Sunday, April 29, 2018

A Week in Writing #192

Let's start this week with where I left off last week. The videos we shot to promote Powers Squared. I'm happy to report that while I won't be appearing on a TED talk anytime soon, I didn't embarrass myself too badly. Paul and I sat down and watched them during the week and then we edited one of them for eventual upload on YouTube. I give Paul all the credit for editing it. Clever man, he figured out how to use Adobe Premiere to add graphics and titles. Check back here and on our website to find out when it goes up.

More news on Powers Squared, we at least have a date range for when Issues 3, 4 and 5 will go up on comiXology: Mid-June. I know that sounds vague but it is at least something to shoot for. When dates are set, they will, of course, be announced on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. But you'll need to sign up to be in the know. (Hint!)

Our artist is closing in on finishing the first eight pages of Issue #7, so the dream lives on, I guess. Our letterer has even done some pages on Issue #6, so we're moving forward. Next month, we'll have new pages for our colorist and the process will continue.

Because we're moving into Issue #7, Paul and I discussed where we want to go with Issue #8 and decided on a path forward. I started working on the next script this week and have at least a first draft of the script. I need to make another run through it before I show it to Paul and Trevor for their comments.

Heard back from my editor on Familiar Stranger, stating that he got my manuscript and will start looking at it soon. No doubt, more rewrites in my future on that one. I haven't yet decided what to work on next but I figure until I'm done working on the scripts for Powers Squared that decision will have to wait.

This past week, I also worked on a review for Trophy Unlocked, a review of Cry Danger (1951) which was published on Saturday morning. It's a pretty good film noir. Need to work on another one this week for South of St. Louis (1949), the film we watched this past Friday night. You might be asking about why we haven't reviewed Infinity War, the latest film in the MCU. It's not for want of going but because other things, dare I say more important, came up on opening weekend. We should be going next week, so please no spoilers until we've seen it.

So this coming week will be no doubt dominated by Powers Squared and South of St. Louis, maybe a little Familiar Stranger rewrites thrown in. Will let you know how it goes next Sunday.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

A Week in Writing #191

Sort of a slow week in Writing. They happen from time to time. I finished up a couple of things but I really didn't work as hard as I could have. Maybe its a sense of ennui, maybe I just needed to recharge a little.

Finished the rewrite of Familiar Stranger. Want to go over the book one more time from a high level to make sure the chapter names all lineup and there are no weird spaces or blank pages before I send to my editor. Hopefully, I'll get that done tonight or soon after and we can move Familiar Stranger on to its next stage in life. I'm still not sure what the next project along these lines will be. I have several books that are in need of another polish but I'm not sure if I don't want to move onto something new with the same main characters. You'll know as soon as I figure it out.

In addition to finishing that work, I completed and posted about 3000 words on Hell's Angels (1930); Trophy Unlocked's Saturday Morning Review. The film is a World War I melodrama directed by Howard Hughes with James Whale and Edmund Goulding assisting but getting no screen credit. The film is most notable for being Jean Harlow's first starring role and while the film lost money at the box office she would go on to become a star at MGM. We have featured her in several reviews on the blog.

I'm going to start on a review this week for Cry Danger (1951), which I hope to finish in time for Saturday.

On the Powers Squared front, this was also a rather slow week. Our artist sent us pencils of the next four issues on Saturday night, which Paul and I reviewed on Sunday afternoon. Only a couple of notes for her. With our colorist caught up, there aren't any pages to send her until next month. Our letterer also worked on some pages, which is a good sign.

With artwork being done for Issue 7, Paul and I sat down to map out the next story arcs for the comic book. We figured out the stories and their order as well as talked about Powers Squared beyond the next three storylines. I hope we're not planning ahead in vain as I would really like to see this become sustainable in the very near future. I won't go into details here, except to say there will be some rewrites in our future as we try to stay ahead of our artist. I'm excited and a little scared. Still posting on Instagram and Twitter, are you following? (Spoiler: Probably not but would really appreciate it if you would. It's easy and it's free!)

On the video front, I hadn't looked at them. I think I'm a little afraid actually; fearful that I won't come across as well as I need to. Right now they're the Schroedinger's Cat, so I'm both bad and really good. Hate to burst that bubble, but I will have to. Time is running out and we need to get beyond this, I mean I need to.

I wanted to participate this week in a local comic creator gathering, Koffee and Komics, but I didn't. I've been a member for over a year now but Thursday nights are sort of hard to pull off for me, even though it's only once a month. My intention was to go this week but we ended up being a car short so I had to come home early from work so one of my sons could use my car to go to class. Sorry about not attending.

Well, that's about it for me, confessions and all. So for sure next week, watching videos and working on rewrites. It's nice to have plans.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

A Week in Writing #190

Let's start someplace different this week. The rewrites on Familiar Stranger are going well. I'm up to about page 305, which is pretty good though not great progress. I do find myself occasionally questioning some of the changes but having read the book, or should I say manuscript, again I did get some new ideas about how to say something that I hadn't thought of before.

Still, on that front, I made contact this past week with the editor who had helped me with previous books. It had easily been over a year since I'd written him since I hadn't had anything to show him in several years. Good news for me, he's willing, when I'm done, to edit this book again. As good as I can make it, I know he can make it even better so I'm looking forward to that stage in the process, though it might be awhile before we get into those rewrites.

Back to familiar ground, Powers Squared. Earlier this week, our second issue was reviewed by First Comics News, this time a 4 out of 5. Very encouraging. We also heard back from our man at comiXology and there might actually be something happening there as far as promotion. He's twice requested that I send him the five completed issues so he could consult with an outside PR agency. I have no idea what's in the offing, though I would imagine it has something to do with twins doing a comic book about twins. That is a total guess on my part but that would make some sense.

We did do some reshoots last Sunday and had hoped to do more shooting this weekend as well but our interviewer notified us that he's not going to be available for this Sunday and next; something about getting hitched. You would have thought a major life event, like a wedding, would have come up when we were planning all this but hey that's how life is sometimes. I'm hoping in two weeks we can get back to it with the boys in front of the camera as well.

I hate to say it but I haven't yet looked at the footage we shot a week ago. That's on my to-do list this week I guess.

As far as the issues go, the colorist has finished her work on Issue #6. Now it's up to our letterer to play catch up. The artist, meanwhile, has moved on Issue #7. Paul and I reviewed the first four pages that she penciled over the weekend and gave her some feedback. For the most part, it looks really good, there are just a few minor things we asked her to look at again. The fact that she wrote us back the next day is such an improvement over our last artist that I'm still amazed.

Now, as promised, the Twitter pitch. I'm trying to get better about Powers Squared there but it would be nice if there were more than two followers; one of them is my twitter account. The handle is @MartyandEli and would appreciate it if someone would follow it as well. See, that wasn't such a hard sell after all.

We did pick up three new followers on Instagram this week, though we can always use more. (Hint, this means you.) Where else would you see such images as this:

Steve for Issues # 6 - 

Well, you could see them here but that's not the point.

Got back into writing reviews, publishing Trophy Unlocked's Saturday Morning Review: Clueless (1995)

I also started a more extensive review of Hell's Angels (1930), the World War I melodrama that made a star out of Jean Harlow. Look for that in the coming weeks.

Well, that about does it for this week. Hopefully, next week will see more work on everything, but time will tell.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

A Week in Writing #189

So a couple of things to get to right away. First, last week, we sat down to record some videos to put up on YouTube about Powers Squared. We spent a couple of hours on Sunday, at Galaxy of Comics and came away with several minutes of footage. While the conversation is good, there are some technical issues, such as its very dark and I'm sort of out of focus as a result. We can argue back and forth if I'm better looking blurry or not, but I think if I'm the subject of the shot, I should be in focus.

Long story short, we're hoping to do some reshoots today, Sunday.

And, I did finish just last night with my edits on Familiar Stranger, which means the next week or so, I'll be going through the manuscript and making those changes. I'm pretty happy with the process. It's sort of like reading some of it for the first time since some writing/rewriting is months old by now. But it feels good to be on this side and feel like I'm getting ready to close out this book, at least for now. I'm not sure if I should rewrite another old book, the one that started me on this series, Simple Sins, or go onto something new. I'm sort of torn. If anyone has any ideas, please leave a comment. (Those are welcomed by the way.)

Trying to be diligent about making uploads to Instagram, it would be awesome if you followed the account for Powers Squared. I'm sort of churning through characters at the moment but would like to spice it up with some photos from the video shoot and possibly with thumbnails for Issues 6 and 7. Its sort of awkward to be trying to promote old and new but that's sort of where we are with Powers Squared.

I did post a couple of photos last weekend, however, the one I'm in I'm very much chopped off. It's all about layout and positioning, a lesson I'm only learning after the fact. I was also surprised that the photos I took ended up backward, so I had to upload them to my computer, reverse them, loaded them back to my phone and then upload them to Instagram. Sort of takes the Insta-part away. If you follow us, you'll get to see all of these great missteps as we go along, so a splendid time is guaranteed for all. (Next week, *Spoiler Alert* we'll push Twitter @MartyandEli.)

On the creative side of Powers Squared, we've received and reviewed thumbnails for the first eight pages of Issue #7. Our artist sends us two sets and we go through each and select the panels we like from each. She then sent us the combined version. There were a few more adjustments we asked for but she's moving on now to pencils.

Our colorist finished her work on the cover for Issue #6 and is working on the last four pages of that issue.

Trophy Unlocked's Saturday Morning Review was a look at the video game The Silver Case for PS4. Once again, written by another writer for the blog. I am, however, finally getting back into writing them. On Friday night, we watched Clueless (1995), a film recommended by one of Paul's teachers at the UCLA Extension program for Writers, which he is currently in. The academic-side is about the inciting incident in the story, while the review will take more of a holistic approach. I've written about 600 + words so far but will be something else I can work on this week.

And, as every week, I'll be back here to discuss everything that has happened to me relating to my writing. Hope you'll be back to take a look.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

A Week in Writing #188

A really exciting week in writing. Powers Squared not only launched our own Twitter account: @martyandeli but we also received our first review at First Comic News: While that might not seem like much, it is a big accomplishment for us and was for the most part positive; not bad for our first effort at making a comic book. It's a first step in what we hope will be a big year for Powers Squared.

In other news, it seems like comiXology might be planning something. I was asked on Friday to send them all five issues, which, I, of course, did. So, hopefully, something good will come of that.

As much as I think I do, I know there's more that can be done. But I only have so many hours in the day to devote to it. I was encouraged to learn, at the panel at WonderCon, that if you spend more than an hour a day doing social media, then you're spending too much time on it. Even an hour a day is more time then I have to spend on it. Sadly, there are only so many hours in the day.

The artists are continuing their work on Powers Squared. Our colorist has now finished up through page 16 and has done a first pass on the cover. Our inker is already ready to get to work on Issue #7, which seems like a real difference than what we were used to.

Some of the images we posted this week on Instagram:


Uncle Brian

Jennifer Perry

Tonight, we're going to shoot some videos to use to promote the comic book. As a basic introverted writer, this will be a new experience for yours truly. I'll write more about that experience next week and, of course, let you know where and when the videos are posted.

Co-writers Paul and David Hankins getting ready to shoot some videos.

No new reviews from me this week, again, but we did publish two on Trophy Unlocked. Instead of our usual Saturday morning review, we published a primer for the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War, coming next month.

And on Sunday, April Fool's Day, we published a review of Half-Life 3, make of that what you will.

Also, still rereading and editing Familiar Stranger. I'm up to page 329 so it's possible I'll get through it all by the end of next week. Then one more round of editing on the computer. It seems like a never ending cycle, but I do enjoy the part of making it better.