 10:55 am

    Thanks! I think I’m going to choose between a lawyer and a business man. Making him blue collar would be interesting, but more difficult I work with. Again: this site is awesome.

  749. Amber D.on 23 Feb 2013 at 1:45 am

    so in some super hero movies some pepole who get powers (mainly villans) have serious disfigerment. In the fake world I created for one of my story ideas every 1/100,000 pepole have powers and in verry rare cases (like only ten pepole in the world) sometimes they have a certain gene that allows them to transmit powers to ordinary pepole. Sometimes however there can be disfigerment in those pepole after transmision. The girl in the story that erases flaws in these situation can do some pretty major work. what I mean by to an extent is she can’t make everyone look like super models. However she is more of a side character.

  750. BTBon 23 Feb 2013 at 8:01 pm

    So, I’ve decided to write a story in my spare time and this is what I’ve come up with so far.

    Protagonist’s Name: Darren Alias: Trela
    Age: 15
    Gender: Male
    Race: African-American
    Setting: Future
    Eye Colour: Blue
    Skin Colour: Caramel
    Costume Colour: Blue & White (white parts turn black during the night)
    Hair Colour: Silver

    Story: Darren was experimented on by his parents regularly and frequently throughout his childhood. From the age of 7 he assumed his parents were evil scientists and ever since then he’s tried to escape and kill them. One day Darren’s parents got a hold of a mysterious chemical code-named “Eve” and tried it out on Darren along with a couple other chemicals “Eve” didn’t react well with the other chemicals or Darren’s body and it almost killed Darren leaving him in a coma for 3 weeks. Once he woke up he realized that everything in the house he lived in was gone. Assuming Darren’s parents abandoned him, he leaves his hometown, swears to find his evil parents and kill them and decides to ditch his real name and go by the name “Trela”. Trela then meets up with a group of “abandoned” kids once he enters SkyFall City and realizes that they all have the same story. Trela and the other group of “abandoned” kids decide to dig a little deeper into what’s going on with their parents, how they got their powers, what chemical “Eve” is and if there’s other chemicals like “Eve” and who’s really in control of SkyFall city.

    Powers:
    - Teleportation (can only teleport to locations within his sightline. Can only carry 2 people with him)
    - Force Field Generation (can create force fields on varying sizes. Large sized force fields help up for long periods on time exhaust him)

    Abilities:
    - Bilingual (can speak English & French)
    - Martial Arts (Excels in Martial Arts)
    - Gymnast (can perform most basic flips & roles)
    - Strength (above average human strength thanks to his Power Gloves)
    Weaknesses:
    - Lots of strain exhausts him (ex: carrying more than 2 people while teleporting or holding up a very large force field)

    Equipment:
    - Goggles (protects his eyes)
    - Power Gloves (uses them for close combat fighting so he like doesn’t destroy his fists)
    - Suit
    - Shoes

    That’s what I have so far

  751. B. McKenzieon 24 Feb 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Hello, BTB. Some thoughts and suggestions:

    –When you’re pitching to publishers, I think you can safely leave out the character’s gender, eye-color, skin-color, hair color, and costume color. Maybe race, too, unless it’s really important to the plot and/or the audience appeal. I’d recommend focusing instead on what makes the character distinctive or memorable (e.g. unusual personality traits, unusual decisions, motivations, etc).

    –Darren’s one-dimensionally evil parents strike me as an opportunity for deeper, more three-dimensional character development. Is there some reason they’re sadistically experimenting on their child? (For example, I feel Harry Potter’s adopted family, the Dursleys, are somewhat believable as a family much more interested in being normal than friendly which picks on Harry because he’s definitely not normal).

    –”Trela then meets up with a group of “abandoned” kids once he enters SkyFall City and realizes that they all have the same story.” Is this just some super-lucky coincidence that he has run into these other kids with a similar problem to the one he has? If so, I’d recommend fleshing out the plot a little more so that there’s some better explanation for how he meets up with these other people in a similar situation. (For example, maybe he gets sought out and/or seeks them out because he has these unusual capabilities).

  752. What is Your Superpower? | Café Caseyon 27 Feb 2013 at 4:02 pm

    [...] Now I’m wondering. Do I have a superpower? What could it be? Let me check the superpower checklist: [...]

  753. Mister Phenixon 04 Mar 2013 at 4:24 am

    Do you have any advice on characters who can absorb/mimic other people’s powers?

  754. B. McKenzieon 04 Mar 2013 at 8:34 am

    I’d recommend putting some sort of limit on the character’s ability to absorb superpowers. For example, maybe he can only “remember” one superpower at a time and absorbing one power causes him to “forget” the last. If there are no limitations…
    1) The character will never be at a disadvantage, which means that his fights will probably suck.
    2) The character will eventually outstrip every other character, including the villains. By the end of Heroes, it got so bad that Peter could have pretty much told 90% of the cast to go home.

  755. Cluelesson 04 Mar 2013 at 1:09 pm

    improvements yay

    LUKE
    Appearance:
    A boy with short blond hair, orange eyes and slightly tanned skin he wears sandy coloured shorts, a short sleaved black top with a golden dragon design in the middle, black with gold trim fingerless gloves and is always bear-foot.

    Personality:
    He is the arragont hothead. He never backs down from a fight and seems to have the best comback to everything, he can be moody when he doesn’t get his own way and it is hard for him to admit that he was wrong or at fault, he picks alot of fights as he gets bored easily. But even with his faults he is very loyal and always trying to help his freinds.

    Power:
    He can turn into a half-dragon: breaths fire; he can fly; has sharp claws; strong tail; enhanced sight smell hearing and resiliant scale armourand is omnilinguistic. His scales are golden he keeps his clothes he has a blond crest (that means a hair going from the head down the spine) and a cream coloured underbelly. When pushed to maximum power he becomes a full dragon but this is unstable as he can lose control when enraged.

    ALASDAIR
    Apearance:
    A young boy with short light brown hair, grey eyes and pale skin he wears purple, grey and black coloured trousers (pants) purple at the front black at the back and a grey line down the side same colour scheme for his converse purple sides, black front and grey tips he also wears a grey hoodie and often has the hood up.

    Personality:
    At first he is timid and quite and stuters a bit but when you get to know him he opens up he is very kinhearted and empathetic towards everyone in any situation this is his downfall as he is too empathetic towards the villans and he just wants to help people in need.

    Power:
    He is telekinetic, can use mindblasts and he is an empath. When he uses his powers his eyes glow purple the things he telekineticly moves glow purple for a few seconds until he can lift the object. Also he can levitate himself to “fly”.

    ELIJAH
    Apearance:
    He has jet black hair and hazel eyes. All over his body he has cuts and scars mostly on his back, around his mouth he has a cheshire smile and two vertical cuts on both sides of his mouth. He wears a black leather jacket, a plain white T-shirt, black jeans, converse and a scarf that covers his mouth and nose.

    Personality:
    He is very dark and mysterious, very sarcastic and sceptic. He tends to keep to himself and read books rather than be with the team and it takes a long time to gain his trust but has a soft spot for the people who understand him, he hates it when people try to look at his mouth because he thinks he looks like a monster.

    Power:
    He manipulates darkness into whips, claws or blades and can fire them for long-ranged attacks, he can also make clones out of and teleport through shadows. He is more powerful at sunrise, sunset and night and weak at noon. He can become a being made out of darkness but it is hard for him to do so.

    MATT
    Apearance:
    He has ginger hair and bright emerald eyes, he wears glasses when he is on the computer or reading. He wears a pale green T-shirt with a black and white unbuttend shirt, white trainers(sneakers) and green trousers(pants).

    Personality:
    He is a fun loving daredevil who although being intelligent and charming is a pervert to say the least, always flirting with girls, cracking bad jokes and trying to lighten the mood but when he fights he fights to win. Often seen on his laptop.

    Power:
    The power to create a personal digital interface and manipulate the data via interactions with the computer hologram. Can create a green robotic suit with “ears” and a gun on one arm. It can fire lazers/missles and create fire walls(like a forcefield) out of data. He can also use the computer hologram as a normal computer and is used for hacking and storing data. The suit has a jetpack.

    I need a girl leader
    She will have dark brown hair and blue eyes.
    She is like any leader brave, strategic blah blah blah but to make her more original she is very femminist and takes the girls side in any argument.
    She tends to beat up Matt because of his perverted jokes and sexism.

    I cant think of a power for her (or a name -.-) but i think she needs a really strong punch so she can send Matt flying.(just so its funny =D) HELP?????

  756. Cluelesson 04 Mar 2013 at 1:18 pm

    The green suit looks like a green combination of Samus, Mega-Man and Ironman.

  757. NJHeroFanon 04 Mar 2013 at 6:55 pm

    @Mister Phenix: In addition to BMac’s suggestions for power mimicking or absorbing supers, also consider the following limitations:

    I think these types of powers can be one of three types:

    1) Power Mimicry: The super can mimic or duplicate any power he actually sees in use. If no one uses powers around him he can’t mimic anything. The copied supers don’t lose access to their abilities. This can be temporary or permanent, but temporary may be the better route to go depending on the story.

    2) Power Absorption: The super can consciously or subconsciously absorb super abilities, maybe by making skin contact or perhaps absorbing them empathically like Peter Petrelli in Heroes. The donating super still doesn’t lose access to their ability or abilities. This can be temporary or permanent, but temporary may be the better route to go depending on the story.

    3) Power Stealing: The super consciously or intentionally steals another super’s abilities, either temporarily or permanently, but temporary may be the better route to go depending on the story. This is what Rogue from X-Men and Sylar from Heroes can do. The process is really a physical and perhaps a psychic violation to the victim who may or may not go into a crippling shock (Rogue), or they may wind up dead (Sylar).

    No matter what the method of power absorbing is they should all probably have one or two limitations on them:

    1) Time Limits: The super can absorb and have multiple powers available to use, but only retains their use for a limited time (a few minutes, hours, days, etc).

    2) Physical Contact vs. Ranged Effect: Just like Rogue, the super must make skin contact for the absorption or mimicry to work. This could make an act of mimicking, absorbing, or stealing another super’s abilities more challenging to pull off. If the super can absorb abilities simply by being near them, perhaps a short range like 10 or 20 feet would work. Peter Petrelli had a short ranged effect, while Sylar and Rogue have to get right on top of somone and make physical contact.

    3) Uncontrollable: Also like Rogue, but also Peter Petrelli, the absorption happens automatically whether the super wants it to or not. The super may not be aware of this happening at first, as was Peter’s case for the abilities he gained.

    4) Learning Curve: Just because a super absorbs a power doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll master it quickly. I’m dating myself, but in the 70′s comedy show “The Greatest America Hero” the hero learned how to fly by reading an alien book, but he lost the book before learning how to land. He would always crash and never quite mastered how to land gracefully. If your hero mimicked another super’s ability to manipulate molecular or atomic structures, does he also have the academic and scientific knowledge of chemistry or physics to use that ability to its fullest potential?

    5) Non-Supers: If the super’s only ability is to absorb super powers, what does he do when an armed gang of non-super criminals come after him with conventional weapons? That gang has no super powers to absorb, but they have plenty of bullets and knives to stick into the now helpless hero.

    6) Painful: Particularly for power stealers or parasites, the process of absorbing another super’s powers will hurt them to some extent, either dropping them into a deep state of shock, a coma, or possibly causing cardiac arrest. In Sylar’s case, his victims literally lose their heads.

    7) Diminished Use: The super can only use an absorbed, mimicked, or stolen ability at a lesser rank of power than the original user could.

    8) Personality Duplication: Similar to Rogue’s side-effects, she doesn’t just absorb powers but personality traits of others she touches. This could make the super particularly nasty or mean for a little while if she aborbs a villain’s abilities…

    9) Power Queue: Similar to what BMac mentioned above, the super can only use one power at a time, even if she has multiple powers in her arsenal. It may take a moment or two to switch between powers, leaving them temporarily powerless during this transition.

    10) Weakness Absorption: With all this talk of absorbing powers, no one wants to talk about absorbing the weaknesses or side-effects of those powers – so here it is! If a super absorbs any of Superman’s abilities, he also picks up a lethal weakness to Kryptonite. If the super absorbs the Thing’s rocky skin, they can form the Orange Man Group for a while. If he absorbs Spider-Man’s abilities he gains a weakness for Mary Jane and the eternal emnity of J. Jonah Jameson.

    Just some additional ideas. Maybe some of them will be helpful for your story.

  758. Mister Phenixon 05 Mar 2013 at 2:21 am

    @NJHeroFan I took all of your tips into consideration. Especially the power queue, time limit, weakness absorbtion & the learning curve. My hero can temporarily absorb superpowers but he can also absorb knowledge & skills of others and keep them permanently. Could that work?

  759. Luckyon 06 Mar 2013 at 6:33 pm

    I’m writing a story for kicks about my brother and I being the reincarnates of ancient Sun and Moon gods (since I am a ginger and he has olive skin and brown eyes and hair; oh yeah, we’re twins, too), so I was wondering what powers would be fitting for a sun/day based person and a moon/night based person. I have list running at the moment of my ideas, but I’m not sure if they are overpowered or unfitting for us.

    Sun: Limited pyrokinesis, limited gravitokinesis, resistance to burns, enhanced abilities (i.e. strength, speed, senses, etc.) during the day, bright flashes of light, heat vision

    Moon: Limited aquakinesis, limited terrakinesis, resistance to cold, enhanced abilities (like above) during nighttime, blending into shadows, night vision

  760. Derp Writeron 10 Mar 2013 at 7:45 pm

    Right, so, I accidentally posted this in another place and now I’m putting it in the correct place.

    I just came up with a hero and villain, though they don’t have a story yet, based on abilities that I thought would be amusing to watch/read about.
    Really there isn’t anything decided about them just yet, so the only description is their powers.
    The hero’s power is the ability to “respawn”, as in a video game, in which, upon death, the player is given a new body and life to continue their mischief.
    The villain’s ability is one I like to call “contagious incompetence”. The name is rather self explanatory, I think, as far as its function, but what I found amusing was the idea that it would be a passive/area affect, making all within a certain proximity become inexplicably useless for much of anything.
    Thoughts?

  761. B. McKenzieon 10 Mar 2013 at 8:44 pm

    Derp, I responded to you here.

  762. NJHeroFanon 10 Mar 2013 at 9:19 pm

    @Mister Phenix: I suppose an ability to quickly learn new skills could work as well. I can think of two ways off the top of my head how this could be done.

    1) Limited Telepathy: The super can’t read surface thoughts or access a person’s memories, but they can tap into the parts of a person’s brain that controls language and stores raw knowledge. The super may need a little while to realize the full extent of what he’s learned, and he may not realize his potenial until he needs to apply that knowledge. His gained skills and knowledge is obviously going to be limited to what a person actually knows. This type of ability is perfect for picking up the academic knowledge we can’t see going on inside someone’s mind. The Matrix uses a similar process where information is directly downloaded into people’s brains.

    2) Muscle Memory: This type of ability was used by a minor character named Monica Dawson in the Heroes series (she was only in a few episodes). Monica could duplicate and learn physical skills like gymnastics and kung-fu simply by watching television and movies of people performing these skills. I’m sure she’d technically be able to learn how to do anything as long as she was watching someone perform the task (flying a plane, firing a firearm, playing an instrument, singing, painting, cooking, etc). Monica wasn’t around long enough for the audience to know if she could also learn academic knowledge just as quickly simply by reading a book.

    As far as how long these knowledges and skills last you could say they’re permanent, but I think an effective limit would be that these abilities need to be used somewhat frequently over extended periods of time in order to become “permanent.” Otherwise the super may naturally forget things he hasn’t had to use and perform for years.

  763. Mr. Masteron 11 Mar 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Hey, I would be grateful if you could answer some questions I have.
    - What is your view on characters having multiple powers? I mean, it’s not like I’m gonna give each character every single power in the book, but I do want a few powers that work well in cooridantion. For instance, strength+reflexes+durability; or speed+unlimited stamina+reflexes.
    - What do you think of this idea: Once/if needed, my hero is able to “upgrade” or “enhance” his powers up to a certain point. It sounds slightly similar to the idea of, let’s say, Goku and his Super-Saiyan levels, or how the Hulk gets more powerful as he gets madder. However, I’m experimenting with some limitations or qualities to give it a unique and tasteful spin.
    -*this one kinda depends on your view on the first question* What is the number of super powers you consider to be “enough”? My absolute maximum is around 8 (in coordination, that is; not a random pairing like strength+speed+telepathy+sensing danger+stamina+etc…); Superman has a metric ton, yet he’s still considered to be by some the best and most popular superhero. Also, on the flip-flop, I don’t want a hero to only have one or two powers like the Flash having speed and not much else.
    - Lastly, I am thinking about putting my hero into a team of heroes, similar to the Justice League. I do like strength as a quality in most of my heroes; however, I’m worried that the whole “super strong, super durable” characteristic will become a little redundant. Yet even with that thought, the Avengers had the Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor, all having that combo; The Avengers is currently the third highest-grossing movie ever. I’m also worried that it will make the characters’ abilities too evenly-matched. I want each hero to be able to solve a problem that the others can’t. I guess this once again leads back into the pairing-of-powers subject.

    Thank you so much for your time, I appreciate it!

  764. Marxon 12 Mar 2013 at 8:41 am

    What would be the pros and cons of Temperature Manipulation?

  765. B. McKenzieon 13 Mar 2013 at 7:35 am

    “What is your view on characters having multiple powers? I mean, it’s not like I’m gonna give each character every single power in the book, but I do want a few powers that work well in coordination. For instance, strength+reflexes+durability; or speed+unlimited stamina+reflexes.” Since pretty much every strong character is also super-durable and every fast character also has great reflexes, I’d give those secondary powers to you for free. Generally, I’d recommend 1-2 powers for each character (unless you have only one main character–then I think 3-4 might work). If there’s a minor power which rarely comes up (e.g. super-senses), I wouldn’t count that, either.

    “My absolute maximum is around 8…” A caveat here: it sounds like you’re counting powers as distinct which I would not (e.g. every strong character is also tough, so I would just count strength-and-toughness as a single power). Even in a story with a single main character, I can’t think of any scenarios where having more than 3-4 distinct superpowers would be helpful. If I saw a character with 6+, I’d have red flags that the author were spending too much time developing his superpowers and not enough time developing what actually makes him interesting (e.g. a memorable personality, distinguishing traits, unusual choices, voice, motivation/goals, etc). If an author needs more than 3-4 superpowers, the first 3-4 were probably not the right ones.

    “Superman has a metric ton, yet he’s still considered to be by some the best and most popular superhero.” Almost all of the major superheroes introduced in the last 30-40 years have 1-3 distinct superpowers. Superman and Captain Marvel are from a very, very different time period, and they don’t sell all that well today.

    –I don’t think The Avengers’ box office success hinged on its superpower selection. The writing was insane. That said, movies with simpler powers (whether strength/toughness or agility/finesse) tend to sell better at the box office than movies with more exotic superpowers. I think characters that use agility more than strength (e.g. Batman, Captain America, Neo, Spider-Man) tend to outsell heroes in the Hulk mold, but a character in either (or both) camp could be very successful.

    –While Captain America and Iron Man are much stronger than an average human, it’s not the focus of their powers. They have other things going on. There is considerable overlap between Thor and Hulk in terms of superpowers, but their personalities are different enough that they both get opportunities to make memorable contributions to the team. Likewise, Black Widow has a role even though a lot of her capabilities overlap with Captain America. (I’m not as optimistic about Hawkeye).

    –”I want each hero to be able to solve a problem that the others can’t.” Non-superpower capabilities (e.g. Black Widow’s social skills or Batman’s gadgets) could also also help here. Also, personality. If I could give a self-serving example, a scene from The Taxman Must Die, there are hundreds of characters who have the physical capability to jump down from the ceiling, get in an altercation with an accountant, and eat the accountant’s resume, but there are so few characters that actually would that I think Agent Orange will come across as unique even though his powers are very generic.

  766. MasterRevolutionon 16 Mar 2013 at 2:39 pm

    I have a few questions..

    1. When my character controls wind should the wind be a different color? Like blue, dark blue, sea blue, light blue, baby blue..?

    2. With the power of wind manipulation, what would be some weaknesses?

    3. What would someone with wind manipulation excel at?

    4. Would one with the power of wind manipulation be able to create force fields?

    5. How would one with the power of wind manipulation fight? Would they be upfront in your face? At a distance? Close to mid range? Is close combat reccommended for wind manipulation users?

    6. Means of transportation for wind manipulation users?

    7. Do wind manipulation users play the role of attack, support or defence

    8. What would be a good weapon to give someone who has wind manipulation? Is it best to give someone who has wind manipulation a weapon?

    9. which powers does wind manipulation beat?

    10. Is the power of wind manipulation considered to be “too powerful”? Also does the power of wind manipulation correspond to control over oxygen and stuff?

    11. Can you give me an example of wind manipulation users?

    Thank you :) !

  767. Klutzon 16 Mar 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Hi MasterRevolution. This is my first time responding, so you might want a second opinion on some of these answers.

    1. If it is a novel, it probably doesn’t make a difference, if it is a graphic novel or a comic book, the blue might have a nice visual effect, but you could probably just use gray or white.

    2. A weaknesses could include confined spaces, or maybe the user can only manipulate certain gases or air with a certain percent of that gas.

    3. A wind character can fight from long range, fight with nonlethal attacks, and remove all the oxygen in a room to neutralize enemies.

    4. Yes, if they could compress the air, they could make a barrier.

    5. A character with wind powers can manipulate wind, create bursts of air, summon tornados, fly, etc. Wind users are usually long ranged, but they could use wind to amplify their jabs and punches.

    6. Self-propelled flight

    7. Wind can be used offensively, defensively, and to support others.

    8. Any blade maybe? I don’t think weapons are necessary unless the story takes place in a setting where weapons are common.

    9. “Beating” implies a rock-paper-scissors system. I think I remember B Mac saying this is a weak way of giving people the advantage or disadvantage in a battle. But otherwise, if a character has sand powers, wind could disperse the sand. Wind is versatile if used correctly.

    10. You may want to limit the power of the character. If your character can remove all the oxygen from a room or create tornados in seconds, it may be hard to challenge them.

    11. Aang (Avatar: the Last Airbender), Storm and Wind Dancer (X-Men), Red Tornado (DC Comics), and probably plenty of other examples in manga and anime.

  768. Luckyon 16 Mar 2013 at 4:40 pm

    Maybe my comment didn’t get through? I’ll post again:

    I’m writing a story for kicks about my brother and I being the reincarnates of ancient Sun and Moon gods (since I am a ginger and he has olive skin and brown eyes and hair; oh yeah, we’re twins, too), so I was wondering what powers would be fitting for a sun/day based person and a moon/night based person. I have list running at the moment of my ideas, but I’m not sure if they are overpowered or unfitting for us.
    Sun: Limited pyrokinesis, limited gravitokinesis, resistance to burns, enhanced abilities (i.e. strength, speed, senses, etc.) during the day, bright flashes of light, heat vision
    Moon: Limited aquakinesis, limited terrakinesis, resistance to cold, enhanced abilities (like above) during nighttime, blending into shadows, night vision

  769. NJHeroFanon 16 Mar 2013 at 6:39 pm

    @MasterRevolution: I don’t think wind or air manipulation is too powerful, and supers with that ability can still be challenged effectively. Consider the following:

    1) Gravity Manipulation: An opposing super with this ability could slam your air controller straight into the ground by increasing the force of gravity upon him. This could be fatal if the hero falls from a great height. If the impact doesn’t severely injure or kill the hero, increasing G-forces on him could finish him off.

    2) Density Manipulation: Similar to gravity manipulation, only the that the hero becomes so dense he collapses under his own weight. No amount of air is going to prevent someone from becoming heavier. Also, if the density manipulating super makes your hero less dense your hero may become susceptible to being blown back or knocked around by his own winds.

    3) Pressurization: A super who can manipulate atmospheric pressure could still cause damage to the hero by giving him the “bends” or manipulating pressure around or within him so much the hero implodes or explodes from the trauma. Try blowing some wind at that.

    4) Phasing or Intangibility: Supers who have the ability to phase like Kitty Pryde won’t be affected by winds. Assuming they can get close enough to your wind using hero they should be able to hit them with a surprise attack and possibly solidify a phased object right inside them, which will do more than just knock the wind out of him.

    5) Mental Attacks: These types of abilities should easily bypass blasts of wind. Mind contol, hallucinations, mental bolts and the like aren’t going to be stopped by hurricane force winds.

    6) Energy Attacks: Some energy attacks do require a medium to transmit through or fuel the energy, like fire and sound. Your wind user could disrupt those types of energy attacks by controlling winds. Electricity, radiation, light (lasers), electromagnetic-based attacks, and other forms of energy can work right through wind and air, so your wind using hero still be a target for these types of attacks.

    7) Non-Breathing Supers: Some supers may be able to transform into living monoliths of stone, metal, crystal, or other forms and not need to breathe while in that form. Removing oxygen around them won’t stop them. Whether or not they also have enough super human strength to overcome intense winds is another matter. Non-super adversaries may also learn to equip themselves with self-contained breathing gear if they get wind of your hero’s oxygen-deprivation attacks.

    Don’t worry about your wind using hero not being challenged; there are ways to do it. Lots of bad guys won’t stand a chance against him, which is expected, but the good stories about your wind and air using hero will be about the bad guys who can hurt him.

  770. BTBon 18 Mar 2013 at 5:40 pm

    @MasterRevolution I’ll be stealing your question format XD Hope that’s ok!

    1. Is force field generation the type of power that needs to be accompanied with another power?

    2. Would someone with force field generation be able to create force fields mentally or is that a totally different ability?

    3. Would weapons be necessary for someone with force field generation? (I’m not too sure on this one..)

    4. Theoretically someone with force field generation would be able to create platforms and landmines/bombs right?

    5. Is telekinesis apart of force field generation? (I’m kinda thrown off by the whole able to levitate stuff that comes along with force field generation)

    6. What would be some ways that force field generation could be performed? (I know about being able to like bend/warp or something along those lines gravity but are there any other methods to perform force field generation other than using gravity?)

    7. What would be some weaknesses for binding? (for those who don’t know what it is, it’s basically being able to bind enemies in spheres. Kinda like what Rocket in YJ does to Blue Beetle)

    8. Does the ability to sense danger only work on the person who has this ability or in general are they able to sense incoming danger to anyone around them?

    9. Can someone who has force field generation be able to break someone else’s force field using their own powers or does it not work like that?

    10. Do force fields only block physical attacks? Or can they block mental attacks as well? (like mind blasts.. i think that’s a mental attack lol)

    Hopefully someone can answer these. This is my first time writing a book so I’m a little scared :s I really don’t want to mess this up XD !

  771. NJHeroFanon 18 Mar 2013 at 6:11 pm

    @BTB: I’ll try and offer some useful suggestions. Keep in mind there are no right or wrong answers and it’s ok to use whatever works consistently (not conveniently) in your story:

    1) I wouldn’t say FF “needs” to have an accompanying power, but a FF is primarily a defensive ability. If the FF only protects the super (a personal FF only) then another power is probably recommended. If the FF can be projected over an area (ala Susan Storm), then maybe less so, but it may be helpful to have the super use the FF more creatively like Susan can (projected spheres, climbing and support platforms, simulated flight, etc.)

    2) It could be either. Susan Storm creates them mentally, Magneto creates them by manipulating electromagnetic fields (which could be an extension of a mental ability), Iron Man has them as a technological capability in his armor, Dr. Strange uses magical energies, and so forth. Unless the super is a techie like Tony Stark or a sorceror like Stephen Strange, a FF is likely going to wind up as a psychic ability or an energy manipulating ability of some sort.

    3) Sure, why not? Ask Tony Stark…

    4) Sure, ask Susan Storm (I don’t think she has created force “bombs” but she’s good with platforms)

    5) It could be. I think a TK field would be great against attacks with a solid physical component of matter (solids, liquids, and gases), but TK in that sense may not work against energy attacks unless the super can also manipulate that form of energy (this is why there’s lot of “kinesis” powers like pyrokineis, electrokinesis, etc.).

    6) This may have been answered aleady…

    7) Once you trap or bind someone in a FF they’re stuck, but they can’t be hurt by anything that can’t get through the FF. You’re essentially protecting them from harm even though you’ve trapped them.

    8) Danger sense could work either way. I think Spider-Man could also sense any impending danger in his general area even if he wasn’t the intended target (such as if a bus lost control on a busy street and he or others could be in its path). I’m currently writing a story where the protagonist has this ability and it isn’t just limited to him; he can sense if something bad is about to happen around him even if he isn’t the target. He just has to figure out what and where it is in order to do anything about it (and he may not always be able to).

    9) That’s up to you. If the FF can be used as a form of kinetic attack I’d say yes, the force potential of once FF could overwhelm and break through another FF of lesser power and ability.

    10) FF’s may be all-inclusive (it blocks everything to some extent) or it may be limited to certain types of attacks (physical, energy, psychic, etc). It depends on what you want a particular super to be capable of and how you want to possibly limit his or her abilities.

  772. B. McKenzieon 18 Mar 2013 at 9:38 pm

    1. “Do forcefields need to be accompanied with another power?” For a lone superhero, I think giving your character another power (or perhaps some other capability, like some combat skill) would probably make your life easier. In a superhero team, I think forcefields might work on their own (although they are generally combined with some other mental power, particularly telekinesis).

    2. “Would someone with force field generation be able to create force fields mentally or is that a totally different ability?” I don’t understand the distinction. Whatever works best for your story.

    3. “Would weapons be necessary for someone with force field generation?” No, though skills with weaponry could complement forcefields effectively.

    4. “Theoretically someone with force field generation would be able to create platforms and landmines/bombs right?” Platforms are extremely intuitive. Landmines/bombs would probably take some explanation.

    5. “Is telekinesis a part of force field generation?” Either way, you’re exerting force with your mind, right? If you wanted to make the two powers part of the same package, I think you could make a believable case here. If you want to keep the powers separate (e.g. a character can only do one of them), that would also work.

    6. “What would be some ways that force field generation could be performed? (I know about being able to like bend/warp or something along those lines gravity but are there any other methods to perform force field generation other than using gravity?)” I don’t understand. It sounds like you’re asking about the mechanisms of how a fictional power would work, and I wouldn’t recommend getting bogged down in the details unless you have a really good reason to. In a novel of 80,000 words, I generally wouldn’t recommend spending more than 80 (.1%) describing how the characters’ superpowers work. (Unless the mechanics contribute to the mood, plot, and/or characterization in some way–e.g. the superpowers in Bitter Seeds came from malevolent spirits, which contributed to protagonist-vs-protagonist conflict).

    7. “What would be some weaknesses for binding enemies in sphere?” Perhaps it requires a great deal of concentration, leaves the character vulnerable to other combatants, leaves the character somehow vulnerable to the bound character (e.g. opening up some sort of telepathic link or other susceptibility), drains the character’s energy, etc.

    8. “Does the ability to sense danger only work on the person who has this ability or in general are they able to sense incoming danger to anyone around them?” Your story, your rules. I think it would be an interesting limitation if it only detected threats to the person with the superpower.

    9. “Can someone who has force field generation be able to break someone else’s force field using their own powers or does it not work like that?” Your story, your rules. It feels intuitive that forcefields could be used in that way.

    10. “Do force fields only block physical attacks? Or can they block mental/psychic attacks as well?” Your story, your rules. It feels intuitive that they would mainly be used against physical attacks, but I’ve also seen stories that have used them as barriers against magic and other sorts of nonphysical attacks.

  773. Luckyon 23 Mar 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Hello? Can anyone tell me if those powers seem appropriate or too much/little?

  774. grrron 26 Mar 2013 at 12:51 pm

    I like the list of powers but I want something more original powers but not limited like magnetos’

  775. Mugsyon 27 Mar 2013 at 10:26 am

    As I’m rewriting some older stories I’ve been wanting to post a question: regarding writing superhero stories is it better to suspend disbelief or to the explain everything you can? (I.E. I have some characters mutated to near animal states, another character who disintegrates to gel, I’m not sure that I have a feasible explanation for how they can still speak as if they have human tongues and vocal cords)

  776. B. McKenzieon 27 Mar 2013 at 12:57 pm

    “regarding writing superhero stories is it better to suspend disbelief or to the explain everything you can?” I would recommend leaving out the explanations unless the details somehow contribute something to the story and/or character, or if the readers would have suspension of disbelief issues if you didn’t explain it. I don’t think you’ll ever need to explain how someone speaks–readers will accept it for ghosts, aliens of any sort, every kind of mutant animal, fantasy creatures*, Pokemon, politicians, etc.

    In contrast, if an alien has come to Earth to play in Major League Soccer, I think readers would be really confused unless you explained a bit how he got into soccer. That’s much less intuitive (and much more important to understanding the character) than how he can speak. (If readers had questions about how an alien understood English, you could throw in 1 line about a translating device, but I wouldn’t recommend going into it beyond that unless the details are somehow plot-relevant).

    *For example, if there’s a work where dragons can speak, they will certainly be fluent in the language(s) of humans… even the dragons that attack humans on sight. The suspension of disbelief covers that.

  777. Starchaseron 28 Mar 2013 at 12:58 am

    First comment after months of just viewing!! Great site btw :-)
    @Lucky
    BMac is right, you should work on making story interesting and on challenging your characters…what if “moon-god” powers depend on moon cycles and NOT on day/night cycles? That way, the twins could be both full-powered during days when sun and moon are together in the sky (if you do some research, you’ll find out it happens often, every month, even for just a few hours) wherease they could be un-powered during a new moon night (no sun, no moon, no powers!). If I were a villain, I’d try those nights after figuring out ;-)

  778. Masteron 01 Apr 2013 at 8:22 pm

    Hey can you guys tell me everythig you know about ice manipulation and your thoughts about it as a power

  779. Hero!on 06 Apr 2013 at 7:32 am

    B. Mac! (By the way, I’m writing this story on my language. I’m not quite good in English…)
    Little help here. My weakness, whether it is Fiction or Non-fiction, is ending the story.

    So here it goes. My main character can summon electricity. The protagonist (I don’t quite have the real idea yet since the protagonist, Maestro, only watches the main character throughout the story but will end in a battle.) has telekenesis. Maestro is geared with a sort of anti-electricity armor since he knows my hero’s powers. The final setting would be in a television studio.

    Any idea how to plot the battle scene and what could be a surprising ending?

    I was thinking, how about if someone (or the hero himself, electrically teleports into a…) call a firetruck while, the two is physically battling in the studio. Then, firemen helps the hero by watering Maestro down thus wetting him enough to be electrocuted by the hero?

    Any more suggestions? :)

  780. Smokeon 08 Apr 2013 at 8:45 am

    I have a team of Superheroes i’ve created, though i am having some trouble coming up with their arch enemies. i want to create a team of villains (kind of how the League of Doom is to the Justice League). I’ve been able to come up with three supervillains, but i need some advice on another.

    One of my hero’s names is Smoke. He is a sleek and sneaky ninja-like hero that wields an enchanted smoking whip as a weapon. Aside from his extreme stealth, Smoke has the ability to actually turn himself into smoke and navigate, allowing him to pass through small spaces and crowded rooms undetected. I have spent many hours attempting to come up with a villain fit to his persona. Ive had absolutely no luck.any suggestions??

  781. Qwertyon 08 Apr 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Smoke:

    What are your hero’s weaknesses? If he doesn’t have any yet, you can give him some and then create a villain who is strong in those areas.

    Or you can create a villain with powers similar to your hero’s powers, so they have to try to outsmart each other when both of them know exactly how each other’s powers work.

    Or, if you don’t go the route of power vs. power, you can perhaps make the villain a former friend of the hero; perhaps a former teammate or even love interest who turned evil.

    Or perhaps your hero has a twisted past and worked for some bad guy at some point, and that bad guy is relentlessly pursuing the hero because he switched sides.

    Just some thoughts. :)

  782. B. McKenzieon 09 Apr 2013 at 2:43 am

    Hello, Hero! Here are some thoughts and suggestions (and please let me know if you have any questions or comments):

    –”Any idea how to plot the battle scene and what could be a surprising ending?” My suggestion here would be to generally focus on delivering a satisfying ending more than a surprising one. If you’re dead-set on a surprise ending, some possibilities are that the villain’s motives were much different than the hero had anticipated (e.g. in retrospect, it turns out that he had been fighting against a much larger villain), the villain’s plan was much different than the hero had anticipated (e.g. Ozymandias in Watchmen), or the hero reacts to a given situation in a way far different than most other protagonists in other stories would have reacted (for example, in Point of Impact, a notably patriotic character who has been framed for murder destroys evidence which would have proved him innocent because the evidence would have embarrassed his country and because he has a different but riskier plan in motion to prove himself innocent).

    –The final fight takes place in a television studio? Perhaps one of the characters has some startling revelation he wishes to take public (e.g. the villain wishes to make a public statement and/or the hero wants to publicly prove the guilt of the villain if that’s applicable to the plot).

    –Perhaps the final scene hinges more on something mental than a straight-up brawl. For example, see the final confrontation between the hero and villain in Cars 2 (which was generally a terrible movie, but that scene is very well-executed).

  783. gurlson 10 Apr 2013 at 7:07 pm

    What’s a good weakness for heroes with:
    1.a girl with Flight
    2. someone with an impenetrable shield
    3. a guy who shifts into a lizard
    4. a gal with a super-sonic voice and advanced hearing
    5. a girl with super speed

  784. B. McKenzieon 10 Apr 2013 at 7:23 pm

    “What’s a good weakness for…” If by weaknesses you mean vulnerabilities to things like Kryptonite, I generally recommend a more natural approach. If you mean something more along the line of a limitation rather than a Kryptonite, here are some suggestions.

  785. WinslowMudDon 10 Apr 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Well, it depends on how you would want to portray these abilities, or at least the more ambiguous ones, in my humble opinion.

    1. Flight- You could have her positive acceleration (how fast she picks up speed) be greater than her negative acceleration (how fast she slows down) to make it so that she cant stop immediately, as her momentum would continue to carry her forward.
    (e.g. braking in a car slows the cars movement forward at a certain rate, but the user still continues to go forward) Alternatively, you could make it so that she has the regular lung capacity as a human being,which most characters with this ability lack, and have it so that if she flies too fast, then it becomes harder for her to breathe, restricting her to a happy medium that is not too fast, but fast enough. Or you could mix both of these weaknesses.

    2. Ultimate Shield- You could make it so that the shield (assuming it is dermal armor) does not cover his/her entire body at once, as they would have to predict when and where each blow would be coming from to use it effectively. I guess the same could go for if it was an external shield, but in general, I would just try to make it so it does not cover everything. Also, yes, this is a FMA/FMAB reference (at least in my titling of the ability)

    3. Lizard morphing- For this, other than the obvious weaknesses of having to get used to an incredibly smaller body, (in most cases, unless you are looking for a more Spider-Manesque Lizard) you could have it so that, like a real reptile, he would be cold blooded. So in effect, he would be endangering himself much more if he were to fight crime at night – in the cold – than in the day, and he would be pretty much useless if the team was in a colder region. Also, another obvious weakness would be his belly, at least as a lizard. Most reptiles have tougher skin than a majority of animals on their body, except for their belly.

    4. Supersonic Scream + Keen Hearing- This one pretty much explains itself. She can’t really be effective if her combat ability is based on blowing out the enemies eardrums, when hers are far more sensitive to her own ability.

    5. Super Speed- Hmm. This one is slightly more of a challenge. I would say that for this, you could have something along the lines of a general weakness. This would be, in my opinion, clumsiness. This regular flaw would be much more amplified when she is running at extremely fast speeds. I.E.: Said character is running in to stop a bank heist, because the criminals would never expect a super-speedster to try to take them out by herself, and she trips and falls over the door frame. I just think this is a very realistic weakness that most super heroes don’t take into account when they get the ability to run at mach 5. If you really are running that fast, how in the world would you be able to stop yourself from running into that closed door/window, or tripping over that rock. Its also very difficult to imagine a person running at any high speed being able to turn very well. The faster you are going, the more gradual of a turn you would have to take to, well, turn.

    Physics makes super-heroics much more difficult eh? Alas, I digress…

  786. WinslowMudDon 10 Apr 2013 at 7:48 pm

    Also, the same rule applying to number one, the one about breathing, could also apply to number five.

  787. gurlson 11 Apr 2013 at 8:31 am

    What’s a good weakness for heroes with:
    1.a boy who has heat vision and can manipulate fire and is fireproof
    2. someone with the ability to mimic anyone
    3. a guy who can manipulate plants and create new ones
    4. a gal who can freeze time and liquids
    5. a boy who is extremely intelligent,controls electricity, and read minds

  788. WinslowMudDon 11 Apr 2013 at 11:16 am

    You jerk! The difficulty level of a game is supposed to increse gradually, not all at once!
    I’m just kidding. But some of the combinations seem too convenient/overpowered.

    1. Flame Control/Manipulation- Well, other than taking away his fireproof ability (would definatly make him think before he acts), i would suggest a similar weakness to cold blooded animals. And obviously he would be useless if a fight was taking place during a rainstorm, near a pool, or with a person with Water/Ice Control/Manipulation. Also, heat vision is really nessecary to mention here, as this could be a caveat of the first ability.

    2. Mimic- *Looks to K.A. Appelgate* You could have a limit on how long they would be able to stay in that form, make it so they must physically touch that person to be able to mimic them. You could also go the x-men first class route and make them self-concious, though that would be more of a flaw than a weakness. You could also make it so that they must concentrate very hard to maintain their form. Or, you could make it like sightblinder, where when he uses his “mimic”, different people see him as differnet things (in that story, Sigtblinder is a sword that makes people see you as someone that the characters either really hated or really loved, etc.)

    3. Plant Control/Manipulation- I would suggest changing the second part of the ability from plant creation to being able to quickly accelerate plant growth. Anyways, he could be very empathetic to plants (i.e. nearby plants being burned would actually cause him pain, or even actually burn him as well), an obvious aversion to fire and lightning, and then being virtually useless in places where plants don’t/can’t grow. (i.e. tundras, deserts, mountains, etc.)

    4. Ice Control/Manipulation(?)- An aversion to heat and fire would be very easy to explain, as would uselessness when in a place without liquids. She could also have a certain temperature that she can not freeze to, limiting what things she can actually solidify. And freezing time, hmm, it does not seem to completly mesh with the character. But nevertheless, a person with that version of time control/manipulation could need to concentrate extremly hard on being in that moment. So, in other words, it would only be useful for getting out of the way of various things. Also, a limit for time manipulation would be soemthiing else that no one ever questions. How, if you are the only thing not frozen in time, can you pick bullets out of the air or kill someone? Better explanations come from some movies and T.V. shows. For more on this, i suggest watching “The Lost Room” (very interseting series, the object you are looking for is the comb), or, please don’t execute me for this, the first Lara Croft movie. The part you are looking for is at the end, when she attempts to turn a knife around mid air, while hoping that this will somehow change the speed/vector that the knife was travelling at (which you couldn’t, without some enrgy redirection ability)

    5. Sounds like you are mixing Charles Xavier with Cole McGrath, or just Kessler. Anyway, you could have a mix of both characters weaknesses, or generic ones similar to those characters. For intelligence, you could makeit limited to one feild (i.e. physics, chemistry, useless knowlege). Telapathy could be limited in a number of ways. One way would be for that character to be influenced by the thoughts, but I think that would be too similar to empathy, though they are almost the same ability(with minute and situational differences). An obvious weakness for someone with lightning based abilities would be water, or the interaction wth thereof.

  789. RockTalentFreshmanon 13 Apr 2013 at 9:32 pm

    I was thinking of having my character be an empath, can control a humans brainwaves, and also can manipulate memories. Now with the memory manipulation i was thinking of having my main character also be able to manipulate different like genetic to grant himself powers that his ancestors may have had.

  790. valcorwabajakon 16 Apr 2013 at 12:08 am

    I’m wondering about what kind of power to give to one of my superheros and what his motivation for fighting crime would be

    the character is Sebastian (no last name) a 20 year old institutionalized person who was put there at age 5 from an orphanage

    he is immediately suspicious of everybody due to suffering from paranoid delusions he gets powers and escapes from his padded cell

    I still want to flesh him out I feel he should have powers that are unusual/unique and relate to to his personality

    he is also highly intelligent and takes great pleasure in devising elaborate and sometimes unnecessary and overly elaborate plots he is often scared and caught off guard by sudden conflict and will often run away as to have time think of a plan and will then fight later he is also terrified of people catching him and putting him back the padded cell and thus is secretive to the point of severe compulsion any ideas?

    I also have another super hero I feel being the polar opposite he might be good to have as a potential ally for Sebastian

    he ought to have a cool name with a dignified last name

    he is a definite anti-hero he feels no emotions and only fights crime for the money as is a incredibly effective practical superhero that while very lethal with his powers is not above using weapons and blackmail to get the job done thus he receives a huge salary from the police department because without him the city would fall into anarchy as superpowers are common and hardly a soul in this town is trustworthy

    he is the only thing keeping this town in check and should he choose to stop helping out everything would go to shit

  791. dineshreeon 22 Apr 2013 at 1:28 pm

    hi i need help with a superpower that would help attract the opposite sex.its this audition im goin for and it asks me to come up with superhero name and also a superpower and also for this superpower to help attract the opposite sex..so I’m a girl so I would need help thinking of a superpower that would help in attracting guys
    Please help me guys this is urgent ! ! !

  792. WinslowMudDon 22 Apr 2013 at 2:23 pm

    I would say empathy would be your best bet. Longer article here: http://powerlisting.wikia.com/wiki/Empathy . Basically, it is feeling to controlling emotion in others.

  793. B. McKenzieon 22 Apr 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Hmm. I think using a form of mind-control (or some sort of mental influence) romantically would probably compromise the likability of the character and make readers care less about the relationship. I’d recommend something more along the lines of Spider-Man kissing upside down in the rain — i.e. a standard power being used to put a badass and/or cool touch on romance, but it wouldn’t make readers think the romance is somehow artificial.

  794. WinslowMudDon 22 Apr 2013 at 3:38 pm

    I can see how my statement could be misinterpreted. What I meant of empathy is setting up a sort of dependancy of use on the ability, or something similar to it.

    I.E. A guy always seems to be able to get the girl, but only because he picks up on the emotions they put off. Then, he meets someone that notices this, and must either not use his ability or be much more subtle about it.

  795. Dr. Vo Spaderon 22 Apr 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Actually, B. Mac, I’m curious: how far could a tragic past allow a character to go? For example: if the character resorts to mentally influencing people because she has been betrayed/rejected so many times, do you think readers will feel more sympathy?

    “…and make readers care less about the relationship.” – Perhaps the sympathy would make the readers care even more about the relationship and hope for an understanding semi-signifigant other?

    (Also, I am not a proffesional in any writing field and I apologize if these come off as sort of dumb questions.)

  796. B. McKenzieon 22 Apr 2013 at 11:10 pm

    DVS: “Actually, B. Mac, I’m curious: how far could a tragic past allow a character to go?” First, a caveat: I think people react to romances in really different ways. That said, personally, I feel there’s not a whole lot of backstory that can justify romantic mind control. If a character tried to justify using mind-control/mental suggestion on members of the opposite sex because of past romantic failures, personally I’d guess the author was setting up a serial killer rather than a protagonist. It MAY come across as less creepy if the character’s powers are mainly subconscious/uncontrolled (e.g. phermones) rather than something the character turns on or off, but even then creepiness would likely be an issue and it’d be really hard to care about a relationship which was artificial/not real/the result of some sort of mind control or mental influence.



    “Perhaps the sympathy [of a character having been rejected before] would make the readers care even more about the relationship and hope for an understanding semi-significant other?” If the character is using some sort of mind control/hypnosis/mental suggestion, I think an understanding relationship was never on the table.



    WinslowMD: “What I meant of empathy is setting up a sort of dependancy of use on the ability, or something similar to it. I.E. A guy always seems to be able to get the girl, but only because he picks up on the emotions they put off. Then, he meets someone that notices this, and must either not use his ability or be much more subtle about it.” Ah! That strikes me as a lot less creepy than what I had in mind (i.e. something like mind control).

  797. Malcolm Bansaon 27 Apr 2013 at 7:30 pm

    Hey, I have a theory on how superpowers actully work, and by this I mean most superpowers. Here it is: Superhuma usingn are not actually using the powers but there using limited reality bending that is specialized for each power. DO you think this is good, please reasond

  798. B. McKenzieon 27 Apr 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Malcolm, it sounds like it could be complicated, but I don’t understand what the advantage would be. Generally, I’d recommend making things more complicated only if it makes the story better in some way (e.g. makes for a more interesting/enjoyable reading experience).

  799. Qwertyon 28 Apr 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Malcolm Bansa:

    It’s an interesting idea…as I interpret your explanation, superhumans are causing the people around them to THINK a power is being used, when there isn’t, by bending the reality around them. This concept might work, but you would have to set down some ground rules for how the reality-altering works. There are a number of ways you could go about it:

    One way is if the “altered reality” was permanent…in which case it wouldn’t be “altered” at all, but would become actual reality. Otherwise, if the altered reality was temporary, some problems would spring up…because if they aren’t using actual powers and they aren’t in actual reality, then when the superhuman used their “power”, no real damage would be inflicted on whatever they’re attacking, since “reality” would presumably bend back to normal eventually. For example, if the superhuman used reality-bending powers to smash a car, and reality then bent back to normal, the car would be intact. Also, think about this: If the superhuman used his powers to kill somebody, and reality then bent back to normal, the person would come back to life…or he might never have died at all!

    If the “altered reality” that the superhumans use is permanent, then this problem would be moot. However, another way to perhaps get around this problem (if the altered reality was temporary) would be to explain it as a concept similar to how dreams work in the movie Inception. In the dream-reality (which is an altered reality), everything is in the mind…so when people are hurt in altered reality, they feel pain, even though in actual reality they haven’t been hurt at all. Thus, with reality-altering, a superhuman could cause people to “think” damage has been caused, or “think” they’re in pain, when they actually aren’t. This would then cause there to be two “realities” running at once: the real reality, and the bended reality that is only in the people’s minds. This would also make the superhuman’s powers not reality-altering, but instead mind-altering…which kind of serve the same purpose.

    These are just some ideas. I think the biggest thing for you to decide is if the altered reality is permanent or not…and if you want to take the time to puzzle out all the ground rules for how reality-altering works, it could make an interesting premise for a story.

    ~Qwerty

  800. WinslowMudDon 29 Apr 2013 at 3:26 pm

    I have a quick question, though it is not directly relating to powers/abilities themselves.

    In my series, people with abilities are trained on the use of firearms, but when it comes to hand to hand combat, they must figure out what works best for them. So my question comes in the form of: Does it sound interesting for a character to have fighting style that incorporates their background/history, personality, and abilities.

    Example:

    Wilbur is a person fairly new to the Legion, as he has just been rescued from an Association lab. He has previously had training in various forms of martial arts, but mostly when he was a child. He never really advanced far, but does still remember certain things. He has the ability to absorb and disseminate energy from the cells in his body, and to transfer the energy from cell to cell. When he learns to control his ability, he manages to be able to perform crude blast-like attacks as well as exploding the energy out of his body all at once. He has a limited amount of energy he can store, and when he runs out, he begins running on his own life energy. (Think kind of along the lines of DBZ, except much less control over it)

    So, taking all of that into account, for his abilities to be useful in hand-hand combat, and I would make his general fighting style an aggressive open-handed style, similar to some Shaolin styles.

  801. 45CentConcerton 29 Apr 2013 at 5:16 pm

    I just have a quick question on superpowers (of course, that’s what this page is about)

    This is the description of her abilities:
    Self detonation. Can also concentrate the explosive force into her physical attacks, creating a mini-explosion on contact. If an object is moving, then she can focus on its kinetic energy and cause the object to explode. She can fly short spurts by kicking her feet together and pushing herself forward on the force of the explosion. However, she only can go 5 feet per kick, and thus this takes a lot of energy out of her

    Catches: Her detonation abilities come from a manipulation of heat. She is heat resistant (can get burned, but doesn’t feel the heat or feel the pain <But I need to work on this part), but also cold blooded. She cannot function well in temperatures of 50 degrees or less. If wet, she also cannot use her powers. A tik-tocking sound precedes her self detonation, giving warning (and also her codename Tik Tock).

    My question: Are these adequate weaknesses? Or should I do some revamping?

  802. Amber D.on 02 May 2013 at 10:58 pm

    Here is an idea for another power reversal, when someone tries to use a power against them they can reverse the power and use it against the person. once the they start useing the power it’s to late for the other person to stop them from being able to use it however the second they stop as long as the other person doesn’t keep using there powers they won’t be able to reverse them again.

    also it only works for certain powers. for example it wouldn’t work on something like super strength, it would work on things like mind reading, teliquenises, force feilds, ect.

  803. Shadowon 08 May 2013 at 11:15 am

    I am also working on a book. My main character controls heat and light, since they are closely related in terms of electromagnetic radiation, as well as slight increase in speed and internal radar. I have 4 sub main characters: a pair of fraternal twins, a boy and a girl, and the girl has a unique contrition called Alexandria’s Genesis, which takes pigmentation from hair (so it’s all pure white), takes mos pigmentation from eyes (so they’re purple), does nothing to skin (so she’s tan), and gives perfect metabolism, agility and mental speed, and she can make/ emit a fog of any substance; Poison, water, sand, helium, neon, etc. The male twin controls sub-atomic particles, which are tiny packets of energy and have the ability to change from wave to particle, and vibrate constantly at frequencies unique to the atom. The other boy has the power to become composed of or become whatever he touches, so he could become composed of stone or become a stone if he touches one. The other boy has the ability to control weather, and whenever his powers are active his hair turns white and his eyes turn blue.
    Any comments or suggestions? I am greatly in need of help.
    I have something I all a character log, where I create character descriptions and powers so I can use them in the future, and there are multiple unique powers that I have come up with hat I have not seen anywhere else if anyone is interested.

  804. Shadowon 08 May 2013 at 11:25 am

    One of my most prized characters: I am very into genetics, I read genetic articles and books for fun, which leads to some interesting characters. My favorite I have come up with is a chimera. This is a genetic condition where two fraternal twin embryos, at a few weeks or so into developement, merge and become one embryo. Thus the character has two different sets of DNA. Half of his head is white/blond and the other half black, and the colors are all marbled together. He has bright green eyes with the center outside of the cornea or black part ofthe eye being brown, since I though a blue eye and a green eye would be too distracting. Having to sets of DNA, he is the only one in the book with two superpowers. He can see anything, anywhere. He could be in NY and visually explore South Africa. His other power is if anything is thrown at him his body deflects it, often throwing it back to the person who threw it, so energy blasts and guns and telekenisis don’t work on him.

  805. Shadowon 08 May 2013 at 11:28 am

    The male twin can also control the five states of matter: Bose-Einstein Condesate, solid, liquid, has and plasma.

  806. Shadowon 08 May 2013 at 6:56 pm

    I have a lot of characters, since it will be a super hero high school setting. Every person has a power, and the enemy is an organization called the Aether, a sky based organization with their own team of super kids/people, intent on conquering the USA and the defeating the whole world. The good organization which no one knows about (I have no idea what to call it yet) has the kids al in the school setting and whenever a particular individual’s power is needed, they send them out to do their work. He kids need to protect their identity so they can go shopping and do public stuff like that so they come up with super hero names and costumes, and do their fighting in that.

  807. bookwormon 17 May 2013 at 7:47 pm

    first, love the website and second, I’m writing a story where the kid lives in a small town somewhere in a swampy-ish area and he already knows about his powers, wich are mist,steam and smoke. Does anyone have any feedback on limitations on powers. I’m thinking about him seeing the near future, things that just happened in the past, and present through mist and teleporting small distances through smoke. I can’t figure out somthing for steam or his oragin story other than being abandoned at a bording school/foster home. how does it sound so far? any Ideas?

  808. Hyper-Redon 23 May 2013 at 5:47 pm

    I have a person with just a sword and powers of captain America, I’m thinking of changing them tho…

  809. NatashaTheSovieton 25 May 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Ugh…I have
    A electromagnetic power (f)
    An ice-and-snow power (f)
    A…powerhouse power (m)
    A soundwave power (m)
    On my team of superheroes. I also have another male but I’m having trouble figuring out where he fits into the team. He’s my super-scientist, but I can’t seem to find anything for him to do, powerwise.

  810. CDon 29 May 2013 at 7:39 am

    Hey guys,
    Me and a few friends are a small film company and we create indie films and one I am currently creating revolves around a secret organisation of vigilantes.
    But their power stems from their DNA and a artifact. The artifact helps them unlock knowledge of their ancestors, who are all ancient warriors by the way, which gives them amazing fighting technqiues, fighting strategies and historical knowledge.
    Is this a good power?

  811. Tiffanyon 31 May 2013 at 12:17 pm

    What would you call a superpower where the character in question is simply so pleasant that people cannot say no to her?

  812. Kirbyon 31 May 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Mind control?

  813. B. McKenzieon 31 May 2013 at 8:15 pm

    “What would you call a superpower where the character in question is simply so pleasant that people cannot say no to her?” Mind control is the first thing that comes to mind. I think suggestion and/or hypnosis could also work. In-story, you could go with something less clinical and more descriptive. For example, in The Taxman Must Die, the two main characters might call such it “Southern charm,” although a doomed taxman and a mutant commando probably have a very different approach to charm and persuasion than the aforementioned sweet character does. (Additionally, the taxman’s main social trait is the uncanny knack to make EVERYBODY want to kill him, and his commando partner thinks THAT is a form of IRS mind control).



    If the character is a hero, I think mind control (or similar) will tend to shortcircuit any potential drama/challenge from noncombat situations (unless perhaps the use of limitations is excellent). I fear the superpower would amount to a “Get out of Noncombat Problem Free” card, which will probably make noncombat problems (and their resolution) less interesting than they would have been if the superpowers had entailed risk and/or creativity.

    Some potential workarounds:
    1) The character is a villain. It actually strikes me as a pretty interesting superpower for a villain, and limiting a villain is much less critical than for heroes.
    2) The series is almost exclusively combat.
    3) Many of the character’s antagonists are immune or highly resistant.
    4) The limits about what the character can pressure another person into doing are serious enough that she has to get creative.

  814. Telickon 02 Jun 2013 at 6:06 am

    I have an idea for some powers that should be added to the list. Flying, laser vision, ice, creating things out of nothing, changing things, duplicating yourself, and that’s all I can think of

  815. Comicbookguy117on 04 Jun 2013 at 12:06 am

    Hey guys i’m in need of a little help defining aone of my characters powers. Put simply, she has power absorption. This means she is capable of stealing the powers of other super beings through physical contact.

    The following is merely one of the strangest concepts behind this character and i’m not even sure i like it. But its really all i can come up with.

    But bassically, she has retractable, nearly microscopic dagger-like fibers on her fingertips. Upon physical contact, these fibers enter a victims blood stream gather their unique genetic code. Subconsciously her mind disregards anything that isn’t about their unique superpower. She then places the genes carrying the superpower into her own genetic structure. This gives her that power. And being the sadistic, hunter-killer that she is, she usually murders her victims with their own power. Is this explanation ok, good enough or great? I mean what do you guys think?

    I love this character and have had her concept, a power absorbing serial killer who murders her victims with their own powers, in mind since I was in high school. But have always had trouble defining how to execute her powers. So what do you all think about the above concept? If it’s a dud, what suggestions can you offer? As always, thanks guys. I always feel welcome her and i appreciate that.

  816. StramyneZZon 04 Jun 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Hey fellas, what’s up? i’m in a bit of a bind. i have this supervillian and i need a little help defining and developing his powers and character. he is born in England and is a descendant of a templar knight. in his youth in England he and his mother were poor but faith would have it that his estranged grandparents move them both to the states. years past and he is about to graduate high school and his mother is ill and he struggles with two jobs to pay for his mothers medicine. on a school trip to a museum, he finds himself uncontrollable drawn to one particular artifact a silver chalice embedded with rubies. later that night, he uses his lock picking skills he gained while in England, to break in the museum and steal the chalice. he notices that the chalice has an impression in the bottom of it similar to his cross necklace given to him by his grandfather. he recalls a story told to him by his grandfather and he places the cross in the impression, unknown by him at the time the cross had a philosopher stone in the center, and the chalice begins to produce an elixir that gives him the strength compared to that of a dragon, enhanced reflexes and heighten senses and invonerability, however the elixir’s effect only lasts for 48 hours and his mental stability is augmented along with an arrogant and egotistical personality change. any suggestions on how i can develop this character and his powers? thanks again all suggestions matter.

  817. B. McKenzieon 04 Jun 2013 at 11:46 pm

    I like the idea of a serial killer using acquired superpowers to kill the person who gave her the superpowers… That said, I feel like the premise here (a serial killer targeting supers to grab their powers) has already been done fairly recently by a very prominent story (Heroes’ Sylar). It may help to check out this article about how to handle a situation where Hollywood beats an original concept to the presses.

  818. Comicbookguy117on 05 Jun 2013 at 2:20 am

    Well actually that’s what its gonna look like to the other characters and my readers. In actuality, she’s a weapon. No different than a gun. So you know, SOMEONE is pulling the trigger. And thats the mystery about her. What happened to this woman, who has control over her and what is their goal for her and the world. But yeah, the simple “serial killer targeting supers to grab their powers” story is just a ploy. But i am glad you like it. I conceptualized this character years ago and am proud that very little about her has changed. She was originally created as a power-absorbing serial killer, so yeah she’s one of the favorite villains i’ve created.

    But now i have new problem. I’m looking at a villainous group of mine and need help defining their powers. This group all have the same abilities and even have a hive-like mind. Anyway they are a group of scientists whose latest experiment goes wrong of course and turns the four of them into techno-organic beings. Now in order to explain my problem i have to be a little honest. I consider myself a intelligent person. Just not in most scientific fields. So while i know that i want these people to be turned into techno-organic beings, i have no idea what it would mean to be techno-organic. And thus i cannot begin to theorize on their power set. I know one thing for sure thing though. The reason why they represent a credible threat in my universe is that they can convert matter to their techno-organic type of matter. This means they can infect other living beings and turn them into more of whatever they are. What do you think?

  819. Telickon 05 Jun 2013 at 6:39 am

    Techno-organic would mean they are part computer, or a cyborg, if that helps. But I like the concept. Maybe they could be minions to the other villain you created.

  820. Comicbookguy117on 05 Jun 2013 at 8:15 am

    Yeah maybe. But i think i’d like to push them as a superhero version of a zombie virus. They tend to eat or at leaset rip apart living beings. But they can also choose to infect/convert their victims. This choice is based on a consensus put together by the hive mind. They must decide if the organism can add anything they may need. This will become incredibly dangerous once they discover the superhumans in my comic book universe.

  821. JTSon 05 Jun 2013 at 7:33 pm

    —I am writing a fantasy novel and having some trouble with finding some powers for a few of the characters. Two of them live in a mountainous kingdom and so I am looking for a transport/speed-travel-up type power. I have already given teleportation, super jump/strength, and spidey-hands (I have added personal twists to these powers) to other characters. I had also speculated using wings but decided it had been used so many times in other books and didn’t feel I could write wings that well. The characters are boy and girl.

    —In case you guys wanted to know how I made them a little different than the common concepts of the powers: The teleportation is not instant, the character must place two portals in order to teleport (think the ps3 game Portal only the portals cannot be seen through and the only visual give away as to their location is slight warping of the line of sight like looking over the hood of a hot car) The super jump/strength is what I call “muscle burst”. No, the muscle doesn’t explode. The idea is that the user has enormous amounts of strength along with speed for split seconds. However there is no in between regular strength and the muscle burst. If the character was unable to pick up a large rock with his regular humans strength he would only end up tossing the rock thirty feet in the air with this power. The spidey-hands are not as original but the character has only that power. Does anyone have an idea of how to make spidey-hands a more original/ less plageristic power?

    —The other hero who needs a power lives in a kingdom that stretches thinly along an ocean coast (the kingdom mainly trades in fish and salt). I had originally used water walking and breathing under water but the character will be traveling through other environments where those powers would be useless. I don’t necessarily prefer elemental powers. I know I am just cutting off most of my options by saying what I don’t want but I really want something with an uncommon twist to the power. For example, one of my characters has skin that heats up and gives off light like a stove element (I call it “ember skin”). it would be considered a fire ability and could be used to light things on fire or melt through things. The weakness is that wind involuntarily causes heat and light, like a coal. I have never heard of or seen this power so I assume it is uncommon. I don’t read comics so I wouldn’t know.

    JTS

  822. Qwertyon 05 Jun 2013 at 9:32 pm

    JTS: For the spidey-hands character, you might compare the wall-crawling ability (if that’s what spidey-hands means?) to some other creature/insect that can climb walls, or you might just describe the power without comparing it to a creature/insect at all…just some suggestions.

    Also, for the “ember skin” power – you might want to check out the movie Iron Man 3, because your description of that power sounds pretty similar to the Extremist mutants’ powers in that movie. (Whenever the Extremist mutants used their powers, their skin heated up to glowing and they could use their heat abilities to melt through things.) Your character’s powers may be sufficiently different from this, but it still reminded me of it.

  823. JTSon 06 Jun 2013 at 6:51 am

    Cool, thanks Qwerty, I will check into that.

  824. thunderpolloon 14 Jun 2013 at 1:41 am

    thanks this really will help me with my work as we need to design a superhero for a contest thanks

  825. Zinnitoon 20 Jun 2013 at 7:10 pm

    Good day to all those who love heroes. I am creating a new universe of heroes and need some writers. This creation of mine begins with the Renaissance of Italy with Zinnito Mussioci. He is a demi-god, the son of Ares god of war. Although this is like Greek Mythology it is different. Zinnito, he gains a new ability every century. First is Invisibility, next immortality and so on. With him being immortal he falls in love and loses her through life, so he moves on knowing he should not love another women or else his heart will break. So of course he turns into a bit of a player throughout his life. But with every women he’s with, some are bound to become pregnant. He doesn’t realize it though, but when he does he has created a new group of heroes and villains. This starts the new universe. With every power Zinnito possesses along the way he passes down one to each of his children. But some of those powers can be branched down further. The creation of this legacy is something i can’t work on alone. So much, but life is short so i need assistance on my universe. ZM Legacies, Among the night stars and the sunlit oceans
    there are those who have greatness thrust upon them.
    Some say as curse, others as gifts.
    Using this greatness they fight for survival, for rights, for power.
    Power is what divides us, it gives a living creature strength.
    How you use it though, determines the true nature of that being.
    Mostrami il tuo potere … Ti faccio vedere il tuo percorso!If you’d like to join email me at zmlegacies@gmail.com

  826. _D0FPXon 21 Jun 2013 at 1:01 am

    Quick questions!

    1. What are the weaknesses and advantages of a Bo staff?

    2. What are the weaknesses and advantages of a whip?

    3. What is the normal amount of arrows for a quiver? I’m trying to find ways to not make the Bow & Arrow user super strong.

    4. What are some weapons that are good for quick, fast paced and action packed fighting? All my characters are very quick and agile so i want them to have weapons that work for their theme but are all different and have their weaknesses and advantages.

    THANK YOU :)

  827. AtALossForNameson 21 Jun 2013 at 4:39 am

    Hey guys, I’ve been doing some different things with my writings to try and alleviate writer’s block (not to much effect until now, due to my overload of ideas) and I wanted to try something new and maybe pick up some older projects AFTER I’m done with this one. But I just wanted to ask if my character’s power was strong, but not too strong to ruin the story. My character whom I haven’t named yet, has the power of Intuition or Intuitive Aptitude. Basically, he could pick up a guitar and learn how to be awesome in minutes, but it would give him migraines and fatigue the more and the longer he applies his ability. And when he stops using his ability he forgets all but the basics of that skill. I was just wondering if I had his power weak enough to still be interesting, but strong enough to still be considered a super human. Names would also be appreciated, but not what this post focuses upon.

  828. AtALossForNameson 21 Jun 2013 at 5:05 am

    @ _D0FPX,

    Don’t take my opinions as cold hard facts, I’m not a weapons expert or anything, but I would think that a Bo staff would be more suited for getting better range on an opponent, quick strikes, and (if trained) they could disarm a person and effectively incapacitate them, possibly even kill them through a strong strike to the head. But if it was made out of a material like wood, it could be cut through by a strong strike with a sharp weapon like a sword or an axe if blocked instead of redirected. It could be an awesome weapon in the hands of a master.

    With a whip, I would imagine that it could take a weapon away if the user is distracted, or it could potentially bind the enemy, given the length and if it is a magical or enhanced weapon. There is a catch though, in the hands of a novice, it could horribly miss and end up popping the user if they’re not careful, causing a distraction that could prove detrimental, or even fatal in an intense combat scene.

    With a bow and arrow, it would really matter on the quiver, and I couldn’t give you an exact number of arrows you could put in your average quiver, because I don’t know much about that. But I would assume that in a combat situation, the user would want to catch the enemy by surprise. If it’s in closed quarters he’d have trouble using it, unless it’s a short bow, limiting his range but making it easier to handle. It’s not just the size of the quiver, it’s the competence in the user’s abilities with the bow and the kind of bow he has as well. Maybe he only has a short bow, limiting his range on the open field, or he has a long bow, limiting the ease of his abilities when he gets surprised indoors.

    If you’re thinking of other weapons to use, you could try a dagger, sword, hand axe, hammer, or even a scythe. Though I’d imagine it would take a lot of research to portray the numerous styles these weapons have.

    Sorry if I made the post too long, I enjoyed making my first two posts! :)

  829. AtALossForNameson 21 Jun 2013 at 5:07 am

    Whoops, mentioned the short bow twice. Haha, my bad.

  830. Anonymouson 23 Jun 2013 at 8:41 am

    I need help with a super power for what all it can do. I got a power fiction control it lets people control fiction aka they can enter any fiction with or without people, summon/control fictional people/objects, and fuse with fictional creatures/people ect.
    What all would that power be capable of?

  831. Sabeon 23 Jun 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Hey SHN,i’m new here but ive browsed the site and it’s great! but i have a question that i hope i can get some insight on

    i’m writing a story that i want to make about 3 main characters,how would i go about introducing these characters in the beginning without making it seem like one charcter is favored? Or would you recommend that i just keep one main character and have the other 2 as side characters?

  832. Mr.siron 24 Jun 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Ok guys what do you think about this a super villan who has already been ruling the world with armies of guys some with weak powers some with none at all and a couple of heros (spread across the world) start small rebellions in their areas eventually that are all captured, one escapes (preferably the cool, but pettyish one) sees the others has pity and frees them, then they escape

    That’s where it begins

    P.S. super rough just made it up

    p.s.s. what do you guys think

  833. Mr.siron 24 Jun 2013 at 8:17 pm

    Possible superheroes

    Brain. Dr.George o Meyer

    Powers super smarts, telepathy

    Doctorate at Oxford in genetic metaphysics
    Scientist
    British
    58
    Make miracle invention
    Unfair science laws

    Shadow. (Name foreign)

    Powers Basic element manipulation, flying, slow aging

    Scholar at school of magic
    Social outcast
    Rough English, vagean
    2431. 24
    Theories rejected
    Trying to get back to his world
    Born super
    Find others like him

    Monk. Abhishek Patel

    Powers martial arts

    Monk training
    Monk
    Dedication
    Indian
    45
    Total enlightenment
    Mother abandonment in search of enlightenment
    Years of training
    Was convinced by his master

    Toxic waste. Jim breckner

    Powers acid spray, enhance powers, liquify

    College dropout
    Mechanic
    Bad***
    American
    36
    Broke
    Cherynobyl victim
    Better than his dead end job

    Wither. Alice white

    Powers withering, healing, ray,

    Bachelors in business
    Corporate Lawyer
    Unintentional powers
    Cannot touch loves ones with left hand, leftie
    Chinese
    35
    Not in touch with family
    Become rich
    Test subject for corporate drug
    Wanted to stop corporate greed scandals

    Main villain

    Paul Rogers. Overlord

    Ruler of world through oligarchy, then monopoly, then despotism

    Leads army of mutants, some with weak powers others with non

    Unfair laws

    Healthcare only for troops

    Runs all large businesses

    Other main enemies

    Overload. Pam breckner

    Powers electrical manipulation

    Scorpio

    Powers can control unholy animals

    Dark matter. Ally baker. Tested on wither

    Absorb life force

    Possible superheroes

    Brain. Dr.George o Meyer

    Powers super smarts, telepathy

    Doctorate at Oxford in genetic metaphysics
    Scientist
    British
    58
    Make miracle invention
    Unfair science laws

    Shadow. (Name foreign)

    Powers Basic element manipulation, flying, slow aging

    Scholar at school of magic
    Social outcast
    Rough English, vagean
    2431. 24
    Theories rejected
    Trying to get back to his world
    Born super
    Find others like him

    Monk. Abhishek Patel

    Powers martial arts

    Monk training
    Monk
    Dedication
    Indian
    45
    Total enlightenment
    Mother abandonment in search of enlightenment
    Years of training
    Was convinced by his master

    Toxic waste. Jim breckner

    Powers acid spray, enhance powers, liquify

    College dropout
    Mechanic
    Bad***
    American
    36
    Broke
    Cherynobyl victim
    Better than his dead end job

    Wither. Alice white

    Powers withering, healing, ray,

    Bachelors in business
    Corporate Lawyer
    Unintentional powers
    Cannot touch loves ones with left hand, leftie
    Chinese
    35
    Not in touch with family
    Become rich
    Test subject for corporate drug
    Wanted to stop corporate greed scandals

    Main villain

    Paul Rogers. Overlord

    Ruler of world through oligarchy, then monopoly, then despotism

    Leads army of mutants, some with weak powers others with non

    Unfair laws

    Healthcare only for troops

    Runs all large businesses

    Other main enemies

    Overload. Pam breckner

    Powers electrical manipulation

    Scorpio

    Powers can control unholy animals

    Dark matter. Ally baker. Tested on wither

    Absorb life force

    Just some ideas

    I would like some recommendations but no hatemail

    P.s. sorry if I offended just don’t want to be discouraged

  834. B. McKenzieon 24 Jun 2013 at 11:38 pm

    Some thoughts and suggestions, Mr. Sir:

    1. “I just don’t want to be discouraged…” As far as career paths go, fiction-writing tends to be unusually emotionally challenging and has an unusually high potential for frustration. If avoiding discouragement is a major consideration, another field (e.g. perhaps a communications position) might work out more happily for you.

    2. Some of these characters sound like they could be interesting (e.g. I’m intrigued by the idea of an underachieving badass). Generally, I’d recommend a format closer to a plot synopsis than a list of character traits. A plot synopsis would probably make it a lot easier to tie everything together (e.g. key plot points & character decisions, relationships and conflicts between characters, critical details about the premise or setting, etc) and establish how the characters’ traits affect the plot. For example, a list of character traits can tell us that one character is from Tuvalu* and another is a vegan, but a plot synopsis could develop more about why those details matter (e.g. if they somehow tie into a conflict, major decision, or major plot point). The details will be more interesting if readers can see why they matter.

    *Yeahhhh, Tuvalu.

    3. If I may, I’d generally suggest proofreading more aggressively.

    4. “Genetic metaphysics…” Hmm… Unless the character is an old-school philosopher, I’d suggest rephrasing this as something like “Biophysics” or “Genetic biophysics.” (Metaphysics is a type of philosophy). If the character is very philosophical, perhaps something like bioethics and/or (more nefariously) eugenics.

  835. Mr.Siron 25 Jun 2013 at 6:48 am

    1. You’re right I just don’t want negative feedback too early, I haven’t even started my first “book”.

    2. Sorry I just copy paste some notes I jot down I hadn’t really focused on anything else yet (didn’t have a computer nearby).

    3.please elaborate

    4. Good idea I’ll go with genetic metaphysics

    5. I think I should add a bachelors in engineering

    Thanks for the feedback Mckenzie

    P.s. could I call you MC

  836. B. McKenzieon 25 Jun 2013 at 9:46 pm

    A novel manuscript with more than 2 typos on page 1 will not survive to page 2. There’s a lot of opportunity here.

    In addition to removing a lethal obstacle to publication, stronger proofreading will generally lead to more professional feedback/review. Reviewers/readers will generally take authors a lot more seriously that at least have the mechanics down. Proofreading will mean the difference between getting rejected in the first 30 seconds or not.

    “Could I call you MC?” I’d prefer BM.

  837. Nayanon 26 Jun 2013 at 4:37 am

    “I just don’t want to be discouraged…”

    One way of not getting discouraged in writing world is not having any high expectations. Less than 1% of the manuscripts get published. If you hold high expectations like ‘ I will get published, become a bestseller and rich etc.’, then it’s highly likely that you will be discouraged and frustrated. Don’t consider fiction writing as your only income source. Write passionately with fun. Be happy if you can complete a good novel. If you get published, then that’s bonus.

  838. Mr.siron 26 Jun 2013 at 7:29 am

    Ok B.M. I wrote up a synopsis on the first couple chapters, here you go

    Synopsis

    The heros are leading several small protests around the world
    When all of them are captured simultaneously and brought to overlord’s prison brain uses his telepathy to make the guard feel sympathy for him and escapes. While passing by the cell blocks he sees the other heros and takes pity on them. He then frees the heros who escape to an abandoned police station

    That’s what I have so far and this is just where I want the story to go, haven’t really fleshed it out yet

    Hey anyone interested in a collab since you guys are saying these characters have potential, also I chose my words wrong I’m not gonna give up on this regardless of negative feedback

    All the best,

    Mr.Sir

  839. B. McKenzieon 26 Jun 2013 at 6:49 pm

    “Hey anyone interested in a collab since you guys are saying these characters have potential…”

    1) The average novel advance is roughly $4,500. When a pie is that small, it’s hard slicing it more than one way. (Note: anyone writing nonfiction should disregard this comment entirely).

    2) If I were going to take on a co-novelist, I’d only make that sort of commitment to someone who had impressed me with his/her writing style, productivity/work ethic, and reliability. Writing a novel takes thousands of hours… Anyone willing to offer that sort of commitment lightly does not know what it would take to see it through.

    2.1) This will probably change as you have more opportunities to practice (and ideally get published on your own), but it would be very hard for an unpublished author to convince a professional author to make that commitment.

    3) The authors good enough that you’d want them as a coauthor don’t need a coauthor and generally wouldn’t benefit from an unpublished coauthor.

    3.1) I’d recommend proofreading more aggressively. It’s extremely important.

  840. Mr.Siron 26 Jun 2013 at 8:02 pm

    Ok so that’s one no anyone else interested

  841. amarionon 26 Jun 2013 at 9:13 pm

    I like superheros and I wish I had some

  842. Mr.Siron 26 Jun 2013 at 9:34 pm

    Please explain Amarion

  843. Anonymouson 27 Jun 2013 at 3:26 am

    I’m new to this so please bare with me haha.

    I have three different stories and not sure which to chose. Both aren’t very far along in fact I only have the small details. I need help haha :P

    Story #1)
    - characters name is shade.
    - his power is dark Aura
    - he surrounds his feet and fists with it to amplify the power
    - he can travel/hide in peoples shadows but for limited time. He can’t go into the shadows of inanimate objects though
    - he can make himself vanish (covers himself in his aura to become very dark to the point where he’s invisible)
    - he can make rooms pitch black but it drains him and he can’t so it for a long period of time
    - is a somewhat well known rookie thief

    Thought s?

    Story #2)
    - Characters name is Pulse
    - his power is force field generation
    - can create any type of shape (except for super complicated ones & shapes that he has to think about)
    - can create force fields without having to stop whatever he’s doing
    - only works for physical attacks. He can somewhat shield his mind but not very well.
    - fights using fists/force fields (not sure yet)

    Thoughts?

    Story #3)
    Characters name is

  844. Anonymouson 27 Jun 2013 at 3:27 am

    Yeah my third one is sorta complicated. I pressed the submit button by accident sorry!

  845. ShiningKnighton 28 Jun 2013 at 9:15 am

    shift the power to instant teleport anything or anyone where ever the user thinks of, by pointing towards the target and pronouncing the word shift and the user can also teleport themselves as well. so what do you think?

  846. Blue chargeron 29 Jun 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Names for characters in your novel
    -Brent Daniels
    -Cassandra Channels
    -Leo Willkins
    -James Trivolto
    -Jamie Stewert
    -Sam Retrone
    -Dean clovsters
    Those were just some names

  847. drenKon 29 Jun 2013 at 10:55 pm

    My character’s name is Ven & he uses Kinetic Energy.

    His suit stores a bunch of kinetic energy giving him his powers. He’s able to use that energy to fly, shoot beams & create force fields. He can also surround his fists in the stored energy to amply his punches.

    His two weakness is being in an area with little to no kinetic energy and having someone stealth attack him because that uses little to no kinetic energy at all.

    When it comes to making force fields as long as the enemy is hitting it the force field will only get get stronger but it leaves Ven semi helpless.

    It is unknown how much kinetic energy the suit can store.

    Is this solid enough for a character.

  848. Blue chargeron 29 Jun 2013 at 11:18 pm

    Umm it kinda is , u kinda need to know how he got the suit and who he is and u know the origin

  849. Blue chargeron 29 Jun 2013 at 11:23 pm

    And Drenk is ven short for something

  850. Blue chargeron 30 Jun 2013 at 9:05 am

    D0fpx your hero sounds cool so who is the villan

  851. Blue chargeron 30 Jun 2013 at 10:06 am

    Superheroes and super villains were just story’s and movies .One day James Killgore and is three best friends were walking back from school and saw this factory it was a grand opening party . The factory was the future industries by Salvador griffin a powerful business man so James and his friends went so see what was going on they heard an alarm sound the people evacuated . James heard screaming so he ran in the building looking for the sound his friends came looking for James . The sound was upstairs were James and his friends see a man being transformed into a man eating monster a man next to him put on a gas mask and said y are u here and dropped a smoke bomb the next day James found him self in his room staring at the ceiling but something was different
    he was hovering

    P.s. this is just something I thought of its not really a story anyone can take the idea and detail and fix it up

  852. Blue chargeron 30 Jun 2013 at 10:08 am

    Any comments

  853. B. McKenzieon 30 Jun 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Blue Charger, some thoughts and suggestions:

    1) It may help to incorporate some unusual choice for the main character that most other superhero protagonists wouldn’t have made in the same situation. For example, maybe he was already at the party because he broke in for [SOME REASON MOSTLY UNIQUE TO HIM].

    2) The main character doesn’t get a chance to do all that much in this origin story. He walks into a party, gets knocked out, and then wakes up with superpowers. I’d recommend building the origin more around the choices the character makes and what he does/says than around being in the right place at the right time.

    3) I would recommend proofreading more aggressively.

  854. Blue chargeron 01 Jul 2013 at 6:10 am

    Okay that helps thanks mckenzie but ummmm that’s not my real hero anyway and now that u say wat u said I think I might do that

  855. The Answeron 01 Jul 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Ronald Dawson is a tattoo artist and also the protagonist of the story that I’m working on. He has the ability to manipulate his own tattoos and make them manifest in physical form or gain their powers directly, the power was given to him by the god of tattoo & body art also known as Acat (Mayan Mythology) I’m having trouble coming up with weaknesses/limitations & a proper origin. Any ideas?

  856. Bgirly12on 01 Jul 2013 at 10:51 pm

    Hey!!!!! I’m trying to write a book about superheroes and need some help.
    The point of view is from a twelve year old girl named Jaycee. Everyone calls her Jay. Her and her best friend Cammi are part of a moon rock class, with five other kids there age (Missy, Twyla, Jack, Tyler, and Oscar)and the teacher Dean.
    They go on a field trip to a moon rock science lab place, and get some samples to study. As they are heading home, an asteroid hits them(I don’t know why yet) and everyone goes unconscious. They wake up, don’t remember any thing, and head home. They were hit in the country, so no one saw it.
    There memory gradually returns over a few days, and one day Missy comes in shrieking about how she changed into a famous model after looking at a magazine and wishing she was her. They all find out they have powers over the next week or so.
    Here’s the powers: Jay can fly. Cammi can turn invisible. Missy can shape-shift. Twyla can run really fast. Jack can control gravity. Tyler is super strong. I don’t know what Oscars power is, but I’m thinking on the lines if reading minds and things like that. Dean is probably a guy who obsorbs powers, but only one at a time. Jack and Jay help each other with their powers for a while, because they are similar. And yes, I did mean to make them similar.

    Can you help me?!?!?!?!?!

  857. Blue chargeron 03 Jul 2013 at 2:29 pm

    I will help u one u might want to get rid of one or two characters cuz well it takes away from the story and what about the teacher also the United States would know cuz the asteroid and y were the walking instead of a bus

  858. Blue chargeron 03 Jul 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Hey does anyone have a superhero name to this girl named stephenie channels her powers telekinis,intangibility,levetation,invisibility.she got her powers cuz an a experiment she was forced to do . So all I need is a super hero name for her but I can’t think of one

  859. Bgirly12on 03 Jul 2013 at 10:55 pm

    They weren’t walking, dean was driving the bus. The asteroid was something entirely different and didn’t show up on radar our anything else. Thank you for helping, but I’m in love with my characters, and would rather not give any the boot. Sorry, but I don’t know any names, but thank you any way!!!!!!!!! If I find a name, I will post it.

    THANK YOU ANYWAY!!!!!!!!!!!

  860. Blackscaron 03 Jul 2013 at 11:48 pm

    Mm, I was considering a villain with the ability to manipulate friction. I was worried, would this make her too overpowered?
    The other characters in my story have powers which aren’t as dangerous (I’m sorry, but a world without friction would be a dangerous place. Don’t even question that.), but they would most likely be able to fight her decently well. If they tried hard enough, that is.

    She kills one of the main characters with this power by, say, making him slip in front of a moving vehicle.
    He doesn’t survive the crash.

    Would this be too overpowered?

    ((I apologize in advance for how incoherent this post will probably seem; it’s four in the morning where I’m at and I’m not exactly the most eloquent person out there at four in the morning. Also, I swear that I planned said character’s death and will execute it better than I might have implied. ))

    Thanks in advance!
    -Blackscar

  861. Proxie#0on 04 Jul 2013 at 1:57 am

    I believe that no villain can be overpowered. Unless the writer keeps thinking of ridiculous ways to make the protagonist better, and then the villian, and then the protagonist again…makes an annoying cycle.

    An example of something like that would be Dragon Ball (Regular, Z, or GT…) or Naruto (Really, as soon as one character can do one thing, another miraculously learns something else…). This can work to a certain extent. Using those same examples, I would say that for DBZ, it got old after either Frieza or Cell, or maybe even as early as Vegeta…but I personally hated the Babidi/Buu saga. In Naruto, it got old as soon as they started introducing random as all hell abilities for Sharingan and for the Bijju (tailed beasts). I.E. Teleportation, Mind Control, Banishment, etc.

    Anyway, getting off of my rant… I think that idea sounds pretty interesting. My advice is to make sure that the audience can grasp the vastness the ability entails, and doesn’t think that She’s just an ability conglomerate, ala Superman (although it would be much more understandable if the abilities followed along a single tangent, such as friction or empathy)

    And as a final note, I believe character deaths can be very effective when done well. I kill a few characters in my (planned) book too, including the main character…which is going to be difficult. But it can be done. I don’t mean to pry, but could we please hear more about the “set-up”?

  862. B. McKenzieon 04 Jul 2013 at 10:09 am

    “I believe that no villain can be overpowered. Unless the writer keeps thinking of ridiculous ways to make the protagonist better, and then the villian, and then the protagonist again…makes an annoying cycle.” I agree almost 100% of the time. There might be a rare, rare exception where a villain is so powerful relative to the hero that the villain has to start making idiotic mistakes and/or become inexplicably helpless for the hero to win.

  863. Bon 04 Jul 2013 at 2:27 pm

    @Proxie#0

    You aren’t prying at all! What do you mean by set-up, before I begin to type it up?

  864. Blackscaron 04 Jul 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Wow.
    I entered my own name in wrong.

    Wow.
    A negative side-effect to staying up all night, everyone.

  865. Proxie#0on 04 Jul 2013 at 4:04 pm

    What I meant by “Set-Up” is how do we see the personality change* to what it is at TOD (time of death), how it is foreshadowed, just generally how it is executed I guess.

    *I ask this because in my own story, the MC, by the end, has become extraordinarily protective of the people she used to, and now does, love. This leads her to beg for her love interest to just “kill her,” because she is turning ,in short, into a “bad guy.” (It may sound cliche, but I’m working with it…) So does his personality lead him to make the odd decision that gets him killed, I guess.

  866. Blackscaron 04 Jul 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Ah, I believe I understand the question now.
    Give me a moment to type up my explanation, okay? :]

  867. Proxie#0on 04 Jul 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Awesome, take all the time you need man, I’m on liberty till Monday. Speaking of which, it’s hot as [REDACTED] out here.

    HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY EVERYONE!

  868. Blackscaron 04 Jul 2013 at 4:44 pm

    The character in question is not quite a main character, but rather a major character? His death is rather important, as it sets the tone for much of the main plot. (The book takes place at a school for superheros-in-training, as I’m a sucker for those sort of settings.)

    It is implied numerous times in the book that he either had to be taken out of the picture, or he would instigate a chain of events so dangerous that most of the main group would not have survived.

    This information is discovered when one of the main characters goes snooping through some highly confidential files and discovers that said character (We’ll call him ‘Bard’ for now, though it isn’t his real name. We will call said main character ‘Knight’) has contracted an extremely dangerous virus which is usually fatal.
    This virus is called ‘Hemosis’ (temporary name; if it’s already taken, then I shall change it), and it slowly corrupts anyone who has contracted it, deteriorating both their minds and bodies. One of the main symptoms is increased aggression.

    Bard began the book as a kind, if somewhat detached individual. He was best friends with the MAIN main character. (We’ll call this main character ‘Heir’.) Throughout the course of the book, he becomes more and more irritable, even violently lashing out Heir for no apparent reason. He messes up many of his missions, when previously he had a nearly-perfect track record.

    Knight, in a panic, told her best friend (who we will call ‘Seer’) what she had discovered, not thinking that her best friend would tell anyone else.
    The two of them searched Bard’s room while he was out, trying to discover what had caused it. Neither wanted the school to fly into a panic. (No one was quite sure how hemosis was transmitted.) The only thing they found was a journal with somewhat disturbing entries, many describing various hallucinations, and a white devil telling him to ‘fix it’, over and over.
    Days later, a webcam video had been shot with him pleading into the camera, begging the devil to stop.
    Begging the devil to find another to ‘fix it’.

    After a teacher finds one of Knight’s friends dead, stuck upside-down to the school cafeteria’s ceiling via a large patch of rapidly melting ice, both Knight and her friend assume that Bard is the killer due to his condition. (He had cryokinesis/ ice powers.)

    They confide to Seer’s friend, who tries her best to comfort them before she leaves the room to run an errand, promising that she’ll text them the entire time.

    Before they can tell a school official, or anyone, Knight receives a phone call from one of the other characters, this one being female. Whoever called her had blocked the number in advance, so there was no way to identify them.

    It’s cut off rather disturbingly, with screams of “PLEASE, NO!” and other things of that sort from said female, before the line is cut off.

    Bard’s corpse was found within a few hours, crushed under a vehicle, and no one is quite sure what to think.

    They thought that the one who had presumably died on the line was female, and that Bard had been the killer.

    Of course, I can’t reveal the villain, as that would spoil the plot. What do you think? Too predictable? Cliche? Downright corny?

  869. B. McKenzieon 04 Jul 2013 at 5:12 pm

    “I entered my own name in wrong. Wow. A negative side-effect to staying up all night, everyone.” I’ve done worse at 0400 and heard of much worse… E.g. one oil trader’s set of drunken trades lost his company $10 million. The company’s annual income was only $12 million. They ended up losing 7-8 million dollars that year.

  870. Blackscaron 04 Jul 2013 at 5:14 pm

    What do you mean?

  871. Blackscaron 04 Jul 2013 at 5:22 pm

    Oh, wow. Ah, fair point. It could have been worse, though.
    I’ve heard some fairly disturbing stories about things that happened due to drunken mishaps at four in the morning.

    I’m glad I had the good sense to only pass out onto my keyboard with Word open.

    I only had to delete a couple thousand pages of incoherent streams of numbers; at least I didn’t lose $10 million.

    I would have been very concerned if that had happened, considering the fact that I don’t even have $10 million, to begin with.

  872. Bretton 04 Jul 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Hi Blackstar,
    While the first part of your set up appears a bit jumbled, I think you have the makings of a really twisty murder mystery on your hands. I know you said you were going to change the bard’s name, but I would consider keeping it and seeing if there’s not a fresh angle on the bard idea. Maybe the jocks in the story (playing with the jocks vs. creatives troupe). could be like, “To kick your ass, or not to kick your ass, that is the question.” I know that sounds a bit on the cliche side, but don’t be so quick to disregard what could be an interesting story thread
    “The character in question is not quite a main character, but rather a major character? His death is rather important, as it sets the tone for much of the main plot. (The book takes place at a school for superheros-in-training, as I’m a sucker for those sort of settings.)

    It is implied numerous times in the book that he either had to be taken out of the picture, or he would instigate a chain of events so dangerous that most of the main group would not have survived.

    This information is discovered when one of the main characters goes snooping through some highly confidential files and discovers that said character (We’ll call him ‘Bard’ for now, though it isn’t his real name. We will call said main character ‘Knight’) has contracted an extremely dangerous virus which is usually fatal.
    This virus is called ‘Hemosis’ (temporary name; if it’s already taken, then I shall change it), and it slowly corrupts anyone who has contracted it, deteriorating both their minds and bodies. One of the main symptoms is increased aggression.

    Bard began the book as a kind, if somewhat detached individual. He was best friends with the MAIN main character. (We’ll call this main character ‘Heir’.) Throughout the course of the book, he becomes more and more irritable, even violently lashing out Heir for no apparent reason. He messes up many of his missions, when previously he had a nearly-perfect track record.

    Knight, in a panic, told her best friend (who we will call ‘Seer’) what she had discovered, not thinking that her best friend would tell anyone else.”
    This whole section feels jumbled to me. You have good ideas but all of this really needs to be streamlined. Also, clarify who your main character is. Is it Knight? If I missed it, my bad, but it just didn’t seem clear.
    Starting withThe two of them searched Bard’s room, your set up is really good because the twisty murder mystery I mentioned earlier starts to come into play. You said Heir is the main character but it doesn’t seem that way based on this description it feels like Knight is.
    Assuming Knight is the main character can I recommend at least to start that we see the story through knight’s eyes as a first person POV? That way readers know who we are supposed to be following. Are knight and Heir going to be our two protagonists?
    Best of luck!

  873. Bretton 04 Jul 2013 at 5:28 pm

    Darn it! Apologies Blackscar. I misread your name, lol!

  874. Blackscaron 04 Jul 2013 at 5:34 pm

    @Brett

    Oh, my apologies. I was sort of concerned that it didn’t really make sense; I’ll try my hardest to fix it!

    Actually, now that I think about it, Knight would make a better main character. Most of the book centers on her actions, so it would be somewhat stupid to tell it through someone else’s eyes.
    I was planning to do a third-person story, as I don’t trust myself to write a decent first-person narration. However, I will give it a try, as I think that might be helpful.

    The story as a whole was going to focus on Knight, Heir, Seer, and a boy whom I will now dub “Prince”, though Bard will play an important role. There would also be the main villain, whose point of view I planned to switch to, occasionally.

    I know it isn’t recommended to have that many main characters, but I doubt I could tell the story without most of them. They all contribute to the plot equally, though Knight, of course, will be the most important.

    I’m sorry if my explanations seem a bit scattered, or if my word choice is somewhat confusing. Honestly, I’m still rather new to this! :)

    I appreciate the suggestions, though, and I will take them to heart.

  875. Blackscaron 04 Jul 2013 at 5:35 pm

    @Brett

    Don’t worry, it happens all the time, haha.

  876. Bretton 04 Jul 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Hi Blackscar,
    I’d love to read some chapters if you have any. While you should keep them to a minimum, Don’t worry too much about the povs just make sure that it is very clear which chapter is which i.e. Chapter ONE: KNIGHT; Chapter two: HEIR, Chapter three: PRINCE etc. I’ve seen many first novels, particularly fantasy novels(the blade itself comes to mind) that have multiple POVS and are fantastic. I think there were four in the blade itself I wanna say there were six in Brent weeks first book but don’t quote me on that, there might be more. Ultimately, write the story you want to write. Good writing trumps all. Make it clear who the POVS are in the query letter and say the book is told in mulyiple viewpoints from x, y, and z.
    Best of luck!

  877. Bretton 04 Jul 2013 at 6:21 pm

    *multiple

  878. Blackscaron 04 Jul 2013 at 6:22 pm

    @Brett
    Ah, all right! I’ll keep that in mind! :)

    Might I have an email address so I can send them to you once I complete them? If you don’t mind, that is!

  879. B. McKenzieon 04 Jul 2013 at 6:30 pm

    “I would have been very concerned if that had happened, considering the fact that I don’t even have $10 million, to begin with.” Considering that the company lost $7 million that year, I’m guessing they didn’t, either. :)

  880. Blackscaron 04 Jul 2013 at 6:32 pm

    A moment of silence for those poor souls at that particular company… :)

    Also called: alcohol and managing a company do not mix very well.

  881. Unknownon 04 Jul 2013 at 6:34 pm

    In my book, an advanced super-alien race, the Teazonians, create a Virus that the want to use for galactic domination. Liten, one of a few Teazonians opposing the rest of his species steels the Virus and flees from his home planet, Teazon, into space, and accidently exposes a couple hundred humans, and another alien race, Reddas, to it. Liten finds these them all (mostly by accident) and trains them to use their powers to wipe out his enemies. The leader of the bad guys (don’t have a name) mobilizes the 7 trillion inhabitants of Teazon and they massacre all but 16 of them. I’d like an honest opinion of these few characters.
    Travis- Main protagonist. 18 years old. I don’t know how to describe his power, but he can shape shift himself and any objects into anything. He has short brown hair, and he and his younger brother, Mason, were orphaned at a young age.
    Samantha- Age 17. Travis’s love-interest. She has the power of speed, and is supporting Travis in everyway possible. She has long brown hair, usually tied in a ponytail, and
    Ronald- 17 years old. Ronald has the power of accuracy and is the breakout character of the book. he NEVER takes any situation seriously. His love interest is Sara. The Teazonians will attack, and kill, and he will still crack a joke. He is described as tall with short sand-blonde hair. his mom died during birth, and his dad was an alcoholic.
    Zack- Age 17. Zack is extremely athletic and has noticeable AD/HD. His power is to control the winds. (No background Info.)
    Mason- age 14. Mason is Travis’s younger Brother. He can control shadows, but normally has a cheery attitude. He looks almost identical to his brother.
    Sara and Jason- Age 17. Sara and Jason are Twins. Both control ice. Jason is just downright rude and HATES Ronald. Sara is extremely shy and loves Ronald. Both have blonde hair. ( No background Info.)
    Ben- Age 16. Ben is probably the most useless character in the whole book. He is a water-breather in an alien war. He feels like he has no place and is a loner. (No Background Info)
    Doug- Age 18. Doug is an African American, and the kindest character in the book. he is the voice of reason among the group and can teleport. his parents abandoned him at birth.
    Liten- An immortal Teazonian who has a healing ability. (no background Info.)
    Toxic- A codename given to a Redda. Toxic can generate acids, and is basically a giant snake with 4 legs, and a pair of arms. Where he comes from, humans are basically a food source.
    Scott- Age 16. Scott’s power is extreme reflexes and agility. Ironically, he gets his legs blower off, but Liten builds him a pair of robotic legs. (this leads to Ronald calling him a cyborg.)
    Stu- Stu basically incinerates whatever he touches. (Nothing else. HELP!)
    These are only a few characters. I will put up some more information on the others later. IF you have an opinion about a character, or think of something I can use for a character’s past, please tell me.

  882. Blackscaron 04 Jul 2013 at 6:34 pm

    @Brett

    Thank you! I should finish chapter one sometime tonight or tomorrow. :)

  883. Bretton 04 Jul 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Hi Blackscar,
    Ok. I’ll be watching for it.

  884. Proxie#0on 04 Jul 2013 at 7:51 pm

    @ Unknown

    I would advise giving some more thought to the characters than just their Names, abilities, and what they look like. It would be much easier to critique them if you could post some information about their personalities.

    After all, the powers don’t make the hero, the hero makes use of the powers. (Kind of like how guns don’t kill, people do use guns to kill though…and don’t let this spark a political conversation. Please, dear god…)

  885. Bretton 04 Jul 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Hi unknown,
    First of all, can I just say that this story is right up my alley. the only thing you’re missing is a cop lol
    Ok so going in order:
    Travis- I don’t like the name. it just seems too…mundane. his powers however are not, but here’s the thing make sure he can only do one thing or the other at any given time (He can’t shape shift things and shapeshift himself at the same time and vice versa. maybe he has a bit of a chip on his shoulder being an orphan.
    Samantha- try not to make her so supportive and have her call him on his crap. maybe she knows something about why travis and mason are orphans
    ronald- I know exactly what you mean by breakout character, but it’s a tricky thing so tread carefully and try not to use ronald as a crutch when you don’t know what else to do. He struggles with the demon in the bottle (hint, hint, wink, wink)
    Zach- how noticable is the ADHD going to be? I’ve had friends who have ADHD. one would fly off the handle at thre most unexpected time. Another had certain ticks such as waving his hands or being wildly ethusiatic or dramatic when it wasn’t neccessary. Here are some links:
    http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/adhd-symptoms
    http://www.diseasesymptomstreatment.com/adhd.html/
    http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/ As for his background, maybe his grandmother with alzeimers has to take care of im because his parents never wanted to have kids to begin with, so when they found out about the adhd they pawned him off on a grandmother years ago and never looked back
    mason- He’s really naive and thinks his brother can do no wrong (a litle like the mokouba/kaiba dynamic on yugioh)
    Ok now jason and sara. Jason hates ronald because in a drunken rage ronald’s dad smacked sara while she was visiting ronald one day so he always worries ronald will do the same to her. She has a special connection with Zach. Sara has jason wrapped around her finger. (I think this last part could still be plausible even if she is shy) If Sara calls, Jason drops the rude demeanor and acts as a brother should.
    Ben- So he’s aIquaman?? I jest, I jest. Here’s a thought, and I not joking when I say this: Maybe he’s a loner because he’s gay and his family is devoutly christian? Liten and Travis look out for him.
    Doug- maybe he’s from Teazon and doesn’t know it??
    Liten- Sooooo many possibilities here. Maybe there’s only a few immortals on teazon? maybe he likes hanging out with travis and co because they offer him a different perspective on immortality. maybe he was raised to believe a teazonian is only as good as his legacy. maybe he’s pissed he has to deal with the humans?
    toxics- they hate the teazonians for what was done to them, especially liten.
    Scott- I really don’t think you need him. Save hi fo the next book.
    Stu- ok, here’s something. He incinerates whatever he touches only when he’s close to liten. maybe they ran experiments on him and the virus activated his power.
    For the bad guy’s name, how about kyrell?
    Instead of travis, how about trevor?
    If you feel like I am hijacking your story, by all means disregard all of this.
    I’d love to read when you’re ready!
    Best of luck!

  886. B. McKenzieon 04 Jul 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Yeah, seriously. Pretty much everybody I know (besides P. Mac) would be axed if they lost $1 million.

  887. B. McKenzieon 04 Jul 2013 at 8:02 pm

    “After all, the powers don’t make the hero, the hero makes use of the powers.” Superpowers (and capabilities in general) are a means to an end; the end is an interesting story. An interesting personality is probably the most important thing a character can bring to the picture.

  888. Bretton 04 Jul 2013 at 8:21 pm

    Hi again unknown,
    Feel free to email me @ bsl1290@aol.com

  889. Blue chargeron 04 Jul 2013 at 8:36 pm

    Yeh unknown I think proxie is right but who are the main characters

  890. Bretton 04 Jul 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Hi Blue Charger,
    All due respect to you, proxie, and b.mac, but I really think all unknown needed was some ideas to get the wheels turning. Just judging by the amount of characters listed I’d say this was an ensemble headlined by Travis and/or liten. Give’em a couple what if scenarios.

  891. Blackscaron 04 Jul 2013 at 9:03 pm

    @Brett

    First chapter has been sent! :)

  892. Blackscaron 04 Jul 2013 at 9:11 pm

    @Brett

    Done! :)

  893. Bretton 04 Jul 2013 at 9:27 pm

    Blackscar
    I got it, it’s awesome. no worries about the typos. my only issue with it is a couple nit picky word choice things.

  894. Blackscaron 04 Jul 2013 at 9:37 pm

    @Brett
    Thanks! :)

    Really? What would those be?

    Also, do the characters seem too extreme?

  895. Bretton 04 Jul 2013 at 10:25 pm

    I don’t know what you mean by extreme. Alice seems like a typical teenager. I’ve sent you an email. Great job!

  896. Proxie#0on 05 Jul 2013 at 3:05 am

    I was just hoping to have a Character quickly reviewed, hoping to avoid any cliches or annoying stereotypes.

    The Main Character is a woman in her mid 30′s

    Audrey is a Kind, Reliable, Intelligent and Trustworthy person. All those who know her would say that she is Loyal to a fault. To put it in context, if a train were coming after someone she cared about, and she was the only one there, she would willingly stand in their way to save them. However, Audrey is also very introverted an initially un-trusting of people (and more wary of men than women). She is a strong and independent mother figure (towards her brother and her students, and her best friend Marylyn) though she wears this mask partially to hide her chronic depression. This is mostly onset by past events with her father as well as being the main cause of her husband’s death.

    Her abilities are as follows:

    Empathy:

    -Audrey has the ability to sense emotions (not thoughts!) that other people are feeling, and can tell “who” those feelings are directed at.

    -The drawback to this is that it does not give much information, and that she can become overwhelmed when it is in use, as well as the fact that some people can tell when she is “reading” them.

    Psychometry:

    -Audrey can see the past 24 hours of a persons life by…er…consuming a portion of their living DNA/Bodily Fluid. THIS DOES NOT MEAN CANNIBALISM! She just has to acquire a relatively small sample. (i.e. Scratching someone and acquiring blood sample, kissing, going “all the way”) The trip she goes on is always seen from the person shes seeing through’s perspective, as if she were that person.

    -The drawback to this is that she cannot “fast forward” or “rewind” the memories, so she only has one chance to see them. Also, she goes into a trance-like state whenever she begins a psychometric trip, and cannot move her body herself. She has little control over when this happens, so it has also hindered her love life. Time passes fairly quickly in her trance, and she can awake in a little over 4 hours. She can also be overwhelmed by the person shes seeing through’s emotions. If she is awoken from her trance, she gets sick, severity depending on how close she was to completing her “viewing.”

  897. Blackscaron 05 Jul 2013 at 8:59 am

    @Brett

    Thank you!

    I’ve replied to said email accordingly. :)

  898. Bretton 05 Jul 2013 at 9:53 am

    proxie,
    I think you’ve created a very strong lead character. The fact that she is shy and that she is an empath makes for a nice combination I think.
    What exactly happened with her father? Did he abandon her?
    The only hitch I can see right now is the dna eating thing. I know you said it isn’t cannibalism, but I think you’ll have to be careful about how you handle because it has the possibility of coming off as weird. In terms of only being able to see the memories once, I think there’s some great drama in that idea. Maybe she misinterprets a memory and it winds up getting her in trouble? I’d love to read some chapter if you have them.
    Best of luck!

  899. Bretton 05 Jul 2013 at 9:55 am

    Blackscar,
    I’ve sent you an email containing the first two chapters.
    Thanks.

  900. Unknownon 05 Jul 2013 at 10:42 am

    Thanks for your opinion. I will use some your ideas, namely The main villain being called Kyrell. I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear that Toxic is an individual Redda, and is the only being, other than the other good Teazonians, who Trusts Liten completely. But Thanks for your opinion.
    Hate to be a burden, but can you take a look at these other characters and tell me what you think.

    Heroes-

    Nick- Nick can clone himself. He is quiet and tends to speak only when spoken too. He tends to hangout with is own clones most of the time. I guess this would classify him as a loner.

    Kelly- Kelly can control lightning, and is Scott’s longtime girlfriend. That’s all I have.

    Jessica- Jessica can create force fields. She has a crush on Nick, but is too embarrassed to admit it to anyone. Even herself. That’s all I have.

    Coleman and Jun – Coleman is an 18 year old American boy that travles with Jun. the duo meet Travis after the Teazonian Empire gain control over earth. Coleman’s power is to comprehend any language. even if he has never heard it before. He is best friends with Jun. Jun is a 10 year old Japanese boy who speaks no English whatsoever. Naturally, he and Coleman get along quite well because he is the only one who can understand him.

    I forgot to say this, but all Teazonians are immortal. They have mud-brown skin, and have 4 horns on the top of their head. Some other Teazonians are…

    Barlam- A Teazonian Scientist who helped to create the Virus that gave Travis and the others their powers. When the Teazonian Empire (The bad guys), took over the planet, he sided with Liten. He sees himself as an outcast with no friends, even though he is not.

    Treert/Phantom- Treert was the first being to have been experimented on with the Virus. His power is more of a curse. He was already immortal, but the Virus made him intangible, and he can not reverse it. He finds being stuck in his ghost form, hence the name Phantom, irritating. He is allied with Liten, and is Barlam’s best friend.

    Thoids- Thoids was placed in the Teazonian Empire by Liten as a spy. That’s all.

    Kyrell- The leader of the Teazonian Empire. He has the power to control machinery.

    Karnk- Kyrell’s ruthless 2nd in command. His parents sided with Liten, but he hunted them down and killed them for betraying the Teazonian Empire.

    Jex- A hot-headed Teazonian who Hates Kyrell, but Hates Liten even more. He lives to gain authority, and thinks he can lead the Empire better than anyone else.

    Liedge- A Teazonian who just follows Kyrell out of fear. He counts Jex as his friend, but knows Jex would kill him if he thought it would make Kyrell notice him. as a result, he is the kindest member in the Teazonian Empire, but still a ruthless and deadly fighter.

    I also have a few normal humans.

    Dylan- Dylan is Jason’s best friend, but likes to hang out with Ronald, Zach, and the others. he is the only one of Travis’s friends who doesn’t have a power, but is a computer genius, and constantly proves himself to Liten as an honorary member of his team.

    General Lowell Palmer- When the Teazonian Empire Wipes out all but 16 of Liten’s superheroes, The Empire attacks, and conquers, Earth. General Lowell Palmer survives and forms a small resistance that eventually hooks up with Liten and his team. He doesn’t trust Liten, or the other aliens, but wants his planet free…No matter what.

    Captain Noah Howell- Noah was stationed in the mid-Atlantic when the Teazonians took earth. He is eventualy recruited by Travis to joine Liten’s Resistance. He doesn’t trust The aliens, or the Superheros, but, like his friend Lowell, wants to free earth.

    Brandon- Brandon is a tank. he is best friends with Jake, and trusts Liten and his heroes.

    Jake- Jake is either Drunk, hung over, or both at the same time. So, naturally, he doesn’t make the best decisions, and relies on Brandon to make most of his decisions for him. When he gathers with Travis and Liten, Jason jokes that he may be Ron’s father.(Sorry I wasn’t clear on this, Ron’s dad abandoned him after birth, and it is the only topic that can ever anger Ronald) Jake’s personality is described as a stereotypical redneck.

    If anybody has an opinion for one of the characters, please tell me.

  901. Blackscaron 05 Jul 2013 at 12:06 pm

    @Brett

    I’ve received the chapters, and I sent you an email telling you my opinion. :)

  902. Bretton 05 Jul 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Hi Blackstar,
    I got you’re email. (I was kinda relieved when I saw smiley face up there, lol) I sent you one back. Could I read your next chapter?

  903. Proxie#0on 05 Jul 2013 at 1:19 pm

    @Brett

    First of all, I would like to thank you.

    “What exactly happened with her father? Did he abandon her?”
    Egh…
    Long story short. He beat his wife, who ended up leaving him with his kids. (He beat her because he has very bad abandonment issues, and she cheated on him. He only found out because their son was not his.) As his kids grew up, and began showing signs of maturity and planning to strike out on their own, he began…ahem…beating them until they decided to stay.

    His issues even, by the time Audrey was about 18 or 19, developed to the point where he tried to recreate the “loving, happy relationship” he thought he’d had with his ex-wife. He started calling her by her mothers name, and even tried to have an in-home marriage.

    Throughout the very abusive relationship with both his son and daughter, Audrey satiated his…ahem…hunger to keep her brother safe. One day, when they both grew too angry and tired at it all, they hatched a plan to kill him. Audrey would “seduce” him, and then Micheal would kill him.

    It backfired, and, in short, Micheal had a sever concussion (thrown through a window) Audrey was beaten over the head with a lamp (resulting, after awaking from a six month coma, in her abilities) and Jason nearly died in an ensuing house fire. The two “kids” went to trial against their father, and only managed to get him an insanity plea (still working on that one…) He reformed very quickly, or seemed to. And by the time of the start of my book, he is let out, “a shining example of what asylum(s) can do.”

    The only hitch I can see right now is the dna eating thing…coming off as weird.”

    I’m glad it came off as weird. It is supposed to be a little strange, and difficult to use under normal circumstances. In the first chapter (unwritten, I plan out the entire book before writing…and this one has a lot of betrayals/conspiracy, so it’s actually necessary) I intend on showing her speaking to a person claiming her brother had assaulted and attempted to kidnap her. She was going to feign falling down and trying to grab onto the alleged kidnapees arm and scratch it, “accidentally” drawing blood. The rest of the chapter would be a psychometric trip.

    “In terms of only being able to… Maybe she misinterprets a memory and it winds up getting her in trouble?”

    That is exactly what I’m doing. I have her entire motive throughout the story being trying to prove her brothers innocence (along with another, very dark story. Her brothers is really a stepping stone to the bigger picture) I was going to show some doubt throughout the story, but by the time tat act comes to a close, she finds that her brother not only did what he was accused of, but much, much more. And basically, everything she did was a waste. (Not in the sense that it was a waste of time for the audience. This revelation actually pushes the story further forward. That…and I have a few other “readings gone wring” in here too