Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Week in Writing #114

I feel like a broken record, but another week that didn't quite live up to expectations. Some of that has to do with a project at work that has run over into my "off" hours and even the past couple of weekends. I've been more Excel than Word these past few days. Not complaining, really. I want to write, but in order to do that I need to eat and make mortgage payments, etc., so work is great and my intensive part of the project will end in a couple of weeks.

I used a mouse so much that I developed pain in my right shoulder, which doesn't seem to be permanent, so no excuses there.

What writing I have done has been on the comic book. I tried doing some writing with Final Draft, but, as I wrote last week, I don't want to rewrite/retype what I've already done. We're not working with anyone but ourselves at this point, so I'm doing my rewrites with Word. I'm not against using it and will when I get to something new.

I did have time to begin rewrites on our third set of stories, which will be a two-parter.  Still not a hundred percent sure we're doing a third issue, but I think we're leaning that way, at least we're being encouraged to keep going. But there is only so long we can do this as a vanity project. At some point, we have to introduce the book to the public. That's the issue that's bugging me; the best way to release our work.

But before we get to that point, we still have the second issue to get done. The artist is up to doing pencils for pages 17 and 18, which means we're getting close. The colorist has sort of dropped the ball at least this go round. After promising to have all four pages ready by our "deadline" of two weeks, already late, he had us resend him the pages to color. If I wasn't buried with copy and paste, I might be madder.

Still haven't gotten all the feedback I want on the comic book. One of our "readers" has sent us a link to a website that is supposed to help us with marketing. Sadly, I haven't had the time to really look at it. I also haven't had the time to really ping people, but I will be trying this week, time permitting.

Published our last Halloween movie review, Black Sabbath, on Saturday. No time to write a new one this weekend, though I watched the film I'll do next, 9. I'm thinking of publishing  reviews of film noirs in November, which is good because they're already written.

My goal for the coming week is to get some writing done. Not a big goal, but it feels like a stretch goal this time.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

A Week in Writing #113

I started writing this mid-week, Wednesday morning before I went to work. I wanted to capture how I was feeling at the moment; the word disheartened kept coming to mind. My fishing for feedback the past couple of weeks had been been very unsuccessful up until then. Of the people we had sent PowerSquared to for feedback and advise, only two had given us feedback up until then, despite it having been nearly two months since we sent them the book.

Rather than throw in the towel, I redoubled my efforts to contact them and for the most part it paid off, as two of the three have at least reacted to my queries. One had problems downloading the file we'd sent him, which we worked out during the week. He has apparently read it now and wants to talk, the timing of which I still don't know.

One of the people was the guy who wrote the book that got me doing this blog in the first place. Not sure what took him so long, but he did respond today just before I started to update this post. He was complimentary for the most part, though he did have issues with a couple of panels. One was a Japenese onomatopoeia we used and another was the flow of dialogue between panels on one page.

The third one has been the most elusive so far and probably the most sought after for us. High ranking at an internet comic book site (I don't name names; it isn't that kind of blog), we had sent him a copy during the Labor Day holidays, which seem like an eternity ago now. He seemed to like it and even set up an appointment to talk to us, but cancelled. Since then, he hasn't rescheduled or responded to our emails. That's the sort of thing that makes you feel disheartened; so close and so out of your control.

Writing is a very personal thing, even if it's a comic book. You put a lot of effort into getting everything right (and if you're like me, pay to get it right) and then you want someone to either encourage you or tell you it's not your line of work; something/anything. Now don't get me wrong; a couple of people, who's opinions I respect, have read Part 1 and really liked it, but I'd like to hear his since he's more immersed in the business.

We're quickly coming up to the point when we'll need to commit to a third issue (and two more after that to complete the storyline) so I'd like to hear from him before we have to decide.

I'm not going to give up, it's just that I didn't expect how hard it would be to get three grown men to read a 20-page comic book and provide feedback.

Not a good week in writing for me. Did finish the script for the next three stories and am waiting for my son, the editor, to have a chance to go through them. It's a lot of pages and he is busy with his own writing and school. I think we're about a month away from having to make the decision. But I've also had to work late a couple of nights and lost that time for creative ventures.

Did post a new review on Trophy Unlocked, ParaNorman, keeping with our October Halloween themed reviews. Haven't written a new one this weekend, but I think I'm going through a bit of a dry spell when it comes to writing in general. Right now I'm getting about 30 pageviews the first week that I publish a review, which isn't a lot, but we have a mass of reviews that seem to get looked at, so we average about 80 pageviews a day. Some older ones seem to get a lot of hits, like G.I. Joe: Retaliation seems to be popular now. For reasons I'm not sure of, it has gotten 55 pageviews this week.

Purchased Final Draft 10.0 on Friday. It's a pretty cool program, though I've only just begun to scratch the surface. The industry standard for scripts. There are also templates for graphic novels, but I'm not sure I want to rewrite the ones I just completed in Word, but I might try using it for future scripts. Hopefully, this new tool will spur me on to write more.

Always the goal.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Week in Writing #112

This week I went fishing for feedback on PowerSquared. It started out with trying to reschedule our talk that was postponed last week. While I was at it, I thought I'd ping two of the three others who haven't yet responded. So, three emails went out and day one, zero responses. Not encouraging, to say the least. But I know "we're really busy at the moment", so I try to wait patiently.

Is this normal? Sometimes it feels like I'm the only writer who can't get feedback; I'll throw my son Paul in to it as well, since we both wrote PowerSquared, so I guess I'm not alone. I'm sadly used to this sort of treatment from agents, I mean that's part of the drill, but I had hoped this would be a little different. These were after all people I had met and in some cases have known for at least five years, if not longer. I just hope there is some sort of payoff at the end.

Now I may hear from all three before I publish this post, but I'm trying to capture how I'm feeling during the week; part of my week in writing, rather than just a total summation of what transpired. I never want this to turn vindictive, like so-and-so did this to me, so I don't name names, but I do think it's important to be honest about what is going on. (Ed. note: I didn't hear back from any of the three.)

I'm not sure what they did to Hotmail Outlook, but I don't like the changes. It seems like I can't do as much as I used to, like inserting images into the emails or downloading attachments. Our artist will send us jpegs of pages for us to look out, but suddenly earlier this week, they stopped working. While I could download and view the image on my phone, the Outlook on my computer refused, if a machine can be said to do that, the image. I tried sending the image from my phone to myself, but it wouldn't have anything to do with it. I ended up forwarding the email to myself at work and downloading there. I don't like having to do that at work, as I like, as much as humanly possible, to keep the two separate, but that was the only way I could finally view it.

I tried googling the problem, but like all of the issues I seek help with on the internet, the solutions weren't relevant, as in the solutions were for previous versions. I had to end up asking the artist to send them a different way. It's a good thing there are so many transfer sites on the internet.

We did make some progress on PowerSquared. The artist sent us layouts of the next four pages, so we're up to page 16. Our colorist suddenly got busy and sent us everything up through page 8. With both, we had some issues, but nothing too major. It's good to see it coming along, though there is still a lot of work to do. I honestly never thought it would be as time-consuming as it has turned out to be.

At this point, I'm not sure if we're going to do a third installment, but I've been trying to get ready in case we do. The next story is a three-parter, so I've been trying to divide the script into three 20-page sections. So far, with a little work, I've got two of the three marked up. While that doesn't sound like an accomplishment, it sort of is.

This is where the feedback we've been after would be helpful. No reason to keep doing it if no one thinks there's a future in it. I'm not looking for a new way to spend money I don't need to. The whole point is to make something sustainable. While I like seeing it come to life, I'm not looking at this as a vanity project.

Again, other writing has been somewhat slow this week. No new review to write this week, as we had no movie on Friday night. Did publish on Saturday morning; The Angry Red Planet (1959). as part of our salute to horror for October. Received comments for the first time in quite a while that actually related to the post.

Also had a comment on this blog, another rarity. Really happy to know that someone is reading it and feels compelled to leave a comment, especially encouragement. While I sort of write this blog for myself, I hope that there are some universal truths that others might find helpful or can relate to.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Week in Writing #111

There was some hurry up and wait this week. As I mentioned last week, we were going to have a phone call on Tuesday with someone to discuss PowerSquared. Sadly, that didn't happen when it was scheduled due to his being under the weather. It was disappointing, to say the least, but that's life. Sometimes things happen. He's promised to reschedule when he's back from New York Comic Con next week.

Still in a holding pattern when it comes to getting other feedback, but hopefully we can follow up again with everyone else next week.

My day job did affect my writing this week, as I brought home some work to go through a couple of the evenings this past week. Again, sometimes you can't help other things from interfering with creative time.

Started the week with some updates on the comic book, but then waited most of the week to get additional pages from the artist and the colorist. The artist has done layouts and pencils for pages 13 to 15, while the colorist is still working on page 6. A lot of hurry up and wait with him this week, as pages are promised, but not delivered. Need to do some edits on the current script before lettering gets underway as changes have been made to the story as visuals have been added and dialogue might get moved and changed.

My other writing also involved the comic book. Anticipating that we'll do a second PowerSquared story, I've been working trying to edit the next script to page and panels and trying to edit down dialogue to fit better.

Published the review of Re-Animator on Trophy Unlocked as our tribute to Horror films continues through the month of October. Started a new review for The Angry Red Planet, but didn't get as far as I wanted. Again, real life getting in the way, as I had some "handyman" work I needed to do at home. Never get to as much around the house as I need to. I like to think I have a writer's lawn, which means a lot of dead grass and dirt.

Not sure what the next week has in store. Want to get more work done on the comic book, of course, but I want to get to more done on other writing as well.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A Week in Writing #110

Sadly, not my most productive week as a writer. For some reason, I didn't have the energy to get much done. I still haven't finished my synopsis, nor have I sent any new queries. I feel like I'm falling down on the job when it comes to things like that.

The one constant seems to be the comic book and the blog. Every day it seems like we were hearing from the artist or the colorist, so some progress is getting made. The artist should be working on pages 13 to 16 by now and the colorist should be working on pages 5 to 8, but we've only seen page 5 so far. Not sure why he keeps falling behind; he promises more than he delivers.

The status of part 2 though has me thinking ahead to the next storyline. I sat down and made a quick and dirty page/panel breakdown for the first two parts of the second story. The first part seemed to line pretty well to a 20-page story. The second part needs work and I haven't even started on part 3; it was that kind of a week.

I don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves, but I want to be ready. One of the factors in how we proceed will be the reaction we get, which as I wrote last week is harder to get than I'd like. We did hear back from two more people, one said he liked it and even followed up later in the week suggesting avenues to pursue with publishing. The second person and the one we're most interested in hearing from wants to speak with us next week. We're going to talk Tuesday evening when I get home. He's calling from New York, so I take it as a positive sign that he's taking time away from getting ready for New York Comic-Con to speak with us; Paul and me.

With Halloween approaching, Trophy Unlocked has turned to horror. Our Saturday Morning Review was The Invisible Man. Over the weekend, I wrote a 2500 word review of Re-Animator (1985), which will be published this month as part of our salute to the season. We have four of the five reviews we need completed. Not sure what the fifth will be yet. That's part of the fun.

I don't have any real good excuses why I haven't written more this past week, just that real life sometimes gets in the way. All I can do is promise to do better next week.