The Hunt Continues

I may have to give up on my goal of moving into my own place next month. I’m continuing to apply for jobs in the area and not getting anywhere. I did have a job as a lead generator for a telemarketing call centre, but I found it difficult to lie to people and be surrounded by people who felt so comfortable with being dishonest.

It doesn’t help that I’ve also been fighting the cold from hell. It’s been over a week and I’m still snotty. I wouldn’t have been able to work even there if I wanted to. At least the coughing and sore throat have mostly gone and the dizzy spells only lasted a day or two.

I’d like to get a job lined up soon for several reasons. I made a promise to the landlady that I would be able to move in March 1st and pay the first month’s rent and deposit. I’d feel terrible if I had to break that promise. I’m currently living with my parents and I don’t want to have to impose upon their kindness for long. Partly because they’re wonderful people and I don’t want to take advantage, and also because I don’t want to get too comfortable and become a stereotypical jobless loser playing videogames all day.

It would be great to have my own space, in the middle of town. Able to fend for myself, invite people over when I wanted, and still be close enough to family to come by when I want. However, since no-one has offered me a steady income to write everyday, I’m going to need a day-job to do that, and I don’t want to go back to telemarketing.

I consider myself an expert in customer service. Most of my jobs since I started working have involved some level of customer service. I like to make people happy and to feel like I’ve genuinely helped them. I’ve also enjoyed training others on how to make customers happy. Presenting to a group, one-on-one coaching, and leading by example.

Perhaps I’m going about this all wrong. Instead of trying to find an employer, maybe I should be finding clients. People who would be interested in learning what I know about how to help people, or about how to self-publish, or participate in writing classes, and be willing to pay me for it.

At this point I’m willing to do odd jobs for people, like walking people’s dogs, painting and wallpapering, doing people’s dishes and ironing, unblocking sinks or fetching their groceries. This does have a certain appeal since I would like to be a part of the local community and make some new friends.

If I post on the Facebook noticeboard that I’m available to do odd jobs, I’ll have to word it very carefully to avoid panicking the landlady. Or just tell her that it’s unlikely I’ll be able to move in after all. Which is a shame because the flat is awesome and it would be a shame to lose the opportunity to live there.

I have less than two weeks to secure a job, or find some other way to earn at least £800, or I’m going to have to let it go, and sponge off my parents a while longer. If you have something that needs doing let me know what it is and how much you’d be willing to pay someone to do it, and if it seems like something I can do I’ll do it.

What I’d really love to do is to tell stories. This could be reading stories to people that can’t read for themselves anymore, or that are still learning to read. However, ideally It would be a story game, a narrative rpg, similar to The City of Gate.

For those that don’t know what that is yet, The City of Gate is a text-based (forum-style) roleplay game I’ve been running for the last seven years or so. Every Sunday I post the next part of the ongoing story and tell the players what happens next to their characters. The players then have a whole week to comment, in character, to act on the new situation. It’s a lot of fun.

The City of Gate is a fantasy story. It’s centred around a City that grew up on the doorstep of paradise. A huge fortified gate blocks the way to a land of plenty where everyone is happy and takes care of one another. Only one person is allowed through each day. People line up at the gate every day to barter, bribe and beg the guards to be allowed through. The City grew up around them, mostly populated by people who were turned away and had nowhere else to go, and merchants that saw an opportunity.

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The players pick all kinds of different characters. Elves and dwarves, vampires an were-creatures, bakers and farmers, mages and hunters. Anything you want to be, I will run with it and incorporate it into the story. There’s no rulebooks, no dice, and no graphics. It’s entirely story-led based on the imagination of the players and myself, and it’s awesome!

We could start a new story in the same setting, but at a different time. We could run a game that’s based around a different town in the world, such as Traveler’s Rest, Coal City, or Skelbania. It doesn’t have to be related though. I can create an entirely new fantasy, sci-fi or horror setting for the new game. I have two questions for you though. How much would you pay per month, or per week, to participate in a game like this? And what would you like to be?

If the story game doesn’t appeal to you, I can do lots of other things. I can write. I can do origami. I like to build flat-pack furniture and I know my way around a tool-box well enough to repair furniture and fix a leaky pipe. I get along great with dogs. I can keep children amused for hours with games, stories and crafts. I also enjoy gardening, cooking, and just listening to people talk.

If there’s enough demand for me to design a training course in how to write and self-publish, or how to be the ultimate customer service rep, or even how to blog, then I would be more than happy to do so.

What would you have me do?

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The New Plan – Operation Freelance!

After talking it over with a very smart friend I’ve decided to offer blog articles for £100 each, and £50 each for short ones.

I’m offering Ghostwriting and Co-Author services too. If you have a great story idea but don’t think that you could do it justice, then I can help. You may even have started writing it yourself and got stuck. You can hire me as a Ghostwriter, in which case the book has your name on it, and you get to keep the royalties, but you pay me for my time upfront. Or, you can let me take a Co-Author credit, both names are on the cover, we split the royalties 50-50, and it costs you nothing.

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I’m hoping to build up a client list as quickly as possible. I need to be a full-time writer. I’m going nuts. I’ve been trying to build my profile, and my reputation. Take my time. Do this right. Work wherever I can to survive while I make myself look great online. The problem is that the job I’m doing for money is taking all my time, energy and motivation.

I didn’t realize when I started working nights how lonely and depressing it would get. I needed some time to think, but now I’m ready to rejoin the world. I could just get another shitty job doing bar-work, retail or call centre customer service, but I really don’t want to have to. I want to write. It’s all I want to do, and I’m good at it.

I got my start as a blogger writing geek-culture articles for a WordPress-based website. The articles I’ve written for them seem to have gone, but I saved a few of my favourites and re-blogged them on Games ‘n’ Geekery. A geeky website of my own I created using all the skills I learned while working for them, and a few tricks I’ve picked up since.

They didn’t pay me anything, but the experience was invaluable. I learned how to use WordPress, how to make a good-looking blog article, and that I could churn out an original 500-1000 word article, including research, links, pictures and video, every single day.

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I used what they taught me to create this blog, and others. The Hermes925 serialized story that I’ve been posting to this website attracted the attention of Tod Foley, who recruited me for the UbiquiCity project. The writer team would video conference online to talk about our ideas and world-build together, then we each wrote a short story that fit into the world we created. My short story, and the others, are now available on Amazon as part of the UbiquiCity anthology. The accompanying RPG sourcebook will be out soon. It was a fun project. 🙂

I got the opportunity to ghost-write a story for someone, and that was fun too, but the client put the project on hold before I saw a penny for the work I did. I definitely learned a lesson there, but it put me off the idea of ghost-writing for a while.

I submitted a short story or two to contests and publications that offered a cash prize or payment if you were accepted, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that writing short stories for submission, especially if they don’t get accepted. Too much time and effort, for not enough guaranteed reward. If I write a good short story, I want some guarantee I’m going to get paid for it, and I certainly didn’t want to have to pay someone to publish it.

It’s about that time I got distracted by the Creative Writers group. It had only 32 members left, no admin at all. It occurred to me that I could test some of the things I’d learned about social media management and audience building, and also create the kind of supportive community I wanted to find. The group now has over seventeen thousand members.

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I even created an opportunity for group members. I’ve always been a ‘learn by doing’ kind of person. I learn best when it’s a necessary means to accomplish a desired outcome. In hindsight the Monolith project was probably a little too ambitious, but that was kind of the idea. Set the bar high and see if I could pull it off. I didn’t, but I learned a lot along the way.

The idea was to create a series of large anthologies, containing well-written stories, all conforming to the same theme. There would be no charge to submit and we would review the stories as they were submitted. That way we wouldn’t have to try and deal with a huge pile all at once after the submission deadline, and the writers would get feedback right away instead of having to wait. This also gave them an opportunity to try and improve their submission and try again.

We ended up with a lot of great stories, and a lot that could have been good if the writers had been willing to improve them. The project became a logistical nightmare, even with help from other admins in the group, and so the project was abandoned. However, I decided to test self-publishing anyway with one of the short-stories I had written. It sold pretty well for a short story, and I’m currently writing a longer story, hopefully a novel, inspired by the short story. It’s called The Haunted Story.

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It’s taking longer to write than I wanted though. I enjoy writing stories, but they’re harder than blog articles. I have several work-in-progress story-lines that I will to turn into books. A few of the ideas have already been mentioned in this blog. I know I can manage my time better, and be able to spend more time and energy writing my stories, if I can write full-time. The night porter job is an inefficient use of my time and wastes my creativity.

I could replace the hotel job by securing enough clients to write an article a day, just like I used to do. I’m a good writer, as you can see from this blog and my published stories. I’m more than happy to negotiate, especially if I can gain something else besides money, like cover-art, editing, or marketing.

I can do blogging, and it comes easily to me, but I’d prefer to write a book with you. I know from the previous experience that I write better and faster when I’m working for someone, and it gives me something to look forward to each day. Unlike my current job. At this point I’d welcome any opportunity to write for a living really.

So, want to write a book with me? If you don’t have any ideas, I can help with that too. I’m aware that some people just want to see a book on the shelves with their name on the cover. I can arrange that. I can also go to the opposite extreme and help you polish up and revise a story that you’ve mostly written already (and that wouldn’t cost as much). It’d be much more fun to bounce ideas off each other and come up with a great story together, but I’m flexible.

Please email me: antonym.copeland@gmail.com or leave me a comment if you have any questions, advice for new freelancers, or a project for me. Whether you’re a fellow writer with too much on your plate, a website manager that needs more content, or just someone that wants their name on a book, I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great day 🙂

 

Making Steps in the Write Direction!

I have another Patron! I’m now up to $5 per month on Patreon.com! Woohoo! That’s about £4.08 closer to my goal!

I’m finding it a little frustrating how difficult it is to get going. I may have blogged about it a little before, but it’s still true. Despite being self-employed and able to work whenever I please, I still seem to find it particularly difficult to get writing on a Monday.  I’ve had plenty of sleep and I’m still so tired. I need to get on with it. Get the blog post finished and write more of my Project Ubi short story (which has to be completed and polished by the end of the month). I will make it up in the week as usual, but it leaves me feeling like I’m in catch-up mode all week.

I’m not sure what to even write here because everything I think of sounds like I’m whining, yet again, about not having enough income. I’m beginning to feel guilty about asking, but even guiltier for continuing to live with my Grandparents without being able to help with the bills. I know that they are feeling the financial pressure because they ask me very politely whether I’m looking for a job. My reflex reaction has become, “I have a job, I’m a Writer!”

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I’m considering doing it, taking a second job, part-time, to bring some money into the household. I already know that this will cut into my writing time. I need to keep up with Hermes925 and finish my Project Ubi story. Anything else I’m working on can wait, including the SciFan story, but I need be sure I still have the time for Hermes925 and Project Ubi.

I’d much rather write. I know from experience that I’m a terrible employee. I like to impress my boss by doing a good job, and I expect to rewarded for it by being trusted to continue doing a good job. If my numbers are going down I will take action, if I need help I’ll come get it. Give me the data, I’m clever. If you choose to sit me down and explain what the numbers mean and then break down an over-simplified strategy to improve those numbers, I’m going to be thinking ‘Shut up and let me go do it then!’ the whole time.

Need a salesperson you can just ignore? Perfect. I’m your guy. If you feel the need to constantly coach your employees, anything beyond “You did really well yesterday!” or “Can you bring your stats back up for me?” will be a waste of my productive time. You also have to be okay with me writing at my desk, or folding paper dragons, or fiddling with toys. My brain builds worlds in its spare time, sometimes I’m going to need to use focusing strategies, like preventing myself from getting bored, to be able to complete the simple tasks I’ve been assigned.

I’m going to try applying to places that interest me. If I don’t like the job, or the product, I know I won’t be able to keep working there with a smile on my face, knowing that I could be using the time I’m wasting working for someone else to write instead. I need money, but minimum wage isn’t enough to put up with being over-managed, underutilised and bored.

If you are a prospective employer, this is what you need to know. I will work my arse off for you if you let me do it my way. I understand that training will be necessary and that some rules are a legal requirement or a safety measure. I’m not going to do anything stupid, reckless or dangerous. I will make mistakes along the way, but I learn from those mistakes. Trust me to know how to maximise my productivity and that I will satisfy my own thirst for knowledge and advancement, and you will not regret it.

I should put that on my Indeed profile!

All I really want to do is write. It makes me happy, and my brain hum. I just want to be able to sustain myself without my Grandparent’s help, and preferably to give them something back. I know if I take a job, I won’t find one that will let me write, or allow me to self-manage. It will be a job like any other. I’ll hate it, and I’ll rebel in silly little ways, like letting my numbers drop because I can’t find it in myself to care.

It won’t be the end to the stories, even if the hours are longer than I wanted and I’m too tired to do anything else. I’ll just quit the job and go back to writing! The writing comes first. It is my life, my career, my chosen profession, and there’s not an overbearing and/or incompetent boss on the planet that can keep me from it for any amount of money.

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So, in summary, I either need to attract enough paid subscribers with my writing to make the issue of finding a second job unnecessary, or I need to find a company that sells something interesting (fun gadgets, gaming computers and games, tabletop games, comics, geeky or gothic fashion, spooky household decorations, vampires, aliens and robots) and will let me do my job (in sales, customer service, marketing, management, product demonstrations, voice acting, writing, role-playing or games-mastering) without having to listen to time-consuming and pointless interruptions.

Personally, I think the former is more likely. However, if you do think you have a job for a difficult but driven employee like me, here’s the link to my CV/Resume.

You can help by either becoming a patron on http://www.patreon.com/antonym_copeland or clicking on of the poorly designed images below (I put them together myself). Every paying subscriber gets personal emails including updates on all the projects I’ve worked on that week. The more you pay, though more additional perks and entitlements you earn.

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Thank you for reading, and have a great day! 🙂

 

How Now 

Life continues to provide inspiration for Hermes925. I had intended to keep Jaime’s affection for the girl on the team unrequited, but I think instead it’ll be a short intense relationship that ends when Jaime discovers that she’s dating Psy-Man also.

It’ll be a better foundation for the awkwardness and enmity that comes later. Not just that he got the girl instead, but that the girl had them both and chose Psy-Man. Theoretically Jaime could have maintained the relationship, or fought harder to keep her. Instead he gives her up and hates Psy-Man for it.

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In the real world, I’ve learned my lesson. It was fun while it lasted. I won’t be obsessing over her like Jaime is going obsess over Helena.

I just realised two of the character’s love interests have almost the same name. Helen that worked in the coffee shop and Helena the fellow Hermes crewmember. I’ll fix it in the rewrite to avoid confusion. Maybe change the one he’s going to be aboard the Hermes vessel with will to Lana or something similar.

I’m very excited about my trial shift at the Brown Cow Inn tonight. The Interview this morning went well, and I’ve been asked to come back at 5pm for a trial shift.I needed more black collared shirts though, I also needed to top-up my phone. So I used my last £65 to get a bus to Barrow town centre, bought all 4 of the black £7 shirts with a 7 1/2 inch collar from Tesco, and enough credit to get unlimited data for another month.

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I’m out of money, but it won’t be a problem for long. I intend to impress my new employers this evening. I’ve worked in a bar before. I thrived during the chaos of a busy weekend. 3 people behind the bar, each taking multiple orders and only one till. It was crazy but it was fun.

I don’t expect it to be as busy as The Kings was back in the day, but I also expect to have to learn their systems and habits pretty quickly so that I’m helping and not just getting in the way. I’m sure I’ll get back into the swing of it in no time.

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I’ve eaten there myself before, a couple of times. Once before I left for the US, and another when I came back to visit. I’ve always liked the atmosphere of the place, and the food of course. I’m looking forward to working there. I’ll try not to get myself too invested though, there’s no need to set myself up for disappointment.

I have an idea for a Games and Geekery article I hope you’ll like, especially those of you who play Warhammer 40k. If I don’t get it done when I get back from my first shift, then I’ll work on it tomorrow. Keep an eye out for it 😉

Have a great day 🙂

Making Progress

I spent all day yesterday applying for jobs. Including a couple from the newspaper. I even decided to put in a claim for jobseeker’s allowance. Today I woke to an email asking me to come in for an interview. Not one of the ones I’d applied for days ago, but one from yesterday’s newspaper! Shortly after I also got an appointment scheduled for my Jobseeker’s claim.

A quick explanation for my American audience. In England we have a government funded benefit, called Jobseeker’s Allowance, available to those actively looking for work, but unable to find a job. In some cases it’s abused by people looking to get money to do nothing, but for many it’s a life-saver.

In order to be able to claim this money there are several hoops to jump through, including an online application and and face-to-face interview. I’m told by a friend who just came off it that you also need to show proof that you’re spending 30+ hours per week looking for work.

Personally I’d rather find a job than spend 30+ hours a week trying to find a job. Especially since I only really looking for part-time work to give me some pocket money. I’m very lucky to have a roof over my head thanks to my parents and grandparents, and food in my belly. Grandma actually let me help today too. I cooked the rice!

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These people are awesome!

Someday I might need to pay for the gas, electricity and internet myself, but not right now. For as long as my Grandparents are still around, I don’t have much to worry about. If anything goes wrong though, I have no fallback position. Unless I have a job, or at least jobseeker’s allowance. It would be nice to help out, have a little fun money, and save some up too.

I’m excited about my interview on Friday. It’s for a ‘Front of House’ position at a local pub and restaurant called ‘The Brown Cow Inn‘. It’s a family favourite, and it’s only 11 minutes walk from where I live with my Grandparents. I’m probably going to clean off my black nail varnish (nail polish) and keep the guyliner off. It would make things simpler to actually have a job, so I don’t want to scare them off.

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It would be very nice to work here

I also need to make time today for creative writing. Hence why I’m writing this post, to try and transition myself out of jobhunting mode and back into writing mode. It helps that I’ve started doing mid-week updates for City of Gate to try and quicken the pace. So I wrote that already. I’d like to get another article written for Games and Geekery if I can too, though I haven’t decided what yet.

Watch this space. I may end up coming back to tell you about my new story idea instead. It’s about vampires!

Have a great day! 🙂

The Search Continues

I dislike looking for a job. So far only one of the positions I’ve applied for has gotten back to me. I have an interview for that job in 3 days, and in the meantime I’m going to keep looking. I have discovered a few opportunities I didn’t know existed on the way. Including some that I knew logically existed, but had no idea you could apply for so easily.

My favourite of which is being a pet-sitter! I found a website called Pawshake that lets you register as a pet-sitter and set your own rates. I already created a profile! Click here to check it out. It would be great to spend a few hours looking after someone’s pet. Dogs would need to be taken for walks and fussed, but cats, birds and lizards don’t need much attention. Once their needs have been taken care of, I could still research articles and write! We’ll see if it gets anywhere, or if I earn enough to get by.

If you expand your search from jobs sites to classified ad sites, you can stumble upon a surprising number of opportunities available in the adult entertainment industry. Sadly, or perhaps luckily, these careers only seem to be available to women. I don’t think I would do well in adult industry, even if there were jobs available for men. I think my on-screen presence would be unimpressive.

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I’ve just applied for a Social Media marketing apprenticeship. I have no idea if I’ll get it, but it may be my best chance of learning more about how to increase traffic to this website, and get paid for while I’m at it. Any job that helps me reach my long-term goals instead of just sucking time away from them is a win-win.

If you happen to need a content writer and you’re willing to pay let me know. I love learning about new products and services, and my experience in sales, customer service and negotiation will be invaluable. Just as my talent for creative storytelling proved very useful in customer service, sales, bar work and debt collection! People love a good story.

I hope I find something soon. I’m down to £75. I’m very lucky that my grandparents don’t charge me rent and like to feed me. Theoretically I could live without a job indefinitely, providing I don’t want to buy anything or go anywhere I can’t reach by walking.

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If I have money though, I can afford to invest in some marketing for the website, save up for self-publishing, and get back into games, movies and books so that I have something to write about besides myself! Not to mention go for a drink with my friends occasionally. The books I’ve read on abundance and the law of attraction suggest visualising money coming into your life, acting as if the money will come. We’ll see.

Do you know what I’d really like to do? Hire some guest writers. Paying artists and musicians for original artwork and music for the site would be good too. It would also be nice to pay friend who’s working on improving the site a little for her effort too. Do you think I should setup a GoFundMe.com page?

In the meantime, if you’d like to help donate to improving the page please go to www.paypal.me/AntonyMCopeland. Right now I still don’t have a bank account (nothing to put in it), so all I’ll be doing with the money is sending it on to contributors or saving it for self-publishing my book when it’s done. Not one penny of it will be spent on chocolate or beer. Currently my Paypal balance still stands at zero.

Before I forget, here’s the latest installment of Hermes925: 11/27 What goes up..

I’d better get back to jobhunting. Have a great day 🙂

 

 

Work, work, work!

I decided to spend half my day looking for a job, and the other half working on Hermes925. I feel rather accomplished since I have managed to do just that. There were times when I was living in America that I would set myself a goal, and find the day disappear into the aether of distractions. Facebook, friends, my girlfriend at that time, the Xbox360, and the worst culprit of all, my cat.

I loved Scotty. He was my buddy, but when he wanted petting, there was very little you could do to dissuade him. I’d be typing away, and suddenly a cat would be leaping into my arms. If I didn’t lean back and fold my arms under his arse, then his claws would raked painfully down my chest as he scrambled to climb up to my shoulder. I’d just have to stop writing until he’d had enough, or I was determined enough to withstand the claws I’d get when I removed him.

In the house in Wales I still had distractions, and again the main culprit was an animal. Toby is a fun little dog, full of energy, and he’d like nothing more than to play fetch with me. I’d work with the french windows open to avoid getting too hot as I worked, and Toby would trot in from the yard and drop a ball at my feet. If I ignored him, he would pick up the ball and drop it again, and again, and wouldn’t stop until I threw the ball for him until he collapsed.

So now there’s no animals and I can type in peace! I got a bunch of applications filed, and even received an interview time already from one employer.A few of the jobs I applied for were writing jobs. If I end up hearing from one of them I wouldn’t mind having to give up my writing time to do it, because I’d still be writing! 🙂 The follow up wasn’t from one of the content writing positions though. At this point though I just need to get some cash in my pocket, whatever the opportunity might be.

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My Grandad has been reading my rough notes for Hermes925. He made some interesting points after finishing it. I clearly need to give what I’d written so far a read through to make sure that some of the ideas I wrote in later (as I thought of them) are incorporated into the story from the beginning. In particular he wanted the orwellian overtones to be clearer.

He also mentioned that it needed a timeframe. I’ve been avoiding this deliberately, mostly because I find that putting a date on a work of science fiction limits the amount of time in which the fantastic technology is believable. Of course eventually our technological advancement will surpass that which is described in the story anyway, so maybe he has a point. It may help anchor the story somewhat.

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When I started this most recent version of Hermes925 I also intended to explore the character of Psy•Man a little so that I understood his motivation and personality a little better. I’d actually come to a conflict in the previous version that involved Psy•Man, an I wasn’t sure what he’d do in the situation. It has also become generally confusing and I didn’t like the way it was going.

However, Jaime hasn’t met Psy•Man until the exact same point he did in the last version. I may have to write a separate set of writing from his perspective. They would be more analytical, coldly manipulative and reveal his talent for software engineering. I’m also thinking they would be short charming status updates, samples of chats with various unsuspecting victims of his cruel intelligence, and perhaps some gloating private notes.

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I’ve not gotten myself into the right mindset yet, perhaps I need to read some Dean Koontz, Thomas Harris or Jeff Lindsay and come back to it. In the meantime, I’ll keep working on the narrative track I’m on and see if the appropriate time for Psy•Man’s story comes up organically. Some of you who’ve read the older Hermes sample, might recognise the next entry. Here’s the latest entry for now: 11/26 First Day! Enjoy.

Have a great day 🙂