Oct 03 2008

How to do super-acronyms like SHIELD or FLAG

B. Mac offers these suggestions for when your supergroup uses an acronym as its name.

  1. Try to keep the group’s acronym short.  Anything longer than 8 letters is probably too long.
  2. When you’re filling in what the acronym stands for, don’t feel pressured to use all the letters.  Using all the letters may force you to try to cram in a cheesy-sounding word to get around a tricky letter.  For example, if your group of psychic superheroes called itself FAZE, the acronym might stand for the “Federation of American Empaths,” even though it didn’t use the Z.
  3. In a novel, when you spell out an acronym like SHIELD or the CIA or whatever, I recommend not putting periods between each letter.  It would look more awkward if you wrote it out like S.H.I.E.L.D.  Also, using periods may force you to use ugly commas.  “I love S.H.I.E.L.D., but Nick Fury scares me.”  Eww.
  4. The best group-names suggest something about the group and what it stands for.  No one would confuse SHIELD with HATE, for example.
  5. When you’re coming up with a word to use as the acronym, nouns typically work better than adjectives.  In the context of your story, the acronym is a noun, so it might look weird if you had to write a sentence like this:  When the supervillains escaped, the President knew he had to call SURLY.

87 responses so far

87 Responses to “How to do super-acronyms like SHIELD or FLAG”

  1. Tyon 18 Oct 2008 at 2:51 am

    Good post. When I started writing my stuff, I wanted a company to ‘keep tabs’ on the super heroes, a company that would monitor their behaviour = a Super Hero Monitoring Company which I just quickly wrote down at first and started to abbreviate it to SHMC (I used the old fashion paper and pen alot, so my hand gets cramped) and I was going to change it to something more useful, but I think SHMC is alright (it’s pronounced SHM-ick)

  2. B. Macon 18 Oct 2008 at 11:10 am

    If any superheroes get annoyed by this monitoring company, they might start pronouncing it “schmuck.” Heh.

  3. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 23 Oct 2008 at 1:01 am

    What are a few good words for a group that calls themselves NINE? I can’t think of anything.

    In the book which I’m planning, they’re the world’s first superhero group. They were led to each other through a series of clues, left by an anonymous person who wants to help them out. It might sound a bit like “X-Men”, but I’m making every effort to avoid ripping anything off. They never see their benefactor, just the guy who owns the base (a run-down warehouse). They don’t have high tech stuff, apart from what my as-yet unnamed strong-but-silent inventor creates.

    Other than shelter, some money and food, they largely have to care for themselves and the younger members. They have to be as silent as possible in order to avoid arousing suspicion and teach each other skills so that they can return to their respective homes and serve the public from there. Some of the members hate each other, to the point where they get into fistfights. Most of them still have living families, and don’t have unfortunate backgrounds.

    What do you think? Thanks!

    Oh yeah, and I asked a question on “Problems with Superhero Design”. Those were brief descriptions of some of my characters, but only those who don’t have costumes yet. I need some help with that.

  4. B. Macon 23 Oct 2008 at 2:50 am

    Actually, I didn’t get much of an X-Men vibe from your mysterious benefactor. It has a bit of a Charlie’s Angels vibe, perhaps because they never see him. I don’t think that will be much of a problem, though.

    Before suggesting a name, I have a few questions about the NINE group.

    • What’s the group designed to do?
    • It sounds like his operatives are mostly very young (the oldest are in high school and one’s 12, right?). Is there an in-story reason he doesn’t turn to older candidates?
    • Why’s it important that the group stay quiet?

    I find it refreshing that your heroes don’t have traumatic backgrounds (dead parents and/or familial exile). That said, in lieu of something really depressing like “Your son fires deathrays out of his eyes and should come to my institute for mutants because no one else will come within 50 feet of him,” you may wish to develop an alternate reason for your characters to start living what may be secret and dangerous lives. If there’s enough intergroup tension and angst that they get in fistfights amongst themselves, readers may start to wonder why the members stick around (particularly if they have a normal, contented life to return to).

  5. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 23 Oct 2008 at 5:40 am

    The group was put together so that they could learn from each other. That way, when they returned to their hometowns, they would have more knowledge about how to hold up a convincing alternate identity. Plus the best self-defense and offence, and a range of other things that they could only get from speaking to other heroes.

    It’s unknown in the storyline if there are even any special adults, as the only heroes their benefactor has uncovered are the nine in the group. Only one of them was actually a hero in the public eye (Isaac), but the others had enough potential to be led to New York City for training. Even if they choose not to do the hero gig, they would know how to hide their abilities better.

    If they were heard arguing by someone passing by, they might wonder why there’s screaming going on in a run-down warehouse. In turn, that could jeopardize their safety and blow their cover.

    A couple of them stick around because they feel a duty to, like Owlie has to Rebirth when he gets depressed from seeing ghosts.The oldest girl feels that she has to stay and watch over them, because she’s the voice of reason and is often the only one able to stop them from killing each other. Isaac and the inventor guy are the two who most often want to smash the other to pieces. Some of them are simply too far from home, two are Aussies, one’s Canadian, Rebirth is from Europe and the others are from places around the States. Curiosity is another factor.

    A few of them are on Missing Persons, but are planning to return to their families a couple of weeks apart from the others. That way, no links can be made. Three of them are on “exchange” to a “school”, which has all been set up by the benefactor. An address and photos of the building are available, but it’s all PhotoShop trickery. One is an alleged runaway, but he keeps in contact with letters sent from a different post office every time, so that NY police couldn’t trace them back. He gives a non existent address.

    Would there be any problems with this? Are my grammar and punctuation okay? I just want to know if I need to improve, because I want to be as good an author as possible. Thanks!

  6. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 24 Oct 2008 at 5:10 pm

    “The President knew he had to call SURLY”. Haha, doesn’t sound like a very helpful group. Well, it’s better than LOSER or HOPELESS.

  7. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 25 Oct 2008 at 5:47 pm

    Oops, I meant: “…he keeps in contact with letters sent from a DIFFERENT post office every time, so that NY police couldn’t trace them back. He gives a non existent address”.

    [EDITOR: I’ve edited the original comment accordingly.]

  8. B. Macon 25 Oct 2008 at 11:15 pm

    My main problem would be that introducing nine completely new heroes to the readers would be a herculean feat. I’d recommend cutting down to 4-5. That will give you more time with each hero, will probably improve the fight scenes and will definitely make it easier to differentiate each character.

    It may also help to give the group a more ambitious purpose. Right now, it seems like the organization’s main purpose is to teach students how to be superheroes when they return home. The group’s description seems to suggest that the members won’t be together very long: “that way, when they returned to their hometowns, they would have more knowledge about how to hold up a convincing alternate identity.”

    One way that you could make the group more ambitious is to give the group an urgent reason for being. For example, perhaps a supervillain has started a similar academy and he has already been training his more vicious recruits for several months. Alternately, if you’d really like to concentrate on the superacademy aspect without focusing on a villain, you could take the story in the direction of Harry Potter/Sky High. You could vaguely say that there will be villains for them to fight when they graduate, and then focus on the academic and social elements of their education as superheroes.

    I wonder what sort of training students would receive at a super-academy. In Superhero Nation, Agent Black is transferred from the IRS to the (super) Office of Special Investigations without any of the usual training. I should probably think more about what he’s missing.

  9. B. Macon 25 Oct 2008 at 11:16 pm

    Also, your grammar and punctuation were solid.

  10. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 26 Oct 2008 at 3:06 am

    There are actually seven new heroes, because Isaac and another character will have been introduced by the time of this story. I originally had a heap more, and I cut them due to some playing the same role or just being very two dimensional. For example, Rebirth was meant to have a sister, but I cut her because it didn’t matter whether they were related and she seemed too annoying. I do a test paragraph for every character to see if they’d fit in with what I already have, and she didn’t.

    Hey, that’s a great idea! That would also give another reason for them to stick together. If they didn’t, too many other people would be put at risk.

    I was thinking that they could find papers left for them every morning with instructions on their lessons. For example, something like for Trainer to show the others how to communicate with an animal through facial expressions. Seeing as the others don’t share her power, they can’t tune into animal emotions or pain, and have to read their faces to get an idea of what they’re thinking.

    Of course, to make the story more interesting, there are going to be a few twists. I can’t reveal them here though. I’m pretty sure that even though one of them is highly, highly, HIGHLY cliche, they have enough support from the rest of the story to sit comfortably.

  11. B. Macon 26 Oct 2008 at 5:12 am

    Hmm, OK. If you’ve introduced 2 characters, then only 7 would be new. However, you’d still have 9 characters bouncing around (in addition to your mysterious benefactor?) That may make it difficult to manage highly-choreographed scenes like combat and tense dialogue. My guess is that, if you’d like to use tense and complicated relationships between the kids, it’d probably be helpful to pare the cast. (And I vaguely remember that you said something about the kids breaking into a fist-fight, which would probably require a lot of setup).

    As for the papers, that’s a fresh take on the typical classroom-and-Danger-Room instruction that X-Men and X-Men knockoffs get. I suspect that the scenes would be more interesting if the characters interacted with an instructor or each other more than a piece of paper, but I’ve read some scenes with a single person reading a letter that were executed extremely well.

  12. Bretton 26 Oct 2008 at 7:45 am

    Could having that many characters work? It worked for Justice League, not to mention JLU. I think the key is that they didn’t thow all seven Leaguers in at once and had only 2-4 per episode. So as long as you don’t overload the reader with people, having a group that large could work. How many X-man are there again? And don’t get me started on how many Avengers (or ex-Avengers) there are. Couldn’t you keep the characters but only use a few of them at a time?

    Ex: “She’s off on a training exercise,” or “He had to go do something,” or “They’re just plain not here right now.

    Your thoughts? My story’s set in the middle of a school for the most part, so if having more than 4 main characters kills a story, I’m screwed.

  13. B. Macon 26 Oct 2008 at 10:49 am

    I think Justice League worked because 5 out of the main 7 characters were already quite well-known to the audience, and the remaining two (Hawkgirl and the Manhunter) were both minor characters and easy to understand. Justice League Unlimited introduced a few mostly unknown characters that had one trait each. For example, Green Arrow is the regular guy, Huntress is vengeful, Question is paranoid, Vixen is hot (no, really… I don’t think they gave her anything else).

    I think that the best TV comparison for you is Teen Titans. It had five mostly unknown characters and that worked out pretty well. However, in terms of character depth, it didn’t do much better than the ludicrously one-dimensional protagonists of TMNT. Raven is moody-and-emo, Beast Boy is the whimsical comic, Starfire is the starstruck stranger, Robin is the Leonardo (uptight leader) and Cyborg starts out as a half-hearted Raphael and then kind of disappears.

    However, I’d caution you that novel-readers tend to expect deeper characters than the one-trait caricatures that prevail on most shows that last half an hour. As a gauge of character depth, I’d recommend giving each of a novel’s core characters at least three traits with dramatic potential (the ability to create or significantly contribute to an interesting scene). Even if you cut it down to a dangerously slim 2 traits per character, I think you’d be really hard-pressed to get the book to come in at under 750 pages. That would give you only 80 pages per main hero, not counting the villains, right? I’m not optimistic.

    As far as books go, the first Harry Potter book introduced a vast number of characters (Harry, Hermione, Ron, Neville, Hagrid, Dudley and the Dursleys, Dumbledore, McGonagall, Draco and Crabbe/Goyle, Snape, Voldemort, and a slew of Hogwarts extras). Even though there were so many characters, they were all remarkably memorable; the average reader could surely list two or three things they remembered about each character.

    I understand your concern about the necessity of having many students in the school. It wouldn’t feel like a real school if there were only three students. Towards that end, I’d recommend adding extras that for a variety of reasons won’t ever come up when it matters. For example, JK Rowling had Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws, who despite being (allegedly) intelligent enough to get into Hogwarts were consistently oblivious to the world-shaking events unfolding in the next dorm over.

    In your school, the extras might be kids that just aren’t powerful enough to matter, or kids that are too young to be very relevant now (although you could work with them in sequels). Similarly, if you were writing a book about the life and times of several high school seniors, you’d probably have a few incidental underclassmen in the book. Maybe a particularly bright freshman got into someone’s Calc class. But the freshman probably wouldn’t be present at big events like senior prom. Despite going to the same school, the seniors just wouldn’t interact very much with freshmen. Likewise, I’d recommend sidelining at least four of your main nine. That would give you a core cast of 5 heroes, the benefactor (and/or a teacher?) and a villain. Seven characters will cut it pretty fine.

    What do you think? Are you familiar with any books that have used that many heroes successfully?

  14. Bretton 26 Oct 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Well, LOTR did have the fellowship, and there were nine of them. Redwall had several main characters. Beyond that, nothing springs to mind.

  15. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 28 Oct 2008 at 3:37 am

    Maximum Ride has six human-avian hybrids, plus a human-lupine hybrid, his father, a vet and her daughter, a talking dog, a clone, a schoolboy, a schoolgirl, an FBI agent, a tortoise-human, a man who was a bunch of organs in a bunch of boxes, a crazy German geneticist, a school principal and a superboy. Eleven of these were introduced in the first book, and five were added in the second (one was just mentioned but introduced in the third), three in the third and one in the fourth, plus a bunch of less important characters. Some of these characters are villains, but nine or ten of them are heroes.

  16. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 28 Oct 2008 at 3:47 am

    I can’t afford to cut anyone else out, but I think I’m up to the task of characterizing each one well. Though the books I’ve read that have pulled it off are written by more experienced authors, I may be able to follow along a basic characterization template. It involves saying where the character is from/grew up, their age, name and mentioning some of their thoughts. It’ll be a challenge, but what’s life without them? I won’t give all the details at once, like “Johnny is nine, he grew up in California. He thinks girls are icky”. They’ll be spread through the book.

  17. B. Macon 28 Oct 2008 at 6:47 am

    I’m not familiar with Maximum Ride, but I’ll look into it. How many of those characters are important enough to get mentioned on the back blurb (if there is one)? Another gauge for determining who the main characters (and how many there are) is how many chapters they appear in. A main character should appear in at least half the chapters.

    I’ve been thinking about main characters. Maybe this rule of thumb will help. I’d recommend that you limit yourself to up to [the largest number of main characters in any comparable novel + 1]. That will give you room to push yourself and try something ambitious (very ambitious!). I think that the limit will also help you take on a project that is feasible. What do you think?

  18. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 29 Oct 2008 at 12:34 am

    At least nine of the Maximum Ride characters are very important: Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gazzy, Angel, Total, Ari and Jeb. The first six are the heroes, Total is the talking dog, Ari is a lupine-human hybrid and Jeb is Ari’s dad. Dr. Martinez (the vet) and her daughter Ella are also very major.

    Sounds like a good challenge!

  19. B. Macon 29 Oct 2008 at 4:19 am

    OK. If you think you can do it for your audience, go for it. Have you thought much about your target audience so far?

    My impression is that Maximum Ride is best-suited for a younger audience. One reviewer recommended it for grades 5-8, which is pretty consistent for a book about a 14-year-old protagonist (typically the protagonist is a few years older than the readers). Now that I think about it, the Animorphs series had a similar age-range and seven main characters (Jake, Marco, Cassie, Rachel, Tobias, Ax and a recurring villain). I think they are serviceable for engaging a middle-school audience, although they are probably too thin to interest older readers.

    However, if you’re comfortable writing for middle schoolers, that shouldn’t matter at all. However, if you’re looking to write for considerably older readers (say, anyone older than 15), it may prove problematic.

  20. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 30 Oct 2008 at 12:36 am

    I’m writing mostly for teens. I doubt many people over sixteen would be interested in my book. However, I’m pretty sure of what middle schoolers want in a novel. Not because I was once one of them, but because I am one of them. My tastes are for thrillers, action and a little bit of romance. Oh, and twists aplenty!

    I’d say that in Aussie terms, Maximum Ride caters for anyone up to year eleven (age sixteen). Again, that’s from my own experience. I’m eagerly awaiting the release of the manga, fifth book and the movie. There were earlier books for adults, “When The Wind Blows” and “The Lake House”, with a similar plot but with huge differences. Max is the only consistent character between the two, and in WTWB and TLH, she’s twelve.

  21. Bretton 30 Oct 2008 at 3:22 am

    Whoa! You’re in middle school? I couldn’t tell. I thought you were older than I am! Obviously you are a very intelligent middle-schooler, much as I was. I’m not brave enough to publish any of my middle school writings though. I salute you! Good luck!

  22. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 30 Oct 2008 at 4:08 pm

    Hehe, thanks. I think it may be because I don’t use a lot of netspeak, even in text messages.

    Hey, if you just have a look at what you wrote in middle school, you can use them to learn for what you’re currently writing. Then, using what you learned from the comparison, you can edit the first work to make it better. I’m sure what you wrote in middle school were brilliant pieces of work. I can’t say the same for the story I wrote when I was ten. It had heaps of Mary Sues, it was historically inaccurate, I frequently forgot punctuation, except for commas. Oh, how I abused the comma!

  23. B. Macon 30 Oct 2008 at 4:39 pm

    Ah, commas. In junior high, I vaguely remember that I wrote pseudo-wangsty garbage. The less I say about it, the better. However, I also wrote a recurring horror/romantic advice column, the Lovecraft Love Line, for my junior high school’s newsletter. Those articles aged pretty well.

  24. Ragged Boyon 30 Oct 2008 at 4:45 pm

    Wow, you’re a middle schooler and you probably speak better than I do, haha. I was definitely more interested in my drawing in middle-school, although I started many stories, I only got to page 20 and then I hated the book. I think I can finish one now though, if I can keep my own interest in it. My stories were all fight scenes and no story, so I later hated it when I had to start thinking. I’ve learned to hone my creativity into things that make sense, plus I’m much better at writing than I used to be. I got a 5.5 out of 6 on the FCAT writing. Oh, you guys probably don’t live in Florida. That’s the Florida Comprehension and Assessment Test.

    I just noticed that the three of us Brett, you, and I are the most repetitive posters.

  25. B. Macon 30 Oct 2008 at 4:46 pm

    I have a few ideas about getting published as a middle-schooler. I absolutely wouldn’t mention it in any of your query material, for one. However, if a publisher gives you a contract, then you can tell them (I imagine they’ll want to use it in their promotional materials, a la Eragon). The reason you shouldn’t tell them before you get published is because I think a publisher will be more leery about a young author. Good luck! I wish I had done anything useful with myself from the ages of 8-16.

  26. Ragged Boyon 30 Oct 2008 at 4:56 pm

    I think the order is B.Mac, Brett, RW, and then me.

  27. B. Macon 30 Oct 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Yes, I win!

    God, I need to get a hobby or something.

  28. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 30 Oct 2008 at 6:41 pm

    A hobby? Hmm, how about arcades? It’s not really a hobby, but I could waste many a dollar on the pinball machines! Or a collection. I collect books. Not philosophical types, just factual works, autobiographies, biographies, encyclopedias, etc.

  29. B. Macon 30 Oct 2008 at 10:26 pm

    Hmm, an arcade wouldn’t be so bad. Anything to get away from the computer.

  30. Ragged Boyon 31 Oct 2008 at 10:41 am

    Red lightsabers for a Jedi, odd, looks like the darkness is already reaching you. *Charges and thrusts lightsaber at head*

  31. Bretton 31 Oct 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Red just so happens to be my favorite color. Many Jedi used such sabers during the Sith wars. *Parries with first saber and slashes with second*

  32. Ragged Boyon 31 Oct 2008 at 2:55 pm

    *illusion disperses, is really across the room from you* Hmmph your tactics are amatuer, the Darkside has tought me the advanced dark force arts. You Jedi can’t even disearn an illusion *uses force to rapidly spin double lightsaber at pushes towards you*

    Oh, check this, it’s a second draft of Aadrello/Sketch, of course Aadrello is going to be a little less muscular and younger looking. In case you wonder those are gills on his face, I’ll color it soon.


  33. Bretton 31 Oct 2008 at 3:43 pm

    You are truly a being of pure darkness. It is your strength…and your weakness. Darkness flourishes in the void, but always gives way to purifying light. *Disarms lightsabers and makes ancient Jedi handsign. Begins glowing as the room fills with a blinding force lightwave.* Your dark powers will not avail you here! This is light, where you are powerless! You shall not pass! Er…I mean…You shall not win!

  34. Ragged Boyon 31 Oct 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Ah the liiiiight! Ha ha ha ha, it’s pointless, everyone knows the more light there is the bigger the shadow becomes *shadow grows to immense size*, in all light there is darkness it is inevitable, you can not win, I was told not to use this but it is time for The Force Unleashed (I’m sorry I had to haha) *immense shadow forms into a dark force ball* Black Force!! HAHAHA *disarms lightsabers and fires blast*

    Did you look at my drawing what do you think.

  35. Ragged Boyon 31 Oct 2008 at 4:02 pm

    Oops forget *disarms lightsaber* I forgot it’s not in my hand but still *fires blast*

  36. Bretton 31 Oct 2008 at 7:09 pm

    *Fires opposing blast of light energy as the two beings seem destined to be locked in an epic struggle of balance and yin-yang throughout eternity, eventually becoming as ageless as time itself, and thus achieving immortality as they forever fight their infinite battle.*

    Oh, and yeah I saw your drawing. Nice work! I love the eyes and gills especially. btw, does the pencil become his staff?

  37. Ragged Boyon 31 Oct 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Ok, poetic ending, haha. No, but he needs a pencil to draw. It also thought it would give insight into his artistic side. Don’t you draw? have you drawn Alex? I would like to see your style.

  38. Ragged Boyon 31 Oct 2008 at 8:38 pm

    Yo, Brett here’s the same picture with color.


  39. Bretton 01 Nov 2008 at 5:15 pm

    Ragged Boy, I love the colored picture. Great skills! I haven’t drawn Alex for a while, and the character has evolved, but I’ll send you what I have. Just note that they’re a bit outdated and not my best work.




    They’re a bit big so you might need to save them and use that picture viewer thing on your computer.

  40. Bretton 01 Nov 2008 at 5:17 pm

    Ragged Boy, I love the colored picture. Great skills! I haven’t drawn Alex for a while, and the character has evolved, but I’ll send you what I have. Just note that they’re a bit outdated and not my best work. Check them out by clicking my name. (I think that’s how it works when you type in “website”.) The site is temporary though. Im looking at getting a DeviantArt Page.

  41. B. Macon 01 Nov 2008 at 5:34 pm

    I recommend a DeviantArt page. You can see ours here. I’ve collected a few pieces of commissioned SN art as well as about 600 visual references.

  42. Ragged Boyon 01 Nov 2008 at 5:38 pm

    It’s good work, but you used to has the same problem as I did. The characters were flat, adding an angle is a good way of bringing a picture into the third dimension. But I’m sure your alot better than that now. I don’t understand how to use DeviantArt.

  43. B. Macon 01 Nov 2008 at 5:44 pm

    Hmm, here’s an abbreviated guide.

    1: Go here to sign up for an account.

    2: Once you’re logged in, on the right-hand side of your homepage, you can see a button that says “Submit Deviation.” Click that to upload your work.

  44. Ragged Boyon 01 Nov 2008 at 5:57 pm

    I wish there was a less confusing site. I’m not a frickin super genius like you guys (wow I sound really dumb). Ok, I made one how do I make it so people can see my stuff.

  45. B. Macon 01 Nov 2008 at 6:03 pm

    Click on your name in the upper-left hand corner of the screen. Then click on “Submit Deviation” on the right-hand side.

  46. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 01 Nov 2008 at 10:25 pm

    I have a deviantart account, but no art on it. Haha. It takes forever to upload drawings on my crummy computer. I just show it to my friends. Is there an alternative site?

  47. B. Macon 01 Nov 2008 at 11:17 pm

    SheezyArt, maybe? I’m definitely not a fan of SA, though. Its collection of art is much smaller and the art tends to be both creepy and crappy. It also lacks DeviantArt’s nifty collection features.

  48. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 02 Nov 2008 at 12:44 am

    Yep, that’s my dA account, Brett. I can draw better now, but I’m still bad at it. Haha.

  49. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 11 Nov 2008 at 1:16 am

    Okay, NINE is now FIGHT, and I cut out two of the characters. I could cut out one more, but I’m changing him so that he is more useful and less generic.

    Mist is now called Form, and he is a boy who can manipulate his appearance at the expense of his personality, which changes more radically every time, and it takes longer for him to revert back to his true one. It is unknown which of his appearances is his natural one, but he seems to like being green eyed with brown hair and dark skin. He can also create visual duplicates of himself, but they can be walked through or destroyed if he doesn’t pay attention to what’s going on. He is fifteen.

  50. Bretton 11 Nov 2008 at 4:43 am

    Can Sub Zero from Mortal Combat make a guest appearance?


    just kidding : )

  51. Ragged Boyon 11 Nov 2008 at 5:48 am

    Sub Zero is so overrated. OOH, ice powers.

    It’s all about Rain. Water powers rule.

  52. Bretton 11 Nov 2008 at 6:09 am

    Ice = Water

    Sub-zero was just my favorite character, but then again I don’t know much about mortal combat. He just looks cool.

  53. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 11 Nov 2008 at 6:22 pm

    I want to play Mortal Combat. Isn’t that the one where it goes: “FINISH HIM!” and you get to rip your opponent in half?

  54. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 11 Nov 2008 at 6:26 pm

    Oh, R.B have you ever seen Dead Fantasy? If you haven’t, I’d recommend watching it.


    I use it for inspiration when I’m writing a superpowered fight scene. I love it when Tifa casts Slow on the Dead or Alive girls so they are suspended in the air, allowing Yuna to dish out some serious pain. And when Rinoa comes in with her wings! Oh, fanimation at its best!

  55. Ragged Boyon 20 Dec 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Oh yeah, I saw Dead Fantasy a long time ago. It’s really good, if not really long. I personally liked Riku, her combat style had alot of , well, style. I love it because it’s so off the wall.

    Mortal Kombat is well known for its outrageously gory fatalities. Once you beat your opponent, they get up. The announcer yells “Finish Him!”. You put in a short code and watch the gore go down. Each character has their own fatalities. Everything from snapping off limbs to hacking people up to eating people to spewing acid to blowing the up to kisses of death to disembowelment to burning them alive with fiery farts.

    Good Ole, Mortal Kombat.

  56. Talyaon 23 Apr 2010 at 1:46 am

    Thus the name DoL sound alright for a group, Defenders of the Light! Sounds a bit corny.

    It consists of group of teens with special powers who want to do something with their powers!

  57. B. Macon 23 Apr 2010 at 3:23 am

    “It consists of group of teens with special powers who want to do something with their powers!” To be honest, I think that sounds a bit cornier than the name. 😉

  58. Talyaon 24 Apr 2010 at 12:32 am

    Well it started off as a way for one to find the killers of his father, but then evloves into something like a normal heroe thing.

    Its not that they go against really big baddies on purpose, its just that it happens

  59. Talyaon 24 Apr 2010 at 12:39 am

    So how do you suggest I fix it!

  60. B. Macon 24 Apr 2010 at 1:25 am

    Hmm. I think the idea of the group starting out as a way to hunt for revenge is interesting. I think it loses steam at the point it evolves into something like a regular superhero team, because it sounds like most other superhero stories on the market right now. How are you going to stand out? I would recommend spending more time thinking about why the group forms up. Maybe give it an overarching goal, like Professor X’s team being set up to deal with problems that might cause tensions between humans and mutants.

    Ideally, you could tie their characterization into the goal. For example, Professor X is a lot more optimistic than Magneto about the ability of humans and mutants to get along. So it makes sense his team of mutants would try to reduce tensions and Magneto’s team would try to screw humans.

    If the idea of a revenge plot strikes you as too simple, you might be able to combine revenge with something else. For example, in The Losers, the characters are not only pursuing revenge against the spy that made them into outlaws, but they’re also looking for enough evidence against him that they can blackmail the CIA into making that whole outlaw thing go away.

  61. Talyaon 03 May 2010 at 11:11 pm

    I see, so basically, instead of just making them just another Superhero team, make them into one that has some higher goal!

    What if I make them start out with a specific person has the target, and learn that there is a larger picture hidden behind it, and soon they goal goes from revenge to unravelling that mystery and possible stopping it!.

    I been thinking of creating tension between the creator of the team and team leader on the specific objectives of the team!

  62. B. Macon 04 May 2010 at 8:15 am

    I like the idea of revenge giving way to unraveling a larger mystery. That sounds interesting.

  63. meg365on 02 Aug 2010 at 4:56 pm

    I am writing a book about a group of superheroes, three girls. I know what the story line is going to be and I got individual names, but I need help with coming up with a good group name. Can you help?

  64. Ragged Boyon 02 Aug 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Hello, Meg365

    Well,what type of impression are you trying to leave by the team name. Are they a group like Totally Spies or the Charmed Sisters? The mood of your story should play a role in their name as well. Can yu give me more information on the team members and their job/task/journey?

  65. B. Macon 02 Aug 2010 at 10:12 pm

    “I know what the story line is going to be and I got individual names, but I need help with coming up with a good group name.”

    What’s the plot like? How does the group come together? Any distinguishing traits for the group? (IE: three high school students banding together to fight crime will have a very different feel than a spy agency putting together a three-woman hit squad).

    What’s the genre of the story? Straight-up action? Wacky comedy? Action/horror? Etc.

  66. meg365on 03 Aug 2010 at 7:28 am

    The three girls are obviously superheroes. The genre is non stop action. One girl’s father was in the military and died in battle, or so they thought. He really isn’t dead, but he never contacted his family. This girl has the power to create red electric energy. When she was six years old she was kidnapped and shocked to death, but instead of dying she absorbed it. The second girl has the power to create black fire. She was in a lab with her uncle and some chemicals exploded. Later she was in and out of jail and became a fugitive. The third girl has the power to create and manipulate water. I haven’t exactly come up with a story line for her yet.

  67. meg365on 03 Aug 2010 at 2:27 pm

    The girl with red electric energy, Zoey, and the girl with water, Hazel, meet on a cruise ship. Became best friends, of course. Hazel ended up moving to where Zoey lived. They didn’t tell each other about their powers. Zoey went into the military even though she’s only 15. And I think you can guess why. She had to catch Jasmine, the girl with the black fire, and put her back in jail. Zoey ended up saving Jasmine’s life and turning her good. Later on the girls were supposed to get vaccines, and one of the doctors accidentally mixed up the chemicals and gave them animal DNA instead. The DNA mixed with their powers, which made them turn into animals. Zoey, wolf. Hazel, dolphin. Jasmine, tiger.

  68. meg365on 04 Aug 2010 at 12:08 pm

    So any ideas for a name? Or does this whole thing sound stupid?

  69. Ragged Boyon 04 Aug 2010 at 12:30 pm

    It doesn’t sound stupid. I’m still having a bit of trouble trying to pin the feel of the team. When they show up what kind of impression to they make. Do people say ” Dammit, it’s those destructive girls again” or “Oh, look at those angels coming to save us.” I have a feel for the characters (sorta) but I still don’t have a feel for their team. Who do they work for? What do they do? How do they do it? Who or what do they fight? What are they doing it for?

    Some aspects of your origin story kinda confuse me. For example, How is Zoey allowed to go into the military being only 15? Is it because she has powers? Does the military know she has powers?

    Also, The fact that they get biological enhancement seems thrown in. Is this going to become of importance later on? For example, in Showtime (my comic) Adrian has to drink a mutagen blocker, but he figures he’d be better off if he doesn’t so he throws it away. Later on he starts to mutate at a critical part of the story forcing him to switch up his style.

    On a similar note, how often are they going to be working around water for Hazel’s dolphin form. Zoey and Jasmine’s transformation seem workable because they can be used in combat and for travel, but Hazel’s doesn’t really fit in. I’d recommend giving her a form that’s more useful. If there are too many situations in which she can go dolphin the plot may seem contrived.

  70. B. Macon 04 Aug 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Yeah. On an issue aside from the names, I’m sort of wondering about the animorph aspect coming separately from their superpowers. Why not just have them get the animal stuff at the same time they get their other powers? (Also, like RB said, a dolphin may be limited in usefulness. It might be easier to work something like a crocodile or a sea-faring eagle or hawk into the plot).

    I don’t feel like I have a very good feel for the mood of the series, but here are some points I took away about the team and story.

    –The story is dark. A six year-old is kidnapped and nearly shocked to death, and I think child soldiers generally give a story a dystopian feel.

    –Deception, secretiveness and intrigue sound like major plot points. The father doesn’t tell the family he’s still alive, one of the members is (formerly?) a fugitive, Hazel/Zoey don’t tell each other about their origins, etc).

    –The team sounds to me more like sci-fi supersoldiers than superheroes.

    Some possible titles that come to mind:
    –Tiger Force (it’s a now-defunct U.S. special forces unit, and I think the animal-based name is fitting).
    –the Stalkers (nonhuman connotation, secretive)
    –the Nocturnals (wolves and tigers are frequently nocturnal and wolves, in particular, are associated with the night).
    –Black Three
    –the Predators or something like Task Force Predator (tigers/dolphins/wolves are predators)
    –the Raiders
    –Mud Bravo (warriors in the thick of things?).

  71. meg365on 04 Aug 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Thanks for the tips. I admit, I read it over again and it does sound confusing. Especially since I’m not telling you all the details. Sorry for the confusion. It’s kinda hard to explain without spilling out 5 or 6 paragraphs. I added dolphin because, well, for one it went with water. And two, I wanted all of them to be different. Like, I’ll give you an example. On their first “mission”, someone started a fire in an apartment building. The fire was so big that the fire fighters couldn’t stop it or get into it. So the three show up to help. Hazel helped put out the fire, while Jasmine went in to look for people who were in there. When Jasmine brought people who had died, and the fire was put out, Zoey shocked them to make their heart start beating again.

  72. Cassandraon 04 Aug 2010 at 8:14 pm

    When you say turn into animals, do you mean that they stay animals or have the ability to transform at will?

    It may help to try to have some kind of animal that works with water, but can still move around on land. For example, a frog . . . although not that formidable, being that tiny can help when they need to spy or sneak into a place.

    It may work better if their powers were known to a lot of people and they chose to become part of a test to transform their DNA, and it was only something they could do because of their power. (Much like Wolverine had adamantium inserted into his skeletal system because his powers of rapid healing could endure the pain).

    If that’s the case, it may almost be best to have them born with their original powers so that there aren’t two origin stories floating around and confusing readers.

    But I’m not quite positive what twists you have in your story, so perhaps the way you have it written out makes perfect sense for your tale.

  73. meg365on 04 Aug 2010 at 8:49 pm

    And as for Zoey’s dad, he was really captured in battle. And Zoey ends up finding her dad in the end. Sorry I didn’t make that clear. The people who captured Zoey’s dad is the main threat that they’re fighting. They are the ones who kidnapped Zoey in the first place. They thought if they kidnapped her that they would get information out of Edward, the dad. That’s why they ended up shocking her. And by the way, giving the girls the animal stuff at the same time sounds a lot better. I didn’t really explain it right the first time. Jasmine was a mixed up kid. She didn’t understand why her parents were divorced, and why her father left them. She started hanging out with the wrong crowd, and ended up going to jail for robbing stores and stealing money. She escaped from jail, that’s why she became a fugitive. But she completely changed her appearance, that’s why no one could find her. Now, how Zoey ended up in the military. Zoey’s mom found out that Zoey had powers. And she called the military because she wanted the military to train Zoey, so she would control her powers better. (She did have trouble controlling them.) The military did know she had powers, but they kept it a secret to protect her identity. That’s who they work for, the military. They told Zoey, this is before they become a team, to track down Jasmine and bring her to the base. Zoey ends up fighting Jasmine. Zoey won. When Zoey brought Jasmine back, they were going to going to lock Jasmine up in an isolation room for almost her whole life. Zoey had a soft spot for her and convinced them to let her be, like, a consultant. Zoey wasn’t allowed to tell anyone about the military or her powers. Hazel just chose not too. Jasmine stayed at her mom’s house all the time. She wasn’t allowed to tell either. One day when Hazel was sleeping over, Zoey accidentally saw Hazel using her powers, and that’s when they told each other everything about themselves. Then Zoey brought Hazel to the base, that’s how they became a team. The really short version anyway.

  74. B. Macon 04 Aug 2010 at 8:54 pm

    “When you say turn into animals, do you mean that they stay animals or have the ability to transform at will?

    I assumed they’re at-will shapeshifters. If not, I think it’ll be harder to reach the target audience, which I imagine to be somewhere in the 13-16 range. (IE: Will readers 13 and up read a talking animal story? Will readers be able to relate to humans-turned-animals as protagonists?)

    One potential contrivance is that it sounds like Zoey and Hazel just happen to meet each on a cruise. It might help to come up with some explanation for that. (For example, if one is looking for the other, it makes a lot more sense. Or perhaps somebody is trying to pair them up without either knowing).

  75. meg365on 06 Aug 2010 at 9:07 am

    Yes they do transform at will, and that example you put out there, where someone is pairing them up, that does make a lot more sense. So, any other names that come to mind? I want the name to be cool, remembered and something that fits them. I seem to be stuck on that. And about the DNA thing, I think that it’s a better idea to have them volunteer to have thier DNA transformed.

  76. NicKennyon 06 Aug 2010 at 9:32 am

    How does the Ossociation of Mutated Entities for the Good of All. OMEGA. The Ossociation is due to a spelling mistake. Actually, now that typed it down, it seems kind of stupid.

  77. NicKennyon 06 Aug 2010 at 9:34 am

    And anyway Organization works soooo much better.

  78. B. Macon 06 Aug 2010 at 11:35 am

    I think the phrase “good of all” is sort of cheesy, but I think that Organization is a significant improvement over Ossociation. 😉 Maybe “for Global Action” instead of “for the Good of All.” Also, I think Mutant Entities could be shortened to just Mutants. (I don’t think readers would mind if the acronym was given as OMEGA even though the words only make up OMGA).

  79. meg365on 06 Aug 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Ugh……..Writing a novel is so hard. I didn’t expect it to be a walk in the park, but only a little challenging if you had a story line. The hardest part for me is the names. And sometimes how the story is written out. I can’t seem to find a name that jumps out at me. And I’ve been trying to find one for a while now. I want it to sound heroic, cool, and easy to remember. Because that’s what I want to the team to be known as.

  80. B. Macon 06 Aug 2010 at 3:43 pm

    I feel that names are very particular. It’s probably easier for you to come up with your own. (You, after all, know much more about the characters and the story and where it’s going than I do). However, I have some more possibilities for generically cool, simple names.

  81. Cassandraon 06 Aug 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Whenever I can’t think of a name, I usually put something generic like TEAM every time it’s brought up and then go back to it later when inspiration hits me. It’s way too easy for me to focus on one tiny detail that may not affect the overall storyline. An idea usually hits me in the middle of my writing.

  82. meg365on 06 Aug 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Ok I’ll try that and see if it works.

  83. Loysquaredon 17 Aug 2010 at 12:46 pm

    What about Paranormal Research Organization Of the Federal government (PROOF)? Or, instead: Of the Federal government, maybe I can use it for their Facility.

  84. B. Macon 17 Aug 2010 at 3:06 pm

    I think the F could be smoother than Federal.

    What would you think about Paranormal Research Office? Or Paranormal Research & Operations Office?

  85. Loysquaredon 17 Aug 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Not bad, I really like it! At first, I was trying to go with a practical approach, like the U.S. Department of [whatever], but wanted something to do with paranormal research. And then this idea came and I just post it, I haven’t really given it much thought, but I really liked the spoof of the name (totally random) 😛

  86. B. Macon 17 Aug 2010 at 7:41 pm

    I’ve seen a few U.S. departments like the U.S. Department of Supernatural Affairs (Captain Freedom) or Mutant Affairs (X-Men). I think your approach is better because the title is clearer than “the Department of Mutant Affairs,” which sounds like a welfare agency a la Veterans Affairs.

  87. Loysquaredon 18 Aug 2010 at 2:05 am

    Yours sounds/works better, so I’m gonna take it, if you don’t mind. 😉

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