One would think that writing this spotlight is easy, but the truth is that, as time went by, you either have to change the parameters or start to lose steam.
Then, out of the blue, a question comes that help you reframe and realize that there are more stories that you completely forgot about.
I have to thank tSuper who, on the Discord server, asked: "Has there ever been an alien abduction story where the lady taken gets turned into a superheroine?" This immediately clicked several buttons in my brain and I remembered one story I really liked when I first joined this community... but I didn't remember the title.
It took a while to finally zero it down, but here we go:
What I really enjoyed about this story is how Jabbrwock mingled elements of two very different genres to create interesting interactions. Nyx doesn'tt have the frame of reference to imagine or comprehend what is happening to her, which makes for some really interesting writing. We can literally see the gears in her mind turning as she tries to understand the events and put them in a context that makes any sense from her perspective.
At the same time her "antagonist" (I use this word in a very broad sense) is so dispassionate, distant and alien that I hesitate to event call them "cynical", because they don't seem to follow normal pattern of thinking. In actual fact in the first draftt of this brief introduction I described this entity as a "it", almost an object rather than a living creature. Hats off to the autthor to be able to pull such a writing stunt, which eludes even some professional writers.
Now, on to the negatives... the story is unfinished. Like many others tales, we never got a really satisfing conclusion. Part 2 provided some much needed context and some really great bits of Nyx interacting with the world, trying and failing to adjust to her new body, but this was not enough. Part 1 ended on a great cliffhanger, teasing a great conflict to come and, evern after 11 years I still hope to see it one day.
There are stories that are long-winded epics, with so many ideas, situations and novelties that you simply don't know where to start looking... and there are tiny stories that hit you right on the head with exactly the kind of content that you love and you can't help but re-reading them time and again without ever getting tired.
is one of those stories.
First of all, I know I'm a minority, but I'm a sucker for "slice of life" kind of stories. Big events, epic scale battles and superwomen taking over the world are great, but I think they require a lot of preparation, a significant and constant build-up to get a really satisfying pay-off. Slice of life stories, on the other hand are little, self-contained (often charming) moments that show us the human behind the superhuman. For comics aficionados among you, yes, I'm a huge sucker for Roger Stern and Mark Gruenwald's work on Captain America.
Of course this a small story, written for one short format workshop aptly titled "A Superwoman Walks in a Bar", and I'm really struggling to keep this presentation spoiler-free and shorter than the actual story. JKIJ freely admitted that the original version was much longer and much more detailed, but he was forced to cut it down to fit the word limit of the workshop. Even so the characters are well defined in a few lines, the action has some really impressive moments and the ending uses one of my favorite twists ever (no, I'm not going to spoil it).
The story has a prequel, published roughly a year later called "A Healer's Origin", which presented the main heroine in a much more complete way. I consider these two stories to be inseparable (albeit perfectly readable on their own) and this brings me to one of the point of interest. It's an open segret that we, as readers and fans, often cater to a very small subset of powers we love. Super-strength is one of the usual suspects, invulnerability and flight are close behind, but the focus of this particular character is on one of the most underused powers ever: healing.
Think about it for a minute: how many supers can fly? How many have super-strength? But how many can heal?
It's truly refreshing to see this power displayed front and center (mostly in the prequel I admit) and I still hope to see another chapter of this character somehow, someway.
The spooky season is over and now it's time to cast your vote.
Which of the entries for our "Becoming the Costume" workshop is your favorite?
The pool will run for two weeks until the 23:59 PM (GMT) of Tuesday the 16th of Novemeber 2021.
After that the publication of our usual Spotlight feature will resume.
Please, leave any comment, compliment and feedback under the individual stories or in the Workshop Feedback thread. Meanwhile the votes goes down here.
Pop Quiz: what do superheroes and Halloween have in common?
Delightfully, brightly coloured costumes.
For one night we all forget who we are and pretend to be someone else.
So, to celebrate Halloween, we are going to ask you all writers another big question: what happens when it's not a one-night thing? What happens when someone becomes the costume?
The Halloween 2021 SWM Workshop
Theme: Becoming the Costume
Here we got the rules:
- Each entry MUST work around the theme.
- No entry can be longer than 10,000 words (give or take a few).
- All characters must be over the age of 18.
- SWM reserves the right to withhold and/or disqualify submitted entries based on their sole discretion of the content.
- Entries must be received no later than October 29th, 2021 at 11:59 pm GMT.
- Once submitted, entries will be voted on by the SWM user via an online poll.
The workshop start toda, to you all, happy writing!
For any further question you can ask the Admin staff via PM or the forum thread.
How to start this?
That's a pretty good question for a story that is essentially an ending... of sort.
And a bad one for the world.
This is a pretty short story and some people might even argue that it barely fits in our genre. It features a superwoman for sure, but her being super isn't the main focus of the story. It's relevant to the plot, in fact the plot work only because she's super, otherwise the entire deal won't work, but that's not the key. It's a very tricky balance to achieve, but Dru pulled it out brilliantly.
The opening, if anything, reminds me a lot of the general set-up of the Aurora Universe: an alien superwoman assigned as protector to our little backwater rock and bound by a crapton of redtape. That's the real key of the plot: redtape, an opponent that you can't punch, burn or toss in the sun or submit... until someone makes a mistake. If this doesn't sound exticing to you, I won't blame you. This is a slow burn story that is all about the payoff and, knowing Dru, you can reast easily knowing that the payoff will be great.
The result is a story that start familiar, develops in a prettyunexpected way and concludes with a pretty different premise. It's almost a perfect circle of our genre. Shadows of it resurfaced in some of Dru most recent work. I can totally see one or two details working their way in some of O-Girl craziest stunts.
Sometimes it's the bane of my existance and the reason why tend to forget to update this front blog in time.
This time, the occasion for this sharing is a bit more sombre than usual and it ties in with a a bit of sad news, the passing of actress Marjorie "Markie" Post, the inspiration behind the main storyline of our friend Darala Starr.
I have to give Darala credit for one thing, very few authors in our genre really manage to capture that unique feeling that was proper of some 70s and early 80s TV show, like The Bionic Woman or Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman. Perhaps it's because our sensibilities shifted so much, but I sometimes wonder if we had traded too much of the very toungue-in-cheek humor for too much of the sexy. Many of Darala's stories (hosted on Wattpad) are a masterclass in recapturing that particular sensibility, but I think this one stand head and shoulder above the others because it's completely original. Despite being visually based on Markie Post's character in The Plot to Kill a City (an episode of the Buck Rogers TV series), everything else about the character is 100% a creation of Darala.
Aside from the humor, what really made me a fan of this story is how the main character is portrayed as genuinly good and as a fish out of the water. Although by the end of "Season 1" she has become very accustomed to how her body works on Earth, all the previous installment are a journey of self-discovery. This long origin story manages to keep everything interesting and fun by letting us savour each little bite, each minute discovery, each accident that the main character experience along the way, spicing it all with a bit of humor and sexiness, but never making either the focus of the narrative.
I do belive this is really a precious gift, a true example of how to write a story in a style that seem lost to many of us.
PS: if you enjoyed this story,please go to Darala's Wattpad page to catch up with the sequel, also inspired by one of the beauties of Buck Roger's fame.
Transformations are one of the fundamentals of our genre. Some writers prefer to keep them to a minimum so that the character's powers are a surprise for the rest of the cast, but more often than not there is a changing element to the story, from a dramatic She-Hulk style change to a little amount of beautification.
In spite of this the means to achieve this transformation were as varied as humanly possible: blood transfusion, radiations, chemical mixtures, meteors, alien interference, magic, genies, err... kinky stuff (sorry this is visible to the casual audience as well). All of these and more can provide you with various results based on the amount of the resource available, the concentration and whatnot... but there is only one product that will grant you ever-improving results and beautification with 100% satisfaction guaranteed*.
I admit that my first reaction when I read Chapter 1 of this series was somewhere between the amused and the bewildered. Never in my mind, I would have even considered a shower gel as a viable means to start a superwoman story and transformation. Part of my reluctance I blame on the 2004 Catwoman movie (the one that won 7 Razzie Awards), where the main villain (played by Sharon Stone) became invulnerabl-ish after overdosing on a beauty cream. Although the equation of power = beauty is pretty common in our genre, the reverse isn't always true and the idea of a beauty product as a power source was always a bit of a sore point since I watched that flick.
Now, what did Monty do to change my mind?
In short: this story is insanely hot!
Like the top of the summer in a foundry hot!
All the superwomen in this story become incredibly beautiful and insanely powerful, even without considering how the gel keeps improving them with every use, creating a potentially infinite circle... or not. The idea of an ever-replenishing bottle of gel as the main prop proved to be a real stroke of genius. Being portable, semi-inconspicuous and easy to steal, it allowed many potential combinations and screw-ups first with Sarah's little sister Emma, their mother and later with Tiffany, who really pushed the story into high gear.
Moreover, Monty's narration truly improved over time adding more and more details and nuances to his repertoire but, unfortunately, the story kind of fizzled out at some point. It was really a shame and I still hope that Monty will pick this story up at some point.
* the SWM admin team is not legally responsible for any possible side-effect of absuing the Energize! gel. Said effect includes, but are not limited to, increased libido, invulnerability, goddess complex, destruction of clothes and/or property, disregard for common decorum and abuse of metal and/or concrete items for the purpose of strenth-testing.
For this week Admin Story Spotlight we have a pretty unique bit of superwoman fiction, one (really, really, really) short snippet straight from the mind of a superwoman and one of the oldest contributors to this community.
(Super)Ladies and gentlemen, let's talk about:
Before going any futher there are a couple of details I need to address.
First, this story is from the old "1000 words" format workshop, specifically Workshop 2.04, which is probably my favorite one ever. Not only it had a really high number of entries, it also had one of my favorite themes: a romantic evening. As such I'm highly biased toward all these stories and I already featured at least once (Larafan's Charlie's Angel) on this very column. Even so, I think that Velvet's work needs more recognition, being a pretty nice and unique take, not to mention a playful jab to a lot of us and our obsession.
Second (and this is going to be a lot more complicated), as I already mentioned Velvet has been one of the oldest contributor to our genre, being part of the many writers that tackled the Aurora Universe created by Shadar. Now (this is the awkward part), Velvet arrived to the genre by marriage. I'm not going into details, those who are in the know don't need them, but at some point her husband, one of our most estemeed authors, told her about his obsession for Supergirl. Lucky for him she still loved him and lucky for us she started contributing to the genre. I'm not sure if she had been the first woman to contribute to this community, but I think she has been the first one to openly identify her genre.
Apparently she had never even tried to write fiction before and she ended up publishing several piece both in and out the Aurora Universe, including some professionally published e-books.
What makes Velvet's work unique is that she often works from an internal perspective that it's very hard to get. Many of us write focusing on the exterior, the open display of power, she grand scenes. In short, we have a very Hollywood approach to narrative, where each individual shot must tell a story of its own. Her approach was more akin to French cinema, where things are showed us through the mind, rather than the eyes, of a single character.
The result is a very intimate (pardon the pun) point of view that provide us with the perspective of a superwoman that, in this case, is musing about the stereotypes of our genre on sexual encounters. I'm not going to spoil anything else, because it would make this piece possibly longer than the story itself, but I believe this should be a mandatory reading for any writer that want to approach this very delicate subject.
Sorry, sorry, sorry.
I know that this entry is insanely late, but this week hasn't been kind to me in any way shape or form (except that I was finally able to get an appointment for my first vaccine shot).
Anyway, this week's story is one that I had at least one finger in since I was part of the "beta-readering" team for it. So, I'm 100% biased and there is nothing I can do about it.
Let's talk about
If memory helps, this story started as a twenty or so pitch that Goose sent me in early 2016 and he published a first version in his Notebook thread. From there, the story got a lot of polishing and reworking, which is pretty much the hallmark of Goose's work, he's never satisfied, he always takes time of gave any piece he does a lot of extra work.
What makes this story really good is how it pulls a 180° about a quater of the way in, turning its own framing device in the main storyline. Speaking of the framing device, I'm kind of surprised that newscasts aren't much more prominent in our genre, not just because they are extremely useful to set up the scene by providing a measure of in-story exposition, but also because they're a very natural progression of Superman's framing device of being a newspaper reporter. Off the top of my head, the main examples I can quote are Gincognito's The Celbutante, which literally included the Chyron in the main text, and many entries by Newshound (of course).
Anyway, what AuGoose gave us a prime example of "collective wish fullfilment" that is exceptionally well written, but also extremely appealing because we can see it in real time. Often, stories based around the idea of a character getting powers from others use this element as part of the background or by delivering powers in "packets" that coincide with key moments of the story. Here we have a prime example of how to showcase the empowerment process in real time and it's gourgeous to watch. The main characte becomes a mirror of the events of the world and fuel them at the same time in a sort of neverending loop... well there's an actual ending, but I'm not going to spoil it for you.
By the way, some people might spot a passing similarity with HikerAngel's grand experiment Superstarter, but I'll leave any explanation about how or if those are linked to the author themselves.
See you at the next story.
How do I start about this one?
Beginning are often difficult.
Even more so when you're not considering what is, but rather what if...
One of the classic Marvel series from the '70 and '80 was What If an anthology that took a single pivotal moment in an ongoing series and reframed it by changing some details.
What if Spider-Man joined the Fantasic Four?
What if Jane Foster found Thor's Hammer? (a favorite in this community)
What if Phoneix Had Not Died?
...and so on.
Since, we are going to get a MCU TV series based on this premise, I thought it was a good idea to dust off our own What If stories, courtesy of a gentleman called TheWiseWatcher.
To be perfectly honest and fair this is really a throwback to the early days of the Supergirls Inc website, the predecessor to our community, and the story might not measure up to some more recent work and yet... it still has something. It has that "old comic book" charm, that ineffable quality that we associate with something that was part of our childhood. It might have not aged as well as other stories from those days, but I do think that it does have a place in the shelves of our library.
I admit I have to deduct a couple of point from TheWiseWatcher for two reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the story and more with my personal taste:
- The idea of Sue getting all the powers of the quartet is an idea that I love so much, so a was a little disappointed that you decided to go with a different route. Still, I like the wishing aspect of her new powers.
- A couple of times, I felt like this story really needed a tiny bit more explanation.
Even so, it's a great story and I would love to see a remake or a second episode spawning from it one day.
Hatts of to you, TheWiseWatcher and, like someone used to say...