Jul 24 2009
Training sequences are really useful because they help introduce a new member (often the main character) to a team of superheroes or another group of exotic and powerful protagonists (a SWAT team, an Army unit, etc). Training scenes are especially important if your superhero team is unusual and needs to be introduced gradually to readers.
Here are some suggestions.
1. Don’t make it a cakewalk– give the hero opportunities to prove himself to readers. If the team is meant to feel impressive, the training should be hard. Here’s an article about Secret Service training, for example.
Overseeing them are instructors like Mixon, who wears a size 52 suit jacket, whose T-shirt says “Fighting Solves Everything,” and whose 2-year-old son knows how to do a one-man takedown. This morning Mixon, 40, is testing control tactics, or ground-fighting.
Even his toddler knows how to do a takedown! That is hardcore.
2. If possible, I recommend staying away from trainers that disappear as soon as the training is complete. In a realistic Army story, the drill sergeants are gone as soon as the recruits complete basic training. The recruits will go onto Iraq or Afghanistan or wherever and the drillers stay behind. If possible, try to develop characters that will be present after the training ends. For example, use series regulars as part-time instructors (X-Men) or use the instructors as minor characters, a la Ender’s Game.