Sunday, August 27, 2017

A Week in Writing #157

Every week provides its own opportunities and challenges. This past week was no different. I must say that I wasn't always up to it, feeling a little under the weather for the first few days. Not really sick, but just enough that I was tired.

But that said, I was able to write a new review during those days and post it on Trophy Unlocked. A Night at the Movies (1937) would be published as our Saturday Morning Review. Had a harder time than usual with getting screenshots. There are very few images related to this short on the internet and my computer, for some reason, refused to play it again, so I had to watch a pirated copy on YouTube and snip images from that. Very frustrating and time-consuming, when time is always of the essence.

Over the weekend, I would write another one, The Mad Miss Manton (1938), which ended up being about 3500 words. Luckily, many more images available. That one should come out next Saturday, so stay tuned.

Did some work on Familiar Stranger, but it never seems to be enough. I'm up to almost 44,000 words on the rewrite, so I did make some progress, about 6000 words, but there is so much more that could be done. Something has to give and this week it was this rewrite. Hopefully, this week Familiar Stranger will be closer to the top rather than almost an afterthought.

What work I did accomplish was mostly on Powers Squared (still available for purchase if you're so inclined) and even that doesn't feel like that much happened.

We did hear back from the artist we had been wanting to do the cover for Issue #3, but his asking price, though not unrealistic for his talent, was far more than I could afford to pay at this point; about half as much I had spent on the entire issue. We're having to go with plan B, which we're figuring out at present.

As for our third email, we did hear back on that as well. Very positive response from a writer/editor at a major label. He thought the book was fun, which was a compliment. We were very pleased but had secretly hoped he might be so taken he'd offer to help us get it physically published, though probably not where he works. We might be able to ask for that help, but right now we're basking in the praise.

Our artist did send us layouts for four pages, 5 through 8, though we did have comments about all four, which is pretty normal for how we've been working with him. We did discover that for one page we had two panel fives, which as we all know is one five too many. We did a little rewrite to compensate. This just shows no matter how hard you think you've combed through something, there is always a surprise waiting for you.

The colorist also sent four pages, though for perhaps the first time, they need revisions. No worries, but it makes me happy we looked at them more closely than normal.

Made a discovery, almost too late, as it relates to the next story arc. I had, sometime back, marked up the script for Kirby Big and Small, the working title for the next few issues. I was in the midst of shredding old papers when I realized I wasn't sure if I had actually ever updated the script on the computer. Turns out I hadn't, so I had to re-edit the first six pages.

So this coming week there will hopefully be time for updating that script and working on Familiar Stranger. Rewrites and more rewrites are the action verbs for next week.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

A Week in Writing #156

More Sunday night reflections on my writing for the week just past.

Every time I sit down to write this, I always feel like there is so much more I could have done. I have goals in mind, but I feel like I'm really no closer to achieving them than I was the week before. While that might not be true, it is always how I feel.

I usually write this in the afternoon, so sometimes events happen after I've published. As an example, our colorist for Powers Squared sent in her pages Sunday night, so that part of Issue #4 is complete. Still, there is work to be done with the lettering, but things are moving forward.

Of the three emails, I was waiting to hear back on, only one responded, our contact at ComiXology. He thought Issue 3 was fine and ready to go. One of the emails we're waiting on has put us in a bit of a holding pattern, the artist we're hoping to do the cover for #3 hasn't gotten back to me. I'm not a fan of waiting, but I try to give people the benefit of the doubt that they're busy. I've been known to put people off for a few days now and again myself.

So as Powers Squared stands now, Issue #3 is done except for the cover, Issue #4 is drawn and colored and Issue #5 is off the ground with pages 1 through 4 on their way to the colorist and 5 through 8 getting underway.

I deferred for a few days on following up on the third email, but I will next week if I don't hear and will report back here.

As far as Trophy Unlocked is concerned, I seem to have exhausted my ready supply of unpublished reviews. I still have some in my quiver, but at least five are scheduled for holidays, three for Halloween and two for Christmas. This week, in order to catch up, I decided to take a look at short films, starting with How To Sleep (1935), the Academy Award winning comedy short written and starring Robert Benchley.

For the first time in quite awhile, watched a movie, but didn't write a review. Went to see The Hitman's Bodyguard in the theaters on opening day no less, but since it's released by my employer, we decided that it would be considered a conflict of interest to review it.

Did write a review over the weekend for another movie we watched at home on Friday, Running Scared (1986). I remember watching this in theaters when it was first released and before I worked at MGM, its distributor. It's one of those films waiting for Christmas, so you'll have to wait until then for the review.

This leaves Familiar Stranger for the writing trifecta. While I might do more before the day is done, I am a little over 38,000 words and 212 pages into the rewrite at this point. It always feels like I give this the short shrift, but I'm about 10,000 words further along than I was last weekend, so I guess I must be doing something.

So the goals for the coming week, another review for Trophy Unlocked, more pages on Familiar Stranger and hopefully progress on Powers Squared. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A Week in Writing #155

Another Sunday night and another reflection on the week that was and wasn't as far as my writing goes. I hit the usual marks, Powers Squared, Familiar Stranger and Trophy Unlocked, but there is always the feeling that I could have done more.

Let's begin where we begin most posts with a little visitation to Powers Squared. We're sort of spread out over three different issues at the moment. Issue #3 is just about done. Our trusty letterer delivered the changes that we asked for last night. We still have a credit's page and a cover to go, more about the latter in a moment.

Sent the revision to the same guy at ComiXology whom we met with on the first day of Comic-Con, the meeting right after some guy threatened to knock out my teeth for bumping into him. We gave him the book as it was then, but never heard back. Followed up last weekend, and again no response. Sent him the revised version today so there's always hope. Promises sort of seem hollow when people don't follow through.

As far as the cover, we were able to get a response from the artist we're interested in using. That came this week after we followed up from the first email we sent about ten days before. (Do you see a trend here?). He asked a couple of questions that we answered, so we're back on the wait game with him as well.

I try not to fault people for not responding, as I assume they're really busy, but it still hurts when they don't. I can't help that feeling. It's sort of like one of the guys I showed it to at work. He'd had the book for a couple of months now so I asked him if he'd read it. "Well, no, I haven't had a chance." That sort of hurts, too. This isn't War and Peace I'm asking him to read, but a 20 page comic book that's mostly pictures.

Overall, I've sort of been disappointed in the people I've shared it with so far, as most have not responded or read it. One guy went out of his way to give me his comic book reading credentials, but as far as I know has never actually read it. I think I gave it to him back in October. People don't respond they way you'd hope they would. Even negative criticism would be better than radio silence.

So end's this week's rant.

Issue #4 is about four pages away. In this case, we have a cover, the one originally intended for Issue #3. Now we're waiting for the colorist, which is unusual, and then it's off to the letterer.

And Issue #5 has four pages penciled, which is faster than normal. So progress is being made.

Don't want to waste the opportunity, so in case you've been wanting to buy them, but just didn't have an easy link, Powers Squared Issues #1 and #2 are still for sale on ComiXology. You know ABS: Always Be Shilling.

I'm still loving the rewrite process with Familiar Stranger. I really feel like the book is getting better. At this moment, I'm up to 157 and 28,600 words in. Writing to show not tell and tightening it up as I go. All this from the Drake programs at Comic-Con. Trying to ride that as far and as long as I can. I know there is some real rewriting in my future, but I'll get to that when I get to it. I'm hoping the momentum will continue when I get to those pages.

It's been a busy weekend on Trophy Unlocked. It started with the Saturday Morning Review, this week Shield for Murder (1953). Then later that night, Paul posted a review of the really horrible Sharknado 5: Global Swarming.

Trevor followed that up with a Sharknado Review Hub. Turns out we've reviewed all but one of those movies on the Blog.

Ended the week with a review of Atomic Blonde (2017), a film we saw in the theaters on Friday. I know its a little late to the game, but no one's giving us free tickets, so we see them when we can.

Well that about wraps it up for this week. Not sure what awaits next week. More work on the usual, hopefully. And maybe, just maybe, some people will respond to our emails from this week and last. Wouldn't that be something? I know, don't get my hopes up. Check back next week and see what happens. And in the meantime, keep writing.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

A Week In Writing #154

Sunday nights are the worst time of the week for me. All the promise of the weekend is gone by then, so in addition to all that you did and accomplished, there are still those things you needed to do, but didn't and more importantly the things that you wanted to do, but didn't. Taking this little reckoning at the end of the week is a reminder of all that I didn't get done that I wanted to, to go along with what I did.

Another concert this weekend, Slayer at the Forum, sort of dominated Saturday. Even though it was in a good way, that meant less time for everything else. You can't live life only doing what you have to do, but everything is a balancing act. Even though I was at the concert, I still managed to forward new pages for Powers Squared to the colorist before and between acts, our artist only finishing and sending tiffs to us that evening. We had been working him throughout the week on little tweaks to the final four pages.

Now that that's settled, Issue #5 has officially begun and, of course, the waiting for pages begins anew.

So, we're getting close to the end of Issue #4, at least from an artwork standpoint. There is still lettering to go, but I think that should go pretty quickly. Trevor has not been the speed bump in this process.

Issue #3 sort of languishes. One of the things I haven't gotten to is a final review of everything and the inside page of the cover. Speaking of the cover, we still haven't heard back from the artist we approached about doing the cover for us. Not sure why. Followed up with him on Sunday afternoon, so hopefully, we'll hear either way soon.

His email was one of three that I sent this afternoon, the other two following up with different people about feedback from Comic-Con. As I've written before, waiting is the worst. Going hand in hand with that is his sister anticipation and his cousin anxiety: "Will he say yes?" "Will they like it?"

The rewrites of Familiar Stranger continue. Now I'm a little over 14,000 words and 79 pages into the process. Really liking the new knowledge and putting it to use. I really like making things better, though I hope the 12th time through is the charm. Want to finish and move on.

The third tip in my trident of writing is Trophy Unlocked. Every Saturday morning I publish a new review and this week was no exception with Detour (1945), an early entry into the Film Noir genre. Began working on a review for Lethal Weapon (1987), but this one may wait for the Christmas season before getting published. Anyone familiar with our Christmas reviews knows we include more than just traditional Christmas movies and anyone familiar with Lethal Weapon will know why.

So next week's agenda is to work on finalizing Powers Squared Issue #3, finishing my review of Lethal Weapon and getting further into Familiar Stranger. I'll report back here and let you know how I do.