A to Z Blogging Challenge 2014

A To Z Blogging Challenge: O – Overpowered

In fiction there are characters like Green Arrow and Black Widow. Then there are characters like Professor X and Superman. This is about the latter. There is a thin line between a very strong character and one that is so overpowered he, she or it takes the punch away from the rest of a tale. Every problem can be solved by them. When something comes up you wonder ‘why don’t they just send in him/her?’.

These gods in physical form are difficult to create a story including and about them. Their powers and abilities such as telepathy or resurrection are fun to write about, but can take away all tension from a story. They would make better villains due to the vast challenge the hero would have to surmount to beat them. It is usually better to make your characters more balanced with weaknesses in proportion to their strengths so the story is not over within three chapters. Multiple weaknesses would be better than one so the tale does not become predictable in dealing with such characters. Another way is to have these characters disappear for some reason for much of the story to triumphantly return towards the end, although this too might be predictable depending on how it is done.

Despite how powerful these characters are, making a story with or about them is not impossible. The Man of Steel has good stories that do not always end with him trying to evade kryptonite or to punch something to death. Nor are all his tales about him defeating and trying to overpower someone that can punch harder. In these cases it might be better to treat these characters like a macguffin with other characters reacting towards them. These characters can also bring tension from a villain’s perspective. It can make a unique twist by having the villains work harder than the heroes to bring him down.

Characters with levels of skills and powers that they become story-breaking can be tricky to use. They can’t be approached as easily as more balanced characters, but if done correctly there can be a big payoff in their use.

~ Nu Tael

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