Monthly Archives: August 2013

Expense vs. Exposure

by Lillian Csernica on August 29, 2013

Most of us writers who are in the process of building our careers, gaining ground with more published works and more “brand recognition” as it’s called today, don’t make the kind of income that allows for a travel budget.  This is unfortunate, because conventions are some of the best places to make contact with authors we admire and to experience the thrill of having total strangers come up to us and tell us how much they enjoy our work.  Conventions are very important because nobody understands a writer like another writer.  The camaraderie, the invigorating discussions, and the sheer fun to be had at conventions are all important parts of sustaining our identities as writers alongside being parents, workers at our day jobs, children and siblings and friends.

How do we weigh the expense of these opportunities against how much the exposure there will boost our careers?

Labor Day Weekend is a big weekend for conventions.  LoneStarCon, this year’s World Science Fiction Convention, is happening in San Antonio, TexasDragonCon is in Atlanta, Georgia.  There are probably several people who have good reasons to attend both cons, reasons both professional and personal.  There will be plenty of Big Names at both, along with many other people well worth meeting.

Science has yet to provide us with a method of being in two places at once, so writers looking to raise their public profiles, do some professional networking, and enjoy the other benefits of attending cons are often forced to make a choice.  I won’t be at WorldCon because I live in California and right now I can’t afford the travel, lodging, food, and membership expenses.   I now have a mortgage to pay and a budget to abide by.  Even when I do attend cons, I split hotel expenses with one or even two roommates, I bring a supply of  breakfast and/or lunch items, and I hang out in the Hospitality Suite.  If the con is large enough to have a SFWA Suite, I’ll be there.

In October there’s a convention down in San Diego, the city of my birth.  I’ll get to combine the fun of a road trip with all the joys of a convention.  This is possible because my best friend and fellow writer is willing to do the driving.  We’ll share a hotel room, get our fame fix from our panel assignments and readings, and we’ll socialize and network with our colleagues.  We will accomplish important professional activities, as well as making it possible for each other to have a weekend away from home.

In early November there’s a convention I can commute to if I really need to do that.  It’s more fun to stay at the con hotel, and that’s probably what I’ll do.  Once again, my best friend is willing to drive. In return, I’ll make her my Guest of Guest so she has full access to the convention activities.  We make it possible for each other to take advantage of this opportunity.

See the pattern emerging here?  Team work.  Supporting each other.  Trading service for service or some equivalent in food or money.  Times are hard.  The marketplace is undergoing a revolution.  We need to pull together because ultimately each writer’s success is every writer’s success.  It means there are editors out there buying our work for the people out there who are reading it.

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Filed under Family, fantasy, Fiction, Goals, Horror, romance, science fiction, Self-image, Writing

Amazing Yourself

by Lillian Csernica on August 25, 2013

I had a wonderful thing happen today.  In less than an hour, I wrote a complete short story.  I knew it couldn’t be more than a thousand words long, so that gave me a target.  As for research, I spent about fifteen minutes talking to my husband, who has a lot more personal experience with the subject under discussion than I ever will.  I jotted down three brief notes, just a few key words, then I sat down at my keyboard and started to write.

I knew where I wanted to go with the story.  I knew what the key element had to be.  I wanted it to be funny, and it had to be fast, because I had only those four pages.

Now a complete manuscript sits beside me.  I’ve already taken the red pen in hand and scribbled a few new ideas on the first page.  I’m letting the story cool until tomorrow, when I’ll have enough distance to go in and do the tinkering I need to tighten up the plot and flesh out the characters.

By the way, all this happened because I was trawling through my market information, looking for somewhere to send a story whose rejection slip turned up in this morning’s email.

Did I mention the submission deadline for this new story I just wrote is August 31, just six days from now?

The great chemist Louis Pasteur said, “Fortune favors the prepared mind.”  I read a lot.  I write not-as-much-as-I-ought-to-but-still-more-or-less-daily.  I keep up with market information for the genres in which I write.  Today, thanks to my preparation and that all important factor, dumb luck, the Idea Factory inside my head clanked into motion and out rolled a story.

Yes, there are the bad days when we stare at the blank page until drops of blood form on our foreheads.  Then there are the other days, days like this, when all the blood, sweat, and tears are processed through creative alchemy into pure writing.  If I can do it, you can do it.  We all can do it.

So get out there and DO IT!


Filed under fantasy, Fiction, Goals, Horror, Humor, romance, science fiction, Self-image, Writing

Happiness: A Welcome Stranger

by Lillian Csernica on August 22, 2013

Editor’s Note: I wrote this for my monthly writer’s group in response to the question/prompt, “Where do you make room for happiness?”  I have mentioned my depression occasionally.  Out of respect for all the writers and the special needs parents who have to struggle against depression, I’m posting this here.  Remember, my colleagues and comrades, you are not alone.

If you ask me where I make room for my happiness, it will take me a minute or two to come up with a reply. Not because I don’t know where I keep it, but because in a very real sense I don’t have any to keep. I live with Major Depressive Disorder. It’s not like I get depressed every now and then. I’m depressed all the time. I have to fight my way out of it to a state of mind that approximates the kind of baseline cheerfulness that gets most people through their day. The specific name for the no-happiness part of my condition is anhedonia. That’s the inability to experience pleasure from normal activities such as watching a funny movie or playing with a pet. If that sounds sad, it is. Some days it goes beyond sad all the way into tragic. I sit there and watch life go by. I can see the colors and hear the sounds, but I can’t feel anything other than depression. The tastes, the smells, the textures are there but they don’t connect to the pleasure center in my brain.

I have had to actively seek out qualified people who have taught me the skills I need to change my perceptions and reframe my thinking. I might not be able to feel happiness, but I take great pleasure in other people’s joy. Here are a few examples:

 My mother is taking an art class. One of her projects came out really well and her teacher hung it in the public area of the senior living center where everyone can admire it. The project involved learning a new and difficult technique, so my mother is particularly proud of that achievement.

 My son John just finished taking a class at the library on using a digital camera and laptop to make movies. He learned how to use some new software and do some interesting things with the storyboard pages he’d spent so much time drawing. He doesn’t have a completed animation project yet, but John did master a new part of the process in just one hour. I put the experience in context for him, explaining how the animators he admires had to learn step by step methods as well. John is proud of himself.

 Michael, my older son, just brought home his latest award-winning art project. He and his aide had kept it in his classroom until summer school ended because it’s a triptych with two of the panels created by two of Michael’s classmates. It shows a street scene right off the beach in Capitola, done in multimedia that includes paint and crayon and some glitter. While Michael didn’t make it into the Top Three for this year’s school district art contest, he and his team received ribbons for Awards of Merit. All of us at home made much over Michael winning his fourth award for an art project.

 I think I’m the closest to real happiness that I can get these days when I write. When I get into the creative trance, all sense of time passing vanishes. I leave behind the sorrows of the real world and function within the world of my story. I am on that intuitive wavelength where I’m processing structure and characterization and setting and dialogue all the way down to the microwriting level of word choice and punctuation placement. I could be a gem cutter working with the magnifiers and the precision tools that allow me to cut a stone into a solitaire, a baguette, a marquise, whatever suits the particular gem. With a story I’m suiting my own taste, but I’m also reaching into the story itself for its reality, its shape, the right way to show off its color, cut, and clarity. There is no pleasure like the pleasure of finding the exact word and putting it in the ideal setting within the story.

 I suppose it’s true that I have to really work at making room for happiness in my mind and in my life. Every day I have to survive in an environment of ongoing tragedy, knowing that because of their disabilities both of my sons will not enjoy everything life has to offer them. My 25th wedding anniversary fell on the 10th. It was a good day. Chris and I set aside everything that has piled up between us over the years and saluted the accomplishments of keeping our household intact and our children healthy despite all the challenges we’ve faced. We are not the people we were when we first met. Sometimes I think we know each other too well, and sometimes I think we’ve never known each other at all.

 I’ve learned that I can’t hold on to happiness. Life changes too quickly, and some of the changes are permanent. I’ve learned that I have to take medication to correct my brain chemistry so I can get out of bed in the morning and get through the demands of each day. I’ve learned that I can’t let my mental and emotional room be taken up by negative feelings and old baggage. Most of all, I’ve learned that if I just keep still and be in this present moment, happiness will wave at me or throw me a smile. Once it a while, it will even come and sit beside me so we can share the moment.


Filed under Depression, Family, Goals, romance, Self-image, Special needs, Writing

Back to School

by Lillian Csernica on August 20, 2013

Life at my house is governed by routines.  Michael’s medication schedule.  How much time we allow John to play videogames, and which chores have to be done first.  Michael’s appointments and blood tests or x-rays.  John’s daily aide schedule, which has a significant impact on his daily routine and how well that structure is maintained.  Consistency might be the hobgoblin of small minds, but when you’re dealing with a medically fragile teenager and an autistic teenager, consistency is absolutely essential.

This is why I welcome the beginning of the new school year.  Sure, summer is full of happy chaos, but I prefer the predictable routines of autumn.  When I was a kid I liked the whole back-to-school season because it meant new clothes and new school supplies.  (Truth be told, I hated trying on clothes in the public dressing rooms.  Same with changing into my gym uniform for P.E.)  Even then I took great pleasure in the sheer potential of the new school year with its fresh pencils and blank notepaper.

This year things are different.  Michael will be a senior.  He’ll graduate from high school.  In April he’ll turn eighteen, which will make him legally an adult.  That means there’s a whole new world of paperwork waiting for me and Chris because we have to become Michael’s conservators.  We can’t be just his parents anymore.  The types of services Michael receives will begin to change as the system starts Michael’s transition into the program for the eighteen to twenty-two year old special needs people.  I don’t know what happens once he hits twenty-two, and I don’t even want to think about it right now.  I have enough to deal with emotionally.

Then there’s John.  He’s starting the four years that will include so many critical decisions.  Decisions he will make, and he will do so on levels that are not obvious or available to any of us.  Today I asked him for permission to ask him a question about a subject that I will not specify here.  It’s very personal.  He agreed.  I asked the question, he answered me, and now I know at least part of what’s been going on in his mind lately.  I’m happy to say the answer was reassuring.  All the various junior highs in our area feed into this one high school, so John will have a much wider pool of social contacts.  There will be some familiar faces, but there will also be a lot of strangers.  How will my boy handle this?

And then there’s the small matter of my own self-image.  Both of my little boys are now in high school.  Where does that put me on my personal timeline?  For me there will never be an Empty Nest Syndrome, not in the classic sense.  As my sons grow more and more independent, as their lives broaden to include more people, more activities, more experiences, I can step back a little more.  I will have more independence too.  I will need to think about how to structure my time.

“[T]hat old September feeling, left over from school days, of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air … Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year’s mistakes had been wiped clean by summer.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose


Filed under Depression, Family, Fiction, Goals, Humor, Self-image, Writing

Another Happy Moment

by Lillian Csernica on August 17, 2013

Yesterday’s post appears to have been somewhat prophetic.

Today’s email brought the acceptance letter for “The Restless Armadillo,” a story I wrote in collaboration with Kevin Andrew Murphy.  I’m so happy this story found such a good home in Hero’s Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions.

My sincere thanks to Scott and all the folks at Seventh Star Press.

Believe me, I’m savoring the moment!


Filed under fantasy, Fiction, Goals, history, Horror, Humor, romance, science fiction, Self-image, Writing

Savor the Moment

English: Letter from Farnsworth Wright, editor...

English: Letter from Farnsworth Wright, editor of Weird Tales, to Robert E. Howard, rejecting the first three Conan the Barbarian stories, although suggesting a re-write for one of them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Lillian Csernica on August 16, 2013

A writer’s life is a day in, day out process.   It takes a whole lot of energy to make any visible progress, and that progress is often visible only to the individual writer himself or herself.   The social media revolution has taken some of the loneliness out of the work, but all too often we are left to celebrate our little victories all by ourselves.

That is the key to survival, on both emotional and professional levels.  It’s good to have a Significant Other or a roommate or a parent or even a pet to celebrate with, to share those golden moments of success and validation.  Right now I’m talking about the little moments, the vitamins and minerals of the writing life that keep us going.

The right word finally comes to mind.  Not a good word, not a synonym, but the very exact precise RIGHT word!!!

The joy of knowing we’ve done a good day’s work.  Maybe we don’t have all that much to show for it, but we still put in the time and the effort.

Getting a personal rejection that includes encouraging comments and the invitation to submit again.  I did the happy dance the first time I got a rejection slip with handwritten personal comments on it.  That’s progress!  That means the story meant enough to that editor to merit personal feedback.

Working hard enough and sending stories out often enough that you develop a feel for which market a story might be right for even while you’re still creating it.  You know Editor A likes high fantasy, while Editor B prefers the Conan school of blood and thunder.  You can shape your story accordingly, or go at it your own way.  You have options!  Options are good!

The acceptance letter.  A sale, with a contract, for whatever financial arrangement that market offers.  Success!

Getting the print copy or the e-book that is your novel or includes your short story.  Oh wow.  All hail the Age of Electronics, sure, but to me there ain’t nothin’ better than holding your own book in your two hands.  I write my romance novels under a pen name, but I can open up that back cover and show people my photo.  Yep, that’s me!  I wrote this!

And we go through this process again.  And again.  And again, because this is what we do.  We are writers.  We write.  We keep the faith and tell our stories and send them out into the marketplace to catch the eye of an editor who wants our stories to be part of their projects.  Our novels join the ranks of published works.  We succeed step by step on the business level.  More than that, we sustain all that sound and fury that signifies so much inside our imaginations.

The life of the artist is not an easy life to live, because most of us are driven to create art due to the turbulent forces inside us.  This is another big reason why we have to squeeze all the happy juju out of all the little victories we achieve.  They will sustain our spirits until the next Big Moment comes along.


Filed under Depression, fantasy, Fiction, Goals, Horror, romance, science fiction, Self-image, Writing

My Latest Appearance in Print

by Lillian Csernica on August 12, 2013

I am very happy to announce that my story “The Heart of a Diamond” is now available for your reading pleasure.  You can find it online in Sorcerous Signals.

Should you be so delighted with the story (and I very much hope you will), you can get the .pdf or the POD version of Mystic Signals, which combines the two latest issues of The Lorelei Signal and Sorcerous Signals.

This story is dear to my heart for several reasons.  It’s a wonderful feeling to have it join my list of published works.


Filed under fantasy, Fiction, Goals, romance, Writing

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?

by Lillian Csernica on August 11, 2013

There are two sayings which have the distinction of being accurate while also being contradictory:

Many hands make light work.


Too many cooks spoil the broth.

These two sayings apply quite well to a debate among writers that has probably raged since written language was first created.  The debate centers on whether or not a writer should discuss his or her work while it’s still in the creation phase.

The Many hands make light work” advocates believe discussing your work with your fellow writers is a good thing because you can air your ideas, brainstorm solutions to plot snags, flesh out characters, and gain the benefit of any particular expertise that a writer friend might have.  Let’s say this goes on at the meeting of a writer’s group.  In a perfect world, every member leaves the meeting with the satisfaction of having contributed some useful feedback along with having received his or her share of the wealth.

As we know, this is not a perfect world, no matter how many times we re-envision it and try like hell to edit parts of it.

Writers who believe “Too many cooks spoil the broth” say so because they are concerned about losing that initial excitement, that pressure to create, which comes upon us when we get hit with a hot idea.  Another potential hazard arises in the perils that attend anything created by committee.  Once again we have the writer’s group model, only this time things are a bit more contentious.  Conflicting plot suggestions, arguments about motivations, and the pros and cons of several potential settings can lead to confusion, dissension, and dissatisfaction.  The writer with the shiny new idea loses his or her enthusiasm after the process of analysis and dissection dissipates that first jolt of excitement.

As always, it depends on the writer, the writer’s personal writing process, and where he or she is in that process.  Speaking for myself, I find that talking about longer projects is helpful.  When I’m looking at four hundred pages full of sex, violence, and historical intrigue, there’s a lot to talk about and several approaches to consider.  Re the Japanese novel, I’m fortunate in that I know at least four people who speak Japanese, a good dozen who study, make, and use swords including the katana, costumers who can help me with the details of kimono and yukata, and of course more experienced writers who know about plot structure and character arcs.

Short stories I take on a case by case basis.  Some come with a lightning flash of inspiration that demands sudden intense work all by myself.  Other stories, especially those with broader scope and meaning, may require some consultation and discussion.

One essential rule of thumb:  Don’t let the talking take the place of the actual writing.  The best ideas in the world mean nothing if we don’t lay those words down one after the other.

What do you folks think about this ongoing debate?  Are you in favor of hands or against cooks?  😀

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Filed under fantasy, Fiction, Goals, history, Horror, Humor, Japan, romance, science fiction, Self-image, Writing

Five Tips to Get You into the Writing Mood

by Lillian Csernica on August 9, 2013

We’ve all had the problem of sitting there staring at the notebook, keyboard, etc. and feeling no excitement, no fire, no surge of words that launches us into the day’s word count.  We’ve been up against that dreaded condition known as “I’m not in the mood.”

It’s horrible.  All the avoidance behaviors attack.  Concentration seems impossible.  Every idea sounds trite.  The harder we struggle, the more time and energy we waste.  We’re told we have to fight our way through no matter what if we want to be genuine professionals.

Allow me to make a somewhat gentler suggestion.  If we’re not in the mood to write, then let’s do something that will get us to that place where we can start writing.  If cognitive behavioral therapy has taught me anything, it has taught me that I can change my mind.  I can also change my mood by encouraging/stimulating/provoking the emotions that will help me get to where I need to be.  When it comes to writing, the first state is willingness.  The second state is enthusiasm.  The third state is actual productivity.

Here are some methods to change your mood, alter your state of consciousness, and get your creative energies moving:

Music:  You’re tense, agitated, restless, maybe even angry.  Put on something soothing.  Violins, harp music, even a child’s lullaby CD.  Sit down or lie down, relax, and breathe.  Slow deep breaths will do a lot for you just by themselves.  Feeling lethargic, depressed, apathetic?  Classic rock.  Sousa marches.  Hot jazz.  Whatever will get you up and moving and make your spirits soar!  For more in-depth information on how music can affect your mood, read this.

Change your physical state:  How’s your blood sugar?  Eat something if you need it.  Drink water.  Don’t make caffeine your go-to solution.  That can mess with your sleep patterns and start a vicious cycle.  Take a cold shower.  Take a hot bath.  Get out of your daytime clothes and put on your sweat or your bathrobe.  Get some exercise for twenty to thirty minutes, then take the shower and put on the bathrobe!  The point is to get some motion going on the physical sensation level that will activate a corresponding change on the mental and emotional level.

Change your environment:  Move to a different room.  The amount of natural light available can make a big difference.  Get out completely and run for those time-honored havens, the library, the bookstore, or the coffeehouse.  Better yet, go to the park or some place of outdoor beauty where you can get your sunshine fix while you write.  Don’t overlook the possibilities of changing the olfactory component of your environment.  Is there a scent that will stir up memories, get you all charged up, or provide the soothing balm that’s needed?  Citrus scents are good, spices like cinnamon evoke the holidays, and many people find lavender to have a calmative effect.  I recommend reading 6 Scents That Can Transform Your Mood and Productivity.

Laugh:  Whether it’s Bugs Bunny cartoons or a Jeeves and Wooster novel or the vast array on YouTube of people doing really stupid (and life-threatening) things, watch it or read it or play it.  Laughing does all kinds of good things for the body and mind.  For more details on why it really is the best medicine, read this.

A ten minute free write:  Write about everything standing between you and that day’s writing.  Blow it out of proportion.  Scream, rant, rail, blame your genes and your neighbors and the dog that barks late at night.  Push it so far and so hard you end up on the other side, laughing at the absurdity of the extremes you’ve conjured.

Don’t sit by the metaphorical phone waiting for your Muse to call.  Don’t feel like writing?  Not in the mood?  DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!


Filed under Depression, fantasy, Fiction, Goals, Horror, Humor, romance, science fiction, Self-image, Writing

Keeping It Real While You’re Making It Up

by Lillian Csernica on August 7, 2013

Hollywood Sign

Hollywood Sign (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think actors and writers have a lot in common.  No matter what you’re really feeling inside, what your personal emotional climate is, if you’re a committed professional you just get your act together and do the job.  I’ve heard Hollywood gossip about how the two stars hated each other in real life but still had to act out a convincing love scene.  The one actor would make sure to eat garlic and onions or some other repulsive food right before a kissing scene.  The other actor/actress couldn’t really go whining to the director about it.  The show had to go on.  This, by the way, illustrates why I tend to avoid collaboration, even though I’ve done so successfully with two other writers.  Unless there is an usual degree of empathy/sympathy between me and the other writer, the Garlic and Onions Factor will arise.  I’m not much of a team player and I have issues with group dynamics, so maybe it’s just me.

Writers have to fabricate emotions too.  It always makes me laugh when I hear how readers build up mental images of the writer of their favorite books, then the readers are just poleaxed to discover the writer is nothing at all like they imagined.  Raymond Chandler said, “If you like a book, don’t meet the author.”  Just as people confuse actors and actresses with the roles they play, so writers can become “typecast” in a particular genre.  I write romance under a pen name for this very reason.  If a typical romance reader were to go looking for my romance novel under my real name, she would run into my weird fiction, dark fantasy, and horror.  Niche readers are niche readers, so that reader would most likely assume when it comes to romance I write something like the Twilight series or 50 Shades of Gray (Not gonna happen.)  People have asked me why I write horror.  Before I can answer them, I have to find out what the person asking the question means by horror.  Once we both understand what I mean by horror re a particular story, then I can give an answer that’s accurate and sincere.  “Fallen Idol” is pretty gross by my personal standards.  “The Screaming Key” includes a few of my own nightmares, such that I don’t do public readings of the story because I can’t get through it without bursting into tears.  Then there’s “Special Interests,” where two serial killers meet by chance through a dating service.  To me (and my co-author, Kevin Andrew Murphy), that story is hilarious.  Somebody from church asked me what I was working on, so I tried to explain that story and why it’s so funny.  Let’s just say I never made that mistake again.

People also make all kinds of assumptions about romance writers.  Here are a few comments I’ve over heard at conventions and elsewhere:

“Oh, she must write about all that sex because she never gets any in real life.”

“Romance writers are all such tubs!  It figures.  They only write about what they can’t have.”

“How sad.  Those women must be really lonely.”

First, I’d like to point out that several romance writers with female pen names are in fact men.  The great Jennifer Wilde, goddess of the romance industry in the ’70s, was a man.  Recently a revered British romance writer was revealed to be a man in his eighties.  That caused considerable uproar.  Why?  I think the real reason so many of his readers got upset was they suddenly had to reevaluate how they had responded to a man writing from a woman’s point of view, especially about such personal matters as love and sex.  He must have been quite convincing, given how many books he’d published!

Also, just for the record, let me answer the above three quotations in regard to myself by saying I based the physical appearance of my hero in SHIP OF DREAMS, Alexandre de Marchant, on my own husband.  Believe me when I tell you I’m not missing anything.

So.  Actors have to produce emotion on demand.  Writers also have to do that.  Writers have the leisure of greater creative control, along with the advantage of the editing process.  I suppose some really powerful actors can do multiple takes until they’re happy, especially if they’re also directing the movie.  How do actors spin gold out of straw emotionally?  There’s Stanislavski’s Method, Lee Strasberg‘s approach, and the Meisner techniques.  It also has a lot to do with sense memory and how much the actor resembles the character he or she is playing.  Samuel L. Jackson is an interesting study in contrasts.  People who have met him in person comment on what a quiet, polite gentleman he is.  Confused fans apparently expect him to be larger than life, ranting like a dictator and spewing profanities 24/7.  I don’t know how he feels about snakes in real life, but I do know he’s cool enough to make sure his character had the only purple lightsaber any Jedi will ever see.

Back to writers.  How do we keep on making it up as we go along?  How do we keep it real, even when it’s fiction?  Here’s the really important question:  How do we keep creating the emotion that we need to write about when our real feelings run totally counter to that?  Writers have the advantage of writing whatever part of the story they feel like working on at the time.  I know only one writer who has to work in strict chronological order.  So when I’m angry, I write a fight scene.  When I’m sad, I use that where I can get the most mileage out of it.  There does come the time when deadlines loom and you just have to crank out what’s required at that moment.  I’ve been in some ungodly roaring battles with my husband and then gone back to work, where I had to create some delicate moment of emotional revelation in my romance novel.  (How to exert conscious control over adjusting your mood is a good topic for tomorrow.)

Writers are liars.  We make it all up.  Our characters aren’t real.  Our settings may or may not exist.  The stories themselves are collections of events that have never happened and probably never will.  So how do we make the readers laugh and cry and bite their nails and stay up all night because they’ve GOT to know what happens next?  We do it the same way the actors do it.  We establish cause for sympathy with our heroes and heroines.  We make their feelings as real and genuine as we possibly can, and we do that by dredging our own hearts and spirits for the raw material we process via creative alchemy into a story the reader can believe in.

Make your readers believe, even if it means channeling parts of yourself that you really don’t want to share.  You want the content, the energy, not the details.  Pour that energy, that feeling, into the story, and the machinery of the imagination will carry both you and your readers away.


Filed under Depression, Family, fantasy, Fiction, Goals, history, Horror, Humor, romance, science fiction, Writing