Saturday, November 28, 2009

Saturday Special Open Discussion

Thanksgiving is over and hopefully those who celebrated are coming out from under their turkey-induced comas. With all the stores, both brick and mortar and cyber, offering Black Friday and Monday Madness deals, I thought I'd throw open the doors today. So the floor is yours. Is there anything you want to ask or discuss? Perhaps there's something you're thankful for you want to share. Whatever it is, now's your chance to let us know.

As always, the only rule is no politics or religion unless it has to do with a story you want to discuss or ask questions about. Even then, remember, we discuss the story and not the politics of it.

10 comments:

C Kelsey said...

I have this concept for a story that is *very* slowly building itself. I've seen fantasy magazine publishers state flat-out that some people write shorts where the character is too danged powerful from the outset of the story. That of course got me looking at it sideways (as usual). Assume you have your super-powered hero or heroine who always has been that powerful. Where do the challenges come from if he can single handedly beat any bad guy in the universe?

I think it comes down to a moral problem. Consider the universe as always trying to morally balance itself. Good against bad, with some squishy gray-ness inbetween. If one side gains too much power, or makes too great a stride against the other, the universe provides a rubberband-like snap in the opposite direction.

This means that a super-powerful good guy literally *cannot* act on all the evil he sees. And likewise, the evil cannot make these massive strides to total dominion. If either side does make a large stride, they are sewing the seeds of their own, incredibly painful, downfall.

Specifically for the good character, this means that there might be some situations where something bad is happening... and they have to watch it happen without interferring. What would *that* do to a hero's soul? ;)

Amanda Green said...

The other question to consider, Chris, is what it would do to the public's opinion of Hero if he doesn't act in that situation? Another question would be when does Hero draw the line? How does he choose when to act and when not to? And, finally, how does he respond if his failure to act costs the life of someone he holds dear?

So, Chris, write it. Or at least the opening paragraphs and post them here. I'm curious to see how you handle it. (Yes, I know I'm evil and you have at least three different short stories running around wanting to be finished right now. But why should you have less in your head, demanding your undivided attention than the rest of us?)

matapam said...

There are all sorts of power. I manage my magicians by making them a very small minority. And also dependent somewhat on internal energy. They have to eat and sleep. They get tired. They wear themselves out before they've run out of trouble.

Spiderman has trouble paying the rent.

Superman can't be everywhere at once.

And then there's politics. Or Lawsuits. Distractions. Ordinary human weaknesses. Kryptonite.

And then there are mechanical advantages. Normal humans aren't limited to fighting with their bare hands. Tactics. Leverage.

If you are starting out with the character very young, he or she won't have figured out how to use their strengths to the best advantage. Won't recognize tactics that keep them fighting the wrong battles. They won't realize until too late that taking care of every crime locally, means missing huge dangerous ones elsewhere.

Are they clairvoyant? If not, they'll still only be able to respond, not prevent. And that's a big handicap right there.

I know the standard of the super hero genre is to have a super villan, not just eight simultaneous crimes in each of three hundred cities, but that ought to factor in. Your guys have to limit themselves in some ways, even if the only limit is being in one place at a time.

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Chris,

Consider that strengths can be weaknesses. Take both my sons -- please? I'll sell them cheap -- they both have a lot of that indefinable quality "charisma". Great right?
Sorta. They both went through h*ll in middle school, (the younger more than the elder.) Think about it -- while you're trying to learn to be human and you're all raw nerve endings... Do you need every conversation in a room to stop when you come in, and for everyone to stare at you?
It seems that for young teens the ambition is to fit in by whatever means. Those who can't can become scape goats. (I almost typed that space goats -- Matapam, NO!)

C Kelsey said...

Matapam... What if Peter Parker *knew* exactly what was going to happen to Uncle Ben, but to do anything about it would cause a major impact in the moral balance... possible resulting the deaths of thousands at a later date?

Sarah... Umm, I'll just ignor the teenaged thing. Isn't that what Twilight and Harry Potter are for? ;)

C Kelsey said...

Amanda... I have an enforced 2 week down period over Christmas in which I intend to finish the current works in progress and start a few more. This one *might* be one of them if things straighten out. ;)

matapam said...

Chris,

:: Grin :: Then obviously the Good Guy would be rushing around doing horrible things, thus causing a swing in the Great Balance toward a greater Good. And the Villain would be doing deeds of kindness daily, in hopes of causing Armageddon.

All kidding aside, giving your Super Hero a vision of a future "Balance Event" would most logically cause permanent paralysis. However tying specific actions to the BE would be problematical, but a general awareness of the balance, and with time, the approach of a correctional event could cause your SH to be very parsimonious in his actions. Or if he snapped mentally, to start pushing Little Old Ladies under buses.

I think you could have a fascinating universe here.

Sarah, are you, for some strange reason, associating _me_ sweet innocent _me_ with Space Goats?

Amanda Green said...

Chris, use the two weeks to finish at least one of your stories. Don't OD on football -- no, don't deny it. I know you watch the pigskin when you could be writing ;-p

Kate said...

Chris,

There was a delightful anthology with one story that had a wonderful take on the theme of keeping the balance. Monks making weapons and healing devices and the like all magically charged with pure Good and taking the Evil into themselves because they couldn't allow it to run loose - with the result that the monks were magically deformed and quite evil themselves. It was called Villains! and had some hilarious stories in there. As well as some truly horrible puns.

C Kelsey said...

Kate, I have to check that out I think. ;)

Amanda, I *never* watch football when I could be writing. ::Sheepishly mutes the pregame show::