Alive!

Yes, I’m back. Real life had gotten kind of hectic. Some of that is detailed in the other, vanilla blog. That specific link will take you to my most recent post there, where I complain about feeling I can’t be myself or say what I want as a blogger. Read it if you want, if Not I understand. Be forewarned though; it is a classic redhead rant, lol.

What I’d like to dialog here about though is a calmer continuation of that whole mess as relates to sexy blogging. I have two main stumbling blocks when it comes to posting here or getting anything “adult” written.

First, as I mentioned in the other blog, there’s the worry of being judged and labeled. Doesn’t matter who you are, if you deal with erotica and similar topics, you’re either a whore or a male pig. You’d think being a redhead, I wouldn’t give a F what others think, BUT like most stereotypes, that’s all it really is. I have a fairly strong spiritual side and am an honest to goodness empath too. That last part in particular makes it hard to tune out the crap sometimes.

Second is a problem even “regular” writers face; I have to REALLY be inspired to write. In the case of erotica, that’s in the mood and able to visualize the scene almost enough that I could almost see it as I’m writing.

That second part is the bigger stumbling block by far. Those of you out there who actually find the creativity to turn out high quality stuff regularly, I’m truly jealous of.

So who has any advice? How do you turn off the worry and find inspiration? I’ve had several ideas for ages, I just haven’t been able to get them off the ground.

I Learned Something While I Was Gone

Still tired and still hitting the blogs later than I’d like to, BUT the followers here deserve a little something for hanging in there this long. 🙂

So, what I have today is a little piece of wisdom for writers. What I learned while I was away, but still rerunning my latest drafts in my head, was that my complete writer’s block almost always comes from not liking the direction the story is going.

It’s my subconscious telling me to stop, look it over, and rethink (rework) what’s happening in the story.

No, nothing I’ve tried to write is anywhere near THAT bad, but the meme was funny. 🙂

Thinking back though, every time I’ve hit a case of writer’s block that’s just seemed absolutely insurmountable, that’s been the case. My subconscious simply wasn’t happy with the quality or direction of my work.

I’m writing about it because that MAY be true for some of you also. Once you realize what the problem is, you can develop a plan top work around it.

Ironically, while working on this post, I came across this YouTube video that largely confirmed my intuition:

The video is only a little over 4 minutes long, but if you don’t want to watch it, here’s the synopsis:

Writer’s block is caused by a need to be perfect (or at least really good), and the cure is to give yourself permission to write garbage, and then let it work itself out in the editing and rewrite phase of your work.

If you’re too OCD as a writer to do that, at least stop, take a step back and ask yourself what’s NOT working with the project. Then STOP and listen to the answer from that little voice in the back of your head. From there, you can figure out what changes to make.

Need Some Reader Input

It’s been a while. For those who don’t follow my other blog (the PG rated one), I’ve been battling through some long term spinal issues, and finally got decompression treatments to try to restore my neck and back.

Excuses aside, I have been working on the next chapter in my “Witchfire” series. I’ve been stuck for a while at 8 pages (in Word) into the story though.

I finally had a breakthough and realized the issue. I was unhappy with the pace of the story.

I’m curious what readers here think though… Does the series move too slowly for you? Am I working in too many explanations into conversations instead of just getting to the fights and the kinky stuff?

It’s a tough line to walk; trying to create a real story out of porn, especially when it’s superheroine exploitation themed. If I can turn that into something readable though, I’m ready to write something I can publish

Riddle Me This…

A question (or two) for those who read my stuff and other erotica.

I try to do stories with actual plot in them. My Witchfire serial being a good example. That serial is why I’m asking this question. A chapter takes a long time to do right. Enough that I’m worried about getting discouraged myself or losing readers.

Would you prefer smaller chunks more often, even if some chunks didn’t have sex in them or would you rather wait for a full, longer chapter that has it all?

It’s an easier thing to break up most any other genre into smaller chapters, but people read erotica for the nakedness and orgasms after all.

Initial Impressions of Scrivener

Many moons ago, I downloaded Scrivener and said I’d give it a lookover and then report my impressions of it. Well, life got a little insane, distractions occurred, etc… Admittedly, I fell back into the familiar of using MS Word when I wrote also.

Side note here for new readers; every bit of creative writing I do, as well as some other work gets done offline first and then posted to the blog or other sites. That way I have master or backup copies of my stories. Admittedly, some of my posts are seat of the pants work though.

Getting back on track, I have started looking Scrivener over more carefully as I start to write. I’ve wanted something that lets me plan more carefully, etc… since as my writing is slowly maturing, I’m moving away from seat of the pants storytelling to plotting and planning. So what have I found?

First, Scrivener has a fairly nice tutorial to get you familiar with the program. HOWEVER, I immediately got pulled away from the computer when I first opened Scrivener months ago. Somehow the hands on document that went with the tutorial went poof. Probably a glitch on my end vs a bug with Scrivener. It has slowed my learning down though. The tutorial is supposed to take 2 hours total and “make you a Scrivener aficionado” when you’re finished.

Best advice; make sure you’ve got time to work through the tutorial before you fire it up, even if you plan on taking short breaks while leaving the computer running.

Even being slightly hamstrung in learning, I’ve noticed alot of nice features in Scrivener already. Most of them revolve around note taking and organization of secondary or supporting material for your writing project. You can even store pictures and such in the project’s media folder. Editing notes, a corkboard to “storyboard” your project. There are even “cards” to keep notes on characters and places involved in your story.

Think that last part is not important? Akira Toriyama, the creator of the Dragon Ball series of TV shows and manga (comic books) has had to be reminded by his crew that he created certain characters already or had an event take place or power manifest in a character. He’s not dumb or senile by any means either. He just has too many past and present projects.

So let’s be real. Do you NEED Scrivener? Is it the greatest thing in writing since the magical Author’s pen in “Once Upon a Time?” 😀

Reality is if you are an EXPERT with Microsoft Word, many (if not all) of the editing and notation features that Scrivener has are available in Word also. They’re not as obvious to a user who isn’t an expert though.

You could also set up separate documents for Plat and Chapter Synopsis Cards, Character Cards, Place Cards, etc… or set up a database file in MS Access to do similar work, along with a Windows folder to hold your supporting media. There’s alternative options for nearly everything Scrivener does.

IF you’re a plotter or even a pantser who likes to take notes for rewrites, where Scrivener truly excels is the ability to neatly organize,edit and access everything relating to your story in one place. It’s all there without swapping programs and sometimes easier to access and manipulate than with Word and supporting products.

I have not had a chance to test it yet, but another feature that Scrivener has that I like is the ability to write your project in chunks or segments, and later rearrange and compile them into a finished project as you see fit.

In the past, I wouldn’t have cared about that feature. I wrote completely linear; start to finish. As I’ve gained flexibility and learned to write where inspiration has taken me, I appreciate that idea more than having to leave a blank space in a Word document for a gap in a story and later ‘cut & paste’ juggling several blocks of text. Kind of like the lock editor is handy here if you decide one paragraph works better in front or after another one.

I’m going to admit a slight bias against Microsoft also, as I’m on my forth copy of office bought in the last 8 years because they keep finding reasons to invalidate perfectly legal copies. “That version is old now”, “sorry we don’t care that your hard drive crashed, you can’t reinstall that copy”… blah blah blah. Another $150 or more down the drain to pad Microsoft’s profits.

So, one of the best reasons to buy and use Scrivener in my opinion is it’s a $40 program with minimal Digital Rights Management that does everything that a $100+ copy of MS Word will do, along with organizing your project and a trick or two from MS Publisher.

Moving Slowly Along…

A small writing update here. I have put in some major storyboard work for Witchfire. I’m taking a break from writing a few chunks of story right now to update the blog.

Right now, the biggest obstacle I’m encountering is bridging from where I left off the story with the the actual time travel incident. There are a few events I want to precede that time travel. Events that will set up a few things and account for the behavior of a few characters. While I know what I want to do, doing it in a way that feels organic vs a forced bridge chapter is proving difficult.

I’m avoiding spoilers here, but I’ve also plotted out a way to make this a boring travelers fix everything story arc. Suffice it to way that Krystal and the rest of our heroines are not going to have the easy time they initially expect.

I’m going to add a little more of the heroine peril element to the story chapters also. It will be a balancing act to avoid falling into the kind of storytelling common to some of the adult sites out there, but I feel up to the challenge.

Slang from World War 1

I found this article on Mental Floss.com and thought my readers who might be interesting in linguistics, history or just writing authentic historical dialog in their stories might find this interesting. The Article has 20 items of slang that worked their way into modern British and American English. For Example:

2. Basket Case

While it tends to be used in a fairly lighthearted way today (usually describing someone who constantly makes stupid mistakes, or who crumbles under pressure), the original basket case is an unexpectedly gruesome reminder of just how bloody the War became. In its original context, a basket case was a soldier who had been so badly injured that he had to be carried from the battlefield in a barrow or basket, usually with the implication that he had lost all four of his limbs.

Here’s the link for the full article:

Mental Floss Article

Writer’s Blues…

Warning: Rant Ahead

Here I sit trying to get some writing done and life once again has me at my wit’s and creativity’s end. Adding to my frustration is the fact that every time it feels like I start to get some forward movement, life comes along and decides to screw with me. It’s been this way my entire life too. Enough so that part of me wants to scream every time I see an article saying “Just trust God and work harder / smarter”. At some point, both faith and work are supposed to pay off…

I get good at cooking, and I suffer hearing damage so I couldn’t function in a professional kitchen… I tried to do real estate and all I got for clients were idiots who thought they were going to find houses at half the market price and become HGTV’s next big investor, AND my back acts up enough to keep me from doing even that also.

Well, to cut the rant short, this time it’s the back and neck still, stresses from crime in the neighborhood, drama with prep for moving and communication issues that should NOT be there so early in a new marriage.

Erotica is probably one of the more difficult genres to write well. To write ANY genre well, you have to be able to put yourself into the story and see it through the characters’ eyes. You have to connect with the story on some level.

To put it bluntly, it’s REALLY hard to feel sexy (and thus write sexy) when you’re surrounded by drama and your spine feels like it got stampeded upon by a herd of elephants.

End of Rant…

Writing Update

Just a quick one here. First, I went back and updated both pages of Witchfire’s pictures to reflect the final changes I worked out. Remember the “out of costume” pics are NSFW, but the in costume ones are PG rated.

As a side note, if I had an IDEAL version of Witchfire’s mask, it would be a Venetian carnival mask almost exactly like this only gold in color:

Witchfire and I were also really tired last night when I did her interview, so we went back and corrected a few points that didn’t appear to jibe with her existing information

As a couple of final points, I’ve switched to a larger font size as making the text larger is supposed to cut down on reading miscomprehension. I’ve also started writing the next part off Witchfire’s story.

Oh yes, and Witchfire is waiting impatiently for some reply posted questions in her interview. Her only request is keep it semi-classy.

Humor to “Sell” Writing Cliches

After a couple of heavy topics that were both social commentary and topical (not tropical) to authors, I think we need a little lighter topic here.  This came to mind after a recent reply in LittleFears blog.  We got joking about cliches in writing and the TV show Dallas came up.

For those too young to remember, Dallas was a massive hit TV show in the 80s about a Texas oil family.  An evening soap opera really.  People who write villains defined by the power they hold can really benefit from studying Larry Hagman’s character JR Ewing too.  That was a man who knew how to manipulate and outmaneuver at every turn.

Getting back on track though, one of the things Dallas is most infamous for though was a “RetCon” where they erased an entire season to bring a character back to life.  “It was all a dream!”.

Those who have followed my blog know I generally try to avoid reproducing cliches like that in my writing.  HOWEVER, used with humor, they can be used sparingly.  Here’s an example from almost two decades ago.  As a quick set-up, Nancy was a character of mine in City of Heroes.  She was a trick archer turned telepath / telekinetic.  Over the course of time, the character got dragged into weirder and weirder collaborative stories with my gaming guild.  At one point I got so fed up, I had the character get killed.   Convinced to give everything another chance, I brought her back to Earth as an angel on probation.  Kind of a silly option on it’s own but I was young.  When nothing changed, I decided I needed a clean break and to salvage my character concept.  I took an unusual route and actually copied Dallas’s playbook.  Oh yes, and it’s a little confusing but the other character in question was Max or Maxine who sometimes went by Sonya (her middle name IIRC).

 

NANCY’S TRIP TO DALLAS

Nancy heard a strange male voice stirring her from her sleep. She slowly pushed herself to regain consciousness and wearily opened her eyes partially. The first thing she noticed was that she ached all over.

“What the?”, she thought to herself. “I don’t remember getting hurt.” “Hell, I’m dead anyway… How do you hurt an angel, even one on probation?”

She managed to focus on the dresser and the wall across the room.

“OK, it is our room…”, she thought. “So I am at home in bed with Max.”

“No, Nancy, you’re not.”, came the same male voice that had stirred her from her sleep. “It’s time to wake up too.”

“Huh?!?”, Nancy muttered. Her mind raced as she tried to place the voice. She couldn’t though, despite it sounding vaguely familiar. Oddly enough, she couldn’t mentally detect another presence in the room either.

Her arms shot over, reaching behind her for Sonya. There was nobody there however. She rolled off her side and sat bolt upright in bed. Now wide awake, she stared across the room at a man in his late 20s impeccably dressed in an expensive dark blue suit and light grey felt Stetson cowboy hat.

“Who the hell are you, what are you doing in my room and where’s my wife!?!”, Nancy demanded in a fierce tone. Slight recognition dawned on her face & her expression turned from one of anger to one of complete confusion. “Huh… wait..”, she said sounding completely bewildered. “B… Bobby Ewing???”

The man just flashed an amused smile.

“This doesn’t make any sense…”, Nancy said, trying to collect herself. “You… You’re just a TV show character.”

Bobby Ewing laughed a bit. “You’re just a fictional character in some realities also.”, he replied amusedly. “And no, this isn’t some Arachnos trick.”

“Then how…”, Nancy asked in a puzzled tone.

“I’m just a manifestation of your subconscious.”, Bobby replied. “As for the form I took, blame your parents and all those Dallas DVDs your momma watches.” Bobby grinned and chuckled slightly. “It’s fitting though, given what you’re about to find out.”

“What are you talking about?”, Nancy asked, frustration now added to her confusion.

“You’re still asleep, girl.”, Bobby replied in a more serious tone. “It’s past time you woke up though.”

“What?”, Nancy blurted out, surprised. “No, I…”

“Do yah always sleep in your costume then?”, Bobby replied.

Nancy looked down at herself and saw she was indeed wearing not just her costume, but her older one, from when she was still a member of the All Star Teen Sentinels.

“You’ve been out for a while.”, Bobby continued in a serious tone. “It’s time to return to the real world though.” “You have people that miss you and are worried sick about you.”

“No”, Nancy objected. “This is real, I am awake.”, she insisted.

She wanted to continue, but the aches in her body grew worse and her head began to hurt terribly. She began to hear disembodied voices calling to her as well. She heard Elaine and her parents telling her to come back to her. There was an increasingly bright white light above her too. Suddenly, Nancy gasped deeply and opened her eyes…

She looked around with her eyes, not moving her head. She recognized she was in a medical center, explaining why she ached all over.

“She’s awake!”, Elaine screamed in an elated tone. She reached down and hugged Nancy fiercely, causing a groan of pain from the girl. “Ah’m sorry sugah.”, Elaine said with tears in her eyes as she released Nancy. “Ah’m just happy yah finally came back tah us.”

 

So net result; Nancy is returned to the world of the living (or awake at least) to find out she’d been in a coma for almost half a year after being led into a villain ambush and beaten near to death.  She was still a psi, never married and never an angel of any sort.  The rest of the story went into several of the nonsense plots that I was pulled into and is so embarrassing I don’t even want to reprint the rest of the story here.

The bigger point is that even an obvious cliche this big can be done if handled with a little humor and even acknowledging you’re using the cliche.  I doubt I’d be as blatant as I was in this example.  It was completely over the top, but it was meant to be AND it was a game based story that I never had any intention of publishing, so that minimized any potential copyright issues.  Remember this is another one of those tools that should be used rarely.  You kill it’s impact otherwise.