Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Week in Writing #57

After a couple of weeks of drawing and redrawing, I finally finished my thumbnail storyboard for the comic book. Still have some work to do on it, but at least that part is over with for the time being. I need to go back and mark them up to show what the crude renderings are supposed to be relating and update the script to show the divide between page and panels. The whole experience has reinforced my respect for artists and how much they do.

As far as actual writing, that is words on paper, I did complete one of the reviews I set out to complete for the blog; The Picture of Dorian Gray. After a month of Shakespeare film reviews, what I called Shakespeare September, I'm moving on to horror films in October. There are five Saturdays, so I'm putting the final touches on the five reviews I plan to post. Still need to complete the one for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, which will be the goal for the coming week, while I'm finishing the work on the comic book script/storyboard.

Besides posting the review for Hamlet, I did write 1000 words on A Hard Day's Night for the occasional series, Stubs Goes Blu(-ray), in which I re-examine a favorite film with an enhanced release. A Hard Day's Night had been the first film I wrote about for Trophy Unlocked and I finally watched the Blu-ray release this past Friday, which was also my birthday.

Birthdays are a great time to double down on your priorities and I'm hoping to get back to actual writing pretty soon; you know the whole writing, rewriting, querying and rejection process that has been my writing world for the past few years.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Week in Writing #56

Some weeks seem more productive than others. This past one I would place in the less than category. While I worked on the thumbnails for the comic book and did finish a draft, I'm not done. After finishing, I looked at my work and decided I needed to redo most of them.  Not because the art was good or bad (it's bad), but because the spacing doesn't work as well as it should. It's all part of the process and I don't have a problem with that, as much as I just want to be further along.

Spending my time drawing means I'm not actually writing. I did have a sort of breakthrough on Familiar Stranger, the book I had been rewriting last summer. One of the plot points has bothered me for a while and I had a thought that will change that for the better. Once I'm done with my drawing experiment, I will hopefully get back to that.

I haven't sent any new queries and have received no new rejections, so I guess that's a push. I also haven't followed up with my wayward editor. I'd like to say it's about finding the time, but there's a part of me that's just a little afraid to. I don't know why there's been radio silence for so long and I'm a little anxious about finding out that answer.

Published one more review for Shakespeare September on Trophy Unlocked for Othello. Worked on another one for the near future, The Picture of Dorian Gray. Got about 1500 words into it, but I'm not finished. Nor am I finished with The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, so I need to find the time in the next week to wrap these up, as I'd like to publish both next month for Halloween. There are five Saturdays in October, so I'm planning on five horror films.

So not the most productive week, but I think I'm still working on things. My goals for the week are to complete the redraw for the comic and to hopefully complete one of my October reviews.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Week in Writing #55

Set out first thing on Labor Day to query agents I had read about in Writer's Digest that were looking for new writers in my genre. I had identified four potentials, based on the article, but when I got serious about it and started looking them up on their websites I found one of them takes mysteries, but only for Middle Grade. Somehow that wasn't clear to me from the article. The agent is only looking for Historical Romances for adults, so there's one down before we even get started.

Sent three for A Killer Blog. As I'm sending them, I'm anticipating the rejection email or worse the never to be received response. There are a million things working against me or any other writer. I find the query process very stressful. If I ever had self-doubt about my talent, sending off a query letter always reinforces that. I read what the agent is looking for and hope that they'll see this in my writing. So far, they haven't.

Didn't have to wait long to get my first rejection; it came the following afternoon. The good thing is that I have an answer; it's not the answer I want, but it's an answer. No advice, just a couple of websites that he sends to everyone he rejects. Generic advice is probably worse than no advice at all. It doesn't help to know there's something possibly wrong with your story, but I won't tell you what. Here's a haystack, now find that unknown needle.

Spent most of my morning writing time putting together blog posts for the month. Since I decided on a Shakespeare September, I thought I'd go ahead and finish them up. It seemed like the best use of my time, since it's really only about 20 minutes; not enough time to start anything really big. Published the review on Saturday for The Merchant of Venice (2004), starring Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Lynn Collins.

My comment about readership may have been a little premature. The page views for the week ended up at about 30, which I'm afraid to say is about average. But remember you don't do a blog to have people read it, at least that's been my experience; you do it because you want to. Over at TCM's CFU, Romeo and Juliet have gotten almost 100 page views, which is also normal and pretty good for that blog site I might add.

I did start working on a review for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari for October. It's a film I had seen back in film school, so when I had a chance to see it again, I thought it would be a good choice for what has become for me horror film month on the blog. This is one of the most written about films, so I'm trying to do some research as I go. Only about 1000 words into it.

This weekend, I did write about 2000 words on The Mouse That Roared (1959); a British comedy starring Peter Sellers in three roles. It will be another future post. I was in an English film frame of mind, so I made the suggestion for our Friday night film.

As far as the comic book goes, I did make some progress on the thumbnail storyboards. I was getting to what would be page 12 of the book and realized I was trying so hard to squeeze and cut so much that I had more pages to draw than I would end up with script. I've gone back to the drawing board, so to speak, trying to space things out better. I figured it would be a trial and error experience for me, so I'm going to keep working on that this coming week.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

A Week in Writing #54

Finished what I consider the rewrite for story #3 for the comic book and am awaiting edits from my co-writer.

After that, I launched into story-boarding the first issue. Two things I've discovered: 1) My drawing skills for something like this are meager at best. I have ideas in my head, but getting them down on paper is difficult. Characters sort of look alike and I'm hoping copious notes will help decipher the mess I'm putting down. 2) What I've written is wordy. This is a really good exercise in what really needs to be in the story. Some of the subtleties may have to go to the wayside, or else this will be longer than a normal issue.

My plan is to draw it out, as best I can, discuss with Paul and then edit the script and storyboard to match each other. Probably take a week or so to make my crude drawings and will probably take that much time again to redo them. Hard to get to 1000 words, even if a picture is supposed to be worth that many. Somehow I think thumbnails and especially mine, don't count for as much. My goal is to be ready for the next Koffee and Komics social, but it's all about the process of making it better.

Did publish one review from the archives:, Romeo and Juliet (1968). Decided to make this Shakespeare September and publish the reviews I wrote in the spring. So far, I must say, they have not been real winners when it comes to pageviews; 18 on Trophy Unlocked and 33 on TCM's Classic Film Union as of this writing. Usually, the numbers are a little higher. Maybe Shakespeare is too much like school. We'll see as I've got three more to go: Hamlet (1948), Othello (1995), and The Merchant of Venice (2004).

Also wrote another review this weekend, 2000 words about Monkey Business (1931). Last week it was Monkey Business (1952), if you'll recall. Not sure when either will appear. October is usually taken up with horror films and December is Christmas/holiday films.

Haven't yet sent any queries, but I have an extra day this weekend, so I'm hoping to get some out on Monday. Will, of course, report on that process and the rejections that always seem to follow. It's the part of writing I like the least, but maybe if I didn't get rejections or no responses, I'd like it more.