The gist of my story ideas were:
- A central city in America (using Chicago as basis; wasn't sure if I should use the actual city or have it be a stand-in for city of my naming)
- An event occurs which creates the mutation in people that allows for super powers to form. It is extremely rare.
- Powers manifest through some sort of extreme event in the person's life, if they have the genetic conditions and survive the process. Most often, the triggering events are traumas, but sometimes even puberty can cause them to come on. I called these events Awakenings.
- It is soon after the event, and people are adjusting to the new reality of super-powered individuals being in their midst. Governments are taking stand (around the globe), industry is taking notice, the population is trying to adjust. Groupies and churches spring up around the super-hero/villain models, there is some stratification of "worthwhile," "worthless," and "spot on the wall" variety powers.
- Trying to show real-world physics and applying them to super-heroic powers.
I had a hard time sleeping last night. I grabbed my Kindle and starting looking for a book to read to help lull me to sleep. I found one that looked interesting, "Wearing the Cape" by Marion G. Harmon. As I read the book, the similarities startled me:
- It takes place in Chicago.
- It is 10 years after an Event caused some people to have "breakthroughs" and gain super powers.
- The world is adjusting to the new realities caused by having super-powered individuals in it.
- Real-world use of physics, mass, speed, etc. when discussing using super-powers.
- There are groupies and stratification and classification of power levels.
I was even using "The Sentinels" and variations on that concept as my main super-hero group for the world. This author has the protagonist joining the most well-known super-hero group called The Sentinels.
It was eerie to read. Now, I'm not in any way, shape, or form suggesting this author somehow plagiarized or stole my idea. The concepts are similar, but generic, enough that many people have had them. It is the similarities in small details that surprised me as I read it; same city, same hero group name, the use of real-world physics, even the author's use of opening statements from news sources, journals, and scientific community reports (something I was mulling over doing, but didn't when I changed from a story to an RPG setting).
While the writing was a bit uneven, the transitions between scenes and chapters were sometimes a bit jarring, and the author did not seem sure of his audience at all times (all indicators of a first-time author), I found Harmon's self-published novel entertaining and a fast read. I enjoyed his female protagonist's growth as a character and will be interested to read more in the future. I am once again energized to try to create a new super-heroic story or game environment, but frustrated that I feel the need to change directions and create something newer and different, something of my own.