1. Kangaroo
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    Kangaroo New Member

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    Overused Superpowers?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Kangaroo, Aug 18, 2011.

    Hey everyone,
    I'm writing a fantasy novel about people with superpowers. I was wondering if anyone would be turned off by a story if there were characters that had, let's say, super speed or super strength.
    The thing is, I have dozens of characters that each need a different power, and it's not to easy to come up with so many that won't seem cliche.
    Also, do you think I'd be stepping on the toes of the Fantastic Four if two of my main characters had the ability to manipulate fire and stretch their body?
    Thanks
     
  2. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Characters aren't defined by their powers, something very important to keep in mind. However, it can have an impact, but not in the way you're describing.

    What I would suggest is that characters don't have like 50 powers, like superman has at times, and also has either one common weakness, or lots of weaknesses, again unlike superman. Those are my two cents.
     
  3. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    No, recycling powers is not a crime. Combine a cliche superpower to an interesting character and you'll end up with an interesting character all the same.

    Once again - considering you main characters - as long as the personality of the characters are not that of a boisterous kid who never grew up and a reserved scientist, you'll be fine.
     
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  4. AveryWhite
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    AveryWhite Senior Member

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    i agree with killer300.

    but no i dont think so, as long as you can create characters that the reader will like, it doesnt really matter that its a superpower that has been used many times before. theyll only see the awesome charater! thats whats important :p
     
  5. Kangaroo
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    Kangaroo New Member

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    Thanks for the advice guys. I'm glad to hear it's okay to use those cliches.
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Super strength is probably the most common superpower in comic books. It seems that every other character is super-strong. But it doesn't bother the fans, so long as the characters are different - I mean, have different personalities and motivations.

    So go ahead and use common superpowers if you want. If it works in the Marvel Comics universe, it can work in yours.
     
  7. skeloboy_97
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    skeloboy_97 Senior Member

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    It's fine to use the cliche's, BUT, make sure you put your own twist on them. For instance a time period of cool off after being invisble.. etc..
     
  8. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    The "Legion of Superheroes" is a great example of this. It's a DC Comics superhero-series (often tied to Superman, btw) that started with three superheroes and slowly expanded into severawl more. Including Jimmy Olsen, if I'm not mistaken. The interesting thing is the only criterias for joining them was that you were a hero, and that you had one superpower. Not zero, not two. Just one. For that reason Superboy was rejected, as he has more than one superpower. :)

    The best thing is everyone in the team only had one power, so they had to use that power as best they could to adapt to the situation. That again meant they had to work as a team to compliment each other's power. If a car is about to crash, what use is your flying power? You can fly, but you aren't stronger than a normal person and certainly not invulnerable. If a house is on fire, it's nice to be immune to flames. But what use is that if there are five people in need of help, and you only have the time to resuce one of them?

    My point is I love superheroes (and supervillains, of course), but my favorite are the ones with major flaws. They look far more human than the the regular ones. I guess that's why Lex Luthor is one of my favorite villains. He's just a regular man, constantly fighting Superman and almost winning. That says a lot more about him than many realize. And when you think about it, no one in the entire Batman-universe has superpowers. Sort of. Sure the Joker fell into a pool of acid and survived, Mr Freeze has to live in a really cold temperature, Poison Ivy talks to plants and so on, but they don't have "superpowers". That's why I love that universe. :)
     
  9. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    I've neverliked characters with superpowers, they always looked boring, a sort of cheap plot device to explain why they could do things than human beings can't, I find it more interesting to see what normal people can do in abnormal circumstances.
     
  10. GreenRain
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    GreenRain Member

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    The most important components of story development are: Your point, your scenario, your characters, scene, and plot, and lastly, the dressing for the story. They can have crazy supper powers, such as Mystery Men or Kick Ass, but if there is no point, or if the character is too flat, your sill lose your reader, and your lunch.

    Side note: Even if the powers exist nowhere other than your story, they ought to be consistent within the story's world, and at least explainable, even if the theory that explains it doesn't fit the facts very well. Hay, the world was flat, once upon a time.
     
  11. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I like superpowers in general but some of them - super strength, flight, super speed seem to be recycled quite a lot.

    Could I suggest looking at some of the stranger super powers such as those seen in Haven and The 4400. They did bring variety to the genre. Also Heroes to an extent.

    Cheers.
     

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