Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Week in Writing #75

Spent most of the week bouncing between the comic book PowerSquared and the mystery novel Public and Private. Our artist started to deliver pages, so far two. He may have been further along, except we had to keep going back to him over page one. It really isn't anything he's done wrong, but I guess I've been obsessing about the first page, since that sort of sets the tone for the rest of the comic book.

We had been wanting to have some variety in the t-shirts Marty and Eli, the Powers of the story, will be wearing. The problem is that we didn't like one of the artist's original designs, a monkey smoking a cigarette. It seemed out of character and not something we want to associate the boys with. We gave him some designs that we thought might be more appropriate, but he copied them so well, I thought we might get sued. So we instead opted for blank shirts.

Now that we're getting pages, we started looking for a colorist, which is another round of searching. We had five people who seemed to show some interest and we've narrowed it down to three. We're price shopping, as well, trying to keep the costs down.

Finished going through my editor's notes on Public and Private. Now I'm starting to go back through and read it from start to finish myself. I'm about 28 pages into that process, but had to stop to get to some other issues. How I wish the weekends were longer. I think I'll be working on this for most of next week.

Posted our first of three year of the monkey posts on Trophy Unlocked, Monkey Business (1952). No new reviews this week, though I did see three movies: Kung Fu Panda 2 and 3 and Anamolisa. Just don't have the bandwith at the moment, but I'm hoping to get back to that writing soon.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Week in Writing #74

This has really been a very good week for me. It started with lunch on Tuesday with my editor; the first time we had ever met after corresponding for a couple of years. He was in town on personal business and suggested we finally meet. After lunch, he handed me the rewrites for Public and Private, which I've begun going through. It's nice to be getting back to it after so long. And I might be further along if it weren't for other things.

But besides getting his rewrites, I really enjoyed talking to him artist to artist. Among other things, he is a musician, something I believe he would like to do for a living, the same as I want to be a writer. I know that he makes me a better writer and I really appreciate his help.

This week also marked the beginning of our relationship with our artist on PowerSquared. He has been sending us character designs for all 13 characters in the first story. Interesting to see it coming to life. We've been receiving his drawings and making comments. So far, he's drawn and revised 12 of the characters to our liking. There is one that we're still working through. I sense that he's anxious to get on to actually drawing the book, which, after our past experiences, is rather refreshing.

Still working on Trophy Unlocked and posted a review of Galaxy Quest, in part as a tribute to the passing of actor Alan Rickman. Also tweeted about Gun Crazy this week  on the anniversary of its release.  We've already mapped  out the next three review posts, which is a good thing since I think I'm going to be busy with my other projects for the next few weeks.We're doing our own tribute to the coming year of the Monkey with reviews of Monkey Business (1952), Monkey Business (1931) and the Monkee's film Head. Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Week in Writing #73

Sometimes the business of writing takes away from actual writing. Some of my time this past week has been occupied by the business rather than the craft. We're on the verge, Paul and I, of hiring an artist to work on PowerSquared and it is getting a usable contract that has been the culprit.

Now this is supposed to be a work for hire and there are plenty of such contracts available on the internet. But I wanted to get a real lawyer's opinion and input and that has slowed things down. I won't go into the ins and outs of things, but I think with some editing, I've got a workable contract that I will be sending to the artist to sign. Then I think things will start happening rather quickly as he thinks he can draw and ink about four pages a week, which would mean by the end of February, he would be done. Then we'll need to find a colorist and continue the process with them.

The first story for PowerSquared is really a two-issue arc, but I'm looking at doing part one and seeing what sort of interest there is before doing part two. It's enough of a cash outflow to be careful, though I'm hoping it will pay off. But I'm sure everyone with a comic book idea is likewise convinced theirs is gold, so I'm trying to be realistically optimistic.

To that end, I also bought a couple of domain names for the comic book. I wanted, but that's already taken and though it is available for sale, the cost is about $2300, which is about $2300 out of my price range. I did purchase and for quite a bit less, but I don't have a website up yet because I've got nothing to show. That too is probably coming shortly as well. You know I will let you know when a website is up.

Did manage to do some more rewrites on Familiar Stranger, but there's not much to show so far. I'm hoping that my rewrites will shift to Public and Private once I've met with my editor. We're supposed to have lunch on Tuesday.

We celebrated the 650th review on Trophy Unlocked with Rashōmon (1950), a very good film from Akira Kurosawa. I usually post on TCM's Classic Film Union, but the powers that be have decided to shut down that site. Sorry to see that happen. I had invited members to follow me on twitter and read my reviews on Trophy Unlocked, but I don't believe any of them took me up on the offer. In fact, my twitter following went down. I know it sounds petty, but I am envious of people with good-sized followings, but I've never been able to get much traction on the social media.

Working on a new review in the meantime, Galaxy Quest. We watched the film to honor Alan Rickman, but it's really a very funny spoof of Star Trek and trekkers. But that's for the future.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Week in Writing #72

Managed to finally get back to rewrites on Familiar Stranger. Decided to start from the beginning again, since there were some changes I've been thinking about.

After a couple of months, heard from my editor on Public and Private. May actually get to meet him for the first time next weekend. He hopes to have the entire manuscript ready, so I have to admit I'm sort of excited at the prospect. I've been wanting to complete this for what seems like a year now. I'm hoping that it might change my luck with the query process. Looking forward to what he might have come up with. I really think he makes me a better writer.

About a week or so ago, Paul and I decided on an artist for our comic book, PowerSquared. There is some paperwork and process to be figured out and agreed to, but I think we're really close to getting started. Now, of course there are still a lot of other steps to be taken, but it feels like we're on our way at last.

The Trophy Unlocked blog has been getting more page views recently, which is nice. Even though some new posts still get about 30 to 40 page views, the blog itself has had over 4800 page views this past month. I'm always fascinated when some older post suddenly gets a lot of page views. For some reason G.I. Joe Retaliation, which was posted in 2013, had the most views this past week.

Tried something different this week. I was feeling under the weather all weekend and didn't want to spend the time reposting the new review, Dave (1993), in its entirety on TCM's Classic Film Union, so I simply posted a link to the review on Trophy Unlocked. I'm not totally surprised, but the page views there have not translated into page views on Trophy Unlocked. We all know how hard it is to follow a link.

Wrote a future review for Westworld (1973), about 2000 words, over the weekend. Will post it soon.

Our next post will be the 650th review on the blog, so I hope everyone will take a look when it's posted next Saturday.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

A Week in Writing #71 - A Look Back at 2015 in Blogging

I started this blog for what might be called selfish reasons; trying to keep myself on track with writing. My goal has been to write 1000 words a day and sometimes that's what it really feels like, a goal. Even though the page views here can sometimes be counted on one hand, I'm obviously not doing this for fame or fortune. The lowest number this year has been 1 and the most 24, but I usually average 7 or 8 a week.

The other blog I write for, Trophy Unlocked, is more of a passion than anything else. I really love movies and the chance to write about them was one that I couldn't pass up when I was offered the opportunity. One of the benefits is that I get to indulge in learning more about films and then writing about it. Think of me as an aggregator of cine information.

Additionally, I also review some of the movies my family and I watch in the theaters. Add to that a couple of Review Hubs, an end of the year Highlights list and I published 70 posts in 2015, with a new one every Saturday morning. This past week, I posted a review for Roadblock (1951) on Saturday, one for The Good Dinosaur (2015) and a 2015 Highlights post, both on the 31st.

I'm never sure what makes a post get page views. I post on both Facebook and Twitter every time I post a review. In addition, to that I will also tweet out some anniversaries which also add to the page views. But I'm not really sure what drives anyone to view a post. I know that it helps when the Warner Archive re-tweets one of mine. They're good for about 60 to 70 additional page views. But that's not always the case.

I had thought Star Wars month, which is how we spent December on the blog, might draw more page views, but I was only partially right about that. The introductory post, A Month of Star Wars, only garnered 30 page views. The first review of the month, Star Wars: Clone Wars was a little better with 41. Things started to look up with Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, which had 110 and 163 respectively. But we came back to Earth with The Force Awakens and Return of the Jedi which garnered only 34 and 29. Maybe the anticipation was satisfied with the release of the new film.

Of all the posts I published in 2015, the one with the most page views was The Blackboard Jungle (1955) which has had, since I published it in May, 239 page views. Why Blackboard Jungle? I don't really have an answer. By the way, the most page views of a review of mine was Robocop (1987), but I think that's due to a slightly salacious photo we included. The All-Time champ for one review wasn't mine, but Paul's review of  Batman: Arkham Unhinged #2 , a comic book, which has 23,274 page views. No other post on the blog is even close.

But despite the page views, I plan to continue with both blogs for the forseeable future. Thanks to everyone for your page views. I do appreciate it.