Fantasy 2.0 – Supernatural Powers
If you’re penning a fantasy novel or any piece of work that’s fantasy related, you will undoubtedly dish out some supernatural abilities to one or more of your characters. Whether you’re going hog-wild and creating a brand-new badass superhero or assigning supernatural powers to otherwise human characters, first kick around your superhero’s identity. Have you imagined a full-fledged creature with magical talent, a half-human/half-creature with innate abilities, or an unassuming figure who discovers their power as the story unfolds?
Whatever you decide, your characters must have a backstory. How do they come by these arcane endowments? What was their life like before their capabilities emerged? This can be explained specifically but succinctly, hinted at, or told briefly as the story evolves. This is a case for less is more. Sometimes giving readers a tidbit is enough. Too much scientific jargon is a waste of words. Keep that info in your back pocket. Readers don’t need to know all that.
To concoct an interesting story with a ring of authenticity, the character, or characters you’ve provided with these remarkable powers should interact, in some way, with other humans not possessing such astonishing skills. One of the novels I’ve written, which I hope will receive representation soon, is grounded in reality. The characters often mingle with mere humans.
Just as clichés are a big no-no when writing novels, the same applies to cooking up a supernatural being. If your character spins webs and shoots them from his palms while swinging from building to building, um, yeah, that’s Spiderman. Move away from the traditional attributes and combos. Use your imagination to create a spectacular character with unique talents but who is not defined by those talents. Build appealing characteristics in addition to their powers.
Augmented Mental Acuity
Kinetic Energy Exploiter
There are hundreds more . . .
And hundreds more . . .
Okay, you’ve sorted through supernatural powers, and magic now start character creating. Do you fancy your characters as witches, sorcerers, fairies, elves, or humans with extra traits? My advice is, keep it simple. Don’t go overboard with tons of magic or superpower clout. In my opinion too much enchantment or an overload of beings shooting beams from their eyeballs and dominating the story with a plethora of amazeballs talents they’re displaying left, right, and center, can sway from clarity and give readers a messy mishmash.
Aim for clean, clear, character-specific gifts with a few variations here and there. Expand their abilities in subsequent books. Take the reader along on your character’s journey of magical learning. Allow the reader to root for your character as they master new skills in the next installment. Keep the reader involved as your characters test their supernatural gifts and strengthen their proficiency in later stories.
Choose a catchy name for your supernatural being. If you can’t think of a suitable name, try a name generator.
Take your time building your world. If your character lives on Earth, describe the setting where they spend the most time. If your character frequently travels to another world where he or she was born, spend a while developing the customs, culture, geography, flora and fauna, buildings, government, and system of magic, etc. Readers need to feel they’re in that world while reading. If your character and/or characters travel to different realms and planets, make sure to give the reader a good foundation of those places. Accomplish this by describing the immediate environment so readers can visualize as if they are there with the characters. You may wish to include things like weather, sky color, odd creatures and animals, invented insects, and plants, and/or bizarre inhabitants and their traditions and rituals.
Include time in your setting whether historical, contemporary, or a mixture of both. Does time change due to realm-jumping or planet-hopping? Is your supernatural being affected by time change or caught on a time continuum? Lay it out for the reader but keep them guessing as well.
Don’t forget the nemesis. To have conflict, which deepens and adds to plot, an author must invent one or several villains or antagonists. The nemesis should impede the protagonist and his or her do-good actions to fight for others or the world. The bad guy also must create chaos and exploit the protagonist’s weakness in some way, hindering their ability to fix problems and overcome struggles.