337 Responses to “Index: How to Write Superhero Stories”
# mysticgust on 03 May 2008 at 1:37 pm
I think this is useful. Have I mentioned this is helping me write a novel?
Good luck, Mysticgust! Let us know if you’d like beta-reviewers– just leave a comment here or e-mail us at SuperheroNation[at]gmail[dot]com.
# Luxman on 29 May 2008 at 10:00 am
What do you think about the name Luxman? Is it apt for a superhero? Is it already in use?
# Cadet Davis on 30 May 2008 at 1:43 am
I think that as far as a comic book audience is concerned, it’s not in use. (There’s a Japanese electronics company named Luxman, but I think that none of your readers will have heard of it and you probably won’t have any legal liability issues). For example, the novel Soon I Will Be Invincible features a character named Bluetooth whose ability is remotely controlling electronic devices and, as far as I know, they haven’t gotten sued yet.
I think you’re legally in the clear to use the name, but I am not sure how effective the name Luxman is. It doesn’t seem to me to be very emotionally powerful and the pronunciation seems ambiguous (LUCKS-man or LUKES-man?). What are some of the characteristics you want readers to associate with your character?
This is helping a lot, but I’m still having trouble with defining my character’s powers and coming up with character names. Do you have any suggestions?
# J.M. on 30 Jun 2008 at 6:42 pm
I find that it’s usually easiest to start with the character powers, fill in personal details like background and personality, and then come up with the super-name.
It’s hard to say what powers are best for your story. However, if you’re a first time novelist, it’ll probably be easier to start with generic powers and then add in one or two minor exotic powers. For example, Spiderman has several generic powers (enhanced agility, reflexes, and strength) and then two minor, exotic ones (webs and spidersense).
Likewise, when we wanted to make a character to parody Nick Fury and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, we gave the character a few basic powers that seemed logical for a mutant alligator: strength, claws and regeneration. Then we
threw in two exotic touches, supersmell and infrared vision. Because we want this character to come off as an absurd and comical g-man, we named him Agent Orange.
Most main heroes fall into one of six archetypes: the tank (like the Hulk), the gymnast (Spiderman or Flash), the mage (Dr. Strange), the psychic (Invisible Woman), the gadgeteer (Batman) and the elementalist (Human Torch or Captain Atom). I think it’s easiest to write a tank or gymnast, but it really depends on which story you want to write. If you want a high-fantasy story, mages will probably work better. Gadgeteer stories usually feel a bit more believable, psychics lend themselves nicely to fantastical science fiction (or perhaps high fantasy), and I think elementalists are particularly well-suited for comic-books and novels aimed at younger readers.
As for names, again it really depends on what character and story you want to write. If you post a few details about the character, his powers and origin story, I’ll offer a few suggestions.
# Necro on 01 Jul 2008 at 8:06 am
The character that I’m trying to name is basically a psychic that can only use his powers while he is fighting. He has five swords from a giant buster sword all the way down to a small blade, because I based him off an artist that draws a picture using his swords as he fights. So the swords are like paint-brushes to him. As he fights, the way he cuts things and destroys stuff will fit into his picture that most likely tells the future. But he blacks out when he fights. Either he or my main character, Necro, interprets the pictures.
He was a child prodigy in his village but went rogue to find out why he was drawing these pictures and their meaning. He joins up with this organization called Sector 13, which took him in and promised that they would teach him more about his power.
Dwan’s fine, but the -dw- sound might be hard for readers to pronounce. However, I like the artistic angle of the character. So I have a few suggestions that try to combine hard-and-protagonistic sounds with soft-and-smooth ones. I got the impression that you’re writing a high-fantasy story not set on Earth, so I went for relatively exotic and unusual ones.