Tag Archives: Writing

Anime/Manga style drawing

 

Anime/manga style art is the way it is for many reasons. Here are the things I like and want to emulate:

  • Cartoon styles can be exaggerated, meaning they can be more lively and expressive than realistic styles, which can look static by comparison.
  • It’s simple, attractive, and easy to draw, which helps when you’re going to draw an entire book of manga on a deadline.
  • The pacing and plot lines. They’re beautifully flowing, interconnected  hill climbs, with periodic bursts and falls. They line up perfectly with my EKG. Long-running TV shows also do this well: They’ll have a mini arc within the time between a commercial break, a larger arc in the 30-minute episode, and an even larger arc encompassing the whole season. This makes me happy in a very deep way.  I got distracted didn’t I. What was I talking about? Anime art?

What I don’t like:

  • I’m not good with faces, and I have trouble telling characters apart sometimes if the artist doesn’t do a great job with character design, because all of their faces are the same.
  • It has a standardized visual language to communicate standard emotions or character types. This is cute and very effective, but leaves little room for complex emotions or characters. The best manga writers use these only rarely.

Learning to draw digitally, I was getting pretty frustrated (as my sharpest regular readers no doubt picked up on, haha). I thought, dammit, I CAN DRAW. And I figured I’d do an anime style as a morale booster. It wasn’t as easy as I expected, but it was certainly easier than everything I was attempting. Morale was boosted. I realized I was trying to develop my own style while also trying to learn new software. No wonder I was frustrated.

 

animehug.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

On Finding Your Voice, sort of

People keep asking my advice lately.

Lol wut.

Well, I guess it’s fine. But I’m just a pair of eyeballs posing as a human being. Keep your salt shaker handy to liberally season anything I say. I will not be held responsible for the stupid things you do with my advice.

On having a voice:

When I was in writing classes people kept asking the teacher about how to develop their voice. It confused the hell out of me. What is a “voice?” As long as you’re not trying to be anyone else, you’re yourself right?

Unfortunately, I was so confused by the question I never paid attention to the answer. Or maybe the teacher just bullshitted so I forgot what they said. Bullshit answers tend to lay pretty light in the brain. You can remember them talking but not the words they spoke…
I think, though, that I finally learned what they were asking. They were still kids. They were asking the teacher who they were. Poor kids! Poor teacher!

I don’t know much, and everybody is different. What works for me may not work for you. But lately I keep hearing people talking about their inability to be creative. Not having a voice is a similar complaint, in a way. At least, the solution is the same.

Here goes:

Empty your brain. Upend all that garbage and start fresh, empty. Nature abhors a vacuum, right? The second you empty your brain, a thought will rush in to fill it.

This is fine. Use this. Put your pen to paper and start writing.

Writing poetry, for me, is a conversation with my subconscious. I’m always a little bit curious to see what it will say next. What little monster will pop out of the deep Id? What strange conclusion will be drawn from this inauspicious little starter word?

I read once that creative people actually have a stronger link with their subconscious than non-creative people. It’s that little touch of madness… too strong a link makes you unfit to live in a society; too weak a link, you’re a robot I guess. But all you robots, do not despair. If you envy the wobbly reality on this side of things, you can work on breaking down that wall. Start by emptying your brain. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

Oh, you’re done emptying your brain already? Now write, or draw. The first random word or phrase that comes to mind, or the first line you draw. Kick it around. Follow where it leads. The Rationalist inside of you will tug on your sleeve and say, “hey… this is stupid, what is this shit?” Grab that rational person and upend them, over and over. You’ve ears only for your muse and her name is Crazy.

There is a thin, thin line between controlling your verbal rabbit chasing, and pure schizophrenic word salads. It’s like controlling a lucid dream. Very fine balancing act.

However, if you can master the art of tapping into your crazy, you will never be creatively blocked. Once I learned how to do this, I wrote my novel. Every time I found myself slowing down, not knowing where to go from here, I turned off my thinking brain and let the schizophrenic lead the leash for a few seconds. She never lets me down. Sometimes she takes me on a really strange, dumb, or unexpected journey, but if I just leave her to her own devices, she’ll sniff out the truffles. I think I mixed some metaphors there… schizophrenics aren’t good at finding truffles. Who knows, maybe they are.

How does this relate to finding your own voice? Well, I’ve always been an oddball, so I’ve always drawn or written odd things. A logical person will write logical things. And a normal person writes normal things. What if you’re ordinary? If you are, guess what? Ordinary people will love you. And there are a lot of ordinary people in the world. You’ll be a hit.

Help, I don’t have a voice! The anguished writer cried aloud, with her loud voice.

Yes, you do. It’s probably not the voice you wished you had. You can’t iron the uniqueness, or the normalness, out of yourself. That’ll only make you sad. Instead, embrace what you are. Accept the flaws. I must accept that I always write free verse with small words, frequently recurring words. Blah blah darkness blah blah time blah blah wild blah blah me I myself me. I get so bored of myself. I want to write like Edgar Allen Poe or Mark Twain, but that’s not happening. I’m too lazy to try, and if I did, it’d be stilted and wrong. It’d be more like an autotuned voice, or a helium voice.

You’ve got to be who you are. You’ve got to write what comes naturally. Don’t try to impress. Stay true. Don’t fake. Don’t act. Relax your mind and find that thin line between rabbit chasing and schizophrenia, and tread the edge. Don’t let the Rationalist hook you away. If you do this when you put pen to paper, then whatever you write or draw is pure untrammeled you. The hardest part is not about finding your voice; you already have it. It can’t leave you. The hardest part is shutting that inner critic up, and accepting the voice that you have.

Edit:: Conversations with these two are what inspired the above post. Read their stuff.

Lille Sparven speaks the raw truth:

www.lillesparven.com/2019/02/censuring-mirror.html?m=1

Paul Sunstone asks the good questions:

https://cafephilos.blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

The Turning: A Masterpiece by the Great Sarah Silvey

 

Hey kids! Shameless promo here: my book doesn’t suck.

Dark fantasy. It’s got monsters, blood n guts, good friends, terrible enemies, swordfights, adventure, psychic powers. You know you’re curious. You like my writing, right? So why wouldn’t you like the book? It’s lots of fun, with just the right amount of fucked-up. I’ve had a smattering of reviews so far, all positive.

On Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Turning-Sarah-Silvey-ebook/dp/B01CKK36YY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1533050208&sr=8-1&keywords=the+turning+sarah+d+silvey

On Smashwords:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/599602

On Itunes… here? Not sure because I have a PC, but you can at least use this as a starting point:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-turning/id1068588451?mt=11

On Barnes and Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-turning-sarah-silvey/1123130931?ean=2940152518016

I am insanely grateful to anyone who buys it. If you leave a review (preferably a kind one) I will have big puppy eyes for you. And if you leave an unkind review, I will go walleyed and wander off a cliff. Just kidding. I’m already walleyed just from bringing attention to myself. < _ >

I’m getting impatient with work again. It’s driving me to further myself creatively. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to just stay home and write all day, every day…

Maximum love and minimum crazy,

–Sarah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Failed to write a love story

 

I don’t like romance novels. It’s the one genre I despise. I like a good romance, but not the formula Harlequin stuff. Boring. Easy.
I thought, well, if I’m so cocky, if love stories are so easy, then write one. So… I tried.

Enjoy the failure.

 


 

Daymond looked through the slats of his blinds at the neighbor across the street. She was walking around without a shirt again. Didn’t she think anyone could see her? He turned away. But even after he went to sleep, the image of her followed him into his dreams.

The doorbell rang. Ugh, it was early. He dragged himself from bed, bleary-eyed, pathetic, and answered the door in just his tattered pajama pants.
It was her.
He scooched his lower half behind the door to hide his shameful attire. He always took care in how he dressed, doubly so around her. The pants were an embarrassment.
“Good morning,” he said.
“Good morning, and merry Christmas!” she said, her bright morning energy entering his brain through his eyeballs and burning a channel straight to the back of his skull.
She handed him a bag of cookies tied off with a bow. Cute. Distressingly colorful. Dear God what time was it. He stared at the bag and tried to remember what the etiquette was, was it even Christmas? What planet was this again?
“Ah, I’m sorry,” she said, her face falling. “Did I wake you up?”
“Huh? Oh, y…yes… no. It’s fine, I was just getting up anyway.”
“I’ll let you get dressed then. Sorry!”
She gave him another blinding smile and trotted back to her house.
Get dressed?
She thought he’d answered the door nude? She had the gall to treat him like HE was the nudist? He would burn those pants as soon as possible. They were ten times more mortifying than he’d originally thought.
He shut the door and put the cookies on the kitchen table. Cinnamon and ginger fragrance eked through the cellophane. They were so cute.
He reran the conversation in his mind… he’d forgotten to thank her. How rude he’d been!
He cleaned himself up properly, took his time. Showered, shaved, brushed, put on one of his nicer shirts. She wouldn’t think him a scruffy nudist after this.
Knocking on her door was scarier than he’d expected.
“Just a minute!” She called through the door.
When she did answer, she was dripping wet, in a towel. Just out of the shower. She smelled like coconut and jasmine. The towel was only barely big enough to cover her generous assets.
“I, uh… sorry, was this a bad time?”
“Not at all!” She replied. She looked genuinely happy to see him.
Her breasts were smashed into perfect cleavage under the weight of her arm. Her legs were so long, so long, and they ran all the way up to the edge of the towel… oh dear God. He was getting a little too happy to see her, as well. Why was she always parading like this? Wasn’t she cold? Didn’t she realize what she was doing??
“Thank you. For the cookies! I realized I’d forgotten to say thank you.”
Don’t look down, don’t draw attention to it, hold her gaze. He had to get out of here quick before she noticed. At least his pants were the loose kind. But what was that draft?
She noticed. Her jaw dropped.
The draft… he looked down. He’d neglected to zip his fly. All that care in dressing and he’d left his zipper open. Or maybe it’d come down as he walked?
But that wasn’t the worst of it. Mr. Happy had poked his head out and wanted to thank her, too.
His face bright red, he hastily tucked it all back in and down and zipped everything into place. But the damage had been done.
“That was an accident, I swear! I didn’t know…” what? That his fly was open? That she’d answer the door in full sex kitten mode?
He choked on his words. Never again could he talk to her. He couldn’t even look her in the eye. He was going to be her #MeToo story forever.
In shame he fled her front porch and hurried back to his house.
“Wait!” She called.
To his horror, she ran out of the door after him in her towel. Everything bounced.
“Wait!” She caught up to him in the middle of the street. “It’s not a big deal, really.”
She got off on it. The sexual power. What else could explain her behavior?
He still couldn’t look at her.
“Did you try the cookies?” She asked. Was she actually trying to start a new conversation?
“Um, not yet… they smelled good. Listen, you’re not dressed, don’t you want to go inside?”
She looked confused. “Oh, I have a towel on, it’s fine. I just didn’t want you to leave like that.”
“You don’t think I’m some kind of pervert?”
She beamed another one of her smiles at him. “I haven’t decided yet.”
“Oookay. I’m going home now. Nice knowing you.”
“Wait?”
“What FOR?” That came out harsher than he’d intended, but this was torture.
“Come back into my house. Try a cookie.”
“Wait… you are the pervert here? You’ve been trying to seduce me all along!”
“There are cookies at my house…”
She grabbed him by his shirt front and led him back into her house. He was never heard from again.

 


 

Well, I don’t know much but I know that’s not love. A distinct lack of sweetness, haha. Awkward boners tend to overwhelm a romance. Well, I’ll just have to keep trying until I get one right. Let that be a lesson to me.

I still don’t like dime romance novels though.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Deep down, we’re all like-and-follow whores

A friend asked me about getting more likes and followers, and I drafted this in response. It’s a little summary of things I’ve picked up since I started blogging.

I figured it would be worth sharing with you all, too. Maybe there’ll be something in this list that you never knew.

 

  • Content
    1. Find the thing you enjoy writing/posting the most, and stick with it. Whatever you want your site to be, there will be an audience for it somewhere. If you enjoy writing it, it’ll be an enjoyable read. The thing that comes easiest to you is most likely your strength.
    2. Honesty is key. People respond to the humanity of others. People love to read about people.
    3. Titles should be succinct, searchable, intriguing.
    4. Tag your posts with every possible search term. It’s OK to go ballistic on this, especially if you choose to hide the tags so they don’t clutter your site.
    5. Brief content is more quickly read and processed, and gets more likes. You can spam the hell out of people with one-liners, and they don’t seem to mind.
    6. When you create a website, you are fostering a little culture of your own. Whatever your content, likeminded people will follow your site. Whether or not you write weightier content or fluffy content is up to you; go with your gut. You’ll make weightier or fluffier friends, so choose wisely what you want your friends to weigh.
  • Consistency
    1. Post consistently. This is major. Consistent readers want consistent writers, and you want consistent readers. It doesn’t matter if it’s every day, every week, or every month, so long as you deliver on the same day each time.
    2. Write consistently. Choose a theme for your site and stick to it. Your readers get more comfortable once they know what to expect. If you have a variety of interests, consider organizing them into a consistent pattern. For example, you could do a real life post on Monday, a song post on Wednesday, and a quote on Friday. If your interests are too disparate, consider maintaining different sites for each.
    3. It takes time to build an audience. Don’t give up, don’t slack off. Schedule posts ahead of time if you need a break.
  • Marketing
    1. The more links there are to your content, the more searchable your work will be online. This means the more time you spend being active online (commenting, tweeting, FB group posting, etc) the more people will find you.
    2. Comment on other pages. If you consistently give feedback, you’ll make friends, and they’ll come back to your blog and comment back. This is especially rewarding, but you will find yourself investing a lot of time in reading others’ posts. It’s a question of what kind of an effort and reward you’re looking for. You get back whatever you put in.
    3. Take advantage of writing contests, prompts, word-of-the-day, etc. Readers who are curious about responses to the prompt will be driven to your site.
    4. Search for websites related to your favorite topics and make comments on their pages too. Don’t pander for likes, but an informed, thoughtful, or witty comment followed by your URL might get some attention.
    5. Follow the trends. If you truly want your site to be big, then take a look at which of your posts got the biggest responses, and lean your content that way. Be very careful with this tip: if you follow the trends too closely, you could end up a successful blogger, spend all your time blogging about blogging, and lose your soul.
  • You don’t want to be popular anyway
    1. The popular kids are the ones who don’t care about being popular, right? It’s a catch-22. If you don’t want to be popular, and don’t try to be popular, then people will be drawn to your confidence. You’ll post what you want, and your work will have integrity for it, and people will be drawn to that, too.
    2. Have FUN! There’s no point if you don’t have fun. Odds are you won’t be famous. But you will learn lots, and you’ll make friends, and you’ll have a creative outlet to be proud of. If you’re good, might get your site to pay for itself. If you’re downright amazing, you might get your site to pay for your sandwiches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

« Older Entries