Sunday, October 31, 2021

A Week in Writing #376 - Getting Back on Track?

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

I had big plans this week to write a sort of day-by-day diary of my writing this week. However, that didn't get past Monday night. Oh, the best-laid plans...

My goal was to show what I was doing every night but that didn't pan out. I got the idea because after writing this blog last Sunday, I also reviewed pages for Powers Squared and wrote a review of Dune for Trophy Unlocked, and also worked on Skylar.

This is sort of typical for me. Sometimes I work on one project but usually, my writing time gets divided up between different projects, or different aspects of the same one. Like on Monday, there was one page to review for Issue #19 of Powers Squared and then I worked on an updated version of a character description that we want a friend of the book to read. After that, back to Skylar. While progress seems to be slow on that, I am working on it most days.

After that, I lost track, so let's go back to basics.

I'm currently working on a review of Arsène Lupin (1932) for Trophy Unlocked. I'm about halfway through, so I'm hoping to wrap it up today or tomorrow. We watched it as part of our drain the DVR Saturdays. I recorded it recently when I saw that TCM was going to show it. The story that the film is based on has been made many times and was the inspiration for the Lupin III manga and anime, which was part of the attraction in the first place.

While we're on the subject of Trophy Unlocked we were celebrating Halloween in our own way this week, starting with Paul's review of Call of Cthulhu, a horror video game. Our Saturday review was Trevor's review of the animated movie Monster House, and we added a special review today with Paul's review of Batman: The Long Halloween Part 1 and 2, which we watched over two nights. I understand my review of Dune will appear next Saturday.

We had a bit of a hiccup this week with On The Air with Powers Squared. Our guest had to cancel at the last minute, actually, the night before. We had to audible and switch up topics. We had talked about doing a Halloween twitch and talk about horror films. Now that we had to come up with a show, we decided to move it up to Friday. When we got to talking about horror films, we decided we like more psychological horror and decided on aspects of Frankenstein that we liked, so that became our topic. That's how the sausage gets made sometimes. You can listen to our discussion, which included Trevor, on our website at

I did send out a new query on Thursday night (virtual pat on the back). I have one that has been out there almost to expiration but until it does, I'm still counting it, so I have three out. My goal is to send another on Thursday and I trust you'll hold me to it.

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

Sunday, October 24, 2021

A Week in Writing #375 - One Last Distraction

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

I believe I mentioned this in last week's post, but this week was sort of bifurcated by one more event, which sort of threw things into slight disarray. And I know when I say what it was it's not going to seem like much of anything or at least nothing bad. On Thursday, we went to Disneyland.

What that means to my week in writing is that I didn't send out any new queries, nor did I check on any in the pipeline. As I wrote previously, Thursday night is my night for queries. I know, I'm being bad about this, and I know it's something I need to work on next week for sure.

If you're wondering, Disneyland was exhausting. Fun but exhausting. Between the tram not running and walking to the Rise of the Resistance attraction several times to check on it, which broke down during the day, we ended up walking about 12 miles. I don't know about you but that's about 6 more than I usually do in a day on average. We took Friday off to recuperate, so there's another day gone, so to speak.

No new reviews for me this week, as we watched Part 1 of Batman: The Long Halloween on Friday night and Part 2 on Saturday, rather than our usual drain the DVR. Paul ended up writing the review for the 3-hours+ Batman animated film.

I did finish my two reviews this week, Hocus Pocus and Racket Busters, no TBA for either, though I would imagine Hocus Pocus is a good year off from being published.

On the topic of reviews, mine for The Return of Doctor X appeared as the Saturday Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked. On Wednesday, Paul's review of The Evil Within 2, sort of mixed GameDay with our October Halloween theme.

Next week, besides sending a much-needed query, I'm going to write a review for the new Dune, which we watched on Sunday afternoon/evening.

More pages to review from both our artist, Rachel Wells, and our colorist, Julia Canon. Last week, we had Julia on last week's On the Air with Powers Squared as we reviewed her last batch of pages. She made the updates over the weekend and placed them in our Dropbox. We also got inks for the last four pages and the cover for Issue #19 Kamaitachi also over the weekend.

We had the entire creative team on the show this past week for our monthly staff meeting. You can listen to it here if you're interested. Short show, only about 15 minutes.

Next week, we're having a guest, Steve Lafler, an illustrator and cartoonist. We had put out the word on various Facebook pages that we were looking for guests and he reached out to us. Going to be interesting, since we've never met. He also has a Kickstarter that we'll discuss as well. Always fun to meet new people.

While we're still talking Powers Squared, our on-demand printer Artithmeric featured us on their social media on Friday with Meet the Creator. We can always use some extra publicity. I'll have more about that in our newsletter.

I did work pretty consistently this week on Skylar, so I am making good progress there. I need to keep up that momentum.

Well, that's about all for me. Keep writing and I'll be back next week.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

A Week in Writing #374 - Almost Ready for Copyright

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

Thursday plays big this past week.

I was off from work that day, it was my wife's birthday but I was hoping to squeeze in registering Issues #13 and #14, The Imposter Parts 1 and 2. I hadn't actually made a .pdf out of the pages yet, which we would use to copyright them, and as it turns out, we hadn't done a final review of the issues. Found a couple of change that needed to be made. Mostly it was moving a speech balloon, but there was one that went back to the actual artwork in one panel on one page.

Long story short, the inks were changed this morning and now it's back to the colorist, who is aware of the issue. Speaking of Julia Canon, we had her as a guest on Friday night on our podcast, On the Air with Powers Squared, to discuss her work on Issue #19, Kamaitachi. Paul and I went over the eight pages she had handed in earlier in the week and gave her live feedback. It's the first time we've done something like that and it went pretty well.

Feel like I got in some good work this week on Skylar, though I'm still thinking about changing the name. One of the things I enjoy is sometimes going back and planting something for use later and I had that opportunity this week. Something minor, like a photograph, but I think it adds a little detail to the story and that rings true as well.

No queries this week, again blame it on Thursday. For some reason, I have it in my head that Thursday night is query night and there were priorities on Thursday. A little preview, next Thursday doesn't look good either but for other reasons, which I'll get into next week.

I don't know about you, but there are times during work when I look forward to working on something. You can sort of taste it all day and when I finally get the opportunity to work on it, that's all I want to do. For me that week was the pitch packet for Powers Squared, which I did finish a draft of. (BTW, I never look forward to doing queries, too much like homework.) I know there will be changes but it felt good to bring it finally. I had been hoping we would have had this together months ago, but things kept getting in the way. It's all about balancing priorities.

I'm working on two reviews at present. Don't hold your breath for when they'll come out. One is Hocus Pocus, a Disney film from 1993. We sort of have this Halloween covered for reviews but it's good to be ready for next year. The other is Racket Busters (1937) from drain the DVR Saturdays. It's more of a programmer with Humphrey Bogart. I'm about three-quarters finished with both, but I couldn't get it done.

Speaking of Halloween, Trophy Unlocked blended that with GameDay Wednesday with Paul's review of The Evil Within. For the Saturday Morning Review, we took an anniversary over Halloween with Trevor's second look review of Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure + Adventure Packs.

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

Sunday, October 10, 2021

A Week in Writing #373 - Virtual Pat on the Back

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

I'm giving myself a virtual pat on the back this week. When there wasn't a movie to review this weekend, more on that later, I used the time to do what I should be doing, and that's query Broken People. I know, about time you say, but I knew this was an opportunity and didn't waste it. I wonder how many queries arrive in agents' mailboxes at odd hours of the day and week. I know I've been rejected at odd times during the day, so I imagine the same is true in reverse. Are there more out there like me?

I know there are rarely any comments on this blog and that's not by my choice. This would be an opportunity to start a conversation about when you query. And do you have a favorite means? It's down to between email and forms. I prefer emails. What about you? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this.

If you're keeping track, I've got three active ones, but the clock is running out on another one, so there are really only three active ones with another about to DNR officially any day now.

This past Saturday, we did our usual clean the DVR, but we watched a documentary about Buster Keaton, The Great Buster: A Celebration. I didn't feel that a review was necessary since it should really be the movies and shorts themselves that get reviewed rather than a documentary about them.

Busy week on the blog for me, as I had four reviews up this week, as Trophy Unlocked celebrated James Bond week leading up to the release of No Time to Die. Monday was Casino Royale (1954), followed by Goldfinger on Tuesday. On Wednesday, we reverted back to Game Day with Paul's review of Death Stranding Director's Cut. We got back on the Bond bandwagon on Thursday with Tomorrow Never Dies and the week ended with Casino Royale (2006) I know the idea would be to do a review of the new movie as a follow up to the week, but that would require going into a theater and that's a bridge too far right now for us. Our Saturday Morning Review got us back to the Halloween theme with my review of The Mystery of the Wax Museum.

Not much happened this week on Powers Squared, which of late has been dominating my weeks. I did do some work on our Pitch Packet, working with Paul on a three- to five-page version. Once that's settled, we'll work on a full version. Trying to be prepared for what they would be looking for. Sort of like having to have a short version of your book's synopsis as well as a full-length one.

We did review some inks for Issue #19, but that was about all we did. Once we get the tiffs for those, we can turn our attention to Issue #20.

Did some good work this week on Skylar. Now I've caught up with most of the edits and am starting again on new pages. I've been enjoying having the time to work on it.

Well, that's about all for me. Keep writing and I'll see you back here next week.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

A Week in Writing #372 - Provocative Title Here

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

Took a couple of vacation days this week. My sons were having their birthday on Tuesday. As it turns out, I had one of those really good days of writing on Tuesday. To begin with, I finished my review of The Case of the Lucky Legs, wrote over 1500 words on Skylar, wrote up a 577-word feature for the Hound Dogs' Howl newsletter, and made some minor updates to Mission Istanistan, the next script for Powers Squared. These kinds of days don't happen all the time, so I really appreciate them when they do.

It felt good to get back to work on Skylar, so I kept working on it all week, I don't have a word count but I think I made some good progress, a combination of rewrites and new passages. I'm toying with the idea of changing the name of the book at some point, and I might even change the character's name, too. I'll keep you posted.

The work I did on the newsletter was good to get out of the way. Even though the newsletter is only once a month and fairly standardized, it's still a couple of hours of work, not including the feature on twins that we would do. If you want to see what we put into it, you can read it here. If you do, and like what you see or just want to be encouraging to a struggling writer, you could always sign up here.

So, the high I was feeling from Tuesday came crashing down to Earth on Wednesday, which was query rejection day as it turned out. Received a negative response from one of the agencies I had queried back in the middle of August. "Thank you for sharing your work with us, and for your patience as we reviewed. While we enjoyed the idea behind Broken People, it doesn't seem like quite the right fit for our list, so we've decided to step aside."

Not sure what to make of that. Most likely a form letter. I  really doubt any agency sends out a "you suck" email, so I'm guessing this is a form and they drop the name of the submission into it. Sounds encouraging but non-committal, the best of both worlds, from a rejection email for the agency to send, not to receive. Always disappointing no matter how much they sugarcoat it, a rejection is a rejection.

While I was updating my query list, I decided to call another one, sent the week earlier than this agent. It's been more than the 6 weeks they claim to need so another DNR for me. So that makes three "active" queries and only time will tell if I hear back from them.

I usually try to query on Thursday, but this time it got pushed. I believe I was working on Skylar and maybe on some other project but not a query insight.

No new review this week. We ended up watching a couple of documentaries on early animation on TCM then something I feel like I could review. It's not that I haven't reviewed documentaries before but somehow the review would have been more about the animation shorts and I didn't want to get into reviewing all of them.

That doesn't mean that I won't be represented on Trophy Unlocked this week. This is going to be James Bond Week on the blog. The idea was to do some reviews leading up to the new film. Even though we're not going to be going to the cinema to see it this week, it will still be a tribute to the character. Even though we went to a restaurant recently for the first time since before the pandemic, I don't think we're ready to be theater-goers just yet.

We did kick off our month-long salute to Halloween with Trevor's review of Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. This past GameDay Wednesday was Paul's review of Antichamber.

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