Re: Does anyone have any tips or new ways to express a characters powers/energy?

#1
To clarify the title, what I mean is, in my stories, people have powers and abilities. A basic expression of a persons power, is being able to sense how someone else's energy' is behaving. Is it turbulent, calm, flickering, etc. But it's starting to become awkward to describe it using the word energy. Here is an example I'm tackling right now:


Quote:Rick raised a brow and Min sat up straighter, as the tension in the room became palpable. Everyone leaned forward in their chairs, and the president's security detail, that had so far remained in the background, made their presence known with small releases of energy, like a spring coiling ever so slightly.



or


Quote:“Lieutenant?” Rick asked. He noticed the slight turbulence and nervousness in her energy, as well as in the two guards.



There are many more situations like this, and it becomes repetitive to keep using 'energy', but I'm not sure how else to express this concept. I think the first example is okay, but the second reads awkwardly to me. Maybe 'aura' could be substituted, but I fell like that is overused as well. These underlying currents are important to the story so if anyone has any ideas about how to express them, I'm open to any suggestions. Thank you!

Re: Does anyone have any tips or new ways to express a characters powers/energy?

#2
You could try and use a few synonyms that have similar connotations. Energy could be referred to in this context as someone's power, force, or vitality as long as you establish people use those words interchangeably.

"A a slight tremble in their power spoke of nervousness," might work because we already know how the powers work.

Aura could absolutely work if it's something you can see. Alternatively, you can establish early on what different aspects of the energy looks and feels like using the word energy and then later on you can just refer to the feeling. This is the same as how you can establish a character clenches ger fists when she's angry in chapter 2 so when you see her clench her fists in chaper 12 you know she's angry.

So maybe a flickering energy feels like an insect running up your arm and a strong energy feels like the banging of a timpani drum, swelling up inside one's chest and hitching ones breath.

Hope some of this helps.

Re: Does anyone have any tips or new ways to express a characters powers/energy?

#3
I think this is a very stylized thing. Alternative words, however, could be 'Power'(or strength), you can describe it through the concept of 'pressure', or you can simply go the 'show' route where you let the audience figure out how strong or ready to fight someone is through the character's actions or descriptions. Personaly, keeping a character around who is knowledgeable at judging people's strength can make things easier on you as well. 
There's my try.

Re: Does anyone have any tips or new ways to express a characters powers/energy?

#6

OwlishIntergalactic Wrote: You could try and use a few synonyms that have similar connotations. Energy could be referred to in this context as someone's power, force, or vitality as long as you establish people use those words interchangeably.

"A a slight tremble in their power spoke of nervousness," might work because we already know how the powers work.

Aura could absolutely work if it's something you can see. Alternatively, you can establish early on what different aspects of the energy looks and feels like using the word energy and then later on you can just refer to the feeling. This is the same as how you can establish a character clenches ger fists when she's angry in chapter 2 so when you see her clench her fists in chaper 12 you know she's angry.

So maybe a flickering energy feels like an insect running up your arm and a strong energy feels like the banging of a timpani drum, swelling up inside one's chest and hitching ones breath.

Hope some of this helps.




These are amazing suggestions. Thank you!

Re: Does anyone have any tips or new ways to express a characters powers/energy?

#7

Sleepingdragoon Wrote: I think this is a very stylized thing. Alternative words, however, could be 'Power'(or strength), you can describe it through the concept of 'pressure', or you can simply go the 'show' route where you let the audience figure out how strong or ready to fight someone is through the character's actions or descriptions. Personaly, keeping a character around who is knowledgeable at judging people's strength can make things easier on you as well. 
There's my try.



Thank you! I think this is a valid route. Having a character who knows about as much as the reader does and one who is knowledgeable about the world can be great way to indirectly explain/show things to the reader.

Re: Does anyone have any tips or new ways to express a characters powers/energy?

#8
I had a similar issue with my character who transfers 'life energy'. I looked to the Chinese concept of Qi (chee), and came up with my own words: my MC made up her own word 'ghi', and it's more commonly referred to (in my story world) as 'jin'. Perhaps you could do something like that.

If it's a widely accessibly phenomenon, the culture might have come up with multiple names... They may even have a different name for each mood expressed through the energy, or vibe. You'd only have to link the mood and the made up name a few times and readers would learn.

Might that work?

Re: Does anyone have any tips or new ways to express a characters powers/energy?

#10

SoulhavenNZ Wrote: I had a similar issue with my character who transfers 'life energy'. I looked to the Chinese concept of Qi (chee), and came up with my own words: my MC made up her own word 'ghi', and it's more commonly referred to (in my story world) as 'jin'. Perhaps you could do something like that.

If it's a widely accessibly phenomenon, the culture might have come up with multiple names... They may even have a different name for each mood expressed through the energy, or vibe. You'd only have to link the mood and the made up name a few times and readers would learn.

Might that work?



Thank you! I think something like this might actually work. I like the idea of associating a word to a mood. Like a word for happy, when it specifically relates to the way a person's energy/power is being expressed. I'll have to make sure I don't go overboard with it. I'm not sure how people feel about having too many made up words in a story.

Re: Does anyone have any tips or new ways to express a characters powers/energy?

#12
I kinda write a similar story. And i use the term power. Yes i use it. But, I have moves. SO while fighting atleast, you can use moves. Describe them when it is used first time, and then just use the name of the move. Using flow of energy or something like that is fine. If you couldn't come up with a cool looking name, that is totally fine. Don't try to change it. Keep using energy. I hope this helped you. 

Re: Does anyone have any tips or new ways to express a characters powers/energy?

#13

nolgalaxy Wrote:
Oskatat Wrote: My first idea was aura, then Pressence

"The bodyguards made their Pressence felt, releasing their aura of barely restrained aggression"



Thank you! When you read the word aura, do you imagine something visible?



Usually i'd consider it more something that is felt rather than seen, but there will always be exceptions. Ways to make the aura of others visible to you or a third party, abilities that cause your own (or other's) to make a visual effect, things like that. But the default state is invisible. BTW, this is not 'taken' from 'He Who Fights With Monsters' or even inspired by it. It's not something that story came up with, after all. Sensing someone's 'aura' and trying to make it visible goes way, way back

Re: Does anyone have any tips or new ways to express a characters powers/energy?

#14

nolgalaxy Wrote: To clarify the title, what I mean is, in my stories, people have powers and abilities. A basic expression of a persons power, is being able to sense how someone else's energy' is behaving. Is it turbulent, calm, flickering, etc.



I'm not sure what exactly you mean with "energy" and thus desire to express in different ways. So ... here's what my thesaurus says to "energy" with nearness to "aura", when "authority" and the like is forbidden:

Quote:-snip-
021 indefatigability
021 impulse
021 impress
021 import
021 implication
021 heart of oak
021 guttiness
021 grain
021 go-to-itiveness
021 go-getting
021 get-up-and-get
021 frame
021 enterprisingness
021 divine afflatus
021 diathesis
021 constituents
021 consequence
021 connotation
021 chutzpah
021 being
021 bearing
021 attitude
021 appearance
021 aggression
021 afflatus
021 adventurousness
021 adventuresomeness
022 vein
022 value
022 tenacity
022 tenaciousness
022 streak
022 stability
022 splendor
022 sedulousness
022 resplendency
022 resplendence
022 relentlessness
022 refinement
022 reference
022 purport
022 pluckiness
022 oomph
022 numinousness
022 mettlesomeness
022 medium
022 keen desire
022 intention
022 infusion
022 industriousness
022 inclination
022 illustriousness
022 humor
022 heatedness
022 gumption
022 go-ahead
022 glamour
022 gist
022 getup
022 fundamental
022 focus
022 faithfulness
022 envelope
022 diligence
022 devoutness
022 devotedness
022 consciousness
022 composition
022 complexion
022 committedness
022 cheerful readiness
022 charisma
022 bottom
022 blaze of glory
022 assiduousness
022 assiduity
022 application
022 ambitiousness
022 abandon
024 urge
024 tendency
024 temper
024 stamp
024 spunkiness
024 sportiveness
024 spice
024 rompishness
024 rollicksomeness
024 resolve
024 purpose
024 presence
024 potency
024 pluck
024 playfulness
024 piquancy
024 mystique
024 mold
024 meaning
024 magic
024 luster
024 industry
024 impatience
024 grit
024 gayness
024 gamesomeness
024 frolicsomeness
024 friskiness
024 forcefulness
024 ethos
024 courage
024 coltishness
024 coloring
024 characteristic
024 capersomeness
024 brilliancy
024 breathless impatience
024 brand
024 avidness
024 animal spirits
026 warmth of feeling
026 thought
026 skittishness
026 shape
026 shadow
026 seriousness
026 radiance
026 property
026 joie de vivre
026 inspiration
026 faith
026 exuberance
026 extension
026 effect
026 ecstasy
026 drift
026 disposition
026 brilliance
026 backbone
026 anxiousness
028 will
028 vivaciousness
028 tenor
028 staying power
028 sincerity
028 raciness
028 quickness
028 pungency
028 promptness
028 point
028 poignancy
028 pertness
028 perkiness
028 peppiness
028 passionateness
028 obstinacy
028 nerve
028 nature
028 impetuosity
028 impassionedness
028 hustle
028 gust
028 genius
028 furor
028 forwardness
028 fervidness
028 endurance
028 devotion
028 desire
028 dedication
028 appetite
028 animus
028 alacrity
029 substance
029 sprightliness
029 spirits
029 readiness
029 pepper
029 matter
029 intentness
029 impetus
029 idea
029 gameness
029 fury
029 effervescence
029 dynamism
029 bubbliness
029 breeziness
029 breath
029 anxiety
031 zealousness
031 starch
031 pith
031 nimbus
031 intestinal fortitude
031 halo
031 gutsiness
031 glory
031 fervency
031 esprit
031 brio
031 avidity
031 ardency
033 zestfulness
033 toughness
033 soul
033 relish
033 mood
033 keenness
033 heat
033 ginger
033 gaiety
033 essence
033 ebullience
033 commitment
033 aggressiveness
035 way
035 vividness
035 mind
035 intensity
035 go
035 glow
035 excitement
035 earnestness
035 eagerness
035 character
036 undertone
036 spiritedness
036 sparkle
036 snap
036 savor
036 overtone
036 moxie
036 initiative
036 concentration
036 climate
036 briskness
036 activity
038 zing
038 pizzazz
038 piss and vinegar
038 milieu
038 heart
040 zeal
040 warmth
040 sense
040 mettle
040 loyalty
040 guts
040 get-up-and-go
040 fidelity
040 feel
040 cast
042 vivacity
042 spunk
042 quality
042 push
042 life
042 enthusiasm
042 dash
043 zest
043 stamina
043 robustness
043 pep
043 passion
043 note
043 might
043 lustiness
043 gusto
043 enterprise
043 elan
045 vim
045 vehemence
047 zip
047 strength
047 fervor
047 air
049 fire
049 feeling
049 drive
049 atmosphere
049 animation
052 tone
052 resolution
052 power
052 heartiness
054 verve
056 liveliness
056 ardor
057 vitality
063 force
077 vigor
100 spirit

DESIRED    words were: [energy, aura]
PROHIBITED words were: [authority]


Re: Does anyone have any tips or new ways to express a characters powers/energy?

#15

Gooptex Wrote:
Quote:-snip-
021 indefatigability
...
077 vigor
100 spirit

DESIRED    words were: [energy, aura]
PROHIBITED words were: [authority]



Hey, thanks for the extensive list. Do you use a specific thesaurus, and can you share what it is? Also, by energy, I mean the 'psychic, supernatural, magical' power a person has. People can feel that within each other, and I was looking for a better way to describe that.

Re: Does anyone have any tips or new ways to express a characters powers/energy?

#16

nolgalaxy Wrote: Hey, thanks for the extensive list. Do you use a specific thesaurus, and can you share what it is? Also, by energy, I mean the 'psychic, supernatural, magical' power a person has. People can feel that within each other, and I was looking for a better way to describe that.


I'm using the incredible Grady Ward "Moby Lexicons" thesaurus database (Free! Can be googled and downloaded.) via a program I made.

The thesaurus DB is over 23 MB and has 103,305 unique words. I'm saying unique, because most words occur several times (overall about 2.5 million words):

Every line in the text file (Which is the database.) has multiple words, separated by comma. All unique. They represent a group, like "strong","powerful","mighty","supreme", .... Another line might say "strong","intense","spicy",... because it deals with different meanings.

My program, which I can't hand over in its current form (e.g. company library used), allows to enter multiple terms that are desired, and even undesired terms, and the program will try to score the known words based on the concept described above (Multiple lines will have the word(s).) and will list then accordingly.





I could not fathom the degree, the magicalness that I sensed. His mere presence radioed a preternatural aptitude, spoke of mental mastery I had beheld only one time since I'd been knowing of the mystic arts: It was back then, before I'd first embark-ed on this journey, before my world had grown by this unlimited dimension. The old preceptor standing on the market plaza in a decidedly peripheral manner, giving his demonstrations as if just a thimblerig. Sleights of hand is what he flaunted, regaled the tomfool passersby. Yet those who did catch on, who sensed the vibrant force emerging from this wilting old feller, would soon find themselv-es situated within his auditorium. And there I sat, and learned, and grew. Understood feeling, sentiment, and touch. Of what it's like, and what it's able, the mind that rings with mancy's vigor. That spunk that gives the spirit form, the hidden hand, the ulter arm. I know it now, and I can tell: This man taking his seat, amidst the panel of the five, he is not earthly like the rest. His supremeness is profund. I can not be the only seer. Even the candelabras flicker, in rhythm with this sorcer mind.

Re: Does anyone have any tips or new ways to express a characters powers/energy?

#17
Perhaps, you could write the character's sensory experience instead?

For example: 

“Lieutenant?” Rick asked. He noticed the slight turbulence and nervousness in her energy, as well as in the two guards.

become

"Lieutenant?" Risk asked. He felt the air pressed around his commanding officer comes and goes. Heavy and light. Sometimes it hit with a slap of a fast wind as if he was standing outside before category three hurricane arrives, other times it was like the slightest breeze, muted. Which with how the two guards beside her also fidget, they also must feel the same thing.