Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Week in Writing #140

Okay, this was the week that really wasn't, at least as far as rewrites go. The plan, as always, is to work on the rewrite for Familiar Stranger and other things as well, but the other things sort of took the day and the nights this week.

Once again, I have a very small window of time every day and this week that little slice was taken up with Powers Squared. We have a new colorist for Issue #3 and she was sending us pages every day to look at. Not complaining about the work being done, just that every page has to be looked at and with the editor and that takes time out of the day and time away from Familiar Stranger.

Add to that the artist sending us one inked page and two layouts and one penciled page this week and that's more time devoted to the comic book. Again, so happy to see the work, but in addition to the review, there is the follow-up email that has to be thought out, considered and written, all of which is part of the process. There is a fine line between being critical and crushing someone's creative spirit so words have to be chosen carefully.

At one point on Sunday morning, we had a layout and a pencil from Issue #3, a new colored page from Issue #3 and the last page from Issue #2, all being done by three different people. Then there was some paperwork to be done: an addendum to one agreement and a Copyright Assignment for the logo.

I did manage to write a review this weekend for Of Human Bondage (1934), a film we watched as part of our Friday pizza and movie night. Sort of managed to squeeze in 2352 words in between errands and household duties. We're also trying to pull the house together for a graduation party in two weeks, so writing time is at a premium. We're probably also going to have to curtail movies in the theater until after the party as well.

Did publish a new Saturday morning review, Cafe Society (2016). While I usually shy away from films the company I work for is involved with, I made an exception for Woody Allen. I had seen the film in theaters when it was first released but wanted to give his film a more in-depth review, so I waited to publish it.

Did not hear back from the agent so I'm pretty close to writing that off as a failure. Did Not Respond (DNR) is the saddest thing when it comes to queries and it especially hurts when someone has requested a full manuscript and can't be bothered to return your emails. The takeaway here then is that you really have to research agents and not to simply trust that sites like Submittable have vetted them at all. Why is it always the ones who show interest in my work that I have to scrutinize the most?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Week in Writing #139

Okay, this week didn't really go as planned. I had high hopes on Sunday night for the following week, but things got derailed on Wednesday morning and I don't think I ever really recovered. Wednesday was the day our colorist turned in her notice that she was leaving our project. It wasn't a creative difference, but the cold realities of work. She's taking a 9 to 5 job and didn't feel she could handle doing four pages a week for us.

That threw me into a tailspin that I never really recovered from. Now some of that is me being hypersensitive, but some of that is the cold reality of a wrench being thrown into the works. We were very happy with her work and very sad to see her go. We tried to figure out how we could do it with less output, but as there is a different story arc between issues 2 and 3, now was the time to make a change and, reluctantly, we did.

To her credit, she did give us the name of a friend of hers that she could highly recommend. So, after letting her see the comic book and us looking at her work online and her doing a test page, I believe we've found our new colorist; our third on this project.

Pinged our artist after it has been a month and no finished pages. To his credit, he did respond and I believe we're on the verge of wrapping up Issue #3, though I think it's going to be a week or more before we're done. It's been about four months to get 20 pages done, which is not sustainable in the long run. We had to move on from our current colorist since her output would drop. Just putting that out there.

We still need to finish Issue #2. Our current colorist still has four pages to submit and we'd still like her to color the cover. Not sure how that fits in with her new schedule. Our letterer has done about seven pages so far but hopefully, can do more this week. The goal is still the end of the month/beginning of May.

Did some more work on the website, adding a couple of pages for Jennifer Perry and Mocha in the last couple of days. Still, don't know what I'm doing and if anyone wants to give feedback I'd welcome it. Hint!

As promised, I did email the agent who has had Personal and Professional for the past six months. I was trying to figure out how to contact her and looked her up on the internet. Disappointed to find a thread about her on QueryTracker. She's not listed on the site, but writers had plenty to say about her, none of it really positive. Now I'm feeling like I've wasted six months waiting for her. If I don't hear from her in the next week or so, I'm going to have to call the whole thing off. Need to send more queries, but that's where time and I part company.

Managed very little in the way of rewrites on Familiar Stranger. Know what to do, but time again was a factor. It helps when everything is running smoothly.

Didn't write a new review this week, though I did publish one for The Founder (2016). Pageviews on the blog have really dropped in the last few days. We've averaged about 600 a day for the past few months and now we're down to about 10% of that level. Hopefully, it is a temporary thing; I mean with the weather being nice, who's reading a blog anyway? Hello? Anybody out there?

Next week, now that things seem settled, I can get back at it. There are still some lingering I'll call legal things I need to get done for the comic book, but I am hoping to get back to writing more.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

A Week in Writing #138

Well, as promised, I concentrated my writing this week on two reviews, well actually three. My intention was to complete my review of the original Ghost in the Shell and do another one to up my backlog: King Kong (1933). Well, as it turns out, I did finish King Kong and published it as Trophy Unlocked's Saturday Morning Review, click here to read it.

Didn't really work on Ghost in the Shell, though I did write a review of Detour (1945), a film I had recently seen on TCM. It was being hyped as one of the great Film Noirs of all time. Spoiler: I disagree, but that review will have to wait to be published.

Plan to return my attention back to Familiar Stranger. It was getting to the tricky part for me, but I think I can overcome that this time around. Sort of miss working on it. Will try to work on Ghost in the Shell as time permits.

Well, the first issue of the comic book is all but done now. A few things to be tended to, but nothing to do with the content at least. Sent our latest version to our, I'll call him, publisher and he didn't report any issues back. And if he's happy, we're happy.

Issue #2 is down to its last four pages to color and I expect our letterer to start on it in earnest this coming week. Again, my goal is to be done in two to three weeks. And then I think we'll be ready for publication.

Towards that end, did more work this week on our website: Updated the character drawings with color renderings taken from panels in the book and even added the first charaacter page for Marty and Eli Powers. Hope to do something similar for all the main characters. Trying to be informative without giving the story away. I'm still rather apprehensive about that. Please check it out and let me know what you think. I'm sure it can be improved. Feedback is always welcomed.

Issue #3 seems to be churning, though not very fast. Got a couple of layouts, but considering it's been a month and the artist is supposed to do four pages every two weeks, its not good. We spent an inordinate amount of time on one panel, but that's really no excuse. Not sure what the problem is. I'm afraid the colorist will eventually lap him if he continues at this pace.

Next week, in addition to Familiar Stranger, I need to ping the agent who's had Personal and Professional since September. It's time to open the box and see if Schrödinger's cat is alive or dead. Will report here either way.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

A Week in Writing #137

There is not the recovery period after one day at WonderCon like there is after four days at Comic-Con, but it does take a day or so to get back into the swing of things. Still, you don't want those moments to pass so quickly. We did have a productive meeting about the comic book, so you want to sort of savor that for a moment before getting back to work on the project.

Our artist has been quiet for too long so I pinged him during the week. He's off to a family function and unapologetically won't get back to new pages until this coming week. Not what I really wanted to hear, but until such a time as this becomes a going entity, deadlines are a little on the softside, though you do have to wonder if it will be come an issue later on. He's four pages away from finishing issue #3, so you kind of want to get that done sooner rather than later.

Had a little back and forth with the colorist in a creative way, trying to find the right colors for when the boys use their powers. Marty is blue and Eli is red, which is also in keeping with their telepathic abilities, but it was finding the right tone of the red that we discussed during the week. She delivered 9 through 12 on Saturday and hopefully will be wrapping up to page 16 in a week or so. Again, the sooner the better there as well.

We started this project 16 months ago and we're still on issue #1, though what's left are only minor lettering tweaks. But those will have to wait another week to be addressed as our letterer is involved in a drawing class that wraps up this coming Saturday. Then I'm counting on him sort of sweeping through the pages after that and before he gets involved in another class or project.

Took the definitive step of setting up a Powers Squared Comic Book website. was already taken by a brother and sister writing team, whose last name is Powers. I'm sort of mad at myself because I could have grabbed all the Powers Squared website, twitter and Facebook accounts before them, but we were calling ourselves PowerSquared until this year, too late I'm afraid. Don't want to push any attention their way, but I'm sure that may happen over time. Our website is, accept no substitute. If you check it out remember it's my first one. Now I need to work on twitter and Facebook. We're not the type to take a lot of pictures of ourselves, so I'm not sure we need Instagram or YouTube accounts, at least not yet. Will keep you posted here how it goes.

I did check Submittable about my query for Public and Private; nothing. Decided to give them as much time as they took to respond to my first query and made a point of marking my calendar to contact them. The only way I know, if they're not responsive to Submittable, is to email them through their website. Still, the fact I haven't heard anything from them does not necessarily bode well for them taking me on as a client, but we'll get to those sour grapes when the time is right and not before.

Did make some more progress on Familiar Stranger, though I am now definitely in the area where it has bogged down before. I did have some good ideas about that on one of my morning walks, so I was sure to make notes and I'm hoping to incorporate them soon. Though this week, I think I may need to work on reviews for Trophy Unlocked, as my backlog is slimmer and the one I'm workng on for the original Ghost in the Shell is more involved than I would have thought. I need to get this one done and may squeeze out another one this week as well. I'm thinking the original King Kong, since I saw it recently again on TCM and we've never reviewed it before. Published a review on Saturday morning for Shakespeare in Love.

So that's the week that was and the one I'm planning for the next week. Will let you know here how it goes. And if you do go to the new website, please leave me feedback. I'm sure it can be improved.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

A Week in Writing #136 - WonderCon

Usually after visiting a convention, San Diego Comic-Con or WonderCon aka Anaheim Comic Con, we write a Report from the Front discussing what we saw and what we learned. This time it will be a little different as while we walked the exhibit floor, attended a panel and actually attended a party, the big news for me, and for us, is that Powers Squared should be getting a digital publication in the next few months. Details on that when it gets closer.

We're still a ways away from being ready, but things are looking promising. The comments we received on our first issue were positive and constructive. The coloring is really greatly improved and that was noted. We still have some tweaking to do with the lettering, but it was a positive review session. As we get closer we'll be no doubt launching twitter and facebook accounts and inviting everyone who reads this to follow. Your support will be greatly appreciated.

Work continues on Powers Squared Issues #2 and 3, with our colorist working on page 10 and the artist hopefully moving on to the last four pages of issue #3. There will no doubt be tweaks on these before we're through, but any progress is good.

For the most part, WonderCon is just a smaller version of SDCC and one day is usually enough to see everything on the exhibit floor. Panels would be another reason to attend. There is usually a mixture of educational/instructional ones and those that are more for entertainment purposes, like the one we attended after our meeting.

Cartoon Voices was a panel hosted by Mark Evanier with five voice actors that you may have heard of, but whose voices you probably definitely know: Dan Gilvezan, Elle Newlands, Bill Farmer, Katie Leigh and Daniel Ross. These are men and women who don't just recite lines in their own voices, ala Jack McBrayer or Kristen Schaal, but do a wide-range of unique ones. Farmer, for example, does Goofy for Disney and Ross Donald Duck. All the actors were asked pretty much the same questions, what voices they do, the most obscure job they've done and then performed together in a cold read of Rapunzel. Very entertaining.

Writing this week slowed down on Familiar Stranger. I'm up to 57,000 words and 305 pages; finally getting to the parts that really need rewriting. I'm still not 100 percent sure about this middle part, which is what has stumped me in the past, so the writing may slow down for a bit as it's harder work than the rewrite has been up to now.

Still, no word on the Submittable Query and I haven't yet followed up. Sometimes there are weeks when there is too much and too little time to get to everything you intend to. Sort of lost the weekend, from Friday night on, due to WonderCon: prep, attendance, and recovery. My Fitbit says I walked 6.35 miles, which I think might be low, but remember I was carrying a backpack most of that time,

I did write a new review this week for Predator (1987) and published an older one, From Here to Eternity (1953), as Trophy Unlocked's Saturday Morning Review. As is customary with the blog, we also posted an April Fool's one for Wall Street Kid HD, a nonexistent videogame. Sorry, but with leaving for WonderCon early and coming back late, didn't really have a chance to promote, but a few people did find it and read it on their own.

So the week ahead should show more progress on the comic book and the mystery novel, but just how much is anyone's guess.