Combat Writer’s Block: Create Your Own Superhero
A great story is nothing without a protagonist (main character) that the audience roots for. Who better to root for than a superhero? Creating your own superhero is an ideal activity for when you have writer’s block because you have to consider a lot of smaller details, which is less daunting than having to come up with a big idea on the spot.
Here are some steps to creating your own crime fighting superhero:
- What are your superheroes powers? Superheroes’ powers range from humanly possible to absolutely ridiculous. Are they simply in top physical form? Or are able to outsmart any bad guy? Or, do they possess a supernatural gift, like x-ray vision or the ability to breathe fire? You can get super whacky with these ideas and even create useless super powers. What about a superhero with horrifically bad breath that causes bad guys to faint?
- What is your superhero’s purpose? Do they fight everyday crime? Or maybe they are part of a secret government agency, like the alien fighters in Men in Black. Or they are trying to solve a bigger problem, like global warming. Or they are trying to stop the evil acts of their arch nemeses?
- How did they acquire their power? Through an intense gym schedule? Did a magician or other supernatural figure give it to them? Or maybe they were poisoned or bitten by a bug or animal or are the product of a botched experiment? These are more common reasons popular superheroes gain powers, but you can get whacky with this one too—maybe your superhero is a former artist who mastered the art of camouflage when a giant vat of permanent paint was spilled on them.
- Give your superheroes a name: This can stem from just about anything! Do they favour a certain animal/insect/character? Maybe the name should express allegiance to a country or ideology. Or, it could highlight what your superheroes are good at.
- Design your superheroes’ costumes:
If your superheroes need to be in disguise, they need a mask, or some other accouterments to throw off their fans. Or, Clark Kent style, they might wear some kind of “disguise” accessory in daily life and take that off in order to fight crime.
Superheroes’ costumes are equal parts form and function. What is the costume made of? The Incredibles’ Elastic-Girl has a super stretchy suit, for example. Tailor your superheroes’ outfit to the type of crime fighting they do—if they’re active they need stretchy or loose clothing, and their costume might be adapted to suit their abilities (i.e. if they shoot water out of their thumbs, their gloves would need thumb holes in them!) Think about the tools they might need too, like a helmet or a utility belt to hold weapons. Some superheroes’ main feature is their costume, like Iron Man’s high-tech suit, which he uses for defence and attack.
Your superheroes need emblems so that they are recognized and can be called on by a civilian in need of help. Many superheroes have a letter emblazoned on the chest of their costume (like Superman’s capital S), but an emblem can be made out of anything representative of your superheroes, from an animal to a funky design!
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