Superhero story warm-up stretches: ( and find more from this source !)
Q: What is a superhero’s favourite part of the joke? A: The “punch” line!
Q: Where’s Spiderman’s home page? A: On the world wide web.
Q: What’s the difference between Batman and a robber? A: Batman can go into a store without robin!!
Okay, ready to write? Consider these questions and ideas when planning your superhero story:
- What are some of your favourite superhero stories? What makes them attract so many readers?
- Must heroes with super powers always use them for good? What might happen when a superhero is tempted to use his/her powers for evil?
- List as many super powers as you can think of. Then choose your top 3 for your character and explain why these are so important to his/her character and actions.
- Imagine the protagonist of the story, a superhero with two powers. Your superhero should have two personalities, the superhero personality and the alter-ego (eg. Superman and Clark Kent). Develop these two personalities. Compare and contrast them. How alike or different are they? Why is that important? How will these similarities and differences shape the overall character and drive the super-heroes actions and motivations?
- Also, choose at least one significant weakness for your superhero. Why did you choose this particular weakness; how does it fit or contrast with the hero’s superpowers, and how will that affect your story?
- Brainstorm examples of internal conflict and of external conflict you can use in your story. Will your hero’s major conflict be internal or external? Or a combination of both, perhaps the internal leading to the external? Or? Will having both internal and external conflicts give your story more depth? In fact…
- Will your superhero story be thoughtful and deeply interesting, or will it just be a generic, superficial story? Why are you making this choice? What would be the difference if you went the other way?
- Create a uniform for your superhero. Consider the symbolic meaning of the uniform’s colours and symbols. Does your superhero need a weapon, or are his/her superpowers and character strong and significant enough to overcome the villain’s efforts and personality, even against a villain’s external weapons? Why does your superhero want to be good and fight evil? Does he/she have any characteristics that might trip up his good intentions?
- Is your superhero solitary or part of a group of superheroes? If part of a group, what is his/her special contribution? Sketch the rest of the group, making the appearance of each one symbolic of their place in the group.
- Create an outfit for your superhero’s alter-ego. Again, consider it’s symbolic meaning. Decide on the occupation of the alter ego and his or her circle of friends. How will the hero’s friends and family members hurt or help your hero?
- What method(s) will your superhero use to keep his or her identity hidden?
- What moral cause or purpose for doing good will your superhero have?
- Try sketching your super villain, too. Give your super villain two super powers and one weapon. Create a uniform and explain the symbolic meanings of its colours and symbols. Will your villain work alone or with a group? What is your villain’s reason for being evil? Also, give your villain a weakness. What is it and how will it affect the story? Will this personal weakness provide an opportunity for the hero to overcome, or will the hero simply overcome the villain’s superpower(s) and weapon(s)? How deep do you want to go with this?
What other suggestions do you have for creating superhero stories? Please share them in the comments.! Thank you!
Check out all the posts in this series on writing speculative fiction:
Mapping and World Creation (with a focus on Science Fiction and Fantasy)
The Hero’s Journey
Utopian or Dystopian Story Writing
World Building Through Mapping
More Aspects of World Building–Part 1 (conflict, political systems, technology, magic, values, small details, economic system, cultural groups)
More Aspects of World Building–Part 2 (realistic hangouts, world naming, food, alternate realities, time/era, transportation, morality, architecture, overall considerations)
Characterization in World Building
Links to Some Great Posts on World Building
Tips for Writing Super-Hero Stories
4 thoughts on “Tips for Writing Super-Hero Stories”
“What might happen when a superhero is tempted to use his/her powers for evil?” seems to be a much overlooked question. At least as far as I can tell, there seems to be a significant lack of moral dilemma in classic super hero stories. Maybe that is why I am draw more towards traditional fantasy.
Thank you for your comment. I agree … which is why I asked the question … hoping to encourage writers to think about it and maybe take it upon themselves to explore it in their superhero stories. Perhaps they could find some inspiration from traditional fantasy?
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I think it’s why the villains are always more interesting. They have some sort of moral crisis to sort out. The heroes are just so bland in comparison. There are a lot of good examples of moral crises in fantasy, whether it be Tolkien or Star Wars.
totally agreed! I wonder why we’ve accepted bland heroes so easily? And thanks for the reminder of moral crises in fantasy–maybe superhero story writers could get some inspiration for more depth in their heroes.