Sunday, October 27, 2019

A Week in Writing #270

My big accomplishment of the week was finishing my rewrite on Broken People. The ending that I remembered as being overly long turned out not to be that way upon final review. I think I was remembering an earlier version.

So, I've gone through it for what feels like the umpteenth time, spell checked and even gone through it to make sure the chapter numbers are well-centered. The next thing to do is to resume the query process. To that end, I did some more research using Query Tracker as the starting point. From there, I look up the individual agents on their agency's websites.

The first disappointment is when the genres listed on Query Tracker are not reflected in the agent's profile or else it's the same word but they're looking for Young Adult mysteries, which, of course, is not what I'm writing. The only thing worse is finding out the agent you're looking for is no longer at the agency or even in the agent game. That happened to me this week when I was doing some research.

I didn't actually pull the trigger on sending new queries; I'm saving that pleasure for the coming week.

This week, for Powers Squared, we received four lettered pages from Trevor, so it was overall a slow week on the comic book. That didn't mean nothing happened. Paul and I, of course, did our usual Sunday YouTube video and our Friday night Podcast. On this last Friday's, we discussed writing the first storyline for the comic book. We initially wrote the first drafts more than 8 years ago and that first script went through a lot of changes between then and 2015 when we actually had the first issue drawn.

We also worked some on the Kickstarter we're doing for the comic book. There's a lot of planning that goes into it but we're also making changes on the fly as we're putting it together.

In addition to the work mentioned above, I wrote a new review for Trophy Unlocked, Revenge of the Creature, though I'm thinking it might wait until next October to get published. That's when the blog once again turns to horror. To complete the month's look at the genre we published Paul's review of
Scooby-Doo! Return to Zombie Island.

Things I need to do this next week, besides write, include finishing the Kickstarter stuff and making myself reach out once again to the editor on Familiar Stranger. I keep putting that off because I feel like I know how that will go. I'll call, leave a message and then never hear back. What is it they say about insanity? But I guess the thing is I don't expect a different outcome. Maybe fate will surprise me.

Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

A Week in Writing #269

There were a lot of pluses and minuses this week in writing.

I continued to do rewrites on Broken People. I'm getting near the end of the book and for some reason, I was having a hard time concentrating on it. Part of it I'll put down to the day job taking it out on me. It's not that I do anything labor-intensive but it is a big chunk of the day, from leaving at 7 in the morning and not getting home until 6:30, most nights take a lot of wind out of your sails.

I decided to put it aside by mid-week. I should be able to finish it next week. There is some post-climax stuff that I'd like to cut down on. I think I go into too much explanation on what happens after the main story ends. I don't want to be too short, as I don't like to see things left dangling, but at the same time I think I say too much. I have to strike the right balance. And it's not what happens to the characters that I want to shorten, it's the bigger picture stuff. There are events that are put into motion that don't necessarily end with the end of the story if you know what I mean. That's the part that I think I go into too much detail explaining.

Did some work on future reviews for Trophy Unlocked, even completing one that probably won't show up again until next October, when the site does a salute to horror films. Saw and reviewed White Zombie (1932), a really low-budget horror film starring Bela Lugosi, who only the year before had appeared in Dracula (1931).

This week's horror film was The Banana Splits Movie (2019), a very badly done horror film starring a somewhat forgotten IP from the 1960s. After seeing the film, it would probably have been better served staying forgotten.

I also completed a review of Sabotage (1936), a British Hitchcock film that I also watched recently. Not sure when that will show up but it's now ready to go whenever it's called upon. That's one nice thing about writing reviews for older films, they are always relevant in their own way. They might become more so, if, for example, a particular subject matter came up in today's world or there is a milestone anniversary. But, for the most part, if the film stands the test of time, there is always room for writing about it.

We're still putting together our Kickstarter stuff for Powers Squared. We've lined up all the tier rewards and now it's down to putting it together and shooting a video. We want to include Trevor but he's away today at a seminar and Paul is still under the weather. We canceled our weekly Podcast, On the Air With Powers Squared, because he was still too sick to do it.

Last week, we ran a contest to try and cross-promote our A Week in Powers Squared videos, our newsletter, the Hound Dogs' Howl, and our podcast, On the Air With Powers Squared.  Fortunately, we had a winner within 48 hours. At least someone listens to OAPS.

We did receive four pages from our colorist but that was really all that happened with the actual comic book this week.

So next week, the goal is to finish the rewrites on Broken People and send out some more queries and to reach out, once again, to the elusive editor on Familiar Stranger to see if he's still alive and what the f- happened. These enduring mysteries keep us going.

Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

A Week in Writing #268 - Lots of Rewrites

I've never been one to shy away from rewrites and, in fact, that's my favorite part of the writing process. This past week, I continued my work on Broken People and it's a good thing, too. I found where I had used the exact same passage in two places in the book, no doubt, the error from my previous rewrite on the book.

This book has gone through various rewrites in the past, the first being with my disappeared editor on Familiar Stranger. He had been slow back then but I don't remember so much radio silence in the past. Then, it was called Killer Blog, which was a sort of title that sounded okay but really meant nothing. It's not like a killer blog was a real thing but at the time, I liked it. I did query the book around and almost got somewhere with it.

An agency put me in touch with one of their editors and she gave me some feedback on it. I did find when going through it with her that there was some garbage stuff in the manuscript. Apparently, some time after my work with my editor the manuscript had gotten corrupted and things that I thought were there weren't and there was some real nonsense text in it as well. However, this isn't what she was pointing out to me.

After I completed that rewrite, I resubmitted it to the agency again and, of course, got nowhere fast. I was rejected there and other places with one female agent even calling it misogynistic, which frankly hurt and I felt was misguided. There is sex in the book, not graphic and the man, who is the protagonist, does describe the woman he's involved with but he also describes everyone he meets in some detail.

I rewrote it again, changing the name to Personal and Professional but got again, nowhere fast. I let it sit after a round of rejections. I started to look at it again because of a recent news story, not a couple of years old. There apparently was a couple, a doctor and his girlfriend, who would get women drunk and/or drugged and shoot video of them having sex with her. Now, there was something already similar in the book. My protagonist is a private detective and one of his clients in the book is a former news anchor who had appeared in a sex video.

In the earliest versions, that part was based on another news story in which an anchor went on vacation, got drunk and entered a wet t-shirt contest. She apparently wanted to win so bad that she stripped naked, or close to it, to win. Unbeknownst to her, they were recording the event and it got out and she lost her job as a result.

I had changed that to her being in a sex video while on vacation with her husband. A couple got her drunk and had their way with her and recorded it. That seemed rather out there until I heard about the couple in Newport Beach doing the same thing. So, I decided to take a new look at the book and I changed the name as I went. There was a song on the radio by Lovelytheband, called Broken, which I liked and thought one of the attractions between my hero and the former news reporter, was that she thought he was broken like her.

I thought I had done a pretty good rewrite but after getting nowhere with my few queries, I decided to go through it again and have been spending as much time on it the last few weeks before I resubmit it for querying. So far, none of the ones I've sent have gotten even a nibble, not even the online queries. I think the 6 weeks, if not two months, have passed so I'm calling them rejected.

I even took some time to rewrite the query letter, trying to concentrate on what I thought was the best parts of my previous one and pointing out that it is a character-driven murder mystery and trying to downplay some of the big city corruption that is also part of the story.

Work on the rewrite continues. I think it will take a couple of more weeks before I'm done and then it's back to the query cycle. They say you only have to impress one, right?

When that's done, I will go back again to see if the Familiar Stranger editor is still alive and find out what the f- happened. I may not be a patient person but I don't like to give up either.

In addition to the work on the book, I also completed a future review for Trophy Unlocked. This is a short film called Employee's Entrance, which was on TCM recently. I had started to watch it one morning while flipping channels and decided to record it along with several others so I could possibly review them later.

I also published on Saturday, The Fly, my second review for October and Trophy Unlocked's annual review of horror movies during the month.

Not a whole lot happened on Powers Squared this week. No new pages, though we did get a nice mention from our colorist on Instagram. Trevor did letter four pages so he's caught up for now.

Paul and I did our 54th video on YouTube on Sunday and our seventh podcast on Friday night in our effort to promote the comic book.

Well, that just about does it for this week. More rewrites and hopefully a new review. Keep writing. I'll see you next week.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

A Week in Writing #267

Well, my big plans took a bit of a sidetrack. On Saturday night, last week, I decided to take a second look at Broken People before I sent off any more queries. Well, as I read through it, I found some misspelled words so I've been going back through the manuscript. The mistakes are no one's fault but mine and I'm making some other changes along the way.

It's not really a chore as I find myself liking editing. My goal is always to make whatever I'm working on better so I welcome the opportunity, though it has been distracting from other work.

Speaking of which, there are about three films that I'd like to write reviews of which I hope to get to in the next week or so, in between work on Broken People, The Runaway and whatever might come up on Powers Squared.

On the subject of Powers Squared, we had a pretty busy week. Spent some time this week making some inquiries on various tier rewards. We had to change up our supplier and the style of the t-shirt we want to use. We had worked with our artist, Rachel Wells, to come up with a design, highlighted the name of the school and featuring our Hound Dogs mascot, recently christened as Elvis, after the singer who popularized the song. For this nickname, we hosted a poll on our website and on Twitter and out of the four choices we gave, Elvis was a close but clear winner.

When we priced out the t-shirt on the first vendor we thought of using, the price was too high. Buying one shirt would cost close to $50, with shipping and for a better price, we would have to order 48 or more of them. While we're hoping for a successful Kickstarter, we don't want to get ahead of ourselves. We went back to our original supplier, Artithmeric, and we can produce either a black or white version for much less and still turn a profit. They will also handle our graphic novel.

For printed versions of the comic book, we're using another supplier, hoping to keep costs down there as much as we can.

Even though I haven't written any new reviews this week, I still had one posted as Trophy Unlocked's Saturday Morning Review, the original Cat People. October has been Horror film month on the blog, so this is the first of four that will be published this month.

We also posted a new review for Joker. This one was written by Paul. We like to mix in new films as well as older ones. And don't sleep on video games, either.

I'm going to keep working on Broken People and hopefully get to some reviews this week. And next up for us will be doing a video for the Kickstarter. Wish us luck. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.