Sunday, August 25, 2019

A Week in Writing #261

This week, I'm going to build this post as the week goes, rather than try to recollect the week on Sunday, since I'm going to be in transit for most of the day. Since this usually covers Sunday through Saturday, we should be good.

The week got underway with new pages from Nina. There turned out to be an issue that we had to address, which is pretty rare when it comes to the coloring. Even though Paul and I look at everything during every step in the process, there are still things that we occasionally miss and this is what jumped out at us with one of the pages. A character was drawn similar to another character, which meant that they were also colored to match that character as well. We also had a special coloring built into the script, but there didn't seem to be a place for it in the panels on the page. To make a long story short, with some back and forth amongst all of us, including Rachel, we came up with a solution.

I did some more writing on Sunday on The Runaway. Still reworking the story, trying to save as much as I can from a previous version while still making changes. I want to make it better, but I don't want to write when I don't have to. I wrote just shy of 1200 words on Sunday.

Also, on Sunday, Paul and I did our video, A Week in Powers Squared, and sent our newsletter, The Hound Dogs' Howl. Something we still need to work on is building up our audience for both. We're a few weeks short of our 52nd weekly video and would like to get to 25 subscribers. For the newsletter, we're at about 80 and need to get it to 100 as soon as we can. If you're interested, the YouTube channel is here and the sign up for the newsletter is here. Every subscription counts.

Monday was a pretty light day writing-wise. Worked some more on The Runaway. I'm in one of those situations where I've sort of written myself into a corner with the new prose bumping up against the old. I hate to waste what I've written and despite the idea of keeping it for another time, that rarely works out the way it's supposed to. I'm sure as time goes on, the two storylines will diverge again and I'll have several thousand words of useless plot.

I've made the decision to stop posting this blog on Medium since I haven't got any hits in months. It doesn't take all that long to post it there, but with one follower and no reads it's time to cut my losses so to speak. I don't think anyone will really notice it's gone, so this will serve as my announcement. Medium will be just one more social media platform that never took off for me or Powers Squared.

Tuesday was spent on trying to get the word out about Powers Squared's landing page. Made posts on the usual social media (Facebook and Twitter) and even created, using MailChimp, an Email Signup tab on the Powers Squared Facebook page. Using MailChimp has some advantages, but it is not very self-explanatory. I was trying to follow their instructions to link our campaign to Facebook but came across what appeared to be a dead-end. I wasn't getting the dropdown the instructions told me to use. I had to do a separate Google search to find a solution. Got it to work but it took longer than it should have; it always does for me when I'm trying to do something.

Sent out a couple of query letters on Tuesday as well. I don't mind the process, though I have a  certain apprehension when doing them. I'm never sure, based on the instructions on the various agent's websites, if I'm sending the right thing to the right person in the right way. If you're like me and use Query Tracker, you need to be sure to check the websites. While I find the site very helpful, there are sometimes subtleties that get lost. If an agent is shown, as an example, to handle Young Adult and Mysteries, oftentimes, they handle Young Adult Mysteries. Always check the websites and even then it can be a crap-shoot.

I don't like to have too many queries out there at one time. On the oft chance I get feedback from an agent, it might help me to change up the query letter, which is already something I do anyway. Right now I have six out there. I try to give agents time to reply but when it's "only if interested" I'm not sure what that means time-wise. If they're really behind that could be three months, I don't know. But six seems like enough for the moment.

The final page from Issue #11 came in with a slight redesign from Rachel and within about 2 hours and 15 minutes, the coloring was updated and the pages are now on their way to Trevor for lettering. I've said it before but I still mean it, I really like working with everyone on this project. They really seem to rally when it counts and I appreciate that.

On Wednesday, spent some time working on Powers Squared's website. I've been trying to regularly put up a poll question on the site, with varying degrees of success. I thought that it might be related to the fact that the website is the link for them and when you go to the site you actually have to scroll down to find the question. Decided to try to set up a page dedicated to the poll question, which would then provide more of a direct link.

I'm not sure if GoDaddy supports polls, but someone there set it up for me on my home page some time back. I've been using PollDaddy, now CrowdSignal, to create the polls and from there I've been copying the code onto my home page. I discovered that you could duplicate and move a section, which I managed to do successfully today. So now all polls will point to There is probably one there now if you want to vote.

Paul did some work with OBS, YouTube and our new Stream Deck to make it work, so we're set for new videos. There is a fairly significant latency period using this method and the videos take longer to process on YouTube but I'm hoping we can not only make the videos more entertaining but also more closely link the information in the newsletter to the info in the videos. They'll still be different but now they can be more closely related.

Late on Wednesday night, finished a review on There's Always a Woman (1938) for Trophy Unlocked. The film was one that I saw recently on TCM and wanted to see since it paired Joan Blondell and Melvyn Douglas. You'll have to wait a while to read it, but I'm glad I got it done.

On Thursday, I made an effort to reach out to people I knew on Linkedin to ask them to join the Powers Squared mailing list. Six or seven people. Only heard back from one and even then I'm not sure he'll actually sign up, even though he wanted to get together with me. I don't know why it's so hard to get people to sign up.

More writing on The Runaway, finishing off the chapter I was working on. Being a pantser, I'm sometimes curious where the story will go from here. I know how I want the story to end and it's the getting there that's the fun.

Friday will be my last writing day of the week. It got off with a bang, too, a rejection from one of my queries. It appears to me to be one of those form letters that's meant to look personal: "Thanks for sending me Broken People.  I wish I could represent every book I enjoy.  Because my resources are limited, I can only devote my energy to projects that I feel passionate about, and I'm sorry to say that your book isn't right for me."

Notice how she doesn't say she enjoyed my book, only that she wished she could represent all the books she enjoyed. Sort of encouraging but very unspecific at the same time. And I guess it goes without saying that we don't share the passion for Broken People. So I'm down to five.

After thinking about it for a few minutes, I found another agent on my list to query. This one doesn't provide any guidelines about what he's looking for in a query letter. In fact, the agent's website is almost non-existent. But he's listed many other places, so it's always worth a shot. Sent him a similar query to one I had already sent: the first two chapters and a synopsis. It's a little like shooting in the dark since I don't know any preferences he might have. And, of course, there is no timeframe for when to expect or not expect a response from him.

Received the news on Friday that our long-time colorist, Nina Gaillard, has decided to leave Powers Squared after issue #12, which will be her seventh one to color. She's decided to seek other opportunities and projects and while we are very sorry to see her go, we wish her great success in the future.

Sort of a sad way to end this week in writing.

Saturday, before leaving for a weekend trip, posted Trevor's review of Atlantis: The Lost Empire for our Saturday morning review on Trophy Unlocked.

So, that about wraps things up for this week. More next. In the meantime, keep writing.

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