Sunday, January 31, 2021

A Week in Writing #336 - Rewrite City, Arizona

I hope everyone is staying well and writing.

For me, much of the week has been spent on rewrites, both on Broken People, which I discussed last week, and on the Parents' Day script I'm working on for Powers Squared.

Let's start with Broken People. I got hip to the fact that the online grammar program catches much more than Microsoft Word, so I decided to use my mail program to run the first 50 pages, which I pasted into a draft and then made the changes there before pasting them back into the manuscript. That worked pretty well, except when I pasted it back all the margins were thrown off, so I had to go line by line for 50 pages making updates. Lesson learned. Next time, I'm going to have a second monitor and make the changes directly in the manuscript.

Other than that, I'm trying to run through the book for the nth time and I'm sad to say I'm not only finding the odd error but also I'm making some changes. It helps to read it out loud, though softly to myself. Sometimes the dialogue gets changed, sometimes it's a description. I'm going about 50 pages a day, which means it'll take a couple of weeks to get through it all.

As I mentioned last week, I moved two chapters around, and hopefully, I've made the edits that make that work. Sometimes it only takes a different word or a short passage to make it work, at least so I hope.

It should go without saying, no new queries this week and I have not heard back on the one that prompted me to start the rewrite. The clock is still ticking on that. If I hear back, I will, of course, let you know the yay or nay.

For Powers Squared, I finally made it through the first part of Parents' Day. Now, I'm still working on Part 2. I know what I want to happen it's just making it work in 20 pages and 6 panels per. I'm about halfway through it, so it'll take a while to finish. I also have to name the characters. I know that seems like writing 101, but I think there's a lot more to it than that. Still, I think it's secondary to the story itself and can be updated with find and replace later.

Don't know if you're listening to our podcast, On the Air with Powers Squared or not but this past week we revisited some questions we answered in 2018 as part of an Ask Me Anything feed. We also, thanks to Trevor, updated our Podcast Icon. It was Paul's idea, so credit where credit is due, but it was better than what I came up with on my own.

It was a busy week with the art, as our artist sent not only four pages for us to review but also five character designs we're having her do for future use, like a pitch packet and/or an ashcan. Relatively easy for us but still time-consuming.

On the Trophy Unlocked front, I finished the one for Nobody Lives Forever, and wrote two new ones for King Kong (1973) and Rain (1932). While it wasn't a factor in how they were selected, it is interesting that both take place on tropical islands. As always, no set time for them to appear but they will and I'll link them here when they do.

In the meantime, on Wednesday it was Trevor's review of Bombastic, a puzzle video game from 2002, and on Saturday morning it was Paul's review of An Extremely Goofy Movie, (2000) a direct-to-video animated comedy from Disney.

This coming week, there will no doubt be more rewrites on Broken People and I hope to complete my draft of Parents' Day.  Add to that, no doubt there'll be something to do with Powers Squared and the song goes on.

That's about all for now. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

A Week in Writing #335 - Query Hell

I hope everyone is staying safe and writing.

So tell me, has this ever happened to you? You've edited and spell-checked your manuscript repeatedly in Word but when you paste the first ten pages into your query email, there are suddenly several words that are identified as questionable. You try to make all the corrections there but it makes you rethink your book, at least the spelling in it.

Well, that happened to me on Thursday. I was going through the process of sending out my weekly query when suddenly several words show up in the email as possibly misspelled. I make those corrections before I send it but it gets me thinking about what I've been sending.

Trust me when I say I had gone through Broken People several times but I'm finding that the spell check is not perfect in Word and the grammar program I have on the internet is picking up things that had not presented themselves before. On top of that, I started going through the book again and I'm finding errors that shouldn't be there. Embarrassing to say the least.

That got me to look at the book again and I've decided to make some changes. I had been given the advice to get to the action sooner and so in looking at this again, I've decided to move the chapters around and start with what would have been the fourth chapter and use the first three in a flashback. I'm liking it but I think I'm going to give the book yet another go through before I send out samples again. I've decided to "wash" all of the pages through email before I send them. To make the changes work, I'm also going to have some more edits to make but I think it will make it a better book, which is always the goal.

As far as the one I sent on Thursday, should I hear back I can send him more than the first ten pages of that version. But going forward, I'll be using a new version of the book to query with.

Speaking of queries, I pulled the pin on the two that were still open from last year. The time periods for them to get back to me if they were interested have expired.

Enough about that.

Spent more time this week on Parents' Day for Powers Squared. As I was getting to the end of the story I wanted to make changes so that's still a work in progress, at least the second half. I'm pretty happy with Part 1 though I still have another run-through of it to go.

Worked more on Character Descriptions to match the Character Sheets our artist Rachel is working on for us. There are obviously four main characters so the first set I worked on matched what she was doing independently. We had her on our show, On the Air with Powers Squared, on Friday to discuss. You can find links or listen to it on our website

I did some more work earlier in the week on Skylar, though I've put that aside while I'm working on Parents' Day and my new rework on Broken People.

I finished one review for Trophy Unlocked, Tomorrow is Forever, and started another this week, Nobody Lives Forever, both for future use. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Trevor's review of the videogame Devil Dice went up, and on Saturday morning, Paul's review of A Goofy MovieI'm sure I'll make an appearance sometime this year but there are a lot of reviews that have been gathering dust. I'll be ready when I get the chance.

Well, that will about do it for me this week. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

A Week in Writing #334 - The Ideal Reader

I hope everyone is staying safe and writing.

The Ideal Reader is something that all writers probably contemplate, though there are some cases where you have to think about them. I know from experience, more and more agents want you to give them help in marketing your book, which is in essence about how to reach the ideal reader for your tome.

With indie comic books, like Powers Squared, oft written about here, marketing has to be tailored to the ideal reader and how and where to find them. But the first step in that process, of course, is to identify who that Ideal Reader is. To this end, we had the entire creative team meet to discuss. While we came up with a lot of characteristics of what we think make up our ideal reader, I don't think we came to a definitive answer. If you're interested in our discussion, you can listen to our podcast, On The Air with Powers Squared. Links to listen are available here. Our discussion might be useful in your own endeavor if you're looking for your ideal reader.

Staying with the comic book, I had an idea on how to introduce Marty and Eli's, the heroes of the book, parents. The story is called Parents' Day, a reference to an event on many college campuses where the school's administration puts on a dog and pony show for the people that are supposedly paying for their kids' education. It's not going to be a happy experience for our heroes or their Uncle Brian. After seven drafts, I think I'm pretty close to being done with Part 1.There are probably a couple of more edits before I move on to Part 2 or show it to Paul.

I'd like some credit this week, as promised, I did actually query an agent. Never any names, but he's one of those that will let you know in three weeks if he wants to see more. It was one of those great online forms. I figure one a week is enough, as I always feel like I'm setting myself up for eventual disappointment. With this query, I guess I'll find out when three weeks go by. I'm never sure if when an agent gives you a firm deadline for them to get back to you if that's supposed to be taken as true or if that slides based on the agent's availability. As an example, do holidays fit into those three weeks? Just curious.

I did do some more work on Skylar before I got working on Parents' Day. It's been a few days but we're up to 30,996 words. I'm about to start a new chapter.

To round out the week, I did write another future review for Trophy Unlocked. Another of the drain the DVR Saturday nights, this week Tomorrow is Forever (1946). Like all the other ones, I'm not sure when this one will appear. A big week on the blog, none of which are mine. Wednesday it was Bugsnax, a videogame for the PS5 written by Paul. On Thursday, another video game Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game (PS3) again by Paul. Saturday morning's review Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, the animated movie, another review by Paul. Proving that Trophy Unlocked never sleeps, on Sunday, another animated film, Lupin III: The First, the changeup is that this one was written by Trevor.

Well, that about does it for me. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

A Week in Writing #333 - Welcome to the Working Week

Let's face it, going back to work after a vacation sucks. I'm know I'm one of the lucky who has a job to go back to but the statement still stands. And I have been out of work before, so I know what that feels like. There were three years between when I was unceremoniously laid off from Sony to the time I found contract work at Paramount Pictures and before I started this blog. Those who have lost their jobs due to COVID have my sympathies.

But I'm the one writing about my experiences so let me have this one.

I had big plans for the week and for the most part I did most of them, though I didn't do one of those things, say it with me, send out queries. My excuse this week has to do with Powers Squared but not the comic book directly.

Back in November, I had asked another creative, Rik Offenberger, if he waned to be on our twitch show, On the Air with Powers Squared. For his own reasons, he was unable to do the show before the holidays. On Monday, I reached out to see if he would be available to do the show some Friday. Well, bing-bang-boom, not only is he doing the show on Friday but he's also bringing some of his co-creators with him. I had to spend some time during the week prepping, including reading their comic books, looking at their website and drafting some questions to ask in case the conversation died down, it didn't. Anyway, that's my excuse for not getting to the queries this week. If you want to watch or listen to the show, you can find links at

But there was news on the queries anyway, sadly bad. My first rejection of the year. A nice form letter that managed to insert the name of my book into the blank space, as in:

Dear David,

I'm sorry, but BROKEN PEOPLE does not sound like a fit for me at this time, and so I will have to pass. Thank you for considering me and I wish you success.

I'll wager that any other rejections I do receive will sound somewhat or exactly like this one. They may use the words "my list" but that would be the variety that adds the spice to life as they say.

There was some real work done as well on Powers Squared itself. Rachel did send us four new pages, pencils, which Paul and I had to review but that was about it on that front.

I did do some work on the website, combining several pages into a single folder. As always, you are more than welcomed to take a look at my work at Comments are always welcomed.

I also managed to write a couple of reviews for Trophy Unlocked, I finished The Tall Target and wrote a new one for Five Star Final (1931). As always no idea when either will actually appear.

Otherwise, it was a busy week on the blog. On Tuesday, Trevor's review for Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People was published, followed on Thursday another of Trevor's review, this one for another game, Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures. On Saturday, Trevor completed the hat-trick with his third review of the week, The Powerpuff Girls Movie.

To round out the week, I did make some progress on Skylar, finishing my rewrites and going beyond that. If you're counting words, I'm up to 30,775.

Well, that about wraps it up for me. Keep writing and I'll see you again next week.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

A Week in Writing #332 - Happy New Year

Hope everyone had a Happy and Safe start to the New Year! Here's hoping 2021 is better for everyone!

One of the nice things about the holiday is time off from work, i.e., the day job. Part of the fun of these days is not having to do anything and I'm afraid some days I feel like I didn't do anything, or at least, not all that I would have hoped I would have done but that's true for every week.

Let's start with Powers Squared, which is always a good place to start.

As I'm sure I've written several times here, we want to pitch the comic book as an animated TV series. Paul and I even took a class pre-pandemic at UCLA on how to do that. However, getting over the hump has been another thing. I've taken a few shots and putting one together but there has always been something missing, full character designs for most of the main characters.

Now our artist has been good about providing them for the characters that she's designed but our previous one was not. Maybe they exist somewhere but even if they did, they would be outdated as the style has changed since Rachel took over on Issue #6. But that leaves us with about 11 characters that have been important to the story but for which there are no useable character designs.

Artists deserve to get paid but at the same time I've got to pay them, so we had to work out a reasonable per character rate. I won't go into that but I think we'll have them all by the end of March, so I'm hopeful we'll have a pitch packet ready to go by then.

I also spent some time this week researching possible podcasts that we could approach about being guests on them. There are about 15 possibilities, not all of which I could find contact information on. Now to listen to them to see if they're the type of shows we would be good guests for. If they only deal with mainstream books, they're not going to want us.

On Friday, Paul and I, as part of our On the Air with Powers Squared podcast, took a look back on what did and didn't happen in 2020 and looked forward to what we want to accomplish in 2021.

For Trophy Unlocked, I wrote a couple of reviews for a couple of silent films, The Racket (1928) and Yankee Doodle in Berlin (1919). Have I found a sudden love for somewhat obscure silent films? No, not really. I've been reading Bathing Beauty: A Novel of Marie Prevost by Laini Giles and thought I should watch some of her films. Not sure when they will come out but I didn't want to let the viewings go to waste.

I still need to write one for The Tall Target, our Saturday night drain the DVR feature.

Otherwise, it was a busy week on the blog. On Monday, my review of Wonder Woman 1984 came out. (I promised last week that I'd link it here.). On Tuesday, Trevor's review of Ernest & Celestine was published. On Wednesday, unofficial game review day, Trevor's review of Deformers (PS4).

And if that wasn't enough, Thursday was a day to reflect not only on the past year but the past decade. both Paul and Trevor put out their year-in-review posts (I didn't since we had only seen a handful of films released during the year). And, since this was the end of the decade, we did a collective Actual End of the Decade List (2011-2020) post covering the best, worst, underrated and overrated live-action, animation, and video games from the past decade.

And, one more to grow on, Saturday's Morning Review was Paul's review of My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising.

In my other writing, I did work on the Skylar manuscript. I was mostly doing some editing on previous pages. In the story, I had my characters sharing a drink, one that I also tried during the break and I wanted to get some thoughts about it into the story. So, the word count, for those keeping track, I'm at 29454 words.

So, next week, things get back to the new "normal" for me. I'm hoping to keep working on the marketing issue for Powers Squared, finish my review of The Tall Target and get back on the query train. That's the plan but as they say, life is what happens while you're busy making other plans, so we'll see.

In the meantime, keep writing and I'll see you next week.