Tag Archives: super powers

Meet My New Friend

As you should remember from my last post, last week I finished my story early. That gave me time to mull over what I would write this week. I’m not sure how well I did with that, but I did get an inspiration that I think will work nicely.

As usual, my inspiration came in the form of a dream. I don’t remember all the details, but the meat of the dream was centered around a sort of prison, or maybe a secret government lab, where several mutants were being held captive and experimented on. I don’t recall if the dream me was there as a prisoner, a rescuer, or a lab tech, but my main concern was with one of the inmates in particular.

My new friend is a boy of undetermined age who is able to absorb and manipulate matter with his touch. And by matter I mean down to the atomic level. He can literally locate specific atoms and pull them into himself just by touching his subject. And once he has them he can use them however he wants.

I think this guy could probably have a full-length novel, detailing how he wound up in this place and what he does to escape. But for now I think I will start with a short story that explains how he got his powers. I might make it into a series, working up to his capture. That would definitely help me develop the character in preparation for a novel.

So that’s the plan for this week. Write a short story about a boy who thought he was normal, but turned out to be a little bit more. It’s probably not going to be a long story, so I might be able to finish early again this week. If I do, I might use the time to plot out some more stories using this character, and maybe even get a head start on planning for the novel.

I’ll be back on Wednesday with another update. See you then!

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Coming to the Climax

First, an update: I have been writing every day, and last night hit 45,000 words. That’s 75% of my total goal of 60,000. I’m not sure if I will hit that target for my final word count, but I should definitely finish by the end of this month.

Now, on to the story. Please note that there will be spoilers!

Last week I decided I had messed around enough in the middle, and it was time to bring things to the climax. So the first thing I did was to kill off one of the kids. Lisa was the unlucky target.

Andy and Lisa had gone down to the beach to spend some time alone before Lisa’s parents came to pick her up. The killer, Matt, snuck up on them using his power of illusion, drained Andy’s energy so that he couldn’t fight back, and cut Lisa’s throat. Then he carried her into the river and let the current take the body away. A rainstorm washed away all the blood and other evidence, and Matt used his illusions to hide them as he carried Andy to his van.

Meanwhile, Carter and Cailin get worried when Lisa’s parents show up and she doesn’t come out to greet them. Cailin inspects the entire camp using her super vision and finds that both Andy and Lisa are missing. She figures it must have been Matt, and suspects that he is taking them both to the cabin to kill them there. However, she can’t spot them on the roads. She talks Carter into coming with her to the cabin to wait for them there, and they fly off together. With her super speed, they get there in minutes, and make plans to ambush Matt when he arrives.

About an hour later, Matt shows up in his invisible van and drags Andy into his killing shed. Andy is still paralyzed, and offers no resistance as Matt ties him to the autopsy table. Cailin discovers that Lisa isn’t in the van, and wonders what happened to her. Matt takes out a journal in which he logs all of his victims and writes an entry for Lisa, answering her question. She is very upset, and they decide that they should forget about catching Matt and just work on getting away with Andy.

The two kids  fly down to free Andy and get ambushed by Matt. He drains their power and takes Cailin into the cabin and ties her to the bed. Then he brings one of the other kids into the cabin and ties him to the table. She thinks it is Carter, but she can’t see since she is paralyzed and forced to stare at the ceiling. It actually is Andy, and Carter is now strapped to the autopsy table in the shed.

The plan for the next part of the story is that Cailin is recovering her strength faster than the others. I’m saying it’s because her power of super speed gives her more energy than most people, so she can recover faster. I’m also considering something similar for Carter with his super strength, but haven’t decided yet.

My original plan was to have Lisa show up to rescue them after healing from her injuries and coming back to life. However, I’m not sure how she would get to the cabin, and Cailin also has the power to free them, so I’m reconsidering. I will probably still bring Lisa back, but now I’m thinking that Cailin will also have a part to play in the ending.

Actually, another thought just occurred to me that may have some promise. What if Lisa  or Andy find out that they can “borrow” the powers of the others? Part of the premise of this story was about these kids learning to work as a team. Having one of them use the powers of the others to vanquish the killer would wrap up that arc nicely. If you want an example of this, think of how the Fantastic Four defeated Doctor Doom in their movie, Rise of the Silver Surfer. Johnny Storm took all of their powers to go after Doom. This would be similar. I’m thinking maybe Andy should have the honor, as his solo powers aren’t as flashy as the others.

I’m not sure yet what I’m going to do with the killer once they take him down. I was planning on having them capture him, but maybe a quick death would be better. I guess it depends on whether or not I want to bring him back for a sequel. Right now, I’m not planning on another book, but who knows? I could always write the ending to leave it as an option.

The other thing I have to think about is how to send the kids home. Will they be heroes for stopping the killer? Or will they be in trouble for leaving the camp? What will they do on their own after they go back to their separate homes? All of these questions have to be at least partially answered for the ending.

As you can tell, while I may not think that I can hit 60,000 words, all of the wrap-up required after they stop the killer may very well bring me to that target. I won’t know until I’m done.

After I finish, the plan is to throw it in a drawer and leave it alone for at least several months before I look at it again. I won’t start editing until I’ve let all of the finer points of how to make it better settle in my head.

That’s about all for today. I’ll be back on Wednesday with another update. And now, I’ve got writing to do!

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Editing Ideas (Please Comment)

I’m over 60% to my goal of 60,000 words for my first draft, and I’m starting to think about what I want to change for the second draft. As I told you in my last post, there are a lot of issues with the beginning, so it’s going to have to get some major changes. I also feel that there’s not enough conflict in the story. I’ve been mulling over some ideas about that, and here’s a sampling of what I’ve come up with.

First off, I am thinking of completely changing the origin story of the powers. The current version is that they got their powers from eating MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat – Army food) that had been contaminated by radiation from a meteorite that had struck near the cabin. My idea is that they just get their powers from the meteorite directly. As part of this, I have to find another reason for them to be in the cabin. Because I have been concerned about how the characters have been developing, I’m thinking of shaking things up to make it more interesting and bring in more conflict between the kids.

Here’s the plan: Forget about the summer camp. The kids are actually victims of the serial killer, with the help of Andy. They have kidnapped Carter, Cailin, and Lisa and are torturing them to death. Andy turns from being a borderline sociopath to being an accomplice to kidnapping and murder. However, he is a reluctant assistant, especially when it comes to Lisa. Andy develops feelings for her in the time they have together while the killer “plays” with them. She pretends to reciprocate in a desperate attempt to escape, but she never gets the chance.

The kids are set free when the meteorite hits the cabin. My idea for this is that the rock will blast through the roof and hit Lisa, killing her instantly. It will then strike something metal (maybe an old iron wood stove?) and shatter, spraying the other kids with tiny pieces of shrapnel and dust particles. I’m trying to decide whether or not to give the killer powers too, or have him be absent when this happens. It would probably be better if he was there, so that the kids have a target for revenge.

When the kids get their powers, Lisa does her impression of the cheerleader from the television show “Heroes” and comes back to life. This is a surprise to Andy, who has been given the task of disposing of the body. He tells her he has changed his mind and doesn’t want to help the killer any more, so he helps her escape. Carter and Cailin’s powers manifest as well and they escape from the cabin.

This idea seems pretty good for at least a short story, but I’m not sure what to do after this. If the killer is still alive and has powers, then that gives them a villain to fight against, but I’m not sure if that is a strong enough conflict to carry a book unless the killer’s powers are strong enough to threaten the world.

Another option is to have the meteorite be part of a “storm”, and make this part of a larger event that affects a lot of other people. If the kids are not the only ones that have these powers, the government would certainly find out about it and there would be a reaction from the normal population. Think of the X-Men and the Mutant Registration Act.

Something else that I have considered is that the meteorite was part of a spaceship from an alien species preparing to take over the Earth. It got knocked loose in orbit in a collision with one of our satellites. The only ones that know about the invasion are the aliens and the government. They could find the kids when they show up to look for the debris in a hope that they will be able to learn something about the alien’s technology.

An alien invasion would definitely give me a long-term focus for the book, but I would also have to come up with a reason the aliens want the Earth. It could be for natural resources, which would let me throw in some of my thoughts on conservation. Or it could simply be for slaves, which could end up with the kids being right back where they started, as the captives of a more powerful being. That makes for a nice, circular plot, and also gives me the opportunity to bring the serial killer back in the role of either assistant to the aliens (like Andy was to him) or as an unwilling ally to help them escape and stop the invasion.

That actually sounds pretty cool. I would love some input on these ideas, so please comment with any thoughts you have about this. Are there any other things I am missing that would help strengthen this story?

As part of the middle, I want to play with the relationships between the characters. They need more development and more conflict as they figure out that they need to work together in order to survive. I also want to give Carter and Cailin a chance to be bad. Carter’s strength and invulnerability should allow him to walk into a bank and rip the vault door open. He could then simply walk out without having to worry about getting shot. Cailin’s super speed and telekinesis would allow her to zip in and out of almost anywhere without even being seen. I think it would be a good idea to let them each steal something, then later realize that they don’t want to be criminals, but instead need to use their powers to help save the planet. In other words, they need to have a chance to become heroes.

I’m also having second thoughts about giving Lisa the ability to read minds. Dialogue is difficult when one person can simply pull the thoughts from your head. It helps build a connection between two people, but there’s no tension or surprise any more. Similarly, Andy’s powers are pretty weak, and I may have to do something about making them more interesting.

I think that’s enough for today. Like I said, I would love to get your input on this. Help me brainstorm this thing and leave a comment!

Thanks for stopping in, and I’ll see you back here on Sunday.

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Filling in the Middle

I’m at the point in my story where things are slowing down. The middle of a book can be the hardest part to write. You have to keep the reader’s attention and move the story along, but you also have to be careful not to blow the ending prematurely.

Despite my issues with false starts and self-doubts about the path I have chosen in the beginning, overall it was pretty easy. I knew where my characters needed to be in order to get their super powers, as well as being introduced to the serial killer. But now I’m past that, and I have to fill in all the things that they need to do and experience before they can catch the villain.

My little group of kids has discovered their powers, so now I need them to learn how to use them. I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to do this. Probably with a mix of scenes involving other kids in the camp. Some of the situations may be set up by the bad guy as he tries to kill them without giving himself away. In case you are interested, here are the powers I have chosen for the kids:

  • Carter (boy with a temper): strength, invulnerability, water breathing
  • Andy (borderline sociopath): intelligence, prophecy, energy blasts
  • Cailin (kleptomaniac girl): telekinesis, agility/reflexes, speed
  • Lisa (girl with reputation as a slut): shapeshifter, regeneration, telepathy

The villain has powers too. They are: memory manipulation, illusion (including invisibility), energy drain

I decided each of them should have three powers. No real reason why, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. I may adjust this as I write. So far, the powers that have been revealed are Carter’s strength, Cailin’s telekinesis and speed, Andy’s intelligence, Lisa’s regeneration, and the killer’s illusions. I may change Cailin’s reflexes, because her speed power would cover that as well, and I don’t want a duplication. The memory manipulation may also go, just because that would make it too easy for the killer to get away with murder, and too hard for the kids to keep up with him if he keeps wiping their brains.

So now I need to present these powers in a way that lets the kids learn how to use them without revealing themselves as freaks to the rest of the camp. At least, not until the end. The killer will also need to find out about their powers at some point, so he can plan something that would let him take them out despite their advantages.

As far as the powers go, I also think that I may have pushed them too hard, too fast. I gave away too much, too soon, and now I think in my editing phase I will want to pull them back and only hint at their powers in that scene. That will let me reveal them in their full strength later on, and make it more of a slow buildup. That should give the story a little more tension. And tension is good!

The other thing that I am struggling with is the personality of the kids. When I started plotting it out, I thought it would be best if they were ten or eleven years old. During the outlining process, I changed that to thirteen and fourteen. But now as I write it, they seem to me to be more like fifteen or sixteen. This is being shown by the budding romances between the kids. I didn’t intend to have much in the way of romantic developments here, but it seems to be coming out anyway, especially between Andy and Lisa. I’m not sure what to do about this. Should I just let it go and let the story be what it wants to be, or should I nip it in the bud and tell them to cool their jets?

On a positive note, I have over 18,000 words now, and should have no problem hitting 20,000 by the end of the month. I have been posting my daily totals on the Word Count image on the side of my blog, so you can see for yourself where I am on any given day. I’m still not sure what the end total will be, but I am still hoping to finish the book at around 60,000 words by the end of September.

I hope everybody else is keeping their word count up! See you in a few days!

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