Sunday, March 27, 2016

A Week in Writing #83 - Report from the Front: WonderCon

This week in writing was punctuated with one day at this year's WonderCon held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. WonderCon is sort of a mini Comic-Con, which we're attending later in the year down in San Diego. We had been to WonderCon before, when it was down in Anaheim, but because of work they're doing on that Convention Center, it was held here for one year.

Los Angeles likes to hype it as a dry run for Comic-Con, which San Diego always seems to be on the verge of losing. But based on our experience, I don't think San Diego has anything to worry about. Not that we had a bad time, but there were so many little things that LA didn't get right, like the distance between the floor of the convention and the rooms where the programs were being held, lack of signage and somewhat unknowledgeable volunteers.

The map of the floor makes it look like there is more to it than there is. Still there are the same basic things: comic companies have their booths, artists have their alley and the small press have their tables. Walking around some of the small press made me feel sort of sad. You walk by and people are pitching their idea to anyone who will listen. No doubt they make a lot of their money at shows like this. I don't want our comic to end up like that. I don't mind the idea of attending conventions like this, but I don't want to feel like I'm a carny.

There were not as many programs to attend this year. One held by Image featured several of their content owners. Listening to them, it's clear that they are driven and are living the dream, so to speak. Maybe they're not all making a living from it, but they're seasoned professionals and have made the transition I'd like to make as a writer; being published.

Can't make it to every program, so perhaps I'll be able to catch up with them once the Comic-Con HQ SVOD channel, which was recently unveiled, launches.

Most of the time, in order to attend one program, you have to sit through another one to make sure you have a seat in the room. We wanted to attend the program featuring the documentary The Giant's Dream about Brad Bird and the making of The Iron Giant (1999), one of the best modern animated films. Very inspirational. But prior to that we got the opportunity to sit through Carton Voices, a panel featuring several voice actors who's voices you probably know if you heard them. They did a very entertaining cold read of a cut down version of The Wizard of Oz (1939). Very talented.

One of the things I like about attending conventions is a chance to reconnect with some people I know. I missed out on some, but was able to connect with Douglas Neff, the author of Epic Win! The Geek's Guide to the Journey from Fan to Creator, which I found to be very influential. He asked if Paul and I were going to attend the next Creator Connection session and I had to tell him we had hired artists to work on the book. I don't blame him for the lack of success in finding a partner during those sessions, but four failed attempts was enough for me.

Also, had Bryce Carlson, an editor at Boom!, sign the trade paperback for his Hit 1957. I was pleasantly surprised that he remembered my name. I believe I was one of the first people to attend his first autograph session at our local comic book store and while I've tried to stay in touch, I'm sure I'm one of several people who have. I'd like to approach him with our comic book when there is more to it than there is now.

Not as much happened with the comic book as I had hoped, though we're now up to four pages inked and colored. Still not where I'd like to be, but I know we're partially to blame, since we made the artist go back and redo some of his work. That really slowed down the workflow, but I really feel that it's important to get it as right as possible now. It's the waiting that gets to me, I guess, hoping that that wait is worth it.

Didn't have as good a week as I would have hoped. Lost a couple of mornings with credit card issues. Apparently someone used my name and credit card to buy a Mac book at a Best Buy in Columbus, Ohio. Luckily, the credit card company declined and contacted me. The downside is that we had to get a new card, which is always a pain to get everything set right again. But there went Thursday morning and again on Friday they contacted me, though it turned out to be an unnecessary follow up.

Did make more progress on the long and short synopsis for Public and Private, though I'm not finished with either. I'll keep at it and would like to get them done this week. Still no word from my editor, though I trust he cashed the check I sent him for his services.

Wrote a couple of reviews, those of which were published. The first was about 1500 words on Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (2010), a made for video feature that had some things in common with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which opened this past Friday.

This week I'm hoping to stay inspired by WonderCon and try to get things done. Anxious to move things forward.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

A Week in Writing #82

I was right last week when I said Daylight's Savings Time was going to get the best of me. I felt like I was dragging most of the week. Add that to my chronic insomnia and it wasn't a week for a lot of clear headed thinking.

Still, I managed to get some work done. Sometimes that's what writing feels like: work. I'm having to learn to treat it like a business, especially with a freelance artist and colorist working on the comic book.

Thought we had made some progress on the comic book; we finally got over the set up of the classroom, but no new pages again this week, just sketches and promises. Our colorist hasn't had much to do for a while now. I tried to light a gentle fire under our artist; we'll see how he reacts. Sometimes I wish he wasn't so far away. It's hard to carry on a dialogue in emails.

Going to Wonder Con next Saturday, even though it won't be an opportunity to really sell the comic book, I'd like to have more to show should it come up. I learned be prepared from my brief stint in the Boy Scouts.

Did some more work on the synopsis for Public and Private, but still have more to do. I wasn't quite as far along as I had thought I was. Still have a couple of hundred pages to write about. And I started to work on the verbiage of the query letter. To that end, I also updated my spreadsheet of agents to query, based on Query Tracker, which I think is a good website.

Finished my review of Ferris Bueller's Day Off and published it on Saturday, my usual publishing date for the blog. As usual about 30 page views so far. Every so often one seems to hit and I'll get 150 page views, but those are far between. Still the blog can generate 200 or more page views a day some days, which makes me feel like it's not all in vain.

Gearing up for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice with a made for video animated feature: Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (2010). Will probably publish that prior to the new film's opening. Will hope to review the new one next Sunday. This is more of a case of feeling like we have to keep up rather than really wanting to see the movie. We weren't overly impressed with Man of Steel (2013), which I encourage you to read. Still, we're going to squeeze it in on Friday afternoon.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A Week in Writing #81

Sometimes things you plan to accomplish don't work out as well as you plan. This was true last week for me. I had what now seem like stretch goals over what I was actually able to get done. I did finish my review for Ferris Bueller's Day Off, but that was it as far as my plans went.

A lot of time was taken up with the comic book. I'm not writing here to air dirty laundry, but it is safe to say we had some long distance discussions regarding the look and feel of some of the panels. We finally got all that worked out, but that took a toll on anything else I had hoped to do.

Still working on the long synopsis, still waiting to hear from my editor, etc, etc. Sort of sounds like last week. It's hard to commit too much time to anything with real life work such a big part of the day. Did start, but didn't get very far with, updating my list of possible agents to query.

And just when I got into a good rhythm with getting up in the morning and exercising and writing before work, I'm pretty sure that's out the window this week thanks to the time change. I don't have an hour to lose, but there, I've lost it.

Did publish two reviews this week, one for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) and one for 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016), which we saw Saturday morning. I'm currently working on a review for International House (1933), a pre-code W.C. Fields film, so far about 2200 words, but still lacking a conclusion.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

A Week in Writing #80

Sometimes I think I get a lot accomplished, but then again, it doesn't seem like I'm moving the chains to use a football slang.

I think I'm done with editing Public and Private and have started to work on both a long and short synopsis, with the hopes of actually querying the book for representation. Found I had already started, though not finished, a long synopsis some months back. Not too much has changed in the rewrites, but I still need to finish that. Having some trouble with summarizing the book in a paragraph, but I've only begun that process.

Surprisingly, I'm a little apprehensive about the whole query process, having been 0 for 2 so far with books attempting to find representation. So much is put on the line with each email and I like nothing less than the uncertainty each query brings. I hate being discounted out of hand, but it's the ones who never write back that really get to me. I know it's the reality of the situation, but it still sucks.

I also finished some rewrites for future scripts for the comic book, PowerSquared, that I was working on last week. Haven't sent out for feedback yet.

One of the things I'm finding is that the scripts were written with an eye towards a more give and take with the artist. I had anticipated we would have hired someone local and would be seeing and speaking on a regular basis. Instead, our artist is in Indonesia and some weaknesses in the script show in his interpretation. Paul and I have been going back and forth over pages 5 through 8 this weekend and sent comments to our artist. I think it's really important to be as detailed oriented as possible without coming across as a jerk.

Still, I feel that things are moving forward, We're much further along than we have been and I'm still looking forward to seeing it completed. Don't have enough done, though, to test the waters. There is more that needs to be done before it's ready for that.

Finish my review of Ferris Bueller's Day Off early in the week, Thinking about waiting for Spring Break to publish that one. Did publish a couple of reviews this weekend on Trophy Unlocked: The Lion in Winter (1968) and one for the new movie Zootopia, which we, as a family, went to see on Saturday night. Both are keeping with what has been a running string of animal-themed reviews on the blog.

The week ahead promises more of the same. Work on the synopsis for Public and Private and hopefully a phone call with my editor. I'm also hoping there are more pages for PowerSquared. Got to keep at it to make headway.