Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Why Writers are like Superheroes by Simon Mitchell

Some people think a writer’s life is pretty boring. Sitting hunched over a desk in a dimly lit room all day, tapping away at your keyboard and barely talking to anyone. Sounds kind of dull, right?

Wrong! Because although a writer’s job might look like this:

It’s really closer to this:

That’s right – all writers are actually superheroes.

How? Well, apart from wearing our underpants on the outside (hey, when you work alone in a dimly lit room you can dress however you like) writers possess a few genuine superpowers. For example:

Mind control

Have you ever wanted to implant a thought into someone’s brain? Then you could make your teacher think it was time to go home when it’s only 10.00 am, or secretly convince your parents that it’s a good idea to have pizza for dinner every single night. Pretty cool, huh?

Unfortunately not even the best authors on the planet can do that, but writing really is like a sort of psychic power.

For example, when you read one of my books (say The Great Stinkathlon), what I am actually doing is implanting my ideas into your head via the words on the page.

You see, every last fart joke in that story started out in my brain. But because I wrote my story down in a book, and you read that book and re-created the characters, settings and dialogue in your own imagination, my terrible puns about breaking wind have lodged themselves in your brain. Maybe forever! Mwahahaha!

The power to create new worlds

I like to think that reading is like opening a doorway to another world.

When you’re really immersed in a book, it can honestly feel like you’re being transported into the world of the story. You’re taking Defence Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts, or hurtling through the arena alongside Katniss, or drinking frobscottle in Giant Country with the BFG.

And when you write your own stories, you’re actually creating your own imaginary worlds that other people can visit.

You might come up with a world where the sky is full of fish and dogs keep humans for pets. Or you could create a world that looks exactly the same as our own world…until something unexpected happens.

Either way, you’re bringing a brand-new universe into existence – a universe full of interesting characters, amazing places and incredible events.

If that’s not a superpower, I don’t know what is.

Reading superpowers

Of course, readers are superheroes too.

Some people have the power to read 10 books in a single weekend. Others have the power to keep reading for hours after bedtime without their parents noticing. And some particularly clever book fans have the power to remember the names of all 13 dwarves in The Hobbit.

Everybody’s got one, so what’s your writing or reading superpower?

About the Author

Simon Mitchell lives in Melbourne and used to work as a computer programmer. Nowadays he writes stories for young people that are fast-paced, funny and a little bit quirky.

Simon’s books include the Baked Bean Bandit trilogy (The Baked Bean Bandit, Kung Phew! and The Great Stinkathlon) as well as the mouth-watering picture book Louie the Pirate Chef. He has three more picture books and a historical adventure novel scheduled for 2014.

You can find out more at


  1. I take the challenge of naming all thirteen dwarves Fili, Kili, Oin, Gloin, Thorin Oakenshield, Dwalin, Balin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Dori, Nori, and Ori

  2. You Googled it, didn't you :)

  3. I just have good memory

  4. I get these dwarves mixed up with Snow White's buddies...there were only 7 of those.

  5. Thanks, Simon.

    I'm thinking super villain rather than superhero for planting the thoughts from The Great Stinkathon into our heads...