Sunday, May 31, 2015

A Week in Writing #40

Finally heard from my editor on Public and Private after about a month. He's also a musician who is on tour and had my manuscript on his phone, which got destroyed. Resent the book. Glad I wasn't waiting on him to have something to do.

Did something I've never done before; sent a tweet to the agent who has had my A Killer Blog manuscript since last September. Either she is the slowest reader or the rudest person not to have gotten back to me since December. I hope it's the former. But she's really active on twitter, so I'd thought I'd try nudging in 124 characters. Not sure how well that will be received, but I will, of course, let you know. (Update: Sent on Tuesday morning, but no response by Sunday p.m. Not sure what will get through. Oh to have a carrier pigeon.)

Spent my writing time working on Familiar Stranger rewrites. Almost to the half way point 46,686 of 95,343 words. I'm trying to work on it whenever I have a chance. Trying to work on it in the morning before I go to work and for about an hour at night. Making good progress, at least I think I am. Hoping in another month I'll be done. But of course, life is what happens while you're making other plans.

Getting closer to Comic-Con. Looking forward to it with wonder and dread. Still waiting for the announcement about the Comic Creator Connection. Really want to find someone to draw PowerSquared this time.

Posted a review of Laura  on Trophy Unlocked in honor of  the upcoming Summer of Darkness on TCM. Spent Saturday and Sunday working on a future post for The Magnificent Seven (1960); 3000+ words. Not sure when I'm going to post it, but I didn't want to waste such a good Western.

Other than tweeting the agent this week, no new queries or rejections. That's part of the business I can never seem to find the time to do. I sometimes think it's making the choice to write or to query. There always seems to be something I regret every week in writing.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Week in Writing #39

I keep having nights where I can't sleep. I hate to say it one of the recurring thoughts is that writing is never going to happen for me. I try to put those thoughts out of my head and if I really can't sleep, get up and write. There is always hell to pay the next day, though.

This week when I couldn't sleep, I also updated my query log. Two more moved from the lush green of query and potential to the pale yellow of no response. Red is reserved for out and out rejections. Green is hope and red is despair. Yellow is sort of middle ground. I don't remember a yellow turning green again, but there is always hope, I guess. Decided to give an agent's request for a partial 3 months to respond instead of the 4 to 6 weeks his assistant indicated in her email. It's only three chapters, but that way I can keep hope alive. I like that.

Most of my writing time this week was spent on Familiar Stranger, trying to plug away at a final rewrite before moving on. There are other ideas I want to work on, but I feel like I have to get this finished before I can.

Still marveling at the response to my blog post two weeks back about Blackboard Jungle. It's had the most pageviews of anything on Trophy Unlocked this year and when I add in the TCM CFU views, it's over 1000, which is more than I'm used to. I still don't know if it's the movie, or something I've done to promote it. There are no comments at either place to give me any sort of hint.

Published three posts this week, a Celebration of the 600th post on Trophy Unlocked, which was Avengers: Age of Ultron; a review of Cause for Alarm! to celebrate TCM's upcoming Summer of Darkness; and a review of Tomorrowland, which opened this past weekend.

I always wish I could write more, but there are so many sleepless hours in a day.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Week in Writing #38

The problem about being a writer is that all too often you make progress, but no one else knows you've done it. For me, I think I had a pretty good week, if you don't count two more queries going unanswered. I spent most of my time working on the rewrites of Familiar Stranger, one of the many projects I do that, at least so far, have gone virtually unnoticed by the outside world. I did about as many pages I had the previous week and I'm a little over a fifth of the way through the book.

No new queries sent and once again no word from the agent with the manuscript. At this point, I'm taking it as a "maybe" rather than an out and out "no", but still I'd really like closure one way or the other. It has been over a year and I hate to think I've been stringing myself along or that after requesting the complete manuscript and several nudges she wouldn't have the decency to respond. I guess I still expect the best out of people.

As far as blogging goes, this was one of my best weeks yet. Last Saturday I published a review of Blackboard Jungle and have gotten 126 pageviews so far, which for one week for me is a record of sorts. (It's also gotten 276 views on the TCM CFU site, which is also pretty high for a week.) Not sure if Blackboard Jungle hit a nerve, or I had a really good tweet, or what? Published a new one: Avengers: Age of Ultron, which was timed to be the 600th review on the blog.

Since Age of Ultron wasn't really appropriate for TCM, I posted a review there that I hadn't before, Out of the Past, which I reviewed back in 2012 before I started publishing on the CFU. In about a day I've gotten 41 views and a complimentary comment. Not bad if you ask me.

Even this past week's post on this blog got 8 pageviews, which is just enough to make me think someone is actually reading these posts. When I've counted pageviews on one hand most of the time, 8 is a very satisfying number. Thank you.

Wrote one new review, for the Blu-Ray version of Out of the Past, which I'm planning to run soon. TCM is finally getting back to the Summer of Darkness and I'm planning on publishing some film noir reviews I've saved back in honor of the occasion.

So that's really about all I've done with writing this past week. I always feel that I could have somehow done more, but that's always the goal for the next week starting now.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Week in Writing #37

Not a great start to the week. One of the agents I queried last week rejected me with a nicely worded form letter. Disappointed? Sure. Rejection is never fun. This was an electronic-first agent to boot. I had read her interview with Chuck Sambuchino wherein she said she was looking for mysteries. It wasn't something I really wanted, but I'm getting tired of the waiting game and hoped maybe an ebook would be better than no book. Back to the drawing board, I guess. Add one more query to the list of things to do this week. I guess the one positive takeaway is that my email does work as this agent did receive my query. So I guess that rules out an easy excuse for all of the others who never reply.

Another rejection on Thursday. This is the one I sent out after the one I got on Monday. Quick turnaround, too bad the news isn't any better. What doesn't help is that the form letter came from her assistant. Again, the takeaway is that the email does work.

Spent my writing time getting back to Familiar Stranger. I know I've been through this manuscript before, but I started over again and really think I'm making it better this time through. I edited out the first introductory chapter and I've been working my way from there. I only wish I had gotten further than the 62 pages I've done.

The problem hasn't been the writing, but having the time. I find if I don't write every day (even edting) I have trouble sleeping, not that I don't have problems sleeping anyway. Twice this week I've been up at 1 or 2 working on the rewrite. Afterwards, I'm able to sleep. I think writing has become something I have to do everyday, like brushing my teeth or going to work. If I don't, something feels wrong and it throws me off worse than I already am.

Getting only a few hours sleep has thrown off other things as well. No review again this week, though I did publish a new one for Blackboard Jungle (1955).

Ending the week under the weather, which doesn't bode well for the next one.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Week in Writing #35

Well, I finally did it. I sent a follow up or nudge on Wednesday morning to the agent with the full manuscript. As I've detailed here, it's been over a year since I first queried her and now it's been seven months plus since she's had the full manuscript. I may not like the answer I receive (if I receive one), but I'd like to know for sure what's what. I say if I receive one, since my last nudge, in February went unanswered. It's not like this agent isn't out there socially, as she tweets about most of her queries. I have never seen mine, which only means I didn't get rejected out of hand. But no matter how you slice it, seven months is a long time to wait.

The thing I like least about the writing process is the business-side of the equation, which right now is the query and wait game. You wouldn't think it would take that long to send a standard letter to a new agent, but I think each one takes about half an hour. Now true, some of that is spent double and triple checking to make sure you've got the right information in the letter/email and have attached the right amount of the manuscript, which is anywhere from nothing to 50 pages. (One agent wanted the entire manuscript, but thankfully as an attachment not embedded.)

And there seem to be so many little things in the process that seem to work against you. You might work out the perfect query letter in Word, but when you paste it into Outlook, there are several lines between the paragraphs, that even editing in Outlook never seems to fix. This is not meant to be an advice blog, but it never hurts to send your query letter email to yourself to see what the agents will be receiving.

So I have to painstakingly rewrite the letter into an email. One trick I've learned is to blind copy myself on the query and then move it back to the draft folder once I receive it. Again, I'm not writing to give advice, but that helps keep me from constantly rewriting the same query.

Another thing that makes me mad, is that for some reason there are passages in A Killer Blog that when I paste them into Outlook change font colors to blue. I've tried taking the sample from different versions of the book and retyping that passage in the email, but every time when the email gets sent those passages are blue. It doesn't help that the first time is the paragraph where J.D. meets Abigail Dietrich, who is working in an underground club as a waitress and J.D. notices how much cleavage she's showing. Sort of over emphasizes the blueness of the passage.

But I digress.

As far as actually writing, I didn't really work on the rewrites like I had hoped. Instead, I did some work on the comic book, in this case, doing some summaries of the stories already written. That exercise and working on the queries took up most of the time for writing this past week.

I did actually write a review this week, not for the Shakespeare film we watched this Friday, but for the new Avengers film we saw on Saturday. I'll be posting it in a week or two. It's not as if my reviews carry any weight, so there's no real hurry. I did publish one review this week for Stand-In (1937) from my backlog of reviews.

In the next week, I am hoping to get back to the rewrites. It's usually a case of time rather than desire, but I'm always hopeful.