1. Merlin

    Merlin Member

    Jan 31, 2010
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    Kids with Superpowers - Done Before, or can there be something new?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Merlin, Jan 31, 2010.

    Okay, so basically, I'm writing a book about a 14 year old named Arthur. He's been genetically enhanced (Read: Given Superpowers) by scientists, to stop the threat of the Vampires. However, he doesn't like being told what to do, and escapes the lab. I haven't decided what should happen next.

    So Here's my question, or rather, questions:

    Will the ending be too predictable? Has this been done before? Is everybody so damn sick of this sort of story?

    Oh yeah, and this is my 1st post on these Forums, btw. I need help, folks.
  2. ManhattanMss

    ManhattanMss New Member

    May 14, 2009
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    What you're describing is a genre of storytelling that isn't likely to disallow some twists and turns of imagination. I say that because, even within genres, compelling fiction is, if nothing else, a well-written specific story, not one that's about a general idea. If you read enough fiction, you'll know (or find out) how true that is.

    So I think your questions cannot possibly have definitive answers that apply to the specific story we haven't yet seen. I also don't think opinions about your story idea will help you in writing your story, nor should they persuade you not to complete it if you find it exciting, interesting, and full of potential (as it sounds to me like maybe you do).

    I think the only meaningful way to answer your questions is, if the idea is compelling enough for you to write it, then dare to do it and find out. Even ideas that are done to death can (and do) lie at the core of excellent stories--especially so in various genres that are just stories that all have some commonalities that appeal to particular readers. After all, no one but you is in posession of your imagination. Don't be afraid to use it!;)
  3. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 19, 2007
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    Massachusetts, USA
    A story concept means nothing. I can tell you now, it has been done before. What matters is how you write it, the characterization, the flow, the imagery, all of it.

    There's no benefit in asking what other people think of the concept! They'll either say,"Sounds great," or, "it sounds like a ripoff of..."

    If the idea stirs you, write it. Then ask people what they think of the final story. After they tell you what they don't like about it, revise it, usually several times, until you're happy with it or until you throw up your hands and say the hell with it.

    Please read this thread about What is Plot Creation and Development?
  4. firefly114

    firefly114 New Member

    Feb 15, 2010
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    kids with powers is always a very interesting subject. And every story is different! I'm in the process of writing one--in mine, the characters' ancestors were playing with magic around the time of the Salem witch trails and became so obsessed that it altered their genes, giving them special powers.. and in modern times, their descendents have these powers and are part of an organization responsible for protecting the unknowing humans from 'demons' and people of their kind who have gone wrong. I made sure to keep a human aspect to it, though, and the setting is at a boarding school, where the characters deal with normal teen problems as well as their fights with the bad witches. (If you want to know more, click on the link to my Fictionpress profile in my signature)

    Anyway, have you seen the TV show Kyle XY? It is sort of along the same lines as your idea, and maybe you could get some thematic ideas from that.

    This is definitely a good idea--don't stop just because it's overdone! There should be more conflict besides him escaping--what happens after he escapes? Does he have to battle a vampire or something? Go into hiding from the scientists who are looking for him? Maybe he tries to have a normal life (this could add some humor). What is the big climax? Once you figure out the big climax, you can figure out all the little bumps from there.
    This is a great idea--if feel free to message me further if you want any more help!
  5. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
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    Coquille, Oregon
    everything's been done before... good writers can come up with fresh twists to the most cliched of concepts...
  6. writewizard

    writewizard New Member

    Dec 14, 2009
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    Has it been done before? Sure. But you can put your own original, unique twist on it that will leave everyone jaw-dropping at the site. Almost everything has been done before, but you can put your fresh twist.

    Come up with something unique about Aurthur, something wonderful, something so unique everyone will go wow. Can he break windows by looking at them? Smash doors? Why is he escaping from prison?

    When I'm stuck, I like to outline twelve possible plots and then ask myself, "Which of these should happen next?"
  7. tcol4417

    tcol4417 Member

    Jul 27, 2009
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    Sydney, AU
    I had a bit of a chuckle at the premise. Government-funded super-child made to fight the freaks resents being told what to do and escapes.

    I'm reminded of a line from that blatant bastardisation of canon called Wolverine: Origins
    "You just spend half a billion dollars making him invincible"

    As Ben Yahtzee Croshaw said, it's clear that some government organisations (because honestly, how on earth could they justify private funding to potential investors?) have gone to the Umbrella Corporation Business School by giving incredible super powers to entities with free will and then treating them like rubbish.

    I mean superpower teenage runaways... wait isn't there a comic series actually called runaways about superpowered teenagers? And then you've got Dark Angel and that other tv show that I can't be bothered remembering because Fox's programming tends to meld into an incoherent blob during the ad breaks. Something about escaped science experiments fighting for their right for freedom.

    ANYWAY - don't let that get you down, just keep in mind that you're going down a thrice-used mineshaft looking for untapped ore. It's there somewhere, but you've got a lot of digging to do.

    Typically what happens is that the government goes after their little lightning-throwing toddler with guys in suits with guns who promptly get electrified. In order to avoid the cliche's of the sub-genre you'll have to... well, avoid the cliche's. The kid cannot stay in America because if you're running away from the American Government then YOU ARE RUNNING AWAY FROM THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT.

    Overseas travel can lead to all sorts of potential motherlodes. Perhaps there's a secret superhuman arms race between countries and other test subjects need to be rescued? Perhaps that's the origin of the "vampires" - the commie equivalent to your MC? Perhaps the MC has to resist their violent programming after getting lost and being taken in by the vampires who nurse him back to health?

    Remove yourself from the cliche plot devices associated with the genre and the possibilities are endless. Don't let set-pieces and archetypes slow you down.

    Once you get out into open water you can go as far as you want in any direction, but first you have to scrape the seaweed that's caught in the motor.
  8. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

    May 1, 2008
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    Puerto Rico
    So, here’s what you need to ask yourself, because as Cogito has pointed out already, just giving a premise is not enough. Anything can be written about anything, and as Maia has stated, everything has been written. There is nothing new under the sun.

    Why super powers? What is the purpose of this particular device in the story? Do you have a story that explores the idea of a life outside the boundaries of ordinary, every day life? The kind of life one would have if one had super powers? Or do you have a character that is fascinating you and you are looking for a “script” in which to place him/her?

    You need to know this because this will dictate what you have and also what you need.

    What will you explore with this premise? What questions will you raise about the human condition? You have altered this protagonists human condition outside the norm, so it would seem that such questions would be central. The Vampires (cringe) also live outside the normal human experience. What will you reveal through them? What questions will you ask me, the reader, to ask of myself as I ponder their existence?

    To give an example of what I mean, take the story line from the movie Unbreakable. We are presented with a charecter who is a superhero, but in the real world. He doesn’t live in Gotham City. There is no Hall Of Justice where he and his super pals can get chilly. He has a crap life, his wife is about to leave him, his child is terribly lost and confused. His super-ness has not brought to him a super life because he has chosen to ignore and repress what he is. His life sucks, and only when he comes into contact with his archenemy who makes him confront the true dynamic of his life does he find purpose. The archenemy is also a lost soul and only finds his purpose when he finds his counterpart for whom he has been endlessly searching. The reader (or watcher in this case) is asked to ponder the concept of the purpose of ones life and the difference between actively creating that purpose or just letting the tide of life toss us about.
  9. LordKyleOfEarth

    LordKyleOfEarth Contributor Contributor

    Feb 21, 2009
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    San Antonio, TX. USA
    Jeffrey DeRego wrote a series of shorts that take place in his "union dues" universe about teen super heroes. It is an ongoing project, with a TV series being considered. His base concept is stale, but his execution is new.

    I am planning to write the Illiad and Odyssey in modern times. They have both been done over, and over, (and over). I am planning a different approach. In the end if you make a quality product, someone will buy it (that is why there are a million different sedans, trucks, and sports cars)

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