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

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

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

The Phoenix Project free promotion

Award-winning psychological thriller The Phoenix Project by D.M. Cain is FREE for four days, starting today!

Award-winning psychological thriller The Phoenix Project by D.M. Cain is FREE for four days, starting today!

Winner of the Kindle Book Review Best Sci-Fi Novel of 2016

How can you fight to the death, when you’ve given up on life?

As violence and terrorist attacks become more prevalent, the world descends into chaos. Outraged by the lawlessness, citizens demand a harsher penal system, and the Phoenix Project is born.

In prisons across the country, inmates fight to the death in a weekly bloodbath while the nation cheers them on.

Raven Kennedy, a prisoner who has never forgiven himself for his unspeakable crime, struggles against his own guilt and self-loathing. But even as the real war rages on within himself, Raven is forced to battle some of the prison’s most ruthless killing machines.

Fighting for his life and a chance for redemption, can Raven survive long enough to unravel the anger and regret that shackle him – and find the forgiveness he seeks?

Grab your copy in ebook or paperback here

Praise:

★★★★★ A Never-To-Be-Forgotten Masterpiece

★★★★★ In my humble opinion The Phoenix Project is a masterpiece in every sense of the word. – Stewart Bint, Author

★★★★★ A not-so-gentle reminder to check our own morals, our beliefs and our system of justice. To repeatedly ask ourselves, am I okay with what I see in the mirror? – Lisa Veldkamp, Author

★★★★★ The Phoenix Project is a compelling read, beautifully written in a way that totally captivates your imagination. Dark and sometimes uncomfortable, this book gives a disturbing insight into a postmodern world of anomie and repressive state force. – Amazon Reviewer

Award-winning psychological thriller The Phoenix Project by D.M. Cain is FREE for four days, starting today!

RELATED LINKS

Inspiration for The Phoenix Project

How was The Phoenix Project inspired by geek culture?

Secrets of The Phoenix Project

Origin of Shadow Cover Reveal

I’m so excited to share with you the cover for my upcoming release, Origin of Shadow! This novella is part of my epic, immersive fantasy series The Light and Shadow Chronicles. The series is centered upon a centuries-long war between two armies and each book focuses upon a character within the timeline. This novella gives the origin story of one of the armies – The Brotherhood of Shadow. The complementary novella entitled Genesis of Light is already available in ebook, paperback and audiobook.

The official release date for the book is 23rd Novmber. In the meantime, if you haven’t read the others in the series yet you can get them here (though reading these first isn’t required to understand Origin of Shadow):

A Chronicle of Chaos –  http://mybook.to/ChronicleofChaos

The Shield of Soren – http://mybook.to/ShieldofSoren

Genesis of Light – http://mybook.to/genesisoflight

Origin of Shadow BLURB

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

As 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 had known nothing about, is he really up to the challenge?

You’ve read the Children of Light’s origin story, now experience the same events from a different perspective with this prequel novella from The Light and Shadow Chronicles.

Origin of Shadow EXCERPT

The ticking of the timepiece was far louder than it should have been. Every innocuous click of the hands reverberated around the room. Sixteen-year-old Vincent Wilder stood perfectly still, making sure his chin was raised and his expression stony. He tried to hide the fact that his fingers twitched nervously behind his back. This meeting needs to go off without a hitch. There’s so much resting on it. He made an effort to narrow his eyes and puff out his chest, hoping his young frame was imposing.

A single drop of sweat trickled down his forehead, running a sticky trail across his skin. He wanted to reach up and wipe it away, but didn’t dare draw attention to the fact he was perspiring. If they saw it, would they take it as a sign of weakness? So he did nothing and let the salty drop work its way down his forehead, running into his dark eyes. He blinked to clear the drop, but his vision blurred and his eyes itched. He could hold off no longer and was forced to swipe at his eyes with a hurried hand.

His eyesight cleared and he took the opportunity to glance down at the table and the people sat around it. A couple in their early forties sat on one side, close together, huddling for comfort. Their eyes were strong and defiant, the woman’s in particular. Her hands were flat on the tabletop, and she leaned forwards, speaking with determination.

The ashen-faced man beside her was silent. Despite the stony expression on his face, Vincent could see the man’s hands trembling.

Across from them sat Franco Wilder, Vincent’s father. Once, he had a thick shock of dark hair, long and wild, draped across his shoulders. That was how Vincent always pictured his father, but the figure that sat before him had changed drastically in the past few years. As soon as Franco’s hair had started thinning, he had shaved the lot, and the bald head made the most terrifying man Vincent had ever met even more intimidating.

Franco’s posture was rigid and unmoving, a coiled snake waiting to lunge. The dark eyes that had chastised Vincent since childhood were now zeroed in on the couple before him. His father’s fingers were locked together tightly, but Vincent knew that it would only take a split second for Franco to wrench the knife from his concealed thigh pouch. Vincent’s muscles too were primed, ready to propel him into a fight. Never relax around Franco Wilder. He’d learned that very young.  

D.M. CAIN BIO

D.M. Cain is a dystopian and fantasy author working for Creativia Publishing. The Light and Shadow Chronicles series features a range of books which can be read in any order. The series instalments to date include A Chronicle of Chaos, The Shield of Soren andGenesis of Light.

Cain has released one stand-alone novel: The Phoenix Project, a psychological thriller set in a dystopian future. The Phoenix Project was the winner of the 2016 Kindle Book Review Sci-Fi novel Award.

Cain lives in Leicestershire, UK with her partner and two young children, and spends her time reading, writing, reviewing and indulging in geek culture (Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Final Fantasy).  

LINKS

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DMCainauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DMCain84

Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/dmcain

Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/XevZH

Website: www.dmcain84.com

Genesis of Light by D.M. Cain audiobook banner audible listening is the new reading

Fantasy audiobook out now!

Not much time for sitting down with a book? Why not let somebody else read to you while you drive, cook dinner, or walk the dog? I am delighted to announce that my epic fantasy novella, Genesis of Light, is now available as an audiobook. It can be purchased via Audible, Amazon and iTunes.

Audible US
Audible UK

More about Genesis of Light:

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.

fantasy novella Genesis of Light 5 star book review poster

RELATED LINKS:

The Light and Shadow Chronicles

A unique immersive fantasy

Worldbuilding – Meraxor

A Chronicle of Chaos Merchandise

A Chronicle of Chaos Soundtrack

The Spirit Shield Saga – ‘rip-roaring’ epic fantasy!

Hello immersive fantasy fans! Today, I have a guest on my blog (and I am very excited about it!). Please welcome the talented, multi-award-winning fantasy author, Susan Faw. She is touring her epic series, The Spirit Shield Saga and has answered some questions and given us some insight into her awesome books. Enjoy!

Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?

There are multiple POV characters in this series (every epic fantasy does this) but the main thread revolves around Cayden. I knew Cayden’s fatal flaw from the beginning, and stayed true to that flaw throughout the series. I cannot even mention it here, as it would be a major spoiler, for those who have not read the series. Suffice it to say, that it creates no end of problems for those around him.

How did you come up with the title of your first novel?

The title is another Easter egg. It has two meanings, which should become clear as you read the book. Beyond that, I googled the name and also searched amazon and other book sites to make sure that the title was not like anyone else’s.

Who designed your book covers?

The Spirit Shield Saga covers were designed by Greg Simanson Design, you can find his website here:

https://www.simansondesign.com/book-covers

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

I am going to stick with actors from the Harry Potter films 😊 Helen Bonham Carter would make a perfect Helga. I think I’d like to see Emma Watson play Avery, and for Cayden, I’d pick someone like Matthew Lewis. Evanna Lynch would make a great Artio. And Mordecai by Ralph Fiennes. It would be great to see him do something comedic. Ziona is a tough one, more like Legolas’s love, of the LOTR, I think.

Soul Survivor
Prequel to the Spirit Shield Saga
by Susan Faw
Genre: YA Fantasy

An ancient feud that spills from the realm of the Gods. Four desperate agendas that cross the line. And a boy with a mysterious box is the world’s only hope.

Helga, demi-goddess of the underworld has but one true desire, a young man named Genii. But Genii belongs to her sister star gazing sister, Artio.
Obsessed with possessing Genii any way she can, Helga sets herself against her siblings. The vicious rivalry sets brother against sister and flesh against spirit, as they battle each other for ultimate control of the souls of the dead.
Helga summons a great evil, spawn of the underworld, which left unchecked, will sweep all life into the depths of the underworld, where Helga rules supreme.
In the epic battle that ensues, only one will be left standing, and if it is the wrong one, how will the world survive?
Download this tale of love, jealousy, and magic, today, and dive into this award-winning epic mythology fantasy series!
**Get it FREE!! **
Seer of Souls
Book One of The Spirit Shield Saga
“A Rip-Roaring Series Opener!” – Kirkus Reviews
The time for hiding is finished. The dead are restless.
Fate and destiny collide.
Twins Cayden and Avery Tiernan have grown up in isolation on the fringe of the realm. Gifted with forbidden skills, they hide their growing magical powers. Ancient prophecies speak of the ones with the power to depose the queen.
To protect her throne, Queen Alcina scours the land for evidence of magic, while the darker force she serves threatens the land with chaos. She is not the only huntress however. Primordial seekers discover the twins first but before they can escape, the death of a queen’s guard puts the entire village in jeopardy. To save their town, the twins flee, only to be dragged toward an unknown destiny.
Guided by her gift, Avery senses lies and treachery where others see only truth. Dare she trust her instincts? For Cayden, an irresistible voice whispers to him. Does it belong to the souls of the dead and are they calling him home?
Buy Seer of Souls and plunge into the first book of the Spirit Shield Saga today!
Soul Sanctuary
Book Two of The Spirit Shield Saga
A temple awakened. The forbidden mountain stirs.
The dead are missing.
Snatched from her home by a Primordial Seeker, seventeen-year-old Avery is imprisoned by the people she intended to serve. In a desperate bid for freedom, she escapes, only to find herself racing against time to save those who seek to use her.
Driven by jealousy, the lust for power and the stain of ancient crimes, conflicting factions struggle to gain control of the magic of a Spirit Shield. Avery must dodge all who cross her path, for each group vies to control her actions.
Aided by the mythical creatures of her native land, she discovers that a true Spirit Shield is much more than a simple priestess. She must fight for control of the souls of the world, and in doing so must face her worst fear of all: family.
Purchase the next exciting chapter in this must read epic saga, today!
Soul Sacrifice
Book Three of The Spirit Shield Saga
The underworld writhes. Terror unleashed. Souls enslaved.
The Spirit Shields with memories returned are plunged into a conflict older than mankind. The pending battle pits family against spirit and flesh. The godlings face off for ultimate control of the souls of the dead, each with their own agenda, for there is no love lost between these siblings.
Helga, goddess of the underworld, tightens her hold on those who hold the key to ultimate victory. Meanwhile, Avery struggles to convince her sister Artio that unless they become allies they will fail in their misaligned quest. Cayden, with the aid of Brimstone, struggles to fulfill a destiny prophesied since their original deaths long ago.
Can four warring siblings find peace and forgiveness? Or will they battle to the end of the world, sacrificing all living souls in the conflict?
Don’t miss the exciting conclusion to the Spirit Shield Saga! Purchase your copy today!
*Winner, Dante Rossetti First In Category, Chanticleer Reviews (2018)*
Get the Box set here and save!!
Winner of the Dante Rossetti Grand Prize for Best Young Adult Fiction of 2016 (Seer of Souls, Chanticleer Reviews) and First in Category, Dante Rossetti Best Young Adult Fiction of 2017 (Soul Sanctuary, Chanticleer Reviews) Susan loves to bring new worlds and fantasy adventures to young adults and inspire them to join her on her make-believe journeys. She is actively crafting stories that sing in your memory. You can find Susan at http://www.susanfaw.com, on twitter @susandfaw or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SusanFaw.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

Struggle with small print? Never fear – large print is here!

A Chronicle of Chaos and The Shield of Soren are now available in large print! You can get copies in paperback or kindle here:

Epic fantasy books large print

A Chronicle of Chaos Large Print version

The Shield of Soren Large Print version

RELATED LINKS:

A Chronicle of Chaos

The Shield of Soren

Genesis of Light

Origin of Shadow

The Light and Shadow Chronicles