7 Tips to Writing about Telekinesis

Jean Grey

I’ve been thinking about some of the more common powers that we see in fiction.  It doesn’t matter if they’re natural powers, magic, or tech-based, but they seem to show up all the time.  At first, I was going to just write about them, but realized I’d just be giving advice on how to use them in fiction.  So, I might as well use one of my favorite post types, which is the ‘7 Tips’.  First up is TELEKINESIS

  1. Not every telekinetic has to press their fingers to their temples or lean forward to stare at their target.  This can be how they start, but these actions are clear indicators that they are about to act.  It makes them a target in a fight and not very useful until they get stronger.  Now, it does show strain on the mind and body, but try to think of other methods.  Balling of fists alone can do something.  The human body has many signs of tension and stress for you to choose from.
  2. Telekinesis is the moving of things with your mind, but that doesn’t mean you can’t modify it.  The basics can remain while you make your character a specialist of some kind.  Maybe they can only move inanimate objects because they’ll kill a living thing by moving them.  It could be only pushing or pulling or levitating.  It’s possible that they can only move their own body with their powers.  Limiting the scope can help to develop unique uses, which helps the story stand out.
  3. This might be the most important one!  There needs to be a limit to the amount that the character can lift.  If they’re hurling skyscrapers with their minds and not feeling the strain then they may be near unstoppable.  Think of telekinesis as a set of invisible limbs that come out of the mind.  They have muscles, which need to be worked on to increase their strength.  Even with practice, they will hit a weight limit requiring the person to either stop or push to a point of self-harm.
  4. Telekinesis doesn’t always mean the character has telepathy too.  I remember there being a theory decades ago that the human mind has a hierarchy of psychic powers once it goes beyond 10% usage.  First, the theory is useless.  Second, it went empathy, telepathy, and then telekinesis by 10% increments.  This is why you see older characters having this as a set.  It isn’t necessary . . . Says the guy who created Lost the Dawn Fang who has telekinesis and telepathy.
  5. It’s possible for telekinesis to imitate other powers.  You just have to be creative in how it’s used.  Force fields can imitate heightened durability.  Sticking to places can work by having them use it on their own body.  Same goes for flight.  This requires that you understand the other power and telekinesis, so research can help.
  6. Consider the stress and damage that’s inflicted to the targets.  Lifting a person up against their will can hurt, especially if the telekinetic is new.  It’s assumed by the audience that the entire body is moving, but you can play with this.  What if the character tries to shove someone, but focuses only on the stomach?  That could knock them back, but also induce vomiting.  Lifting by a limb can causes dislocation.  Objects can get crushed if shifted with too much force.  This is typically ignored, but you can play with it.
  7. Determine how comfortable the character is with this power to decide if they will use it only in emergencies or all the time.  One who is scared will try to avoid moving things and may be hard-pressed to display the power.  It can be terrifying to manipulate objects without your hands, especially if other people fear it.  Yet, a character who revels in the power will use it for everything.  Getting the remote, turning off lights, opening doors, and most other things that require hands may be done with the mind instead.  This is a great way to demonstrate the character’s personality as well as their power.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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8 Responses to 7 Tips to Writing about Telekinesis

  1. I liked the idea that moving objects wit the mind takes practice to build up strength. Also lifting someone by the arm has to be consider dangerous to that person. Thanks, Charles. I don’t intend to use telekinesis but it is nice to look at what is behind. the scene.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. L. Marie says:

    Great tips–especially number 3. And perfect choice in showing Jean Grey who has telepathy and telekinesis. But so many times in fiction, we see characters moving things without any sort of mental strain or, as you mentioned, physical strain on the person being shoved around.

    I haven’t used telekinesis in a story. Your tips will be helpful if I decide to do so.


  3. I always like these post. You make me think about these things. We’ve all seen a witch using magic to stir a cauldron, but if it becomes a battle power more thought is needed. I wonder what a telekinetic hernia would do to a user. Might be fun to play with.

    Liked by 1 person

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