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 🙂

 

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True Love

It is often said that true love lasts forever. I’m not sure true love exists. I think that in reality, love is a fleeting emotion. Temporary, and all the more precious for it. However, it’s possible to fall in love again and again for the same person. Each time they do something that makes you smile, and your heart flutter.

When love ends it’s not the end of the world, just the end of your time together. You discover some principle they have that is diametrically opposed to one of your own, or they behave in a way that you find shameful or repugnant one too many times to balance with their enduring qualities. Perhaps they just flat out refuse to conform to your preconceived perceptions, or insist you do something that you find boring, useless or disgusting? It doesn’t really matter. There’s nothing you can do to change it.

Unless you can make them fall back in love with you, but that one’s tricky. Usually, there’s a bond of trust that forms between people in a relationship. At the very least there’s a familiarity between you both and the prospect of having to be single and fend for yourself again inspires some resentment. At least one partner will probably feel betrayed.  It’s unlikely they’ll ever trust you again.

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Especially if you pull it off. You show them you’ve changed and given them everything they ever wanted from you, so they give you another chance. Then you regress back to old behaviour patterns as soon you feel like things are good between you. Yet the alternative is worse, having to accept that you failed to do what every successful adult is supposed to do. Find your one true love and be married to them forever.

You don’t find out until you’re in the mess of relationships that falling in love is easy, and we often fall so hard and so fast that we’re swept away by the blessed miracle that we have found our one true love so soon. You find yourself making little concessions for this person, and making excuses for them so you can maintain the delusion that you’re going to stay with them forever.

Some people manage it. Live perfectly content lives, soldiering on together through hardships and victories. Bottling up the resentment over how much you had to give up to keep the relationship going. Even old lovebirds that smile and talk to one another happily, can still cry when they’re alone. Regretting the chances they could’ve taken if they hadn’t played it safe.

They chose to hold on to that one constant individual, even if it means lying to themselves and each other. It’s silly, and it’s based on something that isn’t real. Wouldn’t you rather live a real life? One in which you make big risks, stupid mistakes, have genuine adventures, new experiences, and fall in love all over again? It is a choice. A real choice we can all take. We can stop living the lie, admit the love is gone, ride through the resentment, the withdrawal and the fear of being alone forever.

We can stop living the lie, admit the love is gone, ride through the resentment, the withdrawal and the fear of being alone forever. Or, we can stick with what we’re used to. We can apologise for things we know we haven’t done wrong, just to keep the peace. We can wear that awful garment they say you look good in, hoping it will rekindle the romance, even though it makes you feel ugly, weak and dishonest. At least you’ll be able to look back on your life and say “We stayed married”!

I wanted so badly to stay married until she said something to me that completely broke my world view. She said, “It’s not your job to make me happy”. I may have mentioned this before, and if so sorry for repeating myself but I’m going to say this again anyway. I had believed until that point that my true purpose in life, as her one true love, was to make her happy. Suddenly I felt like I had no reason to exist.

Now, to be completely fair here, I hadn’t been doing very well. I would promise to do something different to make her happy, and I would do that thing (such as wash the pots more often, or maintain a house planner) for a little while. Then I would slide back into old habits.

Arguably, this could be just ADHD. Unable to focus on necessary tasks, because it’s boring as fuck and I don’t want to. Especially when it doesn’t need doing yet, and I’m really really enjoying my Xbox 360. Which she bought me, by the why, to illustrate that she recognised I’m not happy and wanted me to have more recreational time.

Whenever we talked (usually after a fight) she would tell me that I needed to spend more time with friends and have something in my life other than just her, and yet the fight would usually start because I hadn’t been writing chores that needed doing into the planner and marking them off one by one as they are completed each day.

In hindsight, I understand now that she also wanted me to schedule in ‘me’ time and friends time. I think she seriously imagined that I would be able to breathe in a strictly scheduled life in which I plan out each day meticulously in order to balance my work life, home life and all other pleasures of life in perfect harmony.  I can see why it would have comforted her to live in such a safe and predictable world, but I felt trapped.

Even writing “Monday – laundry,  Tuesday – groceries, Wednesday – litterboxes, Thursday – dusting” and left every other day blank. Leaving that journal out for her to oversee and check was enough to make me feel like a caged bird with a snake in the room. Beating it’s clipped little wings pathetically to escape. I’d build the cage myself though, and it was keeping her out.

Those words of hers let me see the bars. When we were dating, she told me that she saw greatness in me. When she took it back, telling me ‘I don’t see that in you anymore’ I saw that the key had been in the lock the whole time. It still took me a little while after that to pluck up the courage to open the door and escape.

It also turned out to be more like a multi-walled fortress than a cage, and I think I may still be working my way through some of the outer defenses. Turns out imaginative people can build one heck of a prison! It had oubliettes. Go watch Labyrinth (again), followed by Dark City and at least 3 documentaries about medieval castle defences. You’ll thank me for the imagery. 🙂

I thought about her words and realised something. If she saw something great in me when I was single and confident, and dressed all in black, perhaps I needed to go back to that. Not to win her back. That had been the plan shortly after we broke up, but that ship sailed when she told me about her new boyfriend.

I started to notice how ratty her face was (in hindsight, this may explain why I often use giant rats as villains in my stories), and how immature and nonsensical some of her opinions and assertions were then. I became determined to find my greatness despite her pronouncement that my chance at greatness was behind me. To come back to who I was before I met her, make some different choices, and be the person I was meant to be.

I may have missed the window for greatness, but I’m going to do my damnedest to get close to it. I want you to know, in advance, that I appreciate all your help on the way there. Maybe together we can build something greater than all of us, and perhaps the spirit of the Creative Writers group will continue after we’ve all gone. Who knows. For now, I’m just enjoying taking the journey with you all.

Have a great day 🙂 I hope you enjoy my writing

 

 

Monolith

I recently had a hare-brained idea to make an anthology. That’s a short-story collection in case anyone knows. Have you ever had a nagging thought in your head saying, “That doesn’t seem too hard? I bet even I could do that!”? In my case, it rapidly evolved from “Maybe I should try?”, through “Do it do it do it do it do it…”, to suddenly finding myself posting this in the Creative Writers group on Facebook:

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Soon the group was discussing the idea at length, getting excited and helping me pick out a font for the cover.  Before long the group had a brand new pinned post and I was challenging the group to coming up with a cover image that would be appropriate for both the series title, Monolith, and the theme of book one: New Beginnings.

Here are some of the early mock-ups for the front cover:

It’s early days, and I’m sort of making it up as I go, but I’m willing to learn. If you think you can help I’d appreciate it. You can join in the conversation we’re having on Facebook and have your say in how the book looks, advise me on how go about publishing it, or even discuss your short story submission.

If you are considering submitting a short story for Monolith please don’t submit rough drafts. If you’re having trouble with phrasing or grammar, by all means ask for help while you’re writing it (from me or the group). After it’s submitted, if I have to rewrite the whole thing it’s probably not going into the collection. If your short story is well written, well told and ready to go, you can submit it here or click on the “Monolith” tab above.

I expect it will take us a while to get it ready, but it would be nice to have a book available for sale by June-July. Then we’ll come up with a new theme and start collecting stories for the next book! You’ll get royalties (if you want them) on every book sold that you have a story in. It won’t be a lot to begin with, but it’ll all up, and I intend to use some of the money to promote the book and make us all more money. At least, that’s my current plan.

Interested?

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Have a fantastic day! 🙂

So Much To Do

I finally had an idea for a story for Project Ubi (the team working on the RPG Sourcebook). We’re supposed to be discussing the draft at our next meeting. The draft will definitely need a rewrite before then because I began writing it just by describing the key character to myself. It’s not much more than notes.

I haven’t finished the pen and paper version yet, and the next meeting is March first. So I have 15 days left to finish it and rewrite it. I’m not terribly worried about it being shorter than I wanted it to be at this point. I will no doubt have to add to it, and perhaps rewrite it completely, to incorporate more of the game lore we’re creating. Plus it should get written quicker if it’s short!

In addition to that, I also need to get the short story I’m calling “Before the War” finished. I’ve decided that when I eventually write “The War on Magic“, this story will act as it’s prelude. This is a story I intend to submit to the “Writers of the Future” writing contest, which gives me a chance of winning $500, $750 or $1000 if it’s one of the top 3 stories submitted that quarter.

If I miss this quarter I can submit it for the next one, but I’d like to enter as soon as possible. I may even try for a different publication, such as “Diversions From Drudgery” who are already serializing Hermes925. DfD will also let me publish items that have already been published elsewhere, while a lot of the other publications don’t. It seemed to me that it would be smarter to submit each story elsewhere first (before it’s been printed), and then to DfD after.

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Am I making things overly complicated? Should I just keep writing for the publication I already have a relationship with, and quit trying to game the system? I’m just thinking that, if it works, I could potentially be getting paid twice for every one-off story I write (providing that it’s accepted).

I also need to keep making time to write Hermes925, and make time to find additional opportunities to write for money. I’m really getting sick of being broke. I would appreciate it if you became a paid subscriber if you haven’t already, so I don’t need to be so dependent on being accepted by magazines to make money. I’m still waiting to find out if my Ghost Story for an upcoming publication called “A Horror of Words” has been accepted.

It would be awesome if I could post the stories I’m writing to this website, send an e-reader copy to my paid subscribers, and make enough money to help my family pay the bills and save up for a place of my own. I’ve considered also offering to write unique stories on commission.

I’ve considered also offering to write unique stories on commission. This would be a story that only you have. I will never post it or submit it, it would be just for you (or your intended recipient). As a result, you can be a character in the story and include your friends and family. You could also make it a comedic story in which the characters have odd flaws and quirks, whatever the client (you) want.

Off course, paid subscribers would get a discount, and may even get short stories and flash fiction for free. It seems smarter to get paid directly by fans than hoping a third party would like my work enough to pay me and publish me. Particularly since I’ll then have to promote their publication, for free, to my fans or you’ll never get to read it.

I seem to have a real problem with working for other people! I want to sell direct to the reader and cut out the middle man! At least that’s how I feel today. On other days I want to have a well-known publisher printing copies of my book and putting them on bookshelves all over the world. Today though I’m just seeing dusty volumes that don’t get read. Let’s save some money and resources and just deal directly and electronically. 🙂

Anyway, I got to get cracking on finishing the Project Ubi story!

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Give Me Another One!

I’m going to be brief, just to catch you up, but then I’m going to go back to hunting!

As you know I’ve been trying to get Hermes925 finished. The theory being that the sooner I get it finished, the sooner I can pitch it to publishers and get it on the shelves. The only problem being that in the mean time my cash reserves are dwindling to nothing. If I wasn’t living with family right now I’d be scuppered.

I’ve been aware for some time that it’s possible to sell short stories to anthologies and magazines, but I’ve been putting it off. Currently, I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe it’s just that I hadn’t found one I wanted to write yet.

However, a couple of very exciting things have happened since I started networking more actively on Facebook and Twitter. Firstly I was pointed in the direction of an e-zine publisher that is willing to publish Hermes925 as a series, starting with the first 3 entries, in their bi-monthly publication.

The publication is called Diversions from Drudgery, and they are still looking for contributors. So if you want in, contact Chris Maddock or join the Diversions from Drudgery Facebook group. They need writers and artists.

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I also didn’t realize that one of the writing groups, called Fiction Writing, I was in also had their own series of short story collections, until it came up in a conversation in the group. The theme for the next one is ghosts. My first thought was a ‘ghost in the machine’ idea. An MMORPG gamer dies, but he remains online, continuing to exist in the game and scares the shit out of his surviving friends (until they get used to it).

Turns out it’s been done and was even a film. I might have still been able to go with it if I told the story differently, but I wanted to do something new. I was wide awake in bed thinking about what I knew about ghosts from when I was a kid collecting unsolved mystery cards and reading Usborne books.

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This was one of my favorites.

What if someone had decided to treat these books that try to explain the existence of ghosts as a ‘how-to’ guide and set out to become a ghost himself? That’s the premise of a short story I just submitted to Scout Media. I’m looking forward to telling you more about that too when I have something more to tell.

So now I’m looking for more publications that accepting submissions that I want to write. I now know that I can come up with an idea, write, re-write and proof a piece in a few days. It may take me a little longer occasionally, but the idea of writing for magazines no longer seems as daunting as it once did.

I’m going to get back to looking for more opportunities now. There’s bound to someone looking for a story I want to write 🙂

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Summoning a Short Story

I was going to try and get a short story written today. At least get one started, but my brain is not cooperating. In America I could put a familiar movie on in the background, pick up a pen, and start writing. Today I found myself watching the movie instead. It was Avengers. A great movie, but one I’ve seen countless times before. When I did get writing it wasn’t particularly helpful.

A US periodical called ‘Fantasy & Science Fiction‘ offers 7-12 cents per word up to 25,000 words. So I used up half a page just figuring out how many pages I would have to fill in my notebook to get to 25,000 words. They want the document printed, so I would have to type it up and print it. That shouldn’t be too hard since my parents have their own printer, but these thought processes don’t actually get the story written.

Even now I’m thinking that I should research UK magazines and find out how many words they want, and how much they pay. I’d be very frustrated if I spent time and effort writing a story, only to find it’s too long, or that there aren’t any magazines that are looking for that genre. I’d like to write The Lord Highwayman, but I’m not sure it’ll sell, being historical fiction. I’ve also thought about writing the barfight scene from Hermes925. It’s in the draft I only have in my notebooks right now. I’m not sure it still fits in the new version of the story I’m mapping out, or even if it has to.

Does anyone know of a UK website similar too ‘Freedom with Writing‘? It’s a website I currently subscribe to that tells you about paid writing opportunities. Or does anyone know where I could start looking for writing work in the UK? Which magazines take submissions and which ones pay?

I should just write something first, then I could send out samples right away to whomever I think might publish it. I can worry about editing the length and content later based on their feedback. If it doesn’t get accepted, I’ll just add it to the archive. I can always dust it off later if I find a niche for it. That’s what I set it up for.

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I’m I just hesitating because I don’t want to be rejected? Maybe. I just need to suck it up. In the states, when I felt like this, I had access to a herbal solution that would calm me down and return my thoughts to the imaginative and creative, instead of the practical. Even if I were to acquire some I’m not going to smoke it in the vicarage. I just need to get writing and let the story out, and hope that I get caught up in the flow enough to keep my concerns from distracting me from my goal.

So having got this all off my chest, I’m now going to attempt to write something. I’m sure you’ll end up seeing some, or all, of it in a future article. Please follow, if you don’t already, so you don’t miss it, and have a great day.

PS. The video took so long to upload I did get a quick draft of the barfight written up, taking into account the new direction of Hermes 925. Click here to read it!