Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Week in Writing #144

Turned out to be a much different week and weekend than I had hoped for. With the three-day Memorial Day weekend, I had visions of getting some writing done on my book and finishing up a review I started for the film San Francisco. But Friday afternoon, all that changed when I received word that my step-father was near death and my wife and I flew back to Dallas to see him. So writing has been replaced with packing, travel, and family. I do hope to write on the plane, but I will probably be away when this gets published.

That all seems to temper the good news of the week, which is that our comic book Issues #1 and 2 have been accepted at ComiXology. Now the waiting begins anew as I don't really know what the next steps in their process are or what sort of buildup there will be before it is published. I guess it's in the realm of we'll see.

The submission process was more daunting than it should have been, but I put that down to exhaustion on our part after the push for the graduations. We messed up a couple of things that and even though they had us resubmit the first issue in a slightly different pdf format, we couldn't update it on our own. Funny, they didn't ask us to resubmit Issue #2, even though it had the same incorrect setting. Go figure.

Had hoped to spend part of the weekend working on further submissions, but that seems unlikely, though I do hope I can work on a cover letter and synopsis. There are really not that many outlets for creator-owned material, as most of the majors like to think they have the content covered. And I'm getting the feeling that I should be submitting before we got this far, while the comic was still in development, but hey we are what we are.

Also had wanted to put the website out there more, but I'm not sure if that will happen or not.

The artist seems more committed to four pages a week, but sometimes I think he would hope we weren't as picky as we are about some of the panels. We have a certain look that we're trying to maintain, even though we're not the artists. Communicating that can sometimes be problematic.

The colorist has been doing her usual good work on four pages a week and our letterer is somewhat keeping pace, though he is still somewhat behind her; but we do have a while before we need the next issue.

Getting the artist and the colorist to be both working on four pages a week is a blessing and a curse. Yes, it is moving us forward, which is good, but it costs more and the nightly review of work takes up a lot of time. I know that may sound like complaining, but as we all know time and money are always in short supply. Spending the evening looking at a drawing or a layout seems like it is work that is never done. We're committed through Issue #5, so we'll see how it is going when we get there.  I'd like to think this could be an ongoing series, in much the same way I'd like to be a best-selling author, but that's up to the comic buying public.

Did publish a new Saturday morning review on Trophy Unlocked: Night Nurse (1931). While the film stars Barbara Stanwyck, the draw was supposed to be that the film was an early Clark Gable role.

Not sure what the next couple of weeks are going to look like. I don't wish this, but I'm imagining there will be other family commitments ahead.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

A Week in Writing #143

Well, I think I set the expectation bar appropriately low for this week in my last blog post. This wasn't really a week to concentrate on writing. In the balancing act between work, family and writing, this was definitely a family week. I had the pleasure to watch both of my sons walk across the stage at their college graduations from CSUN; Trevor's on Friday and Paul's on Saturday.

My luck that the temperature spiked about twenty degrees over the weekend; Oh the joys of living in the San Fernando Valley. It wasn't just the five hours or so each night we spent waiting for their names to be called, but it was also prepping for post-graduation parties with errands to run and cleaning to do. One of those weeks that puts writing into perspective. It's important to me, but not the only thing that is or the most important aspect of my life.

As I predicted, got very little writing done as a result. Managed to complete the review of Dance, Fools, Dance, but that was about it. Did publish the usual Saturday Morning review, this week The Lady Vanishes (1938), directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It was one that I had already prepped as a fall back, because I didn't have any time to prep a new one.

Progress was made on Powers Squared despite my being otherwise occupied. Our colorist continued her usual good work and is up to page 16 on Issue #3. She's come across the same issue that stopped our artist in his tracks for about a month. There is a car that is just not right. While we finally got him to fix one issue, it's brought up another for her. We're hoping she can make the fixes that she thinks are appropriate.

Our artist, meanwhile, has moved on to the cover of Issue #3 and is working on Issue #4. I think he's finally got it that we want him to turn around four pages a week. The slow down, at least this week, is totally on our side. We managed to squeeze in comments between ceremonies, but I think we're like three emails down as of this writing.

Trevor, our letterer, managed a few pages this week, despite his own graduation.

Started the submission process on Sunday afternoon for Powers Squared #1. Maybe being fatigued wasn't the best mindset to be in. The goal was to upload the first two issues, but we only got as far as Issue #1. There are only so many times you can think up a hopefully witty short description that doesn't give too much of the story away. I couldn't face doing Issue #2 this afternoon and didn't really have the time what with other priorities that were put off this weekend. Somehow the process seemed too arduous; wasn't expecting to have to do a W-9. Makes sense, but didn't anticipate that. We agreed to finish it tomorrow night.

Hopefully next week we can get back on schedule.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Week in Writing #142

This week wasn't, and next week doesn't promise to be, big weeks in writing. Every so often events come up that take almost all of your time and effort. The holidays are one example, so is Comic-Con, but this year there is also college graduations and the party that follows to get ready for. As such, most of the waking hours on the weekends have been devoted to getting the house ready for the party, as both of my sons will be graduating from college one day apart, this coming Friday and Saturday, so I get to play proud parents rather than wannabe writer. I'm sort of squeezing this out during a lull in the activity.

To top that off, I'm going through a bit of a wait-fest. As an example, with my novel, I haven't heard back from my editor. I know he's still alive, because I've seen him mentioned on Facebook, so that's no excuse. I haven't heard back from the agent who rejected me, but frankly, I would be totally surprised if I did.

With the comic book, more waiting. On Monday, we sent our completed Second Issue to be reviewed. Heard back that he would get back to us soon, but after a week I get worried as to what "soon" means. And to top it off, haven't heard from our artist since I last paid him. Not happy about that. He's supposed to do two pages a week and five days later, nothing. Making me reconsider our creative team if things don't improve and soon.

The bright spot with that has been the colorist who delivered her four pages this week, That means in a few weeks she will lap our artist.

Did a tiny bit of writing on Familiar Stranger, just enough to finish the chapter I was working on. Don't want to go big guns on it if there isn't going to be any time.

Didn't really have time to complete a new review this week either. Started one for Dance, Fools, Dance (1931), but I'm only a thousand words into it. That will probably be my goal for the week; getting that one done. Did publish on the Saturday morning review: Of Human Bondage (1934), so something happened.

It's all a balancing act between work, family and writing. Sometimes the pendulum swings one way and sometimes the other. This week it is definitely swinging away from the writing, but in a week or so it will swing back the other way. At least I hope.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

A Week in Writing #141

So busy week, why don't I feel like more got done?

To begin with, this was the week I finally heard back from that agent who had had my manuscript for Personal and Professional for six months. It took about six weeks to get a reply only to be told she had rejected it in January; just hadn't bothered to tell me that's all. She wrote some encouraging things, like "As you know, I do like this mystery" she also wrote it "needed to be updated a bit and made to feel a touch more modern." Since it's set in the present day, I'm not sure what she's after.

She also wrote, "As I suggested before, I'd like to see less talk and more action too." While that's not a bad suggestion, I have no idea when this "before" was that she refers to. And as perhaps unknowingly took a dig at my editor with "I'm hoping you'll have it edited and cleaned up, then that you'll forward it my way again."

Now this is by far from the worst rejection I've had and I've received plenty, but the fact that she took four months to tell me she had rejected me is a little off putting. I did forward the exchange to my editor, but I have not heard back, which sadly seems to be my luck with emails.

Managed to squeeze in a little writing on Familiar Stranger, but not enough to brag about. Only a few minutes and more just to complete a thought I hadn't. The goal is always to get to more of it, the reality is I don't always have the time I need.

Moving on to Powers Squared, the comic book is what occupies most nights for me. Received the final pages from our second colorist. Sad to part ways with her really, but she just wouldn't have the time to do more than a page or so a week. Our new colorist is burning up the joint, sending over the weekend pages 7 and 8. She has been great as well, helping to fix some of the debris left in the artwork; colorists are your last line of defense.

Speaking of which our artist has come awake and is working very hard to wrap up Issue #3 and seems anxious to start in on Issue #4. He took our request for more detail to heart and actually overdid it a little, needing to remove a mural he placed in the background. We thought it would be too distracting.

Our letterer worked through some changes for us and even my own blunder. I had written a short prologue for issue #2 which looked great on the page after some editing by Paul. The problem was, I realized I had sent the prologue for Issue #3 instead. It gets a little confusing going back and forth sometimes and that time in caught up with me.

But what it seems I've spent a lot of time on this past week is downloading, reviewing and commenting. You would be surprised how time-consuming those activities can be.

Managed to work on a couple of reviews this weekend, including one for Night Nurse (1931) that I'm still working on. I did write a short review of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 which we watched on Saturday night. I also published one for Charlie Chaplin's The Adventurer (1917) on Saturday morning, which means we published reviews for movies that were released about 100 years apart this weekend.

So all in all a busy week, but as always, I want to get more done.