Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Write Like an X-Men

If you aren't familiar with Jean Grey or the X-Men, don't fear. The following video will tell you everything you need to know.

So, without further adieu:


1. Just because you're sitting on the sidelines now, doesn't mean you can't move up to the majors.

Jean Grey was one of the original Uncanny X-Men. But in the beginning, there was nothing uncanny about her. Sure, she was telekinetic, but she had a lame-o name (Marvel Girl), had a cringe-worthy costume, and was a total novice. Whenever the big bad showed up, she had to take a backseat to the - more powerful - boys. After all, we can't risk breaking a fingernail, right girls? Wrong! Luckily, Jean Grey hung in there. Turns out she was more powerful than all of them put together, she just needed time to hone her powers. Later in the series she joined with the Phoenix Force to become an Omega-level mutant - powerful enough to destroy entire universes. Here, Cyclops, hold my purse. I have to save your ass. Again.

What we can learn from Jean: Everyone has to start somewhere. Sure, it can be intimidating browsing bookstores and seeing the shelves lined with heavy-hitting NY Times best-selling authors - but you can't let that stop you. "I don't want to get hurt!" you say. Well, then you're going to have to sit on the bench. But if you want to play the game, take your time, perfect your craft, and build yourself up. If you don't allow yourself to give up, who knows what levels you can reach?

2. You CAN overcome rejection.

Boy has Jean faced some rejection in her life. Imagine, wandering inside your arch-rival's head and finding out that your husband is in there too, half-naked, having a telepathic affair. Oh, snap! Did Jean get angry? Yeah, she ranted and raved for a bit. But in the end, the rejection allowed her to reevaluate her life, in particular, her relationships. She realized that her marriage hadn't been working for quite some time, and that Emma (Frost) - even though she a major b*%ch - really did love Scott (Cyclops). The split also allowed Jean to realize her true feelings for Logan (Wolverine). So, what could have been a horrible situation, Jean used to better herself.

What we can learn from Jean: That rejection isn't the end of all. Yes, it hurts. And yes, you're allowed to rant about it (in the privacy of your own home). Just make sure you use it for the opportunity that it is. So the agent rejected you because they didn't connect with your characters? Great! Now you have an opportunity to work on your voice and come away from the experience a stronger writer.

3. Only YOU can do what YOU do.

In the mini-series, ENDSONG, Emma Frost tries to host Jean's power - the Phoenix Force - inside her body. But, much to my amusement, this doesn't work out so well. The power is too great for Emma to handle and it almost burns her alive from the inside out.

What we can learn from Jean: So, you were browsing Publisher's Marketplace and read that someone just sold their aquatic vampire bunny novel when you just started writing an epic aquatic vampire bunny novel. Does that mean you should shelve your idea? Heck no! You're unique. Nobody is going to be able to copy your style and voice. Your power is your own.

4. When the pressure is too great, don't be afraid to lean on your FRIENDS.

Friends don't come any better than Logan. He's in love with Jean, and yet, he's killed her half a dozen times. Why?!? you ask. Because Jean asked him too. When Jean and Logan were catapulting toward the sun, while Logan was fine thanks to his healing powers, Jean was in agony. She begged him to kill her and end her suffering. After a lot of kissing, he agreed. So she died in his arms. Later, in ENDSONG, when Jean rose from the grave, the Phoenix Force turned her into Dark Phoenix, an entity that thirsted for destruction and death. Driven insane, Jean had a brief moment of clarity where she was able to beg Wolverine to kill her so she wouldn't hurt anyone. And he did. Again. And again. And again. (You see where this is going.)

What we can learn from Jean: When in doubt - seek some shreddage from a friend. If your queries are coming back with all rejections, enlist the help of a critique group or writing society. Websites and forums can also be an excellent source of information and help. Just remember, it's better to seek help from other writers rather than friends and family members. True crit-buddies aren't afraid to make you bleed.

5. There is no END, only new BEGINNINGS.

Anyone who knows anything about a Phoenix knows that they die only to emerge from the ashes anew. The same goes for Jean. Each time she dies she comes back that much stronger.

What we can learn from Jean: There is no end, only new beginnings. So, you queried every agent in the Query Tracker database and received nothing but rejections - is it the end? Of that novel, maybe. But it's not the end for you. Start again. Emerge from the ashes a stronger writer, a stronger you.

And lastly, I leave you with this picture because, not only does it makes me swoon, but it's about time they let a girl be on top. Hee :D


  1. And THIS is why you are so freakin' awesome! Just saying...

  2. Wow. Just, wow. This is the most kick ass post I've ever read. Seriously, I love X-Men, but your X-Men to writing link is pure brilliance! I am printing it out to stick on my wall.

  3. LOVE. THIS. Great job, Cole!!!! :D

  4. Gonna have to agree with the awesome commenters before me - I think that is the coolest post I've ever read - I'm printing it - and I may have to go buy myself a few Jean Grey comics too :D

  5. I'll let you in on a little secret... girls have always been on top! :)

    Great analogy here... wish I knew more on x-man (although, you just taught me more than I ever even knew on the topic)


  6. EPIC POST, COLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I love, love, LOVE X-Men. This post absolutely made my day!!!

  7. Sweet post! I love the X-Men but don't know their stories in depth. Awesome analogy!

  8. Not really familiar with the X-Men, but the post still made brilliant sense. Well done!

  9. OMG, now you just resurrected all this Hugh Jackman lust.


  10. I'm more of a Storm gal, but that was a great post!

  11. Dude. Don't fear rejection, cuz you might just end up with WOLVERINE. Sheet-yeah! Best advice ever. Now you got me thinking of comic-inspired posts. Might have to bust out a Lantern or two. Had so much fun with this post. Thanks!

  12. Just found your blog because Michelle McLean recommended this post, and I'm so glad she did. This is great.

    I'm your newest blog follower because this is awesome and I LOVE X-Men. Have a great weekend.

  13. Swoon is right. Wolverine is a hottie.

    Great post. I love the lesson's you learned from Jean Grey

  14. Epic! Fantastic post as usual, Cole! And the boy's sitting over my shoulder, hollering, "Woolerween!" Just made my day.

  15. One other thing I learned from Jean Grey: redheads are smokin'. (Okay, maybe that's a bit shallow. Sorry. I should've said something more apropos for my inaugural comment on your blog.)

    But hell yeah to the post. I love how you rocked those analogies. Nicely done, good lady!

    P.S. I'm just enough of a geek to know everyone you mentioned, even though I haven't read X-Men in years. Awesome! Comic book geeks FTW!

  16. Encouragement in fun comic book form - you're awesome!

    My husband saw Hugh Jackman in NYC last week. I had to pretend NOT to swoon when he told me.