- related to: how to write a series of superhero fiction stories
How to Write a Series of Superhero Fiction
- Write characters, not walking superpowers. You’re writing a superhero novel. The first thing you do is come up with your...
- Don’t forget your villain. I’m guilty of this one. It’s not that I didn’t think about the backstories and motivations of...
- Keep readers coming back for more. I’m a firm believer that writing compelling...
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Apr 28, 2019 · How to Write a Series of Superhero Fiction Write characters, not walking superpowers. You’re writing a superhero novel. The first thing you do is come up with your... Don’t forget your villain. I’m guilty of this one. It’s not that I didn’t think about the backstories and motivations of... Keep ...
- The most basic superhero story structure is that a supervillain needs to steal a few related MacGuffins to enact his evil plot. This gives the superheroes several chances to try to stop the villain, building up the stakes for a climactic struggle with everything on the line.
- The villain has some sort of fitting thematic connection to the hero. For example, if your hero’s main flaw is his trust issues, maybe the villain is an Iago that plays on his mistrust/paranoia.
- A character receives a mysterious and potentially dangerous gift, like an artifact or an encoded message or a key or a free ticket to Detroit.
- Something or someone from the heroes’ past comes back to haunt them. For example, Batman: The Animated Series had an episode based around Alfred’s commando experience long, long ago.
Jul 22, 2021 · In addition, some authors write superhero fantasy novels. Similar to urban fantasy, superhero stories take place in the modern world, but the origin story may begin on another planet, like in Superman, or include something more scientific, like Peter Parker getting bit by a radioactive spider to become Spider-Man.
- Iron Man: Grab Readers With a Multi-Faceted Characteristic Moment. Learn how the characteristic moment in Iron Man made sure we’d pay attention to Tony Stark for eight years and counting—and how you can do the same in your own book.
- The Incredible Hulk: How (Not) to Write Satisfying Action Scenes. Turns out the secret to great action scenes isn’t the action. Learn why The Incredible Hulk‘s action failed—and how to make readers adore your conflict.
- Iron Man 2: Use Minor Characters to Flesh Out Your Protagonist. Did you know the most important function of minor characters has nothing to do with them and everything to do with your protagonist?
- Thor: How to Transform Your Story With a Moment of Truth. The most important job of your story’s Midpoint—and arguably the most important scene in the entire story—is the Moment of Truth.
- Necessary Tropes
- Choices, Choices
- Potential Subversions
- Writers' Lounge
- Extra Credit
Well, for superheroes, you generally need superpowers — although of course Batman got around without them. But then, some might say that his Crazy-Prepared abilities, superhuman level of easily accessible monetary wealth, and alleged company favouritism are superpowers in and of themselves... At very least, then, we can say that you need characters who have abilities that are above and beyond those of most average people — even Badass Normal superheroes such as Batman and Iron Manstill have such abilities as near-genius level deductive insight, martial arts skills and engineering genius that sets them apart from everyday civilians. Superheroes also generally require the Secret Identity - a public superhero identity and a private civilian identity. This is not uniform, however, and there's many superheroes who only have one (and even for those who have both, sometimes it's the civilian identity that's the mask, and the Superhero form is the real "them")note Superman arguably being th...
What sort of powers do you characters have? Are they active all the time, or is there a sort of on/off switch between their regular persona and their hero persona, with only the hero one superpowered? And where do these powers come from? Magic is certainly a possibility, but may turn away a good chunk of your audience for various reasons (religion, sci-fi leanings, etc.). X-Men managed to Hand Wave it as science, letting us get past the initial hurdle of why they had powers (let alone how the powers managed to work... Seriously, genetic ability to control the wind!? Enlighten us, O wise one; how the hell does that work?) and just move on to the storytelling. What is the scope of your hero's powers? Superman, for example, is your typical hero-god type, who seems to have it all. Then you have your human hero, your Batman, Captain America, Hawkeye, etc. In between the hero-god type and the human hero are a wide variety of options. You could have your power specialist, like The Flash or...
Your characters need to have personalities. They have to be people, instead of merely a reasonto show off whatever powers you cook up for them. And they need to interact in a realistic way. Also, everyone is sick of "teams" who fight each other more than they fight the enemy. Stop doing that. Oh, and don't forget weaknesses. Only one superhero ever got away with being the best at everything, and even then he had trouble with the writing. Also, when looking at weaknesses, you don't automatically have to go with a Kryptonite Factor. Many characters do well with a Logical Weakness or, as mentioned below, the lack of a Required Secondary Power note Both of which can be great opportunities to show off how clever your villain is when they exploit them.. And many superheroes, though possessing powers, are of a low enough tier or possess obvious enough weaknesses that they don't need special weaknesses. The barely superhuman Captain America is an obvious example, but even powerful character...
Superpowers featured in comic books tend to be grand, idealized and desirable - super-strength, for instance, or flight. A possible subversion is to grant your character powers that, on the face of it, do not seem particularly useful, and then explore how they can nevertheless use them within superhero situations. Removing Required Secondary Powers also can add new spice to old cliched power sets — imagine The Flash unable to slow down, or Superman actually having to follow the laws of physics. Another subversion would be to focus on non-heroic characters. For example, a comic about the trials of a sidekick, or a Villain Protagonist — the webcomic Narbonic did both (at the same time!) to great success. Changing the focus from Heroes to Heroes-in-Training, such as in the webfiction Whateley Academy and the webcomic PS238, is also an option. Or even a character who isn't a hero or a villain at all, but just happens to live in a world with them (like Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross' Marvels)...
Suggested Themes and Aesops
Comes Great Responsibility is one of the biggest themes of a lot of superhero works. Just having extraordinary powers is not enough, as there are many people who would use such powers for less-than-heroic things. What makes a superhero is the decision to use such powers to help other people, not for mere personal gain. One of the best ways to show this is to pit your hero not against a villain with powers opposite to those of the hero (though that villain can still be a valuable addition to t...
Lots of superheroes end up with power-based motifs: flames, ice, birds, plants, the sun, what have you. You can also have a motif to go with your theme; for example, in Watchmen, in keeping with the deconstruction theme the motifs of the various superheroes are often subtly based around their various neuroses; for example, the Comedian is a sociopathic nihilist who believes everything's just a bitter joke.
You have the option to make the powers the basis of most of your plots, or even specifically The Plot, but it's better to include character-based plots as well. Still, it makes sense for your characters to grow into their powers or have to learn how to make their powers work. For a character with complicated powers, the story line can include not only character growth, but developments as the character learns new ways to use his or her powers. Even for a character with simple powers, like the...
Set Designer / Location Scout
Traditionally, superhero comics are set in the modern city. While this affords many classic possibilities, if you want to do something different, consider playing with the time-frame or the population density. How many superheroes are found in suburbia, or protect the wide fields surrounding a farming village? There have been a few superheroes spotted 20 Minutes into the Futureas well as a few further out still, but rarely many modern-style superheroes in places inspired by times prior to the...
Actually, the more powers you have, the less useful actual weapons become... depending of course on the type of powers the characters have. Why use a gun when you can shoot fire from your fingertips? In this regard, you get more leeway when dealing with stuff marketed at kids, because while a gun is "teaching kids imitable violence," fireballs are, well, not exactly something they can emulate. As far as we can tell, at least. However, if you're doing something for more of an older demographic...
Spandex, Latex, or Leather? Spandex has been done to death; so have tights and body suits. Do you want to go with Civvie Spandex, for a mixture, or maybe even dump the body suit altogether? Are you going to go for actual crunchy armor, sentai-style? Is this a form of Powered Armor? Is it going to be futuristic, or is it going to be old-school metal armor? The Mighty Thor wore the latter. The choices really depend on the flavor of both the character and the setting — Batgirl wearing Magical Gi...
Much of the work of Rob Liefeld tends to be criticized as being representative of many of the faults of The Dark Age of Comic Books- poor art, ludicrously over-muscular and over-macho characters and dialogue, poor plotting and an overly-adolescent idea of 'maturity'. His work is often considered a good example of what to avoid. Outside of comic books, the later movies in the original Superman and Batman movie franchises (particularly Superman IV: The Quest for Peace and Batman & Robin) are ge...
In LESSON 7, You'll Write Your First-Episode Ending. Here you're going to learn to identify the critical series elements that go into the ending of the first episode. These set the stage for every episode to follow, and they’re what makes what you’re writing a series, and not just a long novel.
Apr 03, 2021 · Superhero stories need more than just heroes and villains. There need to be some regular people in the middle of the action, to help give the story some stakes. Commissioner Gordon, Pa Kent, April O'Neil, and Uncle Ben are all examples of great characters who motivate and influence superhero characters in comics.
Jun 11, 2012 · Read this series a few weeks ago and I must say, it was a very useful read. I've been plugging away on a sci-fi comic book for a while now. It's still in it's infancy but I'm determined to see it through. It's really cool to hear about other women creating comic book stories.