Oct 27 2011

Hero Brainstorming Forum

Published by at 5:33 am under Character Development,Plotting

Do you have any questions about how to write a hero for your story?

37 responses so far

37 Responses to “Hero Brainstorming Forum”

  1. CCOlsonon 27 Oct 2011 at 1:42 pm

    I’m having trouble figuring out one of the main heroes for my novel (and the main character for my next character study short story).

    This is a male character named David Trenton. He’s about 17 at the time of the short story, attending an ordinary high school in Los Angeles, active member of the Junior Talent Training Association and an active sidekick trainee.

    His role model in life was his father, a US Army Major who died in combat when David was 12. Dad was honest, loving, there as much as a father regularly on deployment can be. David wants to be like him.

    Dad’s death left Mom, David and two younger sisters. David tried to be the man of the house.

    Mom got remarried when David was 15, to a nice Tax Attorney. This caused issues. Lot’s of issues. The stress lead to David having a non-violent talent break.(expression of powers. Details on powers and such in this universe in my review forum.)

    His best friend, Carol, figured out what was going on. She helped him through the rough times and helped him design his costume and persona of Valiant (Registered with JrTTA.) They became closer from this. Emotionally and eventually physically (this will have emotional consequences later).

    So far he’s a fairly up and up fellow by normal standards. Very heroic mindset. Maybe a little dense, but not stupid. He helped tutor Carol when they were younger(I’m pretty sure I’m going to make her dyslexic).

    BIG PROBLEM: He’s boring. I’m not getting into him. I have this problem with a lot of my male characters. Odd cause I’m a man, I know, but I’m atypical in many ways. Can anyone help me figure out how to flesh David out and give him some real SOUL?

  2. jmilbon 27 Oct 2011 at 5:41 pm

    I’m not sure of the demographic you’re going for, but when you mentioned that David and Carol became involved both “emotionally and physically” my mind jumped to making him a teen father, one that decides to be a part of his child’s life. It takes that up and up decent attitude and complicates it. Now he has to wonder how he can support his child, and also brings into play how he maintains his superheroic identity, or even if he should. It can also complicate his relationships with his mother, sisters, stepfather, and even Carol depending on how you want to portray their reactions to the news. I would imagine something like that would also complicate his relationship with Carol’s parents. Would they want him around their daughter? Would they accept David as part of the family, or are they the type of parents that would ship their daughter off to a “private” school to avoid the embarrasment of having an unwed teenage mother in their house?

    There are other avenues to explore in this angle aside from the brief list above if this might be something you are interested in exploring. It seems to me that comics and novels tend to whitewash a teen pregnancy with an adoption at the birth of the child, and the child is quickly forgotten, barring a very “special episode,” such as Hawkgirl visiting her child that doesn’t know she is her mother and learning she was a teen mother, or Spoiler giving birth with Robin at her side (although that seems like it was less about teen pregnancy and more to give Robin a complicating event he had to be at). The child, of course, was given up for adoption and almost never heard about again. If you wanted to go the route of adoption (if you even consider this teen pregnancy angle at all) you could explore David’s feelings on the matter. If Carol wants to give baby up, but he wants to be part of the child’s life, does he sue for his parental rights? Does he try to convince her to let his family adopt the child? Or does he decide that he can’t take care of a child and go along, only to regret his decision and wonder what might have been?

    From your description it sounds like David would try to be like his father and take care of the child as best as he can, i.e., being the man of the house. But at the age he lost his father, I don’t think he would know what that actually entails. Also, while his father sounds like a good guy, it would be just as easy for David to have built his father and their relationship up in his mind to something that just wasn’t there. Hero worship tends to drown out the flaws in a person, and maybe he stumbles on to some secret that challenges the memories he holds of his father. Depending on what the secret is, it might even challenge his perceptions on what being a “man” entails. Based on your post, maybe the father did not die heroically, or was murdered by a villain that David faces later on, which can delve into justice vs. vengeance.

    Those are just some ideas you can use to flesh out his character. You can give him a “code” to live by, based on his memories of his father, and then shatter his memories, and by extension challenge his code, with some revelation.

    Hope this helps conjure up some ideas for you.

  3. Milanon 27 Oct 2011 at 5:47 pm

    “A little dense but not stupid. He helped tutor Carol”

    This might be where he gets a bit mundane, at least as it sounds here. But it doesn’t have to be. Is there something he’s good at? (Perhaps that he was tutoring). Does he take a while to figure things out, but usually gets it right? Does he jump to conclusions instead, often wrong? Does it impact his speech? What does he do when he’s thinking? Does he have a history of events where his slowness caused calamity or hilarity, perhaps that could be mentioned in passing? Often? Is there a cause-effect reason for him being considered “dense” (handicap, no access to education, prefers to focus on sport at the expense of study)? Might it be overcome? All of this admits that he’s only slightly dense, but it might give ideas for making it tangible.

    Often people seen to be dense just have different thought processes. Is he easily distracted? Does he have moral inhibitions about thinking too creatively? Does he think procedurally (one step at a time) or intuitively (try to figure out everything simultaneously)? None of these mean he is dense, but could be interpreted as such.

    Is he gullible, or overly cautious when he doesn’t know what is going on? Is Carol anything like him with regards to his foibles? Does she find them endearing?

  4. CCOlsonon 27 Oct 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Sadly, teen pregnancy is not an option. Carol is screwed up enough as it is and has to be operating as a solo entity. David is the protag of my next short story. Carol is the protag of the novel. I’ll have to stick to the serious, but not as serious, complications brought about by the fact that the two have slept together.

    Jmilb, I do like the idea of the reality of the father being less than the 12 year old image of the father. It’s a common discovery everyone makes. Right now I’m thinking adultery. It makes me ache inside even thinking of that (I HATE writing betrayal anywhere, but it must be done) but it’s a logical secret failing considering that he was always on missions and the current Army has quite a few women in it as things stand (the story takes place in 2023, so bump those numbers up a little bit more).

    If the mother knew about it, but kept quiet, then that would help explain how she got over husband’s death so fast and went for a nice dependable man with a local job. Her actions, combined with the possible revelation of the father’s secret betrayals, helps give David some teen angst.

    I’m given to understand that most men are NOT very introspective (Is this correct? Introvert here) so David would have difficulty identifying and understanding and working through this. Any ideas how a teenage boy might handle such things?

    Successful Command-track military father means regimented father image. If David is imitating, then that means he would be self-controlled. Not very emotionally expressive.

    Milan, I like the procedural thinking. The dense I was talking about was mainly dense about girls. Perhaps he gets caught offguard about things that don’t have to do with what’s right in front of him (linear thinking, as opposed to inductive or intuitive?) but handles immediate problems quickly and well.

    …but his drive to prove himself a man like his father and his underlying emotional conflict about that makes him quick to rush in. This leads to trouble.

  5. CCOlsonon 27 Oct 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Oh, and Carol finds David safe. She has an emotionally abusive father and David has been her friend for years. He is nice to her, knows her, and then becomes powerful and gains all the allure of a hero. She likes being part of that.

    Carol is the one who might have the radically different thought process. I’m thinking of making her a 2D dyslexic, which means that her brain is so good at thinking visually and processing 3D images that this ability actually interferes with her ability to process 2D information like writing.

    It would also give her an inferiority complex if she didn’t get intervention very early and continually from then on, as people have a history of treating dyslexics like idiots, when it is often the exact opposite that is true.

  6. jmilbon 30 Oct 2011 at 5:24 pm

    As far as David handling the reveal of his father’s infidelity, I would suggest a couple of options. One would be that he tries to reconcile the truth with his image by blaming his mother. It creates more family tension and you can explore him growing as a person as he comes to accept the truth.

    Another option, which can be used along with the above, would be to make him more reckless. It opens him up for mistakes that he either has to fix or seek redemption for committing.

    Another option would be to have him decide that “real” life is too messy for him to deal with and have him throw himself completely into his superhero identity. With that you can explore the lack of balance in his life and how it affects him.

    Depending on the length of your story, you can use one, all, or some combination of two to give David a little depth. Hope this helps out.

  7. CRon 31 Oct 2011 at 8:06 am

    @CCOlson: hey, maybe you could try for a “ripped from the headlines” sort of issue with David. Remember the story, from a couple years ago, about Pat Tillman? He was a NFL player, rich and famous, who quit and joined the War against Terrorism. Died heroically in Afghanistan, fighting the Taliban, we were told. Then issues were uncovered. Friendly fire, his fellow soldiers under mysterious cirmcumstances. He still died heroically, but what exactly happened? How would David react to the (possibly public) revelations?

    I’m also working on a superhero prose ms. This ordinary man gets zapped (to make a long story short) and gets powers like Superman–FISS; flight, super strength, super speed, invulnerability. Plus I kept his sexuality, for a hint of romantic possibilities.

    To try and off-set this miraculous, fortuitous, and ubiquitous circumstance, I tried to set limitations. No kryptonite, but in the transformation he loses his sense of taste and smell, ‘tho he doesn’t need to eat anyway. He doesn’t require sleep, which I thought would present interesting plot possibilities. Yeah, and he’s anaerobic–doesn’t require oxygen–handy for all those space flights.

    I am considering another umm, disability. How about monochromancy, “total color blindness”, seeing only in black, white, and shades of gray (also called achromatopsia, I believe)? Since vision has got to be one of the most important senses, am I crippling the fella too much? Can anybody think of liabilities that would turn up? Nefarious ways his enemies (he has lots of them, he’s not up and up like Supes) could take advantage of him? Other than being unable to get a driver’s license, I’m coming up with blanks.

  8. CCOlsonon 31 Oct 2011 at 12:17 pm

    CR, I don’t think that works for this story on David, but he does eventually serve in a war and I’m pondering the whole questionable military incident angle for that. Thanks.

    On your hero, I think you’ve already listed one very important item: He doesn’t need sleep.

    Therefore, he doesn’t dream.

    Therefore, his brain no longer has a need for downtime during which it sorts and explores data from his day (this is at least part of what dreams do).

    Therefore, his mind no longer operates like that of any other human.

    You could get a lot out of this. Perhaps the transformation only took care of the physical side of his need for sleep but he still has the mental need, yet has great difficulty falling asleep because he is never tired. This could lead to bouts of hallucination or insanity from insomnia as his mind falls apart.

    Perhaps he only thinks he doesn’t need sleep and so slowly slips into psychosis as the story progresses.

    Or perhaps his brain now operates in some distinctly different way which affects his thinking. I can’t imagine it, but perhaps you can.

    One possible drawback of this is that his innate human empathy, or ability to grasp what other people are thinking and feeling by observing them and putting himself in their shoes, is damaged because he no longer thinks in the same way they do.

    Even without going that far, the man you described is now set very far apart from humanity. No smell? No Taste? No need to eat? No need the BREATHE? Can’t be hurt by normal means, can fly into space, can move faster than bullets?

    Think of how you would feel if you couldn’t taste food anymore. If you couldn’t smell the scent of the woman you were holding in your arms? (An inability to smell and respond to pheromones would put a marked damper on romance) If you couldn’t suffocate even at the bottom of the ocean, but could suffocate an ordinary person with less effort than it now takes you to open a soda can?

    He needs nothing, fears nothing and he is cut out of half the enjoyable experiences in life (though certainly not all), so why should he CARE about anything?

    I’m not challenging the idea of your hero, just trying to show you how serious the character implications of what you already have are.

    If this was forced on him, how does he feel about losing these parts of his humanity?

    More interestingly, what if he chose this? What if he traded with some powerful entity for these powers, like giving up his sense of taste for super-speed, and his ability to rest and dream for the ability to fly? Why did he make the trade? Did he have a great reason for wanting these abilities? Did he not respect their significance in his life? Does he regret the trade now? Might he seek to get some of these things back?

    Serious fuel for character exploration here.

  9. Drakeon 31 Oct 2011 at 4:59 pm

    I have an idea, really two ideas, but one dovetails into the next series. Lead character is Shadowdragon; he’s a kid with a not-so-normal life who gets his superpowers magically through an act of heroism. He decides to become a hero mainly b/c he doesn’t want to end up like his elder brother. His mom isn’t in his life anymore, his relationship with his dad is acrimonious and tense at best, his group of close friends are more like his family than anything. Anyways he’s solo for awhile, but he meets other heroes later on in his adventures. Then my second idea starts. It involves a young freedom fighter and renegade from the future trying to make it back to 10 years before an alien invasion pretty much ravages the entire earth and invaders enslave the planet. His technology is experimental and he accidentally ends up in the present, so he recruits young super heroes in order to train them to fend off the coming invasion since our society is largely cynical and waves off the notion that we’d be wholly unprepared for contact with aliens and our only hope is some grimy teenager. Largely through chance he ends up with a team and they manage to fend off the invasion. The teens decide to stick together to continue protecting Chicago, and they have many more adventures, including a war between the greek and egyptian pantheons all while growing to resemble a family along the way. My question would be, what is the best way to develop my characters over time without revealing their origins in their first appearance? Also could I get some help with a team name?

  10. Wingson 31 Oct 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Since I already discussed Omega in the Villain forum, I guess it’s Ace’s turn.

    Ace was originally created as a first-person POV practice. I’m generally really bad at these – all my characters wind up sounding the same – so I wanted to create a character with a distinctive voice. To up the ante, I decided to make him the complete opposite of the characters I normally write – I usually write emotionally repressed intelligent types. I ended up with a book dumb, observant nice guy.

    So before Ace was Ace, he was a kid named Elliott St. Clair. He wasn’t a very good student – he worked hard, but nothing came easily to him. Coupled with a stuttering habit (this faded as he grew older, but the damage was done, and he’s still pretty insecure about public speaking), he was often a subject of ridicule. To paraphrase Gaiman and Pratchett, he was the kind of kid who usually becomes a bully in self-defense. Unfortunately, he wasn’t the bullying type, so instead he became the big dumb kid in the back of the classroom. However, in high school he found his calling: football. While he was a horrible student despite his best efforts to be otherwise, Elliott made a fantastic athlete. He went on to be one of the rising of college football. Unfortunately, after about a year and a half of fame and fortune, it started going to his head. He became dangerously overconfident, even egocentric at times. This culminated in a drunk-joyriding accident late at night which cost him both his career and his health – his leg was broken in several places and healed poorly, causing him pain and limiting his movement.

    Though Elliott’s accident helped wake him up a little, he wasn’t completely back to normal yet – he fell into a deep depression and was bent on recovering what he had lost in the accident. This search lead him into a shadier part of the city, where he had heard news of a company seeking test subjects for a revolutionary new medication (something for the paralyzed, I think it was) which he sees as his best change for recovery. However, he’s unaware of the fact that most of the other subjects have died…and though it’s one of the most painful experiences of his life, Elliott not only survives, but is restored to his previous physical state and more: his strength increases exponentially, and he becomes semi-invulnerable.

    The government-run corporation testing the medicine is ecstatic at the new discovery: they hire Elliott, give him a new identity as the super-soldier (and sometime celebrity) Ace, and send him to do battle with a powersuited character who’s been attacking their facilities…

    At present, Elliott is still book dumb and a little gullible. He’s a genuinely nice guy who tries to do the right thing at every opportunity, and he’s more observant than people expect him to be. He’s loyal and determined, though a little socially awkward with a tendency to become tongue-tied under stress. He has issues controlling his strength. Other than when people insult his intelligence (the thing he hates most, though it might not show on his face), insults tend to bounce off him.

    Critique?

    – Wings

  11. CRon 01 Nov 2011 at 12:38 pm

    You have some super ideas, CC. Thanks.

    A being that does not sleep is a fertile ground for exploration, I agree. The only fiction I’ve seen on the matter is Nancy Kress’s “Beggars in Spain”, where she thinks it’ll result in a super human–her sleepless characters spend all those hours improving themselves. I couldn’t finish the book, but early on it was proffered that pressure build-up on the brain was the only reason sleep was actually needed for humans. It was wired into our brains as a defense mechanism to protect us from predators. We can’t be detected while we’re quietly napping, eh? (Unless you snore, I guess)

    Other stuff I’ve read on the net claim otherwise, ‘tho.

    You’re right, my character is no longer human, with all those mods he has. I don’t think you can call him a biological being in fact. Just a being, I suppose.

    No breathing or eating? Got that from a Marvel? handbook on superheroes a few years back. A few supers had those qualities. A big problem would be–if he didn’t breathe or have lungs, how could the fella make a sound, much less speak? Until I figure that out, I imagine clever readers will end up throwing my book against the wall, heh, heh.

  12. Wingson 01 Nov 2011 at 4:05 pm

    As to the “no breathing” thing mentioned above, a lack of breathing/lungs kills the sense of smell and a lot of taste, which could be detrimental both in-combat and out.

    I have a few vampires who don’t have to breathe, but they prefer to because not breathing kills their sense of smell (and while this helps sometimes, it can also be a problem), it can also convince a human that something’s a little off (Imagine a motormouth vampire – who literally never has to stop for breath), and since breathing was an involuntary action during life, some vamps – especially the recently turned – will breathe out of habit.

    – Wings

  13. CRon 02 Nov 2011 at 10:29 am

    Interesting–that combat would be dependent on smell and taste.

    Do you have any vampires who fly? That and the sleepless are some of the most intriguing capabilities of my protag, I think. On that note, Google Earth is most helpful if you want to describe flight. Say you want to fly from one Transylvanian castle to another. Tap the measure icon(it looks like a ruler standing on end) in the toolbar, hit the path tab and click a path from one castle to the other. Hit save.

    Tap options under tools, the touring tab, and in the When creating a tour from a line section–about 70 deg camera angle, the camera range determines height–its in meters but as it works out, your height will be in feet–and use the slide to determine your speed, all the way up to 1000 mph! Tap apply.

    Next, hit that window thingie in the toolbar and check out the places section. select your saved tour and tap the camera icon underneath. Off you go, like an airplane on your tour.

    Oh, and in the options window, be sure to tick the show terrain. Then you have hills and other elevations show up that give some dimension to what you view(no buildings or trees, however).

  14. Wingson 03 Nov 2011 at 1:45 pm

    No flying vampires over here. Their story was originally a Twilight-done-right attempt (I know, right?) which evolved into a passable vampire novel on its own. So initially I took the skeleton of the Meyer model – enhanced strength, speed, and senses, and one special ability – and played around with the traditional vampire attributes and weaknesses. For instance, garlic still wards them off (sensitive olfactory sense at work) while the idea that vampires burn in the sun is a mistranslation or garbling of some sort (Vampires get fantastic night vision at the cost of extreme light sensitivity, meaning that while vampires weren’t killed by sunlight, they were easiest to kill in sunlight). It’s fun.

    (Shamelessness: Anyone up for critiquing Ace? He’s still up there.)

    – Wings

  15. CCOlsonon 03 Nov 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Wings, I think your profile for Ace/Elliot is pretty good. He has things he has to work hard at, character flaws that are anchored in past events, a fairly plausible origin story. The only thing I can think of to improve him is plenty of time learning the ins and outs of his character and learning his particular voice AND, as B. Mac has often said, by providing him with something else besides just strength and toughness.

    The biggest problem I see is that Omega is going in his very self, which means it’s going to be a slugfest between superstrong Ace and powersuited Omega. I still think that if Omega is really this smart then he’ll use robots and hacking to get his dirty work done. This would represent more of a challenge to Ace, because he would have to somehow figure out who was responsible for these attacks and then track Omega to his base, something his intelligence level doesn’t make him innately good at.

  16. Wingson 03 Nov 2011 at 8:13 pm

    Ace was originally created as an experiment in character voice, so that should be fun to play around with. Glad you liked him, it means I’m on the right track.

    That is, in fact, how Omega operates: robotics and hacking. He has robots everywhere, including a few made to look like his powersuit (with the side effect of freaking Ace out when he wind up punching one of the robot-Omegas through a wall and it gets pulped but is still functioning). He doesn’t always attend his attacks in person, but he likes to remind the government that it’s him behind the attacks, so he shows up fairly often but doesn’t always enter the fight himself.

    – Wings

  17. Stanley Francison 04 Nov 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Naming them is a pain in the backside.

  18. Grenacon 09 Nov 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Guys, I need help with my opening/motivations!

    Okay, so I’ve decided to start my novel with my MC experiencing something that gives her a chance to become a hero. What I can’t decide on is which route should it take. There are two options.

    A) Starts with my MC and her family out together and her father gets killed by a rogue. The opportunity to become a hero presents itself and boom, she takes it.

    B) The MC is out with her only father in a outdoor shooting range (hence the weaponry) and they come across a rogue, both of them manage to take him down, opportunity to become a hero presents itself when they come to collect the rogue.

    Which one sounds better? Or do they both suck? Suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  19. Grenacon 09 Nov 2011 at 4:05 pm

    I started contemplating the second one because I wanted my MC to have a happy life, rather than “parent/s dead = angstangstangst”. Although if her father dies, she’d become a hero to protect others and try to keep rogues from killing people, rather than avenging her father’s death.

  20. Lone Staron 09 Nov 2011 at 4:49 pm

    So I have a pretty fun character idea, I think. He’s a young man, twenty years old, and from first sight, you can tell he’s a bit of a punk. He wears leather jackets, spikes his hair up, and smokes too many cigarettes. He’s certainly not an anarchist, but he gets very angry when authority figures such as police start bothering people. He’s called SpeedKult (the u having an umlaut, his own personal tribute to his favorite band) Although he looks like a thug, he does feel responsibility to use his powers for good, and is a nice guy when you get past his rough exterior.

    His body basically creates kinetic energy, which he can use to increase his own running speed, and another strange power- he can psychokinetically increase the speed of molecules around him, creating intense waves of heat and amplifying his punches with heat energy.

    So my question is: how would he be as a main character, and how should I handle his dislike of authority figures/cops?

  21. B. McKenzieon 09 Nov 2011 at 6:48 pm

    “So my question is: how would he be as a main character, and how should I handle his dislike of authority figures/cops?” Maybe the villain is a corrupt mayor or a gang leader or a businessman or whatever that has been able to buy off enough politicians that he can have the police sent after the protagonist. Maybe the protagonist is looking into some sort of police abuse scandal where the official version does not make sense and evidence has mysteriously gone missing.

    “how would he be as a main character?” I’d recommend giving him at least one defining trait that doesn’t fit with the stereotypical rebel/punk. It’ll probably make him feel more three-dimensional and believable.



    Additionally, it may be possible to work the band into the plot. (Maybe he’s on a way to one of their concerts when he gets his superpowers? Maybe he and some friends have a tribute punk band, which is just as ridiculous as it sounds? Maybe one of the issues he has with the police is that they’ve had run-ins with his band being too loud and/or disorderly?)


    Lastly, I’d recommend keeping an eye open for smoother names than SpeedKült, although I do like the idea of using a ü. I like that SpeedKült clearly has some individual style, rather than something more generic (like Blur or Velocity) that could apply to any speed-themed character. However, are we supposed to take the character seriously? SpeedKült feels a bit too over-the-top to me, so it might be harder to take the character seriously. (If that’s intentional, SpeedKült sounds pretty genius).

  22. Sam Hon 27 Dec 2012 at 2:10 am

    My MC is a historical figure recreated exactly in the future as they were at a particular moment in their life. Any tips for writing an accurate character, while still showing how much she’s changed from suddenly knowing that everyone she’s ever loved has been dead for untold ages?
    (If it helps, the superpowers she gains later include being clinically dead as a side effect- no beating heart, no ability to move her diaphragm(constant sense of suffocation, anyone?))

  23. B. McKenzieon 27 Dec 2012 at 5:06 pm

    “Any tips for writing an accurate character, while still showing how much she’s changed from suddenly knowing that everyone she’s ever loved has been dead for untold ages?” Interesting scenario! I suppose it would really depend on the character. For example, that sociopath freak who wanted to be left alone to read in Twilight Zone might actually feel RELIEVED (at least at first) that the people that kept intruding the most on his time are gone. Fry from Futurama doesn’t seem all that shaken up about it, either–for one thing, it seems like he had a lot more success making friends and doing interesting things in the future than in his original time period. For many characters, I can imagine that it would be VERY difficult to cope with this problem, especially at times when they’re reminded of someone they were really close to (e.g. a romantic song triggering some sort of memory of a significant other). However, depending on how proactive/optimistic/cold* the person is, they might be able to rebound by putting the past behind them and/or trying to make something of the future. Depending on how empathetic/attached the character is, she might want to recreate a loved one of her own (although depending on the character’s growth arc and personality, she might eventually decide that this would be so immoral/selfish that she sacrifices the possibility of regaining her friend to spare them the shock/grief that she has experienced).

    *Now THAT is an unusual combination… 🙂

  24. Malcolm Bansaon 27 Dec 2012 at 8:31 pm

    I want superhero to be different from other characters. So first I tried chosing a really unique one for my character, but as time really went on, I realized I wanted a elemental, Phsycic,and enhanced body fuctions for my character. I have already chosen the power of flight, but I dont know what my main power is going to be. Here are following powers I would like to have for my superhero : Photkinesis, Radiation control,psionic, terrakinesis, cryokinesis, telekinesis, and energy projections. Which one of these would be most useful for my superhero ? Also, for enhaced body functions, are enhanced strength, speed, visison, and senses used up ?

  25. Kirbyon 27 Dec 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Well, if you give your character telekinesis, that would explain how he’s able to fly (he uses telekinesis on himself). I think enhanced senses would work well with a telekinetic, too. It’s also easy to get creative with this particular power. That’s why I made one of my heroes telekinetic.

  26. B. McKenzieon 28 Dec 2012 at 1:00 am

    “I realized I wanted a elemental, Phsycic,and enhanced body fuctions for my character. I have already chosen the power of flight, but I dont know what my main power is going to be. Here are following powers I would like to have for my superhero : Photkinesis, Radiation control,psionic, terrakinesis, cryokinesis, telekinesis, and energy projections. Which one of these would be most useful for my superhero ? Also, for enhaced body functions, are enhanced strength, speed, visison, and senses used up?” Are you thinking about using ALL of those powers or SOME of them? I think using 1-2 of photokinesis, radiation, super-strength, super-speed, psionics, earth control, ice control, TK, and energy/lasers could work*. But if we’re talking about a grab-bag where the character just has a ton of random powers, it sounds very 1930s–I’d recommend checking out this article for more ideas about how to select superpowers that your readers will be able to remember easily.

    “I want my superhero to be different from other characters.” Hmm. Have you thought about elements besides superpowers? The key to differentiating your characters is giving them distinct personalities, voices, attributes, flaws, goals, obstacles, backgrounds, etc. If you have those things, you don’t need unique superpowers. If you don’t have those things, unique superpowers won’t save you.

    *I wouldn’t count super-senses against you–they’re really generic, probably won’t make it very hard to challenge the character, and require little explanation.

  27. Sam Hon 29 Dec 2012 at 3:08 am

    Malcolm– I think that any of those would be as useful as their user is creative. Take cyrokinesis for example. Frozone had flight, projectiles, bullet stopping, and so on. 60’s Spiderman made everything from weapons to canoes out of his webbing. As a better executed example, Static Shock could fly, tap cell phone waves, and light fires, even lift people as he learned the limits of his powers and grew. They all did this with single primary powers.

    My next question is more general. My MC, (Marie Curie,) was a public figure. How do I write an historical fiction hero, in a sci-fi (meaning not historical) setting, without falling to the stereotypes and myths attributed so commenly to celebrities?

  28. Malcolm Bansaon 13 Feb 2013 at 7:33 pm

    Hey, its me guys. Thanks for the tips on powers it helped me putt a lot. To answer your question B.Meckenzie, I was asking what superpower would be the best to use in a fight and would it create challenges for my character. And Sam H I want my character to discover the potential his powers hold as the series goes on. But this is not why I came to talk to you guys. You see, while I was in my seventh grade classroom, I got this idea about a brand new comic book series. The story is about this supervillian called the anilathor. He is earths greatest super villain and has tried to take over the world 4 times. His Plans are always foiled though by earth greatest superhero the heroes legion. After his latest scheme is foiled, the anihalator is locked up in underworld penitentiary, a prison in space, for 5 years. He eventually escapes and resumes his evil plans. He soon discovers though a secret about earth superheroes so big that it could change the entire world forever. The anialator sets out to expose this secret, while all of earths superheroes are on a manhunt for him so is the general populace. As the book goes on you discover the anialtor origins and how he came to be the man he is.

  29. Jacob Strainon 02 Mar 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Hey all!
    I want to write a novel in which the MC is Wesley Durbin, a petty criminal in a world full of super humans. The book follows his slightly comedic misadventures evading a vengeful fire manipulating vigilante dedicated to eradicating street crime. My question is this: How should I start the book? This is something with which I’ve struggled for the better part of three months, and I would really like to get cracking on it ASAP. Wes’ personality is fearful, optimistic, and observant. Do any of you have any ideas?

  30. B. McKenzieon 02 Mar 2013 at 9:33 pm

    One possibility would him attempting a robbery but pulling out at the last second (an unusual decision) because he observes something which suggests to him that somebody present (or maybe everybody present) is actually superpowered and/or ridiculously dangerous. For example, he’s casing a restaurant for a robbery with a friend, but he notices one table of coworkers talking with a lot of scientific jargon. In a city with a lot of superheroes (e.g. New York), pretty much every scientist is either a superhero or a supervillain, and to the observant and genre-savvy eye, 4+ scientists in a room should be a terrifying prospect for the average petty criminal. He attempts to have his less fearful friend hold off on the job, but the friend persists and he leaves. The friend gets the snot kicked out of him by any of the superheroes in the room, one of whom could be the vengeful fire-manipulating vigilante that first sees Wesley here. Based on what the vigilante has already seen (Wesley entered a store shortly after one criminal and may have said a few words to him before leaving nervously, unusual behavior for someone entering a restaurant), the vigilante may have grounds to come looking for him and/or remember his face later.

    Alternately, perhaps Wesley attempts an unusual crime which the vigilante takes VERY seriously. If you’re new to a city like Gotham, you might not have known that Batman takes crimes against the city’s biggest company, Wayne Enterprises, very personally…

  31. Cadillacon 02 Mar 2013 at 9:59 pm

    Hi guys,
    I’m trying to figure out a good name for a hero/vigilante that I have in mind. He served as a marine, but he was discharged because he was decidedly too unstable for the force. When he returns home, the only thing he can do that he feels is worthwhile is take crime off of the streets. He is nearly crazy and gets very violent, though he always feels regret. He also has no fear of harm to himself and always puts the ones he cares about before him. Because of the army, he has grown extremely paranoid and often formulates crazy schemes in his head, though the side of him that is still normal always scraps them. He is somewhat of a loner and prefers to be left alone because he is afraid that he gets to know someone too well he will begin to devalue them. Any name ideas are great. Thanks.

  32. B. McKenzieon 03 Mar 2013 at 2:54 am

    Hello, Cadillac. If the character is a loner, and presumably not very theatrical in personality, I would guess the super-name is probably coming from a third party, perhaps the media or the police. If so, I’d recommend going with a name which covers how he’s seen by others–e.g. if they regard him as a terror of the night, go with something intimidating. What do they see as the character’s distinguishing characteristics?

  33. Jacob Strainon 03 Mar 2013 at 5:14 am

    Those are all great ideas, but don’t you think I should show him before the robbery to show his motivation for doing it?

  34. Echos Throughouton 01 Jul 2013 at 11:38 am

    I’ve been trying to figure out a good story to go with my character, Rosaliegh. I’m a HUGE X-Men fan, so ultimately, I have a X-Men chara, no? I have her all planned out in back-story, but I just can’t decide whether I want to do a story where it starts from the “dark-ages of my life”, as she likes to call it, or it should be that she’s pouring out her heart to her sister, as well as my sister’s character, Alice. I would think that starting from the beggining to the point she is in her life, illistrating it from her own views would make the most sense. I’ve tried it, and it is very hard.

  35. GreenKittyon 15 May 2016 at 5:09 am

    I am writing a story that has lots of arcs in it, and in the first one there is a side character who is very important to the MC (think sister, bordering on crush). The MC’s family was killed earlier in the story, and she feels she could have saved them. Since the side character has become like a sister to the MC, when the side character kills herself to save everyone else near the end of the arc, the MC is very upset. How would I, from the MC’s POV portray the closeness of the MC and the side character and the grief the MC feels at the side character’s death? Also, I want readers to emotionally attach to this side character. How would I do this?

  36. Aj of Earthon 15 May 2016 at 8:01 am

    “How would I, from the MC’s POV portray the closeness of the MC and the side character and the grief the MC feels at the side character’s death? Also, I want readers to emotionally attach to this side character. How would I do this?”

    With effective narrative.

    Seriously, it sounds like you already understand what you want out of your story–particular character dynamics you want to develop, how you want the plot to move that arc along, you know what you are specifically looking to evoke from your readers. That’s all what’s up, so really the only thing left to it is to do it.

    Start writing. And if you’ve already started, keep writing. If you know those particular questions you asked are what represent the largest challenges for you, maybe choose to spend a little more time on them. Practice your narrative dealing with those elements. Or hold off and come to them naturally as you move through the body of your work, sharpening your writing all the while. Either way, no one is going to be able to tell your story the way you will be able to, and you can totally knock it out of the park, a hundred percent. But it isn’t going to write itself, and you personally will not find the answers to your questions unless you come across them by writing your story. You can do it. You just have to do it.

    Well met.

  37. B. McKenzieon 15 May 2016 at 9:19 am

    “…character who is very important to the MC (think sister, bordering on crush).” I’d suggest going one way or the other here (sisterly or romantic), but I feel like the two options should probably be mutually exclusive unless the author is deliberately going for something really unusual (e.g. the Lannisters in Game of Thrones).

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