Category Archives: Screen Rant

Despite politics and pups, a good week (#SFWApro)

They kept flying at me and pounding me, just like Superboy, but I persevered (cover by Curt Swan, all rights remain with current holder).

Politics: Well, let’s face it, it’s been a horrifying week. Much like the post-election period, I couldn’t completely keep my mind off the news and kept checking blogs, news sites, etc.

Pups: Trixie and Plushie were really needy this week. Demanding much more attention during the day than they usually do. As they don’t follow politics, I’ve no idea what triggered it.

But despite that, the week went well. I started my replotting for Southern Discomfort and it’s going well so far. Of course it’s early days, so to speak — the first few chapters are much stronger than the later ones — but I also put a lot of thought into character arcs, how the magic works and so on and I think I cleared up most of the problems. We’ll see if I’m right when I reach the chapters where those things are at issue.

I got several chapters done on the Undead Sexist Cliches book and it’s feeling much better than the first draft. Mostly I’m getting the information organized so that there’s a logical progression to chapters and the book as a whole.

I completed another Screen Rant, but as often happens it’s not out yet.

And I did some planning for self-publishing Questionable Minds. I’m definitely going to have to go through the book page by page and check spelling, plus a couple of changes (some things no longer work as well as I thought when I wrote this a decade ago). But it will happen unless I find a publisher first.

I’d hoped to get some short fiction done too, but I put more time into Southern Discomfort and some research reading instead (it’s inter-library loan, so the due date is fairly tight).

All in all, I’m pleased.

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Filed under Personal, Screen Rant, Short Stories, Southern Discomfort, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Writing

Families and actors: new screen rant column (#SFWApro)

This time it isn’t comics but Hollywood: actors who don’t get along with their families. I tried to get a variety so it’s not just abuse horror stories: Reese Witherspoon (she humiliates her teenagers by (gasp!) being seen in public with them), Gary Coleman (money stolen by parents), Julia Roberts (when her brother Eric split from his partner she took the partner’s side). And Amanda Byrnes below, who — well, read the article, okay?

All rights to image remain with current holder.

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Filed under Movies, Screen Rant, TV

All things considered, not a bad week (#SFWApro)

Before Wednesday’s root canal, I’d been guessing how I’d handle the rest of the day: would I feel up for writing? Or just huddle on the couch watching movies with the dogs (Trixie’s a huge fan of classic Italian neorealist cinema)? As it turned out I felt surprisingly good (as I said this morning, Dr. Robinson knows her stuff), but I decided to kick back and do nothing anyway.

Despite which it was a fairly productive week. I finished going over Southern Discomfort, breaking everything down chapter by chapter. Now hopefully I can start to rebuild it — not that it’s a shambles, but there is, unsurprisingly, much improvement needed. We’ll see if the breakdown helps.

I also finished rereading my old steampunk novel Questionable Minds. Other than a few minor changes it looks in great shape. Now I have to start thinking about the self-publishing thing seriously — well, and double-check to see if there are any new publishing houses that have cropped up.

I got my next Screen Rant in (actors who don’t get along with their families).  And I did some research for an older story, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! that needs heavy work. As it deals with maps, I hope reading about them will trigger some ideas.

No short story work, though, and no work on Undead Sexist Cliches. But I did finally make it to the new after-writers’ group bar and hang out. It’s really not that far to go, I’m happy to say.

To celebrate getting through the root canal, here’s footage from an old Crest commercial showing the Cavity Creeps attacking Toothpolis. Commercial here, all rights to image remain with current holder.

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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, Screen Rant, Short Stories, Southern Discomfort, Time management and goals, Undead sexist cliches, Writing

New Screen Rant am not out, so don’t you read it (#SFWApro)

Things Bizarro can do that Superman cannot. Like fight for fair-trade coffee, run for public office, eat green kryptonite and tell one Bizarro from another. I made it enjoyably (I hope) goofy rather than trying to get technical about a power comparison.

To celebrate here’s a useful anthropological look at customs of the Bizarro world (art by John Forte, I think)

and then this scene from the A. Bizarro miniseries (“When you clone Superman you get Bizarro; when you clone a regular guy you get … A. Bizarro!”) with art by Mark Bright.

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Filed under Comics, Screen Rant

Exit the cone! Plush Dog and I both have a better week (#SFWApro)

As you may recall, I spent last week trying to work my writing around Plushie getting bitten and ending up in the cone of shame. It wasn’t productive. This week went much better.

For starters we took Plush out of the cone and only had to correct him occasionally about trying to chew on his injury. We did have to watch him constantly, and discourage him and Trixie from wrestling together (she loves chewing on him) but it was still much better. A little tougher in the evening when he insisted on sitting on me in the bed as much as possible (he seems to regard me as his safe space). Then this morning, we finally got the stitches out. Huzzah!

After wrapping up some of my August goals Monday, I finished a Screen Rant on Bizarro (my second. What can I say, I love the Dolt of Steel), though it’s not out yet. And I reread Southern Discomfort. I’m not sure binging on the whole thing in a couple of days was the best way to start replotting — it was definitely hard to keep focused as I went along — but I really want to get my replotting done.

I must say it looks better than I thought, though the climax is, as I suspected, chaotic. I need to figure out some underlying rationale and rules for how some of the Hither Country magic works, then rework based on that, so it’s consistent. And my characters definitely lose some of their motivation as they’re running around battling unseelie monsters and saving lives. And Maria loses her motivation (and her very good reason) early in the book. She’s just a piece being moved back and forth by Olwen’s pleas, Sheriff Slattery’s pressure or Gwalchmai’s attacked. I definitely need to work on that.

My next step was going over the manuscript chapter by chapter and noting what works and doesn’t work, how the character arcs progress, whether characters disappear from the story, and keep track of everyone’s names (some of the minor characters change names a couple of times). I made it through half the book by the end of the week. This has been a little rougher as I’m using a more critical eye: once I get down to the details more problems suggest themselves. In any case, when it’s done I’ll replot and fix the problems, plus hopefully add some length (I’m only at around 76,000, which is short for most book markets).

I also took a look at an older steampunk manuscript, Questionable Minds. This one sold to Barbarian Books a few years back, then Barbarian Books went out of business (not my fault, honest!). I have exhausted almost every other market that takes unagented steampunk so I guess it’s time to self-publish. The first step is rereading it to look for major problems. So far none.

I’d hoped to put in some short story writing this week, but I didn’t get to it. Disappointing as I know I’m going to lose at least one day next week to my root canal. Maybe that’s part of why I’ve been so wired about work this week, a feeling that I need to get as much done as fast as possible. Or maybe it’s just a mood.



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Filed under Personal, Screen Rant, Southern Discomfort, Time management and goals, Writing

Shazam! It’s a new Screen Rant column (#SFWApro)

This time it’s on DC’s Shazam, AKA the original Captain Marvel, AKA the Big Red Cheese. Learn how he came to DC from another publisher, how he became comics top seller, the other heroes who swiped his trademark and his first movie, back in 1941 (illustration of the villainous Scorpion from The Adventures of Captain Marvel below, all rights remain with current holder).

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Filed under Comics, Movies, Reading, Screen Rant

August goals: a spectacular last minute pivot! (#SFWApro)

Between the cone of shame and the various unplanned articles I did for GoBankingRates and Career Trend, it’s no surprise that I only made 47 percent of my goals for this month. However that’s actually better than I expected — Monday the 31st I was able to wrap up a whole bunch of things.

Of my four top goals I blew the two personal ones but hit the writing goals: to publish Atlas Shagged and redraft three short stories (No One Will Save Her, Angels Hate This Man and A Famine Where Abundance Lies.). I got in my screen rants for the month, submitted a new film book proposal and I think I sorted out my problems with Undead Sexist Cliches: the book (we’ll see if I still feel that way at the end of August, after I’ve worked on the second draft).  I submitted two short stories on Monday and got one of them back by the end of the day (siiigh) And I beta-read a novel by one of my writing group colleagues.

Personal goals were pretty slim. However I did make progress reducing my pile of to-read books on the shelf, and I watched lots of films (yes, that is a goal. Sometimes I have to make myself schedule time). Due to my influx of cash from various projects, I was also able to catch up on the charitable donations I always plan to make (Amnesty International, Animal Protection Society of Durham and a couple of others).

Exercise tanked. Between Plushie’s problems and the overwhelming heat I didn’t get anywhere near as much exercise as usual, and I don’t think I went out bicycling but once, and a short ride to boot.

I also fell behind on getting some paperwork mailed off due to the need to stay home with Plushie. Nothing that can’t wait, though.

This week has been a good finish to July and also a good start to August. Details this afternoon.

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Filed under Movies, Reading, Screen Rant, Short Stories, Time management and goals, Writing