Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Week in Writing #53

I haven't spent a lot of time lately on queries for my unpublished/unrepresented novels, but the last three queries I had out have sort of expired with no response from any of the agents. So my total from the 4th of July queryfest is 4 outright rejections and 4 no responses. I could hold out hope that the four no response agents might be behind on their queries, but chances are they only respond if they're interested. Anyways, best to move on. Planning to send out more over Labor Day.

I've been spending most of my time working on the comic book. Am disappointed in myself for what happened last Thursday. We were supposed to attend a coffee session with comic creators, but the person who told me about the session and was going to be our envoy in flaked out. I'm mad at myself for letting myself get sucked in by someone who says they're going to help me, because usually they don't. I actually had enough experience with him to know this was a real possibility. I even told my wife after I had printed out a couple of copies of the script and about ten one-sheets about the project that he would cancel on me. Not only that, he didn't even remember making the plans in the first place.

And I'm a little mad at myself for not going without him, but I wasn't psyched up for going in unknown into the situation. Next time I'm (we're) just going to go without him and see what happens.

Attended a retrospective of the work of Jack Kirby at CSUN on Saturday. This guy was prolific as an artist, writer and editor. It gave me some ideas about our own comic book, but more how to proceed before we seek an artist. We need to storyboard the story out before we go looking. I've done some of this before, so I'm not too concerned, but it will be a test for how well the comic book lays out at least story-wise to length. I'm really determined to be as ready as we can be before we put our necks out there again. I'm tired of them being cut off.

Working on the third story, making edits to see how it fits with the first story, since we did such a big rewrite on that one. I'm liking how some of the things work out, even if sometimes it's by accident or circumstance that they do. I hope to be done with this rewrite this week and want to complete it before going into storyboard mode on the first one.

Published a review of The Whole Town's Talking (1935) on Saturday and wrote a future review, a little under 3000 words, on Monkey Business (1952) over the weekend.

So, this officially wraps up my first year of writing this blog. I feel like I've done a lot, but haven't gotten any results yet. But I keep telling myself I've got to keep on. And so I shall.

Comments are always welcome and you can follow me on twitter @lionsroar91406.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Week In Writing #52

I guess this is a milestone of sorts. This coming week marks the one year anniversary of when I started this blog. Over the past year, I've kept track of my progress from unpublished writer to, well, still unpublished writer. Not that I expected to have changed, but I guess I was hoping to be a little further along. But maybe that's why they call it a dream.

This past week has been spent mostly on the comic book; doing rewrites on the first and second stories. I think it's coming together. We had a reading of parts one and two trying to make smart edits to make the dialogue to sound more realistic and to trim where we could. Finished a rewrite of the second story, which had grown to three parts.

Published one review this past weekend, Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps (1935) and wrote another one for future use, Destination Murder (1950).

I'll be spending my anniversary week working on the comic book. Going to a comic creator's coffee later this week, hoping to meet some artists and kick this can a little further down the road. I also have made edits of my own on my second story rewrite, so I'll be making those updates before having anyone else read it. It's all part of the process.

Am I disappointed I'm not further along? I'll admit to a little, but I knew this was going to be a long slog when I started. So far, it hasn't disappointed me on that front.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A Week in Writing #51

Most of my writing time this week was spent on rewrites for the comic book. Had a sit down to discuss the rewrite on Thursday and most of the feedback was positive. Feeling better about things after losing our artist. We're planning to do a read through on Tuesday with my entire family participating and then hopefully we'll be ready to look for an artist again real soon.

I'm trying to write in the mornings, about 6 am until 6:30, but it seems that I just get started and it's time to get ready for work. Still, I do make some progress. The downside is that I have to leave things for 12 hours or more before I can get back to them. Gotten so I leave myself notes about what my 6:30 am self was thinking so my 9:00 pm self will be prompted.

Got the new issue of Writer's Digest this week, the one with "38 Agents Seeking New Writers NOW! on the cover. In going through the listing, I've come across several that I had previously queried; 3 who did not reply to me (one from the 4th of July batch) and four others that rejected my submissions outright, some going back a couple of years. Still found five that I've added to my list (yes I have a list, too) of possible agents to query.

I need to get back to the business of querying. My last foray was a bit of a bust, though there are a couple still pending, but experience tells me I won't hear anything back from them. I wonder if agents know how disheartening that is for a writer.

And speaking of disheartening; still no word from my editor. I'm going to write him off as lost at sea until the middle of September. It's too aggravating to write, text and call him and be ignored. I'm not sure what the problem is, but I'm still willing and wanting to work with him, but it's up to him. Sadly, it puts off getting a third and quite possibly better book out there to query until later this year or early next, depending if I ever hear from him again and what comments he might have for me.

Published two reviews this weekend on Trophy Unlocked: one for Max Reinhardt's Midsummer Night's Dream (1935), one of the Shakespeare films finally seeing the light of day on the blog. The other was the new Fantastic Four, which sucked by comparison to even the 2005 film, which was pretty bad on its own.

This coming week, I hope to finish rewrites on the first and second adventures of the comic book. Not lofty goals, but I've learned it's better to keep things moving rather than overextend and get nothing done.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

A Week in Writing #50

This has not been the best week I've had since I started this blog, one full of rejections of one form or another. Of course, there was another email from one of the July 4th queries. I didn't really have to read it to know it was a rejection."Doesn’t sound quite right for my list"; there's that magic word again. Didn't make the list again.

But the biggest rejection was still to come. If you've been reading this blog for the last couple of weeks (and there are a handful that have been), you know that my son, Paul, and I attended our fourth Comic Creator Connection at this year's San Diego Comic-Con and had thought we'd found an artist to bring our comic book to life. We had begun to do rewrites on the script and while it wasn't finished, we were feeling pretty good about the direction things were going in. The artist's suggestions had gotten our creative juices flowing and we think the story was improving. And there in lies the mistake: We were feeling pretty good.

Last week, we had sent our latest rewrite to our artist, but we had not heard back. While he had usually been responsive, we didn't hear anything from him for a week. Our follow up email was responded to at about 11 on Wednesday night. Due to "new professional obligations", he was out. Gone from the project. Honestly, it felt like a punch to the stomach, and led to a sleepless night. Nothing like being dumped back at square one to give you doubts.

But we have vowed to finish the rewrite, turning to a friend/teacher with experience in the comic book industry, to give the script a look and make suggestions. When we have it the way we want it to be, then we'll go out and find an artist.

Nothing like a dose of rejection reality to throw you off your game. I don't really feel like I ever got into a rhythm this week. I was working on a rewrite of the second story for the comic, but after losing the artist, it felt like I was doing it for no reason. The wind was taken from my sails, at least temporarily.

Still managed to post a review on Trophy Unlocked for the movie Office Space (1999) and wrote and published a review for Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, so it was not a total loss.

On the still missing editor, I decided not to follow up, since I feared the same rejection I had gotten from the artist. I'm hoping that since he made a commitment over a year ago that he will come back around. I really do value his insight and suggestions and I think together we've made the book stronger. I just want to get it finished and throw it out there into the query world. Who knows, maybe this will be the one that lands me on some agent's line.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

A Week in Writing #49

I've been working so much on the comic book and trying to locate my wayward editor, that I hadn't done much thinking about queries. But I did finally hear back from one more agent from the 4th of July emails. Even before reading it, I knew it would be a rejection. This one was solely based on the query letter, not a writing sample. For some reason those don't sting quite as much as ones where I've sent a sample. The more you send, the harder the rejection is to take.

This one had that word "list" in it, as in "the project you describe does not suit our list at this time." Oh, someday to make the all powerful magic "list". Such are my goals in life.

I also love that all agents don't want you to ever contact them except through the query process, unless of course, they want to talk to you. But at the end of most of their emails is all their contact information. Does that make any sense? Would you turn someone down, reject their life's work, and then give them every means of contacting you about that rejection when you don't want them to contact you? And he included his Twitter handle to boot. Would I really want to follow this guy on Twitter after he rejected me?

Five queries to go. Will I  hear back from any of them? Will anyone want more of a writing sample? Will I make their "list"? I will, of course, let everyone know when and if I do.

Back to the comic book, we sent off a rewrite on Wednesday, but haven't heard back. In the meantime, I've been going back through the second story to see if the changes we made to the first story will effect it.

For some reason, I haven't been into rewriting Familiar Stranger. Maybe it's the sense that something might be happening with the comic book that has made me more interested in working on that than something that doesn't seem to be going anywhere. I want to get back to it, but at the moment, I don't know where that is going.

I reached out, calling and PM-ing my editor when I saw that he was on Facebook, but no response. Not sure what to make of that. I've tried to be patient, but it seems like I'm being blown off and I don't understand why. Maybe he's just really busy, but a text takes only a few seconds and I think he's probably had that time in the past month or so. So I don't know what gives.

Last week, I wrote that I was going to end the Summer of Darkness with Roadblock, but I changed my mind in the meantime, deciding to save Roadblock for Christmas, for reasons I hope will be obvious then. I did publish a review for The Window on Trophy Unlocked. I started but didn't quite complete one for Criss Cross (1949). I'll finish that this week and save it back for some future time.

Didn't feel like I got in as much writing this week as I would have liked. One night was my wedding anniversary and the next night, my brother came into town, so I had dinner with him and met him for drinks the following night as well. And over the weekend, we ran errands most of the day Saturday and had other plans on Sunday. Sometimes you have to make choices, so while I wrote every day, I didn't have the time to get as much done as I would have liked.

I keep thinking the important thing is to keep the ball moving forward. Hopefully, someday it will pay off.