Friday, June 4, 2010
Write Like an X-MEN: Black Cat
Okay, so I realize that Black Cat isn't one of the X-Men but she's still a superhero.
Er...alright, so she's not always a superhero, but she's still wicked cool and can teach us a thing or two about writing.
1. Don't Get Mad - Get EVEN
When Felica Harday (aka Black Cat) was only a freshman in college, she was date-raped by her then boyfriend, Ryan. Instead of falling to pieces, Felicia decided to empower herself with intensive training sessions in martial arts and acrobatics. By choosing to better herself instead of succumbing to pain, Black Cat was able to hone her fighting skills to make her an even match for such super-villains as Dr. Octopus, Sabertooth, and even Carnage.
What we can learn from Black Cat: Rejections hurt. There's no way around it. The blow they deal to your confidence can be enough to make any writer feel like throwing in the towel. (I should know, I've had over a hundred.)But instead of curling into fetal position and rocking yourself in a dark room, take the rejections for what they really are - an opportunity to better yourself. Take the time to improve your writing, honing your skills until your a force to be reckoned with. If you don't, then the rejection has won.
2. There Are No Shortcuts
After Black Cat fell in love with Spider-Man she promised to give up her cat-burglary ways. She began patrolling the city with him in an effort to fight crime. The problem was, Spider-Man was often confronted with super-villains with super powers, something that Felicia didn't have. After Spider-Man was seriously injured tyring to protect her during an attack, she decided that her lack of super powers made hers a liability to Spider-Man. Desperate to keep Spider-Man in her life, Felicia sought out the assistance of the Kingpin. Unfortunately, her new super powers - a bad luck jinx - turned infectious and began to infect Spider-Man, which was exactly what the Kingpin had wanted all along.
What we can learn from Black Cat: Sure, we look at all our favorite authors and want so badly to be where they are. So, when a so-called agent says they can make you a best-seller and all it will take is a wad of cash, the offer can be enticing. Just know this, there are no short-cuts in publishing. There is no one you can pay to make you a success. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a crook.
3. Sure, It Looks Good On The Outside...
From the moment Felicia met Spider-Man he was what she wanted. She altered her life for him; gave up her criminal ways, fought by his side, and even had herself altered so that she might have super powers. So in love was Felicia...until the day Peter took off his mask.
What we can learn from Black Cat: Being a published author looks so cool, right? You get to be famous, go to book signings, and make tons of money...Er, on second thought, let's have a look behind the mask. The odds of achieving the fandom the likes of Stephanie Meyer and J.K. Rowling are, quite literally, one-in-a-million. The ugly truth is, most authors don't make enough to quit their days jobs. There are no throngs of screaming fans in line for their book signings and they're lucky if their postman recognizes them by sight. Sure, the outside package might look good but you really have to love the ugly underneath (the actual writing) if you're going to make it work.
4. Revenge Is NEVER The Answer
When Felicia learned that Spider-Man was really Peter Parker she freaked. She was afraid that learning Peter's true identity would ruin their relationship. Also, she didn't understand why Peter would hide his true identity to the world and pretend to be a normal guy. So, she broke up with him. Unfortunately, once Peter was out of her life Felicia realized that she did love him, regardless of who he was. The problem was, in the time it took her to realize this, Peter married Mary Jane. Furious and broken-hearted, Felicia set about making Mary Jane's life miserable with her nonstop threats and harassment - thereby driving a permanent wedge between her and Peter.
What we can learn from Black Cat: Revenge is never the answer. Even when you've slaved for years on your masterpiece only to have an agent reject it in a matter of days, repress the urge to write them an email full of choice words. Agents talk. If you make yourself known as the crazy who writes hateful emails, the chances of you landing an agent - despite your writing talents - is next to nil.
That's all for this week's Write Like An X-Men. If you want more Black Cat be sure to check out Marvel's Amazing Spider-Man where she makes regular guest appearances.