Sunday, August 30, 2020

A Week in Writing #314 - Still Working It

Hope everyone is staying safe!

Well, another Sunday night and another chance to look back on what I have and haven't done this past week.

Let's start at the beginning, no queries yet. I'm still researching agents, trying to do this round the right way. I'm using QueryTracker to do some of the initial research, having decided that my genre is actually crime (sometimes lumped in with "genre" fiction), which helps narrow the search. But it is still time-consuming to go to every website and read each agent's bio. What I'm looking for is if they mention Crime as something they actually handle.

I'm trying to collect a list and color code the agents from Green as ones I want to query, Yellow as ones I would query and red as ones that I won't at all. The colors are based on a couple of factors: Do they handle Crime or genre fiction? Are they located in the U.S.? What is their position within the agency (if there is more than one agent)? And, of course, are they open to queries?

Red is pretty much reserved for people who don't handle crime or genre fiction at all. An example of a red agent is one that QueryTracker pegged as handing Crime but their agency bio says they are, in fact, "interested in narratives in the areas of business, history, memoir, popular culture and science, books that help us live our best lives, literary, book club, and historical fiction." This agent, who will remain nameless, is marked as red.

Green is pretty easy. The agent handles Crime, they are located in the U.S., they are the only agent at the agency who I would query and they are currently open to new queries.

Yellow is a bit trickier. In this category are agents not located in the U.S., but rather the UK. The reason for this is one that a UK agency listed on their webpage "we require an excellent reason as to why you’re querying a UK agent rather than one in your home country (and ask you to include this reason in your email)." It seems like a hill I don't want to have to climb if I don't have to.

The agent is closed to queries - sort of a no-brainer. Most, though not all, eventually get caught up and are back in the hunt for new writers, so those are yellow for the time being. I say most because there are always those agents who only accept queries from people they've met at writing conferences or are recommended to them by someone they already work with. There is no getting to these agents, so they would be red in my book, rather, my query spreadsheet.

And there is the quandary whenever there are two or more agents at an agency that I could possibly query. It depends on the agency, but I usually shy away from the head/owner of the agency in cases like this. Maybe I'm wrong but I figure they're probably harder to attract seeing as they've got employees and business to attend to, in addition to looking for new talent. Someone on staff is probably more accessible.

It differs by the agency but some want you to only query one agent only. The idea is that if internally they think another agent at the firm would be a better fit, they'll send your query to them. My gut feeling, based on no insights, is that if one agent passes, even if another agent might be a better fit,  the query probably ends up in the round file rather than in the other agent's inbox. I would make one agent green and the others yellow. You never know, there will be other books and I might be trying the same agency but a different agent next time.

There are a few that welcome you to send it to another agent if one declines, so in that case, both agents would be coded as green.

Am I making it sound too complicated?

As they say, it only takes one to believe in you, they just never guarantee there is one out there who does.

So much for queries. The research has taken up a good portion of my "writing time" this week and probably the week or two ahead as well, as there are only so many bios and websites I can get through at once. And believe it or not, while doing my day job I'm not dreaming of researching agents. That's not what I live for.

I did work sporadically on the next J.D. Barrister book, currently titled Skylar. I'm about 9000 words into the first draft but I think I only did about 500 words this week. (I know, the blog is called 1000 Words a Day but that's a goal, not a hard and fast rule.) I'm still feeling my way through this one.

This past week, I did complete a new review for Trophy Unlocked, The Great O'Malley (1937), part of our drain the DVR Saturdays. As always, not sure when this one will appear on the blog. This past week had been Phineas and Ferb Week, with six reviews about various IPs related to the series: Phineas and Ferb (Game)Phineas and Ferb Ride AgainPhineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd DimensionPhineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension (PS3)Phineas and Ferb: Quest for Cool Stuff (360), and culminating on Saturday Morning with Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe. (And, yes, we signed up for Disney+ to see this on Friday, twice as a matter-of-fact.

The next two weeks will be devoted to Tony Hawk games, so get out your skateboards and game controllers and join the fun.

That takes us to Powers Squared. The end of the month means everyone turns in their pages and, of course, their invoices if they hadn't already. Our artist has wrapped up Issue 15, our colorist is about 12 pages behind her and our letterer is on the final pages for Issue #14. Everything needs to be reviewed and approved. The next storyline is a three-part arc, Mocha and Raven. The story idea is from about 2014 but rewrites were done this year to knock it into form.

As I wrote earlier I was working on it, my second episode script was "finished" enough that I felt free to show it to Paul. I seem to have a blindspot for formatting. I'm not going about these the right way, I'll be the first to admit. Since these are based on already written stories, I'm not doing the springboards, premises and outlines the way you're supposed to. I just wanted to get some more experience writing one and finishing up the storyline from the pilot seemed the right way to go.

If and when I attempt another script, I will try to write something that is not based on a published story and go through the proper process, letting Paul be the showrunner in that case. But I really think we need to work on our Pitch Packet now before any other scripts for the proposed series.

Well, I think that's a good place to stop for this post. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

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