Wednesday, July 22, 2015

2015 Summer Writing Challenge Week 4 - Magma

I have a nephew! My sister-in-law gave birth yesterday of a healthy and LONG baby boy. I can't wait to get a chance to meet him. It will also be fun to celebrate my nephew's birthday a few days before my own.

Speaking of which, my birthday is tomorrow. It's weird to think that I'll be 31. I don't feel old enough to be out of my 20s, and I have been for a year. My life isn't where I was expecting it to be at this point. However, I do feel like - at least in writing - I'm improving. I'm becoming more determined and disciplined while building an original story.

That being said, ironically I wasn't as successful with reworking Magma as I would have liked. While I didn't have Dom's whole background written down by the deadline a few weeks back, I at least had it all figured out in my head. Neo-Amara? It's three days later and I STILL have holes in her backstory.

Granted, it's not really all that crucial since she won't actually be in the comic all that much, but the real reason I even bothered reworking her is because of Lia. The girl always compares herself to her mother, and so I needed Magma reworked as much as possible so I have something for Lia to compare herself to.

I'm also a bit mad because I was actually on a good routine with rebuilding her. I did a little bit each day. I had the name picked out a few weeks ago. Her physical appearance was fairly quick to type up since Lia is practically a carbon copy of her mom. I knew more-or-less what I wanted her personality to be like. The real things I needed to buckle down and focus on were her powers and backstory.

I had the powers pretty set as of Friday, but I just couldn't figure out the backstory over the weekend. Which makes me nervous about my writing ability yet again, since I think the main reason I couldn't figure it out is due to the fact that I barely saw my husband this weekend. He's my main sounding board and at 10pm on a Sunday night we usually chat about the character backstory until I'm confident in what we came up with. The fact that I apparently can't think of much of anything on my own is a bit discouraging.

I'm also a bit wary of the new power set I gave Neo-Amara. The big thing on X-Future is when Hubby rolled to see what powers Lia inherited she JUST got Amara's. Which means her power set is exactly the same as her mother's; one of the many reasons she's constantly measuring herself to her mom. Well, it was hard for me to keep Lia's exact powers for her mom since the description of her powers is literally copied from the Amara "Magma" Aquilla Marvel Wikia page. The only difference is that Lia's lava/fire form has an obsidian skin coating.

I didn't think that just changing her name and making her Hawaiian would be enough of a change. I needed to switch the powers up a bit more.

To try to figure things out, I started up one of the many X-Men/Marvel themed games that we own. The character that I picked has the mutant ability to instantaneously grow obsidian around his fists to add force to his punches. His powers then evolve to be able to do things such as throw obsidian shards, create an obsidian wall to block attackers, and coat himself in obsidian armor.

Naturally, I picked this mutation because of Lia. However, it did help inspire Keahi's power set. I didn't out-right rip off these powers and go "see? Both obsidian! Done!" However, I did focus mostly on the obsidian armor and being able to throw shards.

I thought about Magma's powers at their core. She's a geokinetic. She can manipulate the ground; typically by moving the magma under the Earth's crust. This can create mini-volcanoes and geysers. She can attack with the lava itself in fireball form. Most importantly, shifting the magma that the crust sits on also shifts the ground itself; creating mini earthquakes.

So, I started off looking up another X-Men character that - fittingly, considering what birthed X-Future in the first place - was a main character in X-Men: Evolution. Namely, Avalanche. If I focused on Magma's earthquake ability using magma, then I could also use some of Avalanche's powers as her core set.

Hubby then pitched that I also use some of the powers he created for the X-Future OC Oswald. He started off as a random background character that Hubby made, and then Ronoxym took him over. Like I did with Willow. Anyway, Oswald's powers revolve around basalt rock creation. He can create a war hammer made out of basalt; that forms out of thin air. He can also cover himself in basalt armor. There was my link back to the obsidian character in the video game.

So, Keahi can manipulate the ground, form rock, and coat herself in a stone armor. There's more to it than that; but I'll get to that when I put the bio in below. Point is, it's drastically different than Magma's powers. Also important, it's believable that Lia's powers are an evolved form. Lia also creates a stone armor, but hers is because she BECOMES the stone, not covers herself in it. Lia can create rock like her mother, but that's because she can manifest lava and then cool it in to the stone she desires. She made a statue to a fallen X-Future character that way. Lia can also manipulate the ground like her mother, but this is based on Magma's original power of using the molten rock to shift the Earth's surface. Lia can also create lava-based fire balls - like the original Magma - as an evolved form of her mother creating rock weapons.

Sure, Lia can't really compare herself TOO much to her mother in the same way now. A big part of her dynamic was that she couldn't form lava bridges or shoot fireballs as far or whatever else Amara could do with the same power set and at the same age. So Lia felt inferior since she was perceptionally behind her mother with power development. Still, there's enough there that Lia could do similarly to her mother because Keahi's powers are technically a downgrade of Lia's. So she may focus on that. "Come on! My mother could do this at my age, and I'm supposed to be more powerful than her!"

The other kicker is that Keahi seemed like the PERFECT name for Neo-Amara because it was the only name I found that was Hawaiian for "Fire." A Hawaiian lava manipulator named "fire"? Perfect! A ROCK manipulator named "fire"? Eh... not so much. Still, I kept it. First, because it's a nice nod back to the original character. Second, it's bad enough I have one pyromancer named Ignatius. Did I really need two people with names blatantly stating what their powers were?

Anyway, below is my still spotty bio for Neo-Magma:
New Name: Keahi (pronounced Key-ah-hee)
Basic Info: Haven't Quite Figured Out Age, 5' 6", 148lbs, Deep cocoa brown hair, and warm honey brown eyes
Powers: Norm-Beast Mind Evoker Hybrid; Sub-category: Earth Summoner
Norm-Beasts have a physical mutation since birth, but can still pass as a regular human; or "Norm." Keahi's Beast quality is her muscles' ability to handle the strain of carrying the extra weight of the granite armor. Her skin can withstand much higher temperatures before burning; causing her almost completely immune to the typical heat of a fire. Her eyes have extra coating to be able to withstand the heat of an active volcano. Her lungs can filter out the toxic fumes and ash of a volcanic eruption. While she’s encased in her graphite armor she can actually stand in lava for up to 30-minutes without harm.
I went over this last week, but as a refresher, evokers can manipulate parts of nature; usually the elements. Evokers have three sub-categories: Charmers, Summoners, and Avatars. Charmers can manipulate their element as long as it's already present. Summoners can cause that element to come into existence. Avatars are technically Tweaker Evoker hybrids because they can transform their bodies into the element.
Keahi is in the Summoner category. Her most basic power is her ability to encase herself in an armor of bluish gray granite. She can cover herself so entirely that it is almost instantaneous full body armor. She can also form up to 50lbs worth of granite that she can manipulate and use however she wishes: ladders, doors, weapons, etc. She can dissipate any granite she forms if she wishes, but she cannot cause naturally occurring granite to disappear. She can manipulate naturally occurring granite to form however she wishes; regardless if it’s more than 50lbs worth.
Her Mind powers come about as moderate telekinetic abilities in regards to manipulating stone; causing the granite to hover or fly to her will. However, she can only manipulate something that has at least a 30% granite component. She can also cause minor earth tremors by either shifting naturally occurring granite already in the ground, or by summoning granite in to the ground and then shifting that. The intensity of the tremor is reliant on both her intention and the amount of granite in that area.
Her powers are also closely tied to her proximity to the earth’s surface. She is most powerful when she’s either barefoot or - better yet - actually has her feet dug into the ground. The farther away from the ground she is, the weaker her control gets. For instance, if she were on a plane she could still form her armor, but it would have to be a conscious act instead of a reflex, and she would have to concentrate to manipulate pre-existing granite. She wouldn’t be able to affect the earth’s surface, nor would she be able to materialize granite. Because of this weakening of her power and detachment from the earth, she gets very airsick if she has to be away from the ground for more than an hour. Depending on the depth of the body of water, the same applies when she’s on a ship for over an hour as well. Mile high; mile deep.
Physical Appearance: Slightly more muscular build than the average woman her age due to the strain of the granite armor she typically wears. Her skin is a dark Hawaiian tan and she wears her hair straight and long; usually between mid-back and waist. She parts it straight down the center and with no bangs. She’ll only pull it back in a ponytail when she’s preparing to fight; to keep it out of her way. She has a round face with full lips. Both ears are double pierced, but she wears simple earrings.
She wears subdued versions of every color of the rainbow, but the most basic form of it: red, but not pink or maroon; blue, but not aqua or teal; purple, but not magenta or violet; etc. Even with more subdued tones, the clothes are heavily influenced by her Hawaiian culture. She typically has nature prints, such as hibiscus or ilima, ivy, or oceanscapes. They also have tribal-like patterns. The clothes are either form-fitted shirts and jeans, or light, flowing, loose dresses. She also wears sandals as much as possible to keep her feet close to the ground. When sandals are impractical to wear, she’ll always choose sneakers or flats to again stay closely connected to the earth. Barefoot is her preferred if it’s acceptable.
She is simple with her jewelry. She wears small hoops and studs in her ears, a watch, no more than two bracelets - usually made from granite - her wedding band with a possible one or two more rings for fancy occasions, and two necklaces: a white puka-shell choker she never removes and a fancier necklace when she dresses up.
This is the image I found to help inspire the appearance of Keahi beyond an adult version of Lia:
I wish she wasn't in a hula-dancing costume,
but this could be a good indication of Keahi's face.
Personality: A bit of a tomboy, but when the time calls for her to dress up she loves it and lavishes in glamorizing herself. She has always been very protective and maternal; even as a child in regards to her friends. She is very optimistic. She looks for the good in people, situations, and the world. She knows that bad things will happen, people will do horrible things, and the world will have dark places. However, she also trusts that good things are around the corner, people will right wrongs, and that each generation will bring more light to the world until the shady darkness is nearly vanquished.
She’s cheerful and welcoming; it’s hard not to be drawn in and love her almost instantly. She’s empathetic and knows the happy balance between being goofy to cheer someone up and being silent so they can just cry. She speaks her mind, but also knows the crucial times to hold her tongue and see where the situation is going. She’s strong and determined, and a leader most would gladly follow.
She refuses to fail completely. Even if she has failed at something, she will give it another try and another and another until she succeeds. She also won’t abandon anyone. It is her flaw. She refuses to believe in sacrificing the few to save the many unless that few is her. There is always a way for her to save everyone, she just has to figure out how.
General History: She was raised on the Windward edge of O’ahu. She always stood up for “the little guys”, and was able to do so by maintaining a popularity in school. She was an athlete, top of her class, and sweet. Most people wanted to hate her for being “so perfect”, but she was just too nice; they couldn’t find it in them to truly hate her.
That is, until her powers kicked in when she was a junior in high school. She took a nasty fall and would have broken some bones, except the point of impact quickly covered in granite. She couldn’t shake the shielded body part off, and when the crowd saw that she was a Glitch, tides turned. While there were a lot that still stood beside her; stating that she proves not all Glitches are bad or scum of humanity. More shunned her and shut her out. She was home schooled the rest of her high school career. She missed walking at graduation or going to her senior prom or senior trip. Always the optimist, she threw her own Glitch-friendly prom for other Glitches in the area and their allies. They then did a weekend surfing trip. As for graduation, her mother got out her old college cap and gown and printed out the diploma. She had all her friends and family around as she gave her valedictorian speech, accepted her diploma, and got pictures taken.
While very intelligent and wanting to advance her education, she was unsure of continuing on to college; worried she’d be kicked out again for being a Glitch. She also debated trade schools for the same reason. Although she had a few good options right in Hawaii, she opted to take a few online courses; in hopes that the schools wouldn’t do a background check and find out she’s a Glitch. In the meantime, she worked one of the beach side bistros that didn’t care if she was a Glitch, or if business suffered because he hired one.
When Keahi was about 19 she met Cody. This is where I go hazy. I still need to figure out this part a bit more. Either way, Keahi and Cody eventually marry and for some reason settle in Long Island. They somehow have a connection to Neo-Kitty and/or Ryder which is why Cody works at the orphanage/school and Lia lives there with him.
Lia is born when Keahi is about mid-twenties? I'm not entirely sure with this too, which is why I'm not positive of her age either...
When Lia was 7 the Ring of Fire became unusually active with earthquakes - resulting in tsunamis - and volcanic eruptions. Other Earth and Fire Evoker Glitches rallied together to try to calm the seismic activity, and Keahi decided to join the cause. Cody begged for her to not get involved, but she couldn’t just let people suffer when she could help somehow. Besides, Neo-Kitty’s family was still in California along with Ryder's friends, and Keahi’s family was still back in Hawaii. She had to find a way to protect them. Cody finally submitted, but wanted to go with her in order to keep her safe; both from natural disasters and anti-Glitches that may attack the group. For some reason they couldn’t leave Lia with anyone or Keahi convinced Cody that it wouldn't be in Lia’s best interest to be without both parents right. Cody stayed with Lia for whatever reason, but sent a copy of himself with Keahi to still protect her like he would. Having a copy on the other side of the country affected his personality slightly, but not enough to impact his parenting.
The Glitches attempting to calm the activity were attacked, but not by Anti-Glitch factions. The copy was killed while Keahi was still fighting. It’s memories returned to Cody; letting him know what was going on while it was with Keahi, but leaving him worried about his wife. He left Lia with a copy this time after deciding he needed most of himself in order to find Keahi. He stayed in the Ring of Fire - although I'm not entirely sure what PART of the area - for a full month searching for her. Eventually he just missed Lia too much, and begrudgingly called off the search.
Keahi is still MIA, and Cody makes an annual pilgrimage back to the Ring of Fire in search for any clues.
I am a bit bummed that I can't figure out more of her backstory, but I trust it will come along eventually.

In the meantime, I'm using my birthday week to finish up work on Neo-Kitty. Still need to decide on a name and sort through the pre-college years of her backstory. Haven't really touched on any of that yet. I better get cracking.

No comments:

Post a Comment