This should not be attempted lightly

Reality Warpers Create a Hurdle in Fiction Writing

Careful consideration should be made before including a character with this power in a story.

Reality Warpers Create a Hurdle in Fiction Writing

Reality Warping is the most awesome superpower of the bunch. Why limit yourself to just one ability when you can have all of them? Do you want to shoot fire? Teleport at will? Change the fundamental laws of science? Every one of these things is simple for a sufficiently powerful Reality Warper.

Given the nature of such a character, it is understandable that they are powerful. In fact, Reality Warpers tend to be so powerful that it is almost unheard of for the hero to be one. After all, if the protagonist in a story can solve almost any problem instantly, then how will there be a conflict? The article on this matter found on TV tropes brings forward a few different ways to have a Reality Warper protagonist and it has been done.

However, speaking as a person who has published work in the realm of Dark Fantasy, I caution those who wish to make use of this power set. It can be incredibly difficult to balance this sort of character in the universe. Normally, two types of characters will have reality warping and both risk completely controlling a story. These two character types are the God or Gods of the setting, as well as the Main Antagonist in a work of fiction.

The reason the main antagonist is the one listed is related to the fact that a protagonist rarely if ever is a Reality Warper. Overcoming such a being can be the basis for the entire story. The underdog tale is popular in many forms after all. The reason God or Gods is listed is that it is effectively what a Reality Warper is.

These types of characters present problems to a story though. A Reality Warper villain risks being a completely invincible foe. I'll elaborate on what I mean in just a moment. Let's talk about the problems in including a deity to a story. Having God be present in a story is hard to ignore. As a result, the plot will be forced to heavily involve this being. Unless as a writer that is the plan, it can be a foolhardy choice. After all, if the God can solve all problems, there is not a plot.

Making it so the God may not feel like helping can enforce potentially unfortunate implications or at least alienate certain readers who may not like that idea. Then there is the third option of making the Godlike being(s) evil or at least dangerous. This almost always creates a Cosmic Horror Story and if that was not the intent, it might be best to avoid it.

Anyway, let's talk about the first point again. Villains with reality warping become almost impossible to defeat because of the nature of their abilities. Death is not a hindrance to them. Neither is being hit by something. Remember physics is whatever these individuals want it to be. That also means that space and even time obey their whims.

Looking at the above lets list some of the superpowers that a Reality Warper can have. Control over time, space, reality, and knowledge. If we add life and energy to that list, there is a certain Marvel Villain that is an obvious character of this type. I speak of Thanos from Marvel's Infinity War. Once has the full set of Infinity Stones, he is a high-level version of this character. Let's talk about Thanos a little because he is an example of both the good and the bad kind of Reality Warping. Since I am a fan of this movie as well as the Dark Titan himself, I'll start with the problems he showcases in the movie and then move to the good.

Most of my problems with his reality warping involves the Space Stone. The moment he has control of space, Thanos is completely invincible. He can't be hit because thanks to having control of mathematics, any point is always an infinite distance away. That means that its impossible for Thanos to collide with any object.

My second problem with his implementation involves the Reality Stone. Once again, Thanos has control of reality and thus space. Once again he should be invincible. Also, he can kill everyone in the universe with a thought and does not even need the other stones. The Space Stone is also capable of such a feat but it requires more imagination. An example would be moving everyone into space. Without air, many denizens of the universe would die immediately.

All right, now with the problems with Thanos, let's talk about what he does right. Using the Reality Stone to nullify attacks is a great tactic as well as creating illusions on entire worlds to set deadly traps. Also, his masterful use of the Time Stone is much more logical than many of the problems I listed in the above paragraphs.

There is an argument to be made that not using the Infinity Stones properly is Thanos' weakness. If that is the case, then this actually is an almost perfect example of how to do a Reality Warper right while still inserting drama into the story. However, I say almost perfect because I am a writing snob. What I am trying to say without sounding arrogant is that this is almost always the weakness of Reality Warpers.

As a result of the many complications that come up, as a result, I advise against including a character as a Reality Warper. A story will almost always revolve around such a character. As I am safely assuming that many writers want to have the freedom to let their stories grow on their own. Done incorrectly and this trope can by itself ruin that. However, that does not mean I am saying to avoid writing in a Reality Warper. Instead, I am just cautioning against doing it lightly. Like Time Travel which happens to be a related superpower, this one needs to be planned for in almost every scenario.

All in all, when done right, Reality Warping can add incredibly potent story material as Infinity War has shown. But done incorrectly and a story can have its thunder stolen, or worse, the plot could jump the shark. I hope with these things in mind, that any writer that wants to tackle this complex idea has more general knowledge on how to go about it.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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