Special Abilities in Film and Literature

A guest post from ericuseshiswords. Find him on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram for more great content.

In the majority of fictional worlds we consume, we see people who are different than those around them. Harry Potter was a wizard living amongst muggles. Gandalf has lived for thousands of years, using his fantastical abilities to great effect.

As you can probably tell, many special powers come down to simply “magic”. Someone was born a witch or wizard or with the gift of flight or whatever it may be, and that’s that.

But if this is overdone, how can a potential author separate themself from the crowd. How can you make your characters special without simply giving them an overused magical quality and a weak explanation?

Simply put, you need to make the special abilities in your world unique. Create a backstory that goes deeper than “He is magical because I SAY he is magical!” Now more than ever, readers and viewers want to dive deep into fantasy worlds, and creating a unique reason for special abilities helps them do just that.

Let’s take a look at a few samples.

X-MEN: Genetic Mutations

Wolverine heals and has blade-like claws sprout from his hands-on command. Cyclops fires beams from his eyes. Jean Grey controls things with her mind. Each character has a unique special ability, but each ability is tied to a common cause: freak genetic mutations.

So-called mutants have mutations in their genetic code that give them radical powers; but, like most mutations, these also come with downsides. Wolverine feels the pain every time those claws come out. Cyclops needs special glasses to hold in his beams.

By giving them a scientific backing, the X-Men went from simply being superheroes to being a unique relative, the Mutants.

The Stormlight Archives

Written by Brandon Sanderson, the Stormlight Archives are set in a mystical world much like Middle Earth. Highstorms sweep through the land with mystical energies swirling around in them. The rich and powerful own shardplate and shardblades, powerful pieces of armor and weaponry that charge through the highstorms.

Likewise, Surgebinders are the closest there comes to magicians in this fantasy world. They can bind different ‘systems’ – such as gravity and adhesion – and manipulate them. Users do this through binding with a spren, a small mystical creature. Like shardplate, Surgebinders need to recharge in highstorms.

By creating a storm system that really fuels almost everything mystical in the Stormlight world, Sanderson thought up a unique way of giving his characters special abilities.

Star Wars – Jedi/Sith Abilities

Although it annoyed a lot of fans in the process, the Force got an explanation. Midi-chlorians  – microscopic organisms  – live in every race in the galaxy and give them the powers of the force. Some people have more, some people have less.

From there, through focus and meditation, users can increase the potency of the Midi-chlorians, therefore increasing their powers.

All three of these are great examples of different ways to introduce magical powers into your universe. People latch onto unique ideas, so if you can discover a different approach to what you want to achieve, you’re on your way to success.


What are your favourite uses of power or ability in film or literature? Comment below or message me with your ideas!


RELATED LINKS:

Worldbuilding – Meraxor

How Brandon Sanderson helped me with my writing

Brandon Sanderson on writing

Epic fantasy novel FREE for 4 days!

Fantasy novel The Shield of Soren by D.M. Cain is FREE for four days: 21st May – 25th May 2020.

Young Soren is the apprentice of legendary warrior, Raven Lennox. At the age of sixteen, Soren is expected to fight in the eternal war against the Brotherhood of Shadow – but he seems to be more interested in mischief than battle.

When one of Soren’s adventures goes off course, he accidentally unleashes a deadly threat. As an age-old prophecy comes to pass, Soren must take a perilous journey deep into enemy territory.

But does he have what it takes to save the realm, or will the Brotherhood destroy everything he loves?

Grab your copy in ebook or paperback here

Now available in audiobook too! Get your copy here

DM Cain audiobooks

Praise:

★★★★★ – “I’m delighted with the depth of young Soren Nitaya. This is a coming of age fantasy young and old alike will not be able to put down until they’ve read the last page. Definitely recommended.”

★★★★★ – “With remarkable characters and a captivating ending, you won’t want the story to end.”

★★★★★ – “A well-written fantasy read. Character development is done very well, the book has good pace and will leave the reader wanting for more. D.M. Cain has given us a real jewel to enjoy.”

★★★★★ – Superb fantasy.”


RELATED LINKS

A unique immersive fantasy

The Light and Shadow Chronicles: Origin of Shadow

The Light and Shadow Chronicles: A Chronicle of Chaos

The Light and Shadow Chronicles: Genesis of Light

The Light and Shadow Chronicles: The Sins of Silas

Epic fantasy novella FREE for 4 days!

Fantasy novella Genesis of Light by D.M. Cain is FREE for four days: 15th May – 19th May 2020.

Warring countries, fantastical creatures, beings of terrible power and journeys of epic scale. The legendary Book of Alcherys tells wild and unimaginable stories. But they are not mere fairy tales. They are true, every word.

Callista Nienna is strong and independent, but nothing could have prepared her for civilisation being brought to a violent end. Now, she is forced to stay alive in a desolate wilderness with only her closest friend for support.

She has two choices: give up and die with the wilting world around her or seize her destiny and make it to the only sanctuary left unscathed. At the end of her journey, something awaits Callista, something both terrifying and unbelievable.

The beginning of a fantasy epic. Learn where it all began in this prequel novella from The Light and Shadow Chronicles.

***** WOW! Read the whole book in one sitting. Just couldn’t put it down. Would love to know how you manage to keep coming up with these terrific books. Personally I think this is the best one yet Anne Harris, Avid Reader

Grab your copy in ebook or paperback here

Now available in audiobook too! Get your copy here

DM Cain audiobooks

Praise:

★★★★★ ‘I highly recommend this book and can’t wait for the next’

★★★★★ ‘I couldn’t put it down and read the whole book in one session’

★★★★★ ‘I would love to see these books being made into films’


RELATED LINKS

A unique immersive fantasy

The Light and Shadow Chronicles: Origin of Shadow

The Light and Shadow Chronicles: A Chronicle of Chaos

The Light and Shadow Chronicles: The Shield of Soren

The Light and Shadow Chronicles: The Sins of Silas

Spanish and Portuguese dystopian thriller

Spanish and Portuguese dystopian thriller

Psychological dystopian novel, The Phoenix Project, has now been released in Spanish and Portuguese.

KINDLE BOOK REVIEW – WINNER, BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

In a world that has descended into chaos, Raven Kennedy becomes a part of the Phoenix Project. Across the country, prison inmates fight to the death while the nation cheers them on. 

While struggling with his past, Raven faces the prison’s most ruthless killing machines. With the real war raging inside him, Raven fights for redemption.

But can he survive long enough to unravel the anger and regret that shackle him – and find the forgiveness he seeks?

★★★★★ – “With its break-neck action and engaging relationships, this is a sure winner for fans of Fight Club and Hunger Games.” 

★★★★★ – “A gripping tale of a dystopian society.”

The Phoenix Project dystopian thriller in Spanish and Portuguese

Buy here in Spanish

Buy here in Portuguese

Spanish, Portuguese, Italian fantasy books DM Cain

Spanish, Italian and Portuguese fantasy books

Epic, immersive fantasy novel, A Chronicle of Chaos, has now been released in Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.

Spanish Portuguese and Italian fantasy books by D.M. Cain

Bound by fate. Severed by blood.

In a realm ravaged by war, The Brotherhood of Shadow and The Children of Light will stop at nothing to destroy each other.

The warrior known as Chaos fights in the name of honor and glory. Arrogant and headstrong, he considers himself the strongest in the land, until fate puts him at the mercy of the demon Anathema.

The two strike up an intense rivalry, but their obsession to defeat one another only leads them closer together.

When the forces of Light and Darkness collide, where will their loyalties lie?

★★★★★ – “Outstanding. Strongly recommended to anyone who likes young adult fantasy.”

★★★★★ – “A unique and different approach to the old themes of angels and demons.”

★★★★★ – “Fantasy world, demons, angels, complex moral dilemmas. I’m sold.”

★★★★★ – “Amazing and entertaining, this book explores many themes and delves deep into the question of what is right.”

★★★★★ – “I was captivated as the story unfolded. Battles, adventures and feelings of being an outcast intermingled with love and affection. A must-read for fantasy fans.”

★★★★★ – “A heartrending tale of brutality, love, compassion and destiny.”

Spanish Portuguese and Italian fantasy books by D.M. Cain

Buy here in Spanish

Buy here in Italian

Buy here in Portuguese


RELATED LINKS:

A unique immersive fantasy series

The shield on the series books

10 immersive fantasy series to check out

Worldbuilding – Meraxor

The Light and Shadow Chronicles

Free extracts from The Shield of Soren

My publisher’s website – https://www.nextchapter.pub/ – has featured some free extracts from my epic fantasy novel The Shield of Soren.

This book is part of The Light and Shadow Chronicles, a series of epic fantasy stories which can be read in any order. Find out more about the series by clicking on the image below:

If you are new to this fantasy world, or have only read one of the books, these extracts will help to give you a flavour of what my writing is about. I hope you enjoy them!

D.M. Cain

Excerpt 1: White Feathers

Excerpt 2: Inferior Genes

Epic fantasy with angels, demons, magic and more for FREE today!

Fantasy novel A Chronicle of Chaos by D.M. Cain is FREE for four days, starting today!

A Chronicle of Chaos free promotion

Bound by fate. Severed by blood.

In a realm ravaged by war, The Brotherhood of Shadow and The Children of Light will stop at nothing to destroy each other.

The warrior known as Chaos fights in the name of honor and glory. Arrogant and headstrong, he considers himself the strongest in the land, until fate puts him at the mercy of the demon Anathema.

The two strike up an intense rivalry, but their obsession to defeat one another only leads them closer together.

 When the forces of Light and Darkness collide, where will their loyalties lie?

★★★★★ – “Outstanding. Strongly recommended to anyone who likes young adult fantasy.”

★★★★★ – “A unique and different approach to the old themes of angels and demons.”

★★★★★ – “Fantasy world, demons, angels, complex moral dilemmas. I’m sold.”

★★★★★ – “Amazing and entertaining, this book explores many themes and delves deep into the question of what is right.”

★★★★★ – “I was captivated as the story unfolded. Battles, adventures and feelings of being an outcast intermingled with love and affection. A must-read for fantasy fans.”

★★★★★ – “A heartrending tale of brutality, love, compassion and destiny.”

Grab your copy in ebook or paperback here

Now available in audiobook too! Get your copy here

DM Cain audiobooks

RELATED LINKS

Worldbuilding – Meraxor

A unique immersive fantasy

A Chronicle of Chaos official merchandise

The Light and Shadow Chronicles: Genesis of Light

The Light and Shadow Chronicles: Origin of Shadow

The Light and Shadow Chronicles: The Shield of Soren

The Light and Shadow Chronicles: The Sins of Silas

The Shield of Soren on audiobook

DM Cain audiobook - The Shield of Soren

Young Soren is the apprentice of legendary warrior, Raven Lennox. At the age of sixteen, Soren is expected to fight in the eternal war against the Brotherhood of Shadow – but he seems to be more interested in mischief than battle.

When one of Soren’s adventures goes off course, he accidentally unleashes a deadly threat. As an age-old prophecy comes to pass, Soren must take a perilous journey deep into enemy territory.

But does he have what it takes to save the realm, or will the Brotherhood destroy everything he loves?

★★★★★ – “I’m delighted with the depth of young Soren Nitaya. This is a coming of age fantasy young and old alike will not be able to put down until they’ve read the last page. Definitely recommended.”

★★★★★ – “With remarkable characters and a captivating ending, you won’t want the story to end.”

★★★★★ – “A well-written fantasy read. Character development is done very well, the book has good pace and will leave the reader wanting for more. D.M. Cain has given us a real jewel to enjoy.”

★★★★★ – Superb fantasy.”


Pick up your copy here:

Fantasy audiobook - audible US
Fantasy audiobook - audible UK

Why not check out the other books in the audio series?

DM Cain audiobook series

RELATED LINKS:

The Light and Shadow Chronicles

A Chronicle of Chaos

The Shield of Soren

Genesis of Light

Origin of Shadow

The Phoenix Project

Origin of Shadow on audiobook

DM Cain audiobook - Origin of Shadow

The voice broke into his thoughts, everywhere and nowhere at once, deafening, yet somehow a whisper. “Are you ready to learn the truth?”

Heir to a notorious crime syndicate, sixteen-year-old Vincent Wilder is determined to live up to his father’s intimidating legacy, and expand his violent empire. The Wilders have terrorised the city of Pabell for decades and Vincent knows the business inside and out – and has dirtied his own hands more times than he dares to count.

But no matter how ready he thinks he is, nothing could have prepared him for life at the helm. His father was a man of many things, but secrets wasn’t one of them. Or so Vincent had thought. The deeper Vincent gets into his leadership role, the more terrifying and inexplicable skeletons he uncovers.

With the threat of a revolution, a mysterious and intrusive voice in his head, and a long-lost history he knew nothing about, is he really up to the challenge?

★★★★★ – “I have not seen this type of book writing before, and it looks very promising. I found it very interesting and cannot wait for more.”

★★★★★ – “A gripping and intriguing short story, and a great introduction to this series.”


Pick up your copy here:

Fantasy audiobook - audible US
Fantasy audiobook - audible UK

Why not check out the other books in the audio series?

DM Cain audiobook series

RELATED LINKS:

The Light and Shadow Chronicles

A Chronicle of Chaos

The Shield of Soren

Genesis of Light

Origin of Shadow

The Phoenix Project