Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Week in Writing #87

Well, frankly I'm disappointed that no one told me Saturday was Shakespeare's 400th anniversary until after I posted a review on Trophy Unlocked for Rush Hour. I had a perfectly good one ready for Shakespeare in Love, but I had made the choice on Wednesday night, so it was too late Saturday morning to pull it together. I'll have to find some other occasion to post it, but it really would have been a great time.

Speaking of deaths, in honor of the passing of Prince, we watched Purple Rain on Friday. I wrote up a review of the film for next week, Hopefully no more famous celebrities will die before then. Also finished a review for All My Sons, one of the two film noirs we saw a week ago Saturday and I'm about 1000 plus words into one for Kind Hearts and Coronets, a film we watched since it was taken from the same source as A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder.

Didn't have as much time as I wanted to work on the short synopsis for Public and Private. I'm going to continue working on it, but also try to start the query process next week. I'm also wanting to send my editor a new book, actually an old one, Simple Sins. This was actually my first book with my protagonist. I haven't given up on writing books, it's just that I don't have the time I need to work on other ones or new ones.

Part of the problem is the comic book. While most of the writing has been done, the process now is working with an artist and a colorist that are both across the Pacific Ocean. When either of them send something, Paul and I have to sit down and review it, trying to be as careful as we can to check every detail: Does the ceiling work? Is the shirt the same color from panel 5 page 6 that it is in panel 3 page 8? It's harder and more time consuming that you might think.

The other issue is that we never know when we're going to get pages. Frankly, we should be done by now with part one, but there have been delays, some of them creative, some of them personal. But we never know when we're going to get pages from either of them. Usually, if we do, the pages come while we're asleep. When we get them, then it's the first thing we have to do the next night. I sometimes feel like I'm blowing my creativity on those pages.

So, next week, and you  have to have goals, it's comic book (if and when we get pages), query letters (hopefully five), reviews (I have two to finish) and then mystery novel (Familiar Stranger, remember that?). And I'm also going to follow up on the From Fan to Creator pitch, but that's actually something I can do at work. Whew! I'm tired already.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Week in Writing #86

I feel like a broken record, but I always wish I had a few more hours everyday or another day a week to work on things. As it stands now, if I sleep a few minutes too long in the morning, I lose my chance to write then and I never know what to expect when I get home. We had a flurry at the beginning of the week with pages from the artist to review, but never got any finished pages from him. Nor did we get any pages from our colorist. Sometimes I feel like we're running really hard in sand. Did broach the subject of a cover with the artist, but no decisions have been made, other than we will really need one at some point.

A friend of ours who teaches drawing has a former student who has become a published artist. We're hoping to meet up during Free Comic Book Day weekend to get some feedback, so I'd like to have as much of it ready as possible to show him. He's coming into town to do an autograph session at our local comic book store, but our schedules haven't meshed yet, but there's still time and there's still hope. I'm thinking someone who's "made it" could really give us some valuable feedback and advice.

Anticipating part 2 of the comic book, I've started to edit, with pencil, the second part of the script to address any changes that the drawing of part one may have caused, including address ambiguities in the script. Since the artist is more than a phone call away, I realize I need to nail things down better than I may have in part one. It's a live and learn process.

Still working on getting Public and Private ready to query. I've done as much preliminary research as I can on agents, but I read several who want a one to two page synopsis with the query. I decided against trying to cut down the long synopsis, so I'm trying to re-write it from scratch. After a couple of tries, I think I hit upon a way to proceed on Friday morning before work, but I never got back to it since. So I want to get that squared away before I query.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, I had unofficially pitched an idea for a show to the Comic-Con HQ SVOD channel. While nothing has really happened, every time I followed up I wasn't discouraged. I recently signed a submission release form so they could officially look at it. It's been a couple of days, so I'll give a week or so before I follow up. I don't think Lionsgate has ever produced any employee pitches before, even though they do allow for them, so it will obviously be a challenge.

Did finish a couple of reviews this week, one for Rush Hour and one for The Jazz Singer, which I published on Saturday morning. Trying not to feel discouraged that I can count all the pageviews so far on my two hands and still have a finger left over. Not sure why this one in particular landed with such a thump.

On Saturday, my family and I attended the Film Noir Festival at the Egyptian Theater and saw a couple of films I'm hoping to review in the next week or so: All My Sons (1948) and Take One False Step (1949). I'm already about 1200 words into the first one. So that will be my focus, along with the comic book, the synopsis and the blog. Just another week in writing.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Week in Writing #85

Well, my goal for the week was to make progress on the book, Public and Private, the comic book and the blog. And while I did make some progress, it never seems to be enough and there never seems to be enough time in a day or week.

I thought I was done with the long synopsis for Public and Private and that I was going to work on a short one, but I ended up editing the long synopsis again. Every time I read through it, I wonder what I was thinking with some of my word choices. Hopefully, now I'm done with the editing and can turn to the short synopsis. I had thought I would base it on the long synopsis, but now I'm thinking I should just use it as its own writing assignment.

It's hard sometimes to see progress on the comic book. We had an issue with the artist, but I think we've gotten past that. We're still missing pages 7 and 11, but we've got 10 pages inked and a layout for a 13th page. No coloring this week. Not sure why not, but he said there were problems. And no new lettering this week, but I'm partially to blame for that. I sort of thought we'd be further along, but it is what it is.

Thought I would maybe squeeze in a review this week, but I ended up writing two, one for Rush Hour and the other for The Jazz Singer (1927), both for future posts. Did post one for Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (2008). Sort of a change of pace for the blog, doing an internet story, but you go where the story is. I had originally intended it to follow the review for Batman v. Superman, since there a super hero involved, but the 666th review of the blog took precedent.

Had a bit of fun with twitter this week. I have a small, but hopefully loyal following, but was surprised to see the following notification at the beginning of the week:

I was pretty sure this wasn't the "real" Taylor Swift; her twitter is in sentence case and before too long whoever stopped following me, but for a brief second there, I thought Kanye would be jealous.

Spent part of Saturday moving into a new laptop. Had to rethink a few passwords I hadn't had to enter in the last few years, but it's like a new car and I'll get used to it.

Looking forward to more of the same next week. Everything is on the table, just need to get things done.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A Week in Writing #84

Received the new Writer's Digest this week: 101 Best Websites for Writers. Still digesting it, so to speak, but really only a few are relevant for me. I'm more interested in websites about agents and queries.

I'm already a user of QueryTracker; I'm also interested in, which covers much of the same ground. What I like about QueryTracker is that you can develop a list and export it to Excel. This list was the basis for the spreadsheet I keep on agents and queries. Agentquery has some of the same information, but the format is less user friendly for me. You can get a list of agents who handle mysteries, for example, but then you have to page through the listings which can be very time consuming.

I try to identify potential agents and then research them in small groups, since information can change quickly over time. Sometimes an agent who was closed to queries or would only take them on recommendation is now open and vice versa. I'm in the process of trying to put together agents to query for Public and Private.

While I think I've nailed down a good query letter, I'm still working on the long synopsis. I did get through it once and have done a round of editing. Now I'm updating the revised synopsis again. It's about 12 pages long, so next I want to make a 5 page version. Different agents ask for different lengths, so it's good to be prepared before starting.

I know it sounds like I'm procrastinating, but I'm not really. I just want to be ready before I throw myself out there.

Some progress made this week on the comic book. Our letterer is getting started, our artist has made some layouts and the colorist should deliver some pages later this week. This is sort of a wild card, as I'm never sure when something will come in that we need to look at. It's a little it like a jack-in-the-box, no action for days and then suddenly several things at once. It keeps me on my toes, but it does get in the way from a concentrated effort on other things.

As for blogging, we celebrated our 666th review on Trophy Unlocked with Satan Met a Lady (1936). It's actually  a remake of The Maltese Falcon (1931). The Humphrey Bogart version, which we all know, came out in 1941 and was the third film version of the Dashiell Hammett novel. No new review this week. We re-watched The Iron Giant this week, as a follow up to seeing The Giant's Dream last week at WonderCon.

My goal for this week is to make progress on as much as I can, regarding Public and Private, the comic book and maybe squeeze in a review as well.