Friday, April 23, 2021

No Greater Gift

 There is no greater gift than being able to write. The confidence to write. The humility to know your weaknesses, admit them, and suffer enough to work through them. Repetitive practice. Spotting problems. Opening the damn grammar book and practicing it.

Knowing when you are tired and slipping back into old habits.

Dealing with those slow and quiet days, where "not writing" happens one day after the other and you fall out of practice. Knowing on the second day of this happening you better sit down and damn it, write something in your blog just so you don't fall out of habit.

Keeping the habit.

I know someone, a beautiful writer, who can't publish. They have great and wonderful ideas, but they lack confidence and the determination to make their dream happen. I encourage, I do what I can, but I get the feeling they never will experience they happiness of setting something free - and letting people say thank you.

Then there is me.

Probably worse, a writer who can write but won't. Her own hang ups. A tragedy that knocked her out of the game. Giving up. Feeling she can't find the will.

But she can.

She is here doing this now.

I am working on ideas, and finding simplifying them is my greatest ally right now. I had grand plans, but those are doomed to fail when just one tiny part of that great and grand idea would be more than enough to explore.

A tiny piece.

Done well.

I feel at times my ambition works against me. My perfectionism. My grand plans to do a huge this and that. I plan big and do nothing.

I should be planning small and starting.

I should get something done.

Anything.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Experiments

 On a strange note, I would love to write a game.

I know the line, "If you want to write for adults, write a book." It gets repeated enough by those in big tech trying to stick to outdated notions of how communication works. I abhor that thinking, a book is a book, and a game is for all audiences.

We can't ever break out of our roles or preset notions of how things are sold in stores. Apple and Amazon say, "We have book stores! Sell your ideas there!"

And the app stores are strangely curated for all-audience experiences.

They have grown so big they are stuck in the ways of the past. They cannot imagine new ways of communicating ideas other than pieces of paper, sounds in a music file, or moving pixels in a video file. They can't sell anything outside those experiences. Their ideas of communication are limited to the past.

I am not knocking books, I love them. But I love writing so much there are times when I wish I could escape the confines of the page.

There are times I play the games I play and think to myself how strangely shallow they are, how plainly written, how horribly limited, and how terribly uninteresting they are.

And I know people in the world of game development. Their worlds are hell. Their technology to deliver experiences sucks incredibly bad to the point to deliver a rudimentary experience costs hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of staff. Everything is pre-canned. Everything is the same. Art is expensive out of your wildest dreams. Animation even more so. Voice acting. Motion capture. Virtual sets. Sound. The massive headache of music.

Game industry. Your tools are crap.

You will never escape the era of tens-of-millions of dollar budgets and massive staffs to lay off.

And making a game will never get any better. Your tools will never improve.

Compared to my tools as a writer.

It is at this point I typically give up. Screw this. Back to books. Creating interactive entertainment means interacting with a corrupt, technology averse, set in their ways, and pay me for nothing entertainment industry. It means fighting technology companies and their lowest common denominator interfaces and delivery formats. It means fighting payment processors and hosting companies. It means developing a channel to deliver, but also developing a format in which to deliver and supporting that.

You lose the plot after a while and you are doing software development instead of creating a damn thing.

So I return to writing. Less headaches. You are doing more of what you love here.

I am home.

But I know, in a way, I feel the tech priests of this new online religion have strangely failed us. They have grown so big they are stuck in the ways of the past.

They are not interested in creating new ways to communicate ideas.

They are forever chained to improving the delivery of the old formats.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Preparing

I am preparing. I am printing my reference material. Much of it is laid out on my desk.

I write a little each day as a contract, to keep writing even if nothing else is written. But foundational work is being done and things are slowly falling into place.

My genre is in a state of change. There are moments I wish to make it one thing, and moments I wish to go another. Dark or sexy or both.

I am exploring my options. I am coming back, but I wish to come back big. I know that is a recipe for failure, but I want to make something special. To commit. To be here.

And to release regularly. I feel that is the place I need to be, regular releases for my fans. Otherwise, why come back for one book every few years? Futa books for certain, few writers craft them like I do. Also, the dark and twisted works I like. I want to shock. To write words which taste like blood on lips, like the chill of night air on bare skin, or searing heat just out of reach but dangerously close.

A danger to the words which is palatable. One can taste. One can feel.

Something is coming.

Something soon.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Worldbuilding

I find myself world-building again. It is something I do well, having constructed and entire retro-future past for Paris' world in her books. I did similar in On Black Wings and Bowlarama, but to a different extent.

So now I find myself creating, taking notes, categorizing, printing out charts and tables, and organizing my thoughts in a handful of research documents. When I dive into a project with a higher background complexity, I like to be ready since it avoids stalling in the middle of the book. My supporting material needs to be there. My world needs structure. My overall plot and situation need to be laid out in a rough format.

Even things like what is in the world, the items and vehicles, how life goes from day to day, and where people live and how they work are all important.

But Sylvia, you write erotica. How much work do you need to do? Bang out 4,500 words and shove it in the store for $2.99!

I don't write like that. I don't create like that. If I did, I would probably be more successful, but releasing a hundred easy books is not what I do. I write statement books. Interesting things. With a hard edge.

But smart and deeply textured.

I am taking on a new genre. I want this to be special.

This will be my take.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

2020 Macbook Air: Pure Joy

This writing setup is a pure joy to work with. The 43" 4K monitor at 60hz, and somehow the color profile on the same monitor under Windows (right next to this one) makes this monitor look so much better.

I am getting a feeling Windows Color Management sucks compared to the Mac, and as a graphic designer that is going to really cement my choice on what computer to make my book covers on.

The Mac-specific mechanical keyboard is nice, I can nail thousands of words in a day on this beast. The Magic Trackpad 2 that is coming tomorrow will also help; the mouse is okay but I can work faster with the trackpad when writing (and I miss the swipe gestures).

And the fact I can unplug one USB-C adapter and all of the home-station setup and hardware is disconnected and I am ready to hit the road. All my work cloud-backed up, and with no interruption to my workflow if I want to go out and work away from home.

But the 2020 Macbook Air is a joy to behold for a writer. Completely silent. No fans. Fast. No high front edge to dig into my wrists (which is why I went with the Air over the Pro). Do I worry about compatibility? I am a writer, so not really, but even Steam games and apps are running fine, Second Life runs great; so no, I don't miss anything nor have I had serious compatibility issues.

It is small and thin too. Would I have liked a 15" model? Possibly, but this model will travel better - especially if I have to take 2 laptops on a trip and get those in airport bins and both in one backpack. Every ounce (and charging cable) counts on the road. Seriously, if I were a "gamer" I would wait for a Mini with a M1X or M2 chip and go that route. And if I am writing enough on the road to warrant a larger screen then yes - but not now, and having a lightweight super machine checks a box for me more than a larger laptop would.

It is a computer that stays out of my way, runs silent, and is invisible to my workflow. Since I get many hours of battery life, I can charge it once and use it all week (if not running games) around the house. The M1 chip is revolutionary, not evolutionary.

It is also a computer I look forward to using every day over my Windows PC.

And that keeps me writing.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Quiet Days

Quiet days are the most dangerous days. You slip out of form these days, and what is one day without writing?

The start of many.

So I write, even just a little. Even if it is just an update, I write.

So I have been looking at genres. Will I do another futanari book? I want to, but maybe another genre calls. The one thing I love doing is writing statement books, going into a genre and writing my take on them. Doing the genre like it has never been done.

I have my eye on a new genre. I am spending the day reading books in this area.

My mind is thinking, considering the options. Something may come of this. Something interesting.

If I write, it will be one book and longer. I would love to commit to a 80,000 word minimum if the story allows. One book, one statement, and keeping my reader's libraries uncluttered. I have a feeling the series days are waning, unless the series is of longer works. But short 10-20K stories that span 4-6 books in a series I am not sure I want to do.

Unless this is what readers want.

Friday, April 16, 2021

2020 Macbook Air: Setup

So I have a new M1 MacBook Air as my writing machine, and I am setting this up to be both a mobile solution along with a comfortable base station hooked to a 4K monitor.

Why the Air and not the Pro? Honestly, the low front bezel and typing comfort, plus the silent operation. I know the pro has brightness, but I don't even set the air up to maximum so what I have is fine. The weight is about the same, but the Air feels much more portable and usable when I begin to travel again.

Especially if I have to take more than one laptop on a trip, I want light. If I want to take my work on the road, this is the way to go.


Software

I was trying MS Word, and that has a lot of nice grammar-checking features built-in, but Scrivener is my first and only love. If I need to grammar check, copy and paste into Word as a final proofread step.

Scrivener is pure organizational and writing love. I can seamlessly break a chapter into sub-chapters, set a word target for each, jump to any part of my story quickly, and fluff backwards as I write forward. I do like writing that way, focusing on the core story and action in my leading-edge parts, and then going back and adding detail, sensory information, and atmosphere later as I revise and review.

I can take notes as I go too in a dedicated notes area of the document, which is beautiful.

 

The Right Keyboard

So problem number one, a keyboard for the home station. I chose the Macally Backlit Mechanical Keyboard for Mac since it meets my requirements:

  • Mechanical keyboard
  • Mac interface
  • Clean design
  • Backlit

Why do a mechanical? I have a dedicated writing room, so no one is being bothered by the noise. And I love the noise of typing and the click-clack of keys. It is just such a primal, beautiful noise which makes me addicted to being creative and expressing myself in words.

 

If I can hear myself think when I type then I am suffering in silence. The sounds of keys clacking away is both therapeutic and nightly enjoyable to me, much like being given bubble-wrap and it is my job to sit there and pop it all day. And I can fly on a mechanical keyboard. My all-time record for word-count is 20,000 words in a day on a all day key banger, and that was on a mechanical gaming keyboard that I loved.

Mechanical keyboards and me? A match made in writer's heaven.

 

Connecting a Monitor

Problem number two, the giant 4K monitor. With a standard USB-3 hub, those do 4K at 30hz, which gives me interlacing and just an not-great experience. Not for this much money and this nice a monitor. I was worried that the Air could not do 60hz, but according to the Apple site it can.

https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MUF82AM/A/usb-c-digital-av-multiport-adapter

I was just using the wrong cable and connector. So I got the Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter which says this is possible, but only using an adapter like this:

3840x2160 at 60Hz on:

iPad Pro 11-inch, iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later), MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019), MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017 and later), MacBook Pro (13-inch, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, 2020), MacBook Air (2020), iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2017 and later), iMac (Retina 4K, 21.5-inch, 2017 and later), and iMacPro (2018)

So I can get 4K at 60hz. I am getting a 4K monitor HDMI cable as well so that should not be a bottleneck.


Other Connections

The 4K monitor has a USB connector, so that is going to plug into the single USB connection on the A/V adapter, and from there I can connect the keyboard and mouse. Power goes in the adapter's USB-C slot. I do have a hub in case I need more connections, but I want to keep cable-light on the desk.


The Final Outcome?

The keyboard? Nice, but not height adjustable and had to put a low book under it (I spilled water and the book got wet, ugh). With a lower desk or keyboard drawer it would be fine, so I am not returning it. I know, pay that much and get what you want, but I have other desks this would be perfect at and it may end up there instead of on a tabletop where the angle isn't right for my hands. This is made for sliding keyboard drawers at a lower height. The book is fine for now and it does not affect stability or my typing at all. In fact I would rather put something under it rather than have legs with only one height, so only one star off.

The adapter for 60hz? Works great and my 30hz refresh rate issue and the interlacing is gone. Thank you full 60hz! The USB connector goes to the monitor and fans out the keyboard and mouse, though I would like a standalone trackpad instead.

The 43" 4K monitor I use is beautiful, just stunning and fun to work on. I have to scale it right, but my work floats in a window and I can jump all around to different apps in their own places. It makes a world of difference between typing full-screen and in my own little place. I love having a window with my work in it, and a giant free place to open up reference, browsers, music players, or any other app without overlapping.

I am doing 6,000 words on a full day's work, so the setup is working great for me. More as I finish this up and get myself primed and ready for some serious writing work.

No Greater Gift

 There is no greater gift than being able to write. The confidence to write. The humility to know your weaknesses, admit them, and suffer en...