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Freelance content writer with an eclectic employment history and an interest in game development.

Several Medium posts have informed me that I have should have an about page on my profile, so here it is!

Bio

My name is John Bullock, I am freelance content creator, YouTuber, fiction writer, and proud father careening towards middle age with all the grace of an inebriated giraffe.

I studied computers in college (which was long enough ago that “computers” was something you could study in college), and followed that up with two decades of never working near a computer. Not once.

I have worked managing the refreshment kiosks in a 25,000-seater football stadium, I have worked in an iron foundry, I have repaired automatic transmissions for a living, and I have done a lot of welding and metal fabrication…


This is one toxic relationship I can do without

This morning, after a strong coffee and a good ten minutes staring into space, I switched on my phone to check emails and, somewhat unusually for me, I decided to have a look on Twitter.

To my delight, I saw “Terry Pratchett” trending.

This is easily my favourite author, a man I grew up reading, and who has informed much of my worldview. Since Christmas, I have re-read no less than six of his Discworld books with my son. My mind immediately leapt to a new movie adaptation project, or perhaps some event honouring his work.

I was more than…


But probably not in the ways you’d expect…

Okay, I know you don’t put on movies about fantastical beasts, unstoppable secret agents, and epic space battles to nitpick over how unrealistic they are. Well, some of you do, but the rest of us are well-adjusted enough to keep that sort of thing to ourselves. Still, we can’t deny that movies do a lot of glossing over the rough and ready reality of life.

In this list, I’m going to look at a few of the less obvious ways in which boring old real life would have ruined a scene, act, or even an entire movie premise. Anyone can…


Don’t settle for quick fixes

Successful evergreen content is the gold standard of the writing world. Anybody can find someone to throw them a few quid for writing something, and the good ones can find someone to throw them a lot of money for writing something, but writing something that continues earning money long after you publish is where it’s at.

Of course, for your evergreen content to be successful, it has to get noticed by people outside of your existing sphere. Even writers with a million subscribers will run out of subscribers to show their masterpiece eventually.

And this is where algorithms come in.


Not even a black hole can restrain wanderlust

Esa looked out across the inky black void with something approaching apathy. Having lived most of her life on Alto, the view failed to stir her the way it seemed to mesmerize — even scare — the seemingly endless stream of tourists.

There weren’t many structures in the Northern Hemisphere, but the North Pole could clearly be seen poking out into the blackness of space, lights twinkling at its tip as tourists gaped out of the observation deck. Absent-mindedly, Esa pulled a small handful of grass blades out of the ground and began tearing them apart.

“You shouldn’t do that,”…


And neither are mine

Like, I suspect, many of you, I have a stash of story ideas. It might be a notebook, a shoebox of random scraps of paper and napkins, or, as in my case, a Google doc.

Recently I was talking to a friend who is not a writer, but wants to write a novel, and I showed him my idea document. He found this to be a very strange thing to do. “Aren’t you worried I’ll steal your ideas?” he said. The answer is no, of course, why would I show him if I were worried about him stealing my ideas?


And my four favourite Baxter SciFi concepts

Like many of you, I have read a lot of sci-fi in my time. From classics by the likes of Niven and Heinlein, to pretty much anything with a vaguely futuristic looking city on the cover. Contrary to one of the first pieces of advice you might get as a writer, it’s often the world— rather than the characters — that catch my attention.

In this piece, I am going to self-indulgently stroll along memory lane with one of those litter picker things, dredging up my favourite concepts from the many Stephen Baxter novels I’ve read.

I’m going to be…


Be careful who you save

The rule was simple; keep moving.

You had to keep moving because if you didn’t, they would find you. They always found you.

Matt clutched at his bleeding forearm and mentally repeated this to himself over and over again. They always found you! He had been stupid, and now he was paying for it.

He limped around the corner of a dilapidated old farmhouse, hearing the scuffling, scraping sound of his lone pursuer. Matt felt utterly helpless out here, in the middle of nowhere with a sprained ankle, a useless right arm, and no weapons. …


Satirical writing tips

First tip: hate clicks make money

It’s the dream, right? To turn your little writing hobby into a career that can pay your bills and fund your secret Funko Pop addiction? Well, it’s easier than you think. If I can do it, literally anyone can do it.

And by “literally” I mean a small percentage of the people reading this.

I’m going to lay out my foolproof guide to turning your writing into a paying career in clear and concise terms. That sound you can hear, that’s the distant jingle of money trying to enter your life.

Let’s open that door.

Write Like a F*$&!#g Dog

Well, not a literal dog…


We get it; you don’t like England

For the first time in 55 years, the England national football team reached the final of a major tournament. It’s been a long time in the wilderness for the nation widely considered to be the birthplace of football as we know it today, and millions of England fans spent the better part of a week floating on cloud nine.

Though you might have struggled to find those fans on Twitter.

Having spent a couple of hours perusing the site after the match — which, incidentally, is about 117 minutes longer than I recommend anyone spend on that godforsaken platform in…

John Bullock

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