Losing your hearing is a very lonely experience

You hear a voice, and you look up, and you realize everyone is laughing. Someone nearby elbows you, but you missed the joke. Are they laughing at you? Yes, losing your hearing is a very lonely experience. Have you ever travelled to a foreign country, or gone somewhere in your own where you don’t fully speak the language? Ordering food, paying for groceries, getting a cab, asking for directions… all these things become chores where the outcome is uncertain. Did I order the food I actually wanted? I’m I getting charged the right amount of money? I am going where…

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Overcoming AI limitations in design.

In my first articles and videos on using AI art for book covers, I pointed out some of the real limitations of the current AI, which many laymen are going to miss: They are bad at composition, that is, mixing forms, scenery, etc. at different planes in one image They are bad at certain details, specifically hands, eyes, and noses. So, how can we overcome these issues? Well, if you are willing to do a little extra work, it’s easy. Instead of trying to fit every element you want in a picture into the AI prompt, you can make several…

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Using AI images for book covers

Today on my weekly Livestream, I designed a cover for an upcoming book using an image generated by “AI”—Midjourney, to be specific. The first hour has the cover design: There are several of these programs around with the idea that they can render images based on word prompts. Here are a few examples I made with the prompt “elven fantasy white castle towers on fire with apocalyptic purple sky and stormy ocean“ Here are the “final 2” images I came up with after upscaling and redrawing them: And here is the cover (note: in the video you will find out…

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Characters: The Drivers of the Story

The characters are the people (or other beings) that execute the plot. It is their motivations that drive the action of a story, and their motivations are at least partly derived from the setting. A coherent plot will be dependent on characters whose goals and desires are believable and whose actions have an impact. Characters fall into many archetypes (which I will cover later on), but in a story, they tend to fall into several broad functions: Protagonists Antagonists Auxiliary characters A story can have more than one protagonist and more than one antagonist, or it can have no antagonist…

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Story Setting – What’s Important

“Setting” covers a large field of elements—not just the place and time but all the extensions of those things. A story taking place in Ancient Rome is not merely a story in a city in Italy in the first century. There is the architecture (which looked different when it was new compared to the ruins we see today). There is the dress, but that is more than the costume that covers the body of an actor. The toga had social significance to the people in Ancient Rome beyond its aesthetic appearance and specific functions, and at certain points in time,…

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The Essential Elements of a Story

Stories of all lengths, formats, and in all types of media have three core areas that make them up: Setting Characters Plot The setting is the place and time in which a story takes place. It can be explained explicitly, or it can be inferred by context, but all stories take place in a where and a when. Even a fantastical story about a man trapped in oblivion has a place and a time. The characters are the sapient or sentient beings (to be very broad) that act out the story. Most often, characters are people, but they could be…

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Google Nest and the Internet of Shit

As I write this, I’m sitting comfortably in my new house, where it is cool and dry. Last week in Houston, however, it was 100 degrees (near record-breaking), and humid. I’m no stranger to heat, having spent most of my life in central California with a brief sojourn in Las Vegas, but it was particularly brutal when I moved here and, of course, the air conditioner immediately broke. There were actually several things that went wrong in succession, but one of the most frustrating by far was the thermostat, a “Nest” device produced by Google (who bought the Nest company…

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A Propagandized View of Debt and Forgiveness

Certain issues have been so heavily subject to political messaging that normally rational individuals will be unable to hear arguments outside the frame established by propaganda. Debt is one of these, and for some, the messaging surrounding the concept runs so deep that they will, during the context of the topic, forget the normal meaning of words. “Student debt forgiveness,” as the name should imply, involves the forgiveness of debt. And yet, church-going Americans who have a firm grasp of the forgiveness offered by God through Christ, suddenly forget its meaning entirely any time you mention student loans. They immediately…

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Gun Violence: Illness and Incompetency

There have been three mass shootings recently – one each in New York, California, and Texas – and the familiar swirling, impotent talking points of the left regarding “gun control” are once again being parroted by all the talking heads, the gist being that these things wouldn’t happen if only we could get rid of the guns. This is neither feasible nor desirable, and the causes are different than the left would have you believe, but before I explain that, let me turn aside to point out a few things. First, two of the recent shootings will be memory-holed because…

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Silent Scream

For those reading in the future, there is a good chance that Roe v. Wade, a Supreme Court of the United States decision recognizing abortion as a constitutional right, will be overturned by the same court populated by different people. An opinion draft was “leaked” by someone within the court, and now crowds are gathering around the houses of justices, attempting to intimidate them into changing their minds. This is the biggest domestic political event in my memory – bigger than Obamacare, bigger than Clinton’s impeachment, bigger than Donald Trump’s election. In fact, God may have placed Donald Trump in…

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