A complainers blog by Toby Gard.
My main gimmick currently inhibiting in my stories is to let average people have the ability to stretch their bodies, literally, as if they were made of rubber. These kinds of people are referred to as ‘elastitions.’
With the elasticity, I’ve come up with all different sorts of perks (read, mini-gimmicks) to go along with it. Of those perks, they have the ability to become intangible and fly in the process (though I might remove that), they can obviously stretch up to reach higher items that if used in prolonged situations can keep blood from flowing, partake in odd sports that resemble archery in zero gravity, wear space spandex that behaves like a Dri-Tek dream by forming comfortable amounts of ice from perspiration, and it essentially slows the aging process by (I think) ¾ of the norm; a septuagenarian will look 30 or something, for example.
Above all, aside from stretching; an elastitions skin can glow when their adrenaline levels get high. Awesome.
Here’s my problem. Is that all that there is to it? Is it worth it on a human scale to be able to do all that stuff and not have my fictional people flip out on a human rights “that aint right” kind of way? Some of those are fine for practical real word situations, but I don’t think that they carry enough weight to hold out in a sci-fi action story.
“Yeah, the story was good, but I couldn’t figure out why those guys were stretchy for no reason. It seemed kinda hokey and weird.” Thus dooming me to the niche pile, and that’s bad in the long run.
Oh sure, I could go for the entire what is it to be human, and is being an elastition still being human? (if you have a human mindset that was not altered, then YES! YOU ARE STILL HUMAN, EVEN IF YOU ARE REALLY GOO! …but I understand that people would still have problems with that.). I am writing about that concept right now, but I don’t really want that to be my main theme. I’m welcome to it if that’s where it goes though.
Is my own optimism getting in the way again and I don’t know it, allowing me to unknowingly shun whatever sort of flaw that would make this concept more interesting? How can I make it interesting and weave it through each story without calling attention to it, but making the story impossible without it?
The Correct Answer is, of course, Anything I Want (but it damn well has to work!), I’m the writer, after all.
Don’t get me wrong, I DO have plans, I’m not running out of steam – I’m 23, I have my whole life ahead of me! My problem is that my plan for my chronology in my universe with Pink Lemon and elastitions, called Levithor, technically works with the elastition concept (in a word; War!), but where the concepts should be at Ten!, it’s just at, maybe, four or five; neither italicized nor carrying an ungrammatical exclamation point. It lacks oomph!
Most of my characters are common men and women, the kind likely to be reading some more famous blog and/or watch Glee. What does it mean on a gratifying and entertaining level, for the readers, for the common man and woman to be an elastition without looking like the idea was just put there like a mole on Samus? How do I make it bigger and better? I’ve got it down for the heroes, natch, but what of those that ran away from, like, Godzilla as the elastic hero subdued him? What’s their story and what advantage does stretching bring them?
Oh well, as I demonstrated in my Pink Lemon Pastiche with the Plot Hole, I capitalize on writers block and acknowledge it while moving ahead in the story. Maybe I’ll just write about how
useless boring being an elastition is in universe and see what happens.
After all that’s said and done, and I’m through with tinkering in Levithor, I think I’ll find another gimmick. Maybe it’ll be balloon animal doggies. That way I can dig myself even deeper into odd internet niches as the clown that takes himself too seriously. …I self-deprecate, of course.