Write For Money (or not)

 

Okay, heads up people, this is going to be a short one – I have a tonne of editing to do, illustrations to make, and a cover to design – so, for your delectation I have compiled a short list of 13 (lucky for some) online sites looking for writers and/or bloggers.

Many are paid jobs, some are not, but there is a real mix of technical, specialised, general and fiction sites you can go visit and see what you fancy.

But remember – read the guidelines!

I repeat – READ THE GUIDELINES, don’t get pissy with anyone who doesn’t like your pitch because you didn’t pitch correctly; especially when applying to guest write on someone else’s blog, it’s their blog, you’re a guest, play nice!

Now go and write stuff…

LittleZotz (Lauren Tharpe)

http://littlezotz.com/write-for-me/

Pro-Blogger

https://problogger.com/jobs/

indeed

https://www.indeed.co.uk/Blog-Writer-jobs

BloggingPro

https://www.bloggingpro.com/jobs/

Upwork

https://www.upwork.com/o/jobs/browse/?q=blog%20writing

adzuna

https://www.adzuna.co.uk/jobs/blogger

Jobmanji

http://www.jobmanji.co.uk/blogger/job-vacancies

BestJobsOnline

http://uk.best-jobs-online.com/search.php?keyword=Blogging&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIw4qt1cHS2gIVzZPtCh3CFgxFEAMYASAAEgL3PfD_BwE

The Work Online Blog

https://workonlineblog.com/get-paid-to-write/

Back To College

http://back2college.com/guide.htm

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

http://www.elleryqueenmysterymagazine.com/contact-us/writers-guidelines/

Fantasy Scroll Mag

http://fantasyscrollmag.com/submissions/

Daily Science Fiction

http://dailysciencefiction.com/submit/story/guidelines

typewriter
Just because it was an outdated machine, did not mean Dorothy wasn’t going to write some shit hot stuff on it.
Advertisements

The Write Way To Connect

Hi folks.

So you still want to write? (you mad impetuous fools *chuckles)

What exciting times we live in, when the opportunities for writers is so huge, huger than it’s ever been, huger than the hugest thing you can think of…

Blogging. Fiction. Travel. Educational. Analyst. Content. Legal. Finance. Freelance. Journalism. Technical. Copy-writing. Marketing. Ghost-writing. Et cetera, et cetera.

WHY? WHAT? PLAN! AUDIENCE! CONNECT!

Why are you writing? (Been here before haven’t we?!) What are you writing? Plan your working days and promotional days. Who is your audience?

And when you’ve written your stuff, you need to get it ‘out there’. You need a client, a market – an audience!

Image result for self promotion humorous vintage
What happened when Bob and George didn’t plan their outfits!

A lot of writers today have blogs or web pages to self-promote. What, you thought that would be done for you?!

WHY? WHAT? PLAN! AUDIENCE! CONNECT!

Assuming you managed to get your thing written… And assuming someone was interested enough to publish it… It doesn’t mean they will promote it for you…You have to do some of this yourself (unless of course you are lucky enough to get a contract like some woman called Joanne Rowling!)

I’ve mentioned Google Digital Garage before. Get yourself over there and pick up some hints and tips. If you already have a blog, then check out – Your Long-term Social Media Plan.

Also, to help you plan – your posts, your writing schedule, whatever, Kate at Small Paper Things, has created a digital and printable calendar for bloggers to help get organised. Just click on the plus sign next to the words Google Calendar at bottom right corner of screen.

WHY? WHAT? PLAN! AUDIENCE! CONNECT!

And when you have posted, printed, published your lovingly crafted stuff, keep on top of it. Revisit it, no not every day, don’t overwhelm people, back off! And it isn’t a cactus either, watering twice a year won’t cut the mustard!  Social media is a two-way conversation, so keep the conversation going, pay a visit every other day (I would recommend) to wherever it is you like to ply your wares.

Related image
“I say, is this The Twitter? I want to tell you about some tosh I have written.”

You probably already have at least one account on a social media site – use it to promote and connect with other like-minded idiots, I mean creative types!

If you have more than one social media site, then connect them all up; it is made really easy to share stuff from platform to platform.

Remember…

Image result for the isolator by hugo gernsback
Despite what Hugo Gernsback said – Writers do NOT write in isolation!

WHY? WHAT? PLAN! AUDIENCE! CONNECT!

Now go get ’em tiger!

How To Start Blogging Later In Life – LittleZotz

My first guest post for LittleZotz is up today! Yay! (For all you ‘oldies’ out there…)

Here’s the intro…

 

So, you’re interested in blogging? You’ve never written anything before…and you are no longer considered young. How’s that going for you? Tough isn’t it?

Brain Ache

‘When I get older losing my hair, Many years from now’ …so goes the opening line of The Beatles song, ‘When I’m 64’.

Though I’m not quite 64; even though it sometimes feel like it; no seriously, being middle-aged everything hurts or creaks, and I mean everything – even my brain at times, entering the ‘Blogging Arena’ later in life can be hard work.

You need to get the right head on. 

to read more, please go to… http://littlezotz.com/blog/

 

 

Interested in writing for Lauren? Go to… http://littlezotz.com/write-for-me/  (be polite and read the guidelines!)

 

Review – The Good Place – What the fork?!

 

Currently – On Netflix (UK)

Starring – Ted Danson, Kristen Bell

GenreFantasy Comedy

WriterMichael Schur.

Premiered – September 19, 2016, on NBC

**Spoiler Alert**

(Today I can at least promise none of my usual bad language!)

I’m late to the party again – I know! To be honest, I had avoided watching this show on Netflix as the accompanying promotional image looked, well, like another one of those slightly ‘kooky’, American woman things. It didn’t pique my interest enough.

Then I watched the first season. Then I watched the first season again with hubby in tow, and we completed the two seasons – watching two or three an evening.

A quick synopsis –

A young woman, Eleanor Shellstrop wakes up in the afterlife. She is informed by Michael, that this is The Good Place. It is a Heaven-like utopia, that he designed, in reward for her having lived a good life. Everyone here as done something amazing when they were alive. However, Eleanor realises that she was sent there by mistake and must find a way to keep her true, morally reprehensible past a secret. Enter Chidi – her carefully selected after-life soul mate, who was a moral philosophy professor when alive. Can Chidi help to improve Eleanor?

The Good Place is well-written entertainment, as well as being quite thought provoking – what better way to get people to consider the ethical and /or moral considerations of our actions, than through the use of humour?

The use of names is interesting –

Michael – means ‘who is God?’. Was also an archangel.

Chidi – means “God exists” in Igbo (West African)

Eleanor – meaning ‘light’, or ‘bright shining one’. (Latin)

Tahani – ‘congratulations’ or ‘best wishes’ in Arabic.

Jason – comes from the Greek for ‘healer’.

Image result for the good place jason
“I came up with hundreds of plans in my life, and only one of them got me killed.” 

And although it is not necessary; I personally find the origins of names interesting, the selection of these names does add to the overall ‘plan’ of the writer and the show.

The humour arises from a number of contrivances:

Firstly, no-one can swear in The Good Place, so Eleanor’s profanities end up as, fork, shirt, dink, ash hole and motherforker.

Chidi is morally bound (by his own morals!) to assist Eleanor – regardless of how much she tries to take the easy route, and this causes him pain, “I’m getting a stomach ache. I’m in a perfect utopia, and I’m… I have a stomach ache. This is awful.

Image result for the good place chidi
“I don’t know what to do here. This is a mess, morally speaking. This is a putrid, disgusting bowl of ethical soup.”

Eleanor’s neighbour is a once wealthy, British socialite, who seems to be the only person with a dissimilar accent, “I also dabbled in some other professions. I was a model, a museum curator, an “It Girl,” and… oh, I was Baz Luhrmann’s muse for a while. That was quite fun.

thegoodplacetahani
So “Tahani” means “congratulations” in Arabic…

And then there is Janet. I have to say, Janet is my favourite character – she is a human shaped data base, “Not a girl.”. She works with Michael; the Architect, and is all-knowing, “Fun Fact: Columbus is in The Bad Place because of all the raping, slave-trade and genocide.

Related image
“Hi there!”

But the real humour comes from the moral and ethical arguments put forward by the various characters and situations. We’re all pretty familiar with the ‘trolley/train problem‘, well imagine doing it for real! Who really does belong in ‘the good place’? Are our deeds counted and assessed by an all-knowing being? If you choose to ignore the ‘small voice’ (your conscience), are you going to the bad place? (Motherforker! That’s me done for!)

And then there’s Michael, he’s …

Nah, I’m going to let you watch it and decide for yourself whether you think The Good Place is good, or not?!

I’m giving The Good Place 4 stars

Little StarLittle StarLittle StarLittle Star

Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Genre: Fiction, Humour
Pub Date: 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins
Length: 400 pages (PB)
Paperback: £8.99

Synopsis

Eleanor Oliphant has worked in the same office for nine years. Believing she has ‘met’ the love of her life; musician Johnnie Lomond, she resolves to make a project out of winning him over, before ever meeting him.

Eleanor forms a kind of friendship with the office’s IT guy; Raymond via an accident they both observe. Eleanor reveals a little about her past relationships, boyfriend and mother, during their now regular lunchtime meetings.

After a potentially disastrous event, Raymond ends up taking care of Eleanor, thus setting her on the road to recovery.

Eleanor Oliphant struggles with social skills and appropriate responses to pretty much everything and everyone she encounters. She has never, for example, bought a women’s magazine before, but, “I’d worked out that they were the most reliable and accessible source of the information that I needed.” Her life is carefully timetabled, from the Wednesday phone calls from Mummy, to the food she eats for her evening meal. She drinks a large amount of vodka at weekends and has visits from a Social Worker.


I found myself right from the outset, trying to work out if Eleanor had suffered from a past trauma, or if she was a high functioning Autistic. Her attitude to colleagues and people in general is akin to how some people with Autism maintain a distance from others; reluctance to engage in office banter, avoidance of touching other people and such-like. She always has her shopper with her and wears the same clothes to work daily, she even has just two pairs of shoes; practical, comfortable; Velcroed.

Writers, when starting out in the craft, are often advised to open the first chapter with a bang, to create a hook for the reader, grab the publishers interest – but – I didn’t feel any of this when I read the introductory paragraphs. Even the fact that she had her interview with a black eye did not intrigue me. Only after pages 4 to 6, when Eleanor explains her weekly routine; “I usually have pasta with pesto and salad – one pan and one plate.” and a tiny glimpse into her childhood, did I think that there was something more to this than meets the eye.

I’m glad I stuck with it. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine gives the reader an outsiders view of the world – haven’t we all felt a little like ignoring those around us? It is both funny and touching. The reason and mystery Eleanor is alone is made clear very gradually, drop by drop, and poses the question, how vital is human interaction? When she thanks the hairdresser for making her ‘shiny’, I had a lump in my throat. 

Is Eleanor Oliphant Completely Fine? Do read it and decide for yourself!

This is Gail Honeyman’s début novel, for which she won the Costa First Novel Award 2017, it feels like the work of a more experienced writer.

I’m giving Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine 4 stars

Little StarLittle StarLittle StarLittle Star

So You Want To Be A Fiction Writer?

writing1

Where to Begin –

Stop Prevaricating. Easier said than done, I hear you cry. Been there, done that. I have dabbled on and off throughout my whole life (mostly off B.D – before daughter). Then an amazing thing happened, my daughter came of an age in which she mirrored back to me my own criticisms, persuasions, acronyms. She was constantly told as a child to ‘have a go’, ‘just try it’ and ‘just go for it’. I ended my dabbling when she told me to “Carpe diem. You keep telling me, now this is me telling you.” So I did.

Writers are always telling would-be-writers to ‘just write’! I’m going to try and persuade you not to!!!!

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot,” Stephen King says in his book ‘On Writing‘. Do you already do this? If not, why not? How can you possibly expect to write if you are a stranger to literature in the first place?

I cannot tell you how many times I have been speaking to other people and they say, “Oh, I was good at writing stories in school...” or when I painted:- “I got a B in my art ‘O’ Level, I reckon I could do that...” Really? So why aren’t you doing it? Because you were, or are still, ‘good at something’ is not a qualification for being that thing. You have to WANT to be it. To be a fiction writer, you have to BE CREATIVE! If you aren’t, there is nothing wrong in that, just don’t kid yourself that you can.

In a previous blog I wrote that Writing is like keeping an allotment, in which I was quite helpful (I thought), and kind (for me), about planning, editing and so forth. Now I’m telling you that writing is like rolling around in pig-swill for a huge portion of the time. Where to start? What to write? What’s my style? How do I deal with writers block? How do I resolve this conflict between characters? What’s the difference between Show & Tell? Where do ideas come from? Who will read it? Will I be successful?! I’m not giving answers to any of those questions, why? Because I’m a bitch? No (well, partially), but if you are asking these questions BEFORE you begin your shiny new writing journey – I would seriously question whether this is the right choice for you.

By the way, there is no limit on what age you can begin writing; it may be that you have spent your life working, bringing up a family, and now you’re free to follow your dream. You’re a pressure cooker that has been ‘on hold’ for decades – time to release the flood!

writing 2

 

Who are you Writing For?

And why are you writing? This may sound a bit odd, but people write for different reasons:- for fun, as catharsis, as a way to better understand the world, to escape from the world, for money, a natural progression from previous creative activity, or from journalistic based role, because it’s an itch that needs to be scratched. Whatever the reason, be honest. If you think you’re going to make money from being a story-teller, think again; the successful ones we hear about are few and far between.

Stop trying to please others – write for yourself. Some authors advocate writing the kind of stuff you’d like to read yourself; well if you can’t please yourself with what you’ve written, how can you expect anyone else to enjoy it?

Do you know how many new books get published each year? In the UK in 2017, it reached 4.8 billion! Is your effort going to be picked up amongst all those? If you knew you would NEVER get published, would you still want to write? If the answer is an emphatic ‘no’, read no further, just stop right now and go and watch TV.

writing3

Isolation –

We all know writing can be a lonely gig. Hmm, did I say lonely? I’m never lonely – I may work alone, but lonely; never. You have to want to be alone for extremely long periods. For example, you have to world build if you want to write sci-fi, that takes some serious – and I mean serious – inside-my-own-head time. You have to be prepared to miss social events – and not care.

Disconnect yourself from what you might call ‘reality’ and create your own – but be able to re-surface into ‘normality’ and function well. “I have never yielded to reality.” said Philip K. Dick.

Fiction writers spend a lot of time inside their own heads, we stare into space mulling over scenes, dissecting dialogue and listening in on other people’s conversations! Get away from everyone, lock yourself in a quiet place and work.

You do not need to attend conferences on writing to become a writer. All you need is… writing implements of whatever kind you prefer – laptop, iPad, pen and paper, quill, chisel and stone.

writing4

 Let’s Get Critical –

I have read some shit in my time, seriously, there seem to be people who think that whatever they write is worth the time and attention of readers. I have come across horrendous grammatical errors, uncorrected spelling mistakes, and just plain awful stories. Humans, it seems to me, have become less self critical in recent years, the advent of social media and self-publishing sites has led to an abundance of dilute word vomit.

Prepare for failure and criticism. If you are going to ask other people to read your work, then expect criticism; I do. In fact I welcome constructive criticism – without constant practice and critical feedback, I may do the writing equivalent of jogging on the spot.

This goes back to those people who said, ‘Oh, I was good at writing stories in school‘. So what? I won the  100 metres for my school for 5 consecutive years; doesn’t mean I was ever going to be an Olympic runner! If you want to put your writing out there, get a tough skin!

Practise description. Please! I have read stories where – 1. The scene is not described; to the extent that it was unclear if it was indoors or outside. 2. The number of people involved in a conversation was muddled. 3. A different character’s name was used who shouldn’t have even been included!

Also, it must be credible. You can set your story any where, any time, whatever, it can have pink flying elephants – as long as there is a reason for pink flying elephants, then it will work – don’t think because you have a ker-azy idea that it will make you the next Ian Banks or Hunter S. Thompson. Far from it.

As previously stated, Writing is hard work. It may, in fact, be harder than the ‘day job’ I/you do. Why? Because it is all about you – you come up with the ideas, you do the actual work, you put in the hours; it requires self-discipline. Be honest, are you prepared to be that person?

writing5

Never Stop Learning –

So, you wrote your first short story and your friends think it’s great. Is that it then? All you ever wanted has been achieved? Okay, make way for the stalwarts who are still with me.

Just because your best mate says it’s good – DOES NOT MAKE IT SO – and it does not mean you have reached the pinnacle of your (potential) writing career. Keep going, write another, write some more, keep going, and again…

Readers are greedy for more, the audience constantly needs feeding. But that does not mean you have to keep churning out the same old crap. If you want to be a real writer, you must NEVER think you have learnt everything you need to know. Down that path lies mediocrity and complacency, “Nothing is more hostile to art than a culture of complacency.” says Dr. Joseph Suglia.

Expand your reading, try something you may never have read previously; it can be anything, it doesn’t have to be other people’s fiction. Read about coal mines in South America, find out about about farmers markets in Namibia, read about your local area, learn a new language, read about the average number of piglets in a litter (it’s an average of 10-12 ,if you want to know), whatever you do – READ.

I had to learn American just like a foreign language. To learn it I had to study and analyse it. As a result, when I use slang . . . I do it deliberately.” Raymond Chandler.

If I haven’t put you off and you accept all/most/some of what I’ve said, and the urge to expel a creative nugget is wriggling in your belly, bravo!

Now go and write!

writing6

 

*The author accepts no responsibility for broken hearts or dreams.

*The author does not proclaim to be an expert on the above topic, just a weary reader.

 

This Week I Have Been Mostly Listening To…

Skilletskillet1.jpg

The ‘Challenge Alex’ experiment continues. This weeks suggestion comes from Kay. I didn’t ask, and was not informed as to what style of music I was about to encounter – so I looked them up beforehand. Skillet is, according to Wikipedia, an American Christian rock band formed in Memphis, Tennessee in 1996.

Now, I have to declare a dislike for ‘church music’, by which I mean the ‘happy-clappy-guitar-strumming-we’re-all-one-family’ music, not traditional hymns (I like some of those). So, not sure what’s going to happen here!

So time to genuflect (if my poor old knees allow) and get me some of that ‘old time religion’ with Skillet…

N.B: this is NOT a review – it’s simply an experiment in expanding (and challenging) my listening tastes.

What I listened to –

1. Feel Invincible (RD: 2016)– Had a familiar feel to it, was sure I had heard something similar before….. Straight in with the thrash guitar and a good catchy rhythm; and quite dynamic. Introductory verse sounded like lead singer,John Cooper’s voice had been meddled with on one of those nasty electronic vox machines (hated that).

What does it sound like to me? Rock/Pop/Stadium Rock.

Did I like it? Kind of. My feelings about this were quite divided – I hate ‘Stadium Rock’ for it’s crowd pandering blandness, and yet…I didn’t hate this.

2. Back From The Dead (RD: 2017) – Another slappy guitar opening, though not as solid as the previous. Has a rather dated feeling, like something from a 90s American TV teen show. The lyrics are kind of…mainstream, commercial…boring.

What does it sound like to me? Commercial Rock-Pop

Did I like it? No.

3. Gasoline (RD: 1996) – So I decided to head right back to their first album and see what had changed/progressed/improved. This sounds less over-produced, has a less ‘polished’ feel, which actually adds to it, for me; I hate over production in music.

What does it sound like to me? There is a definite rock feel, with a dash of early 90s electronic dance music and a slice of Grunge on the side.

Did I like it? It was okay! Better than previous two.

skillet3
Skillet – Invincible

4. Collide (RD: 2003) – Big strings opening, violins, cellos…then the thrashing guitar belts out (can I hear an electronic keyboard in background? Distracting). The first song that I can hear lyrics about faith; “there’s something deep inside that keeps my faith alive”, religious or otherwise.

What does it sound like to me? Any old Hard Rock band.

Did I like it? Nope!

5. Better Than Drugs (RD: 2010) – Don’t do drugs kids! Oh no, dum-cha-dum-cha drums, whispery, electronic voice – (‘Gag me with a spoon’ as Mr Zappa’s eldest would say).

What does it sound like to me? Any old soft Rock band.

Did I like it? Nope

skillet2
Skillet have won 14 music awards!

 

6. Comatose (RD:2006) – Again with the perky strings intro…generic vocals, generic melody interspersed with a twinkly piano and stop-start guitar and drums.

What does it sound like to me? Yet another Rock Band…

Did I like it? I didn’t hate it!

7. Monster (RD: 2011) – Feel like I’ve gone back in time! What you expect from any old rock band re- rhythm and bass, drums, vocals. I envision a hundred sweaty teens bopping up and down at the chorus.

What does it sound like to me? Stadium Rock

Did I like it? Not really.

8. Stars (RD: 2016) – WTF! Electronic keyboard, synthy voices. What happened here?! This was what I expected from a ‘Christian’ Rock band, what happened there then?!

What does it sound like to me? This feels like the bland, poppy pop music I was subjected to in the 80s.

Did I like it? I had to stop listening to it, made my bowels loose…

9. Watching For Comets (RD: 2016) – Seem to have lost their guitarist! Where’s the rock, the thrash, the vocals?! Let’s all just sway side to side with candles/lighters held aloft and embrace…

What does it sound like to me? Dreary. The worst kind of Pop/Rock! And too long!

Did I like it? Do I need to fill in this space…really!!!

10. We Are The Saviours of The World (RD: 2016) – Well God help us, ‘oh, oh, oh’ etc. Electronics, again, not something I would associate with Rock music.

What does it sound like to me? ‘heavy’ pop.

Did I like it? ‘No sir, I don’t like it.’

To round-up – Phew, glad that’s over. Okay, so maybe I’m being unfair, it wasn’t horrendous music… just awfully bland and uninteresting – at least it wasn’t ‘happy-clappy-guitar-strumming…’, and I’m not sure that Skillet should be classed as a Christian Rock band, more like a Rock band whose members happen to be Christian? Did I get me some of that ‘old time religion’? Nope – and if that’s what you’re expecting when you read Christian Rock – then you’re going to be disappointed. Skillet obviously heard that old saying ‘the Devil has all the best tunes’, and have tried to make amends. So….it that respect…I have to concede that Skillet challenged my preconceptions of what ‘Christian’ music is.

However.

Will I be listening to Skillet again? No. Why? Because, as mentioned in a previous ‘Challenge Alex’, there are better bands from previous decades if I want to listen to Rock (Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones). Did it challenge me musically? Not at all, it left me asking “So what?” Weird thing is, the stuff they were producing back when they began sounded much better to me. I’m no expert, and again, this is not an educated criticism, but I do feel like the genre of Rock music struggles to define itself in modern culture, it doesn’t seem to have moved on like, say, Dance music, so what we end up with when new groups do Rock, is the soup of the soup, (i.e. watered down.).

skillet4
Skillet latest album – Unleashed Beyond