Tag Archives: inspiration

How to Squeeze More Words Out of A Tired Brain


by Lillian Csernica on November 6, 2016

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I’m sitting here yawning. Yesterday I left the house at 11:30 a.m. and didn’t get home until around 10 p.m. That means ten and a half hours. I spent three of those hours driving.

When I finally staggered up the stairway to my office and dropped my bags, I realized I had 90 minutes to get the day’s NaNoWriMo quota done. At midnight, that’s it. You’ve either written that day or you haven’t.

You know how your car engine sounds when you turn the key and the engine tries to turn over, but it just won’t catch? Yeah. That’s the sound my brain was making.

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I was a bit ahead of the minimum total word count for Day 5, so I was strongly tempted to just let it ride for one day. No no no. I’d signed up for NaNoWriMo, so I’d made the commitment to write every single day in November. Every. Single. Day.

I did cut myself some slack. Make it to the ten thousand word mark, I told myself. Write that much, and you’re off the hook. That meant three pages, or 750 words.

Great. Now what? <sound  of car engine failing to turn over>

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At times like this I brainstorm. I write down every horrible thing that I could possibly do to my characters. It doesn’t have to make sense, really, it just has to be possible within the story content already established. If all goes well, inspiration will strike, the engine of my imagination will turn over, and the writing flows.

Want some specific examples of how I torture my characters and get the day’s writing done? I’m happy to share.

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Filed under artists, creativity, fantasy, Fiction, frustration, Goals, Lillian Csernica, publication, research, Writing

Why Deadlines Are Your Best Friends


by Lillian Csernica on October 24, 2016

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Yesterday I kept thinking I need to blog. Gotta blog today. Must write an original blog post.

And then I’d push on with the scene I was writing for my latest short story.

Between writing, research, more writing, and a few breaks to loosen up mind and body, before I knew it midnight was fast approaching.

So here I am today, showered, caffeinated, and making this blog post Item Number One on my To Do list.

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I have a story deadline coming up. In fact, for this particular anthology I’m committed to delivering two short stories that relate to each other. I know I absolutely must get these stories written, edited, polished, and delivered before NaNoWriMo  begins. Once the starter gun fires and we race toward the 50,000 word finish line, I want to be focused on pouring all my writing time and energy into my NaNo novel.

People often think deadlines come at the end, when you have to hand in the homework, the article, the novel manuscript. A deadline can also mark the beginning of a project. This is why there’s #NaNoPrep, along with lots of advice on the Internet about everything you need to accomplish before November 1.

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Deadlines also create accountability. If you know you’d better have something to read at your next writer’s group meeting, you’re more likely to get it written. Never underestimate the power of potential embarrassment as a motivational tool.

Deadlines keep me organized. Deadlines help me prioritize. Deadlines help me generate the creative pressure that makes the words keep coming. For me, deadlines are the surest protection against writer’s block.

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Filed under Blog challenges, creativity, editing, fantasy, Fiction, Goals, Lillian Csernica, perspective, publication, research, steampunk, worry, Writing

NaNoWriMo Round 2


by Lillian Csernica on October 12, 2016

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Back in 2014, I won NaNoWriMo by writing 50,000 words of Garden of Lies, the second book in my Flower Maiden trilogy.

I have just signed up for NaNoWriMo 2016. I hope to get to the 50,000 word mark on the third book of the trilogy. 7 pages a day, every day.

I thumb my nose at the Forces of Chaos that beset me on a daily basis. Come what may, I shall write my daily quota. By December 1, I will have at least half of the first draft of my new novel.

(Then comes the Labor of Hercules known as Editing the Manuscript, but I’ll get to that when the time comes.)

I send my best wishes to everybody else crazy dedicated enough to embrace NaNoWriMo!

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Filed under Awards, creativity, Depression, dreams, editing, fantasy, Fiction, frustration, historical fiction, Humor, Japan, Kyoto, Lillian Csernica, love, marriage, nature, romance, sword and sorcery, travel, Writing

My Writing Music


by Lillian Csernica on October 17, 2014

 

Many writers play music while they’re working.  I’ve found some great instrumental music that gets my imagination going and keeps me in tune with the cultural flavor of my Japanese historical romance, Sword Master, Flower Maiden.  Here are three of my favorites from Kiyoshi Yoshida:

This is great action music, such as a chase on horseback down a beach:

I like this one for the quiet moments when my hero or heroine is reflecting on some Big Moment:

Here’s one for after my hero and heroine have fallen in love:

 

I hope you enjoy these songs as much as I do.  What music do you play while you’re writing?  I want to hear from all the NaNoWriMo folks out there!  What gets your creative juices flowing?

 

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October 17, 2014 · 1:29 pm

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award!


by Lillian Csernica on September 16, 2014

 

 

Well! Today is certainly turning out to be a day for wonderful surprises.  Someone gave me flowers.  It looks like I may be making actual progress with John’s current school difficulties.  Just now I discovered that rgemom, the dear lady who writes Three’s a Herd, has nominated me for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award.  Thank you SO much.  Life is good!

Here are the rules of the award:

  • Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
  • List the rules and display the award.
  • Share seven facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  • Optional: display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you

 

Seven Facts About Me

1) I own a handmade, hot pink, thong-wearing felt Hamster that has been autographed by Esther Friesner herself.

2) As much as I hate needles, I have given serious thought to the tattoo design I’d want and where it would be located.  Purely hypothetical, of course.

3. I really don’t see the point of celery.

4)I have a terrible weakness for blue-eyed Irishmen who can sing.

5) My original career choice was Marine Biology.  That came to a screeching halt the day I learned that in the process of dissecting the higher life forms, I would one day be called upon to work on a cat.  Nope.  Sorry.  Not for love or money.

6) Back when I was in high school I owned a Oujia board, the classic Milton Bradley model sold in game stores everywhere.  I no longer own a Ouija board, and I will never go near one again.

7) My middle name is Irene.  How often do you hear that one these days?

 

The 15 Blogs I Consider Inspirational and Award-worthy:

1) Tabula Candida

2) Broadside

3) Writers In The Storm

4) terribleminds

5) Make Me A Sammich

6) Raising 5 Kids with Disabilities and Remaining Sane Blog

7) The Red Pen of Doom

8) Faithmummy

9) Katana/Pen

10) Bitter Gertrude

11) Deidra Alexander’s Blog

12) harm:less drudg:ery

13) Blogging From A to Z Challenge

14) Bone Speak

15) Cats at the Bar

 I hope to live up to the honor of this award in the posts that I write and the comments that I make.  Thank you again!

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Filed under autism, Awards, cats, Depression, Family, Fiction, Food, Goals, history, Horror, Humor, science fiction, Special needs, Writing

Four Q&A About My Writing Process


by Lillian Csernica on March 28, 2014

Today’s post is part of a Writing Process Blog Hop I was invited into by one of my favorite people, Setsu Uzume.

As part of the Hop, I’m answering four questions about my personal writing process and then passing the baton to four other bloggers whose work I enjoy and respect.

What are you working on?

The first novel in my Japanese historical romance trilogy, Sword Master, Flower Maiden.  I’m plowing through the second edit right now, making adjustments for consistency in characterization as well as upping the stakes here and there.  In Satsuma, Japan, of 1865, an English girl raised to be the highest class of courtesan escapes the cruel samurai Nakazawa who demanded her as payment for her father’s gambling debts when she was just six years old.  Now, sixteen and determined to thwart her captor’s power-hungry schemes, Yuriko flees her guards and rushes straight into the path of bandits  pursued by Tendo Kazuhiro, a ronin watching over a nearby village.  Captivated by Yuriko’s beauty and courage, Tendo is determined to protect her from her enemies.  The love that blossoms between them makes them determined to defeat Nakazawa.

How does your work differ from others in the genre?

I think history is full of treasures waiting to be discovered, stories waiting to be told.  Laura Joh Rowland’s Sano Ichiro is a fine hero, an excellent leading man for a mystery series.  I hope Tendo Kazuhiro can live up to that standard of excellence as a romance hero.  Multi-ethnic romance is not well represented in the genre, especially in the subgenre of historical romance.  I happen to find Asian men very attractive, so Japan was a natural choice as a setting for my novels.  To bring a Caucasian woman into the Japan of the Tokugawa Shogunate and enable her to speak fluent Japanese took some doing.  I knew Yuriko had to be fluent in order to communicate with Tendo-san.  Only then could they achieve ishin-denshin, or “heart-to-heart communication.”

Why do you write what you write?

I write fantasy.  I write escapist genre fiction because there’s not enough love and magic and a sense of wonder in today’s world.  Part of the reason I write historical fiction is my enjoyment of political intrigue, foreign cultures, and the challenge of recreating my chosen settings on the page.  Short stories are a different thrill altogether.  I have to keep it simple, keep it tight, and still bring plenty of depth and solid story values to my tale.  I also write because I love language.  I love words.  I love being able to speak to someone from a foreign country in his or her own language.  So far my work has been translated into German and Italian.  I would be overjoyed if the Japanese trilogy was to one day be translated into Japanese itself.

How does your writing process work?

The answer to that depends on what I’m working on.  Generally speaking, I go through five drafts.  First draft: plot, dialogue, character and some setting.  Second draft: fleshing out character, making some plot events more intense and raising the stakes.  Third draft: Major revisions as necessary.  Fourth draft: filling in the background details, checking for consistency, changing any character names that conflict, as well as editing for length.  Fifth draft: beating the manuscript like an old rug to knock out everything that doesn’t need to be there then polishing what’s left.  In this draft I get down to what’s called the “microwriting level” and do quality control line by line.  Somewhere between the Third and Fifth Drafts I often call in my beta readers to help me see what I might be missing.  That kind of help is invaluable.

Setsu mentioned listening to music while she writes.  I do that too.  I choose the music based on the emotional tone of the writing I need to do.  When I wrote Ship of Dreams, U2’s “With or Without You” became Alexandre’s theme song.  Rosalind’s music varied from Berlin to Evanescence to Pat Benatar to uplifting instrumentals.

I hereby pass the baton to four writers who are well worth your time and attention:

Sandy Appleyard — “Author of hopeful memoirs and fiction.”  Sandy is a very kind lady with a generous heart.

Dorian Graves — In words and pictures, Dorian does amazing things.  I shall watch her career with interest.

Patricia H. MacEwen — Marine biologist, physical anthropologist, former CSI in Stockton, Pat’s Been There and Done That in places that would make most of us run screaming.  Look for her cover story on the latest issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction!

Blair Bonet — If you’re in the mood for something steamy and southern, start with Moonlight on the Bayou, first in the Benoit Erotic Romances.

Looking forward to your answers, ladies!

 

 

 

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Filed under Blog challenges, fantasy, Fiction, Goals, history, Humor, Japan, love, romance, science fiction, Writing

How to Make Writing Progress Every Day


by Lillian Csernica on March 28, 2013

As the mother of two special needs teenage boys, there are many days when I am just not in the mood to write.  I’m too tired, I’m too stressed, I’ve had to be out at appointments or making phone calls or sorting out scheduling problems with the nurses and aides.  All I want to do is flop down on the couch with a bag of microwave popcorn and let my higher brain functions take a vacation while I watch some trashy action movie on Netflix.

That doesn’t get the day’s writing done.

How do I get myself to churn out the day’s writing regardless of mental fatigue, emotional turbulence, and family demands?  I keep two lists:  Process Goals and Productivity Goals.

Process Goal: This is an activity that will contribute to the overall completion of a particular writing project.  I have a new short story underway.  I brainstorm more plot complications to see if I can raise the stakes and make the story more exciting with greater suspense.

Productivity Goal:  This is the write-the-actual-words goal.  A thousand a day?  Two thousand?  If I want to get a five thousand word short story written in first draft form in one week’s time, then I have to hit my target of a thousand words per day.  If I write more, great!

There is always something I can accomplish, no matter what my frame of mind might be.  If I want to be successful as a writer, both on the personal and the professional levels, then I have to get the story or novel written, clean it up, and get it out to market.  If I keep my sights set on today, I won’t feel so overwhelmed.  Today plus today plus today adds up.  A thousand words per day five days a week for twenty weeks or five months equals one hundred thousand words, which is a four hundred page novel.

Keeping those lists of Process goals and Productivity goals is my way of making sure that no matter what kind of mood I’m in, there will be something I can muster up the motivation to accomplish.  Once I’ve overcome the inertia of not being “in the mood,” I can build some momentum and get the work done.

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Filed under Family, fantasy, Fiction, Writing

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K.J. Scrim, Writer

Bits and pieces for yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Unspoken words

Sometimes poetry gives you the voice

Blog of Author J Lenni Dorner

Author J Lenni Dorner blogs for fun.

Atherton's Magic Vapour

Mystery. Horror. Comedy. Oddities.

Iain Kelly

Fiction Writing

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need." Cicero

Outside Perception

Amin n'rangwa edanea

Novelty Revisions

Putting ideas into words.

123456osages

Technology

Julie Around The Globe

The less traveled paths

The Writers Desk

The Italian Thing Blog

From Mage Mind

When a mage is sharing what's on his mind. Business, Motivation, Positive life, Success, Marketing and Good Ideas.

Plaisted Publishing House

Building Books - One Step at a Time

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Blog magazine for lovers of health, food, books, music, humour and life in general

Ōrphic Flux

Tales of Wandering Souls

Pastel Bottle Rocket

Blasting my way through the blogsphere!

Arrowhead Freelance and Publishing

Making the world a richer place, one story at a time

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