Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Week in Writing #25

Another query went yellow, which is the color I use on my spreadsheet to designate DNRs (Did Not Responds). The longer I do this, the less upset I am, but it's still disappointing not knowing anything good or bad from an agent.

Things got busy and I didn't follow up with the agent with my manuscript. Can't always get to everything you want to I'm afraid.

On Friday, entered #PitchMadness, a Twitter based pitch session. It sounds like an elimination sort of contest, a la The Voice, but I thought it was worth a shot. Pitches had to be 35 words or less. Submitted two entries, the two books I already have completed: A Killer Blog and Past Present.

For A Killer Blog came up with the pitch:

A dysfunctional couple, ex-fiancées, he a PI and she a LAPD detective, have to work together to solve a murder.

For Past Present:

A Los Angeles private investigator gets romantically involved with the mistress of the man he’s following and gets targeted for murder as a result.

Rewrites continue on Familiar Stranger. I've written up to the point where I had the roadblock before. I'm thinking about going back to some of the original concept I had, but I'm not going to give up this time. I'm determined to get through it.

Published one new review: Foreign Correspondent, part of a year long look back at 1940 films. Also worked on a new one for Boyhood, which I only recently viewed. Decided not to worry about trying to publish ahead of the Academy Awards,  but I would like to publish next week. My only pretense about trying to look somewhat current.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Week in Writing #24

I really think I made some good progress on the rewrite of Familiar Stranger. Some days I can get more done than others. More than halfway done, but I know the major rewrites still await. I've slogged through them before without satisfaction, which is why I started again.

No new queries from me and none have expired. There is one that I'm curious about. A couple of weeks ago, I queried an agent that had up until then been one of those who responds back yeah or ney within hours if not minutes. But no response either way. I'm not sure what that means, I'd like to think for some reason they didn't get it, so I could query again.

On Friday, the 13th, received rejection from agent I queried about A Killer Blog back on October 22nd, stating that she is "not the right agent for this work." She must be very behind on her rejections, since I had written her off as a DNR back in December. I guess I'm supposed to admire her follow through.

Still no word back from the agent with the manuscript. I might as well cut and paste that from one post to another. I wrote my editor about it, since he used to work for an agent and he didn't think that was unusual, though he thought I could nudge after two months. I hate to admit, I sort of chickened out, but I'll say I ran out of time to send a gentle nudge.

Last week's post on The Birth of a Nation proved to be unpopular judging by the pageviews on Trophy Unlocked, which just goes to show that 100 year old racist films aren't a priority anymore. When will I ever learn.

Posted a new review of The Story of Temple Drake (1933), one of the quintessential Pre-Code films as it deals with rape and murder. Again, not an explosion of pageviews, but I think it's a well-written piece; at least I hope it is.

Wrote a future review for The Merchant of Venice (2004) and working on one for Romeo & Juliet (1968). Circumstances being what they are, we're watching a lot of films based on Shakespeare plays, so I thought I'd put them all together when we're done; so I guess that's something to look forward to.

Well, that's about it for my week in writing. So until next week...

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Week in Writing #23

This week I felt like I really made some good progress on Familiar Stranger. With rewrites, its sort of hard to quantify word count as sometimes I'm going back over work I've already done. That said, I'm liking where the rewrite is going. I know I still have issues to deal with in the future, but I'm hoping that the work/rework I'm doing now will make those issues easier.

On the agent front, no queries and no new replies. I have found out about some new agents to add to my list and I'm planning on querying them as soon as I can. Still waiting to hear back from the agent with the complete manuscript. I'm also going to ping her again as well. While I suspect I'm not alone with my experience with agents. All I have to do is look at the comments on Query Tracker to see I'm not alone.

Also worked this week on a review for A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935) which will be a future post on Trophy Unlocked. I'm also working on one for The Merchant of Venice (2004), as we've been watching Shakespearean adaptations lately and probably will off and on for the foreseeable future.

Got a boost with last week's post about It All Came True (1940) thanks in large part to the Warner Archive tweeting about the review. The added attention helped make it one of the higher read posts this year and my highest one on the blog this year. I followed that up by one that is looking to be quite unpopular. As has been a tradition with the blog, I've tried to highlight significant anniversaries. However, I don't think people were all that interested in the 100th anniversary of the release of The Birth of a Nation (1915).

I wasn't trying to celebrate the film, especially its message, but up until Gone With the Wind (1939), it was considered to be the biggest box office hit Hollywood had released. As an amateur film historian/film buff, I felt that the film deserved mention on the centennial of its release. Even on the TCM Classic Fan Union, where I also post, this one does not seem like a fan favorite.

But hey, the point is to do your best work. Hopefully readership will follow. I keep telling myself that's true with the blog and my other posts as well as with my fiction writing. Like anything, the more you do it, the better you get. Right?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Week in Writing #22

Started the week off catching up on my query list. Added another DNR. These are always disappointing, but apparently more of a reality than an actual response. A couple of days latter, I did get a response back rejecting my query. Maybe no response is preferable to the obvious form letters agents seem to use. There is no insight into the process of selection, nothing you can use to build on or change. I know that they get overwhelmed by queries, but rejection without any advice is practically worthless.

Remember how I reworded my query letter, thinking it might help? Well, it didn't fare well on it's maiden voyage. Rejected in four days, including the weekend. Is this an improvement? If it is, why don't I feel any better? The agent only had my query letter to go on, so I don't know if that means it's a bad letter or the story didn't appeal to the agent. I'm guessing the latter.

Decided to send my newly written query letter to another new agent, a man this time. I've heard he's been very quick to reject queries, so I thought I had nothing to lose by getting it over with. Still haven't heard back; not sure if that's a good thing or not.

Sent out a couple of other query letters. Don't want to send too many out at once. But will keep plugging away with those as well.

Managed to get some good rewrites done on Familiar Stranger. I think it helped to start over again from the beginning. While I'm not the final judge on it, I believe I've added some depth to the story and to the characters. I always wish I had done more this week, but I think I've made some good progress.

Published a new review on Trophy Unlocked: It All Came True (1940). Working on some edits to a future one for The Story of Temple Drake, which I'd like to wrap up soon.

Never seem to get as much done as I want to, but this isn't a sprint, it's a marathon.