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scribbledoutname
05-08-2013, 06:57 AM
I want to give my character super strength but I'd really like to be consistent. The problem is that I suck at anything that's got to do with biology or physics.

Basically, I want her to be strong enough to take gunshots as if she were wearing a bullet proof vest. She still bruises (depending on the gun in question), but as long as she isn't hit with anything armour piercing she should be okay.

Assuming this is the case, what kind of strength level would you assume a character like this would be at? Do you imagine someone whose flesh is bullet resistant lifting trucks? 4x4s? Or struggling to lift car that weighs one or so tonnes?

I've tried to google the tensile strength of skin and how much pressure the muscles underneath can handle, then compare it to the pressure of a bullet and scale it, but... this stuff is really way over my head!

Kerosene
05-08-2013, 07:11 AM
The problem is that I suck at anything that's got to do with biology or physics.

We're talking superpowers, dear. Not quantum physics. Do you want to explain it? You don't have to.


Basically, I want her to be strong enough to take gunshots as if she were wearing a bullet proof vest. She still bruises (depending on the gun in question), but as long as she isn't hit with anything armour piercing she should be okay.

That's durability, not strength.


Assuming this is the case, what kind of strength level would you assume a character like this would be at? Do you imagine someone whose flesh is bullet resistant lifting trucks? 4x4s? Or struggling to lift car that weighs one or so tonnes?

How much would you like her to lift? That's really up to you. It's called a limitation, and its great fun when you set it low.

Her skin would have to be harder than metal to take a bullet, and she would have arms three feet wide to lift a truck. How would she move?

There's certain human conditions, like enforcing muscle density to aid strength, adrenaline, muscle tension. But nothing is going to escape ultra-supernatural stuff here.

I say, give up trying to make it believable. Make her Superwoman, from another world where they have mysterious bodies.
Either have her born a certain way, or have it come about by some occurrence. Make the scientists baffled by it, but make it a singular idea so readers can understand it. Like, she can control momentum of her body, and what touches it. Or she's from a certain race that have those traits, and they are just how they are--their skin can harden in danger, and they have great strength when they need it.

scribbledoutname
05-09-2013, 02:03 AM
Thanks, Will! xD

I've got her origin already -- she's magical :P

I'm more worried about doing something a bit silly, like having her tearing through a steel wall only for a reader to point out that it's unrealistic for someone that strong to bruise when they're hit by anything less than a tank shell.

It's a low magic setting, in the sense that people aren't hurling spells everywhere, but I've been doing my best to keep track of what people can and can't do so they don't do anything unrealistic given the traits they've shown xD

ClareGreen
05-09-2013, 02:19 AM
I wouldn't worry too much, especially if her origin is magical. As long as you're consistent, it's all good.

Kerosene
05-09-2013, 02:20 AM
Just make the magic believable. ;)

It doesn't have be scientific or realistic, but believable.

paulcosca
05-09-2013, 02:37 AM
I'm currently writing a novel that delves into the ways that human biology could be altered in realistic ways to produce superheroes. Like everyone else has said, you probably shouldn't worry too much about making it realistic. If you wrote someone who could withstand all that, she wouldn't look very good on the cover.

The most important thing is consistency. Set the rules for your magical universe and make sure you follow them.

blacbird
05-09-2013, 06:56 AM
Just make the magic believable. ;)

It doesn't have be scientific or realistic, but believable.

This. Listen to the Willster, he commonly gives horrorshow wonderful advice. Readers of Fantasy are conditioned to accept magic. Magic is simply a part of that universe, and a part of your fictional universe, same as it is for J.K. Rowling or Ursula LeGuin. Your real task is to write a good story in which magic is an internally consistent element. That might be harder than it looks at first. You can't just have a miracle happen every few pages. There needs to be structure and continuity.

Oh, and please try to avoid the really hoary cliché stuff, like finger-waving to produce Spell X. It's been really really really really really done before.

caw

Cyia
05-09-2013, 04:16 PM
Make sure the muscles match the bones.

If she's born magical, then it's no problem, but if she becomes magical, then please put in at least one line that explains why her regular arm bones don't snap under the weight of what her powered-up muscles can lift.