On Figuring Out My Superhero Story

So I just read a superhero story. A DAMN GOOD superhero story. It’s written by (our family favorite) io9 writer Charlie Jane Anders, and you can read it in Apex magazine.

You need to read it. I mean, right now. I can wait.

Stories you love to read
It’s one of THOSE.

Done? Great, right? By the time I finished reading it, I found my mind racing. The family and reincarnation angle, the POV, the female superhero–they got woven together in a way that engaged me and made me care about the characters. The world building–despite the fact that the setting does not get in the way of plot movement–is extremely solid. In many ways, it reminded me of some of the stories told in Astro City.

It also kind of made me think of my own superhero story and how much of it sucks in comparison. ><

As it is, I’m finding it very difficult to stitch the different little “human” and “hero” moments of my character together. Occasionally, I also find myself distracted by the other superheroes that pop up in the original incarnation of the story; primarily because a couple of them have some VERY strong connections to a major story arc that moves Liberty into a new heroic phase.

I’m specifically talking about Egg and Maboroshii Tofu-sama, who are both genetically linked to the baddies in this specific story. Egg (created by my sister Addy) features prominently in Act 1, in which all hell STARTS to break loose. Act 2 turns Tofu-sama (created by my friend Ren) into one of the catalysts that force a change in Liberty’s superheroics, as he is considered to be a close friend by Ean Garcia–that’s Liberty’s secret identity. I’m currently working with my sister to flesh out everything so I can hopefully make something cohesive out of the mess of ideas I’m dealing with right now.

While I do plan to keep many of the elements of the original plot–specifically the major events that my brilliant sister orchestrated so many years ago–I’m also changing things to allow for some darker themes later on. For example, Ean and Chiaki Junpei (Tofu-sama’s secret identity) started out as pop stars; in the revamped storyline, however, I find it more plausible for them to be something more low-key but still ridiculously flashy. So I’m thinking that they should own an image consultancy business together. Enye, Ean’s lookalike (younger) twin sister, was originally the songwriter to her brother’s pop singer. Now, though, I’m inclined to turn her into a journalist of some sort. She’ll probably be the type who’ll do the fluff pieces so she’ll still have time to look out for her brother. I’m also considering changing the name of the setting. We called it Nuna Payatt, but I haven’t gotten the permission to use it from the person who came up with that (she does awesome cosplay, that girl).

Strangely enough, I can’t imagine changing anything about Egg–who is a kitty that turns into something that looks human–and his caretaker/Mom Ingrid Klein–who happens to be a photographer. If there’s anything I’m inclined to change about their end of the plot, it’s the type of publication that Ingrid works for. Originally, she shot photos for Kakkoii~!! Magazine (which focuses on fashion). Now, I’m considering turning Kakkoii into something closer to a news blog (where Enye also works; see how well it seems to tie together?). It will, of course, still be owned and run by the same people because I simply can’t write this story without the effervescent Love Yamamoto and her long-suffering associate Ludwig Volkakov. I ALSO don’t think I can change anything about Jeun, who works as Chiaki’s poor, put-upon assistant. Because she’s the person who makes that megalomaniac seem ALMOST human.

It’s a lot of work, but I’m hoping that I can do this without screwing it up too much.

Thankfully, Charlie Jane’s short story is inspiring me (instead of discouraging me) with its awesomeness right now. I’m scribbling on my filler notebook as we speak, so I can hopefully jot down some scenes and plot points when I get home later.

Oh, in case you’re wondering about Egg and his human, here’s all you need to know about them:

Egg vs the Bath
Again, drawn by my talented sister.

So you understand the REAL reason why I can’t let these characters go. Thankfully, my sister is okay with using them in the new version.

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