Category Archives: steampunk

Which Story Should You Write First?


by Lillian Csernica on August 28, 2017

44384633-creativity-and-imagination-concept-open-book-with-magical-city-inside-ship-palm-trees-tropical-islaYou’ve got two or more ideas in your head, fighting for your attention, demanding to be written.

It happens.

What do you do? How do you prioritize them? Maybe you really can write more than one story at once, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Everybody’s got a process. It’s good to know and respect your own. If you’re still somewhat new to writing narrative fiction, you might want to concentrate on one story at a time.

But again, which one?

The answer depends on knowing exactly what you want.

currency-clipart-0010728

Are you after the money? Go with the idea that’s most marketable.

k10208276

Are you out to make a statement or address an issue? Go with the idea that really sets your heart on fire, be it with anger, grief, or joy.

Vector creativity concept

Do you have what seems like a really cool idea but you’re all caught up in the worldbuilding and you can’t seem to make the characters behave and there’s all this research? Let that one sit. It sounds like it might be a novel. If you don’t have enough experience yet from writing short stories, writing a novel might be biting off more than you can chew. Do I know this from personal experience? Oh yes.

k15394701

When you get to the stage where you see ideas everywhere, that’s when you have to adjust your own settings as a writer. By doing so, you’ll be able to concentrate on the ideas that show up most strongly on the radar of your imagination.

How do you adjust those settings? Ask yourself these questions:

Do you have a deadline to meet? If there’s a submission window open and it has a firm deadline, that movies it up the priority list.

Is the idea time-sensitive? Seasonal themes often require submitting the story several months in advance, so keep an eye on guideline updates.

Do you have a particular word limit in mind? It might seem obvious to think flash fiction can be written in a shorter time frame than a novella. Shorter is often harder, because every word has to do that much more work. If you have more than one work-in-progress, the time factor is an important consideration.

Cost/benefit analysis

Will Idea A yield benefits that outweigh the costs of time, effort, marketing, etc.?

Opportunity cost

What else could you be doing instead of developing Idea A into a story? Maybe Idea B would yield more in the way of benefits long term.

If you want your writing to be more than a few random thoughts jotted in a personal journal while sipping a latte in the local coffeehouse, then this kind of analysis is very important. It may seem too cold and clinical to evaluate a creative effort in these terms, but hey, life is short. Make hay while the sun shines or the storms will come and all that hay will rot in the field. All that opportunity will be lost.

Regardless of which priority you choose, once you have settled on a project, there is one ironclad rule:

FINISH IT!

1044329-royalty-free-rf-clip-art-illustration-of-a-cartoon-businesswoman-breaking-through-a-finish-line-ribbon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under creativity, editing, fantasy, Fiction, frustration, Goals, historical fiction, Horror, publication, research, Small business, steampunk

The Writer’s Spellbook


by Lillian Csernica on August 1, 2017

AVAILABLE NOW ON SMASHWORDS!

spellbook

One of the most important elements of a fantasy novel or a game world is the magic system. A logical and consistent magic system will do a lot to help improve the quality of the story… A better magic system means a better story, and a better story means more readers!

PLENTY OF FORMATS TO CHOOSE FROM!

EPUB MOBI PDF IRL PDB TXT HTML

Whether you’re a writer or a gamer, a graphic novelist or an historical reenactor, The Writer’s Spellbook will give you step by step guidance in making the crucial decisions that will bring your fantasy world to life.

631afe3d-ce3a-46a6-8652-9313b021bb8b_newlogo1a

 

1 Comment

Filed under cats, chocolate, classics, creativity, doctors, dogs, dreams, editing, fairy tales, Family, fantasy, Fiction, Food, Goals, historical fiction, Horror, hospital, housework, legend, Lillian Csernica, love, nature, parenting, publication, research, romance, Special needs, steampunk, surgery, sword and sorcery, tall ships, travel, Uncategorized, veterinarian, Writing

Three Top Tips to Put New Power in Your Writing


by Lillian Csernica on July 9, 2017

8e01658d150186ecec81bf886ef076b6-writing-goals-writing-tips

When we’re in the process of writing, we sometimes reach a point where despite having a complete list of story elements on board, we feel like something is still missing. What we’ve written so far is good, but we want more. More depth. More intensity. More power.

Here are three simple, effective techniques to bring more power to your ideas and the ways you write about them.

 

stock-photo-stiletto-heels-woman-s-shoe-and-a-man-s-boot-opposites-attract-when-it-comes-to-love-concept-328610177

CHARACTER ORCHESTRATION

There are two parts to  proper character orchestration.

First, you make the protagonist and antagonist very different from each other. Create strong contrast with opposing traits, whether physical, emotional, spiritual, financial or all of the above!

Author James N. Frey provides an excellent explanation of this technique in How To Write A Damn Good Thriller.

Second, the events of your story leave these two characters tied together in what’s known as the “unity of opposites.” In his blog The Story Element, Paul Nelson explains:

The two opposite characters who are in conflict must be forced together, and neither of them can be allowed to leave the battle. For example, if Gandalf gives up and the ring isn’t destroyed, then Sauron wins and turns Middle Earth into hell. If Sauron gives up and lets the ring be destroyed, then he is also destroyed. Both Gandalf and Sauron are in danger of being destroyed, so they must destroy the other. They cannot both exist at the same time.

stock-photo-juxtaposition-of-old-versus-new-architecture-styles-modern-skyscraper-towering-above-a-traditional-603141119

JUXTAPOSITION

From Writing Explained:

What does juxtaposition mean? Juxtaposition is a rhetorical device that places two elements in close relationship for comparative purposes. Juxtaposition is a type of comparison. Typically, the two elements being juxtaposed have differences and the juxtaposition is meant to highlight contrasting effects.

In the long-awaited Wonder Woman movie, the juxtaposition of Diana and Steve Trevor serves to highlight the many layers of meaning in the story. Diana is a strong, independent warrior at a time when Steve Trevor sees a woman as being weak, needing his protection and guidance. Diana sees victims of the war who need help right now, while Steve knows they have to complete the mission to save the greatest number of people. Steve expects Diana to learn how to follow the rules of his world. Diana is committed to her sacred duty and says so in one of the movie’s best lines: “What I do is not up to you.”

stock-photo-persian-islamic-asymmetric-pattern-or-arabesque-cathedral-mosque-isfahan-506241511

ASYMMETRY

Let’s start with symmetry. From Dictionary.com:

noun, plural symmetries.
1. the correspondence in size, form, and arrangement of parts on opposite sides of a plane, line, or point; regularity of form or arrangement in terms of like, reciprocal, or corresponding parts.
2. the proper or due proportion of the parts of a body or whole to one another with regard to size and form; excellence of proportion.
3. beauty based on or characterized by such excellence of proportion.

Sounds good, right? Symmetry has its value, but in writing a good story, asymmetry can be even more useful. Find out why here:

How to Blow Your Own Mind in Just Five Minutes

These three techniques can help you make the most out of any story idea. Write with power!

cg-animation-color-powder-explosion-footage-073025863_iconm

 

3 Comments

Filed under classics, creativity, editing, fantasy, Fiction, Goals, historical fiction, Horror, Lillian Csernica, publication, research, romance, science fiction, steampunk, sword and sorcery, Writing

Universal Fun!


by Lillian Csernica on June 24, 2017

ushlogo

Tomorrow John and I will fly down to Los Angeles and spend a few days enjoying the wonders of Universal Studios Hollywood.

John has been talking about seeing Universal Studios ever since he first heard about it many years ago. Chris and I decided that a trip to this previously unexplored land of movie magic makes the perfect graduation gift for our boy.

univholly

bunnellband.org

John and I have studied the map. We’ve discussed what we each want to see the most. Today we’ve been packing our bags. Tomorrow we take our first plane trip together. I’m pretty sure what John is looking forward to the most is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

harrypotteruniversalhollywood-768x768

fun-squared.com

Me, I’m looking forward to the air conditioning on the plane, at the hotel, and on many of the rides. I’m not a big fan of heat, preferring autumn and winter to summer. I suppose this is an indicator of my advancing years. Insane roller coasters are great, but they lost their appeal for me after I reached my late twenties.

img_1520

Even so, I can’t wait to watch the Special Effects Show with John, to get silly in the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem area, and probably scream at least once on the Jurassic Park ride. Best of all, I finally get to drink butter beer and hang out at Ollivander’s where Harry Potter’s wand chose him!

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem Grand OpeningPublicity

virgula.uol.com.br

 

My grandfather worked in the movies. My mother has appeared as an extra in several. I did some writing for the movies, once upon a time. And now my son loves movies just as much as the previous generations in our family have.

Watch for my trip report once we’re home again!

universal-studios-hollywood

thevalley.net

4 Comments

Filed under autism, bad movies, classics, cosplay, creativity, dreams, fairy tales, Family, family tradition, fantasy, Fiction, Food, history, legend, Lillian Csernica, memoirs, mother, neurodiversity, parenting, science fiction, Special needs, steampunk, sword and sorcery, travel, Uncategorized, Writing

How to Keep Writing When Depression Strikes


by Lillian Csernica on June 6, 2017

babc8475bf97b25b7ad918950c77c69f

Yes, it’s that time again. Life’s daily stressors combined with two or three sudden unwelcome surprises have left me waging guerilla warfare against my own depression. This comes at a particularly bad time. I have writing opportunities to make use of, commitments to fulfill, as well as organizing the celebration of my younger son’s graduation from high school.

These things are very difficult to accomplish when it takes a massive effort of will just to drag myself out of bed every morning.

I am not alone. You are not alone. We are not alone in suffering the crippling effects of depression, whether temporary or chronic. In keeping with the Buddhist philosophy of “taking positive action for the good,” I offer this list of helpful ideas.

Why Writers Are Prone to Depression

Writing Your Way Out of Depression

Neurological Similarities Between Successful Writers and the Mentally Ill.

7 Ways to Help You Write When You’re Depressed.

The Writer and Depression (Chuck Wendig)

The important thing is to keep writing. Make lists. Brainstorm. Letters to your imaginary friends. Anything that keeps the pen moving. Suspend judgment and blow off the Internal Editor. Just write. One day at a time. Just write.

540_293_resize_20130201_b4753a03bc6881e6e425640c2f5ba5ed_jpg

What do you do when depression gets you down? What helps you keep the pen moving? I would love to hear your ideas and coping strategies. Let’s see how many answers come in before Friday, midnight. I will roll the appropriate die, the winner shall be chosen, and that winner will receive a free ebook copy of either The Writer’s Spellbook or The Fright Factory.

3da74cf4e657e8fc5abcab9ba80f04c6

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under creativity, Depression, editing, fantasy, Fiction, frustration, Goals, historical fiction, homework, memoirs, neurodiversity, publication, research, romance, science fiction, steampunk, sword and sorcery, therapy, Writing

Where You Should Be This Weekend


by Lillian Csernica on May 26, 2017

road-trip-13

It’s that time again! Convention season is well underway, and Memorial Day Weekend is a high point. This weekend you can find me at two, count ’em, TWO conventions!

sitebanner470x246

Clockwork Alchemy:

Saturday in particular promises to be a blast.

11:30 to 1 p.m. — Steampunk DIY! This year we’ll be making earrings. Get it it gear (ho ho ho) and join us!

4 p.m. to 5 p.m. — Steampunk, Satire, and Society

itve-c3s

BayCon:

Sunday is my busy day!

1:40 p.m. (Connect 5)  My reading! Come listen to an exciting excerpt from my newest Kyoto Steampunk story, “The Wheel of Misfortune.”

4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Synergy 1) Historical Writing

5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. (Connect 1) The Truth About Stuff!

I’ve come up with some rather unique items in the way of promo swag. Find me and see what heights of creative memorabilia could be yours!

stock-vector-brightly-colorful-firework-isolated-on-white-background-vector-illustration-158057198

2 Comments

Filed under artists, charity, Conventions, cosplay, creativity, dreams, editing, fairy tales, Family, fantasy, Fiction, historical fiction, history, Lillian Csernica, neurodiversity, pirates, publication, research, science fiction, steampunk, sword and sorcery, therapy, travel

Reblog: 20 Inspiring Pinterest Boards for Writers


by Lillian Csernica on May 13, 2017

1376316-clipart-of-a-black-and-white-woodcut-fairy-tale-castle-on-a-vine-emerging-from-a-typewriter-royalty-free-vector-illustration

Looking for inspiration? Technique? Some solidarity and comfort? Somewhere on this list you’ll find what you need, along with so much more. Enjoy!

 

Source: 20 Inspiring Pinterest Boards for Writers

1 Comment

Filed under classics, creativity, Depression, dreams, editing, fairy tales, fantasy, Fiction, Goals, historical fiction, Horror, Lillian Csernica, memoirs, research, romance, science fiction, steampunk, sword and sorcery, Writing

P is for Pocket Watch (Art Nouveau – #AtoZChallenge)


by Lillian Csernica on April 19, 2017

p

7effedceb8d755ef41a1a055fe8ce99a

jewelry.ha.com

Swiss Gold Diamond and Pearl Pendant Watch circa 1905.

8ba2a285339a71e4344eba971c2cfc14

damedebeaute.tumblr.com.

Gold, cabochon emerald, diamond and green enamel lapel watch. Marcus & Co., circa 1900.

8b43ec4a70f81fda183e5cc96fd83187

1stdibs.com

Museum Quality Enamel and Gem set Lapel Watch by Haas Neveux. 18K Yellow Gold with Fine enamel, gold chasing and accented with numerous Rose cut Diamonds. Stem set Jeweled Nickel lever movement. Porcelain Dial with sunk seconds chapter and Gold hands. Matching case and Movement Numbers and also having the name of Boston Retailer Smith Patterson & co engraved on the movement.

7519d11cebfb0ee1f62a98c0978836d1

dupuis.ca

Gold and enamel lapel watch, circa 1900.

dfd8f32fd03f3c0eddf472d37e20b63d

pinterest.com

Art Nouveau 18kt Gold, Enamel, and Diamond Open Face Pendant Watch, the case with enamel flowers and rose-cut diamonds, the cuvette with guilloche enamel, hammered gold accents, the white enamel dial with Arabic numeral indicators and subsidiary seconds dial, stem-wind and stem-set, 27 mm, and suspended from a conforming watch pin, total lg. 2 1/2 in.

d5406ee34d721af9733701547f57bf51

ebay.com

Antique art nouveau Moon Celestial Pocket Watch holder stand. Solid bronze.

 

5 Comments

Filed under #atozchallenge, Art Nouveau, art show, artists, Blog challenges, classics, creativity, dreams, fantasy, history, Lillian Csernica, nature, steampunk

5 Favorite Guides to Get Writing Again


by Lillian Csernica on February 28, 2017

2775df1607010fb3ca76dcbc9679c9b0

Writing is hard. We all know that. Some days we get sidetracked by avoidance behavior. Some days we procrastinate out of laziness or confusion about the story. Some days we’re just plain stuck.

Today I’m having one of those days. Here I sit, working on a blog post, when I’d meant to be making progress on my latest short story. Well, at least it’s productive avoidance behavior, right?

In the spirit of solidarity with my fellow struggling writers, I offer this list full of tips, information, and excellent methods to restart the writing engines. Enjoy!

Four Ways to Rediscover Your Passion for Writing

Nailing Scene Structure

100 Prompts for Writing about Yourself

Stop Putting Off Writing: 9 Experts’ Solutions

End Writing Procrastination Now

 

5ec4878d691f25af31f5db079c23fc6f

 

2 Comments

Filed under artists, Blog challenges, classics, creativity, dreams, editing, fantasy, Fiction, frustration, Goals, historical fiction, Humor, Lillian Csernica, memoirs, publication, research, science fiction, steampunk, sword and sorcery, Uncategorized, Writing

How to Plan For Success


by Lillian Csernica on January 2, 2017

four-speech-balloons-idea-plan-action-success-many-hands-holding-colorful-bubbles-english-text-isolated-white-50599507

I’ve been doing a lot of research lately. The marketplace for writers is more competitive than ever. There are plenty of articles and blog posts and other advice venues full of tips on how to get where we want to go with our writing. It gets confusing, and not a little overwhelming.

As I’ve said in other posts, I’m not a fan of making New Year’s Resolutions. Too much pressure, especially at a time of year when we’re all recovery from the mad dash of the holidays. I do believe in setting goals and making plans. With that in mind, allow me to share with you my plan for 2017.

To be successful as a writer, I must make a daily effort in each of these three areas:

summary-clipart-la_summary

WRITING

03acbb0c4278e63c2fa7a5f2fc7e54cc_editor-photo-editor-clip-art_709-284

EDITING

can-stock-photo_csp11823718

PROMOTION

I’ve been reading up on the work habits of some of my favorite Big Names, such as William Nolan, who says he writes for three hours a day. Some years ago when I had the pleasure of meeting Roger Zelazny, he told me he sat down at the keyboard four times a day and wrote at least three sentences each time. During at least one of those times his writing would take off and he’d get a satisfactory amount of work done for that day. Esther Friesner and Janet Evanovich have also provided some excellent guidance about figuring out one’s optimal work habits.

On January 9th, school is back in session here in our neck of the woods. On that day I will launch my new work schedule. My office hours will be from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., with the exception of days when I’ve scheduled appointments.

Now here’s the breakdown of my work time, a division of labor which I hope will lead to making progress on several fronts:

10 a.m. until noon — Writing fresh material.

Noon to 1 p.m. — Editing short fiction from what I call my Mending Pile. I may well write more on these projects as well.

1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Pursuing the noble art of Shameless Self-Promotion. Blogging. Tweeting. Researching markets. Trading reviews. I must promote my own work, but I also have a duty to do my share of promoting the anthologies that include my stories.

My boys come home from school around 2:30 p.m. I want to be available for help with their homework, listening to how their days have gone, and in general being a good Mom. It’s very easy for me to stay shut away in my Ivory Tower while I’m working. That’s not OK. I can do that later after the boys are asleep.

I also want to be sure I have time during daylight to get out for a walk. I need more exercise, more time in the sun, and more contact with my neighbors. I may be an extrovert by nature, but the writing life tends to encourage being a recluse if you have a passion for research or you get your hands on a good book and lose all track of time.

Wish me luck! I will keep you posted on how well my plan is working.

 

5 Comments

Filed under editing, Family, fantasy, Fiction, Goals, historical fiction, Lillian Csernica, mother, parenting, publication, research, special education, steampunk, Writing