My target audience is probably people that have read several superhero books before, most likely male (I don’t know many females that read superhero books).
I would love to say that my skin is not thick at all, but I guess I’ll have to for my story. Gulp.
I’m concepting a story about a bored kid named Riley Christiansen. He faces constant boredom in his life – school, video games, friends… everything slips away from him. But one day, a shady businessman who calls himself Donovan appears before him and offers him a chance to become a superhuman as a member of the Aquarius, a group of superhumans dedicated to the destruction of the common evil – violence, drug dealing, abuse, hatred, war, etc.
He is told that in one week, Donovan will come back and hear his answer to whether he would like to participate or not. Also, in that one week, Riley is to think of a superhuman power he would like to have.
Riley is warned, however, that to every power there is a drawback, and the stronger the power, the stronger the drawback. If he chooses a powerful ability recklessly, it might be ruined because of a extreme drawback.
For example, superstrength will take a toll on the user’s body; punching a wall with a 500 kg punch will probably destroy your hand (and arm as well). To use it well, you would have to have expert control over your strength, as well as precise movements (if contact with a target is minimized, you take much less damage yourself but can inflict heavy damage). But a drawback like this is dangerous and not recommended.
Sorry, I’m having trouble organizing this even with the lines. Here I just wrote what the story is about and a principle part of it.
Ah, and my largest need for help is to create drawbacks for superpowers! It’s harder than you might think. Please help and comment. Thanks.
The easiest one would probably be something like fire-control, which could cause the body to get burned.
To make flight work, the body would probably have to get weaker. (Flying creatures usually have hollow, light bones). Ditto superspeed. Also, I think that superspeed is an ability that would probably cause the character to get fatigued very quickly. Cheetahs aren’t marathon-runners!
Telepathic abilities like mind-reading might lead to severe identity issues. (He might not be able to keep track of which thoughts are his and which aren’t).
Something like sound-control would be really tricky, especially if the Aquarius is a team of superheroes. There’d be a great danger of hitting teammates or innocent bystanders with his ability. (That’s true of fire control and many other abilities, incidentally).
Anything water-related would probably make him vulnerable to dehydration.
Here are some powers that could also be interesting. (I’ll let you come up with appropriate weaknesses, though).
–probability manipulation/good luck/bad luck
–melee fighting skills (possibly with something like claws, or just with a weapon or martial arts).
In this story, you could pick a weaker, underrated power that would not create such a large drawback yet have a plethora of options available to you. That’s how you can be smart with your powers here…
A girl named Evangeline has magnetism, a rather underrated power. But she can use it as psychokinesis on metal, as well as protection from guns. Her favorite way to fight is 1) with iron sand, using it to seemingly “corrode” something as a sand blower would, 2) iron gauntlets, and 3) razor wire.
Her weakness would be, I suppose, that she cannot move at all while using the field and that there is a limit to the total weight of the metal she can hold.
Does that seem alright? Hm.
Anyways, I’m thinking about your powers that you listed.
Psychokinesis could have a weakness that you can only move things you can see. Thus you can’t squeeze their heart and instantly kill them… ugh… but anyways, that could be exploited by creating a smokescreen or fog.
What do you mean by martial arts as a superhuman power? Do you mean like a mastery of them?
Ah, and Aquarius members generally work with a group of 2, called an Aquarii. One character named Aamir Shakir – an Indian – that wanted the power to see the future will try to look into the future for bad events to come. The problem is that he knows that it is the near future, and about where it will be, but does not know exactly when. Thus an Aquarii is sent in for about a week to try to stop the event from happening, or deal with it when it does.
Is there any particular reason why they fight in pairs? The manga Negima! has a magic system called “pactio” in which one mage chants a protection spell over his or her partner, while the partner defends the mage from physical attacks using a weapon induced by the spell, since the mage is vulnerable when chanting spells. Pactios are activated by a mouth-to-mouth kiss in a magic circle.
If possible, you should give some reason for the heroes to fight in pairs.
._. that is a very strange way to fight. Is there some sort of necessity to kiss? What if you have to team up with a same sex partner?
Aside from the pactio part though, it seems similar to my reason. Psychics are usually vulnerable, while protected heroes (via magnetism, recovery, invulnerability, etc.) are not.
Vulnerable or otherwise unprotected heroes are especially weak against gunfire, unless they have a form of evasion. If a psychometler was to investigate something, they would need a form of support, obviously. Another case would be a mind reader and a hero with superstrength. They would be paired together; the mind reader could shout where attacking patterns while the superstrong hero could dodge and strike accordingly.
One hero can copy abilities by touch. The hero usually wears gloves to prevent the power he has now from accidentally switching. Suppose at first the hero starts off with one power, but switches midway by secretly slapping (bad word) the partner. That would really throw enemies off, especially ones that are smart enough to plan ahead based on data. The hero would also have a arsenal of abilities he can choose from beforehand based on what kind of ability a supervillain has.
Hmm. I like working with pairs. There’s some element of teamwork, but you have space to develop each partner more deeply than you could do with a 4-man or 5-man band. In Superhero Nation, the rationale for using 2-man teams is that the bureau doesn’t have enough agents to send 4 or 5 out at a time. Additionally, I think a two-man group generally feels realistic because police are most often deployed in groups of 2. (The characters are sort of like supercops).
Build: Medium – Light
Hair: Medium – Long, dark brown
Eyes: Dark brown
Ability: Memory – The power to copy and store abilities by touch. When he touches another superhuman, he memorizes the power permanently and copies it. When he wants to switch powers to one he has already memorized, he must say the name of the person he copied and the startup words, “Aid me”.
If he wants to use Evangeline’s power, he must have first Memorized her power sometime in the past and must say “Evangeline London Wright, aid me!”. There he will gain Evangeline’s magnetic powers for three minutes.
The drawback is that for every 3 minutes of usage, there is one minute of cooldown where no powers can be used at all and Riley is just like a normal human. The countdown starts when he gains the power, and even if he switches midway, it will keep going.
If he touches another superhuman, whether he wants it or not, he will immediately gain the power for three minutes. However, he does not become powerless after it.
Positive traits: Light-hearted, creative
Negative traits: Easily bored, cares little about those he protects
Riley suffers from endless boredom spewing from his carefree nature – it makes him easily bored. He tried video games, sports, clubs – everything seemed to bore him. He had no real goals in life for the future… until Donovan chose him because of his sense of justice – which Riley believes he does not have.
He saves others not because he is brave or cares about them but because he thinks it’s fun being a superhuman. He thus sometimes takes incredible risks to finish a mission – risks that sometimes harm him, his partner, or those he protects. He feels guilty about these things, but he keeps it up – until he changes after his carelessness kills a small boy who is the hostage of a criminal. His carefree, easily bored nature does not change, however.
He is very creative in combating opposing superhuman powers. He takes advantage of their weaknesses with traps, speed, stealth, and an array of powers that take advantage of the environment. Because he is weak for a time after 3 minutes pass, he must plan perfectly or risk his life. If any part goes wrong, he is usually beaten (and his plans go wrong much more often than he likes to admit!).
Riley is very suspicious of Donovan’s motives, but by copying a mind-reading power (and getting in big trouble by Donovan when he senses Riley reading his mind), he finds that Donovan is actually a man with a heavy sense of duty to the people, trying to do good for them whatever way he can.
By copying Donovan’s power without Donovan knowing, he learns more about the Giver power. He uses the power on the father of the boy that died, secretly giving him an ability to ressurect his son. The price for it, however, is the father’s own life – which Riley knew would happen, but never told the father, wanting him to be able to die without knowing of his death, happily.
Relations with others:
Ian Haywood Finch
Best friends with Riley inside Aquarius.
Riley calls him Byrd as a joke, and is called Copycat in return. They are usually picked in a team together because Ian’s power to pose a fast, lethal and immediate threat to enemies covers up Riley’s one minute cooldown weakness, and because Ian can also fly while carrying the helpless Riley.
Ian is 17 but philosophical and generally serious. His goal is to destroy discrimination from the people of the world. He is respected by Riley as a fun yet scholarly guy, and gives Riley insights on philosophy, especially death and reason. Despite being young, he is almost Riley’s mentor.
Ian’s flaw is that he is passive, easily pushed around and is unsure of his powers.
After Ian’s resignation from the Aquarius because his powers are destroyed, Riley is told by him to “never let injustice go unpunished, yet do not hate the unjust”. Riley disagrees, saying that it is just to “hate those who hate you”.
Evangeline London Wright – One of Riley’s friends inside Aquarius, and later, love interest. She distrusts humanity and disagrees in many ways with Ian and Riley.
She is bossy towards Ian and Riley (she is the one of the two that can easily make Riley to do something, the other being Donovan), and she can beat him up if she tries, both in physical combat and ability usage. She is also unsocial and alienated from many people – she doesn’t talk much with people other than Riley, Ian, and several other girl friends. (Girl friends, not girlfriends)
She is also often selected to pair with Riley because their magnetic abilities are powered up around each other if they combine their magnetic fields. Doing this requires a good amount of concentration and keeping in sync.
At first, Riley is suspicious of Evangeline, as he sees her messing up electronically locked doors with magnetic powers and leaving the Aquarius facility at night. He follows her one night (stalker!) to find out where she goes. Evangeline notices that she is being followed, and suddenly chokes him with an iron gauntlet floating in the air with magnetism (one reason why she scares him even after they are friends). They start fighting outside the facility to a truce, when the sun comes up. Both are exhausted, and he asks her where she was going.
She explains that she is meeting her brother secretly at night – she is not allowed to make contact with any of the people she knows, as it is forbidden by Aquarius (if you’re confused, the Aquarius doesn’t want it’s identity to be found and all the people who are in it are presumed dead by the public), and that because of Riley, her brother was probably waiting all night for her (ouch, bad Riley)
…more to come. Gosh, it takes forever writing this.
I had to skim, since I’m working on my own writing right now, but a couple of initial thoughts:
1. If he saves people just for the heck of it, doesn’t actually care, that kind of gives him nothing to lose. The best protagonists are the ones with everything to lose, the ones who are physically and emotionally invested in whatever the conflict is.
2. So he has to say their full name? A weakness to that, then, would be if they don’t tell him their middle and/or last name. In order to keep him from being overpowered, this should be often. Then he’d have to either try to convince them to tell him, or he’d have to go name-hunting and see if he can research it up.
First, every time he switches powers, it takes 15 seconds to take effect where he is totally powerless.
Next, he needs two minutes – not one – to be cool down.
And thanks for the advice on his nature! I really needed that… Don’t worry, he starts out as saving people for fun, but he changes after being influenced by his friends, supervillains, Donovan, and the failure to save the child, who was revived at the cost of his father’s life, and blames Riley for killing his father. He becomes attached to people, to his life, to the organization little by little, until he realizes that he fears death.
That might be problematic, too, though… gah. Need more help please!
Last, yes, he has to say their full name. He needs to find ways to learn the actual name of someone, especially if they are a supervillain. Now, on friends, this should be okay – but there are those he is rarely involved with, or enemies. You’re right about that weakness.
Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you: Ken Akamatsu, the artist for Negima!, is famous for having lots of cute girls in his comics. However, he genuinely pays attention to things like character development, and good plotting. It ain’t Shakespeare, but it’s quite good as far as manga go.
Back. I’m ditching the “relation with other characters” part, since most of the information could be included in the side characters area.
Here we go…
Ian Haywood Finch
Height: Medium – Tall
Build: Medium – Light
Hair: Short, light brown
Eyes: Black (Most this stuff won’t actually be portrayed in the story)
Ability: Raptor – the power to take on the characteristics of a bird. The characteristics include wings, sharp claws, and an increased lung capacity. On the other hand, the power changes all the bones in his body hollow and fragile. (Thanks to B.Mac for this)
His wings sprout out of his back. Claws grow on his feet and arms – these claws are sharp and strong enough to slice effortlessly through a sheet of iron. When a metal gets thick, though – like a few inches thick – it hurts his wrists and arms because of their hollow bones.
He is an energetic, fun-loving, good-humoured teenager who, at first glance, seems average, but is also very intelligent. He has developed all sorts of ideas on the world through reason, and shares them with the main character. Over all else, however, his will to do good is outstanding – he cannot stand people being hurt and longs to create a world without pain and hate, like Donovan.
Though his ideas are almost all quite good, he suffers from a overly passive trait that keeps getting him pushed around or taken advantage of. He endures being ignored for quite a while, but when he grows angry, he shows his true colors (?) as a bad-mouthed, rowdy, sarcastic teenager. When he does this, he almost always starts a fight :/
He will resign from the Aquarius sometime in the story, because he is shot down by a supervillain named Sniper and his lungs are cut and scarred. As he leaves, he will partially convince Riley to change his life, to carry Ian’s dreams with his wings. Riley replies that he will try to. (These words – carry my dreams with your wings – end up playing a large role near the end of the story’s plot, in a bad way)
Though Riley respects him, however, doesn’t mean that he swallows up his ideas. Riley disagrees with a lot of his views on justice, life, the world, and later, death.
When I come back I’ll write in the main ideas that Ian has…
It might be confusing if he has the bird powers, but he calls his Aquarius buddy ‘Byrd’ and he’s called something else.
Also, what happened to his other power? That was kind of cool. =/ Or at least, the fact that he has to actually be crafty and figure something out (people’s full names) to be able to use his power, as opposed to just being able to pull them out at random.
At this point, he looks solid enough. I’d have to see him in writing (as in, in real chapters) for me to tell for sure, though.
The one thing that comes to mind is that you’re going to have to be very careful to make him interesting, even when he’s a pushover. If he’s a pushover to someone, there’s no conflict between the two of them because he isn’t voicing/showing opposing beliefs or opinions, which isn’t exactly a good thing. The most interesting character relationships are the sort with some sort of two-sided conflict.
I say ‘two-sided’ because you said that Riley doesn’t agree with him a lot of the time, which is one-sided conflict unless Ian mans up and disagrees right back.
Oh, one more thing about Riley: You said he’s easily bored. It’s going to help keep things interesting, but be careful about making him too ‘off the wall’. There’s a line between interesting and too fast for the reader to keep up.
The power to absorb the properties of something! Of course, it’s drawbacks are created depending on the object you absorb – if you absorb metal, you become slow, heavy and your joints don’t bend well, if you absorb a plant you are vulnerable to fire, pesticides, etc.
I need some kind of other drawback, though. What could someone suggest?
Hmm. Leaving aside the drawback, for a moment. How many ways could you see yourself using this property-absorption ability? Metal, wood/plants, water/liquid, maybe ice, plastic… it doesn’t strike me as particularly versatile.
Magnets – throwing, say, a rope with an iron hook… messing with electronics
Metal – pairing with a magnetic partner (“bash my head against the wall!”)
Cotton – avoiding damage from a long fall just by touching a sweatshirt!
Oil – stopping a car from getting away: slobber onto the road and wait
Plants – grow tendrils to hoist oneself up a wall
Sand – kinda obvious usage, but wasn’t included up there
Petroleum – burn stuff at expense of your body mass! :/
Because you need to touch something to take it’s properties, I suppose it would be hard to keep all manner of things with you in battle. Many things would have to be situational, unless you take a bunch of objects with you everywhere. And it would be tough to reach into your pocket every time you want to do something… and you need a bunch of pockets.
You’re right. You can’t be as creative as I hoped with this power…
It sounds like you’ve got somewhere between 10-15. That might be enough to propel a novel, particularly if he’s just one of many characters. I mean, how many scenes are there in a Superman novel where Superman uses his powers? Probably not as many as 15, especially if there are other heroes.
I just got done reading everything here, and I really like it so far.
Riley’s original power was to “copycat” someone else’s super power, and then before he could use them, he needed to state their full names? And there’s a guy from Heroes with the same power?
I don’t know much about Heroes, but they’re not the first person to use a similar idea. [Most famously, Rogue from X-Men-- B. Mac] There have probably been plenty of people who have thought of it, especially if I, too, have used it before. In 2005, I wrote a story where one of the heroes, Austin, had the “Mimic” power (but without the name-saying part). That was definitely pre-Heroes, I think.
So was the character in Heroes so prominent that you really can’t use Riley’s copycat powers? Maybe there’s a way you can adjust your version to being unique to your story? At least three of us (you, me, and Heroes) thought of the basic idea, so I’m sure there’s a way for you to keep using that power in a unique way. I liked that power for Riley, heehee, especially because of the names part.
I really think that having him creatively obtain the full names of his subjects would be a lot of fun to read about! He might even get into huge trouble at some point because he thought he got someone’s full name, but it turned out to be an assumed name or something. Only he figures out the mistake in the middle of a brawl when the whole plan depends on that borrowed power, and he already told his teammates that he had it all under control. So the whole thing is a near-death experience, it’s his own fault for not being careful enough, and a new mystery about the “assumed name” character would arise. It could even be Donovan working under an assumed name, and what Riley later finds out about him could be interesting to the plot?
The point is, I think you could still use Riley’s copycat abilities if you find a way to make it different than the version in Heroes. And I really think you could weave an interesting plot around the necessity of obtaining peoples’ full names.
I love that! Over all, I think your idea is pretty interesting.
This is a random thought, but does Ian’s nickname have to be spelled “Byrd”? Why not just “Bird”? I wonder what part of the nicknaming process would’ve led Riley into making a “unique spelling” for a pretty straightforward name, heh.
Another random thing! The word “Raptor” as Ian’s power-type confused me at first. I was sure he was gonna be a dinosaur! Raptor is well-known as a term referring to birds, but I wonder if you could make it automatically straight-forward by using a different word? Like Avian? Or maybe even appeal to his specific bird-breed, like “Falcon” powers or something?
I’m not sure, but this is all I’ve got for now. Good luck with everything!
On the subject of the word Raptor: The Spider-Girl series of comics had a villain called Raptor who was the daughter of the Vulture from the Spider-Man series, she has her father’s powers. (She turns good later but that’s irrelevant)
Ah… thanks a lot, Trollitrade! (confidence rises)
The reason I chose Byrd over Bird was because Byrd is a real name. But if it could be confusing, so I could change it. I mean, this is still the conceptual stage…
Raptor, if that’s confusing to most readers, I could change that too. Raptor means “Bird of prey” and “Raider”… I’m probably going to go with Osprey.
So I guess then I should keep the Memory ability on Riley?
And yes, Donovan is a fake name. On top of that, he never says his last name.
What do you guys think about an ability to create a thought bubble over someone’s head, that can be read by anyone? (a character that’s a gossiper might choose this) It could be useful in fighting in pairs – create a bubble over an enemy’s head and let the combat partner read his moves Or just to piss someone off…
The thought bubble idea is cute, I’ll give it that. But I think it’s too cute…maybe something I would like to see in a Looney Toons cartoon but not Justice League.
particular, what if the thought bubble came over a person who spoke a foreign language, like German? It would appear in German and then that would piss the superhuman who used it off.
It’s just a bit too comical.
I would suggest, perhaps a bonded thought reading power. Perhaps the superhuman could have his/her partner navigate the enemy mind with them, thus increasing their abilities temporaily.
Drawback to this would be decreased mobility and vulnerability to attacks. So they could be navigating someones mind and then come out of it with a gun to their head, effectively ending any escape hopes.
I love Spiderman. Between him and Batman, it’s a neck and neck race for favorite hero. For a few years it was Superman, but once I realized how he really is “Super man” I couldn’t look at him the same way.
Another Spiderman tidbit:
As the group of villains surrounded him from above Spiderman looked over the options for exit carefully. Before him was a door rigged with a bomb. Below him a pit of smoldering fire. Behind him a deep freeze. To his left was a giant meat grinder. To his right an atom smasher.
Spiderman stared at the villains, “Honestly, a giant meat grinder? Is that all you could really think of?”
“Your death shall make me rich beyond my dreams.” Wilson Fisk rubbed his large hands together. “I’ll make you pay for what you did!”
“I’m afraid I’m a little stripped for cash; decided to eat out yesterday.”
The villains attacked from above and Spiderman went into action…
Well, I think that’d be interesting. Yet, for all the good it could do, you might get bogged down in the details of “what consists of a half strength power/third strength etc.”
Furthermore (at least for me) I would have to define what a “full strength” power is to know what a half strength could be!
But if we’re working on the premise of general terms, than generally, that’d be really interesting.
If a character got say, half super strength, half mind control, what kind of limitations would that bring? (One would have to mix the limitations of the powers as well…in theory, the character with this power may be stronger than any other of managed right. They would get half the power, but also only half the limitation. Once could get two powers that have their limitations cancel out, thereby making a character quite the super human-however, Mary Sue syndrome may take place.)
Like maybe… superhuman strength, that will hurt oneself when used (see above), and superhuman durability? I suppose that would be overpowered, even though you have half the superhuman durability and power…
Hmm. To make it fair, I guess the recoil damage from superhuman strength would bypass the durability. Something like that, to make it hard to use in overpowered ways…
I guess I would have to be careful if I actually use this. Especially if the main character has this power.
I’ve decided that I’ll use the Memory power on Riley.
Also, Ian’s power will be the Osprey.
Evangeline London Wright
Height: Medium — Short
Ability: Iron Gauntlet – the power to control magnetism around you. Works as a medium-ranged telekinesis on metals such as iron. It can be used without looking at an object, which is an advantage over telekinesis. However, it requires precise control to be able to do so.
She is completely immobile while using her magnetic powers, and there is a limit to the amount of metal she can control at once.
She is called the Iron Gauntlet because she often carries around two iron gauntlets, which she controls with magnetism in a fight (and perform everyday tasks… lazy). When she is fighting to kill, she controls iron sand and razor wire.
She is a unsocial, shady, bossy girl (ugh, sounds horrible).
Evangeline distrusts humans after living a life under her father, who was a mafia boss in a small city. She was hated by everyone because of her father – though he was well known in the area, the police there were too weak to do anything about him.
Everyone disliked her, and her personality became distrustful, unsocial and bossy. One day, however, her father was killed by a rival gang’s assassin. Then being taken care of by her older sister, she tries to redeem her life and become kinder.
But everyone still hated her for the past. After a few weeks of trying, she reverts back to her usual, unsociable self, staying away from people. Over time, she grows frail and weak, while developing a fear of guns. Her only support was her sister, who was also hated by everyone.
Then her life in the small town ends (she is believed to be dead) when she is taken in by the Aquarius. She is sad for her sister, who is left to stay in the town, but she is bound to secrecy by Aquarius. Out of her hatred for guns, she decides to get a magnetic power (which she takes advantage of a lot).
She is still unsociable in the Aquarius, finding it hard and ackward to socialize with many people, though she makes a friend or two (Tayama Mikika, Nakatomi Narie). Both are Japanese.
She starts escaping the Aquarius headquarters, however, at night. No one knows this except Mikika, Narie, Ian, and Riley. Riley is suspicious, and tries to follow her (and unknowingly becomes a stalker). Using her magnetic powers to mess up the security system, she leaves. Riley follows her for about a kilometer when he’s suddenly grabbed by her iron gauntlet, floating in the air (Riley then thinks her powers are telekinesis). Riley thinks she is a traitor, while she thinks he’s a stalker (._.). After a misunderstanding, they start fighting.
When morning comes, they’ve fought each other to near exhaustion: neither had a clear advantage over the other, even though he couldn’t use his powers for 2/5ths of the time. Since she can’t move while using her powers, he can just keep his distance while he is powerless… anyways. He manages to copy her powers, but doesn’t know her name.
As they make their way back to the headquarters (neither want to be found and sent away, so they make a temporary truce), he asks her why she was leaving the headquarters late at night against the rules. She explains angrily that she was trying to meet her sister at a nearby train station, and had to do it so she couldn’t be found leaving the building unless on a mission (ouch), so, her sister must have waited over six hours for her to show up.
I’m getting too detailed here, aren’t I?
…so. In the next mission, set in New York, Evangeline is paired with Riley, who is feeling like an idiot (Evangeline thinks he’s an idiot too)
So Riley redeems himself somewhere in the next mission. This arc, the New York arc, takes up several weeks, actually, of them pretending to be transfer high-schoolers while also fighting mafia. They also go into an old sewer system, which Evangeline and Riley destroy partially… and fight better equipped, well informed, strategized mooks who know what they’re doing.
Ah, here’s a crucial question. Very crucial to me, anyway.
I started trying to write my story. I don’t have a definite plot out yet except for a few things I’d like to have, and the main villain – the story will be driven mainly by immediate things, like missions, that will affect the plot as a whole. The problem is: there’s no way it’s going to fit in one book.
It’s going to be similar to Harry Potter, I suppose, in general feel of how fast the story’s tempo is.
Anyways, back to the original topic. I was writing my story and I realized that I’m having trouble figuring out where to start the story.
I want to be able to write in third-person and describe Riley’s life; how everything he does is viewed in a way not as “fun”, but “evading boredom”, and how he’s losing the fight against it. He also goes to school that day, and later – at night – Donovan tells him that he’s here to change Riley’s life.
Should it be where Donovan appears before him, then skipping back to Riley’s life on the day before Donovan appeared? Or should it start off following Riley’s day, connecting to the point where Donovan appears?
Sorry I haven’t written in a few days here… I’m not writing anything of much importance now, either, but anyway:
After a few days of thinking, I’ve decided to start the book a week before Donovan gives him the opportunity to have superhuman powers.
On the first day of the story, he sees the businessman (I’m planning on changing Donovan’s fake name) several times, and is asked for directions. Riley is also getting bored of a new hobby – from here, we reflect on his past hobbies and how they never last. Riley is a very compulsive character.
Over the week, Riley sees Donovan (somehow nicknamed Hamster by friends!?) several more times. Reason to be explained…
Starting tomorrow, I’ll be writing the story. No idea when the first portion will be finished, but it shouldn’t take more than a day unless I have a lot of trouble. Whether I have trouble or not, though, help is appreciated…
I didn’t mean the reason Donovan being called Hamster. I seriously have no idea how the heck they thought of that. I’m talking about the reason he sees Hamster a week before Aquarius started actively starting…
If I do find out the reason why Donovan is Hamster, though, I’ll post it >:D
Sorry. I’m really, really sorry I haven’t posted at all in two weeks.
It’s hard to explain why… I don’t even know why myself. Am I just lazy? I don’t want to think that, but I’ll have to get over it to write my book.
What’s been happening about my story: I’ve changed the book drastically. Basically, I’m trying to write a manga now. A manga, not a comic book, for Japan.
It’s going to be a superhero action/comedy story, with a slight focus on romance. One thing I’d like to say is that if you give a bunch of teenagers superpowers and stick them together in a superhuman headquarters facility, they are going to be using it for purposes the powers are not intended for (turning someone’s book page invisible, pulling out someone’s belt buckle with magnetism, turning invisible and tickling someone… the things teenagers would think of if they have superpowers).
Emphasis on comedy.
My manga is most influenced by Hayate the Combat Butler, Mx0, and Negima!. I have some experience drawing manga, albeit only for a year of art classes. I can draw characters well, especially anatomy. My faces are average or a little less T_T
Ah, and I have access to a scanner and photoshop. No electronic drawing systems though…
I have planned 32 teenagers as the members of Aquarius. Each have different, unique powers, most being able to be used in funny, creative ways. The characters are also unique from each other, and probably most are not exactly normal.
The reason I chose 32 was 1) superhumans fight in groups of two, usually; 2) they prevent events in the future, such as mass murders, from happening and so we need above-average amounts of members, and 3) it would be easy to plan a tournament with 32 members…
If anyone thinks that is a blatant ripoff of [i]Negima![/i], which has 31, say so and I’ll change it somehow.
The youngest member is 12, with the oldest being 17.
All information above still stands, except for Evangeline’s name. After I learned about Negima!’s Evangeline… Evangeline will be called Angeline, or Angela…
The reason I’m fixating on this is because the person in my dream (the main character in the story) always called her Angel as a nickname. I never found out what her real name was. She looked more like a pessimistic recluse than an angel.
And Riley’s name. It’s horribly hard to say in Japanese. Rairii… ugh… He’ll be called Takaya Yuuya, but since it’s hard to say on this site then, let’s all just call him Riley here.
What I need help on now is character concepting 20+ characters. This is going to take up a lot of space I’ll bet… 34 character bios? Sorry to trouble you…
I’ll also upload my concept art.
Oh, and does anyone think making a comic book is a bad idea for me?
-FarawaySoul… who is feeling bad asking favors after suddenly returning two weeks later.
I don’t mind that you haven’t posted here. It sounds like you’ve been developing the story, so it’s not like you’ve wasted that time.
It doesn’t sound like you’re lazy. However, a lot of writers do suffer from perfectionism, which can scare them away from writing. If you think that’s a problem for you, I would recommend sitting down each day until you’ve written at least a page. (Also, please see our article on writer’s block here).
“I’m trying to write a manga now. A manga, not a comic book, for Japan.” Hmm, just to clarify. You’re trying to write a manga for Japan? With a Japanese-language publisher? (Or is it a manga aimed at a Western audience?)
I like the goofy action/comedy angle. I think that younger readers will be able to relate to characters that aren’t 100% job-oriented.
One piece of advice I’ve heard– and please feel free to take it or not– is that it’s often best for prospective comics creators to focus on either the art or writing because it’s so rare for someone to be professional-grade at both. I don’t know whether that applies to manga or not, though. Do manga companies do a lot of work with sole artists/writers?
“I have planned 32 teenagers as the members of Aquarius.” I am dimly aware that a few manga series have huge casts– Bleach, for example. However, I’m under the impression that manga series generally start with a fairly manageable cast and gradually add on characters over time. I don’t think it would be a problem if a series grew to include 32 teammates over the course of years and thousands of pages. However, the impression I get from Tokyopop’s submissions page is that they’ll be evaluating your submission based on your outline of what will happen in 3 160 page graphic novels (with small pages). In ~500 pages, I suspect it would be more practical to focus on 10, maybe as many as 15 characters. I would not recommend going drastically above that unless you can find several examples of manga that quickly reached such a large cast-size. (I assume that your cast will include non-Aquarius members as well, like maybe a few teachers and villains).
Based on the age of your characters, I’d intuit that your target readers are aged about 10-15 (a few years younger than the characters). Does that sound about right?
I would generally recommend against mentioning to publishers or editors that the main inspiration for this is what you saw in a dream. It might raise authorial distance issues. I think they’d prefer authors that are driven by considerations of what will be most effective for readers. Angel might be a highly effective name for this character. But I’d recommend deciding that based on whether its sound and style work for the character and whether the name helps develop the character, not whether it’s true to your dream.
This mostly feels doable. I like the underlying concept. And being your own artist removes most of the financial liability for you in case the project goes pear-shaped. (In contrast, if I walk away from my comic book project after getting 5 pages illustrated and colored by a freelancer, I’m out $300-$500).
However, I think that a first-time author might have trouble with a sprawling cast. I fear that you will face such pressure on you to quickly introduce 30+ characters that you won’t have the time or space to develop characters that will excite publishers and readers.
Nor do I feel that there is a really important reason to introduce that many characters (as far as I can tell, so far). For example, why not a group of (say) 16 or 12 students? (12 would make a tournament a bit trickier, but a lot of tournaments get around irregular numbers by just giving the top-ranked members a bye in the first round).
Yes, I’m trying to write a manga for Japan. Of course, I’m not sure how old I need to be to get it published – I’m turning 14 in a month.
Then again, I might not be ready yet to draw competent enough art. So I guess if I can’t publish it, this would be a good practice, anyway…
Thank you for liking the action/comedy angle!
I think that in Japan, the authors have assistants that help with the shading and toning. I don’t. Let’s see, where can I get one? Maybe I could drag my brother into this…
To be practical, if you want to solve the world’s problems, you’re going to need quite a few people on your side. Then again, the basic idea of Aquarius could be to focus on several cities, especially gangs. Through this, they can create publicity and trust, afterwards moving on to smaller problems.
I think I could start Aquarius with 16 kids. Not all have to be developed right away – first I start with 2, then 5, then keep expanding.
The main author who has and is writing well with 30+ regulars, introduced right off the bat in the story, is the author of Negima!. I don’t like fanservice, which the author is famous for, but he can develop characters very well. The setting is a school class with 31 students.
A problem with the story is that I’m trying to make general mook-figures competent. Every mook fight the heroes have, the fight is secretly filmed and analyzed by Talia, the main antagonist. She comes up with inventive ways to exploit their powers, with each mook informed about their role in the fight and the tactics.
And the heroes can die. After all, most of the heroes are mortal (and if they are durable, not by much). This is serious in a comedy/action story. How do you think I can make this doable?
Yes, my readers are 10-15. You must be psychic
Okay, I will not tell my publishers that it was a dream. And, I don’t [i]need[/i] to use the nickname Angel. But I suck at picking names… hm.
The large part of the plot will focus on “missions”, or several-day-long travels to a certain area where they will try to prevent something such as a mass murder from happening. However, there is the occurance of superhuman criminals – many of them, in fact. After these fights end, resulting in collateral damage to cities, people are distrusting of superhumans because they could, if they felt like it, do whatever they want to.
Hmm. 14. I’m not familiar with the Japanese publishing industry. However, in the United States, I think that it’d be very hard for a minor to get published. (For one thing, I think the publisher would run afoul of child-labor laws). Maybe more substantially, I suspect that publishers would be leery about working with someone so young because the presumption is that young writers are not as well-polished as their older peers.
Unless you’re familiar with a few cases where someone that young has been published by a Japanese company, I’d recommend planning around the assumption that it probably won’t happen before you’re 18. (That’s not as bad as it probably sounds. Oftentimes, it takes years to get a story ready for publication anyway, so you quite a lot of work to do in the meantime).
I haven’t seen your art yet and have no idea how good you are. I would really recommend practicing that and taking as many years as possible of the most serious training available to you. I think that publishers are generally much more deferential to artists than writers because it is so much easier to evaluate an artist’s work at a glance than a writer’s. If you develop your art skills to a professional level, I think that it will open a lot of doors when you start looking for work.
“I think that in Japan, the authors have assistants that help with the shading and toning.” I’ve heard that as well.
I like the idea of mooks being trained to be more competent. Here’s a trick that might make for an interesting plot arc. Talia sends mooks out to accomplish some mission. They fail the first time. The next night, she has them try the same mission, but this time they’re prepared for what the heroes did the night before. Over the course of 2-3 nights, Talia and the mooks learn so much about the team they’re fighting against that the heroes have to mix things up to stay unpredictable.
If the book is an action-comedy for readers aged 10-15, I’m not really sure whether death will fit the mood. (In the US, I’m pretty confident it would not work). I’d recommend following the lead of comedies and action-comedies that have been published for young audiences in Japan. Do they kill characters? If you can come up with two or three comparable works that kill characters, I think it’d be okay.
If you do end up killing characters in a book aimed at readers aged 10-15, I have a few tips.
—-I’d recommend killing older teens rather than younger ones. The readers that relate to a 17 year-old character are probably going to be ~15, but I’d expect that the readers that grow most attached to a 12 year-old character will probably be around 10. I think that teen readers will be more emotionally ready to lose a character they really like.
–Keep the gore to a minimum. I would also recommend having the character die outside of battle. For example, the character might be mortally wounded in a fight, but he dies peacefully in a hospital later on. I think that it’ll be easier for readers to stomach the death if it happens outside of the battle.
–I recommend against killing characters that are light-hearted, funny, cute or particularly likable.
–It might be easier for readers to take if you kill relatively minor characters rather than major ones. Killing major characters has a strong impact on the mood.
–I’d recommend being very sparing with death.
PS: Your English is startlingly good. When I went to Nagoya, I didn’t find very many people that could speak with me in English. If you don’t mind me asking, where’d you pick it up?
That’s fine then. I still need to brush up on my drawing for another 4 years.
And school started. I’m going to have trouble now – this year is going to be incredibly busy…
Haha, mooks are never competent in any superhero stories. Never.
3 mooks with machineguns will never take Spiderman down. Nor willl they scratch Batman or any other superhero. If a named villain had a machinegun, they… er… wouldn’t hit, but would at least be good enough to pose a threat to the hero.
You’re right, I planned on deaths for the book, but I’m not sure for the manga. I will have Ian get shot in the wings, losing them, but he probably won’t leave Aquarius – enhanced speed, agility, and razor claws are still valuable.
I can’t think of any comedies that kill their characters. Or they may die, but be ressurected or somehow not actually dead. I don’t like that – it ruins the drama – but my story is a comedy, after all…
Obviously, it’s okay to kill a villain, isn’t it?
About my English… I studied it to be able to talk to a good friend of mine. She’s Canadian/Japanese, but speaks English better, so I wanted to talk to her. I started studying when I was 4… I think. I got pretty good at it, and I took on her style of speech (which is how I’m writing now).
Sorry, I’ve got a lot of homework to finish (on the first day of school, no less!), AND a entry test.
I’ll write in a character idea to be reviewed in a few hours. The character is Talia.
“And school started. I’m going to have trouble now – this year is going to be incredibly busy…”
Good luck with that. Working hard in school will help provide you with alternatives, if and when you want to try something besides writing/art. (Also, it should go without saying that courses in writing and art are directly useful to prospective writers and illustrators).
I think getting majorly wounded– like losing the wings– is probably less likely to spook kids than actually killing him. However, I still get the feeling that there’d be a bit of conflict between a comedy that sounds light-hearted (like making somebody’s book go invisible) and a fairly grim, sober look at mortality. This might be problematic because I don’t think the two would appeal to the same set of readers.
“Obviously, it’s okay to kill a villain, isn’t it?” I think so. I’m not very familiar with the Japanese publishing industry, but Americans are pretty comfortable with the idea of killing the villain in a story for kids. Sometimes this happens in downright disturbing ways, like a villain of The Incredibles (spoiler) getting sucked into a plane-engine.
So I think you’re probably fine on killing off villains. I do, however, have a few tips…
–I’d recommend minimizing the hero’s role in the death. For example, in The Lion King, the hero knocks the villain onto the edge of a cliff as they fight. Then the hero tries to save him. The villain tries to grab him down and falls in the attempt. So the villain is more responsible for his death than the hero is. In Training Day (spoiler), the corrupt cop is killed by the Russian mafia because the hero has stolen the money he needs to pay them off. In both cases, the hero bests the villain, but it’s only the villain’s fault that he dies. (Yeah, I know that Training Day is not at all aimed at kids, but I think it’s still relevant here).
–In particular, I’d recommend against having a character kill a character that has already been incapacitated or neutralized. That’s more like an execution than a real fight. Continuing a fight after it’s already over will probably not rub kids the right way.
I agree that un-killing a character (with resurrection or whatever) is very undramatic.
Good luck with your homework. One year in high school, I had 30 hours of summer work for biology. Eww. I vaguely remember a few other assignments, like an essay on the dawn of the modern nation-state in sophomore year, but the biology was absolutely killer.
Notes: she is my favorite character in the story, and she needs to be changed quite a bit. Since she IS my favorite character, she’s in danger of turning into a Mary Sue (even I’m a guy…)
As a villain, she should be competent, but…
Talia Rosalyn Keller
Build: Medium – Light
Hair: Medium length, Light Brown
Eyes: Dark Brown
Ability: Blink – the ability to stop time for up to 5 seconds. For the same amount of time she stops time, her power must cool down.
Double Strength – an ability that doubles her natural strength. It’s not that good, especially for someone who lacks body strength to begin with. Being mediocre, it doesn’t have much of a drawback. She uses it just so she can move around and fight slightly better than an ordinary human.
Being one of the two “Gamblers”, she was able to access several powers, as long as their drawbacks did not cancel each other out. Hamster would have been able to do this, but instead poured his ability points (for lack of a better word) into a better power bestowal. Ugh, it sounds just like an RPG.
She is the main antagonist in the story, the other person that made a bet with a god. She is easily the opposite of Hamster, being cheerful and disinterested in the conflict between good and evil. She is also the source of many of my comic’s gags.
She doesn’t really care about good or evil, but being a genius, she decided that evil has a much better chance of winning altogether. She even forgets that she’s on the evil side, going so far as to hiring a comically evil person as her butler and advisor.
She likes combat a lot. Cheerfully taking on superheroes, she likes to get close, stop time, dodge their frozen counterattack, and pummel them with double strength. Because her strength isn’t too good, she enjoys undergoing this multiple times, showing her rather sadistic side.
She only respects the general ability of herself, Hamster, and Riley “because they are somehow alike”. The rest she cares little about.
Last, she is freaking obsessed with Riley just because she thinks he is similar to her somehow, though she doesn’t know how. They just naturally get along well… Many times she offers for him to join her, even telling him that if he joins her side, she’ll tell him her last name so he can use her powers. She also has a rather comedic crush on him, going into delusions like this:
(Riley being chased by a giant stone ball through a downhill corridor. His powers are of little use, since none of the powers he has memorized have superspeed)
(Watching screen) Advisor: Uhm… don’t you want him to join us?
Talia: Yeah, I do.
Advisor: But you’re killing him. In a deathtrap.
Talia: No, I’m not.
Advisor: He’s going to die! Shouldn’t you stop the trap?
Talia: Don’t worry, he’s immortal.
…anyways. Riley thinks about exploiting her to get her name, possibly get information from them, and escape. He is also told by Hamster that he is “probably the only reason she’s going easy on us”, and that he should “let her keep thinking that he might join her”.
For comedy: she really enjoys roleplaying, and is easily influenced by manga and anime she sees.
Enough here. I want her to be comedic and cheerful, but how can I keep her from being a gender-bent Mary Sue?
Is the character highly attractive without having to work at it?
Yes. Not highly attractive, but attractive.
Are one or more other characters attracted to her/him?
Is the character a fashion plate (this applies to any style of dress, from preppie to goth to Western to Elvish, and so on)?
Her hobby is roleplaying/cosplaying…
Even though it’s illogical for the character to dress this way (for monetary reasons, or because it interferes with her/his job)?
It’s incredibly illogical, but she has money…
Is the character of above average intelligence?
Is she/he a genius?
Is the character rich or well-to-do, although she/he doesn’t work?
In a way: she blackmailed, tricked and fought people for money.
Did the character run away from home?
Yes, and she hated her otherwise normal parents for no apparent reason.
Does the character ever freely, willingly, and knowingly worked for the villain/evil regime?
She’s the leader of the villain regime…
Is the character unusually accomplished for her/his age/species/etc.?
A 15-year-old genius? Sign her up.
Is the character fluent in more than two languages?
Yes. 8 languages…
Has the character ever fairly lost in any kind of duel, fight, or competition against someone of equal or lesser ability, where the winner was not the character’s rival?
Yes, against Devon (badass normal sniper), Evangeline, and the police.
Does the character have a significant personality flaw (e.g. she/he is a spoiled brat, is horribly judgmental or biased, is irrationally violent, is naive and easily manipulated, etc.)?
Gah. Irrationally childish, disinterested, biased towards Riley, sadistic, AND manipulative. She’s only sadistic when she’s mad, or when she remembers that she’s evil, though.
Does this flaw persist until the character’s death?
Yes, except for the childish part: it gets slightly better.
Does this flaw get the character in serious trouble (e.g. she/he gets fired, gets killed, gets someone else hurt, etc.)?
Riley, she firmly believes that he is immortal and perfect. Or when she remembers she’s evil, she’s sadistic and it’s not a good idea to stay around.
Does the character have very little or no empathy for other people?
Little to none, though she’s nice enough to them, she despises the lesser people.
Is the character selfishly manipulative or sadistic (e.g. threatens self-harm, lies, blackmails, etc. in order to get her/his way)?
Very, at the end she manipulates Hamster to try to destroy the world. She got her fortune from manipulating the mafia. She does everything it takes to try to recruit Riley.
Is the character astonishingly good at something that is not her/his profession?
Breaking the fourth wall. Hey, every character in the story is.
Does the character have any particular area of study/information/etc. in which she/he is the most knowledgeable or among the most knowledgeable?
Yes, human psychology and theology.
Has your character been an outlaw or member of organized crime?
Yes. She’s the leader of them.
Has your character been a hero?
Yes. As a roleplay.
Does your character have time travel?
Yes, a limited time stoppage.
Does your character have super strength or speed?
Yes, but only slightly better than the average 15-year-old.
Is your character top of her/his class?
Subverted, she’s a genius but terrible at everyday intellect.
Is the character on a sports team? Is she the star?
Yes. Subverted, for a challenge, she never uses her powers. She is incredibly fragile and weak without her superstrength.
Does the character talk about anime frequently or have lots of anime clothes, collectibles, etc.?
Yes, she’s an otaku.
Does the character have a pet named after an anime character?
Yes, a mouse named Hamutaro.
Has everyone significant heard of the character?
Duh, she’s the main villain in the story.
Do all of the important characters end up liking/respecting/fearing her/him?
They fear her. Comedically.
Did they all like/respect/fear her/him from the beginning?
Yup. Kinda like how people fear Darth Vader.
Is the character repeatedly rivalled by the same person?
Yes, Evangeline and Riley.
Does the character reform a villainous character?
She accidentally reforms a villain on her side to become good.
She also tempts adult heroes to become evil – her own superhumans are recruited in this manner.
This probably is about it. She was a 34 on the test.
I’ve been working a ton on my story lately. Yay for free time.
I designed all my characters (25+ regulars!), basic plots, details, and jokes to be used within the series (I haven’t made enough, mind you).
There are 16 characters in Aquarius, 18 including Donovan and Danton. I’m going to be writing them in one by one every day… including a revamp of Maya (Talia), Yuuya (Riley), Nathaniel (Ian), Angelina (Evangeline).
There are then 9 other villains (Maya and Leti being the most important), mafia figures, police, governmental figures, and other NPC-like characters. I won’t be writing any of the NPC characters.
What I will be doing is: 1), write in the characters one by one, 2) write jokes to be reviewed, 3) write in new details about the plot and story. Please don’t be overwhelmed…
Ah, and these characters are in order of number in the Aquarius, not importance.
Name: Aamir Shakir
Age: 12 (youngest)
Power: Future Sight – the power to see into the future from a first-person perspective, similar to an out-of-body experience. The closer you see into the future, the more clear it is, and the time you designated is more accurate. For example, if you look 1 minute into the future, it will happen in exactly a minute, whereas if you specify a week, it may be an hour off, a day off, or even days off target.
+ Traits: Calm, mature
- Traits: Blind, unfunny
Hair: Black, very short
Notes: He is one of the more mature characters, despite his age. He is blind, and wished (a word trick by Donovan, more on this later) to be able to see. He is a staple of the Aquarius; he can see the future, and thus he is able to see crimes happening, and can send people to stop them. Because of this, he rarely is permitted to enter combat.
More notes: In combat, he uses his future sight to detect and avoid blows. However, he is rarely strong enough to counterattack (being twelve), nor is he fast enough to defend against superhumans or guns. Further, though he can see the future, if the foe has even average reflexes, they can change their attack depending on how he reacts to them.
Even more notes: He also plays the role of the Tsukkomi in the Aquarius. He also frequently comments on things (strangely) that he shouldn’t have been able to see, one of the examples being two members of the Aquarius flirting with each other, leading to rather ackward moments.
Plot material: Yuuya (Riley) is a weapon of the Aquarius. All through his life, he was ignored – not hated, but ignored – by people, because they had trouble communicating with each other. This is because he was a created being – a person whose base is the exact copy of Maya, the main antagonist.
More: He was created as an advantage over the opposite side, with his powers coming naturally. He wished to be ‘like everyone else’, and, whether coincedence or not, he received the same power he naturally had.
Moar: Maya was unique over other humans, naturally being able to recognize their personalities, traits, and even what they are likely to do to a given situation simply by observing their actions for a short while. Over time, as he spends time with Maya, he awakens this power to a certain extent, also.
This explains why he had trouble being with people, as well as why Maya and him naturally get along. He was created so that Maya, who could not socialize well, would be naturally attracted to his persona – they are the same base person, after all.
Sorry if this is confusing. I’m going to reveal this within the first few chapters after Maya is revealed to be the antagonist, which is actually quite early into the series.
I’ll write more jokes after I get more in detail into the plot, since they might be rather confusing without knowledge of the characters.
(Maya meets Yuuya. Yuuya knows she is the antagonist)
Yuuya: Ah, before we fight. Where’s your butler… that evil guy… who calls himself Leti?
(Leti is a 40-year-old obviously evil villain, one you would see on a children’s TV show. He dresses in black, has spikes, and even has a evil laugh. He exists to run every villain trope possible)
Maya: He was… terminated… hehehe…. ahahahaha! (creepy giggling)
Yuuya: Terminated? What do you mean, terminated?
Maya: Ahahaha… Hehehehe! Ahh… by terminated, I mean…
Yuuya: What? What happened?
Maya: Do you really want to know?
Yuuya: I probably don’t, but… no, I don’t, but tell me.
Maya: Well… by terminated, I mean that his contract expired, and he didn’t get rehired. He said he needed a break from being evil, you know, going to meet his family, take a vacation, go to the beach, get a drink… Thanks to that, headquarters has been in a really big mess lately. What a busy day!
Yuuya: That’s all? Then why were you giggling? In a really creepy way?
Maya: That? Oh yeah, I had just made a hilarious joke. Wanna hear?
Yuuya: (Thinking: “While you were talking? How!?”) (decides not to ask) No thanks, maybe later.
Anyways, that’s the joke, a part of the plot, and a character. I’ve got homework to do now, so good night… I mean, bye!
Power: Fire Absorption – This is the power to absorb fire and release it. There is a limit to the amount of fire you can contain at once, and once that limit is exceeded, you will begin burning yourself. It’s fairly boring until you see the drawback, which is that you must specify the new intensity and how it can be used the second you absorb it.
Suppose you absorb a flamethrower for a few seconds. You can, as you take it in, specify how that particular flame you stored will be used, first setting a trigger (I clap my hands), where it will originate (from my palms), it’s intensity (as a blast), and simple commands (it will fire forward for 1 meter and suddenly arc to the left). This cannot be changed for that particular flame you absorbed, ever. Thus, before you start a battle, you need to prepare for all sorts of scenarios, surprise your enemy, and have a good general tactic.
+ Traits: Independent (she uses the fire ability to cook)
- Traits: Unlucky, unattacheable (?)
Hair: Black, medium length
Intelligence (I should add this): On a scale of 1-10, she would be a 8. She is fairly intelligent, in both normal situations and in battle. She also displays a large amount of common sense.
Notes: She is a shy character who could not attach herself to things. By this I mean that she had no ambition, nothing to support her. She was independent, her parents away from home often, and so she learned to cook and otherwise manage the house. But she wished that she could find more in her life other than a dull repetition of every other day.
More notes: It was interpreted as to become normal, to find ambition. And she received the powers of fire, most commonly associated with ambition and spirit. She was, in a way, tricked by Donovan’s wordplay as everyone else was.
Even more notes: She, before battles, often frets over what else she might be missing, what she might need, revising her tactics over and over. She has access to restricted areas, such as boiler rooms, to gain power. She is quite competent in battles, coming up with counters for all sorts of situations. To avoid capture, she has several stages of plans: an intense, quick burst of flame blasting out of her body, and a smaller, weaker but steady flame surrounding her body.
Miscellaneous: She’s really flexible.
Plot: Donovan is a person that often bends the truth. He got people under the impression that they would receive a wish, whereas they got powers that were similar to the wish. The main point is that all of the characters were somehow different from others – and they all asked to become normal (actually, there are a few exceptions, but they are the strangest of them all, like Levan).
They didn’t get the wish, instead getting powers that seemed similar to the wish. For example, “I want to be able to see” became the power to see the future. Donovan twisted the words… But they were all people that want to help the world with their powers (except for Yuuya), and so they complied. Some do not even know that they were tricked, while others hypothesize about his intentions. Most of them feel that it was a necessity somehow, while still others think that it doesn’t matter too much in front of all their powers they received.
More on how this affects the story, next time…
Joke: This is more of a running gag. All the characters seem fully aware that they are in a comic book, utterly destroying the fourth wall. Such as at a meeting:
“This is a book written for young audiences, and as such, we will not be able to be killed”
“Does that mean we are invincible?”
“As long as the author cares, yes”
“What if we do something stupid on purpose, or something unexpected happens?”
“Umm… I think that you might get killed, yeah. That’s an exception”
They also often blame events (like bad luck) on the author (me).
“Ow, my toe! @#%!& author!”
Now, there is one character who will repeatedly lampshade this: Ray Liao, #14.
His catchphrase after they break down the fourth wall is “IF this was a comic book, that is!” (all other characters applaud for his lampshading)
It gets to a point in which he is known for his lampshading, not for his intellect (which is the highest of the Aquarius). Further,
“Alright. We rescued the hostage from Maya’s fortress, we didn’t meet anyone. There was no resistance. We’re almost able to make it out of the place, just through that door”
“What’s your point?”
“I’m saying that if this is like a comic book there’s no way we’re going to make the last few steps without a disturbance, most likely from Maya herself”
*smash* Maya jumps through a window to their left, and instead of a comment, proudly proclaims “IF this was a comic book, that is!”
In the next panel, we see Ray suddenly realizing something, standing up rapidly.
“What happened? Why’d you stand up?”
“I don’t know… I felt… a disturbance…”
Either that, or I’ll have all the other characters (who are nowhere near the place) all start clapping, as they would have for Ray…
Power: Instant Healing – The power to heal from any wound within seconds. It works over a period of time; once it has been used, it will almost instantly heal you from any wound (including your brains being blown out). Even after it has been deactivated, it lasts several seconds before it fades.
Regeneration is not over-the-top for this, but it is much more physically draining than simply healing.
It can be used on others, but restrictions apply: it cannot be used on their whole body, only specific parts; there is a minimum of time to wait if you want to switch targets to heal, and on both, it is physically draining.
If there is an object lodged within you as you heal, it will cause incredible amounts of pain and it will only heal around it. If you were shot in the brain, and the bullet was stopped where your brain was, you would most likely die because of… well… a bullet in your brain, because it wouldn’t allow you to heal it.
Intelligence: (4.5) Average or slightly lower. Generally does bad in class studies, and has only average combat intelligence.
Notes: She is the brother of Hirano Tsubasa, #7. More on this relationship, later, when I write down his information.
More notes: She dislikes her tomboyish attitude (she talks like a Yankee). Because of this, she wanted to be able to help people around her instead of scaring them (she’s unnaturally intimidating).
Even more notes: She fights while healing herself every 3 seconds. If she fights while healing herself, it saps her strength but, because of her seemingly tireless nature, she can still keep going for quite a long time. While fighting like this, she is nigh invulnerable unless 1) her limbs are cut off in one blow (regeneration requires more energy), or 2) something is lodged into her body (bullets, for example).
Her most common partner is Hirano Tsubasa, #7. She fights while healing him from the shadows, so that even when his superstrength enhances his power, he can safely punch knowing that his pulverized arm will heal. This partnershipp is often used on combat missions.
Her second most common partner is Loren Sutton, #15. She is shown as a “White Mage” with incredible healing powers. Because the competent mooks are reduced to weak, 3 HP mooks, Final-Fantasy Tactics style, they cannot deal enough damage in a turn to ever kill her as long as she heals. This partnership is often used on cleanup missions.
Her last partner is Reiji Usui, #6. He creates a barrier around himself, while she is continuously healed. With his barriers, he can also keep her limbs from being cut off or bullets from simply stopping inside her. This partnership is often used on non-stealthy infiltration missions.
I also want the freedom of changing around the powers of more minor characters, if I must.
There is also the concept of “levels” of power in my story, progressing further with experience. This is a really abstract concept, especially to the characters; Maya laughs at the stupidity of the being who granted them powers, saying that their fight is really more like a game; if you really wanted to know which was stronger, good or evil, you don’t try to equalize their strengths, which is being done throughout the story, and on a smaller scale, Loren Sutton’s power.
The levels of power can increase the strength of your ability (Maya’s time stop/time powerless ratio, 10 to 1 at level 5), produce an ability to augument your ability (Tsubasa’s durability at level 3 augumenting his superstrength), or enhance your body (Gabriel’s enhanced reflexes at level 3 helping him use superspeed).
Leti has the power to bestow level 2 abilities to Maya’s subordinates. He can create 10 of these level 1 humans at a time. Basically, these “superhuman levels” (dubbed this by the gaming nerd Loren Sutton) are another part in which the characters start realizing that this is so much like a game being watched for the entertainment of the unnamed god who supposedly created the world, and was contacted by the two people, Maya and Donovan.
One of the reasons Maya is fine with killing innocent people is because she feels that it’s just like a game; once she wins, she reasons, she can recreate them all in a better world. The limits of this she becomes painfully aware of when she and Yuuya actually win, actually mentally breaking down. (She finds that she cannot just say “I want everything to become normal again, except that it is a world in which people have no need of evil; she has to actually spend thousands of years redesigning the world. Since she cannot possibly know everything about a person, she has effectively destroyed almost all the world forever, except for the few people she knew very personally (Yuuya, Donovan, Leti, Angelina). Her feeling of guilt over this actually drives her insane to the point which she recreates Yuuya and entrusts him with this task).
Hell, wait a minute. It’s like my story is actually lampshading it’s author’s love of gaming references.
After a big block of text, here is my real topic: what kind of powers could be used effectively in mundane situations? Or powerful abilities that can be controlled to create effects that are useful in real-world situations?
For example, Chiya Nakagawa’s fire ability could be used to cook, heat to iron clothes, use as a lighter, heat up baths, see in the dark (candle flames), and transfer heat energy elsewhere (if there’s an engine somewhere, she could theoretically take in it’s energy, go somewhere, and essentially act as an engine).
The barrier hero, Reiji, who is a cloudcuckoolander, creates circular barriers around his head (that pass through oxygen) so that he can sleep. He also creates barriers under himself to enable him to levitate (he’s lazy), barriers around something else to work like telekinesis, as well as nontransparent ones to enable him to change his clothes… well, just about anywhere. He expresses his insecurity about it, though.
Under what circumstances (if any) would it be possible to make a grossly incompetent main character likable and engaging? Are there any cases where making the main character consistently incompetent would make a story more interesting?
If you happen to find yourself in Hong Kong from November 2-4, Marvel is hosting a preposterously swanky 8-course meal at Bo Innovation, a 3-star Michelin restaurant. “From the Avengers to Spiderman to Guardians of the Galaxy, each chef will have one night to create an exclusive Marvel-themed menu…” At a price of $300/person, this […]
In the Deadpool trailer, Ryan Reynolds’ character takes a shot at his last superhero movie, Green Lantern. I predict that it’ll actually do even worse critically than GL did (26% on Rotten Tomatoes). His movies (e.g. Green Lantern and RIPD) tend to be fanatically committed to comedy but have an awful record at actually being […]
John Lucas just published a superhero novelette about a superhero whose marriage counselor told him to grow a set. “Less than 24 hours later, he finds himself mired in an underworld of crime, violence, and ill-advised self-improvement.” The novelette, A Hero Is Always Alone Sometimes, can be downloaded for free on Amazon from 8/26 to […]
The new Fantastic Four movie runs like an ill-conceived first draft. Personally, I think it deserved a 30% on Rotten Tomatoes rather than a suspiciously low 9%. It’s notably less awful than Green Lantern (26%). Fill in the blank: “One thing most of the main characters share is ________.” The first thing that came to mind […]
My expectations for the Ant-Man movie were exceedingly low — mainly based on concerns about the source material (no memorable villains, not much interesting personality, not conventionally useful superpowers, etc). In actuality, it’s a consistently funny movie with reasonably good fight scenes. Right now it’s averaging 79% on RT and I think that’s about righ