Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Week in Writing #127

Had a bit of a panic this weekend as it relates to Powers Squared; short-lived but still worrisome. Late on a Friday night, everything seems worse than it really is. When all was said and done, the pages colored and lettered, we still had the original artist's border on them. Can't see anyone publishing them with those on them. It turned out that it wasn't that big of a deal, cooler heads prevailed and our new colorist came through, so whew, crisis averted.

Otherwise, progress seems to be being made. Eight pages of the first issue have been re-colored, three pages have been re-lettered and the first four pages of the third issue have been laid out, penciled and inked. Still a little behind on that issue, but the artist was ill for awhile.

Through emails from a mutual friend was connected to the creator of Lantern City. He's offered to help us figure out the ins and outs of the comic book industry. I'll take all the help I can get. We're supposed to meet for lunch the week of February 6. With caveats about the reconstruction of Issue #1, sent him a copy. I figured it was better to put something in front of him, rather than just a synopsis.

Still editing chapters of Familiar Stranger, up to Chapter 11. The experience is really making me want to rethink parts I've already re-thought before. I think I tried to add too much to the beginning and it sort of keeps the main story from getting underway. I also know that when I get into it further, I know there are other problems to deal with. Sort of want to stop editing and start rewriting. I end up spending the last half hour or so of the day either editing or reading.

Read the second trade paperback of Saga and have started in on The Thief of Thieves' number 2. While these were recommended for lettering I have gotten into them. Not sure what effect it will have on our book, but it always good to see what else is out there. It also helps to see how other people lay out their books, etc.

Started a course through Writer's Digest, Blogging 101. It's the first one I've taken and I haven't gotten past the Introduction. I'm hoping to figure out ways of getting more page views here as I try to build my writing career and start to hopefully push the comic once it's time to do that. I did the introduction in the morning before I went to work on Friday. I still need to finish lesson one. Not looking forward to homework, which is why I put it off. So I've got that to look forward to next week.

No new reviews were written this week, though I did take tentative steps towards writing one for Toy Story. We watched it recently before going to a Pixar Animation exhibit at the California Science Center. Did publish The Girl From Mexico (1939) as part of Trophy Unlocked's Saturday Morning Review. Thought with immigration being in the news that we would have gotten more than 18 page views, but I didn't publish it for that reason. We're not political on the blogs; that's for others to do.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Week in Writing #126

While I normally love rainy days, like the one we had on Sunday, I never got to writing very much until I got to this blog post. Tried to use the time to do other things, like putting together the Lego Yellow Submarine I got for Christmas and pulling together tax information. So I had some fun.

Finally got the final page from our original colorist. I paid him for the last four pages at the beginning of December, so it took 6 weeks to get four pages. There is no way to make the comic book sustainable at that rate. He must know the jig is up because he hasn't asked for any feedback or for the next assignment.

Our new (and improved) colorist ran into a snag this week when she had technical difficulties with her Cintiq, so we've fallen a little off the pace she's set. But things are still moving forward. We did get a chance to look at some pages in progress.

Our artist was ill for awhile, as well, so he's a little behind. I'm trying hard to keep him on a schedule. I won't whine again about how long the first two issues took.

It's a little disconcerting at times to be working on Issue 3 with the artist, issue 1 with the colorist and issue 2 with the letterer. It's all the same story, but it gets a little confusing to be going back and forth along the story arc.

Still doing editing on Familiar Stranger. I'm on Chapter Seven at the moment. Again not as far as I'd like to be, but there is only so much time in a day.

Things are going very well with Trophy Unlocked. We had over 1000 page views yesterday, which is really high for us and no Russian hackers; I guess they're busy elsewhere. Posted one new review this week, Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder (1954), and completed work on another one, The Girl From Mexico (1939), which I plan to post next week.

Well, that sadly sums up my output for the week. Not a bad week, but no breakthroughs, but those can't happen every week, can they?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Week in Writing #125

The first full week of the year and things went pretty well from a writing point of view. I feel like I'm making progress on all fronts which is sort of a new feeling after things not going well for so long.

To begin with the comic book, I think we're finally getting somewhere again. Our new colorist is working out great. Not only has she delivered four pages a week, but she seems very open to comments and suggestions. The delivery rate is something our old one could never come close to doing. He actually still owes me for a page or I would have dropped him by now. It's hard to imagine how he felt we could have a sustainable comic book with him taking so long to deliver pages.

The artist is ill and has only delivered layouts for two pages of the third issue, but they look good. I'm going to have to stay on top of him this time around and be more demanding. I don't want to have the same experience I did last year. This time around deadlines are going to be enforced more rigorously.

Even with the comic book going, I was able to get back to editing Familiar Stranger. I'm currently editing chapter six. Maybe I'm not as far as I wanted to be, but I'm happy to be back working on it again. I really want to get back to really writing on the books, but it's one step at a time. My goal is to edit a chapter a day, but that is sometimes a stretch goal.

Published the review of The Endless Summer (1966) on Saturday and started working on one for Dial M for Murder, though I'm not as far along on that as I had hoped. Still hoping to finish it over the Monday holiday. While the view has only garnered about 20 Pageviews they are up on Trophy Unlocked. The past month there were over 9000 page views which is quite an improvement; and no traffic from Russian hackers.

So, overall a good week in writing.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

A Week in Writing #124

This was a bit of a short writing work week for me. Holidays, even New Years Day, can be disruptive. Also this week, I started back to my day job and that is also hard to adjust to after some time off. But still, I think we made progress.

To begin with, the big news is that we found a new colorist. Our current, and soon former, one has been super slow. He is more than a month behind and was before the holidays. He doesn't seem to be bothered by it either, making sure to take time off around Christmas. Not that I blame him for spending time with his family, it would have been nice if he had tried to catch up before checking out. Even though he's back, there are still two pages left to go. This was the issue I had hoped to have done by Labor Day last year, not Valentine's Day this year. He had to go and so he will be gone after he delivers the pages he's been hired to complete. If I hadn't already paid him in advance for the pages, he would be gone already.

The search for a new colorist had to go through other means and it was with help that we found some candidates, recommendations from the Savannah College of Art and Design. While our first candidates did not pan out, they did connect us to someone we ended up hiring. Since it is not my practice to name people without their permission and I haven't asked for hers, she will remain anonymous for now, but we have great hopes for getting this back on track, even though the first two issues will have to be re-colored. She thinks she can do four pages a week which would mean she might finish the second issue before our former colorist.

We also started our artist on the third issue of PowerSquared. His rate has gone up, but I'm hoping I can handle the increase. No pages yet, but it's still early.

We also settled on a new logo. Though the final product isn't completed, the look has been decided.

I decided to make a concerted effort to get back to my other writing and picked up Familiar Stranger to work on rewrites. I decided to start from the beginning and work my way through the entire book. I know eventually I will come to the problem passage, but by then I'm hoping to be able to actually fix it this time around, rather than just write around it.

Still no new queries to report, but those things take more time than I have at the moment. They seem simple enough, but having to customize each one, even a little, takes time and I'm always worried there is a mispelled word or something that will adversely effect my query. I don't need the aggravation at the moment, but I will get to them.

Over the holiday, I did write a review of Arrival, which I posted Saturday on Trophy Unlocked. I did write a new one this weekned which I'll publish next week for The Endless Summer (1966), a film we watched as a family on Friday night.

So, things seem to be firing on all cylinders week one into 2017. Hopefully, things will continue to move forward as the year progresses.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

A Week in Writing #123

Happy New Years! A time to look back and a time to look forward.

My hope is to become a published author with the goal of being able to make a living from writing. I know that's what they call in business a "stretch goal", but it is something that I try to work on everyday, though some days are better than others.

I started this year with high hopes and while I haven't reached any of my goals, I am, I think, getting closer. I wanted to work on two things this past year, my detective fiction and the comic book. Sadly, it has become a choice and more often than not, I've had to choose the comic book, PowerSquared (Powers Squared) because it was in the active progress of being drawn.

There always seems to be something that needs to happen with it, just as there is now. We're always nudging an artist to complete the task at hand; necessary, but never fun. It was only days ago that the artist finished the color and we're gearing up for the third issue. I really hope that it won't take as long.

I can't go into things at present, but we (Paul and I) are trying to take steps to ensure that it doesn't. It makes me mad that it's taken so long and I don't want to go another year like this one again. A learning experience, yes, but not always a pleasant one. 2017 will not be like that one. But while I want speed, I have to balance that with the expense. Self-funded means that I can't go as fast as I'd like, at least not with there being no money coming in for it. I hope that changes as well in the new year.

I really want to get back to the detective fiction in the worst way. There are two books that desperately need rewriting and agents to query for rejections. And I have other ideas that I want to put down on "paper", I may have to get better at segregating my time. Since I only have an hour or two each day, I might have to segregate my limited time between projects.

While I really wish I could have written more, the holidays are not necessarily the best time for it. There were other things to do and they all take time away from writing. Still, I managed to write three reviews this past week. One I published on Saturday, a 1200 word review of Good Ol' Freda (2013), a documentary about Brian Epstein's secretary who also ran The Beatles Fan Club from before they were The big "B" Beatles and until after they broke up. And about 900 words about the current film Passengers that was published today. I also wrote 3100 words about Shield For Murder (1954), which will be published later.

One thing about writing reviews is that they're usually easy to do and they don't take much time to do. Everything else takes weeks and months and endless rewrites, so I never get the same feeling of accomplishment as I do with a review.

Here's hoping that 2017 is a better year than 2016. That we all get what we want to accomplish done and new opportunities will open themselves up for continued growth.