Sunday, March 26, 2017

A Week in Writing #135

So, just when you think things are going well...

Had a little hiccup with the comic book. A little coloring issue on the verge of putting Issue #1 to bed and hopefully showing it at WonderCon, which is next weekend. We have a tentative appointment to meet with someone from ComiXology and want to be ready. Our colorist really came through redoing all the issues in one day. Really terrific.

Otherwise, things have been sort of quiet on that front. Our artist seems to be stuck on one image that isn't quite right, but I found a very similar image on Facebook via an ad. I guess those suggested posts occasionally do pay off. Sent it to him, but it's been a couple of days and no word.

Have been using the extra free time to keep working on my rewrite of Familiar Stranger. I'm about 52,000 words in and just getting to the place where I'm going to have to make up things again. Up until now, it's been a lot of editing with a little original writing thrown in. I think it's reading better, but I know I'll need editing. Hope my regular is available when the time comes up. It's been over a year since I thought I was on the verge of sending him something, only to realize I had nothing ready to go. As much work as Familiar Stranger needs it is nothing compared to my other choice.

I said I would inform if I heard back on my Submittable submission, so... well, I haven't. That issue is still stuck in neutral and the cat is both alive and dead. I'd like to be more confident, but experience has taught me not to expect much. I'm going to give them a couple more days and then I guess I'll have to find another way of contacting them.

Not sure when I'll have time to make another query push. I haven't been keeping up with websites like QueryTracker; no time. Maybe I should start over when things quite down. The next month and a half are already sort of planned out from the personal side of the equation which makes it difficult to have the diligence I'm going to need. By then some agents start taking off for the summer and conferences.

Did write a new review for future use: about 3000 words on Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), which I saw during the week on TCM. Published the last of the March Western reviews, Blazing Saddles (1974), a parody of the genre with a Mel Brooks' twist.

Not sure what next week will present. Hoping to make more progress on Familiar Stranger, but also have to get Powers Squared ready for its close up. If we indeed have our meeting at WonderCon, will report back here.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Week in Writing #134

I would say that this was a pretty inspired week for me.

I feel very reinvigorated with my writing, maybe that's because I'm making progress on the re-write of Familiar Stranger. Last week I was about 12,000 words in. This week so far I'm up to a little over 28,000. It helps a great deal that I'm plopping back in chapters I've already written, but I'm having to update them to a slightly different story, so there is still some writing involved. Not only am I having to edit, but I'm having to write in missing passages to reconnect pieces that hadn't been connected before.

Frankly, this is how a lot of my other books have gone. I won't talk about them like they're real, that is published works, rather than just novels sitting on my hard drive, but I've often borrowed from column A and added them to column B. I think it's part of my process. I'm not the type of writer who maps everything out from beginning to end before writing a letter. I'm more of seat-of-the-pants type. I have a vague idea of what I want to happen and where and how it will end, but all the details sort of fill themselves in as I go. This is like my twelfth dance with this book, so I kind of know most of the steps by heart by now. That doesn't mean there won't be stumbling blocks in the way. I've come up against them before and that's sort of why this is my twelfth time through.

I feel like the time change has given me more of the day. I was expecting it to kick my ass, but it didn't. It's psychological I know, but it's not pitch black outside when I get home and I feel a little more regenerated rather than ready to call it a night. That is not to say I'm not still tired and a little sleepy after a day's work, but I think I'm getting more done.

It also helps that there has been progress on our comic book but that it hasn't been all time consuming getting there. Our letterer has finished page 20, the final page of Issue #1. Still, have the cover and the credits, but this is really good.

Our colorist had sort of an off week since she was moving. We've still gone back and forth over a panel on page 4. Not quite right, but I'm not sure how to express to her what we're looking for. I've sent examples from various sources. I'm hopeful we'll get it right and move on. She's really super responsive, which is great. Even when I don't expect her to write back, she does, I think it's like past two in the morning sometimes when she does.

Our artist is getting through page 16 of issue #3 and should be starting on the last four next week. We always seem to have a little back and forth on pages and panels, but we're doing the best we can to get it right. But we only communicate via email, so it's difficult to sometimes discuss concepts. He tends to just redraw what we've asked and rarely has any comments, which would be nice. We'd like to think of it as a collaborative effort.

I also followed up on my submission of Personal and Professional, the one book I've tried to query lately, with the agent, whom I found through Submittable. So far this has taken a textbook query process. I think I first contacted them back in June with the first five chapters. They were surprisingly prompt in responding, but I had to follow up with them after a couple of months. They asked for the entire manuscript, but the way Submittable works, in that the agent has to reopen the portal, that took until about 6 months ago to get to them. So soon, one way or another, Schroedinger's cat will either be alive or dead. Will update here when I know.

No new review, but I did publish one on Saturday, Westworld (1973) as part of Western month on Trophy Unlocked. The pageviews have been surprisingly strong with about 40 so far. I wonder if people are thinking it's about the HBO series. Had one of those embarrassing moments after I published it. I realized I had misspelled one of the lead's names throughout and had to fix it, hopefully before anyone noticed. Probably not, but oops!

So next week, I'm hoping to get more done on Familiar Stranger as well as more done on our comic book. Hopefully, I'll stay inspired next week as well.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

A Week in Writing #133

Another productive week, but not always for the right reasons, but more on that later.

The comic book, Powers Squared, does seem to be coming along. The artist has completed up through page 12 on Issue #3; the colorist is almost done with page 4, Issue #2 and the letterer is up to page 15 Issue #1. There is always give and take in all of this, different ideas and understandings, but I think things are generally moving forward.

Got some writing done this weekend, mostly because we were sort of "held hostage" by an incompetent handyman who was at our house for almost nine hours over two days and not only didn't they finish the work but left us with a mis-installed kitchen faucet and a leaking dishwasher. There were supposed to be three items done, but we kicked him out because we had other things to do with what was left of our weekend. Now we're probably looking at another weekend to get everything that should have been done this weekend. The groan of home ownership. Sometimes I think we have the wrong American dream.

That said, I was able to start and complete a 2300 word review of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? as well as get further into the rewrite of Familiar Stranger. I'm now about 12000 words into the rewrite. I had a couple of pretty good ideas about the book float up one morning when I went for a pre-breakfast walk. I try to do a mile every morning and now that I'm thinking about this rewrite, the ideas sort of came to me. I haven't written to those suggestions yet, but I do think they're going to help and I do think the book is getting better, which is always my goal.

I've sort of gotten a little gun shy about following up on a submission I made on Submittable back in September. An agency asked for the entire manuscript for Public and Private and I know you're supposed to give them 6 months to read it, which is a maddening amount of time to wait. I had stopped querying about it due to lack of time and I'm fearing the worst because it's sort of been beaten into me over time. The query is in a Schrodinger's Cat sort of state and I guess I don't want to know for a fact that it's dead. Go ahead, call me squeamish.

The Saturday Morning Review this week was Shane (1953). It was the 750th review on Trophy Unlocked and so far does not seem to be getting a lot of pageviews, only 16 so far, which is sort of low, but some of that goes hand in hand with posting on the weekend. I am sort of pleased that the Academy Award Review Hub I posted on Oscar night has been well read and I think is leading to pageviews for other posts linked to it.

Now on to the mundane. I'm not sure how the time change will affect me and my writing next week. I'm going to guess negatively, as it always seems to. So far day one, I'm fine, but it's really a day two through day four sort of adjustment. It will be nice to drive home during daylight, so there are small compensations, I guess.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

A Week in Writing #132

This was one of those weeks when things seemed to get done. Not that anything has been finished, mind you, but there was definite progress towards goals.

As always, let's begin with the comic book. Our colorist has moved on to issue #2. There are still some lingering details to be decided, like the color of flashbacks, but for the most part, the coloring is complete. She's been really easy to work with and we appreciate her skills. The lettering is coming along, up to page 12, but we'll get there, I'm sure. I want to have it completed by WonderCon. The artist has moved on to issue #3. We've seen pencils and layouts for pages 9 through 12, still waiting on the inks.

The rewrites on Familiar Stranger have picked up a bit. I'm up to 6300 words and page 34. I've been able to blop in pages from another version and rewrite them to fit the current story. My goal was to get into the action sooner and I think I've done that, though it will take someone else reading it to be sure it works.

As far as Trophy Unlocked goes, I published my Saturday morning review, this time kicking off a month of Westerns with The Magnificent Seven (1960). Got a few likes on Facebook which is always nice and the 23 pageviews aren't bad after only a couple of days. One of the things I learned from my aborted blogging class was that blog readership on the weekends are low and you should not publish on the weekends. Too bad for me, since this is the only time I do.

I'm a couple of reviews behind. One is for Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015), an HBO documentary. My whole family really got into watching Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath and were really interested in seeing Going Clear as a result. I'm even reading the book it's based on.

The other is What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), the movie that the series Feud: Bette and Joan is set around. Not sure I had seen the movie all the way through, so I wanted to see it before watching the series.

Did write a new one for later: The Founder (2016), the story of how Ray Kroc stole McDonald's away from Mac and Dick McDonald, starring Michael Keaton. Since the movie is still in the theaters, though barely, I'm going to wait to publish that review, since I do get into the synopsis of the story; something I try not to do if it's currently out. But I would recommend seeing it if you haven't already and few of you have. One take away from the movie is something Kroc believed in, persistence, and it applies to writing as well. No one gets anywhere without sticking with it, so keep writing.

So next week I'm going to be persistent about getting more from Issues 1, 2 and 3 and getting further into the rewrite of Familiar Stranger. I will of course post a new entry on this blog to let you know how I'm doing with my writing. Hope you're persistent with your writing as well.