|Well, most of the time, anyway.|
One thing you can do, though, is to introduce complications. A drawback or two to go with that power. So step back and ask how, exactly, your character's powers affect their personal lives? What potential issues and sensitivities do they create? How do they manage them? And how involved is that management?
And for those who are curious, I've been dwelling on this idea thanks to the short story "Hero's Wake" in my recently released book The Rejects. Also, if you'd like more examples of superheroes caught between a rock and a hard place with their powers, take a look at KM Herkes and her novel Rough Passages, where powers tend to manifest along with mid-life crises rather than puberty for once!
Wetting The Bed, and Power Drawbacks
The basic plot of "Hero's Wake" is that one of this world's best-known metahumans has passed away, and his friends and family are coming together at his funeral. No masks, no costumes, no code names, just people who knew him, and who are going to miss him. One of the younger members of the team he helped establish loses control of her emotions, and the grass all around her starts blooming as she cries, flowers and greenery rising up at an unnatural rate.
When our protagonist comforts her, she says not to worry about it. They've all had their share of bed-wetting incidents, especially at times like this.
|Seriously, go get your copy already!|
On the one hand, that's a bit of a look behind the curtain when it comes to metahumans. It gives you a glimpse into their lives, and makes them seem more human, and less like an archetype in a set of spangly tights. On the other hand it can be a lot of work, and it establishes a very particular tone. Weighing those things is important, as this advice needs to be evaluated on a project-by-project basis.
This concept can extend out past comic books and their associated sci-fi settings into other genres, as well. For fantasy stories, do your elite warriors develop a dependence on their performance-enhancing mutagens, needing to keep a steady stream of them in their systems in order to fight at full strength? Does being a sorcerer mean you have to wear particular kinds of clothing to avoid setting your robes on fire because your body produces so much heat? Does too much use of your magic make you feverish, risking death? Are those with orc heritage prone to skin conditions, or scars that overcompensate, making them stronger but also unsightly?
Whenever you've got characters with unusual abilities, powers, or attributes, it's worth taking a moment and asking what the drawbacks of those things might be. Sometimes they'll be small, like how elves speak softly because their ears make them sensitive to noise. Other times they'll be large, such as how a psychic might get overwhelmed by the noise of too many thoughts in a crowd if they don't take careful precautions. But whatever the situation, you can learn a lot about your characters (as well as making both them and their setting that much more interesting) if power has a bit of a price to it.
Even if it just means the guy who shoots lasers out of his face is colorblind, and didn't realized his girlfriend was a redhead until their second anniversary.
Like, Follow, and Come Back Again!
That's all for this week's Craft of Writing! For more of my work, check out my Vocal archive, or at My Amazon Author Page where you can find books like my sword and sorcery novel Crier's Knife, or my short story collection The Rejects!