Does a combustible superhero give off an odor?
Can an edible person regrow severed limbs?
How does a blind speedster navigate?
These are the sort of questions I asked myself on a daily basis when while I was working my Twenty Questions challenge. It started as a creative warm-up exercise to keep my mind sharp and learn how far I could delve into any given subject. I would start with an outlandish name — like the Mighty Aerosol, Scuffle Bunny, or Unicorn Astronaut — or a ridiculous superhero power-set — such as a character who can run at super-speed but only on his hands, can command machinery by swearing at it, or has the ability make her head explode on command. My challenge was to come up with 20 questions that would challenge preconceptions, bring depth to the character, and find those hidden subtleties that make a character interesting. Mister Pickles was a ludicrous character until I discovered he was a serial killer with a penchant for preserving his victims in brine. Son of Gravity became a wonderful term for a character born planetside. And I figured out that Flow, who has the ability to move like a fluid, probably picks up a ton of lint and debris is she oozed across the floor.
In my 299-character run, there was no subject that wasn’t both fun and interesting by the end of twenty questions.
Analysis, investigation, research, writing
- Librarian and Comic Book Historian Robert Hulshof-Schmidt