Saturday, September 2, 2023

4 Superpowers Every Writer Must Have

by Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth

Have you ever wanted to be a superhero? Did you know that writers have superpowers?

I’m sure many of us filled hours of our childhood reading comic books or watching TV shows or movies of storybook heroes. Reading about our favorite spandex-clad hero or heroine crawling out of an escape-proof trap and saving the day for all humanity. Or spending 50 cents for a comic book to see what our hero did this month. I can imagine the comment section below filling up with pictures of us dressed up in our costumes from our childhoods, our teens, or in college. 

There’s something about superheroes that catches our imaginations. Having superpowers like flight, X-ray vision, or incredible strength. Maybe having incredible gadgets like Batman’s belt or the Batmobile. Things we would use to help others and see that justice is served.

But these aren’t the only way to be a superhero.

I can’t scale the side of a building like Spider-Man. I can’t talk to whales like Aquaman. And I don’t have a Lasso of Truth like Wonder Woman. (Which is good because I would hate for my wife to get hold of the rope.) 

But as a writer, I do have some incredible superpowers.

4 Writing Superpowers

1. Helping Readers Escape Reality

A major reason readers choose fiction is so they can lose themselves in the story and the lives of the characters. Stories set in exotic or popular places enable the reader to travel to faraway places without ever leaving their chair. I’m reading an interesting PI mystery set in Los Angeles that transports me to different tourist sites without having to fight the traffic.

And for the reader, after a tough day at work, refereeing the kids, or just adulting, it’s especially nice to escape into a world with problems that they don’t have to deal with. Instead, let’s see how the character, or the writer, handles the mess. And I’ll make another bag of popcorn.

2. Helping Readers Better Understand Reality

We find that in both nonfiction and fiction, readers want to learn how to better deal with the problems and circumstances that life brings. Self-help books and memoirs show how others have faced the same problems. Christian living books, Bible studies, and devotions teach us biblical principles to our earthly problems. It only makes sense that since our Holy God created us and the world, that we should seek His will when facing problems and seeking His will.

It’s through stories we find in fiction, memoir, and biographies that we encounter the doubts, fears, and joys of others. We can find someone in a situation like ours and experience the trials and hurts with them. It’s funny that even when we know the story isn’t true, we still feel what the characters go through, but at a safe distance. If Murder She Wrote wasn’t fiction, who in their right minds would ever want to move to Cabot Cove?

3. Helping Readers Better Understand Other People

I mean, people are crazy. Well, obviously not you or me. I’m sure we both know the only proper kind of ice cream is Breyers Vanilla. Right? And it should be eaten in a cup, not a cone. Maybe with Coke poured in it.

Calling anything else ice cream is just silly, right? Oh, so you’re one of them, huh?

It’s funny how we often think some things should be done a certain way because that is how our family did it. Or that’s the only way we have ever seen it done. My wife and I still shake our heads when we see each other fold a towel.

But in a book, we can visit another state, a different family, or a foreign country. We can see how people across the world make their meal, or how they did it 300 years ago, or 200 years in the future. We will encounter different points of view, and maybe learn they aren’t so different after all.

4. Helping Readers Spark Their Imagination

Harry Potter gave me a new appreciation of owls. James Bond made me terrified of crocodiles. And The Wizard of Oz taught me not to ride a bicycle in a storm. Or get too close to a monkey.

Sparking imaginations may be our most important superpower. It is an honor to give a student the ability to dream of new opportunities. To give courage to patients or their family while they are in the cancer ward. Or to give hope to someone facing a tough decision. Or an empty house.

Our stories can spark someone’s imagination and help them dream of new possibilities to change their whole life. We have seen how books can influence people over and over again. Maybe even in your own life.

It’s easy to get so caught up in the daily chore of facing a blank screen or dealing with too many social media obligations that we forget why we write. Or how our writing may affect one of our readers. But what a great opportunity writing our stories or experiences gives us to help or influence another person.

Isn’t that what we want our readers to look forward to when they buy our books, read our articles, or pull up our blogs? Choosing to read our stories is like when the police chief turned on the Bat-Signal. Our readers are looking for answers. And isn’t showing that there is hope in a situation the goal of any superhero?


Tim Suddeth is a stay-at-home dad and butler for his wonderful, adult son with autism. He has written numerous blogs posts, short stories, and three novels waiting for publication. He is a frequent attendee at writers conferences, including the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and a member of Word Weavers and ACFW. He lives near Greenville, SC where he shares a house with a bossy Shorky and three too-curious Persians. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter, as well as at and


  1. Breyer’s vanilla bean in a cup, no coke. (Or Breyer’s coffee). And towels in thirds. You made me smile.
    Thanks for reminding me of my superpowers.

    1. Thanks Cathy. Writing is such a blessing.

      Tim Suddeth

  2. I love this post Tim. To point out how writing helps others is a great encouragement to me. Thank you. : )

  3. What a day brightener, Tim! Thank you, you've reminded us that we do make a difference.

  4. Here's to all the superhero writers out there!