Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Week in Writing #44

I believe it was John Lennon who wrote that life is what happens when you're busy making other plans. I was all prepared and had even written this blog because I was expecting an abbreviated week. The plan was to be on the road Friday, Saturday and Sunday. But we had car troubles and had to limp home on Friday afternoon; that's life as they say.

Disappointed about having our plans fall through, I took advantage of the gift of time and wrote two reviews, one for They Won't Believe Me (1947), about 2300 words, and another for Hollow Triumph (1947), also about 2300 words. These will hopefully appear in the next few weeks.

Did post two reviews, Inside Out (2015) and Danger Signal (1945), the latter from the TCM Summer of Darkness. I'm going to have to hustle next week to get another Film Noir review in. Travelling is also knocking a hole in watching movies.

In prep for what I hope is query weekend over the 4th, I checked to see if there were any new agents on QueryTracker and found a lot of Australian activity, which is good for the site, but does me no good. Even Canadian agents are reticent about taking on non-Canadians. In the month or so since I've looked, there hasn't been much activity.

I also checked Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents Blog, where the editor at Writer's Digest regularly interviews new Agents. What does it say that I've already been rejected out right by two of the agents he's showing as new? One of them from earlier in June rejected me last year.

Did finish another draft of the next comic book adventure for PowerSquared, which I think is the 11th story arc. Only missing an artist to bring it to life. Paul had some pretty good ideas on what was lacking in the first go-round. Really improved it, I believe.

Also worked on the next hand out for the Comic Creator Connection. We're attending Thursday night's meet up. Hoping the fourth time's the charm as far as meeting someone. You're supposed to have something to hand out and exchange with the artists. Sadly, many of the artists don't come as prepared as they should. I think last time they were pulling them off the floor, since several didn't have art samples or handouts. You never know what you'll get from year to year. But I will write about that adventure after Comic Con. My annual Report from the Front will be here, though I don't think they will be as elaborate as in the past.

Next week, I'm planning to get back to Familiar Stranger unless I hear from my editor on Public and Private. It's been a little over a month since I sent him the manuscript a second time. I'm sure he's busy with his own life, maybe he had car trouble. I mean, it does happen.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Week in Writing #43

This week was harder than most to find the time to write. I've gotten so I try to write for about a half hour in the morning before getting ready for work and about an hour or so in the evening. Sometimes, if inspired, I'll make notes about a story or write on one before going to bed, as was the case with the comic book, but that's really an exception.

It's the evening session that I would prefer to do as early as possible, since it can easily slip to ten at night and then it's sort of sleeping at the laptop most nights. This past week, an outside project had delayed me getting home and the evening session had slipped to late night, which is sadly never all that productive.

Did manage though to write the two reviews I had said I would work on, though Danger Signal had slipped to Saturday morning. I did type up most of the comic book script during the week, but I didn't finish that until Sunday morning. There'll be a few rounds of rewrites, but it's nice to get the first draft done.

Published one review for Nora Prentiss on Saturday, which is the day I try to publish. I realize many blogs post something daily, but I don't write fast enough to pull that off, nor do I want to just make a post for the sake of making a post.

Was able to sign up for the Comic Creator Connection at this year's Comic Con. I get nervous about such things, so it's good to have it squared away. This will be my fourth CCC, so I'm a little apprehensive as well as excited at the opportunity.

Next week will be a short one for me, writing wise. Have an out of town event to attend to, so I'm basically losing Friday, Saturday and a good chunk of Sunday. In two weeks, with Comic Con, I'll lose five. I still plan to post, but it'll be harder those weeks.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Week in Writing #42

Shocked to actually get a reply from the agent who turned me down after a year. She didn't change her mind and what she wrote wasn't really all that helpful, but I do appreciate her writing back. It seemed like the decent thing to do on her part. Sad that we have to appreciate people doing the decent thing, but I've come to expect far less.

Only one query still pending and I'm not expecting much. A reply of some sort would be nice, but again that would be the decent thing for her to do.

Someone I haven't heard from in quite awhile is my editor. We're coming up on two months since I first sent me the last draft of Public and Private. I know he's busy with his own things and I think he's good, but I really hate waiting. As Tom Petty once wrote, "The waiting is the hardest part."

If I had to pick one thing I hate most about writing that would be it; the waiting to get someone to read your stuff. Be it an editor or an agent or a friend or relative waiting sucks. It's a real time commitment to read someone's work. I know I don't have a lot of time to read someone else's work. It takes away from my own writing time or my downtime with family. Someone, unsolicited, sent me three chapters they want me to read. I told her it would take time to get to it, but I'm sure she'll be asking me about every time we talk.

Spent most of my writing time this week working on Familiar Stranger and the comic book script for PowerSquared. Finally finished my handwritten journal for the latter and now I'm typing it up, making changes as I go. It's hard to read my own writing from when I'm fully awake, but it's quite another thing to read my handwriting on the verge of going to sleep. The scrawl only gets worse. Today I stared long and hard at a set of characters before I could decipher what I was writing.

Published two reviews this weekend, one for Over-Exposed (1956) and the other for Jurassic World (2015). Started working on two others, which I'll probably spend a good chunk of time on next week. One is Jurassic Park (1993) and the other is Danger Signal (1945). The latter is because I want to up my film noir reviews as part of the salute to TCM's Summer of Darkness. I'm not watching everything, but so far, I have to say I'm a bit disappointed in what I have. Good film noir is the best, but that's not what I've been seeing, not at least so far.

I think between those two reviews and the comic book script, my time will be quite full. I'll let everyone know how it went in next week's blog.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

A Week in Writing #41

Finally heard back from the agent who I queried 408 days ago and who has had my manuscript for 9 months. Not surprisingly, it was a rejection. Disappointingly, really no helpful insight into what would make it better. I guess I was hoping for more, considering how long she'd had it, but agents have taught me to aim low with expectations of help.

Got a second rejection on the same day. This agent only had the first three chapters for about a month and a half. No joy in quick rejections over long drawn out ones. I'm starting to think of queries like Schrodinger's cat. You don't know if they're accepted or rejected until you finally hear back, but like a cat in a box, they're probably dead on arrival.

Since I'm not hearing back from my editor, I've been working on Familiar Stranger, trying to edit a chapter a day. Starting in the morning, I try to get in some before work and then it's later at night before I get to it again. Getting closer to the part where I'll actually be rewriting more and simply editing less.

Once I go to bed, I've been writing out by hand the next script for PowerSquared. It seems like a good time to squeeze in the work and not take away from my main writing focus.  I think it's coming along nicely, but I have no idea how long it'll be.

Speaking of writing in bed, I was coming down to the end of two blank journals I've been working on; one by the bedside and one in my work briefcase. Trying to find the same to replace them was way harder than I thought. I've been using ones from Cedco Publishing ones, that lie flat. Well, those aren't made anymore and the prices for the remaining stock are ridiculously high. Had to go with another brand.

In anticipation of the Comic Creator Connection, I actually had business cards printed showing me as a writer. In his book Epic Win!, Douglas Neff recommends doing this as part of making yourself feel like you're a writer. I've been meaning to it for some time, but with Comic Con coming, I felt a need. Still waiting for notification of the CCC at the SDCC BTW.

Published a Film Noir Review Hub on Trophy Unlocked to celebrate TCM bringing back the Summer of Darkness. Also published a review of Pitfall, which I believe TCM will be showing later. Wrote about 2500 words for future publication of a review of  Nora Prentiss, the film they chose to launch the prime time part of the schedule. As a lover of film noir, I'm really looking forward to widening my exposure through this festival.

Well, as you can see, no time set aside again for queries. I'm hoping to get to those over the 4th of July holiday when I'll have some time off work. In the meantime, I'm going to keep writing.