Sunday, June 27, 2021

A Week in Writing #357 - Am I Ever Going to Make It?

Hope everyone is staying safe and writing.

I know the headline may seem alarmist but I had trouble sleeping last night. While that's not necessarily new what I was thinking about was the question above. It occurred to me that maybe this is never going to happen for me. Maybe I'm never going to make it as a writer or sell anything or whatever success looks like in an industry where apparently few actually do it as a living. I'm sure I'm not alone in these thoughts. Almost anyone trying to break into a creative field no doubt has had this thought before. I know I have but since it happened this week I thought I'd at least mention it. I'm not going to give up, but I do have those feelings.

So, this is another week when I ran out of time to query, which is one key for making the above happen. Part of what I decided last night was to double down on this and I will be spending some amount of time next week to get this going again. But time is always the most valuable commodity and how that gets spent is where the tension lies.

Like most of you, I only have so many hours in a day or week to work on my writing. This week, I spent a couple of nights hopefully giving something back to one of my sons, Paul. He's working on a sitcom pilot and I read it twice over two nights, made notes, and talked to him about it. Nothing I don't think any parent wouldn't do. While I know my comments aren't the last ones he'll get nor the best, I do hope that I was able to help.

I did do some more work this week on my Skylar manuscript. For those of you counting, and no one is, I'm on version 10. I'm rebuilding the chapters if that makes sense. I'm up to 13,000+ words so far and I think this time it's working better. This isn't all that unusual for me but I'll admit this manuscript has been harder than most to get a feel for. Hopefully, this one will take.

I know that every week I make a point of talking about Powers Squared. Things seem to be at an out point at the moment. While I'm hopeful things will work out, it's been about a month since we've had new colored pages. It's the same issue I have with my writing, our colorist has a job and it's getting to our work that she's having trouble with. I'm trying to be understanding, but it is still frustrating.

We're still working on a possible cover for our BD, even though nothing has been confirmed on that front. I'm sure our artist is up to the challenge but we're looking for something that reflects the spirit of the story without redoing an existing cover from one of the five issues being combined.

I did some more work on the Pitch Packet, combining and organizing the character descriptions I'd written and parts from a previous try at it. I'm waiting until Paul is done with his pilot script before getting into that with him; the pilot is more pressing at the moment.

This week, we watched An American Tragedy and I wrote a review of it for the future. This week, Trophy Unlocked featured a couple of game reviews, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart written by Trevor on Monday; and on Wednesday Trevor's review of TY the Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue HD. I know that it seems like my reviews don't get published but next week, there will be five of my Pre-Code reviews up on the blog. We were talking about the backlog I had and I had the idea to maybe do a block of these films leading up to the anniversary of the start of the Production Code. Turns out, all films released after July 1, 1934, had to abide by the code so we decided to pull the trigger. I'll invite you to read the blog and I'll report on it, as I do, next week on what went up and when.

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

Sunday, June 20, 2021

A Week in Writing #356 - End of a Crazy Week

Hope everyone is well and writing.

This was certainly a unique week for me in that the days were cut up with a graduation on Monday, two days of work, and two days off at the end of the week, one a vacation day and one a holiday.

I had low expectations for Monday since the big focus was Paul's graduation from UCLA's Writing Certificate Program. He wasn't exactly thrilled with what he had learned about his chosen field in college and wanted to learn more and this program certainly gave him a lot of experience and exposure to different types of writing, from novel to television animation writing. My wife and I got to play proud parents and be there, sort of.

We were actually in one outdoor stadium watching the procession that was going on in another outdoor stadium. It went pretty well, except it started about a half-hour late and we got sunburned. This was a day or so before California opened up completely, so I imagine it would have been a different experience any other time.

While we were waiting to leave, I did manage to complete the script I had been working on for a possible Powers Squared story arc and complete questions for our guest on our Friday On the Air with Powers Squared.

As I mentioned last week, we had planned to go to Disney's California Adventure Park on Thursday, ostensively in search of Oswald t-shirts. For those of you unfamiliar, Oswald was the pre-Mickey Mouse character that Disney worked on and lost to Universal Pictures. My son, Trevor, has developed quite an affinity for the character and we wanted to go to the park to shop in Oswald's, a store just inside the entrance. Surprisingly for a namesake, very little merch was to be had.

We did have a good time and spent longer than we thought we would at the park. I think the universal favorite was the Disney Animation Academy where you learn to draw characters. We went twice and drew Donald Duck and Stitch. Trevor's were the best and his Stitch actually got positive comments from other attendees.

We also walked and walked. To begin with, there was no Tram service so you have to hike to and fro to the parking garage. In all, including that trek, walking around the park, and walking to Downtown Disney for dinner, my fit clocked in at over 20,000 steps and over 10 miles. Given that and the heat, we sort of laid low on Friday, getting up enough energy to do OAPS.

This week, we had Nina Gaillard, a former colorist on Powers Squared, on the show. You can listen to the conversation here if you'd like.

In other Powers Squared news, besides the script I finished, we started to work out some very preliminary ideas for the Graphic Novel cover. I finally got some feedback from Artithmeric, which I wanted. And now our artist, Rachel Wells, is working on some possible thumbnails.

Despite the comings and goings, it was a busy week on Trophy Unlocked, with five reviews going up. The week started with Trevor's review of Cars, followed on Wednesday by his second look at Cars 2, followed on Friday by Paul's review of Cars 3; see a pattern? The Saturday morning review was Paul's review of FF7R Episode INTERmission, new DLC for Final Fantasy VII Remake. And today, Paul's review of Luca, the new Pixar feature that debuted on Friday on Disney+.

Even though I'm once again shut out, I did complete a new review of The Kiss (1930), the last silent film from MGM and star Greta Garbo. Not sure, as always, when that will come out. If we're counting words, that was 1836 worth.

I also had some time on Saturday to get back to Skylar and am starting over on the story. Since it takes place post-COVID re-opening, I had sort of a burst of thoughts. I'm up to about 3639 words since I started and hope to get more done later today/tonight.

If you're keeping track, no new queries this week, sorry no time. I promise to do better.

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

Sunday, June 13, 2021

A Week in Writing #355 - Doing Two Things at Once

Hope this finds everyone well and writing.

I'm trying to write this while bidding on some items on eBay, so pardon me if I get distracted. I do have interests outside of writing and it's always a balance between the two.

We had our monthly all-hands-on-deck meeting on OAPS this week. If you're new to the blog, in addition to writing and producing a comic book, my son Paul and I host a podcast, On the Air with Powers Squared, which is essentially about our comic book but also about things related to it. We've done some interviews with other creators, marketing wiz Gamal Hennessy and IDW Editor-in-Chief John Barber. But I think the ones I like best are when we get the other creatives from our book (Rachel Wells, Julia Canon, and Trevor Hankins) on the show. It's a chance to catch up, tell them the bigger plans we have and encourage them.

You might not think about it but there is a lot that goes into doing a comic book even if you're not the artist. Very time-consuming little details, which every week I find someplace where I could do better. And it's hard sometimes to be timely with a tweet when the video goes up at 2:45 on Wednesday afternoons since I also have a full-time job.

And I haven't even scratched the surface on all of the things I should be doing if I had the know-how and the time to do it. Oh, sweet marketing, you're very confusing and mysterious.

This week, I did more work on a new story for the comic book. If you're not a reader (and you should be), this issue involves Dr. Atlas coming to the boys and Mocha for help. He must be pretty desperate to do that. Last week, I wrote part one of the story. This week, I wrote part two, which is about 4013 words long. I'm not done but this is what I spent a lot of my time on. You know, you get in the groove on something and it's working so you want to complete it.

I did write a 2400+ word review for Trophy UnlockedSo This is Paris, a silent comedy from 1926, directed by Ernst Lubitsch. This is one of those films I found that TCM was showing a while back and it sounded special from their description. As it turned out, it was really good. As always, not sure when this will see the light of day but it is another one in the bag, so to speak, and ready to go.

Otherwise, a pretty busy week on the blog with four reviews, including Duck Tales: Remastered (PS3) on Wednesday written by Paul; Friday saw another videogame review, Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 again written by Paul. On Saturday, my review of Ghost in the Shell (2017)the live-action remake of the anime classic, was featured; and on Sunday, Trevor's review of Raya and the Last Dragon plus the accompanying short Us Again.

By the time I got to Skylar, my novel, I started to rethink my rewrite so far. I want to get into the action pretty quickly but at the same time, this is part of a series and a lot has happened to my main character. I have to come up with a way of being able to bring all that out. I like the idea of showing rather than telling so I'm in a bit of a dilemma at the moment.

So, I know I'm bad with the queries. I did some more looking up possible agents to reject me this week but I did not pull the trigger on any submissions. I'd like to promise I'll do better next week but I won't.

While I will continue to write, this is going to be a very hit-and-miss week (which might be the subtitle for next week's blog).

On Monday, my son and co-creator Paul is going through a graduation ceremony at UCLA for his Fiction Writing Certificate program that he actually completed late last year. No promises on that day or on Thursday, when we're all going to Disneyland's next-door neighbor California Adventure Park. The real goal is not the Avengers Campus but actually the Oswald store that's just inside the gate. Long story and I'll probably tell it next week; got to give you something to come back for. Friday is a holiday, so maybe something will get done.

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

Sunday, June 6, 2021

A Week in Writing #354 - Bumpy Week

Hope everyone is staying safe and, of course, writing.

This has been a surprisingly bumpy week for me. I never felt like I had the time to really get into anything very deep. It always seemed like by the time I got to sit down at my laptop to write I only had an hour or less left in the day. My sign-off for writing seems to be 10:30 at night and by that, I mean I'm physically unable to write anymore. It's like a little switch goes off and I'm done. Oh, I might be able to rekindle the fire but not for long.

So, what I'm trying to say is don't have big expectations as you're reading this.

I don't know if this is you but I have a routine I try to follow. Once work is over, there are things I do, like take a walk, watch the evening news, eat and then write. I might do some posts along the way but by and large, I usually get to writing sometime around 8:30 to 9 each night and that gives me 90 minutes to 2 hours to get something done.

Now, when I write it is usually on a TV tray in the living room with something on the TV that I'm already familiar with, like Friends or The Big Bang Theory. Something I can have on but not pay attention to. I know there's so much great TV these days and if I tried to watch it all I'd get nothing done.

One of the recurring items this week has been artwork for Powers Squared. On Tuesday, our artist sent us thumbnails for the last four pages of an issue and the choices for the cover. It's not hard work but it does sort of derail you. I once heard someone say that an interruption at work, like a phone call, lasts longer than the interruption itself. And that's true with this, though I don't want to call it an interruption, though the appearance of images to review can put off whatever else I might have wanted to work on that night. And this went on pretty much every night this week as we went back and forth and are still going back and forth on the cover image. In fact, there is a thumbnail from Friday that Paul and I still have to review and give comments on.

On Wednesday, my wife was feeling under the weather one day, so now I'm on the hook for dinner, which was takeout pizza, but still, it's getting out of the routine that is really the issue. And I know personal responsibility takes precedent over writing but this is a blog about writing, not about personal responsibilities.

Thursday night, the room where I sit to write was part of a staging area for the sale of a collection the next day. Not that I was really involved with that process but I wasn't able to really reclaim the space until after 10 and that only gave me 30 minutes at best. So, no new queries this week from me.

Friday nights I don't normally write as that's our family pizza/movie night. We do watch a movie on Saturdays, as part of our drain the DVR process. This week it was Mystery House (1938), which I did write a review of over two days, since at 10:30 on Saturday I was done for the night, at least writing-wise. As always, not sure when it will appear on Trophy Unlocked.

As always, it went on without me with two reviews, Astro Bot Rescue Mission written by Trevor on Wednesday and Paul's review of The Road to El Dorado on Saturday.

I finished my review up on Sunday morning as I also finished our Hound Dogs' Howl newsletter (which you can read) and a draft of character descriptions for our Pitch Packet (which you cannot).

Sadly, Skylar is the one who paid the price, as I never got to that book this week.

So, it's been a bumpy week for me.

Keep writing and I'll see you back here next week and hopefully, things will go smoother.