Writing a Superhero Story in a Non-Visual Medium:

Total posts: [13]
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As far as entertainment goes, I've always preferred books over anything else. But I've just started reading Watchmen and I've wondered, can a superhero story be only confined to a comic book. I know the fact that comic books are visual-based help keep it in it's current medium, but can it work outside of it in books, something without art to back it up?

Anyway, I guess my question is: If you were righting a superhero story in a book, how would YOU go about doing it?
2 feotakahari25th Dec 2010 01:44:07 PM from Looking out at the city
Fuzzy Orange Doomsayer
There's plenty of precedent to follow. Alternately, take the characters who're Not Wearing Tights and put them in tights.
That's Feo . . . He's a disgusting, mysoginistic, paedophilic asshat who moonlights as a shitty writer—Something Awful
Raven Wilder
Making an exciting, over-the-top action scene using just prose can be difficult, though, but it is certainly doable. I recommend taking a look at The Dresden Files for superhero battles in everything but name.
"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
4 LizardBite26th Dec 2010 03:20:37 PM from Two Galaxies Over
Soon I Will Be Invincible is a great book about superheroes and supervillains. I recommend you try it out.
Not Quite Batman
[up][up] That's the thing, isn't it? A fight (moreso a super fight) is lightning-paced, visceral, savage.

They take creative wordsmithing to pull off effectively in non-graphic form.
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6 zam9th Jan 2011 03:19:31 PM from Orlando, FL . , Relationship Status: Heisenberg unreliable
Last Boy on Earth
[up]Difficult but some Fantasy novels pull it off.
All of time and space, anywhere and everywhere, any star that ever was. Where do you want to start?

If you do a superhero story in prose, you need to focus on other things. Introspection, character dynamics, relationships, and sensory input during a fight, for example.

You can't just tell it straight because it's not supposed to.
David Brin has said that this is the way to write an action scene. I like it, but the story it's part of is about hard, hard scifi. Superheroes are just a sidestep.
9 zam11th Jan 2011 03:15:57 PM from Orlando, FL . , Relationship Status: Heisenberg unreliable
Last Boy on Earth
[up]That was awesome.
All of time and space, anywhere and everywhere, any star that ever was. Where do you want to start?

Samurai Troper
That was quite well-written. Feeling inspired now.
This is good advice. I like novels over comics anyway,so I would much rather read a superhero novel than comic.
12 MoeDantes28th Jan 2011 04:32:54 AM from the Land of Classics
cuter, cuddlier Edmond
To be honest I'm surprised this is even a question. It's not like there's never been literary heroes who do over-the-top things or have amazing powers.

Sun Wukong, Zorro, and Bilbo Baggins come to mind almost immediately.

(Not to mention that there are licensed superhero novels. The Death and Life of Superman is quite good).
13 TeChameleon30th Jan 2011 07:25:17 AM from Alberta, Canada
Irritable Reptilian
Honestly, if you're writing a superhero novel, the only serious challenges that you encounter that you'd hit that you'd be unlikely to encounter in another genre are the sheer hyperkinetic vastness of the fight scenes. Let's face it; superheroes, almost by definition, dispense justice by bludgeoning the bad guy into submission. Whether that's a Kung Fu duel on the rooftops by moonlight or a brawl that devastates three city blocks and turns multiple skyscrapers to rubble, you have to block your fights as tightly as possible and use the most active language you can manage.

Aside from that, the more generalized rules of good writing (show, don't tell and the like) should be enough to get you by.
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