1. Beepbookgirl

    Beepbookgirl New Member

    Nov 23, 2021
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    California and Australia

    How do I a character discovering they have powers?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Beepbookgirl, Nov 24, 2021.

    Some background: The world my story is set in is a world where about an eighth of of the population natualry have powers. It is accepted that these people exist. The main character of the story is an illegal, seemly failed genetic experiment to create a mutant who can enhance those around her. Her real power is to copy/use the powers of mustants around her, meaning that sometimes she's powerless and sometimes she's the most powerful person in the world. One of the two pieces of my story I'm struggling with is when she figures out what her powers are. It's in the middle of a fight scene, and no matter what I do it feels too tacky and doesn't sit right. Do you have any advice?
  2. Cress Albane

    Cress Albane Active Member

    Aug 23, 2021
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    Maybe focus on what sensations her body experiences? Make it so that she feels as if the time around her stopped and she feels something incomparable to what she's used to.

    "Persona" games have similar awakening scenes, so you might look those up on youtube. It's one of the few examples where I felt like the awaking wasn't forced in the story, so it's my go-to recommendation.

    Also, what is the source of your protagonist's power? I mean, what decides how well she uses it. Willpower? Muscles? Control of her inner child? Think about it and try to focus on the emotion that would trigger one of those sources. Then, you can have the MC do things based on a sensible pattern. For example, if her power grows once she feels afraid, you can have her in a state of panic and match the prose's tone to fit the character's state of mind.

    I generally think that if you use fight scenes to awaken the protagonist's power, the scene itself should mostly focus on emotions and the events should happen fast, without the MC thinking too much and relying mostly on instinct. Afterward, you can have a scene where she properly "discovers" her power and describe how it feels, how it works etc.
  3. Travalgar

    Travalgar Active Member

    Sep 1, 2021
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    The reverse of discovering that one is in control of a new power would be waking up with a numb hand or sleeping leg. Consider the sensation one would feel when they exercise their new abilities for the first time. It could feel funky, electrifying, itching, but somewhat familiar, like it was a part of themselves all along. Their heart would beat quickly from the excitement, shivering even though their whole body was heating up from the rising blood flow and increased physiological and psychological work.

    In the above reverse-example, as one regain control of their hand and/or leg, their mind would also inch ever closer to full wakefulness. Either slowly but surely or abruptly, with a new power in their control, their realization will grow in tow and awakening soon follows. Discovering new powers should always be coming about both physically and emotionally, in a concert; whether harmonious or cacophonous.

    Above... was just an example. One example. Seriously, go wild! Describe whatever you feel would seem right when someone discovers s/he could lift a heavy rock with a flick of a finger just like that scary-looking thin man with a half-mask did. Just don't be boring!
  4. Chromewriter

    Chromewriter Contributor Contributor

    Jul 23, 2021
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    Let her take a hit of the ability that she flings back, if that's within your characters skillset- I don't know how the mechanics of copying works in your story, but there are multiple mechanics that are possible for the character that copies. Make it unique enough so that the ability feels useful but not over powered.

    The TV show "heroes" has a guy who can copy but that quickly became insanely overpowered. So create a limitation framework for how she can copy and then make her more efficient over time to make that scenario happen more consistently. Like the spidy Web shooter thing spiderman makes.

    But that first initial fight should nearly always have the person who thought they didn't have a power feel completely helpless. Hence being hit by the skill first. Then the dramatic turn and she hits back with the skill that took her down.

    Though that's sort of a cliche way to do it. You can deconstruct that scenario in a variety of ways if you wanted. But there's a reason why the trope is used there, it's a very effective way to establish dramatic turn in the characters arc; Being hit by the skill shows that the sub-plot about not having a skill was relevant and meaningful, plus it sets up the realisation that the character had the copy skill instantaneously.

    But if you are super into a deconstruction of that scene that makes it meaningful, I think you'd have to make the character brute force learn the ability in a way prior to that fight. If she's intelligent she will scientifically do trial and error until she finds out her powers, if she's desperate, imagine she will jump into a waterfall, if she finds a mentor, she will be spoon-fed her skill.

    But again the classic awakening sequence is the easiest one to do without changing your story. She gets hit with a skill and then she shows off her power and passes out or something. Very cliche but effective.
    Cress Albane likes this.
  5. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

    Dec 24, 2019
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    Way, way out there
    She might not even realize what's happening until after the fight is over, she only knows that when the need arose, she was able to tap into power she's never had access to before. Later it occurs to her that it's the same power her opponent has. But at first she might just think she happens to have that same power.

    Until her next fight, when she finds that power is not available to her, but now a different one is, and she quickly realizes that again, it's the same power her current opponent has. Or maybe it's confusing because it isn't her opponent's power but someone else nearby. In fact, if there are lots of people around during the fights it might take several such events before she realizes the nature of her own power.

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