Sunday, March 29, 2020

A Week in Writing #292 - Stay at Home Week 2

I hope this finds you staying safe and staying home. We all want to make it through these times to what we hope will be a brighter tomorrow, so please do as the CDC recommends.

Sorry about the PSA.

Well, stay at home Week 2 is over and Week 3 looms and what did I do this week? I always feel like the answer is not enough and never too much. I'm not sure if there is really ever a too much but I know all too well about the not enough.

Still trying to get a better schedule set and still trying to adapt from the going from work to "work" without the normal commute in between. When I had to hit the road to come home, I tried to work the 8 hours and then get out of there as soon as I can. Now, I feel like I'm letting that slide just a little. I mean I can work until 5:30 since I don't have to drive home. And then everything gets delayed just a little and prime writing time gets eaten into.

Okay, let's start with something different, The Runaway. I'm still working on the rewrite that, months ago, turned into a new draft. I'm liking the direction it's going in but I'm honestly not getting there as fast as I can. I think I've written one new chapter and am about 500+ words into the next one when I sit down to write this post. Far from the 1000 words a day namesake of the blog.

I'm into uncharted territory now, meaning I'm working on pages I've never written before. And, even though I'm a pantser at heart, I know where this is going though I'm still working out the means. That for me is part of the fun.

I also know that I need to spend more time on that part of the business of writing and send out queries again. Come to think of it, I"m not even sure how the coronavirus has affected that part of the business. Are agents working from home and still taking queries? I guess I'll need to find that out before I start sending new ones.

As far as writing reviews, I finished the one I had been working on for Song of the South and I actually started a new one on Chaplin, the 1992 biopic about the famous film star, director, and writer. Not sure when that will finish or when Song of the South will be published but when it does, I'll let you know here. The Saturday Morning review on Trophy Unlocked, this week, was Paul's review of Celeste, a platform game on the PS4.

Powers Squared is never far from the plate. We received new pages from our artist, the first 8 for Issue #14, which is cool.

In addition, I did another round of edits on the Powers Squared animated series pitch deck and the pilot script, even though I said I didn't want to spend too much time on it. Well, so much for intentions.

Well, that will just about wrap up this week. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

A Week in Writing #291 - The Influence of COVID-19

Well, a whole week of working from home with the promise of more to come. Personally, I don't mind working from home. No commute every day and no ironing shirts every Sunday. It's not so bad. There are some things I know I could do better. My schedule is off. I'm allowing myself to sleep in which means I don't have as much time in the morning for other things, including walking and social media. My step count is way down from the past month or so. I keep telling myself I'm going to walk everyday at lunch but there is a difference between work lunch, which is going to the gym and then eating, and stay at home lunch, which includes my family. It also doesn't help that it's been rainy most of the week. I mean, I like walking but I don't want to get wet doing it.

So the subject of routine includes writing, which has surprisingly been a little harder now that I'm working from home. I know it may sound weird but some of it has to do with the separation of work from home. I'm used to (don't read that as enjoy) a commute everyday, or a break between one thing and the other. With working from home, I might sign off from Citrix at 5 but I'm still at my "work" desk. I keep thinking I'll use this time to walk but I'm also with family so just getting up and leaving isn't all that easy.

I'm still writing, though this week, I tried to write something very different than I have been. I've made mention of the Pitch class that Paul and I took at UCLA, so I tried my hand at working on the Pilot script for our proposed Powers Squared animated series. Yes, I have dreams. Paul has had more experience with this type of writing but I've taken the first step of trying to turn our comic book into a series.

My first attempt hued very closely to the original text but as I've been working on it, just finished the third draft, I'm finding it somewhat freeing to not stay so strict to the comic book. Oh, don't get me wrong, most of the first issue and a little bit of the second have found their way in but there are other changes, like the teaser Paul thought of, that are not in that issue but it ties really well into the pilot.

There is also other dialogue that I've played with, some at Paul's suggestions but also some new bits, things we didn't see in the comic book between characters who's last name isn't Powers. Not sure how all of it will fly but I think it makes the story better and that's always the first priority.

I did some other writing as well, including working a little bit on The Runaway and some on my oft mentioned review of Song of the South but nothing, pardon the pun, to write home about.

Speaking of reviews, mine of Sabrina finally made it out and was featured as Trophy Unlocked's Saturday Morning Review.

Well, the week ahead looms again. I'm hoping to put major work on the Pilot aside for a few days and concentrate on The Runaway for the week's writing. There are parts I'd like to get done You know, those bits that you keep in your head before you put them into the book.

I'm also toying with an idea for a story related to the coronavirus. As a writer, I can't see letting such an event not get into my work. For awhile I've had the idea of a couple being thrown together, you know, a bad date with a natural disaster afterwards. Thinking this virus would make a suitable backdrop. Details to be worked out.

Well, that's it for this week. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

A Week in Writing #290 - Coronavirus, Working from Home and other issues

First off, I hope that this finds you safe and healthy. Things are really getting crazy out there and I hope you're able to maintain your good health during the coming weeks and months. Like many of you, I've opted to work from home for the duration and I'm fortunate that there is a way I can do that. While these are terrible times, I'm trying to look on the bright side: no commute means about two to three hours a day that I get back, which I'm hoping to put to good use. I figure I can transition from writing to work in a matter of seconds rather than an hour or more each way.

This all started for me on Friday, when I was volunteered to work from home as an experiment, which turned out to be permanent, at least for the upcoming week. I received notice today that next week they want everyone to work from home. While other companies are saying to work from home for the duration, mine appears to be taking a more conservative approach. Even then, things have changed quickly. On Thursday, as I wrote, I was part of an experiment. On Friday it was voluntary to work from home and on Sunday, it became work from home.

On the downside, and there are many, our signing at Golden Apple Comics was postponed indefinitely as they stopped all in-store events. Unluckily, we were the first to be affected. While we have to agree with the decision, it is still disappointing. One of the things we wanted to do more of in 2020 was in-store signings and conventions. Now, it appears, those plans are put off as everything is being canceled or postponed.

It will be interesting to see how things play out in the near future as we all have to get used to what will no doubt be a new reality, at least for a few weeks, if not longer.

With the coming chaos, it hasn't been a great week for me as far as writing goes. I did some work on The Runaway this week, but only about 1000 words, which I know is pitiful. I know there will be more rewrites in all of this over time, so the important thing is to finish this draft.

Since Paul and I took a class recently at UCLA about pitching, I decided to try my hands at writing the pilot script. I think I'm through the first act and I know there will be edits to come but it's kind of cool to be doing something different.

Paul and I also managed to get our twitch stream to work though it took two tries. Apparently, the connection dropped, which is why we don't live-stream anymore on our YouTube Channel. We've decided to twitch stream the recording of our podcast, On the Air With Powers Squared, which is still available on PodBean and Apple Podcasts. I hope you'll take a listen or watch.

No new reviews from me, though I am trying to wrap up one on Song of the South. I think one of my reviews will go up next week but in the meantime, the Saturday Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked was Darksiders Genesis by Paul. With studios postponing releases, it's playing havoc with some month-long celebrations we're trying to do, like Bond month. We'll have to play it by ear until the dust settles.

Hope you are healthy and safe. So keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

A Week in Writing #289 - Amusement Parks and Homework

If you remember, last week, I promised that this week might not be my most productive and I like to think I'm a man of my words. In addition to attending Disneyland on Tuesday, I also had to read two scripts and do a quick pitch for a UCLA class I was attending on how to pitch feature films and, in my case, TV series.

Now, reading a script isn't hard work, though it is time-consuming. For the class, we had to read the script for The Big Sick as well as the pilot for Game of Thrones. To accomplish this took the better part of three nights. Add to that and I had to compose, along with Paul, a quick pitch of our idea, which turned out not to be homework after all, since only Paul and I seemed to have written ours up for class.

The professor is a working writer who was sharing his experience with pitching ideas for both TV and film. (Animated TV was not something he was as familiar with, but much of the same still applies.) It takes more than a great idea to pitch and, in fact, you have to put together several versions, in addition to a Pitch Deck, which is really important for animation. You also need to be able to include in your pitch the significant plot points and emotional journey of your characters, though for TV it is more the end of the pilot. I won't pretend to be an expert at this and the class was really helpful in pointing out what we need to include in our pitch. More work to be done for sure.

Speaking of Powers Squared, and we were, we are doing a signing at Golden Apple Comics at 7018 Melrose Ave., in Hollywood, on March 14th at 1 pm. We'll have copies of all 8 released issues of the book as well as a special trading card designed especially for the event. I hope you will come out for that. And remember, elbow bumps are FREE!

Now, I did try to work in some work on The Runaway during the week. I will say that after returning from Disneyland, I did try to work on the book but I honestly couldn't concentrate on it enough to be more than a token attempt. I did have the idea to plant a character that I want to use later in an earlier part of the book, which I did manage to do during the week, including last night after returning from class. So, at least one new chapter was written this week. Now, on to the rest of it.

And, it should come as no surprise that no new reviews again from me this week. No time. Fortunately, the other two writers on Trophy Unlocked are up to the task. This week's Saturday Morning Review was Paul's look at Darksiders III. I need to get back to this as well.

Looking ahead, we will need to pull a few things together for the signing but I think we're in pretty good shape for it. And there is Daylight Savings, which just happened. I don't know about you but it usually takes me a couple of days to readjust for the time-change either way. But we'll see how things go. I will be back next week to tell you all about it. So, in the meantime, keep writing.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

A Week in Writing #288 - Pitch Decks and Criticism

Some weeks seem to have themes, even if you don't start out thinking about it. This week, it seems like criticism is what we dealt with most this week.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Paul and I are involved almost weekly with critiquing the work of our artist, colorist and letterer, as it relates to Powers Squared. This week, we had a bit of a change as we received some criticism for one of our own projects. I believe I've mentioned here before that we would like to pitch Powers Squared as an animated TV Series.

To that end, we prepared our version of a Pitch Deck and showed it to someone who has experience in TV animation. To say the least, the critique was super good while not being overly positive. And, it was exactly what we needed. We did the best we could but it obviously wasn't good enough and we only want to make it better. Really appreciated the constructive criticism we received.

We made criticism the centerpiece of our Friday night podcast, On the Air With Powers Squared, which you can listen to here or here. We also did a Twitch Stream but we didn't have the right settings so it's gone. It was still fun, though, and I think we'll do better next week with the settings and save it. If you want you can follow us at, so when we do the next one, you'll be notified.

On the subject of pitching, Paul and I attended the first of two sessions at UCLA on Pitching for Feature Films and Television Series. I think we both learned a lot and got some really good ideas about what we need to do both in the pitch and in the pitch deck. There is still more to learn and I'm looking forward to the next session, next Saturday's session, though I've got homework. I haven't had homework in years and while it's not hard, I'm not looking forward to having to do it. But even then I'm pretty sure it will be helpful in the long run.

The week wasn't all about Powers Squared. I did make some progress on The Runaway, though never as much as I want. There were a couple of nights where I wrote 3 and 4 pages a night but there were just as many where I didn't get much done. I still like what I've outlined for the rest of the story but I want to get through it. I know there are rewrites in my future and that's okay. As I believe I've mentioned before, that's my favorite part of the process.

Again, this week, no new reviews from me. However, Trophy Unlocked continues on without my contributions. This Saturday Morning's Review was Trevor's review of Recess: School's Out. We had watched the movie a week or so ago when one of the voice actors, Jason Davis, died.

Next week promises to be tight. In addition to the homework I have, we're going to Disneyland on Tuesday. My wife has been wanting to go for about a decade now and there was a pretty sweet L.A. resident deal so we have to go three times before the middle of May. So next week, I'm at least losing one whole day. It's for a good cause and all but I still hate losing the writing time, if that makes sense. And then there's going back to work the next day. But that's next week.

Speaking of which, I'll be back next Sunday to report on what I did do. So until then, keep writing.