Sunday, November 28, 2021

A Week in Writing #380 - Holidayus Interruptus

 

Hope everyone had a happy and safe Thanksgiving, and, of course, did some writing as well.

That was me over the long holiday weekend, sneaking it in where I could. Now, part of the reason I didn't get as much writing done this holiday wasn't so much about Thanksgiving, though that did take most of the day in and of itself. I spent nearly eight hours watching The Beatles: Get Back on Disney+. It definitely took a big chunk out of three days. If you're curious what I really thought of it, hit the link above and read my review on Trophy Unlocked.

Speaking of that blog, there's been a lot of activity trying to map out the rest of the year and Paul is considering what to review for the blog's 11th anniversary, December 18th. But there will still be the mix of games and movies, with an emphasis on that other holiday, Christmas. We already started the holiday season with Trevor's Saturday Morning Review of 8-Bit Christmas, a new-to-streaming movie. There will be more coming, some traditional and some not, as the month progresses.

So far, this week, besides my review and Trevor's Saturday review, was his Wednesday's (Game Day) review of Smashing Drive on the GameCube. There will be lots more game reviews in the coming few weeks, so check it out.

Such was the holiday that we didn't attempt to do a new On the Air with Powers Squared, but instead replayed an edited version of the session we had a while back with the rest of the creatives playing Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, which was a team-building exercise. I'm sure it makes for great radio if you just playback the audio.

Did have a thought over the break about changing one of the future scripts for Powers Squared to give us a "holiday" issue. I'd written a script in which the boys' parents come for a visit. I had used the old idea of a parents' day at colleges but decided to make it so they're coming for a visit on Christmas. I'm working on that revision presently and hope to have it done this week.

I want instead to concentrate more on the coming Kickstarter, as in February. I just want to be done with my deliverables as soon as I can. Must write to Artithmeric to get guidance on what they want.

No queries this week, again the excuse is Thanksgiving. I will endeavor to send one next week. New letter old start pages; we'll see if that makes a diff.

Did manage to get some work in on Skylar, though the character's name has changed in the meantime. Still holding on to the idea of the tontine but who is involved is changing. I don't like to write too much about what I'm writing but I'm hoping the changes will make it better.

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

Sunday, November 21, 2021

A Week in Writing #379 - Back to Where I Started


Hope everyone is staying safe, getting vaccinated, and, of course, writing.

Well, so much for the new query letter for Broken People. The first one I sent was rejected four days later. Well, at least it was quick:

Thank you for sending me your query.

This isn’t something I can take on.
Please don’t think of that as
a negative assessment of your writing
or your book.

Agents are all looking for different things
and what’s not a fit for me can be exactly what
someone else is looking for.

Please don’t think of this as rejection
so much as redirection to an agent who will be a better match.

I hope you’ll query widely.
Warm wishes,

I know the agent said not to think of this as rejection but it still does because it is. Of course, this is a form letter but I'll give them points for trying to be nice about it. On the plus side, at least, I got a response. You have to wonder sometimes if anyone ever receives your emails.

Now, I'm wondering if it's the first five pages. When I sent a new query on Thursday, I did revert back to an old set of pages, this one wanted the first 20, so we'll see how it goes.

On the subject of my "other" writing, I've begun the rewrite on Skylar and things are a-changing. I'm moving away from what I've written so far, though I'm keeping the idea of a tontine, I'm changing who is involved, etc. Kind of looking forward to getting more into it.

Switching to Powers Squared, made some progress on pulling together more original art for the Kickstarter next year. Our colorist, Julia Canon, had drawn an image of one of our characters, Mocha, and we're going to have her draw more like that as part of a tier reward. We have some panels from the issues and character designs that our artist Rachel Wells had done for another project that we'll be using as well.

We had our monthly team meeting this past Friday on our podcast, On the Air with Powers Squared. I really like getting together with everyone involved in the book. Hit the link if you'd like to listen in.

Had a sort of brain freeze on Saturday with the morning review on Trophy Unlocked; I forgot to post about the review or any of the anniversary posts. I don't know what happened and I didn't realize it until I was prepping for Sunday morning. I'm cutting myself some slack, as I only occasionally miss what is my morning routine.

My review of Beauty and the Boss was the Saturday review I forgot to promote, so I guess I only let myself down. We watched Clifford The Big Red Dog, mostly because it was new and free and would give us a new film to review, not because we thought it would be any good. You can read Paul's review through the link. Wednesday was Game Day and featured Trevor's review of Crazy Taxi, an old PS2 game. The blog is coming up on its 11th anniversary next month. I did manage to write a new review of Seasoned Greetings, a short from 1933 starring Lita Grey Chaplin and Sammy Davis, Jr., but you're going to have to wait to read it.

Well, I think that about covers it. Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

A Week in Writing #378 - Making Changes, Making Plans


Hope everyone is staying safe, staying healthy, getting vaccinated, and, of course, writing.

For some reason, this year's daylight savings switchback didn't wipe me out like I was expecting it to do. Hope it's been smooth for you as well.

Well, I updated my query letter and did send one out this past Thursday. No way of knowing if it will make a difference. I hope so, anyway. Hard to know. I've never heard back from any agent saying "good letter." In fact, I can't remember when I last heard back from an agent on a query. It's been mostly radio silence, which I think is the new normal unless they're interested. You know, if I do hear back from anyone, either way, you'll know.

Paul and I had a meeting this week with our on-demand publisher Artithmeric to discuss the long-discussed yet-to-be-scheduled Kickstarter. The goal of the Kickstarter is to fund a French translation of Powers Squared for that market, which apparently is a larger market for comics than in the US. We had to talk them down from starting it after Thanksgiving, based on our own experience. Now, it's scheduled for February. There is still some work to be done, but it's nice to have a goal in mind.

On the subject of Powers Squared, we're working on Issue #20 with our artist Rachel Wells. Things are going pretty well, as Paul and I reviewed pencils for the first four pages this morning.

This past Friday, we hosted another creative, Steve Lafler, on our podcast, On the Air with Powers Squared. He had to reschedule from a couple of weeks ago when he had an active Kickstarter for his book Movie Star: 1956. It's always fun to meet and chat with other creatives. Lafler has been in the game, so to speak, for a lot longer than we have been. You can listen to the podcast at https://powerssquaredcomicbook.com/oaps. If you want to see it, you can watch it now on twitch.tv/powerssquared now or later, like Wednesday at 2:30 pm PT on our YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/lJKAWJaPDlo.

Busy week on Trophy Unlocked, actually it was Prince of Persia week. All Paul from Monday through Saturday with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (Game)Prince of Persia: Warrior WithinPrince of Persia: The Two ThronesPrince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (PS3), Second Look - Assassin's Creed , and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (Film). If you think Assassin's Creed might seem out of place, in reality, the game started out as another Prince of Persia video game.

On Friday, we finally watched No Time to Die when it started its streaming window. My review went up this morning and you can read it here.

I did start working on my review of How to Watch Football, but it is only 8 minutes long and I'm not able to find much about it or any images. The review was turning into a bio on Robert Benchley, which is interesting but it needs more. I decided to include How to Be a Detective, which I haven't seen yet. I did start work on a review of Christopher Strong, Katharine Hepburn's first starring role in her long career.

One thing that got squeezed out of the week was Skylar. It's not that I'm not thinking about the book, it's just that I'm not loving the story so far. Changes they are a-coming. Stay tuned for just what.

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

Sunday, November 7, 2021

A Week in Writing #377 - Ready for the Time Change?


Hope everyone is staying safe, getting vaccinated, and, of course, writing.

I don't know about you but I sort of dread the coming week. Twice a year, the time shifts, today we fell back an hour, which sort of throws me off. I've made no secret that I have trouble sleeping anyway and this shift doesn't help. I'm not hoping for trouble, and I hope I don't but I just want to go on record now if I get nothing done next week. You were forewarned.

I'll start this off by admitting I didn't send out a new query this week. I decided instead to try and rewrite my query letter. What do they say about insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? Well, sending the same letter over and over expecting a different result seemed to qualify as that for me. Of all the ones I've sent so far, nary a bite so I thought I'd change it up before sending out more.

We started a new issue of Powers Squared this week, which means a lot of thumbnails, with changes, Paul and I were reviewing over three nights, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Though the time diminished each night, it's still something we had to do. It's a familiar pattern for us and I'm pretty sure common for comic book creators.

While we're on the subject of Powers Squared, we did an On the Air with Powers Squared this week about the depiction of twins in popular culture, since our book is about twins. Trevor joined us and I think it was a good discussion. You can listen here and it will be up on our YouTube channel on Wednesday.

The first Sunday of the month also means a new newsletter, which went out this morning. We're always looking for people to enroll at San Romero, so here comes the plea. It's free! You get a free issue and the more of you who sign up the less I'm going to have to mention it here, so it's a win-win.

My review for Dune went up as the Saturday Morning Review. Wednesday's review, Paul's, might sound like a good one for this blog, The Novelist.

No new review this week from me. We opted to watch the first part of the Transformers: Cyberverse finale on YouTube. I did finish the one I was working on, Arsène Lupin, and I'm thinking about doing one for the short How to Watch Football but I haven't started it yet.

This brings me back to Skylar. I've been working on it all week but I'm not really happy with where it is going. I'm thinking, once again, about revamping it. I had the idea of having a murder right off the bat, spoiler alert, it's crime fiction, and had backed off that idea. Now, I'm thinking it needs a spark so someone might have to die. Writing it hasn't been hard and I think I can write dialogue until the cows come home, but it's not advancing the plot.

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

Sunday, October 31, 2021

A Week in Writing #376 - Getting Back on Track?


Hope everyone is staying safe, getting vaccinated, and, of course, writing.

I had big plans this week to write a sort of day-by-day diary of my writing this week. However, that didn't get past Monday night. Oh, the best-laid plans...

My goal was to show what I was doing every night but that didn't pan out. I got the idea because after writing this blog last Sunday, I also reviewed pages for Powers Squared and wrote a review of Dune for Trophy Unlocked, and also worked on Skylar.

This is sort of typical for me. Sometimes I work on one project but usually, my writing time gets divided up between different projects, or different aspects of the same one. Like on Monday, there was one page to review for Issue #19 of Powers Squared and then I worked on an updated version of a character description that we want a friend of the book to read. After that, back to Skylar. While progress seems to be slow on that, I am working on it most days.

After that, I lost track, so let's go back to basics.

I'm currently working on a review of Arsène Lupin (1932) for Trophy Unlocked. I'm about halfway through, so I'm hoping to wrap it up today or tomorrow. We watched it as part of our drain the DVR Saturdays. I recorded it recently when I saw that TCM was going to show it. The story that the film is based on has been made many times and was the inspiration for the Lupin III manga and anime, which was part of the attraction in the first place.

While we're on the subject of Trophy Unlocked we were celebrating Halloween in our own way this week, starting with Paul's review of Call of Cthulhu, a horror video game. Our Saturday review was Trevor's review of the animated movie Monster House, and we added a special review today with Paul's review of Batman: The Long Halloween Part 1 and 2, which we watched over two nights. I understand my review of Dune will appear next Saturday.

We had a bit of a hiccup this week with On The Air with Powers Squared. Our guest had to cancel at the last minute, actually, the night before. We had to audible and switch up topics. We had talked about doing a Halloween twitch and talk about horror films. Now that we had to come up with a show, we decided to move it up to Friday. When we got to talking about horror films, we decided we like more psychological horror and decided on aspects of Frankenstein that we liked, so that became our topic. That's how the sausage gets made sometimes. You can listen to our discussion, which included Trevor, on our website at https://powerssquaredcomicbook.com/oaps.

I did send out a new query on Thursday night (virtual pat on the back). I have one that has been out there almost to expiration but until it does, I'm still counting it, so I have three out. My goal is to send another on Thursday and I trust you'll hold me to it.

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

Sunday, October 24, 2021

A Week in Writing #375 - One Last Distraction


Hope everyone is staying safe, getting vaccinated, and, of course, writing.

I believe I mentioned this in last week's post, but this week was sort of bifurcated by one more event, which sort of threw things into slight disarray. And I know when I say what it was it's not going to seem like much of anything or at least nothing bad. On Thursday, we went to Disneyland.

What that means to my week in writing is that I didn't send out any new queries, nor did I check on any in the pipeline. As I wrote previously, Thursday night is my night for queries. I know, I'm being bad about this, and I know it's something I need to work on next week for sure.

If you're wondering, Disneyland was exhausting. Fun but exhausting. Between the tram not running and walking to the Rise of the Resistance attraction several times to check on it, which broke down during the day, we ended up walking about 12 miles. I don't know about you but that's about 6 more than I usually do in a day on average. We took Friday off to recuperate, so there's another day gone, so to speak.

No new reviews for me this week, as we watched Part 1 of Batman: The Long Halloween on Friday night and Part 2 on Saturday, rather than our usual drain the DVR. Paul ended up writing the review for the 3-hours+ Batman animated film.

I did finish my two reviews this week, Hocus Pocus and Racket Busters, no TBA for either, though I would imagine Hocus Pocus is a good year off from being published.

On the topic of reviews, mine for The Return of Doctor X appeared as the Saturday Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked. On Wednesday, Paul's review of The Evil Within 2, sort of mixed GameDay with our October Halloween theme.

Next week, besides sending a much-needed query, I'm going to write a review for the new Dune, which we watched on Sunday afternoon/evening.

More pages to review from both our artist, Rachel Wells, and our colorist, Julia Canon. Last week, we had Julia on last week's On the Air with Powers Squared as we reviewed her last batch of pages. She made the updates over the weekend and placed them in our Dropbox. We also got inks for the last four pages and the cover for Issue #19 Kamaitachi also over the weekend.

We had the entire creative team on the show this past week for our monthly staff meeting. You can listen to it here if you're interested. Short show, only about 15 minutes.

Next week, we're having a guest, Steve Lafler, an illustrator and cartoonist. We had put out the word on various Facebook pages that we were looking for guests and he reached out to us. Going to be interesting, since we've never met. He also has a Kickstarter that we'll discuss as well. Always fun to meet new people.

While we're still talking Powers Squared, our on-demand printer Artithmeric featured us on their social media on Friday with Meet the Creator. We can always use some extra publicity. I'll have more about that in our newsletter.

I did work pretty consistently this week on Skylar, so I am making good progress there. I need to keep up that momentum.

Well, that's about all for me. Keep writing and I'll be back next week.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

A Week in Writing #374 - Almost Ready for Copyright


Hope everyone is staying safe, getting vaccinated, and, of course, writing.

Thursday plays big this past week.

I was off from work that day, it was my wife's birthday but I was hoping to squeeze in registering Issues #13 and #14, The Imposter Parts 1 and 2. I hadn't actually made a .pdf out of the pages yet, which we would use to copyright them, and as it turns out, we hadn't done a final review of the issues. Found a couple of change that needed to be made. Mostly it was moving a speech balloon, but there was one that went back to the actual artwork in one panel on one page.

Long story short, the inks were changed this morning and now it's back to the colorist, who is aware of the issue. Speaking of Julia Canon, we had her as a guest on Friday night on our podcast, On the Air with Powers Squared, to discuss her work on Issue #19, Kamaitachi. Paul and I went over the eight pages she had handed in earlier in the week and gave her live feedback. It's the first time we've done something like that and it went pretty well.

Feel like I got in some good work this week on Skylar, though I'm still thinking about changing the name. One of the things I enjoy is sometimes going back and planting something for use later and I had that opportunity this week. Something minor, like a photograph, but I think it adds a little detail to the story and that rings true as well.

No queries this week, again blame it on Thursday. For some reason, I have it in my head that Thursday night is query night and there were priorities on Thursday. A little preview, next Thursday doesn't look good either but for other reasons, which I'll get into next week.

I don't know about you, but there are times during work when I look forward to working on something. You can sort of taste it all day and when I finally get the opportunity to work on it, that's all I want to do. For me that week was the pitch packet for Powers Squared, which I did finish a draft of. (BTW, I never look forward to doing queries, too much like homework.) I know there will be changes but it felt good to bring it finally. I had been hoping we would have had this together months ago, but things kept getting in the way. It's all about balancing priorities.

I'm working on two reviews at present. Don't hold your breath for when they'll come out. One is Hocus Pocus, a Disney film from 1993. We sort of have this Halloween covered for reviews but it's good to be ready for next year. The other is Racket Busters (1937) from drain the DVR Saturdays. It's more of a programmer with Humphrey Bogart. I'm about three-quarters finished with both, but I couldn't get it done.

Speaking of Halloween, Trophy Unlocked blended that with GameDay Wednesday with Paul's review of The Evil Within. For the Saturday Morning Review, we took an anniversary over Halloween with Trevor's second look review of Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure + Adventure Packs.

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