Sunday, February 28, 2021

A Week in Writing #340 - Marketing and a New Query

Hope this finds everyone staying safe and writing.

This week, I finally finished my grammar check of Broken People and after another round of spell checking and some quick edits decided it was ready to query again. So I did send one off on Thursday night. If you're new to this blog or have perhaps forgotten, I try to do one a week. I really hate the experience, though it is a very necessary step, and find it very anxious to hit send on the email. I'm never sure if I've answered everything a particular agency wants in their query letter.

This time, from scratch, I rewrote the query letter trying to incorporate what this agency was looking for. I'll be honest the letter probably didn't change all that much but it was written uniquely for the agent. In this case, the agent wanted the first 50 pages, so if I don't hear anything back I should take it personally, I guess. It's one thing to get a pass on a query letter but when there is real work included it matters more and seems more like a real rejection of me.

With this agent, their response is stated as "If we are interested, we will be in touch as soon as we possibly can. If you have not heard back from us within six weeks you may consider it a pass." So, I guess we'll see and, if I do hear back, I will write about it here, that's the promise.

I did do minimal work this week on Skylar, almost so little as it's not worth than a sentence mention.

Last week, I mentioned that Paul and I were having a virtual meeting to discuss the marketing of Powers Squared. I won't get into who we spoke with, as this is not that kind of blog, but I think it went pretty well. Our biggest fear was that he would tell us to burn the thing to the ground and start over, which he didn't. We discussed our ideal reader and decided that it would be best to try to work with colleges and students, and if possible twins in colleges, though neither Paul nor I have been able to find any sort of social media that includes that segment of the population. He seemed to like what we had done with the website, telling us that we had the car and the food, we just needed a destination.

One thing that came out of it was that we're going to stop doing a weekly newsletter. We had been doing one big newsletter once a month, The Hound Dogs' Howl, named after the school's paper in the comic book and filling in the rest of the weeks with a stripped-down version called The Bark. Now we're going to cut back to just doing The Howl and reserve The Bark for announcements in between. Of course, you're invited to enroll to receive the first issue of Powers Squared free and the newsletter.

We brought together all of the creative team for our Friday On the Air with Powers Squared to discuss what we had learned. And well, that version won't be available after it runs its course on Twitch, as for some reason, the recording didn't capture Julia or Rachel's side of the conversation. To make amends, Paul and I recorded an abbreviated podcast the next night and that's what's up on the podcast platforms. If you're interested, you can listen to or find where to listen to it on our website at

On to reviews, I did finish mine for Illicit and in the late hours on Saturday night started one for Rationing (1944). While I don't know when those will go up, I did publish one on Saturday morning, The Trial of the Chicago 7. This had been a busy week on Trophy Unlocked, with five reviews this week. In addition to mine, on Monday, Paul published his review of the video game Hitman (2016), followed on Wednesday with Hitman 2 (2018), and on Friday with Hitman 3. While this is supposed to be about Sunday to Saturday, I'm going to include Trevor's review that came out today, Daft Punk Unchained, since the group announced this past week that they were breaking up and it's newsworthy.

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

Sunday, February 21, 2021

A Week in Writing #339 - Grammar Check Woes

I hope everyone is staying safe and writing.

When I say I love editing, I guess I should qualify that. I'm not big on grammar checking, which I'm in the middle of doing with Broken People. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I'm using an online grammar program that only checks online writing. I'm using it by copying up to 50 pages at a time into Outlook Mail and then seeing what issues the program finds and updating the manuscript accordingly.

It's a somewhat tedious process and I still have about 200 pages to go. If it hasn't been obvious to this point, grammar is not my strong suit. In fact, my son Paul, who along with his brother is really good at it, goes through this post every Sunday before it gets published. I really couldn't do this without his support.

This program I'm using finds errors that are not there, which only adds to my frustration with the process. It will tell me that something like "The document" needs a "the" in front of the word "document". It's not something I look forward to, though I know it's a necessary step in the process.

So here's an update on the queries I do have pending. The agent that said they would get back in three weeks if interested hasn't after five weeks, so I'm pretty sure it's a silent "no". There is still one that has another week to go before I pull the plug on that.

I did do some sporadic work on Skylar this week but nothing to write home about, so I won't bother to get into word count here.

On Powers Squared, a lot of artwork from our artist this week, all good. I got feedback from Paul on the Parents' Day script so I think, at least for the moment, it's done. We have about five issues to go before we get to it, so it'll stay on the virtual shelf for a while.

This coming Monday, Paul and I are virtually sitting down with an expert to discuss marketing Powers Squared. It's an hour's worth of his time so I'm hoping we get some good information out of it. We know there are things that we need to do to get the book in front of more eyes, so I'm hopeful something will come of this.

Onto reviews, I finished one new one this week, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020), which we watched on YouTube on Friday night. And before you think it was a pirated copy it was authorized by Netflix. I also started a new one for Illicit (1931), another pre-code film.

A couple of new videogame reviews on Trophy Unlocked. On Wednesday, Trevor's review of New Super Lucky's Tale for the Xbox One and then on Saturday his review of Little Nightmares II.

So in the coming week, after the big Marketing meeting, I'll see where we go from there. Most likely more work on Broken People and Skylar.

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

Sunday, February 14, 2021

A Week in Writing #338 - Happy Valentine's Day

Hope everyone had a Happy Valentine's Day, are staying safe, and, of course, writing.

I set out this week with certain goals and I think I made most of them, however, I failed in one. I was hoping to finish my review of Spider-Man 3 and I have not done so. I know it may seem like small potatoes but I'm still working through it. The film is my least favorite of the Sam Raimi trilogy but I don't want to give too much of my review away now.

I did finish writing another one, though. I've been reading the TCM book Forbidden Hollywood about Pre-Code films and have been on a bit of a pre-code kick. A film that got mentioned, almost in passing, in the book was on recently, so I recorded it and we watched it as part of our drain the DVR Saturdays. The film was Beauty and The Boss (1932) starring Marian Marsh and Warren William. That review I completed and as usual not sure when it will appear on Trophy Unlocked.

I did get published again this past Saturday. Since today in Valentine's Day, what seemed more appropriate than The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1967)? Well, probably some romantic film but the title fit the day so it went up. Previously in the week, the Wednesday review was Trevor's review of Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales (PS5).

The bulk of what writing I did accomplish was working on Broken People. I managed to go through the entire book and am currently doing about 50 pages at a time through the online grammar program. I'm up to about page 165. It is interesting that the program will sometimes call out things that are correct, like asking me to add "the" in front of a word that already has the determiner in front of it. And sometimes, it would sacrifice flavor for correct grammar, if that makes sense, wanting me to make a change that is not in line with what I'm writing.

I also finally finished my draft of a new script for Powers Squared called Parents' Day, in which Marty and Eli's parents make their first appearance in the comic book. Like my reviews, I'm not sure when this will make it into the book, as we have others in line ahead of it. It took several edits to get to this point and I'm sure there will be others after Paul has had a chance to weigh in on it.

We had a fascinating conversation with other creators this past Friday on our On the Air with Powers Squared. Bin Lee and Tina Cesa Ward, the creators and writers of Delegates were our guests. I'm enjoying meeting other creators and talking shop with them. One always wants to find their peers and I think we're learning something from them as well. You can always listen in on our website There are also links there to other platforms if you prefer them as well.

A busy week in Powers Squared as well, with our artist delivering four new pages, as well as four new character designs for our Pitch packet project. There is always some back and forth with these but nothing out of the ordinary.

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

Sunday, February 7, 2021

A Week in Writing #337 - Still Rewriting

I hope everyone is writing and staying safe.

Well, my writing time this week has been spent working on rewrites and most of it on Broken People. I'm trying to get through about 50 pages a week but that is really a goal more than anything else. With this rewrite, I'm not printing it out to do the work on. I figured I didn't want to go through another ream of paper.

I'm finding things to change here and there, reworking passages and actually making it longer. It has been a while since I've actually read the book so while there are no surprises, I'm looking forward to getting to the end where I'm thinking there might be some updates I can make there. But that's looking ahead.

So, I never heard back from Mr. Three Weeks, so I guess there was no interest from him for the book. There is one more out there from one I sent out a week later but that has a six-week expiration so there are a few more weeks to go on that one.

I also worked on my Parents' Day script for Powers Squared. I finally finished the first draft of part two and I'm working on the editing. I have a bit of a challenge since the first draft is about four pages too long, so there is a lot of editing at this point. I know I pad the dialogue so I'm pretty sure I can get it down.

On the subject of Powers Squared, I had to do some research for our Friday On the Air with Powers Squared show. We had a guest, Sean Hall, the creator of  Dirk Brodey Freelance Adventurer and I needed to put together some questions to ask. There are the usual types of questions but you also want them to be too general and geared to your guest. You can hear how we did here if you're interested.

Speaking of research, I had to look for creative twins to showcase in our newsletter, The Hound Dogs' Howl. I stumbled across Marina and Irina Fabrizius, who paint together. I was lucky to find an interview with them on the BBC which thankfully provided subtitles that I was able to incorporate into the story. Again, if you're interested, you can read it here at least until the next issue of the newsletter is published. Better yet, you can subscribe to it by enrolling at and get it sent to your inbox every Sunday morning.

I finally cracked into Trophy Unlocked this year with the Saturday Morning Review of Susan Lenox (Her Fall and Rise). I'm on a bit of a pre-code kick these days. It's not that the films made then are any better than ones made during the Code but they do deal with subjects that they couldn't a few years later. I do find it interesting that most of these scandalous films would probably be rated G or PG-13 these days. On Wednesday, it was Paul's review of Untitled Goose Game.

Currently, I'm working on a pair of reviews, both for Spider-Man 3. We recently purchased a Blu-ray set of the trilogy which included this film as well as the Editor's Cut. This weekend, we watched both versions and so I volunteered to write the dual review.

So the coming week promises more rewrites and finishing the review. It may not sound like much but I'm pretty sure other things will come up during the week, as they always seem to do.

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