Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Week in Writing #109

There's a delicate balance to nudging people. You don't want to seem like a nuisance, but at the same time you don't want to be forgotten either. I try to give a long lead time between emails, but as I've written before, I'm not a patient person by nature and it eats me up inside waiting and waiting and...

Waiting turns to frustration after a while. While I understand we're all busy, only one out of the six people we've given PowerSquared to has gotten back to us. Some have had it for over a month. It's not like I gave them War and Peace or Moby Dick to read; it's a 20-page comic book. It can't take that long to read it. But that's the excuse I'm getting from everyone; "I'm really swamped" or some version thereof. Either there's a real worker-shortage in America or a real lack of imagination when it comes to excuses. At least that's what it feels like.

On the other hand, I was given something to read by a co-worker sometime back and never did read it. Of course, he never asked me about again or nudged me for my opinion, so I dropped it. (Hey, we're all busy.)

On a different front, I did hear back from the agent with Public and Private and she said they're reading and considering it. She said she was following up on an email from me, that I think I sent about three weeks ago.

This week, I think I got the most reaction to a tweet that I've ever gotten. Thursday was the anniversary of the release of Buster Keaton's The Cameraman (1928). I like to tweet on the anniversary of releases as a way of getting pageviews on Trophy Unlocked between weekly posts. It helps that the film is currently being released by the Warner Archive. They're usually very good about retweeting to their large following when their films are reviewed or tweeted about. Well, my tweet at 6:30 in the morning, got 23 likes and 6 retweets, which for me is far and away the biggest reaction to any of my 500+ tweets. But that all that reaction only equated to 10 pageviews, which is still pretty good. It is sort of like more people liked of the idea of a review rather than actually reading the review itself.

Lost a little writing time this week due to a concert and a book signing, but managed to complete two more reviews for the Halloween month to come, ParaNorman and Black Sabbath. It's a little like storing nuts for the winter, writing reviews for a special occassion. The downside is it means you have to watch movies a little out of season, but that's okay as long as everyone around you understands. So far, I've got 3 of the 5 I'll need for October.

Published a review on Saturday of Thelma & Lousie, another one I had already written. Starting to run out of those, but there is still a cushion.

Some progress was made on the comic book. I think Paul and I were finally able to get page 12 to look the way we want, though we haven't seen the final version of the layout. Up and until then our artist was very attentive. It was only after we sent our last edit that we haven't heard from him. While he disappears from time to time, I still don't see us getting two pages a week from either the artist or the colorist. I always felt like I get the promise but not the delivery. Of course, hopefully next week all will be caught up.

Hopefully next week will be more productive and I can get back to the other writing, but we'll see. Every week has its own challenges and time is always at a premium.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Week in Writing #108

Not sure what to make of it, but when I tried to start writing this post, Norton blocked my own blog as a threat. I had to override their security to get here.

Well, I had goals for the week and, surprise, I didn't actually make them. Did not finish the long synopsis for Past Present, but did make some progress on part two of PowerSquared and did start writing reviews for Halloween.

It seems review writing was what I did the most this past week. Wrote one for Blazing Saddles (1974), which I know isn't really Halloween material, but I wanted to get it over with. Started two more that I need to finish, ParaNorman (2012) and The Invisible Man (1933), so those will be the focus of the rest of the week. Also wrote and published a review for The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years, which is playing briefly in theaters before going to Hulu. The Saturday Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked was Witness to Murder (1954).

Spent the rest of the time on PowerSquared. Actually made some progress on those pages. The artist has sent layouts for up to page 11 and the colorist has gotten through the first four pages, though there are some finishing touches that still need to be done on that page, but it does feel like progress is getting made.

We're almost to the point that we need to revisit the script for the next issue. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, but I'd like to keep it moving forward. Part of that will be based on the feedback we get.

People are willing to say they'll read it, but actually doing so seems much harder. Like me, they have other things they need to do. Still, I feel like a thirsty man waiting for an ice cube to melt so I can have a drink of water.

This coming week doesn't promise to be too productive, I'm afraid. I'm going to a concert Monday night and to an autograph session for a friend's book on Wednesday. Both should be fun, but those are hours I won't be writing. Less time = less output.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Week in Writing #107

Holidays don't necessarily mean more time to write. This past Monday was Labor Day and with three and half-days off from work, I didn't necessarily have more time to sit and write, even though I did write a 6000+ word review of Intolerance (1916) in an effort to post a review on the 100th anniversary of its release. Since I'm starting with Trophy Unlocked, I'll go ahead and reiterate that Wednesday nights are movie review nights for Saturday; posted one for Love on the Run (1936) starring Clark Gable, Joan Crawford and Franchot Tone.

Also used the holiday as an opportunity to reach out to the artist and the colorist of PowerSquared. I had hoped, as a stretch goal, to be done by then. But instead we only have 5 pages inked and only one page colored after more than a month; this doesn't bode well for us to ever make this sustainable. Received promises to do better, but hopefully we'll see an improvement in turn around. The artist did send three pages and a fourth we're still working through. The colorist did send a new page, but his promise to send more did not materialize.

Haven't heard back from anyone new on PowerSquared. I figured I would give them a couple of weeks before I followed up. I'm sure everyone is very busy and I don't want to come off as being a bother. It is a real tightrope that writers have to walk all the time. You want the feedback, but you want the reader to take the time they need. I'd rather have thoughtful criticism than rushed none comments like "Yep, that was 20 pages long. Colored and everything."

On the subject of writing, it looks like the rejections are coming in early this year. A while back I mentioned I was sending a new query to the agent that I'd met at a Writer's Conference who subsequently passed on that manuscript. This past Wednesday, that same agent passed on Public and Private; didn't feel passionate about my query. For those keeping score, I still have one query and a manuscript out.

Sort of slowed down this week by computer problems. The solid state drive in mine went bad when I was trying to install Photoshop last weekend. It took an entire week to get the computer fixed and then most of an afternoon re-installing drivers, programs, etc, so I could get it to work the way I want. Don't have everything back, but enough to work. Can't write without Word. Why can't computer repairs work like car repairs? When I take in my car, I expect them to buy the parts they need, but with computer repair, at least at Geek Squad, I have to be the one to provide parts. And even then, it's not really fixed until all the programs and drivers get re-installed.

My goal for the week is to finally finish that synopsis for Past and Present and send more queties; follow up with the people who've had PowerSquared for a couple of weeks; make more progress on Part 2 of said comic book and to start writing some reviews for Halloween, which is fast approaching. We've usually had four to five horror films reviewed during October. Not sure how many we'll get written and posted. But remember, these are goals.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

A Week in Writing #106

Started the week off with a rejection email. The agent was from the Writer's Digest issue about agents looking for clients, so I guess she wasn't looking for me. My query "didn’t grab" her enough to request a partial. My first rejection using the "new" format of query, so maybe it needs a little work.

If you're keeping score out there, there are still three active queries, one of which has requested the full manuscript. Once I finish the synopsis I'll revamp the query letter and send more. There's always more to do.

Still working a rewrite of the synopsis. Keep finding more to add to it so I'm afraid I didn't finish it this week either.

Sometimes I feel like I'm putting off the mystery novels in favor of the comic book. Reviewed some pages this week on Part Two, but progress seems to be glacially slow. Planning to address with the creative team this week. I had hoped to be done with Part Two by now and while that was a stretch goal, I don't want this to drag on for as long as Part One did. Impossible to think this can be sustainable when issues take months.

Had a setback with the coloring, when the changes we asked for on Page 1 came back but on a previous version, not the last one. It's the part of this that makes me feel frustrated. The artist, on the other hand, after some work on pages 5, 6 and 7 has sort of dropped from sight, at least he hasn't answered my latest emails.

This past week or so, I've sent and gave copies of Part One of PowerSquared to about five people. I emailed it to one person, sent it using We Transfer to another and handed it out on thumb drives to the rest. So far, I've only heard back from one and it was very encouraging. The main person I'm interested in has been on vacation until recently, which I think explains why the We Transfer is about to/already has expired.

Published a review of Lost in Translation. Readers of this blog will know the story behind the choice, even though I had written the review some months back. On Friday night, watched Intolerance and spent a good portion of Saturday and Sunday working on the write-up, which ended up being about 6000 words in length. Plan to publish on Monday the 5th, the 100th anniversary of the film's release.

My turn to have computer problems. On Saturday night, while trying to install Adobe Photoshop 14 from discs I ordered, my computer kept freezing up. Turns out that it is probably the beginning of the end of the Solid State drive, the same malady that plagued Paul's and my letterer's computer the previous week.

Luckily, I still have my old computer, a Sony Vaio, which already has a version of Photoshop installed on it. Another reason I try to keep the thumb drive I carry around synced with the files on my computer. I'm hoping that I can continue on without missing too much of a beat. I'm hoping that it won't take more than a few days to get my computer back, but in the meantime I can still work.