1. Adam Bolander

    Adam Bolander Senior Member

    Jan 14, 2010
    Likes Received:

    How to obtain/develop powers?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Adam Bolander, Nov 2, 2020.

    My current WIP begins with the main character obtaining magical powers (I explain them thoroughly HERE) just as a villain with the same power appears to threaten his home, but I'm having trouble deciding how to go about this. I have some basic ideas, but they just don't feel...right. Maybe if I write them down here somebody can help sort all this out?

    I know that the hero needs to be given the power by someone else. The first thought that comes to my mind here is that the villain can steal these powers to add them to his own, and the other magic user gives them to the hero to keep the villain from getting them. This makes the hero the villain's new target, and he has to quickly learn how to use these powers so he can beat his more experienced foe.

    This idea pretty much comes prepackaged with a plot, but...I dunno. The whole "innocent hero is given powers by dying veteran hero" trope feels a little uninspired, you know?

    There's also the issue of how he learns to use his powers. This is a kind of magic that people study their whole lives and still know very little about. The villain and the guy who gives the hero his powers are two of the most powerful, and therefore most learned, magic users in the world. That means that if their power is suddenly thrust upon a completely uneducated person, they wouldn't know what to do with it anyway. He has the gift, essentially, but no idea how to use it. This isn't the kind of thing he can teach himself, at least not enough to beat the villain, so I'm at a dead end there.

    Another idea I had was that, along with his power, the older hero also passes along the knowledge of how to use it. That's also got the benefit of giving thame villain a reason to chase him, since simply stealing a power he already has wouldn't benefit him much. But then, if the hero already knows how to use all his powers, I lose the opportunity for lots of discovery and character growth as he learns about them.

    So that's the bind I'm in right now. Any suggestions on how to fix them?
  2. Kalisto

    Kalisto Senior Member

    Jun 23, 2015
    Likes Received:
    The comic Wraithborn has a very similar idea of a person who knows nothing of magic suddenly being given a power. But what made Wraithborn so special was that it was never really about the powers themselves as much as it was about the loss of innocence. Katniss comes into the Hunger Games already fully capable of survival. But the Hunger Games isn't about a hero's journey to learn to survive, but instead about the deceptive world Katniss lives in.

    And so when you say that you feel the plot is uninspired, you might be right. So go back to your theme. What do you want to say with this? It might end up that the fact he so easily gets his powers doesn't even matter, because it's not really about the powers themselves. If you don't have a theme, think about what you could say. It doesn't have to be anything earth shattering. It can be something as simple as having faith in yourself.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice