Here are ten free character writing prompts about superheroes! While I considered leaving this section out and letting the section "Heroes" speak for itself, I've read too many comic books and seen too many cartoons to leave out superheroes. In the beginning they were simple characters who were bent on saving the world after having visited from another planet or being a part of a government experiment. There are now hundreds (if not thousands) of superheroes from cartoons and comics and they have many different sets of back stories and personal lives. Some of them are cursed while others lead a relatively normal life like the one portrayed in the movie The Incredibles. When creating your own superhero, feel free to add your own personal touches to an enjoyable and occasionally dark genre.
Free Character Writing Prompts #8: Superheroes
1. As many reporters have reflected in stories about failed rescues and hostage negotiations gone horribly wrong, "In a world where superheroes exist, why did we have to get stuck with this one?" While his origins are unclear, it's obvious that the super strength and speed that he inherited did not enhance his brain. When he was discovered, you believed he would be the best hope your city had of stopping crime, due to his invulnerability and his hatred for bad guys. Unfortunately, he's a major screw up and tends to unintentionally help the criminals as often as he hurts them, causing property damage and innocent injuries in his wake. Where did this hero come from and why does he have such trouble with his own heroism?
2. In a world surrounded by superheroes and villains, he was a pacifist living in a small town in rural Pennsylvania. He was very religious and didn't often leave his tiny hamlet, but a work-related matter put him in Philadelphia for a conference. During an evening stroll back to his hotel, he was attacked by two crooks with weapons. When he put up his hands to defend himself, a large blast of fire and energy shot out, blowing the crooks backward at an alarming speed and causing them to die almost instantly. After news got out that he was one of the most powerful super beings on the planet, the public clamored for him to don a cape. What will he choose to do and what shape will the rest of his life take?
3. In school she had the nickname of Plain Jane and when she realized she had the ability to fly, the nickname took on multiple meanings. Despite her flying ability and learning some basic fighting techniques, she was still pretty average looking. She poured over comic books of female super heroes and found they were all buxom and clothes in tight spandex. While most women have pressure to conform to some level of beautification, she had more than most as she was on camera frequently. She held fast to her own style and her natural weight in the face of these ridiculous standards. What is an average day like for this airborne heroine?
4. As the most popular girl in school, she had a responsibility to maintain her image at all times. When a strange man approached her, telling her she was chosen to fight the evil in the world, she called the police and had him arrested for exposing himself to her even though it was far from the truth. Though she tried to ignore them, she noticed instincts she'd never had before that alerted her to danger. When a massive group of demons attacked a tour bus during a class trip, she powerfully fought them off in front of everybody. Her response to them in the aftermath was, "I'm a superhero." How does her new role fit with her popularity and how will her life change?
5. On a scuba trip to celebrate his retirement, a man was examining a coral reef when he noticed a glimmering silver ball. He waved his wife over as he touched it. A blast of light went through his body and his wife motioned to the tour guide for help. When they brought the man to the surface and took off his mask, they found that he had regressed in age to a very fit, twenty-something individual. He later realized he had super strength and an ability to move objects with his mind. He insisted he didn't mind that there was now a 50 year age difference in appearance between him and his wife, but people were beginning to ask questions. What will the man do about his living and super hero situations?
6. He knew from a young age that he had a sort of power over people. Whenever he asked someone for something that person gave it to him in a sort of trance. In a moment of adolescent frustration, he asked his dad to kill himself, which he promptly did. Since that chilling day, he has been more careful with his mind control and he has only used it for the good of his country. He has urges to use his powers for wealth and greed, but he suppresses them with all his might. How does he honor his dad and what are some ways in which he's controlled people?
7. She was so upset that her boyfriend left her for the hottest girl in school that she wished to be that girl. In a few moments, she transformed into the girl and knew that she could shape shift. She used the powers for petty pleasures in high school and college but knew there had to be a bigger purpose. She trained to be a spy for the CIA, never sharing her powers with her superiors. She had difficulty defining her own identity after having taken on so many in her missions. She even considered starting over as a child to get herself adopted. What are some ways she has used her powers and who does she feel she truly is?
8. You know the phrase "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger?" Well, for her, it's by far the truth. When she broke her leg in middle school, she noticed that it not only grew back stronger, but she was now able to jump over five feet vertically on it. Small cuts would heal back with a second skin that was practically invulnerable. Her real powers, however, came when she fell deathly ill from a tropical disease. Upon health, she had super speed, regenerative abilities and complete fearlessness. During the day she lives her secret identity as a paralegal for a criminal law firm and at night she uses those contacts to put criminal organizations behind bars. Describe a typical day and night in her life.
9. For anyone who doubted the belief that knowledge is power, this man was all the convincing they would ever need. Not only was he a sponge when it came to all types of book knowledge, but he was a master of muscle memory. This meant that he absorbed every fighting technique in a matter of minutes as if it were downloaded directly into his brain a la The Matrix. His true passion was literature, however and he spent much of his time memorizing the classics. Since rambling off long passages of Faulkner didn't impress the ladies he was a bit of a loner. He put some of his social energies outside of heroism into anonymously winning fantasy football leagues. What would a perfect day be like for this mental maestro?
10. She was a bra-burning, animal-loving activist through and through until an effort to let a laboratory experiment free turned her into a fierce and powerful warrior. While she never lost her feminist and cause-fighting spirit, she knew that her powers of protest would be best served as the source of the problems. She fought to uncover criminal aspects of big companies through a special law enforcement division that she was commissioned to head up. In addition, she became a symbol for women everywhere to be independent and to fight for a better world. What are some of the things she misses about her protesting days and why?
Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on Google+ and Facebook.