1. Shadowplay
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    Shadowplay New Member

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    Conditions, Not Powers?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Shadowplay, Nov 9, 2011.

    Currently, I am working on a novel fencing adult/young-adult fiction, set a few years before 2020. I suppose it can be categorized as a science fiction thriller. I will be relatively brief, so if I don't explain enough or if you are just curious, ask away.

    In my novel, the two main characters go to a new town, meet new people, and spread an extraordinary "virus" with unknown origins to close friends, through many means. I say "virus" because, without going into too much detail, it is a different type of infectious agent entirely. I will use virus as a placeholder. The one main character who knows about the virus spreads it intentionally, while the other does so by accident. Early on, the main characters and their friends who become involved and twisted into this "world without ignorance" realize they must remain quiet about the virus; there are individuals who are responsible specifically to confine and treat (no cure) or dispose of the infected deemed a threat to society, themselves, or exposing the truth. The decision is based on usefulness, age, lifestyle factors, social status, etc. This virus is highly versatile, and functions in the body almost as if it is sentient. For example, if one of the main characters is reaches a certain level anger or pain, his body temperature increases significantly, and he is able to survive at that body temperature that supersedes the normal 98.6 degrees to something more like 110. Due to his stubborn, hotheaded personality, the rise in body temperature can be uncontrollable. It can be used beneficially, too, for if he makes contact with another for an extended period of time while in this state, he could burn them. This is not without its drawbacks, obviously. He acquires severe rashes all over his body, extreme dehydration, nearly to the point of death. This is one of the more extreme cases, however, and isn't by natural means. In another case, an unidentified toxin builds up in the blood that, when outside of the body and exposed to air, becomes toxic upon touch. On top of that, any infected individual who reaches an altered state like the aforementioned suffer gradual brain damage. Think mad cow disease for humans, only the degradation is much, much slower. Morality and reason are usually the first to be affected. Reach a certain point at once, and the individual will basically lose their mind, until vegetative.

    Anyway, after my rant, is it appropriate to call these conditions and not something like powers or abilities? Or are they too supernatural for that? I ask this because it is my intention to make it realistic, yet extraordinary and mysterious, in that it pushes the envelope. Concepts that make you think to yourself "Wow! Okay, I guess that could be possible...given the right circumstances." I can give more examples, if need be. I am interested in hearing your feedback, about any of it, really. Thanks.
     
  2. Jetshroom
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    Jetshroom Active Member

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    I think realistically, your use of "condition" instead of "power" or "ability" comes down to the tone of your book. Clearly, you are approaching this as some sort of infection and as something that is detrimental, so I think your terminology will fit quite well. If however you're writing The Fantastic Four then "condition" is probably too negative to work. (Though Marvel have used the term to great effect in X-Men.)

    That said though, it's your story. If you want to change the tone of the word "condition" to a positive then give it a try, it might work.
     
  3. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    You could call them superpowers because when Spiderman was bit by a spider his physical make-up changed but I think it would ruin the effect of the story if you called them superpowers. I can see the story having a greater impact if the characters don't necessarily love the side effects of this virus. Granted they (the side effects) may have benefits but not without drawbacks. I don't see the character thinking of the side effects as a benefit except in odd situations that they wouldn't want to be in anyway. So the short answer to my opinion is no, don't call them superpowers.
     
  4. Shadowplay
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    Shadowplay New Member

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    Right. Few characters want to become infected, but there are those who are exceptions, seeking it to get in on the action, you could say. Also, there are those the virus has graced with little side effect, and their conditions are quite useful. That, in no way, means that they think of themselves as superheroes. That is definitely not my approach. Most certainly no capes and costumes in this story. And they do not love the virus or its side effects. Most, anyway. Really, victim is an appropriate term in these cases. Just a group of friends and family thrown into this new reality, scared for their lives, with no reasonable way out. Pretty sure I am going to stick with calling them conditions. The conditions are temporary, after all, caused by too much stress, physical exertion, and pain. Just needed to hear fresh opinions. Thanks.
     
  5. SnappyUK
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    SnappyUK Member

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    Stepping back into more historical terminology, especially those old terms associated with illnesses, aberrations or abnormalities led me to think of words like 'gift' and 'curse'. If the general populace is unaware of the true source of this change in their physiology, they may fall back on such vague and non-scientific explanations. If some people see the condition as a positive, they may regard it as a gift, while those with the opposing view consider it a curse.

    Good luck with your writing.
     
  6. Shadowplay
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    Shadowplay New Member

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    That makes perfect sense. Only, calling them gifts or curses the entire way through the novel doesn't quite fit with the tone of my story. However, a character does ponder over the gift/curse scenario at one point, so you're spot on. Thanks.
     

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