Writing Superpowers Activate!


In the last post, I asked you to share your writing superpower. Thanks to the 23 wonderful writers who took the poll. If you didn’t get a chance, please feel free to share your own thoughts below in the comments.

After all, what’s the point of being a writer if you’re not going to put it out there for everyone to see!


The League of Superpowered Writers!

Dean La Douceur‘s superpower is:

I have the ability to capture my inner voice and let it out, before the critic and editor get in the way!

Alter ego: Dad. Publicist. Networker. Nice Guy. See this hero in action on Twitter

Matt‘s superpower is:

the ability to turn a phrase with piercing wit when it doesn’t count, and the ability to wreck any remotely good idea with flaccid prose when it does. =D

Alter ego: I play a lot of video games, mess around online a lot. I become an ubergamer computer geek. See this hero in action on Twitter

Ang’s superpower is:

The ability to come up with plots based on everyday items, like this morning’s protein bar for example. Kryptonite is trying to get those plots down on paper with dialogue and everything else that makes a story.

Alter ego: Office Minion fighting the good fight against the copier, Excel, and PowerPoint M-F. See this hero in action on Twitter

Meghna‘s superpower is:

Try writing like me! I can challenge you; it is impossible. (Secret— it’s even difficult for me sometimes to write just like me). I’ve a very special style which is un-copy-able!!

Alter ego: Reading See this hero in action on Twitter

Alex Fayle‘s superpower is:

having a muse that responds to requests for creativity promptly and without fail. I never need to write down things on scraps of paper or on my arm because when I want to write, the muse appears and the words flow.

My weakness? Brain fog: when the muse can’t get through. It can be caused by anything from a harsh critique to a sudden change in the weather. It’s unpredictability is my weakness’ greatest strength.

Alter ego: I’m the super excited second-language English teacher who bounces around the classroom like a geek excited by the difference uses of the Future Perfect Continuous. See this hero in action on Twitter

Cary‘s superpower is:

Writing about normal, everyday things in a way that seems to touch a chord in others, even though I am not a grammatical genius or writing professional.

Alter ego: Think about writing, read, talk to my dogs about writing. See this hero in action on Twitter

James Chartand – Men with Pens‘s superpower is:

… the ability to glance at a piece of website copy and know if it’s crap or not on first sight – AND know exactly what to do with it to make it better. Like breathing.

… the copyslinger focus to shoot off content that gets people thinking, stirs them into action, or brings them to tears. Kleenex not included.

… the word-cleaver power to create complete havoc and chaos with with one blog post and less than 350 words. Not really my fault – it just kind of happens.

Alter ego: I play a beautiful Yamaha FG720S acoustic guitar that was not only affordable but incredibly sweet sounding, high quality and blue.

Yes. That was the most important part. To own a blue guitar. Too bad Taylor didn’t have one available at the time I was forking out money. See this hero in action on Twitter

SpaceAgeSage — Lori‘s superpower is:

… being didactic.

Alter ego: Caregiver See this hero in action on Twitter

Whitney McKim‘s superpower is:

to name all of my main male characters with names that start with “L.” It didn’t begin as a serious thing, but I found that I was drawn to certain names… names that begin with “L.” Now it’s less of a habit and more of an obsession.

Alter ego: When I’m not writing I’m reading, voraciously. And maybe tweeting (but wait, isn’t that writing?). See this hero in action on Twitter

Chris Brogan‘s superpower is:


Alter ego: Thinking about writing. See this hero in action on Twitter

Joanna Young‘s superpower is:

focusing on my writing intention. What it is that I want to express, communicate or share. I focus on that and then let the words come out.

I think I’m also blessed with a natural inner editor who cuts and slices as I go (sans criticism) so the words come out crisp and clear.

Something for which I’m extremely thankful.

Alter ego: Walk in the west highlands of Scotland. Breathe in beauty, wilderness, spirit, self.
Take photos as I go, trying to capture the essence of the moment and the place. See this hero in action on Twitter

RhodesTer‘s superpower is:

I think humor, although that’s just me because when I’m at work, or should I say, when I WAS at work, because I was laid-off but that’s neither here nor there, fellow employees would sort of smirk and roll their eyes at me when I’d tell a story or something, which led me to believe I wasn’t in the least bit entertaining, but really kind of annoying, but maybe that’s because I was telling it instead of writing it, so I really think my writing superpower is humor but my telling superpower sure isn’t, if one is to go by all the eye rolling and smirking.

Oh, and commas. That’s my other writing superpower, yes, it its, or should I say, they are.

Alter ego: I’m not always writing. What do you think I am? I have to use the bathroom at times and there’s nothing in there to write with, but maybe I should do something about that. See this hero in action on Twitter

Karen Swim‘s superpower is:

My ability to rock a pair of boots, oh wait you didn’t say dress like a superpower, never mine…Um, my writing superpower is the ability to see connections and weave stories and life lessons from the seemingly ordinary.

Alter ego: My not writing alter ego is constantly in motion – running, pilates, weight lifting, jump roping, dancing. See this hero in action on Twitter

Erin‘s superpower is:

herding more plot bunnies than a single human could ever have time to deal with. Also, I’m really good at juggling multiple ideas simultaneously. I know some people can’t, but to me, it seems no more difficult than remembering plot lines on more than one TV show. Or which of my friends is expecting a child and which had a fight with his boss at work and which of my brothers I think needs a kick in the pants this week. They’re different people in different stories.

Alter ego: I cook. I bake. I listen to writing-related podcasts and spend entirely too much time on the Internet. I freelance (indexing, proofreading, and copyediting). I garden. I knit. I crochet. I raise two kids and spend time with my spouse. I care for a cat and a dog. I deal with laundry and dishes and more cooking and cleaning. I watch probably more TV than is good for me. You know — the usual. See this hero in action on Twitter

–Deb Boyken‘s superpower is:

I can take snippets of ideas and expand them almost indefinitely, because one of my lesser powers is babbling. It may not be good writing but I can string words together that go on for miles! Some editing may be required for it to be “good,” but the initial thoughts? I can ramble for quite some time, just to get something on paper! (The hard part–the kryptonite, if you will–is getting the first few words out to get it going.

Alter ego: Reading, naturally. If I’m not writing, I’m reading what other people have written. Or I’m knitting. Or spinning yarn to knit with. Or playing with my dog. Or baking. … Or taking pictures of my baking. Or pictures of my dog. Or pictures of my yarn. Or pictures of my knitting. Or pictures of my books … See this hero in action on Twitter

Belynda Cianci’s superpower is:

My writing superpower is the ability to know which names my sister is going to like, and use them in my second novel. We’re trying to come up with a new name for one of the nieces in “Crossing Clouds” and we’re three for three on names SHE selects that I have to veto because they are already in the draft of the second book. We also invariably go for the same items on a menu at any restaurant. It’s freaky!!

Also, because one super-power is boring… I’m managing to edit my manuscript while working 40 hours a week and not getting fired, and schooling three accelerated online courses without landing myself on the academic probation radar. Huzzah for sleep deprivation!

Alter ego: I’m editing. No, I wish I were kidding.. I’m at work, on my lunch break, editing the manuscript and getting it ready for queries (wish me luck!).

Oh.. alll of my co-workers? Their superpower? It’s seeing me hammer away on an open keyboard with a turkey on white sticking out of the side of my gob, and still thinking this scene is an invitation to ask me what I’m doing…

I tested one guy, whose name has been withheld to protect the innocent.

Me: “I’m editing the book I wrote last year, because this is the only time I have to write between work and school.”

Co-worker: “……………… OH that’s cool! What are you taking in school?”

Why God, why?! See this hero in action on Twitter

Scott‘s superpower is:

the ability to take a cliche and sharpen it into a story killing katana. I’m not sure this is a good thing…

Alter ego: IT Support See this hero in action on Twitter

Liz Strauss‘s superpower is:

I know how to write in the spaces between the words.

Alter ego: My Not Writing Alter Ego is having butter pecan ice cream with hot fudge. See this hero in action on Twitter

A. B. England‘s superpower is:

I have a knack for natural sounding dialog. I suppose it comes from being the quiet child and simply listening to how everyone around me spoke. I simply hear it as I write, almost like an experienced musician learning to anticipate the next measure upon catching the melody of a piece they’re playing for the first time.

Alter ego: I’m a stay-at-home mom with a toddler and an infant, which unfortunately, hasn’t left a huge amount of time for writing lately. See this hero in action on Twitter

David Niall Wilson‘s superpower is:

I can write poetry – rhymed, free verse, haiku, Dr. Seuss, sonnets – in a very very short amount of time. It also works with song lyrics. I can leap into a form or style and nail it. This also explains, I think, why I seem able to write at any length from fifty words to 150,000.

Alter ego: I play guitar and spend time with Trish, my kids and my dogs. See this hero in action on Twitter

Kevin Blake’s superpower is:

I must not have a super power since I’m here not writing

Alter ego: I’m mild mannered Thinking About Writing.

Bond. James Bond.’s superpower is:

I write great action scenes.

Alter ego: Medical doctor.

Linda Thieman‘s superpower is:

I think my writing superpower must be my sense of humor. I just cannot hold it back. Luckily, the kids get it. There’s this scene in Katie & Kimble: A Ghost Story (for ages 7-10) where Katie falls off a bridge–sort of. Her leg gets stuck and she’s hanging upside down. For the first time in the whole book, Katie starts to panic. She’s screaming, “My hair’s in the river! My hair’s in the river!” and Kimble says, “It’s not a river, it’s a stream.” Yup, that’s my sense of humor all over the place.

Alter ego: Marketing. Although, I can hardly believe how much writing is involved in marketing. I also take an editing project from time to time. But all the writing for marketing has the effect of pulling me back into the stories so that I’m rarin’ to go to get back to writing book 3. See this hero in action on Twitter

Oh, and MY superpower?

I used to think that my ability to come up with strange ideas was my superpower, but I’ve learned that this is actually a subset of my real gift which is the ability to tell visual stories. When I’m working on a story, I see it unfold in front of me like a movie. I see each glistening drop of sweat, the dust under the chair. I see the characters not as actor but as real people in a universe to which I’ve suddenly been invited.

As a writer, I use words to draw pictures of what I see. I make the reader “see” what I feel and experience. The downside of this ability is that I often go way too far into those details. I lose the sense of story and replace it with pretty picture after pretty picture. I need to learn to be more selective.

That’s why I practice every single day… πŸ™‚

23 thoughts on “Writing Superpowers Activate!

  1. This is such a rich compilation, thanks so much for coming up with the brilliant idea and organising it.

    I was interested to read your superpower. I was just thinking about my grandmother and how she used to look as if viewing a screen when telling a story – she told stories orally and also wrote and published a lot of short stories. I’m guessing her experience was similar to what you describe here.

    She also had second sight but that’s a whole other story…

    Joanna Young´s last blog post..Learning From the Language of Obama’s Inaugural Address

  2. Wow, this list is fabulous! There are some amazing superpowers here … I KNEW we writers were all-powerful, I just didn’t realize how many powers there WERE!

    –Deb´s last blog post..Curse-Breaking

  3. I’ll have a vegeburger and glass of Merlot, Rhodester, thanks!

    My writing superpower consists of finding the passionate moments in life, be painful or erotic and bringing them alive in poetry some will find rhythmic, while it makes others sleepy. The few I bind to the page with my ink make it all worthwhile.

  4. Mmm, hamburgers … a little ketchup and a slice of tomato, please, and don’t toast the bun. I’ll just have water to drink, thanks. Anyone got french fries?

    –Deb´s last blog post..Curse-Breaking

  5. @Liz See! it was worth me pestering you, wasn’t it! πŸ™‚

    @Joanna Thanks so much. I don’t know where it came from. I guess I was just fishing for something new… Not surprised to hear about your grandmother’s second sight. I see too many ghosts for my own good. πŸ˜‰ Hope you’ll write a post about her. I’d like to read it.

    @–Deb Yep! Wonderful stuff!! Thanks for participating!

    @James Alex has a habit of doing that. Comes from getting all that sun. p.s. Come on down to balmy Ohio and I’ll stand you a few rounds. I’m known for lighting things on fire and doing stuff people wish they could unsee. Could be fun! [or not, depending on your end of the stick]

    @RhodesTer Now that’s the kind of Stickam party I could get into. Why don’t we arrange for that? A Stikam Sticky BBQ – BYOS. Maybe it could be like one of them fancy Ignite [insert city name] here. Or maybe a low rent TED conference. (I’m only half joking about this. Low rent TED might have legs.)

    @Sweettalk Love that last sentence. I’m hooked. πŸ™‚

    @BJ No time like the present. Come on back and share your superpower! Invisibility is not a writing superpower unless it’s the removing of authorial fingerprints! lol

  6. Um…superpower…thinking. This makes my brain hurt. Seriously.

    I guess there are two things that are not unique to me but seem so where I spend my days: 1) I research, absorb, fill up, read everything on a topic…stuff myself with it. And then it comes out in multiple pieces from multiple views and directions. 2) I live with a pen in my hand. I have to make some sort of mark on paper every ten minutes or so or I get really antsy. Is there a 12 step program for that? I write a lot of longhand as a result.

    James, quit hogging the beer, dude. I need another.

    B J Keltz´s last blog post..Saturday Morning Post 1.24.09

  7. Okay, so my super power is not beating everyone else to the party! I hope that’s a veggie dog on that grill. πŸ™‚ Jamie, I loved reading these entries, and truly this is a super talented group. Liz’s dead on statement had me holding my breath between the spaces, that truly describes the gift of writing. James makes my head pound with his talent. When I read his work I want to put down my pen and never write again. Joanna, my heart swelled because it is precisely your gift, your superpower to write with intention. Your words continue to stretch me and challenge me to grow. You remind me to treat this gift with respect by nurturing it daily. I could go on, each statement making me laugh, pause or think…but well this is a comment and not a post. πŸ™‚ Jamie, I think you know but you are not only one of the most gifted writers I know but one of the most passionate about embracing the art and community of writing.

    Karen Swim´s last blog post..At Last

  8. @Meghna Thanks for being part of it!

    @Amy Stewart Thanks! πŸ™‚ I do indeed twitter. In fact, most of the people who will get this comment via email will say, “Does he do anything besides tweet?” πŸ˜‰

    {We now return you to your regularly scheduled BBQ.}

  9. @Karen Thanks so much. {blush} Apparently my WordPress is not so embracing of your comments (cause they keep ending up in the moderation queue), but I am. πŸ˜‰

    {BBQ on}

  10. Oh! I think my writing superpower would be bringing it all to life. I have three fictional worlds crammed inside my head (which leaves little room for algebra, bleh!) from which I can draw my characters out of and talk to them or even become, feeling precisely as they do. It makes for very emotional, and sometimes melodramatic, writing.
    Oh, and commas are very much a power as well.

    Alter Ego: Artist and English & Random History facts geek.

  11. Jamie,

    This was a fun and enjoyable exercise. Thanks for letting us chime in and then read each others’ responses.

    You wrote: “I see the characters not as actor but as real people in a universe to which I’ve suddenly been invited.” Nicely put. I feel that way sometimes when I’m writing fiction, which a whole different beast for me than the world of comments, posts, and tweets.

    SpaceAgeSage — Lori´s last blog post..There is a time for everything; a season for every activity under heaven

  12. @AravisGirl Punctuation Power Puff! πŸ˜‰

    @Lori Thanks for calling out that sentence. When I read it, I wondered who wrote it and then I was pleasantly surprised to see it was me (or I, but me sounds better). πŸ˜‰

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