Thursday, August 14, 2008

Info Dump

This isn't going to be pretty but I promised an update, so here goes:

  • Did the rewrite on my chapter book and sent it to my editor two weeks ago. She responded that I was "very speedy" and was looking forward to reading the new draft.

  • Sent "Leonard" to Agent S at the beginning of last month. Followed up a couple of weeks later -- she said she was still reading it and not yet ready to give comments but that the opening was "boffo".

  • Was quietly thrilled that my agent used the word "boffo".

  • Was told by Agent S that I could expect some information on my newest picture book submission "early in the school year."

  • Met with a small animation house that specializes in developing projects from Chinese production entities. Spent an interesting couple of days working up a script sample from a story board they provided. If I get the gig, I'd be helping them develop the shows bible. If the show sells, I'd be the story editor.

  • Kept finding reasons not to return to my screenplay. School just started so it's a little quieter around here and I'm hoping to get my mojo back.

  • Teamed up with an old buddy of mine and came up with a reality show idea that would be simultaneously hilarious and disturbing. Positive early feedback from several entertainment entities that apparently like hilarious and disturbing reality shows.

  • Discovered cheesy clip art of an ancient computer of the kind I had in the late 90's and included it in this post.

That is all.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Slight Detour From the Momentary Change of Pace

Taking a brief break from the screenplay to address editor notes on my chapter book. More immediate potential income always trumps longshot potential income when you're self-employed. Screenplay's going well. I'm about ten pages in and like it so far. I'll update on the chapter book after I make the changes.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Organization, Baby!

Finished the outline for my screenplay today. I really like how it all came together and am looking forward to cranking on it starting tomorrow.

I use an outlining program called Dramatica Pro. Outlining programs are somewhat controversial in the biz with a few folks crying foul and saying that it's cheating as the program "writes the story" for you. Not true (and I suspect this claim is made almost exclusively by those who have never used an outlining program).

Here's how it works. You come up with the idea. The outlining program asks you questions to help you flesh it out. Every bit of creative data comes out of your mind and all the program does is help you keep track of it. When finished, I ended up with a groovy six page, thirty-two scene outline that I promptly imported into my script writing program (Movie Magic Screenwriter 2000). Sweet.

Monday, July 7, 2008

It's a Perfect World...Not

In a perfect world this post would be titled "Ha! I Sold It After Only One Submission!" but alas, thanks to that business with the apple in the garden (Eve was setup, I tell ya), it is not.

Therefore, it pains me to report that my picture book editor has passed on Leonard. It's only the first submission so it's no big deal, but it is a tad disappointing. She was very nice about it and gave perfectly reasonable reasons for passing, but the bottom line is that the publishing world is looking for the next Harry Potter and I'm serving up "Ivanhoe with Jokes". As we know, HP had a massively broad appeal (read by boys and girls) but our Leonard is a little more boy-centric -- something I did on purpose. The children's publishing industry frequently laments about how hard it is to get boys to read so, genius that I am, I decided to write something a boy would want to read. Lots of bravery, action, and humor, not so much on the emotional development side of things.

So the quest continues. I just sent the manuscript to the book agent who's shepherding around one of my picture book manuscripts. Hopefully, she can get it into the right hands and I'll be creating a post entitled "Ha! I Sold It After Only (X) Submissions!".

In unrelated yet still painful news...
Thanks to the relentless radio spots for "Mama Mia!", I now have "Dancing Queen" stuck on a permanent loop in my skull. Ow. Ow. Ow.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Momentary Change of Pace

I'm about halfway through the outline for an animated screenplay that I hope to start writing by next week. Set in my favorite world of medieval fantasy, it's got knights, imps, fairies, and an ogre as the hero (the real kind that eats babies, not a gassy one with a cheeky urban sidekick). I'm writing it for a number of reasons. First, I think it's a great story with some fun characters. Second, one of my day jobs is being an animation writer so I need to keep those muscles in shape. Third, I want to keep my writing agents supplied with current material that they can use to get me work. An important side benefit is that a 100 page movie script can serve as a very detailed outline for a novel -- with many of the kinks already worked out. I'm really jonesing to get back to writing novels, but I'm treating this is as a fun and necessary side project.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hot Links Are Hot Again

A large percentage of my links were not working due to me not paying attention and accidentally adding some extra junk in the URLs. Yes, I'm a dope. An often well-meaning dope, but still a dope. They're functioning now and I recommend that you check them out -- especially if you're interested in improving your writing skills or learning about the business of writing. Special thanks to Mike T. for pointing out the errors.

Friday, May 2, 2008

A Dream for Some...

Well, I did it. "What?" you ask. Allow me to elucidate. I...
  • finished several passes that incorporated J.Z.'s high quality notes
  • did a polish pass (where I still discovered scads of typos and formatting errors!)
  • hunted down any editing debris (highlighted text, bits of cut text I didn't know if I wanted to get rid of yet)
  • ran a spell check (hmm, you mean "smellingly" is not a real word?)
  • wrote a query
  • sent the query to Liz, my excellent picture book editor (yes, I'm extremely fortunate to have a leg up on the slush pile)
  • was greatly relieved when she quickly responded that she'd love to read the manuscript
  • sent off the manuscript

What a terrifyingly exciting moment it was to press that send button.

My goal from the beginning has been to write something I was proud of -- which for me meant a manuscript that was a fun read and was good enough to send to a publisher. I feel I've achieved that goal. What's next? I'll continue to post here on any relevant news but I won't be sitting on my hands, waiting. I plan on taking a week or so off to clear my head. Then I'm going to start work on a screenplay (animated). That should take about a month and then I'm jumping right back into the novel game -- outlining one of the many "middle grade" ideas I have with the idea of completing another novel by the end of the year.

Word count a/o today's submission: 76696

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