Sunday, February 23, 2020

A Week in Writing #287 - The Runaway Taking Shape


Every week is different when it comes to writing. This week, I think I was able to spend more time on The Runaway, making some progress on the book. I don't have an exact word count but I was able to write to the point where I was able to insert the section I had written ahead, which was over 5000 words. I'm still not sure the book, as it's currently shaping up, will be long enough. That still remains to be seen as I'm not done yet but I do have it in the back of my mind as I think I'm on the downhill side of writing this book.

I also had an idea about how to change my query letter for another novel, Broken People. Had sort of a sleepless night and the wording sort of came to me. It takes me one step closer to actually sending out query letters again. That's a really necessary step but one that will take a lot of time, which is always at a premium, especially over the next few weeks.

That takes us to Powers Squared and what's on the schedule for that project. On March 14th, we have our signing at Golden Apple Comics, which we're very excited about. Before that, Paul and I will be attending a two-part seminar at UCLA that's supposed to help us with our idea to pitch the book as an animated TV series. That's the goal at least. So the next three Saturdays, prime writing time, are taken up with what I like to think of as the business side of writing. It has its place but it does take away from the actual art-side of the equation.

New pages this week from our artist, Rachel Wells. She's completed pencils on the last four pages of Issue #13 and the cover. We had only one brief change we wanted her to make and she made that as well.

Our new colorist, Julia Canon, started working this week on Issue #13. I know this, in part, because she is Twitch streaming her work. You can follow along at https://www.twitch.tv/blythe_pov/. I'll admit I've watched a couple of hours so far. I feel a little like I'm spying on her, if you know what I mean, but I really appreciate her being public about her work and publicizing the book on a consistent basis. That's the sort of help that we really haven't gotten before from one of our artists.

No new reviews from me this week. I did finish up one on The St. Valentine's Day Massacre but that doesn't really count. This week's Saturday Review on Trophy Unlocked was Paul's review of Slayer: The Replentless Killogy. Trust me when I say the film is a big difference from what we had been reviewing during last week's Sonic Week.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

A Week in Writing #286 - Under the Weather but Still Writing


Being under the weather and writing don't go hand-in-hand, or at least you really can't be one and do much with the other. I'm mentioning this because I've been a touch under the weather for the past few days. Nothing serious, not even really a cold or the terrible Coronavirus. Just a little dry throat, running nose and weak in the knees. As I'm writing this, I'm feeling better but this isn't how I wanted to spend the day off I took on Friday nor the upcoming President's Day holiday. But what is it they say, life is what happens while you're busy making other plans. I'm sure I've used that before to describe a week of writing that has not gone as planned.

Let's start with Trophy Unlocked this time to reveal how little I've done this week. No new reviews from me, though the blog has been busy. Seven reviews were posted in seven days, a rare feat for the site. 6 of them were related to Sonic Week, five reviews of games and a Japanese OVA leading to the release of Sonic The Hedgehog (2020) and that review, which was posted today. The Saturday Morning Review was Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind + Concert Video (DLC). None of these seven reviews were written by me, which is fine. Sonic is not really in my wheelhouse.

I did have an idea for a review but when I sat down to work on it I couldn't concentrate enough on it to make any headway. The review would be for next Valentine's Day, The Valentine's Day Massacre (1967), which I happened to have seen the next day on TV in its entirety and without commercial interruption. It seems fitting for next year. I just have to write it.

Did some work on The Runaway. There was another unrelated news story that I was able to weave into the story, or at least I'd like to think I was able to. All the same, not really all that much progress was made overall on the story.

This leaves us with Powers Squared, and it is once again here that I think I spent most of my time. This week, Paul and I each, separately, went over the last three issues of the book, 10-13, What's in a Name? looking at the lettering. For the most part, there weren't any issues, just a couple of run together words and some misplaced punctuations. Paul did edit down some dialogue and had Trevor, who does the lettering, move a speech bubble. This led to our weekly podcast, On The Air With Powers Squared, inviting Trevor on as a guest and talking about the importance of lettering as the topic.

Finishing them off allowed us to send out the last of the Kickstarter rewards. So, we're finally finished with that project.

During the week, I managed to nail down our signing at Golden Apple, a very important comic book store here in Los Angeles. We're scheduled for two hours on the afternoon of March 14th. I spoke to one of the owners by phone on Monday so I guess it's as official as it will get. I've ordered issues to sell and we've designed a special trading card for the occasion. We're hoping to make the most of the event as we can.

Paul and I, despite being under the weather, did our weekly video A Week in Powers Squared and sent out the latest edition of our mini newsletter, The Bark. As they say in the theater, the show must go on.

Well, that about does it for me this week. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

A Week in Writing #285 - New Colorist for Powers Squared


This feels like it has been a rather busy week for me, as far as writing goes. There were several developments with Powers Squared, a breakthrough of sorts on The Runaway and a new future review for Trophy Unlocked.

Let's start where we usually do, with Powers Squared. The biggest news is that we have a new colorist, Julia Canon. We had three candidates, all of whom did test pages. Julia's was the closest to complementing the previous coloring style that we want to continue. We've announced her, though she still hasn't signed our work for hire agreement yet. I don't really like things when they're tentative like that.

Which leads me to other tentative news that I can't really get into too much, but they involve a possible signing at a comic book store and a new project with Artithmeric, both of which are not nailed down yet, so I can't really comment too much but to say I hope they both come off. When things are set I will definitely go into it here.

I was able to do some good writing this week on The Runaway. Even though I'm a pantser as a writer, I decided to try and capture my ideas down for the rest of the book, so now I've got direction, which I think will help me get to the end of it sooner than later. I had a couple of ideas that I had to go back and incorporate earlier in the book, which seemed to make a lot of sense. This is the part that I think I like best about the writing process, making it better. There are times when I can't tell where I'm going and I like it when it seems to come together.

There was a bit I wanted to get to write that was later in the book then I was at, so I decided to go ahead and work on those chapters. I don't know if you're like me but I spend a lot of time commuting every day. It gives me a chance to run dialogue with myself and, in this case, the dialogue in the book would be taking place in a moving car so it seems really appropriate. The problem is that it is never as good by the time I get to sit down behind the computer. I think that's a common problem so at least I'm in good company.

This week, a couple of reviews I'd written showed up on Trophy Unlocked. We were trying to get as many of the films reviewed before the Academy Awards. On Wednesday, we published Parasite and for the Saturday Morning Review JoJo Rabbit.

With the passing this week of actor Kirk Douglas, we watched Lust for Life on Friday night and I wrote a review of it for future use on Trophy Unlocked.

Well, that about does it for me. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

A Week in Writing #284 - Realities


There is a lot of excitement around getting published, even self-published, which is essentially what we're doing. January 29th was the date ComiXology decided to put up our latest issue of Powers Squared: Mathemagical Part 1, or Issue #8 so that became our publication date, and if you remember from last week's post, Powers Squared Day.

We did what we could to get the word out but there is a good chance most of the world doesn't know it's been released, let alone know the comic book exists. But that's not to say we don't want it presented in the best way possible.

With this issue, in addition to ComiXology and Artithmeric, we added a third platform, IndyPlanet but in some ways that only added to the difficulties, or realities that headline this post. Before I discuss these, I do want to point out that each one was taken care of quickly, though they did still happen. Names will be changed to protect the innocent and all that and really no real harm happened.

To begin with, one platform put it out there early and had to pull it back. For another, Issue #8 was listed separately from the previous seven. And finally, one item that we thought would be up wasn't listed. Again, all of these issues were quickly dealt with but it is a sign that you can never really totally relax and assume everything will go according to plan.

Speaking of plans, we're closer to selecting a new colorist. We had three very good candidates and have received test pages back. We're still evaluating them, as not everyone on the creative team has had a chance to weigh in. But the decision will be made soon.

Meanwhile, progress continues to be made on Issue #13. Rachel sent us new pages and Paul and I used reviewing them as the basis for our weekly Podcast, On the Air with Powers Squared. We try to take people behind the scenes and this week we went as far behind the scenes as we possibly could.

One new review from me this week, Parasite, the 2019 Korean film that is getting all the hype and buzz. We watched it on Friday night and the review should go up on February 5 as Trophy Unlocked tries to play catch up before the Academy Awards.

New reviews in that vein on the blog, with Trevor's review of Frozen II getting published as the Saturday Morning Review. Check it out. Also coming, Sonic Week, leading up to the release of the new film, which will most likely be our first 2020 film to be reviewed.

I continued to work on The Runaway, finishing up a couple of new chapters as I'm going. I had what I think is a really good idea on Saturday morning which I can't wait to get to for the book. Sometimes things come together in bits and pieces so I'm hopeful this book will work out. It's the writing and having the time for the writing that is keeping me back.

Well, that about does it for this week. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

A Week in Writing #283 - 1000 Reviews and Powers Squared Day


Let me explain the headline. The 1000 review milestone was reached by Trophy Unlocked, which is a blog that Paul started a little over 9 years ago and to which, you know dear reader, that I contribute to. It's a really cool milestone and it works out to a little over 100 reviews each year. Quite an accomplishment and a team effort. Paul started the blog after watching Tron: Legacy at the El Capitan Theatre when the film opened. He invited Trevor and then myself to contribute reviews. My bent is more of the classic films, but I've done current films as well. It's really been a pleasure working with him and Trevor on it.

That working relationship even precedes our working together on Powers Squared. I don't know if that's normal, for a family to work together on various writing projects, but for the most part, it seems to work for us.

The 1000th review was a re-review of the first film and went up on Saturday. We're not close to being done with it either and we're already mapping out special months and weeks for 2020, so please keep reading, or start reading if you haven't yet. End of plug.

I did write another review for future use on the blog, Monty Python's Life of Brian. We watched the film this Friday following the recent news of the death of Terry Jones, the director of the film and one of the founding members of Monty Python. There is some really strong imagery in the film which is cut, for the most part, by the usual humor of the group, which goes from witty to grotesque at the drop of a hat.

Powers Squared Day was our idea to promote the release of Issue 8, Mathemagical Part 1, as well as merch that we had only previously made available during the Kickstarter. We've let ComiXology set the date and we're releasing simultaneously on two other platforms: Artithmeric.com, which has been our print-on-demand partner and a new platform, Indy Planet, which is related to Ka-Blam, which has done printing for us before. The Merch, the two collegiate t-shirts and the hardback trade will be available only through Artithmeric, which had supplied them for the Kickstarter.

On Saturday, I sent out some new press releases for Powers Squared Day. We don't have a large roster of press that we rely on, though we've occasionally gotten a nibble. We will most likely get a review for First Comic News and hopefully some press from other websites as well.

We've been doing the usual promotion work for the comic book, the podcast and the video, as well as our new weekly newsletter, The Bark. I invited you to subscribe to one or more of them, as we can really use all the following we can find. All are free and usually the videos and the audio are in the 10-minute range, so what have you got to lose?

New pages, pencils from Rachel this week so Issue #13 is starting to take shape. We're still looking for a colorist but I believe we have three good candidates, one of which most likely will be our new colorist.

I've been shy or lazy about calling the comic book store about setting up a signing. There's a lot that goes into it, including money and the calendar and I guess I get nervous they may say "no". I guess I'm a big scaredy-cat when it comes right down to it. Also, it's hard to get away from work and make a call in the alley but that's really not an excuse.

So with all of that, how am I doing on The Runaway? I will admit not as well as I would have hoped. I did do some writing on the book but nothing to brag about this week. It's sometimes hard to get the time and the energy to really dig into it. I'm hoping to do some more work tonight but no promises.

Well, that about does it for this week. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

A Week in Writing #282 - Getting Back into a Groove


The first week of the year that things seem to have gotten back to normal. That's not to say that I did everything I wanted to do, but I do feel like I got some things done.

More work on The Runaway and a new twist that seemed to grow organically from the rewrite. Honestly, I'm not sure where it will lead, but it is a path I'm going down for the moment. The rewrite becomes less like editing and more like actual writing. I worked sporadically on the book, so it's not every day, as much as I would like it to be.

I'm liking the twist but I'm not sure it will solve the larger issue I was having, which was the book was coming up short. Hopefully, the new direction will lead to more story and more pages.

Continued work on Powers Squared, though as always it seems to be more business-side than the creative-side. The big issue at present is trying to find a new colorist. If money were no object then I don't think this would be an issue but it is and is. We're hopeful that we can find a balance between talent and price.

We tried again this week to solidify a signing. We had a good meeting about it prior to New Year's but not a word since. We had emailed them but no response, so I thought I would try going to the store and see if I could talk to someone face to face. Apparently, they don't work on Saturdays so I guess I'll have to follow up during the week. Making phone calls is always problematic given the situation I'm in at work. I sit at one of those long, no real privacy tables, so I have to go outside to make or take a call. But those are the circumstances so I'll have to cope. I would really like to nail this down this week.

Trophy Unlocked is getting closed to 1000 reviews. My reviews, by design, are not part of the final countdown. I'm totally okay with that. This week, we published two reviews, Tron: Evolution - Battle Grids for the Wii and a Second Look - Tron: Evolution for the PS3.

I did write a review this week, about 1200 words about The Cat In The Hat (1971), a CBS TV Special. Normally, we don't do TV shows but in this case, I wanted to make an exception. We ended up watching this on our usual Movie night. It was a random selection and it was so bad that we decided to ditch the DVD first chance we get. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Well, that will do it for this week. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

A Week in Writing #281 - Rough Week


Okay, funny story (I'll let you be the judge of this) I was so prepared for this to be a rough week that for the first time since I've been doing this blog I unintentionally did not post this on a Sunday. I didn't realize my mistake until Monday morning when I checked to see if anyone had read the post. First time in five and a half years. Hopefully, I won't make that mistake again.

Rough week going back to work after two weeks off. Wasn't really as bad as I had feared. It helped that everyone was pretty much feeling the same way. But it was tough getting up before the sun again. At the same time, it was good to get back to a routine of some kind. Not only had I not been exercising as much as I should during the break. I'm not sure I did more writing either.

This week it was back to everything. I did some writing on The Runaway. I had been and still am rewriting based on a change I had made in the rewrite if that makes sense. I'm trying to work on it every chance I get. I even did some work on the book this morning.

Work, as always, continues on Powers Squared. New penciled pages from our artist, the continuing search for a new colorist and the launch of a new email. We had been doing a weekly newsletter, The Hound Dogs' Howl, the name of the college newspaper in the comic book. While the act of putting one together wasn't arduous it is time-consuming. We decided with the start of the new year to make that a monthly email. However, things happen every week and we wanted a way of communicating weekly.

We bounced around a few names but settled on Paul's suggestion, The Bark, which fits in well with The Howl. It's a much shorter email to put together and with the exception of the URL for our weekly video, it is more just a matter of writing a few lines of text. Fun and informative. You can subscribe to the newsletters, and everything else Powers Squared here.

Paul and I continued our assault on all media this week, with a Podcast on Friday, On The Air With Powers Squared and our weekly video A Week in Powers Squared. In the podcast, we discussed what worked and didn't work for us during our recent Kickstarter. It was one of our longer podcasts, running for about 28 minutes. Usually, we do five to ten minutes. Hopefully, it will help someone, if they listen.

Our AWPS video was more casual, as we introduced The Bark, talked about the work this week and put in a plea for Australian Fire Relief.

As far as reviews go, wrote one for 1917 after watching it on Saturday morning. We're trying to space out our reviews and hit 1000 by the end of the month, so I think it will be coming out later this week. In the meantime, the Saturday Morning Review was Trevor's review of Treasure Planet, a Disney animated remake.

Well, that's it for this week. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.