In my story my characters have psychic abilities rather than magic. I wanted it to seem a more natural development as we use our brains more over time, sort of an evolutionary process. I was thinking along the lines that each person would develop two related abilities. For example one person may develop telekinesis then over time develop the ability to control temperature. Each person could also have different have different levels of the same abilities. Some could be so weak as to not even develop the first one while very few could be so powerful as to develop a third ability.
One of the difficulties I am having is how far should I go before it becomes too fantastic. Next, I need some ideas, if I can, for different abilities that people would find new and interesting and the secondary abilities that could relate to them. Third, I need some ways that could work for suppressing abilities both directly and indirectly by treating them as non-existant. Finaly, I would like to get some thoughts on limitations. I don't know what to make the limiting factors in psychic abilities.
I would appreciate any ideas that might get my thoughts rolling, as I am having a mental block right now. Any ideas and suggestions are welcome.
Writers block. Sigh....
[This message has been edited by MikeL (edited July 30, 2010).]
I'm writing what some might consider science fiction involving psychics, so I have take care with real-world believability. You said that you're using psychic abilities in place of magic, which I guess means that you want an internal thought process for each magical ability. In that case, you can go as far as you want as long as the boundaries are clear and consistent within your world.
Pick abilities that interest you--flying (telekinetic manipulation of self and immediate surrounding), teleportation, astral projection, aura reading, faith healing, scrying/precognition, or whatever--and then figure out how the people of your world would direct their thoughts, feelings, and inner perception in order to use their abilities.
You know, daydream and brainstorm. And then write down whatever you came up with. You can research and trim ideas later.
And remember that while you absolutely need to know as much as you can about the psychic powers, but you don't need to explain everything to the reader.
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Now that I've thought about it a little, I'd say study a little Physics. Try to figure out what conditions need to be in place for these things to happen. You might find some interesting situations you can set up.
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Thanks Pyre, that hits the nail on the head. The problem is that I have and do consider the physics involved, but I am at a loss. For example how can I quantify a psychic ability? What is its mode of energy transfer? How does the human brain, or is is the spirit or soul, for lack of better words, create these psychic actions? Are there different energies involved in different abilities?
I have heard mention of string theory for the effects of psychics. So it could be that out minds, if considered a quantum super computer, could set up vibrations that resonate at the quantum level to create the effect that one would desire. The problem with this is that if it is a resonating action then one would have difficulty with the strength of the effect. Maybe it's produced by altering the quantum state and flow. I.E. changing particles to waves and back or even altering the dimension itself to coincide with another.
The problem is that if we are altering matter and energy at it's quantum level then our only limitations would be our lack of control and understanding. Theoretically we could do anything. Even "magic" would be weak in comparison. We could become 'gods'. Maybe I am over thinking all of this, but it does have me in a bit of a quandary.
Maybe I've hit on a good point, maybe the limitation I am looking for is the lack of control and understanding. By george, I think I've got it! I would still need to specify the knowledge part of it. Such as what a person must do to activate a certain ability. Why some hardly have to try and others will struggle in the smallest thing. Also I need to come up with why only one or specific powers seem to manifest in most people.
Now that I have rambled on I think I need to go make some notes. Sorry for the thoughts running through here. Maybe I just need to talk them through.
A book that may be helpful to you is called Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku, a Professor of Theoretical Physics.
He looks at several topics, including Teleportation, Telepathy, and Psychokinesis. (also Force Fields, Invisibility, Antimatter and other science fiction staples) He goes over a historical view of the topic, including examples from science fiction, and then gives several ways the topic may be scientifically realized.
It may give you some ideas, or at least jar the block out of the way.
MikeL, one of the ways we have done writing challenges here on the forum is to give people a theme or a "trigger" and ask them to write a story inspired by that.
Then they post the first 13 lines in the Writing Challenges area, and exchange the stories, and vote on the 13-line posts as well as the stories.
It's a kind of writing exercise. Your topic title made me think of several different people, each coming up with a different story about sommeone who needs help with their own personal psychic abilities--as opposed to what you mean where you need help with the psychic abilities in your story.
Sorry if I was confusing.
Basically I was saying that your topic title, all by itself, is an idea-generator for story ideas.
One way to make things seems more real is for there to be a downside. Yes, its wonderful to do all these great things with your head, but what's the trade-off?
Another suggestion is to make up a very good set of rules, even if you never get to expound them all in your text, and stick to them. It helps avoid the dilemma of your readers fealing as if you're just pulling the rabbit out everytime your need to resolve a plot problem. Also properly prepping scenarios, dropping little hints that the reader may only recognize on retrospect can be a good thing.
For example, if you have this rule that before your character devlops a new ability he has a whopper of a migraine. You can prep it so that he has a headache, but he doesn't know what's going to develop before the character gets himself stuck int he sticky situation, so then when he uses that new ability to get himself out of a jam it seems more like a natural development than a rabbit out of a hat trick. -okay lame example, but hopefully you get the idea.