Superman is Left Alone to Fight Magog, What Happens Next Blew My Mind!

[SPOILER ALERT]: If you haven't read the issue, released on 2/18, and are planning to, don't read any further!
The setup: In the latest issue of Superman/Wonder Woman, the power couple faces off against Circe and Magog. After having trapped Wonder Woman in stone, Circe magically teleported her away leaving Superman to fend for himself.

Did I mention he's currently suspended, in what gymnasts call 'the Iron Cross', while holding onto the bridge cables to prevent it from collapsing and killing hundreds of people?

Meanwhile Magog amounts his assault...

But Superman isn't having it...

Suck heat vision you ass clown!

Writing with SJ Mitchell: Running on 'E'

One of the things I learned from my writer's group Wednesday night, was I have a tendency to include a lot of run-on sentences. Also, I have a strange affliction with adjectives.

Maybe it's all the X-Men books I read? (See: Astonishing, Uncanny, Amazing etc.)

There were a lot of places, in the piece that I read (Chapter 3 of my WIP), where I injected unnecessary adjectives. This extends the thought and increases the length of the sentence. My brain works fast and doesn't sit in one place and when I'm writing, the words just zip from my brain to my fingertips without pausing.

I always want my scenes to be dynamic. I want to paint a picture by injecting words into the sentences that leave no doubt as to what's happening. Overall the feedback I received from my group was positive. They enjoyed the story, the characters and the humor.

When reading out loud, I read at a fast pace. At first nobody really noticed the lengthy, adjective laced, run-on sentences. It wasn't until we engaged in discussion and members of the group browsed through their copies, that they started picking apart the grammar.

Which is good, because I can't get better if I don't know something needs to be fixed.

So here's an example of one sentence that needs to be tightened up:

The driver summoned all of the car's horsepower and spun completely around, heading back the other way; leaving Cody behind to cough and gasp for breath in a cloud of burnt rubber and exhaust.

Stats: 1 comma, 1 semi-colon in a 34 word sentence!

Yikes! I wrote that? Now, admittedly, I'm not a polished writer. But as you read that, one might think I forgot that the 'period' exists. Now, that sentence isn't full of adjectives like I had previously mentioned, but it's full of something that's for certain.

So to tighten it up I've re-written it to this instead:

Summoning all of the its horsepower, the driver worked the gas and stick shift to spin the car completely around. Spewing forth a combination of exhaust and burned rubber, Cody was left behind gasping for air.

Stats: 2 commas, 2 sentences and 36 total words!

So essentially what I ended up with is something easier to read, with 2 additional words. Of course I can re-read that tomorrow and find ways to change it again. When I first started writing I never proof-read any of my work. I just did a lot of writing.

Now, what about those adjectives I spoke of earlier? Here's another line from Chapter 3:

Cody weaved back and forth on his skateboard, down the empty side-street, while Gene awkwardly rode his bike safely on the sidewalk.

Stats: 3 adjectives, 2 commas, 1 sentence. 23 words.

Ooof! That's a lot of 'e' sounds a reader has to make!

When I'm writing, I provide detail to give the reader a sense of what's really happening. The problem is, I rush it so I can get to my next thought. I paint a picture that leaves no room for interpretation. Unfortunately, what I end up doing is squeezing 'The Last Supper' by da Vinci onto a post-it note.

Instead of producing a beautiful image, it's nothing more than a jumbled mess. So I'm going to make a second attempt at this:

On his skateboard, Cody weaved back and forth down the empty side-street. Parallel to him, and covered head-to-toe in safety gear, Gene rode his bike with caution on the sidewalk.

Stats: 2 adjectives, 3 commas, 2 sentences. 33 words!

Not only did I increase my word count by 10, but I created a better picture by using a bigger canvas. To step away from the art analogies, I took a little more time to say the same thing by being patient and allowing the reader's imagination do some of the work for me.

The fact that I'm going through my 2nd draft, reading it during writer's group and getting feedback has really opened my eyes to some of my inadequacies as a writer. There's a difference between having a story to tell...and being able to tell it. Some people are 'Grammar Nazi’s’ and some people have wonderful imaginations. Some have an excellent grasp of both.

I’m embarrassed to analyze my writing after it’s completed. I’m sure I’ll re-read this post and find a ton of mistakes. But I’m a writer first and foremost and I let my imagination run the show. I don't want it stifled and interrupted by my internal editor.

He gets to come out after the story is told.

- SJ Mitchell

2 Yr Anniversary Announcement: Expanding the Blog

I write, therefore I am.

Two years ago I started up this blog and dropped a Nerdtastic Introduction. All I wanted to do was share my thoughts on the comic books I was reading. Behind the scenes it was always my dream to publish a novel. I would have peaks and valleys with my writing...but no matter how much I was doing it...I was always doing it.

Now, as an amateur writer (with only one short story in print and another hopefully on the way) I value every single one of you that reads the words I post here. I will never take for granted, that in an age where 24 hours in a day just isn't enough anymore, the fact that you've come here for a small portion of it is very humbling.

Many authors have blogs, used to promote their writing, to build a community of loyal fans. Fans that can watch the author progress and grow on their way to publishing their next novel. Posting snippets and looking for feedback from a community of readers holds value. Making that connection with readers is an investment so when their book is published...there's already anticipation and an eagerness to buy.

However in life, there are no guarantees…

I may never write a best-selling novel.
I may never get picked up by an agent.
I may never get a big movie deal or sell television rights.
I may never get anyone to buy my books outside of close friends and family.

But none of the above matters as long as I'm writing, putting forth my best effort and love doing it. I have stories in my head to share and characters in my imagination that I want people to meet.

Only when the well is dry, will I stop. However that's far into the future and I'm here to talk about the present.

As an amateur writer, getting known will be an uphill battle. You know how many Stephen Mitchell, Stephen J. Mitchell, SJ Mitchell's there are out there? A lot. I've Googled myself and only got 2 results that were actually me. And that's mostly because I was signed into G+ when I did the search, because the results were posts I made there.

The thought has crossed my mind about writing under a 'pen name' in hopes of standing out. Something completely new. However I've already got 1 story in print under 'Stephen J. Mitchell'. So I may stick with that. Although 'S. Joseph Mitchell' is fairly important sounding too, so...

At any rate, that's a topic for later discussion.

I'm here to talk about expanding the blog from not only comic book talk...but talk about the work I'm doing for my novel. I attend a writer's group at my local library, originally we met on the last Wednesday of the month. Recently we added a day on the second Thursday of each month. Being able to attend twice a month has me excited and is the right motivation I need to stay on track to my ultimate goal:

Getting published.

So as I look to expand my blog, I'll do my best to make it clear what the post is about. I'm not into click bait. I'll never try to trick you into reading one of my 'author' posts. Although I would be grateful to you if you decided to take a look and see what I'm up to. Knowing that people are reading helps keep me accountable and if I'm wrong with one of the above 'may never' statements, you'll get to say "I knew him when..."

Hopefully those of you who have stuck with me these last two years, and those who have recently jumped on board will join me for the ride.

As I continue to blog about comic books and work on my novel at the same time, I look forward to sharing my writing with each and every one of you. I enjoy our conversations on G+, here at the blog, Twitter and occasionally Facebook.

So until the next Comic Book Nerd post, or the first Writing post by <insert author name, that I want to see in print someday, here> I look forward to chatting with you on the internets!

<Unless of course the FCC tells us otherwise!>

Superman's New Costume is Still Missing Something

My complaint about Superman's new costume may not be what you think. For the most part this new costume really represents a few minor tweaks to the original New 52 design by Jim Lee.

But what bothers me most is a missed opportunity.

Now don't get me wrong...overall I really like the re-design. The yellow belt buckle and 'v'-cut boots harken back to the classic look, while maintaining the modern twist.

It's a nice mesh point for two different eras.

So what's missing? No, not the red trunks. I'm glad those are gone and I hope they stay gone. 

My problem is the lack of gloves!

The majority of the members of the Justice League, or heroes in general, wear gloves. Superman however, a character often criticized for his lazy (yet successful) attempts at disguising his true identity, does not wear gloves.


Over the years, one would imagine that Superman's fingerprints are all over Metropolis. If someone (I'm talking to you Lex) wanted to start dusting for them, his true identity is theirs to be had.

The latest costume adjustment for Superman show that his cuffs now extend to his knuckles. There's debate as to whether or not they're actually fingerless gloves, but either way one truth remains: the fingers are left bare.

So why not just give him gloves rather than obnoxiously long cuffs similar to the ones Supergirl once sported pre-flashpoint?