Monday January 16th, 2012

The exercise:

Today we write about somebody or something that's: for hire.

The more observant amongst you will have already noticed that there are two new additions to my list of Pages over on the left there.

The first, Recommended Reading, is just a collection of books that I've enjoyed and, as the title suggests, I'd strongly suggest you check out. I've divvied it up into three sections (books on writing, fiction, and non-fiction) and I'll add to it as I discover more books that I feel belong there.

The other page? Well, that's going to require a bit more explanation...


Writer For Hire is something I've been wanting to do for quite some time. I can't say for sure when I first thought of doing it, but it's definitely been more than a year. What can I say? I take my time with things.

There are various reasons for the delay, but I'll get to that in a minute. First I should probably detail what the page is and my hopes for it.

In a nutshell, if someone would like something creative written but are not up to tackling it themselves, or if they simply enjoy my writing and would like something created just for them, they can hire me to do just that. I'm also making myself available to do editing work.

I'm hoping this will be an extra source of income to help Kat and I along while we continue to establish our farming business. As you're all writers yourselves, this isn't necessarily targeted at you (but of course you're more than welcome to make use of it!), but perhaps friends or family might be interested (that would be what the referral discount is for). Either way, I needed somewhere to host this offer and this seemed like the best place... for now, at any rate.

Anyway, you can find all the info on the page itself.

Now, the delay. Mostly it was caused by a lack of belief in myself and my abilities. The idea of people wanting to pay me for my writing seemed ridiculous at first. I've come a long way since then, both in my writing and personally, but some of that still lingers.

It's certainly rearing its butt ugly face as I type this and prepare to hit Publish Post.

But I'm in the process of editing a novel right now and getting ready to send it out into the big bad world. So I better believe my writing is worth something to somebody (preferably a lot of somebodies), otherwise I am wasting a rather remarkable amount of time and energy.

I'd appreciate any feedback you fine folk have to offer on this. I'm trying to look at it as a stepping stone along the way to making a decent living off of my writing. Nothing too grandiose or massive, just a little baby step.

Fingers crossed, toes crossed, eyes crossed... here I go.


Brittany said...

Req. 5 years experience working with sloths, bears and sharks. Willingness to lose a few limbs and ability to curl into fetal position when necessary. Full time w/medical and dental. Apply today at

writebite said...

this is an excerpt from one of my larger pieces on my own blog...

Old clothes. Rags, you called them; "fit for the garbage can," you remark, yet you couldn't, just couldn't toss them yet. 'Too many memories,' you think contemplatively, and you let your mind wander...

He wore them faithfully, every day. Some folk called it his uniform - blue jeans and white T-shirt. In reality, they were his normal clothes become old, demoted to the rank of chores - gardening clothes, painting clothes, fixing the car clothes.
People knew him by this uniform. They'd come to expect it. "Call that guy in the blue and white," they'd tell their friends, "he's a whizz with things; he'll fix it." So they would call and he would heed the call and, yes, he'd fix it, sure enough. He was the one they hired when no one else would do the job.

Iron Bess said...

Congrats on your writing for hire undertaking. One of these days I hope to get paid for what I love to do. One of these days I hope to be able to do what I love to do.

For Hire

Beth was feeling shiny and clean, like a newly minted dime, she stepped into the elevator and pressed number 44. Looking into the full length mirror on the back of the door she brushed at some imaginary specks. She was perfect. The happy smile on her face reassured her as did her positive posture. Head held high, shoulders back, feet spaced just so to show how rooted and well balance she was. She knew that she was going to nail this interview. How could she fail? She grinned wider when, “I am Woman,” started playing in the background.
The doors slid open with a quiet whoosh, and she stepped out onto polished marble floors, her heels clicking out an upbeat rhythm as she crossed the room. “Hello,” she said to the porcelain doll behind the reception desk. “My name is Elizabeth McDowell. I have an appointment with Pat Lawson.”
“Of course Ms. McDowell, Ms. Lawson is expecting you.” The woman stood, her black hair cascading like an inky waterfall around her shoulders, she ushered Beth through the double doors behind her and indicated a plush leather seat. “Please take a seat and Ms. Lawson will be with you in a minute.”
Two hours later Beth bounced into the small second floor studio she shared with her best friend, Aspen. The rich aroma of freshly brewing coffee permeated the air she inhaled deeply before removing her jacket. She waded through six inches of crumpled up newspaper and headed for the kitchen. “I nailed it,” she said as she picked up a mug and filled it with the dark hot liquid. She watched as the cream she stirred in turned it to a delicious mocha colour.
“Of course you did,” Aspen said. “When do you start?”
“Next Monday. I’m starting as the assistant manager to the Regional Director.” Beth hopped up onto the counter before taking a sip of her coffee. “What’s with all the newspaper?”
“It’s a papier mache project for city hall.” Aspen made her living as a part time artist, part time accountant. One job usually brought in more money than the other.
Beth looked over at the clock by the stove. “Oh my god, is that the time?” It read a quarter past four. She took another quick sip of her coffee and then sprinted for the door. She had only fifteen minutes to return to the Positive Emotions Store with her temporarily hired confidence before she would have to pay for another day. She ran down the road, the building was almost three kilometers away, but she was confident she could make it.

Cathryn Leigh said...

@Marc - If you don't Follow Anne, she writes a good blog with good information on the publishing world, all sides of it. In fact speaking of sending you 'babies' into the wild - you should read this:
I wish you all the best of luck, and (as yes you have fallen behind in reading my Phoenixes, but that's okay) I might likely avail myself of your services when I'm done with my massive edit of Sarah's Phoenix. :}

@Brit - shot and simple, if a bit disturbing.

@writebite - interesting, make me wonder what happened to the guy in blue and white

@Iron Bess - rented confidence... what an interesting idea, though I could see a lot of potential backfire when she finally starts working there.

For Hire

Beat up old jelopy, sits in the yard
For all of it's life, it's worked very hard
But now it's too old, it's taken to rest
It's parts to be sorted, to keep only the best

Here at the junk heep the sign reads the same
We hire all junk: old, new or lame

Apparently today was a poetry day for me. wasn't quite sure if I"d make it fit with the prompt, but some how I did! :}

David said...

@Marc - celebrate my man - it's always great to put ourselves out there - it's the only way we grow.

@Brittany - ditto what CathrynLeigh said -- and I think the previous employee met his future in-laws yesterday (see yesterday's prompt)

@writebite - I really want to know more about the man - which is the highest compliment I can give. Great job.

@Iron Bess - absolutely love the last line - extremely whimsical.

@CathrynLeigh - have to let the poems come, no matter when they hit.

Here's mine:

Don Simpson sat at a bar in midtown Manhattan, fearing his afternoon. Businessmen of all shapes and sizes, but mainly in navy blue suits shuffled behind him, looking for their next deal. While some of these men may not look forward to their afternoons or, perhaps, even dread, Don had good reason to fear his meeting with the Barber. Negotiations with the Barber were always tricky, and should become trickier when your former boss stiffed the Barber the last time you rendered his services.

Don was a freelancer now. He brokered deals between gentlemen like the Barber and those who needed his services. He ordered a white wine. He wanted a Chardonnay, but just told them to give him anything, and quickly. As many meeting that Don had facilitated with the Barber, this would be the first one he ever conducted alone. The Barber did not generally deal with middle men, he never cared if “important” men knew his identity. In fact, he wanted them to see his face, so they would know who he was if they ever met again. Don’s former employer met the Barber twice, which, of course, is why Don required new employment.

Don looked at his watch. One minute until the meeting. The Barber was never late. Don started to sweat, no one noticed in this crowded bar, despite the drops that slid down his chin and splattered on the bar. No one noticed the man slide behind Don either. And Don did not notice the tap to his head or being led out of the bar and into a car, like countless other inebriated businessmen assisted by their concerned colleagues. Don did not notice anything until he woke up and saw the eyes.

“What’s the job?” The Beard grumbled.

Don, the consummate professional, pissed himself before answering.

David said...

I must add that I loved everyone's introductions yesterday. And who knew we had so many writing farmers. I may tap y'all for advice if I actually build a garden this spring.

Krystin Scott said...

Dragon For Hire
General Law Enforcement, Air Patrol, Judge, Jury, and Executioner.

Expert Flyer
Gifted Fire Starter
Proficient in Crowd Control
Highly Skilled in Demolition and Recovery
Excellent Security Tactics
Decimator of Armies
Healthy Appetite

Seeking a minimum of 20 sheep or equivalent livestock, per week.

*Additional Fees apply for the devouring of Orcs and Trolls, due to their lack of personal hygiene.

For further details and contract stipulations contact I.B. Thorough at

morganna said...

Marc -- good luck with the new venture.

David said...

ugh, just realized my one line of dialogue was attributed to an incorrect character.

should have said

"What's the job," said the Barber.

The Beard, for those that have not met him, is a whole other complexity.

writebite said...

nice takes everyone, really different.
here is the full version, for the curious (she says, cluttering up the comments box)...

Old Clothes

Old clothes. Rags, you called them; "fit for the garbage can," you remark, yet you couldn't, just couldn't toss them yet. 'Too many memories,' you think contemplatively, and you let your mind wander...

He wore them faithfully, every day. Some folk called it his uniform - blue jeans and white T-shirt. In reality, they were his normal clothes become old, demoted to the rank of chores - gardening clothes, painting clothes, fixing the car clothes.
People knew him by this uniform. They'd come to expect it. "Call that guy in the blue and white," they'd tell their friends, "he's a whizz with things; he'll fix it." So they would call and he would heed the call and, yes, he'd fix it, sure enough. He is the man to hire when no one else would do the job.

Old clothes ... see those paint stains there? The baby blue? That's for the nursery he painted long ago. Baby's all grown now, and adult himself, near enough.
See the lime green and sky tones on that bit there? That's for his friend who was too aged to do it himself - a gift to his grandchildren who wanted to redecorate their playroom. Summer brights were in season that year, and the colour hasn't faded.

There's a spot of tacky stuff on that pocket there - that's the gunk he used to fix around the leaky pipe in the kitchen under-sink. It did the job. He's been meaning to get back to that one, "make it more professional looking'," he said, but you don't mind. "It works fine," you answered; and it still does.

Scrapes of plaster adorn the chest region of the ol' white Bonds T. You remember this one - you had to help him hoist the plaster board up high above your heads, that time he fitted up a whole new ceiling during the reno'. Oh, and there's a bit of the orange glue he used to fix it to the rafters, there, just at the side of the shirt. Yeah, it was hot that day, you couldn't have picked a worst time, but "time waits for no man" is the motto he's always quoting at you. Perhaps it's true. There's no time like the present. 'Git 'er done', you replied in jest, and you both got it done that day.

There's a bunch of greasy marks down each leg of the jeans. No amount of remover will get it all out but who'd want that, really? There's no history in a clean pair of pants, is there? You recall this one vividly. You were on your way to work and the gear box fell out through the floor of the car. He'd forgotten to replace all the bolts! No one believed your lateness excuse that day, but it was true. It really happened. That night he fixed it proper and no problem since, but he never lived it down, that one. He'll tell the grandkids one day when they're old enough to listen and laugh at Grandpa's antics. You can see it now ... sitting there on his knee, telling and retelling every last detail as granddads are wont to do ...

Grass stains - don't tell me about grass stains! Endless mowing of lawns ... one, then two, then three, as his ageing friends gradually relinquish their domains to his capable lawn-mowing hands. It makes you sneeze just to think about it. "Don't take those off in the house," you yell out the back door; "shake 'em off out there, they make me sneeze!" you qualify. But he forgets, so you sneeze as you sweep up the dried, acrid blades off the bathroom floor after he's had his shower. You never complain 'cause it never helps anyhow.

The day is sunny and breezy. 'Perfect drying weather,' mother's voice echoes inside your skull. You look at the row of old clothes there and smile a secret smile. There's a history there and you wouldn't have it any other way.

H.N. said...

Again, I really liked everyone's take on this today. (And good for you, Marc! Definitely have to put yourself out there. I have trouble with that for a lot of the same reasons. But, like David pointed out, it's the only way to grow.)

This became much longer than I anticipated:

Four feet away, the man in the chocolate brown suit and black bowler hat had not so much as glanced at Marian for what seemed an unmeasurable amount of time. Frankly, she was terrified to measure it. To do so would require glancing at the wall clock to the left and just outside her peripheral vision. A display of motion she felt was excessive under the circumstances. Instead, she sat perfectly still. Listening to the slow keystrokes inputing every detail of her life alternated with re-playing for the 127th time the sequence of events that had led her to this uncomfortable seat.
The man spoke in an even tone, startling Marian so much an involuntary noise escaped her. She stared across at him, her eyes wide and unblinking. He cleared his throat, gave a small, forced smile and repeated himself, "The man. Listed on your form? Tanner?"
She nodded, still unable to blink.
"He started sleeping with your friend..." A quick glance to the computer screen. "Tracy. While you were on assignment in Europe. And, I quote, 'Irreparably crushing your heart from two trusted directions.'"
His tone never changed, but the small raise of one eyebrow spoke volumes.
"I just want to be sure we are clear on the terms of the agreement. This contract is only for him, correct? If you did want to include her, we offer very reasonable 2 for 1 specials."
"No, no," she replied, "Just him."
"Alright," he straightened up, adjusting his hat, "We've already verified your credit card for the charge. All we need is the date you want this to go into effect."
She stammered slightly, "Well, I...I suppose right away. The sooner the better."
He nodded, "That's my motto as well. I think," he glanced at the desk calendar then continued in a clearly pleased voice, "Tanner could be dead as early as this weekend."
Marian's eyes grew wider. This time no noise came from her open mouth so she gestured wildly with her hands. A deep breath, "No. No! I don't want him to die! I..I...I only want you to make him miserable!"
The man sighed and folded his arms across his chest, regarding her with mild condescension, "Ms. Dahlberg. I think you are mistaken about the purpose of our "for hire" business. We do one thing here. That is all."
"But my upstairs neighbor..."
"Mr. Raiford?", at her nod, he rolled his eyes, clearly irritated at the memory, "I forgot he was the one who referred you. He was what you might call an extenuating circumstance." He tightened the fold of his arms and pursed his lips, staring across at her.
She locked eyes with him, feeling a bit of courage rise to mix with the fear, "I'd be willing to pay more. Per day if needed."
"Oh yes, there will be a price to pay, Marian Dahlberg, there always is. I'll draw up the contract."

Grondzilla said...

"Ain't she a beauty," wheezed the old man as he extended a arm intended to accomplish something of a dramatic reveal.

Zachary tried to keep his expression neutral as he took in what he could only generously think of as 'A wreck'. The little dingy looked like it has seen better days not to mention better decades. The gunwales were worn down so badly that he wondered what was holding them to the strakes below. What he assumed to have once been paint has long ago faded into some hue of nondescript dinginess while the stains inside the hull spoke of veritable eons of fishing. Not to mention the miasma of deeply ingrained fish smell. Then again that smell also seemed to follow the old timer around so it seemed likely he came by it honestly. The dried gristle of fish guts and scales in the bottom of the boat looked like an accretion from years of fishing.

Zachary glanced at the old man in his tattered coveralls whose look seemed just a bit too eager in showing off his vessel. At least the oarlocks looked sturdy and the oars themselves were obviously newer replacements from some other boat. He might be a broken downer boozer but it was likely he'd been on these waters for years.

"How much?"

A calculating look bloomed on the geezers face.

"Well...seeing as how you'd be hard pressed to find another boat for hire from the local fish-faced bastards," he said, giving Zachary another appraising look, "and that you want to go out nosing around Devil Reef, let's call it three dollars."

Zach managed to keep from frowning.

"You pull the oars old timer and I'll make it an even five."

The old man's face split into a wide grin.

"You've got yourself a boat for hire Sonny Jim!"

Marc said...

Brittany - somehow the medical/dental part actually makes that kind of tempting...

Writebite - great piece, really brings the reader to that place and those memories.

Iron Bess - thank you, and may you reach that place sooner than later :)

Fantastic twist at the end. You really had me wondering where you were going with that!

Elor - thanks for the suggestion, I'll be sure to point my eyes in her direction :)

Great little poem, really enjoyed the rhythm and imagery.

David - too true :)

That's such a great opening line! Really sets the scene and atmosphere.

And that final line gave me a chuckle :)

Krystin - haha, great resume. The extra bit about the orcs and trolls was the perfect touch :D

Morganna - thank you :)

Writebite (again) - absolutely fantastic, I'm so glad you shared the full version with us!

H.N. - thanks!

Wonderfully tense scene. Was a bit of a relief to see her avoid the most extreme option at the end there.

Grondzilla - welcome to the blog, thanks for stopping by to share some writing with us!

That's a great character you've got there, and the description of the boat is brilliant :)

Looking forward to reading more from you.

Krystin Scott said...

Hey Marc,
I've been thinking a bit more about your For Hire business. I wonder if it might help to get the word out if you make a facebook page on your facebook profile. I made one for my DWP prompts. It keeps all the links to my writing handy for those who are umm... less than internet savy. They can even like and share it with others in a click of a button. Here's mine:

Hope the idea helps.

Marc said...

Krystin - I appreciate you putting the extra thought into it :D

I was planning on getting around to sharing it on Facebook, but I hadn't thought of making it a page. That's a great idea, thank you!