Archive for January 31st, 2012

Jan 31 2012

Creative Ways to Use Supersenses

Published by under Superpowers,Supersenses

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

I wouldn’t recommend giving your characters supersenses unless they develop a character and/or serve an important plot purpose.  Otherwise, they’re probably wasted space.


1. You can use supersenses to develop an unusual point of view.  For example, maybe a nonhuman is supernaturally talented at perceiving something highly relevant to his species and/or culture.  (E.g. if an alien comes from a desert world, maybe he’s supernaturally aware of temperature and moisture and can apply those to social interactions—a human’s body temperature increases in stressful situations, for example).   Alternately, perhaps the character is a skilled hunter (e.g. Wolverine).  A musically-inclined characters might be able to hear emotions in a character’s voice that most people couldn’t, which may be useful in high-stakes social situations.


1.1. If the character has developed superpowers fairly recently, he/she may be blown away by extremely strong sensory experiences.  That is one possible way to show how a character’s superpowers affect his/her perspective.  Hat-tip to R.G. in the comments below.


2. You can do a scene or plot arc that hinges on only one character perceiving something.  For example, Daredevil’s senses allow him to figure out who’s lying pretty quickly, but he still has to prove it to actually break the case.  Alternately, you could do a plot where only one character can perceive a particular threat and needs to either deal with it himself or convince others that he’s not crazy.


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