Sunday, November 25, 2018

A Week in Writing #222

Well, I hope everyone had a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving. Sort of good to be back to reality after a long road trip, which seems to take longer every year. Nothing like spending the better part of four days driving to make you miss your routine. Nice to have seen family, and overeat, etc.

And like I wrote last week, the one thing that has to give way is the writing. Still, was able to get things done though sometimes sitting twisted on the edge of the bed in a hotel room, which is a way of writing that I would not suggest. Thankfully, that was mostly social media stuff that has to continue no matter the day.

Good progress this week with Powers Squared. Our artist sent us eight pages of pencils for Issue #9, including four she had previously sent up with updates. I guess I got the versions confused since we sent back a critique asking her to fix something she already had. I even sent photographic references to her, at her request, before I found my error. Apologies all around.

The banner Rachel is working on for us for our YouTube channel also seems to be coming together as well and hopefully, we'll have it up soon. You can watch our latest weekly vlog here.

In addition, we received four pages from our colorist from the same issue, which look good.

Also a shout out to Nina for updates to our banner image, which you should see on our website, as well as our twitter account for the holidays:

From this.

To this.

This was one of the updates I made sitting on that hotel bed. I had the added joy of not finding Nina's revision where I thought I had saved it, though I was still able to hunt it down in my emails. Whew!

Continued my rewrites on Broken People both the pencil/paper and computer varieties. Had an interesting situation come up while I was reading pages in the hotel room. Seems the version I had planned to use had a very different ending than the one I thought I'd brought. However, it did get me to thinking about the ending so I may go with a version of what I brought. For those of you who don't frequently read this blog, and that's most of mankind, I'm attempting to update a story I had written and queried based on a recent news event which I think could help shape the story. I'm also trying to combine the better aspects of two versions of the story, fka A Killer Blog. What I'm finding out, is that's not always so cut and dry as I had thought/hoped it would be. However, it is helping, I hope, to make this a better story.

So, for those keeping track, I'm up to 477 pages and 86,636 words so far with the rewrite so far and about 60 pages of edits to go. I hope in the end that it's a better story, and, of course, that it will sell. I hate to bring up the crass side of the business but isn't that the ultimate goal of writing?

Thanksgiving didn't change the radio silence I'm receiving from the editor on Familiar Stranger. I don't want to think he's dead but he's done nothing in the last several months to prove the contrary to be true.

Reviews are starting to stack up on Trophy Unlocked as #900 looms in the very near future. I have one for A Star is Born (2018) that is still pending and may come out soon. We recently published a review of Ralph Breaks the Internet, which we managed to see on opening day and get a review up on the blog before heading out for a long road trip early the next morning, thanks to Paul's hard work.

For our Saturday Morning Review, we continued our salute to Noirvember with While the City Sleeps (1956), thus bringing an end to that salute before launching into our Christmas movie review month in December, for which, I believe, all but one review has been written.

So, that was the abbreviated week that was. Hope you had a Happy and Safe holiday and am looking forward to seeing what can get done the next week, the last of November.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

A Week in Writing #221

I know I don't always write this but this was a pretty good week as far as writing goes. I made good progress on my current rewrite, there were new pages of Powers Squared and new reviews up on Trophy Unlocked.

Let's begin with Broken People, a title I like. With the pencil and paper edits, I'm up to page 495, as far as turning those into manuscript pages, I'm up to page 354 or 64,452 words, so it's coming along, though I don't think I'll get it wrapped before Thanksgiving, which was my sort of stretch goal. Even with doing the edits on paper, there are still times when I'm leaving myself notes to either write something else or look up something. I'm liking where it's going, so that's important.

I'm going to leave my editor on Familiar Stranger for dead. He doesn't seem to want to communicate, which is really on him. I don't know what happened. I'll keep trying, but at some point, you've got to move on. As I've written before I sort of live by the lyrics from Twenty One Pilot's Heavydirtysoul "Death inspires me like a dog inspires a rabbit". I want to get it done now and, apparently, he doesn't.

Good progress on Powers Squared. Trevor finished the last pages and cover for Issue #8, Rachel sent us pencils for pages 9-12 and Nina sent us the first four pages of Issue #9, so things are happening.

Paul and I did our 8th Week in Powers Squared vlog on our YouTube channel. At Paul's suggestion, we came up with a new thumbnail for this vlog.

Thumbnail for A Week in Powers Squared #8

We also discovered that there is another channel called Powers Squared, so need to change ours. When we tried YouTube wouldn't let us because we'd changed it too recently, which is like several months ago. But when we do we'll be sure to share it here.

Went to Local Comic Book Shop day and was able to look at some other issues to see what we need to do for a back cover. I'm still interested in offering a print on demand option but we need to come up with a back cover for each issue. Oh, if I had more time every day. I think I need a time turner.

Check the website, on Black Friday for an update to the Home Page to celebrate the Christmas season.

For Trophy Unlocked, published a review of Follow Me Quietly (1949) as part of our annual Noirvember celebration.

I also finished two reviews, one for The Santa Clause (1994) for our upcoming month of Christmas films and one for A Star is Born (2018). Not sure when that's going to be published. We're trying to work around the 900th review and an anniversary review and don't want to overshadow either. So you may have to wait for A Star is Born.

In honor of Penny Arcade's 20th Anniversary, we published Review Hub - Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness

So, Thanksgiving is coming up this week, which means food, family and football. One thing it doesn't mean is a lot of time for writing. Will carry on as best as I can and will report back here next week.

Hope you have a happy and safe holiday.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

A Week in Writing #220 - Radio Silence Really Sucks

Do you ever have weeks where you feel like being nice isn't paying off? I have that feeling about my editor on Familiar Stranger. It's been two months since I received any pages and then it was only the first 50 with only grammatical changes. We've talked once since, not for lack of trying on my part, I've called him several times, though spaced out over weeks, left voicemails and no response. I've texted and I've written emails, but nothing. I've tried to be lighthearted about it but what I'd like to ask is what the @$#!! is going on? You're raised to be nice, so I asked if it's something I've said or done, instead. I'm truly getting tired of being ignored, especially when he said he wanted to do the editing, said he liked to work with me and even when we did speak, say pages would be forthcoming. I don't understand the radio silence.

There seems to be a lot of that going on. We're not hearing regularly from either the artist or colorist on Powers Squared. Not sure what's up with that either. The only communique has been an invoice from the colorist, which I paid. Usually, that means pages are coming but so far nothing. I would have thought they might ask about the L.A. fires, make sure we're alright since we're about ten miles from one of them but no.

Paul and I did our seventh Week in Powers Squared vlog on our channel where we share what's new this week. It's pretty short, you can watch it here:

Thus concludes our ranting section of this week's post.

On the writing side, I've continued to make edits on Broken People. The rewrites are in two stages. There are the pencil and paper edits and there are the updates to the manuscript based on those. With the former, I'm up to page 299 and with the latter, page 197.

What happened this week, is that before dinner, I was working on reviews for Trophy Unlocked, after dinner updating the manuscript and then before bed the pencil and paper edits. I would say that for the most part, it seemed to be working.

As far as Trophy Unlocked, I wrote a future one for The Secret Bride, a film I happened to see on Monday night. With that completed, I wrote one for our Chrismas season on How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the original TV special from 1966. With that completed, I began working on one for The Santa Clause. When that's done, we'll have one more needed for the Christmas reviews that will be published on the December Saturdays leading up to the holiday.

For the Saturday Morning Review, published Shadow on the Wall (1950) as part of our Noirvember celebration.

I wish there was more to talk about. I'll be trying to contact everyone this week so maybe I won't be ranting about radio silence again next week. Until then, keep writing.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

A Week in Writing #219

The afterglow of the Writers Digest Novel Writing Conference hasn't quite faded and I'm still very much into the rewrite of Broken People (fka A Killer Blog). I'm trying to work as quickly as I can through the rewrite as I would like to get it in order before the holidays take over completely.

This is actually the part I enjoy though I don't want to be rewriting forever. I know there are things that need to be cleaned up after I combined two versions into one. While I tried to make sure actions matched up, they don't always as neatly as I'd like them to.

As I believe I've written before I'm updating one novel while I'm waiting (impatiently) for my editor to get back to me with new pages on Familiar Stranger. If he's reading this, and I doubt he is, come on already.

While I had been waiting I had taken on some other rewrites. A Killer Blog caught my attention since it sort of dealt with something similar to the recent arrest of a doctor and his girlfriend who would drug women and record the sex that followed. In the first version of A Killer Blog, which had also been called Personal and Professional at one time, the premise was that J.D., the private investigator,  and the protagonist of the story gets involved in investigating a murder of a political blogger when a former newscaster he meets asks him to help her with the story that she hopes will get her back on the air. She is off the air because while on vacation with her husband she had a menage-a-trois with another couple that she didn't know was being videotaped and uploaded on the internet.

This did get some interest, though I didn't find an agent for it. I then tried another version of the story, where the newscaster is a waitress he meets and while she helps him with the investigation, she is not his client. Instead, the client is the murder victim's fiancee who, like the newscaster before, doesn't believe the police have arrested the right murderer. I wrote this version after an agent accused J.D., and through guilt by association, me, of being a misogynist, which I felt was misguided but caused me to write a "cleaner" version of the story.

Now, I'm bringing back the waitress as a disgraced newscaster, who rather than being a willing participant in the menage-a-trios was drugged and a victim. Since this happened before the #metoo movement she is still fired over it. In addition, the blogger's fiancee also hires J.D. to look into the murder, sharing with him some of his research. Blending them together is a little more than just drag and drop or find and replace. It's also giving me a chance to do some other edits, trying to bring in some of what I learned last weekend into the rewrite.

I also did some work this week on the final film noir review for November, or Noirvember as it's known in some circles on the internet. As part of the month-long celebration of the dark side of cinema, Conflict was published on as the Saturday Morning on Trophy Unlocked. The other three are ready to go so we can now turn our attention to the next holiday celebration, Christmas. Since we got a late start on Friday, we watched a short film, The Tailor of Gloucester, which Trevor will review. We have two other films in mind but are still missing what the fourth one will be. (If you have any ideas please leave a comment.)

I'm thinking of trying to set up an Instagram for Trophy Unlocked. I think it might be another way to attract readers to the blog, which is coming up on two milestones, 900 reviews and 8 years.

Powers Squared was not forgotten this week. Our artist, Rachel, sent Paul and me the final tiffs for the first eight pages of Issue #8 as well as thumbnails for the next eight pages. As discussed previously, we go through two versions and pick A or B by page and sometimes panel by panel. This time it was mostly B with a couple of A-versions in the mix as well. She also pointed out an issue with the script that Paul and I had missed. Nothing too major but it was still good of her to point it out.

Nina, our colorist, started working on the first eight pages of #9. She asked us to ask Rachel to make a couple of updates, which she made the same day, which is really cool.

Trevor is getting close to finishing Issue #8 but I still need to supply him with an image for the credits page. But things are moving along on all cylinders.

Paul and I sat down for our sixth A Week in Powers Squared YouTube vlog. This time, we actually talked a little bit about the concept and premise of the story, hoping that it might interest our viewers, to actually want to read the book.

So that was the week that was. I'm planning on calling my editor tomorrow to try and shake some pages loose. In the meantime, I'll continue to work on Broken People.