Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Week in Writing #175

This was sadly the week that almost wasn't for me. I can't blame this solely on the holidays, either. My wife and I both came down with what I assume was food-poisoning after our family ate out on Christmas Eve. It didn't really come on to me until late on Christmas Day and didn't let up for a couple of days. Things got pushed back, even Movie Day, which is our traditional day after Christmas day to veg and watch movies.

So basically, I lost about half of the week and really haven't gotten much done. Before I fell under the spell of sickness, I did finish the chapter I was working on in Familiar Stranger, but not much more I'm sad to say. The count and amount, if anyone besides me is keeping track, is 61,334 words and 328 pages. I had higher hopes.

No new reviews this week either. On Movie Day, we watched three films that I think will result in reviews from me for Trophy Unlocked: The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934); Time Bandits and Beggars of Life. The latter film is the one I've begun working on. A silent film which stars Wallace Beery, my main interest is the lead actress Louise Brooks. I was given a book about the film for Christmas, Beggars of Life: A Companion to the 1928 Film which I've since read as part of research for the review. The book is surprisingly thin but does provide some depth I couldn't find anywhere else. It also pointed me to an essay Louise Brooks had written, On Location with Billy Wellman, which is also about her experience with the filming. I had read this essay before, but read it again as more research for the review.

In the meantime, worked on my end of the year list, which was published earlier today, along with those by the other two writers on Trophy Unlocked. See Paul's here and Trevor's here. With nothing new to show, published Twins as the blog's last Saturday Morning Review of the year. (Our 825th since the blog was founded.)

At the end of that review, I put a link to our own story about twins, Powers Squared (see what I did there?). To that end, my big accomplishment of the week with the comic book was to register Issues 3 through 5 for copyright and sending the script for the next two issues to the artist and the colorist. Funny how sometimes even small accomplishments can seem huge. But that was the week that almost wasn't.

Well, this is the time of the year when you're supposed to say I want to be sure to write more in the coming year, but that goes without saying; that's my goal every week.

So to everyone out there, Happy New Year and may 2018 be creative and productive for you.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

A Week in Writing # 174

With the holiday coming quickly, I wanted to take a few minutes to play catch up with this week in writing. Things begin to slow down towards the end of the year and while I try not to let that happen to me I know that there are times when I don't take advantage as much as I should.

Finally did deliver the next three issues of Powers Squared to our editor at ComiXology, where issues #1 and #2 are still available for purchase. Hopefully, things will go well and there will be some sort of push prior to it getting published.

I also did make some updates to adding in the cover, credits, and logline for Issue #3 and some other minor edits. Webdesigner is not a skillset that I brag about and every time I make a change I always have to ask myself, "How did I do this last time?" But I did promise I would make updates, so I felt I had to keep my word.

No new reviews were written this past week, but I did publish our last Christmas review of the season, Miracle on 34th Street, on Trophy Unlocked. There will be opportunities later in the week, as we spend the day after Christmas watching movies, so hopefully, something will shake out. I also still have to write an end of the year in review piece, so there will be more work to be done on Trophy Unlocked.

Trophy Unlocked celebrated its 7th birthday on Monday with a review of The Last Jedi on Monday. We celebrated the 80th Anniversary of Disney's release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with a review hub devoted to Disney's Animated Features and their live-action remakes. On Friday, we posted our fourth of four reviews of the classic video game series Ty the Tasmanian Tiger with a review of Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 4.

As far as the rewrites on Familiar Stranger, I'm happy to say I have made some progress. I'm currently working on page 322, but I'm up just over 60,000 words. I've done some original work on a couple of chapters and as I'm going I'm making changes which, as always, I hope are making it better. I'm just about to the same spot that has given me issues in previous rewrites of the book, but I've done some rethinking on this stretch, so I'm hoping with some time during the week I should be able to get past it but that will be fodder for next week.

I'm not going to try to set any goals for the week, or at least not ones I'm going to cop to this week. But in the meantime, I want to wish everyone who reads this blog a Happy Holidays.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

A Week in Writing # 173

Well, we're getting down to the wire with the Christmas holidays fast approaching. All the cards have been sent and most, but not all, the presents bought. So thoughts turn to writing when I have the opportunity.

To keep with the spirit of the holiday, let's start with Trophy Unlocked's third Christmas review of the season: Scrooge (1935), an English film starring Sir Seymour Hicks, an actor who played the role on stage about 2000 times. Last year, we reviewed four other adaptations of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, so this is one that we hadn't reviewed. We also published a vintage video game review Ty, the Tasmanian Tiger 3: Night of the Quinkan on Friday.

Trophy Unlocked celebrates its 7th Anniversary tomorrow with a review of Star Wars The Last Jedi, a film which we saw on Sunday, in 3-D at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood. You'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out what Paul thought of the film.

Worked this week to finally finish the three-issue arc of Powers Squared. Lettering issues aside, I found a coloring error on one panel in the the third issue, something minor, but it took two days to correct. I used the colorist who had done the work since I thought it would be easier for her to make the correction.

I had wanted to submit the comic book to a short story contest and the deadline was Saturday at 11:59 pm. I had everything finally put together in a five-issue pdf with only a few minutes left and then I couldn't connect. I was getting an error on the second page of the process. I wrote to the contest with a screenshot showing the issue and, to their credit, they let me submit late but talk about cutting it close. Not sure what to expect, but I wanted to at least try to see how it might do.

Next up, I need to spend some time on the website, so look for those changes in the next week.

With Familiar Stranger, I managed to make some progress and actually got into some real writing on it. I'm working on a new chapter which I decided to add during this rewrite. I'm currently up to 48,000+ words, which is about 6,000 words further than I was last week. I'm hoping that with Powers Squared finally put to bed and now new reviews for Trophy Unlocked, I can concentrate my writing time, when available, to this work.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Week in Writing #172

Before my writing turns to Christmas cards, I want to take a little time to catch up with the week that was. Managed to spend some time on all the projects, including Powers Squared, Trophy Unlocked and Familiar Stranger.

For Trophy Unlocked, I decided to get all of this year's Christmas reviews ready to publish over the next two weeks. Saturday's post was Running Scared (1986) a second buddy cop film set in and around Christmas, what we like to call on the blog, drive-by Christmas films.

Finished off two other reviews, which are more traditional fare: Scrooge (1935) and Miracle on 34th Street. Those two reviews, 1400 and 4000 words respectively, will appear over the next couple of weeks and be added to our Holiday film hub. I wrote a couple of additional reviews, one for Justice League, which I will publish sometime next week. I know that the film has been out, but it was not a priority for us to see, as we had other agenda items ahead of it. Even though we're done for this year as far as Christmas movies go, we did watch one Christmas film on Friday that I wrote about for next year's holiday season, Babes in Toyland (1934) with Laurel and Hardy. Talk about planning ahead of time, but it will show up eventually on the blog, most likely in a year or so.

We made some additional progress on our next three issues of Powers Squared. Now that our letterer, Trevor, had finished his work, Paul and I went through issues 4 and 5 and made edits, some about moving the dialogue and telepathic bubbles, but others adding or editing what is already on the page. There is nothing quite like seeing it "finished" to make you want to make changes. I think Paul and I were both a little disappointed with some of the artwork, which despite our best efforts is not always what we wanted, but sometimes you have to close your eyes, grit your teeth and move on, which we have done. I'm still hoping to get everything wrapped up by the end of next week.

Familiar Stranger wasn't left out either, though I never seem to get as far as I would like. I'm a little short of 42,000 words, only about 3000 more than last week, but I'm hoping with less reviews to worry about, I'll be able to make more progress between Christmas cards and shopping. I did come up with an idea for a section I'm coming up on, which might help me get past the hump I find myself coming up against. I know I have an ending in mind, it's setting it up that has been my Achilles heel on this book. I don't think I'll get it done by the end of the year, but I'm hoping to make some really good progress before we sing Auld Lang Syne.

Here's hoping you can find the time to get to your own writing even as the year comes to a close.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

A Week in Writing #171

Well, the holidays seem to be getting into full swing, which of course means less time for writing. I get the feeling that's going to be my running complaint for the rest of the year. Not that I have anything against holidays, I mean who hates Christmas, but it does really cut into writing. That and just being tired, that doesn't help either. In the battle for time, writing is a hard sell when there is family involved and that's a big part of the holidays.

All that said, I did get some rewrites done on Familiar Stranger. I'm now up to 38250 words and 208 pages, which is about 7250 words and 40 pages more than last week. Which if we're going on the 1000 Words a Day goal, then goal accomplished. Thank you, I'm here all the time; mike drop. Still, I haven't worked on the book for several days.

Things got off the track on Thursday when I spent the evening watching my Cowboys play and beat the Redskins. So one night lost. Friday is movie night so once again, writing takes a backseat. Saturday was the aforementioned tree buying and house decorating and Sunday was grocery shopping, a movie (finally saw Justice League) and more Christmas shopping.

Progress was made on Powers Squared as our letterer finished the last page of Issue #5. We're still a couple of covers and inside pages short, but we're getting there. I'm going to begin reviewing them tomorrow. I've been negligent with passing on the color guide to our new colorist, but sometimes there are only so many things you can do in a day or a week. This coming week for sure.

As far as Trophy Unlocked, we published two reviews, one for a video game, TY the Tasmanian Tiger, and the other our regular Saturday Morning Review: Lethal Weapon; part of our annual salute to Christmas. Lethal Weapon may not seem like an obvious choice, but it is a buddy cop film set in and around Christmas. The season is somewhat muted since it is also set in Los Angeles. No one is wishing for a White Christmas here.

I did work on a review for later, Miracle on 34th Street (our Friday movie). I'm about 2000 words in, but not done. The same with Scrooge (1935), worked on but not completed. Next week, I need to finish those reviews, perhaps write a new one for Justice League, edit three issues of Powers Squared and get some more work done on Familiar Stranger. And oh yeah, enjoy the holiday season with all the time left over.

Hoping you manage to be productive with all the demands on your time. It's hard, I know, but you've got to try.