Factinate Articles

As I previously mentioned I returned to writing articles for Factinate for a brief period, and have one of my latest ones posted below. I have done eight in total if I am not mistaken, but some of the ones submitted can take a bit of time to be posted. I am not sure if I will continue with the endeavour for that much longer, but I will share the pieces I do.

While I find some of the facts interesting and definitely like making some money on the side, the site does have an emphasis on humour in its articles, which is not my strong suit. I’ll be back to editing Alive: Part II soon, but I will likely start writing Hazard before then.

Factinate articles before (will add more in as they are published):

24 Precious Facts About Gollum

25 Sarcastic Facts About Ryan Reynolds

 

Alive: Part II Complete

For the past year I’ve been working on and off on completing my fourth book, Alive: Part II. I am proud to say that a rough draft is now complete at approximately 60,000 words. The book came out shorter than I intended but I’ll deal with issues of length later. The story ended how I wanted it to end and it feels like a good place for my characters’ lives to wrap up.

Now, I will be taking a break from the book for a few weeks before I go back to edit. In the meantime, I’ll start brainstorming and possibly start writing my fifth book, Hazard. This will be based on, or inspired by the poetry piece of the same name. While most of my books have dealt with issues of racial discrimination, this one will focus more on mental health and self-esteem. If you’ve read the poetry piece you might wonder how that ties in, but I will reveal that the resurrected protagonist took his own life.

Hazard is a work I have been waiting to flesh out for a while. The protagonist and the backstory was clearest in my mind, but I have numerous details to sort out with the world-building. The pursuit of publication is another issue, but it’s one I won’t worry about too much now. I will keep trying to get The Doctor published, but aside from that I want to focus on becoming a better writer and building a platform for myself.

Blogs= “Previously Published”

As I mentioned in my last post, I am now working on trying to get an extended version of The Doctor published, likely in a magazine. As writers, a lot of conventional wisdom tells us to create a blog so that we can try to build an audience for ourselves and so that we simply exercise our writing muscles. What a lot of the conventional wisdom does not tell you is that posting early versions or excerpts of your work can make publishing outlets consider it “previously published”. This principle can apply if you have a blog with millions of readers, or a blog with virtually none.

The simple presence of a page with a work that matches something else in title, in part or in whole, is enough to disqualify you from publication. I had this experience before with The Artifice. I created an article, and received a list of suggested edits. At the time, The Artifice’s own guidelines said the article would not be published once a certain amount of edits were suggested. So I simply posted the article on my site since I didn’t hear anything back for a few days.

The day after I post the article on my site the editor emails me to advise that my article was in queue for publication and now cannot be published since it is already published on my site, since Google searches and SEO will lead people to my site instead of theirs. So, forgetting The Artifice’s idiotic editing system and lack of clear communication, I couldn’t get my article published on a site with thousands of readers, because I posted it on a site that doesn’t even have one hundred.

Now I may run into the same system with The Doctor because a shorter version of it has already been posted on my site. A lot of my short poetry pieces end up fueling ideas for my longer works, such as my Alive series coming from the series of poems I posted on this site. I think it makes sense for ideas to develop this way and it is counter intuitive for small steps like this to be punished. It is ridiculously tough to approach a literary agent about a novel with no previously published work (“previously published” meaning having a real writer’s credit in something other than my own blog). So I write on my blog, practicing and developing ideas. Then the fully formed idea is rejected because its predecessor is alive on this blog.

Race Swap

I previously shared a blog post titled, The Only Cure for Racism, where I describe my dream of a world where we can transplant the mind of someone into a different host body. This has been done before in science-fiction, but I examined how this could be used specifically to demonstrate how people can receive different and harmful treatment based on their skin colour.

There is so much information out there to demonstrate that racism is alive and well, but denial, straw man arguments etc. allow many people to ignore this information. These willfully ignorant people include groups like the alt-right and more enlightened individuals whose worldview is still shaped by ignorance. This is the age where terms like “libtard” and “social justice warrior” are used to describe people who have some knowledge of the issues affecting minorities. Don’t get me wrong, some people do legitimately see discrimination where there is none. However, the “right wing buzzwords” paint a wide swath of people with the same brush and ultimately help to derail conversations that can help society truly move forward. No form of discrimination or injustice was ever overcome by avoiding its discussion. If that is the lesson people have learned from history, then that is just more proof of the power of denial.

With that in mind, I began to write a story about race-swapping. In this story, a disgruntled white man volunteers to have his thoughts and personality implanted into a black host for six months. If he goes through the six months without feeling like he received any harmful treatment due to his skin colour, then he will receive a cash prize of $200,000. I wanted my protagonist to be representative of many of the racists present today. I am still fleshing out the story, but I know he will be young and educated (looking at you Ben Shapiro).

This story is still in its infancy, but I wanted to share this first piece since sharing this also motivates me to continue working on it. I am still working on my fourth book, Alive: Part II, as well (deadline of September). I am not sure how long “Race Swap” will end up being. It could be a short story of a few thousand words, or perhaps a novel. Either way, I will keep chipping away at it. Enjoy.

****************************************************************************************************

The libtards challenged him, and now he was going to prove them wrong. Their latest machination was something born out of desperation, because they couldn’t find facts to support any of the garbage they spouted.

My parents were poor, and they struggled most of their lives. Just like I did. I never got a handout but the Democrats and social justice warriors have the audacity to tell me I have white privilege, as if every white person has it easy. The blacks complain about racism and yet they get affirmative action, instead of just working hard like the rest of us. I can’t imagine how many times I’ve lost a job I deserved because some black C student got a free ride. They complain about racist police, but maybe they’d have an easier time if they just obeyed the law.

I thought off how much easier my life could have been if I was one of them, and I endured my commute with anger flowing through me. I saw the black school kids with their white girlfriends, knowing that people would call me “racist” just because I think people should stick to their own. One thing after another showed me how unfair the world is, why people like me need people like Trump to look out for us. We created this civilization, and now it was leaving us behind.

By the time I reached my destination, I had to take a few deep breaths before ringing the intercom.

“Good morning, how can I help you?” A female voice said from the speaker.

“I’m here for a 10am race swap.”

 

Achievement

We all want to achieve something special,

Do something that will be remembered long after we’re gone,

In our minds,

We’re the next Steve Jobs,

The next Stephen King,

The next Spielberg,

The next Picasso,

Isn’t this the case for just about everyone?

No one grows up wanting to flip burgers,

Or deal with whiny, angry customers all day,

Yet we need people to fill those roles,

As a Pixar character once said, “When everyone’s super, no one will be.”

We can’t have a society where everyone gets what they want out of life,

The people who are at the top are often there because they are catering to some unfulfilled need or desire in the people below them,

The best creams to moisturize and get ride of acne,

The best clothes to compliment their body,

The best pill for losing weight,

The best advice to get out of the rut they are in,

I am a victim of the last one,

Devouring whatever is dished out by people who don’t identify as self-help gurus,

But serve the same purpose,

Maybe I am just another pawn,

Shelling out what little money I have,

Reading, studying, applying,

And hoping my investment pays off,

I remember attending a Writer’s Conference years ago,

Seeing people twice or three times my age still working at their dream,

It was admirable in one sense,

But also disheartening,

Will I be another person stuck in an unfulfilling day job?

Continuing to work towards something more,

And possibly never getting what I truly want?

A New Venture- Factinate

Update: Late last year I met up with a friend who works for Factinate. He was gracious enough to offer me a position as a writer for the site, compiling listicles. The gig doesn’t dictate an amount of articles per week/month etc. and I am excited to try to get something published online, aside from my own blog. The factinate articles will either be pop-culture related or general research articles, which span a variety of topics ranging from history, politics, geography etc.

These topics and the site as a whole may not align directly with my creative writing interests but it is still an opportunity that I am thankful for.

I will repost any of my factinate articles to this site, but I do also recommend checking out the site since there are a lot of interesting articles (they’re not paying me to say that).

 

Why I Quit Instagram.

I’ve lost track of how long it has been, but a while ago I created my personal Instagram account. It was something I started mainly as a way of staying in touch with friends and family overseas. While Facebook is still a popular option, one could say that Instagram is one of the fastest growing apps and one that people my age (26) gravitate to the most.

I rarely posted to my personal account, but I did spend time scrolling through the black hole of the explore page. I was presented with cat videos and “instamodels” galore, but my interests also led me to search for movie and comic-book related material. Soon enough, I started following a diverse group of actors, authors and artists. I wanted to avoid the narcissistic side of Instagram, with its selfies and workout videos, and take in the real talent that the platform had to offer. I also knew that I wanted to share my own thoughts on comics and movies, just like I did on my blog and my other social media accounts.

I have never been the kind of person to get 30 likes on a facebook profile picture, so I decided that I couldn’t pursue my interests through my personal Instagram account. Thus, @moviegrapevine was born. I enjoyed the freedom to embrace my geekiness in all its glory, attracting other like-minded people and becoming part of a community that was an audience for my writing and also motivated me creatively. I later followed up with a second account specifically for my creative writing, @wmoviegrapevine.

The purpose of the Instagram accounts was to direct more traffic to my blog and my YouTube channel. I became hypnotized by likes, and the odd comment, thinking that this surely equated to more readership and more views. It was actually Twitter that made me realize the truth. I have posted links to articles before. Three likes, so I must have three views on the article. I then check the article’s stats, and the article has no views. Even with a less visual medium, people still like or even retweet material that they have not truly engaged with. A like on Twitter or Instagram does not equal another view of your base: the blog, YouTube channel etc. that Instagram is intended to be a funnel for.

Of course this seems obvious now, and I was never naive enough to think that everyone liking my posts was also reading my blog. However, I had a small group of followers who consistently liked my posts and there was the assumption that they must be reading my material. However, the analytics for my site made it clear that wasn’t true. That harsh truth also made me look at my own behaviour on Instagram. There were plenty of accounts I followed, and consistently liked, that had their own related sites or videos. I always said that I would check out their content, and then I never did. This wasn’t due to any apathy or malice on my part, it was simply due to the abundance of books, websites and videos that already take up my time. Speaking of time, I was spending more of it scrolling through my explore page, spending twenty minutes on Instagram when my intention was to log on and post within five minutes.

All of the above realizations led me to realize that Instagram was only a big distraction. I had to analyze if my extra data usage, and the associated costs, were really worth it. I had a few hundred followers, which was still paltry in the grand scheme of things. Additionally, the followers I had weren’t actually engaging with the material on my website or my YouTube channel. Ultimately, my accounts were not meeting their goals. All they succeeded in was giving me validation. I could post art or a picture that I liked, and have other people express their approval. I could post a short poetry piece or an excerpt from my book and have people compliment it. None of this meant they would be interested in anything I shared outside of Instagram, but for a while that didn’t matter. Ignorance was coupled with bliss and I lived under the illusion that my distraction was a sign of productivity, and that it actually meant something. It took me too long to realize that it didn’t. It was a diversion; from my other works and my other platforms.

I can’t say it’s Instagram’s fault, it is the fault of my attention span. Now I want to redirect that attention span to my Facebook and Twitter, while I continue to blog and work on my fourth book.

Alive: Part II Progress

For any newer readers, you may not know that I have written three books, which I am still trying to get published. This blog was created as part of my effort to build an online platform and further hone writing skills through my blog posts. My most recent book is Alive, a werewolf story. I have always loved fantasy tales and it was exciting to craft my own. With Alive complete I began working on the second and final part of the series.

I completed a few thousand words of Part II but regret to say that I haven’t touched it in almost a month now. Work, where I have done most of my writing over the past year, has become much busier and my life outside of work has become much busier as well as I take on more responsibilities, such as looking for a new place. Along with some part-time work, the gym, guitar etc. it has been tough to find time or energy to write. However, I don’t want to keep embracing excuses. I’ll get back to writing by this end of the week, with my goal of 5oo words a day. Originally I wanted the book to be completed by September but now I will have to settle for completing it by end of the year.

Then the work of editing and continuing to seek publication for my other work will continue. I contacted ten agents about part I but have received no responses so it looks like I am back to square one in my journey to getting published. It can be disheartening, but I don’t want to use that as an excuse to quit either. I have now accepted it won’t come quickly. I used to think I’d be published by the time I was twenty-five but now I can accept it might not happen until I’m fourty. It’s a long climb, but I’m looking forward to it.