Sunday, June 26, 2022

A Week in Writing #410 - The Work of Writing

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

Not a bad week, really, but sometimes it feels like I'm doing more of the work of writing, rather than actually writing if that makes sense.

I sometimes feel like I spend more time making updates to the Powers Squared website. I thought I had been keeping up but apparently, there were covers to update, links to change and even credits that needed to be updated. It seems like a never-ending process. Even trying to keep up with it, I realize I miss things, like posting links to videos. I decided to change that by posting them early rather than waiting for them to be released. I upload the videos on Sunday mornings and schedule them for Wednesday afternoons, and I also update the peek-of-the-week every Sunday. For both, I schedule Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts for later in the week; Tuesday for the peek-of-the-week and Wednesday for the videos.

There are other posts I make, like every morning on Twitter for posts on Trophy Unlocked that have anniversaries, #OTD. I've been doing that for a couple of years now, but finally got wise last year to saving and reusing the posts rather than trying to come up with a new one every time.

Then there are also posts I make to Pinterest, some for Trophy Unlocked and others for Powers Squared. As I started with, sometimes it feels like the work of writing, not the writing itself that takes up my time.

Worked a little bit on fka Skylar. I had an idea I wanted to introduce but I couldn't find the right place to do it. I guess I'll have to save it for later.

After rewriting the first chapter of Broken People, I started to go back through the book. I even found one section that didn't make sense where it was. I guess it's fortunate that no agent has asked to see more than the first three chapters so far.

I did query the book again, though I'm not really hopeful of the agent. I read some comments on Query Tracker about them. Apparently, they received responses that they didn't like. So far, I haven't received anything, so I'm waiting that out.

Powers Squared continues to move forward with our artist sending in eight pages of pencils for issue #22.

We're going to set release dates for Issue #13 this week and hopefully some more things as well, like new merch.

We had our monthly team meeting on Friday and since we're going to be at Comic-Con, Rachel and Julia may host a show without us. That should be fun. We're also talking about setting up a Comic Book Club for the podcast as well.

Our pitch is finally finished and now we're waiting to schedule someone we trust to go through it for us. So much is going on.

With Trophy Unlocked, I wrote a review for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which should be going up soon on the blog. We watched it finally on Friday night on Disney+. I'm also working on a review for Chance of Heaven (1933) from Saturday night but that's still in progress. For those interested, the Saturday Morning Review was Paul's review of Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe and the Wednesday Game Day Review was Paul's for Bugsnax: The Isle of Bigsnax (DLC).

So in the week ahead, I have to finish my review of Chance of Heaven, work on our monthly newsletter, The Hound Dogs's Howl, make a new query and work on fka Skylar. Wish me luck.

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

Sunday, June 19, 2022

A Week in Writing #409 - Numbering and Rewrites

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

Funny thing. As soon as I published last week's post, I realized I had been numbering wrong for the past few weeks. Apparently, in my world #406 repeats, so I was off by one for about three weeks. The numbering has been corrected but it's things like that that make you feel stupid. Great way to end a week.

I know I said I was going to work on fka Skylar this week, and surprise surprise, I didn't really. Instead, I got interested in rewriting the first chapter of the book I'm currently querying around, Broken People. As you probably know, most queries require a writing sample, some part of the beginning of the novel. It can be 1000 words, the first chapter, the first three chapters, or the first 50 pages, depending on the agent/agency. The one thing they all have in common is that they start at the beginning. I started to wonder if the lack of response was due to how the first chapter started, so I thought I should rewrite it.

I don't usually get into specifics of what I'm actually writing but I'll make an exception in this case.

The first chapter takes place in a club, A-X-N, pronounced Action, where my private detective has followed a man that he has to serve with a subpoena. With the help of a waitress, whose name he doesn't yet know, they've found the man getting into a boxing ring with a former flyweight; the guy's large but super drunk. I won't get into all the action but I began to feel that I had started the chapter in the wrong place.

In the old version, I had the private detective enjoying holding the woman's hand; helping to ground him after a day of searching for people in a rain storm in Los Angeles. If you've ever lived here, rain is a scarce commodity so when it rains, things don't work. Traffic, the backbone of the city, bogs down and what might have taken you an hour can take three. I'm serious, I used to commute to Santa Monica and I had spent that much time one-way because of rain. (Don't miss it.) I thought it humanized my main character but I think maybe that doesn't work so well in a thriller.

In the new version, I have the action start when the first punch from the flyweight lands and draws blood. After all this time, I remembered the old adage start as close to the action as you can, which I wasn't doing obviously.

Now, rewriting a chapter is more than just moving paragraphs around. I mean, there is some of that but things still have to flow. It's not a one-time sit-down and it's done thing either. It took a couple of nights and in the end, the first chapter got shorter but I think it reads better.

I used it on my Thursday night query, so we'll have to wait to see if that was the missing ingredient. I still need to write a short synopsis so I can broaden my search. All in due time.

So, I still need to get back into fka Skylar but I think the time was well spent.

I wrote a new future review for Trophy Unlocked. This time it was Steamboat 'Round the Bend (1935), Will Rogers' last film. Interesting, that wasn't the reason I DVRed it a year or so ago. I had heard about him as a film star amongst his other accomplishments but had never seen anything he had been in, so when this film was shown I thought it would be a chance to watch something he was in. I'll save my opinion for the review, whenever that gets posted.

Paul's review of Hercules (1997) was the Saturday Morning Review. The Wednesday Game Day review was Trevor's review of Moss: Book 2.

Finally received the proofs for Issues 13-15 of Powers Squared. Paul and I did an unboxing video on our Friday On the Air with Powers Squared podcast, which you're invited to listen to and/or watch. I had requested sets of proofs from two of our on-demand publishers but only received one set so far, but you can't wait forever. Check it out at if you're interested.

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

Sunday, June 12, 2022

A Week in Writing #408 - Another Banner Week, Not.

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

I realize I sit down every Sunday night to write this and I really never know if anyone reading this is actually writing. I would really like to hear from someone, anyone, reading this to leave a comment and let me know what you're doing. Are you a writer? Is this blog ever helpful? Feel free to leave comments below. It would be nice to hear from you.

I can't say I really burned it up this week at the laptop. I'm really not sure what the reason is. I'd like to say it's Daylight Savings Time that is throwing me off. I never feel like I get enough sleep. I'm aware that this is an ongoing theme of the blog but it gets light outside at five-something in the morning and I'm apparently a light sleeper. Brain turns on, worrying about things I can't control mind you, but I'm up. At night, I try to soldier through until 11 but I'm getting to be no good after 10:30.

To that end, not much happened on fka Skylar. I mean I opened it up and figured out what I need to do next but beyond that a few lines and nothing more.

As far as reviews go, I've been busy. The Saturday Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked was mine for Nanook of the North (1922), which came out 100 years ago that day. I like it when that works out. Am I the only one?

Wednesday's GameDay review was Trevor's for Resistance: Burning Skies.

I also wrote two reviews for the future. Has anyone else been watching the TV Series, Julia? Well, we have been which got us interested in re-watching Julie & Julia (2009), which I wrote a review for on Friday night/Saturday Morning. Then, as part of our drain the DVR Saturday night, we watched Stage Fright (1950), so that was what I worked on Saturday night and Sunday. In all about 3500 words, for those who are counting.

What if you ordered a proof and it never came? Well, that's what it feels like sometimes. In May, I ordered two sets of proofs for new issues of Powers Squared: Issues 13-15. As of Friday, I had not received either set. What I had hoped to be an unboxing video for them on OAPS turned into a pre-recorded segment of us signing the fine art prints from our less than recent Kickstarter. Actually, the timing was good as the rewards went out on Friday or were supposed to. I'm hopeful that I'll have one by this week. Would really like to know they exist before launching them onto the world.

Final touches on the pitch, which now goes to Trevor to put together. I went through and selected images for us to use. Hopefully, we can get this done soon and see if we can get another look at it from the person that gave us feedback. Things just take time.

We're in the beginning stages of organizing our yearly pilgrimage to San Diego Comic-Con, which should be live this year. Preliminary stuff so far, like signing up for the parking lottery, but steps that have to be taken.

Sent another query for Broken People, and surprise, no response from any of them so far. This week, I should expand to another book. Can't hurt to have more than one out on the query trail, can it?

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

Sunday, June 5, 2022

A Week in Writing #407 - Feeling Disappointed

Hope everyone is feeling well and staying safe. And, of course, writing.

I'm not one to really talk to about branding. I mean, I'm trying with Powers Squared but I wouldn't say I was an expert at any of it. We try our best to keep things moving forward, trying new ways of getting the word out and, of course, selling merch. Currently, all of the latter is done by one on-demand printer, but I'm having second thoughts about them.

When someone receives something with your brand on it that is damaged and the response is "well, it's not that damaged," it makes you rethink their customer service angle. I'm not in a position to make good on other people's mistakes, but I think they should on their own. And push back that it wasn't that bad sort of gives me pause.

Someone received a t-shirt with our school logo on it (more on the school later) and one of the letters was missing part of the coloring. Apparently, it had gotten stuck to something else in the box and part of it had peeled off. I know the person and I wanted them to, of course, wear the shirt but if it's damaged, they would be less likely to. I took it on myself to write to the on-demand printer about it and they didn't seem to appreciate the feedback. They especially took offense to my notion that it was bad customer service not to make good. (No names, that's not what the blog is about.) Are these the sort of people I want to handle my brand?

So, I'm at least beginning the process of looking for another t-shirt printer. Hopefully, someone who will stand by their products and shipping. So far, it's just been a Google search but if you know of someone, please let me know in the comments. If and when a decision is made, you will be one of the first to know.

Well, back to the school in question, San Romero Community College (SRCC), the fictitious one in Powers Squared. I got an email from a website about nursing schools and they had apparently gotten queries about SRCC. From a creator's point of view, I was amused by the notion that someone wanted to actually enroll. I did inform the site that it was not a real school.

While we're talking Powers Squared, we've begun work on issue #22 of the series. It is our artist's 17th book with us so we had a nice chat with Rachel Wells on our podcast, On the Air with Powers Squared, about it. We've also expanded the number of platforms we're on by three: iHeart RadioPlayer FM, and PodChaser, so there's even less reason for not listening.

Also, today was our monthly newsletter, the bulk of which I pull together. While it's intended for our mailing list, I'm going to share it with you, dear reader. Check it out here, if you're curious and, you know, maybe enroll at SRCC.

A new review from me this week on Trophy Unlocked, posted today for Top Gun: Maverick, which we watched on Saturday. Our plan is to be one week after the big openings, hoping for smaller audiences in the theaters. Such was the case on Saturday afternoon. Saturday morning's review on the blog was Trevor's for 101 Dalmations (1961). Wednesday (Game Day) was also one from Trevor for the game Resistance: Retribution. I'm also working on one for Brief Encounter that we watched on Drain the DVR Saturday night.

One new query this week. By the time I get to Thursday nights, I'm looking for the off-ramp from the week, so I'm taking the easiest queries to send. I know I need to spend more time and expand to another book as well but for now, I'm doing the minimum.

I did open the document for fka Skylar so I at least touched it. Not much more than that I'm afraid.

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