A Redefinition Of Success

I want to write my book, because I want to. I like the story and I want to see how it plays out. For a while though I haven’t been thinking of it that way. I’ve seen it as a mission. Get the book written, published, sell it well using every marketing trick you can think of, keep writing, publishing and marketing.

Become a worldwide best seller, pay back my parents for the financial burden I’ve been. Keep writing. Pay off my debts. Keep writing. Buy a big house/ community that any of my friends and family are welcome to live in with me. Keep writing. Make sure my sisters girls are set for life. Keep writing until I die rich, successful and leaving a great legacy to my family and the world.

It occurs to me though, that by trying so hard to reach this goal, I’m risking missing out. I have friends, family, and great experiences available to me. If I don’t take advantage of them now, I may regret it. I need to stop and smell the roses.

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Of course it could also be argued that I’m researching. That spending time with people and having some experiences will make me a better writer. It has already provided some great inspiration. I have a good imagination, but if I can inject a little flavour of real-life experiences into the narrative, it should it more relatable and believable.

Having said that, the way some people talk in real life would be very hard to believe or even follow in a story. It would be thought of as bad writing. For example, a common greeting I here is “Yerite?” which is derived from “Are you alright?” and is often met with “Yerite?” in return, when logic would suggest that the correct response is “I’m well thank you, and how are you?”

In addition to trying so hard to reach a better future that I can miss what’s going on today, I also have a tendency to overthink things. I think both of these traits have caused major problems with my love life. I put too much thought into love, what it means to be with someone, making plans for the future and trying to reconcile them with the plan to become a rich and famous author.

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A girl with an amazing smile

Would this girl as my future life-partner be able to support my goals or will they undermine them in some desperate bid for attention because I’m busy working on our future all the time? And what if I fail? Not through any fault of theirs, but because I lack the skill to pull it off. I would expect her to be justifiably disappointed and resentful.

What if I spend my entire life writing and forget to actually live? For one, my writing would be rubbish. I’ll have failed to become a writer and wasted my life. I’m not going to quit my writing either. I may not succeed in leaving a lasting legacy, and I don’t have too. We only get one life and we may aswell enjoy it. I like writing. I like spending time with friends. I like playing Warhammer 40k. I like naked fun. I need to learn to take pleasure in all of it without putting too much pressure on myself to build it up into something huge and stressful.

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Slaanesh. Where Warhammer and naked fun collide!

So that’s what I’ve decided I’m working on. Leading a successful life. Not measured in how much work I did, or how much I sold, or how much money I make, or how much stuff I acquire. A success based on how much I lived. How much experience I’ve gained. How good it felt to be living it. With no pressure to make it better, or plan out how it’s supposed to go.  Doing so only leads to me predicting that things will go horribly wrong, and me to telling myself “I told you so” when it does.

No more nagging myself. I will do fun stuff for fun, not to make it part of some intense overthought desperate plan to make my future, and the future of my nieces, better. I’m beating myself with guilt because I’ve been spending a lot of time with people instead of being holed up in my room writing all day. That’s crazy!

Do you know what else I’ve noticed about me? At some point I always get sick of being told what to do. Apparently this still applies when I’m the one telling me what to do. 🙂

Do you think lightening up about the writing is the right move? Or am I being selfish, and using this as an excuse to procrastinate and slowly give up? Or am I overthinking again and I should just shut up and allow myself to have fun?

The Branchpoint Series

I’m feeling creative, but unable to focus. So I’m currently playing with some minis I bought (yes I’m getting back into 40k. I knew I wouldn’t be able to kick the habit for long!) and writing this blog entry. Not at the same time of course. I write a bit, carve at plastic model body parts a bit, write a bit more, file off some mould lines, etc.

You may recall that I had been trying to decide whether or not to continue writing Hermes925 as it is, or re-draft the entire story with an additional character included. Talking to William today (one of my co-admins and contributors at Games and Geekery) reminded me of an old idea  I had thought about writing multiple versions of the book, each with a slightly different plot. The point in the narrative where on story differed from another was going to be called the Branchpoint.

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The original idea was going to be slightly grander in scope. I would release the multiple versions of the book all at once, not mentioning to the public that there were different editions available. Wait a while. Perhaps a few months, and if it hasn’t begun to spread already, release a rumor via a fake profile (an anonymous tip if you will) that there’s more than one version of the story. “My friend and I both read Hermes925 by Antony M. Copeland, but we can’t seem to agree on how it ends. Has anyone else read it?”. Wait a bit longer and poke again, to see if people catch on that it’s a series of parallel stories and not one book.

One version was going to told from Psy-Man’s perspective. Another was going to have Jaime fall for a different crewmember. A loyal and kind woman with no interest in Psy-man, and (*SPOILERS*) when the time came for him to die on the ship, he’s not alone. His beloved is there with him. Or perhaps I’ll keep them alive and incorporate this old idea with one of my new ones. I was even going to write a version in which Jaime beats Psy-Man in the dual at the bar.

William suggested I continue the numeric ‘wordplay’ in the title and write a Hermes911. Hermes925 is meant to be the product number of the AI on board, but it’s also a play on ‘9 to 5’ since the crew of the Hermes spacecraft can all work an 8 hour shift with a lunchbreak. Unlike traditional space explorers.

Hermes911 would begin at the branchpoint. The portal gate remains open, Jaime falls in love with a different crewmember, and the colony is successful. Many years later we get to follow a group of individuals who have taken on the job of maintaining order and security in the colony. Some of whom commute via the expanded portal gate system. A sort of bi-planetary police force. Then the gateway collapses and the gateway falls out of the sky and crashes into the city. The security force has to help calm a surviving population that is now cut off from earth and the N•Viron system.

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So I’m also going to write a version in which Jaime wasn’t ever using a journal. He was talking to his friend Rook, or to other characters in Jaime’s life. THis will be an expanded and more detailed look at what it’s like to live in a society in which the N•Viron has become such a vital part of it. We’ll get to see Jaime’s world, watch him play games and vote on sentencing for publically arrested criminals. We’ll experience his life first hand, instead of piecing it together from his journal entries. This one will be Hermes360.

Will also helped me come up with Hermes666. A version in which the portal gate malfunctions and opens a doorway to a nightmarish hell-like parallel universe. I’m think that if the crew aboard the Hermes went through the gateway, they would find themselves on parallel hell-earth. When the crew on earth try to begin their shift they find themselves on the Hades!

William also though of a version called Hermes247 would follow a detailed week in the life of a crewman on board the Hermes craft (though now I think of it Hermes 360 would probably cover this).

I, in turn, thought of Hermes008. The colonisation succeeds, just as it does in Hermes911, but then the rat-infested Hermes925 arrives. It may even knock the larger portal gate out of orbit, causing the death, destruction and disconnection from Earth and the N•Viron system, drawing another parallel with Hermes911.

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It occurred to me that I could also pay homage to my beloved Warhammer with an alternative version called Hermes40k in which the crashed portal gate opens up a portal to the demonworld of Hermes666.

I could pay homage to StarWars with Hermes3PO. The nymph technology is everywhere. Users can control them via their N•Viron with gesture commands, but otherwise they go about their business keeping the streets clean (each of them containers a nano-reclaimer). The presence of clouds of Nymphs allows people to perform acts as if they were telekinetic.

A version told like a cutesy children’s story called Hermes123 could be fun too. Especially if it’s illustrated. I’m also toying with the idea that the reason why the crew were picked was because they’ve all been sentenced to transportation (like I talked about in ‘Let’s Make Some Martians‘.

It wasn’t just the “shall I keep writing or reboot” debate that was keeping me from continuing the Hermes 925 plot though. It was the fact that I wasn’t sure what was actually going to happen next. Once more real-life has blessed me with the inspiration. I’m going to fictionalise it of course, and change real events so that they fit better with the narrative. This is going to be fun.

I’ve also, as I mentioned either, begun the process of rebuilding my Warhammer 40k “Golden Sons” chapter of Space Marines. Brothers from that were thought lost to the warp or killed in action by their own chapter and the Imperium, fighting for survival and the glory of the Emperor, and to give other lost and forgotten marines a chance to redeem their failure. Space Marines that are all being fooled by an inner circle of Chaos worshippers.

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A Golden Sons Chaplain  wearing some of the trophies he has collected fighting against chaos. A purified and blessed of course.

I bought the Kill Team set, as well as a box of Chaos Space Marines to do some conversions, and a Chaplain (Chaos Sorceror) to lead them my new kill team. I might even use the rules for a Word Bearer’s Dark Chaplain. Maybe I should wait until I’ve re-acquired the Chaos Codex to actually start kitting them out the models with equipment. Or I can built them pretty and make the rules fit the models :).

Hopefully by keeping myself busy with work, writing and hobbies I can prevent myself from getting infatuated with someone else and avoid leaving myself open to heartache and pain again. At least for a while.

Comments are always welcome. Have a good day 🙂

 

To Rewrite Or Not To Rewrite? 

I’m in a bit of a dilemma. My book needs a rewrite to incorporate a new character. What I’m trying to decide is whether I should finish writing the current version of the story first, or scrap the story so far and start over.

So far I’ve been writing Hermes925 as a journal. It’s based in the future. Keeping journal is an archaic practice, so it never really made much sense. Even if Jaime were choosing to write the journal on paper so that there’d be no digital record, the N•Viron system still sees everything. Jaime’s audience needs to be different. Needs to be real.

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Some of my original notes, back when the AR device was called the Avalon system

·In the original draft, Jaime was writing the journal in the Hermes spacecraft. The connection to the N•Viron system (spoilers) had already been lost. This would make a little more sense since he has no other form of expression or communication. Maybe I’ll back to that. Maybe he’s not writing it at all, perhaps he’s talking to the Hermes925 artificial intelligence. I always intended for it to be revealed that the AI is the narrator, recounting and reviewing Jaime’s entries after he throws his journal into the on-board reclaimer. If he’s having a conversation with the ship instead it may make more sense.

I also came up with the character “Rook” though. It might help make the character’s more relatable if at least some of it took the form of a conversation between Jaime and Rook. Jaime could be trying to explain the value and purpose of several aspects of their society, including Arpies, conviction by consensus, reclaimers, and even the portal gates. Rook could provide a counter argument that it’s all part of an elaborate conspiracy to control us and manipulate us, and thusly reveal the Orwellian undertones of society to the reader, while making it seem ridiculous enough to be ignored by Jaime.

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This is kind of how I imagine Rook

However, can I really just stop the current version dead and start over? The new version will be better, but I already have people who follow the story each time I publish a new entry. Don’t I owe it to them to finish it? Perhaps on the way I’ll identify other plot holes and imperfections and be able to address them all in one rewrite instead of having to rewrite again when they come up. However, I think when the story changes I’ll find that some of the problems with this plot aren’t an issue, and that the rewrite has all new issues.

So I’m asking for your opinion. Keep writing a story that doesn’t quite work so you can see how it ends? Or go back to the drawing board and start the story over, making it a more traditional story including conversation with other characters, and not just a series of journal entries?

Comment either here on the blog or on the Facebook page, or via email or messenger if you prefer. I’m leaning toward starting over, so if you’d rather I keep working on the current version instead, please speak up.

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Have a great day. 🙂

Editors wanted!

It never occurred to me that I’d need to ask this, but could you please help me edit my work? When I decided to make my progress on Hermes925 publically available, I assumed that I would be leaving myself open to criticism, and in some cases verbal abuse. I never imagined that I would receive almost no feedback at all.

I know people like it. I get ‘likes’ on both WordPress and Facebook whenever I post something new, what I’m not getting much of, is criticism. Constructive or otherwise. I kind of expected a battle. I thought people would be eager to poke holes in my work and force me decide whether I was going to defend and explain my reasons for leaving it as it is, or give into peer pressure and make acceptable alterations. I’ve received no such conflict.

I have had a couple of people suggest that I get an editor to clean up my sentences, and propose that I ask my audience to read through what I’ve done and send me any corrections they feel are necessary. So this is me asking. Please tell me what you think needs fixing in the Hermes925 narrative so far. Or any other any other part of the website for that matter.

I’m begging, not for money this time, but for feedback. In particular I want to know which sentences need work, which word choices don’t make sense or any other editorial mistakes that you’ve notices and the way that you would fix it. Bear in mind please that It’s supposed to be Jaime’s personal journal, he’s talking to a fictional audience occasionally, but mostly he’s just talking to himself. Therefore I’m going for colloquial, ‘no-one else is going to read this’ English.

It’s also based in the future, so I want to throw in some slang and cultural references that haven’t happened yet, but still make it clear from the context what he’s talking about. I think I haven’t done this enough for fear it would confuse the reader, so I’m open to suggestions on futuristic curse-words, idioms and events I can throw in.

Be brutal. Tear my sentences to pieces. Over analyse every word! That’s why I’m doing this. I’ve seen many published books, self-published and otherwise, go to print with spelling mistakes, grammar errors and clumsy sentences. I don’t want Hermes925 to be one of them. We’re beta testing the story online so that we can eliminate the bugs and correct any other mistakes, before I even take it to a publisher.

For those of you who object to working for free, tell me what you want in return. Maybe I can write you an article, or help you with your own project, or just give you credit on an acknowledgements page. Even if you don’t think I could offer you anything you’d want, let’s talk it over anyway. I’m sure we can figure something out. My contact info is listed under Contact Me.

Click through the tabs, menus and links on my page. Almost everything can be commented on. Please do so. If you’d rather not express yourself publicly then contact me privately via text, email or Facebook.

I look forward to hearing from you. I really mean it. Please.

Have a great day. 🙂