Monday, September 1, 2014

First Post

I’m sure anyone who comes across this will be thinking, “Oh boy, another blog about writing.” And yes it is.

My reason for wanting to write it is really to keep myself honest. I want someplace to discuss the process, not so much my writing process, though that will be mentioned, but also the process of going from writer to published author, which is the goal.

I’m calling this blog 1000 Words A Day, which is a reference to advice Ray Bradbury supposedly gave a fledgling writer. And I’ve heard that number tossed around at Writer’s Conferences by published writers, as in “I write my 1000 words…” It’s a word count that seems both daunting and doable and it is a goal every day. And like the step counter on my phone that has set a goal for 10,000 steps, some days I meet this number, other days I don’t. It is a goal.

A lot of things get in the way of that goal: work, family, other interests, other responsibilities, etc. We all have them, so I’m not unique in that respect. But I still have to figure a way to write my thousand words.

One of the reasons I want to write this blog is that there are other issues. In 90 days, writing a thousand words a day and you have yourself a book. The next step is to get it published. And in this day and age there are a lot of outlets for getting your work out there. However, with novels, I’m not really interested in self-publishing. For me, that is like inviting yourself to a party rather than being asked to attend. And I want to be asked into the party. Nothing against those who do self-publish, the more power to you, but I would really like to make a living at this and outside of 50 Shades of Gray, there haven’t been a lot of breakout self-published novels. And it’s true, getting a publishing deal is in and of itself not a guarantee of success, but for me it is at least the first wrung of the ladder.

The process of getting published the traditional way begins with finding an agent. I currently have 11 queries out to agents for two books I’ve completed: A Killer Blog and Past Present. Two agents have asked for pages, but no one has asked for the whole manuscript. (I’m not new to this process, I must have sent out at least a hundred or more so far in my quest to find an agent.)

I won’t go into too much about the books at this point, but they are part of a mystery series revolving around a Los Angeles-based private investigator who, like myself, came to Hollywood from Texas with the goal of writing for the movies. But life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.

In addition to the two books listed above, I have six other novels in the series in various stages. One, Public and Private, is being edited and I’m rewriting another one, Familiar Stranger before letting someone else look at it.  

I don’t plan to call out any agents on this blog, but there is only so much you can write about the process in the comment section on Query Tracker. So much goes into getting an agent, the research to find the right one, making sure you have the right materials and a lot of waiting. The best are those that give you some sort of usable feedback, even if they don’t take you on as a client. (Obviously, the best would really be the one who wants to represent you, but I haven’t found that one, yet.)

The bad ones send you a form letter which is, in essence, “not right for my list”; hurtful, but certainly not helpful. Worse are those you never hear from; can’t be bothered to reply unless I’m interested. And the absolute worst are those that even though you send them a SASE they still don’t reply. Do they peel off your stamp to pay their own bills?

In addition to writing mysteries, I’m also trying to get a comic book off the ground. Again, I won’t go into too much detail, but the story is New Adult fiction involving people with super powers with an anime twist. The story germinated with my sons Trevor and Paul, but I’m doing most of the writing with Paul, who, like me, wants to be writer.

So far we have several stories, but are in need of an artist or artists to bring the project to fruition. We have looked, but so far have not found the right person or persons to work with. It’s a little like assembling a crew, a penciler, an inker, a letterer and a colorist. One artist might be able to fill this need or we may have to find up to four.

This is a project born from attending San Diego Comic-Con year in and year out. And like any effort it is a slog and filled with rejection. (You have to have thick skin to be a writer in any field.) Again, the idea is not to call out any artist by name, but to discuss the process of finding one or four and getting the idea from words to pictures. The goal here is have a sustainable storyline.

Last and certainly not least has been writing for Trophy Unlocked, my son Paul’s blog “Attempting Balanced Reviews in Gaming, Movies and Licensed Video Game Comics”. I had been asked to write reviews of the older movies that we, as a family, have been watching every Friday night since the boys were old enough to eat pizza.

I really love films and have enjoyed introducing them to movies they might otherwise not have seen. Getting to write about them has been a great avenue for me and I really enjoy the process. I try to publish at least one a week, on Saturdays, and republish them on the TCM Classic Film Union blog site as well.

In April, Trophy Unlocked became members of the Warner Bros. Affiliate Program and this past summer, I published my 150th review and the blog passed its 500th review. In addition to reviews of older films, I’ve been able to review new movies, the occasional video game and write about our experiences attending Comic-Con and Wonder Con. I hope to continue doing this as long as he’ll have me.

So that pretty much brings us current with my writing. The blog will concentrate on these endeavors moving forward. Welcome aboard and I hope you enjoy the read.

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