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Favourite method of normal>supergirl transformation

09 Mar 2006 16:37 #4829 by admin
So.. which is your favourite means by which a normal girl becomes a supergirl?

Vote, give examples and tell us why!

The poll will remain open for 14 days.

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10 Mar 2006 03:15 #4832 by argonaut
Lfan thinks I haven't been contributing enough to this forum lately, and he may be right (although no one else has complained). So I thought I'd weigh in on this thread.

IMO, the means by which an ordinary girl is transformed into a super-girl is what Hitchcock called a "MacGuffen" -- an arbitrary and largely irrelevant device that serves the purpose of setting the story in motion. Whether the girl gains super-powers from a magic amulet, a radioactive meteor, or a quasi-scientific gizmo just doesn't make much difference to me.

Of course, in a story with a fantasy setting (e.g. Anterion's "Sebia"), you'd expect the transformation to be magical in origin -- and in a story with a more contemporary, realistic setting (e.g. "The Awakening") you'd expect the transformation to be accomplished by "scientific" means.

I do incline toward accidental transformations -- unintended and unexpected by the recipient of the powers -- and everyone who's voted in the poll so far seems to agree. There have been some great stories in which the girl sets out deliberately to gain super-powers -- Marknew's "Jilly Milly" comes to mind. But that puts certain constraints upon the girl's personality and circumstances. The "unintentional" scenario can accommodate any kind of protagonist -- from an airhead like Stephanie Stewart (in AK's "An Accident Waiting to Happen") to a "bad girl" like Deanna (in "Ultrafemme: Gemini"). And the surprise factor heightens the girl's reaction to her transformation.

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10 Mar 2006 15:33 #4839 by happiest_in_shadows
Replied by happiest_in_shadows on topic Favourite method of normal>supergirl transformation
I like the decision to actually enhance someone to be intentional however the way it occurs I prefer to be unintentional. For examples I’ll just use Kate and Rachael’s stories.

In both cases it was a conscious decision on someone’s part to enhance their bodies. However, the level of enhancement and what happened during exceeded what they expected. So while the decision and development of the materials to be used were intention the results were fairly unintentional.

Another fun example would be when a group of volunteers undergoes genetic experimentation to see if they can be enhanced. Now while the volunteers themselves don’t manifest any abilities everyone gets a surprise when their female children start showing certain mutations and abilities.

The reason why is that I often feel that unintentional power isn’t earned in the least bit. However, if they were part of some experiment with unexpected results, did it to themselves or someone chose to enhance them it could be said that they either developed the power themselves or were given the power.

This also helps to decrease the chance of a fluke making someone as powerful with them. As it might have been noticed, I am very interested in the subject of constant improvement meaning the super fem. is always getting more powerful and to insuring that she has no true equal.

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10 Mar 2006 17:58 #4840 by WhitePaw
The clothes make the woman. Habit of mine. What can I say? I started life in this fettish as a sketch artist.

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11 Mar 2006 02:33 #4842 by Random321
Given my nature ~ I just couldn't resist voting for the 'gag option' however:

Other:
Born with abilities seems to have been overlooked. There are two basic origin options: the individual who is born with abilities who has great control over said abilities ~ or the individual who is suddenly dropped into the situation and must adapt.

The option where the individual suddenly gets the powers and must learn or control them makes for easy/fun story writing. Suddenly getting powers also introduces the possibility of suddenly loosing the powers.

That said I don't think the struggles of an individual who has had to deal with the powers all their life should be underestimated. It allows for focus on the other aspects of the story ~ good v evil etc ~ without the distraction of a hero/ine who can't get with the powers problem.

HOWEVER: This thread is about heroines GAINING powers. To me a good girl gaining her powers in an accident of nature or science is the way to go. A bad girl gaining her powers via science on purpose seems right.

Alien tech has never appealed to me because it forces the reader to make ANOTHER huge leap from reality.

So: Colonel Mustard finds a book of spells in the library after running into the room and locking the door to hide after killing Ms White. He turns to a chapter titled "self empowerment" and begins reciting the spells while jokingly using the candle holder as his magic septor. What he doesn't know is that in the Study next door is Ms Scarlett playing with the knife on the desk jabbing the knife in a strong fashion between her fingers into the desk. When distracted after hearing some laughing from Colonel Mustard in the other room after he had managed to bend the lead pipe with ease she stabs the back of her hand with the knife. To her suprise the knife breaks off. Stuned she leaves behind the knife and checks in on Colonel Mustard in the library. As she walks in the Colonel pulls the revolver from the end table and shoots and Ms Scarlett. Ms Scarlett falls to the floor with a scream and instantly starts looking for blood...but there is nothing...a shocked Colonel Mustard take two more shots...

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11 Mar 2006 03:03 #4844 by Grayface
I voted other. Why you ask, well I'll tell you. becaues I don't care how she gets her powers. I like 'em all! It all has to do with the type of story and I'm not to picky as to how it happens. as long as the super girl is very super. I'll read most stories that come my way, but as most of you know my favorit type stories are the kind where the super girl is overwelmingly powerfull.

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13 Mar 2006 13:09 #4862 by conceptfan

Born with abilities seems to have been overlooked.

Yes, a hideous oversight in a poll about ways in which a NORMAL girl becomes super. :lol:

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13 Mar 2006 15:17 #4865 by Random321

Born with abilities seems to have been overlooked.

Yes, a hideous oversight in a poll about ways in which a NORMAL girl becomes super. :lol:


I stand by my comment ~ after all ~ "It's not what you're born with that makes you super ~ it's when/why/what you do with it..." :P

So I could argue that you can be born with the powers ~ but you're not 'super' yet.

At least I posted my thoughts! :mrgreen:

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13 Mar 2006 17:27 #4867 by WhitePaw
Well, yeah, but--"born with" presents a whole 'nuther world of problems. I mean terrible twos are bad 'nough w/o all the super speed, heat vision, and yadda yadda. Who wants to raise one of THOSE? (Myself...yeah. Raised by wolves).

Besides, that whole sub-18 'growing up' thing is below the age limit for heroines here at SWM.

I think I write roughly half my stories about superheroines who are comfortable using their powers. Born with or got 'em long before the story started: doesn't matter. I think that sometimes the whole "practice w/ new superpowers" thing is about as much plot crutch in this genre as a Star Trek transporter accident is in theirs.

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13 Mar 2006 18:12 #4868 by conceptfan

At least I posted my thoughts! :mrgreen:

Fair enough, Random. I agree with Grayface and you in that what a girl does with the powers is usually more interesting than how she gets them.

But the MANNER in which a girl becomes super often points to what kind of supergirl she'll be. I mean if she's what I'd consider ideal material for making super then no-one in their right mind would INTENTIONALLY give her power...


I think I'll vote for Terrestrial Science (Accidental). I always enjoy arrogant men of science being humiliated.

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13 Mar 2006 19:49 #4874 by YAGS

I think that sometimes the whole "practice w/ new superpowers" thing is about as much plot crutch in this genre as a Star Trek transporter accident is in theirs.

No, no, no. It's the holodeck accidents that are the crutch on Star Trek. Cheesiest plot device ever.

Hmm, I never thought about it before, but I think you're right. I guess it's all about coming up with a central conflict in the story. Writing a story where the ubergirl's task is just figuring out her powers and what to do with them allows the writer to avoid the challenge of coming up with a more creative primary plot. So I see your point about how this is somewhat of a crutch. But that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with those stories. Many of my favorites have been that type, or at least started out that way, such as ConceptFan's "A Little Bit of Fun".

Back to the original question, I voted for magic. Not because I have any prejudice for or against most other methods in other people's stories, but just because the main series of stories I'm writing is all about magic returning in force to the modern world. So it's kinda like the X-Men, where a small percentage of people are just randomly gaining magical powers, except more flexible, because they can learn additional spells from each other on top of the power that they gain inherently. This gives me a whole conceptual framework from which to write a large series of stories about girls with a variety of powers, without having to come up with new excuses for where the powers come from every time.

Anyway, I'd say my least favorite method is the most popular in this poll so far - unexplained phenomenon. I know enough science for this type of thing to bug me. It's ok for the source of powers to go unexplained in the story, but don't make up some pseudo-scientific babble about gamma radiation or lightning hitting a chemical cabinet and expect me to buy it. To me, bad science is worse than no science at all. But again, these are just fantasy stories, so I can toss my "suspension of disbelief" into overdrive and ignore that problem if the rest of the story is good enough.

YAGS

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13 Mar 2006 21:28 #4876 by mr_93_jeep_grnd_cherokee
Replied by mr_93_jeep_grnd_cherokee on topic Favourite method of normal>supergirl transformation
My favorite is terrestial science (both accidental and intentionall). There's just something that's cool about it, especially when the brainy woman discovers she has these amazing abilities. It could also go the other way where the geek's girlfriend discovers the same thing.

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14 Mar 2006 01:19 #4880 by ace191
I voted for “other”. My favorite method (along I suspect with Marknew) is the “transfer” effect. Superboy has them, Jilly Milly gets them. Superman has them, Lois gets them. Infinity man has them; an evil CF like bad girl gets them and becomes Infinity Girl. How exactly it happens I don’t really care, what ever works best for the story.

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14 Mar 2006 03:46 #4883 by WhitePaw

Anyway, I'd say my least favorite method is the most popular in this poll so far - unexplained phenomenon. I know enough science for this type of thing to bug me.
YAGS

I voted for “other”. My favorite method (along I suspect with Marknew) is the “transfer” effect

My favorite is terrestial science (both accidental and intentionall). There's just something that's cool about it, especially when the brainy woman discovers she has these amazing abilities. It could also go the other way where the geek's girlfriend discovers the same thing.


Intriguing, intriguing, intriguing.

I guess I don’t really care how she gets her powers. All I’m ever looking for in reading yours and after from myself is that if you’re going to do an origin story—BE ORIGINAL..

Magic: don’t go all ‘poofy’ on me. Give me some fireworks, and not the flashpot kind. Show us that you’ve thought about how the streams slip together. For example, I’ve two cosmologies of magic in my back pocket, one based on authority (see Jen’s lycanthropy in my “Galaxy”), the other on words (see the two mage battles in my dragon nymph story appended to “Galaxy”) I pull out from time to time. I consider one defensive, and the other offensive—but both lethally elegant compared to what Gygax ever duct taped together. Dream up your own.

Science: I’m not asking you to read Scientific American--but I do. I find it an excellent source of bleeding-edge, half-baked cosmologies that make just enough dreamy sense to dive off the deep end of. That old information theory approach to black holes from July of ’94 for example I hung my whole Xi character on for years. Yeah. The ol’ lightning bolt to the medicine cabinet ain’t going to cut it with me either. At least give me your hallucinations of string theory. Keep it dreamy. I know a huge chunk of real physics and the math to back it up. My disbelief is a bit of a lead zeppelin at times—unsuspendable. If you give me too many details to chew on—I will. I come here to write and read about super powered women, not get flashbacks to my 14 years of engineering school.

Transfers: Rogue is perhaps my favorite character of all the mainline published girls. <rant>Unfortunately, the commercial writers/artists/producers are monumentally epic BLOCKHEADS when it comes to writing her. I’ve seen exactly two rags of her that actually manage a 2 or a 3 of the outright 11 she could be (Savage Land, and X-Men Extreme #1-- but only the first few pages). Of course, the powers that be will blame that all on the character, not on the producer. Heaven forbid a producer get canned because they have to eat and the character—doesn’t. The physics of showbiz are more often than not: lethally carcinogenic.</rant> Anywho I LOVE this origin and thank you kindly for reminding me of it. Even so, if you’re going to write it, let’s see some ORIGINAL compromising positions please. This origin requires some kind of relationship with a source hero/heroine. Give us ALL the juicy this can be.

In conclusion, razzle me, dazzle me, bewilder me, frazzle me. But give me the scent of something old, something blue, something borrowed and some mildew-- as a reader:

I’ll close the book on you.

“PLAY ANYTHING, JUST PLAY IT LOUD!!!”—Robin Williams.

Wuv,
-White Paw

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14 Mar 2006 04:06 #4885 by ultragirl
Believe it or not, I liek the idea of us humans creating a superpowered being. I voted terrestrial science accordingly. I loved Ms. Victory as a character and I am still working on my Bionic Girl story. (Still) The project is a favorite story of mine as well. I'm not sure why, but it's the way I like it best!

So, get to it White Paw! Hehe!

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14 Mar 2006 14:50 #4895 by lfan
I voted for terrestrial science though I cannot remember if I voted for accidental or intentional! :P As Argo mentions, I like the scenario that is kind of a hybrid from the two. The Awakening is kinda based on that premise where the science is intentional but the uber result is non-intentional.

All told, they all are good in their own way dependin on how the author uses them and details their transformation. Best transformation to date? Not even friggin close: Yosh's Serena where he takes us through every excrutiating minutea of detail of the transformation -- physically, internally, and emotionally. Yosh used to lament that it dragged on and never went anywhere, but I think several people disagree!


FOCKER OUT!


Lfan thinks I haven't been contributing enough to this forum lately, and he may be right (although no one else has complained). So I thought I'd weigh in on this thread.

IMO, the means by which an ordinary girl is transformed into a super-girl is what Hitchcock called a "MacGuffen" -- an arbitrary and largely irrelevant device that serves the purpose of setting the story in motion. Whether the girl gains super-powers from a magic amulet, a radioactive meteor, or a quasi-scientific gizmo just doesn't make much difference to me.

Of course, in a story with a fantasy setting (e.g. Anterion's "Sebia"), you'd expect the transformation to be magical in origin -- and in a story with a more contemporary, realistic setting (e.g. "The Awakening") you'd expect the transformation to be accomplished by "scientific" means.

I do incline toward accidental transformations -- unintended and unexpected by the recipient of the powers -- and everyone who's voted in the poll so far seems to agree. There have been some great stories in which the girl sets out deliberately to gain super-powers -- Marknew's "Jilly Milly" comes to mind. But that puts certain constraints upon the girl's personality and circumstances. The "unintentional" scenario can accommodate any kind of protagonist -- from an airhead like Stephanie Stewart (in AK's "An Accident Waiting to Happen") to a "bad girl" like Deanna (in "Ultrafemme: Gemini"). And the surprise factor heightens the girl's reaction to her transformation.

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15 Mar 2006 01:27 #4914 by ace191
Not to be nit-picky here but it was an ALIEN stone that gave Kate her powers.

I shouldn't admit to this but I check the ES website twice a day looking for that last chapter!

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15 Mar 2006 06:53 #4923 by Rasa
I don't have a very strong preference, but given the choice, I'd probably go with science over magic. Doesn't much matter to me whether it's intentional or accidental, alien or terrestrial. For the record, though, I chose intentional terrestrial.

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15 Mar 2006 08:17 #4924 by lojack
I really can't easily pick one, so I picked other to say all of the above. (What can I say, I like them all!) Although method 7 would make a great workshop topic... :P

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