Posted in a bit of seriousness, Reading, writers, Writing and Poetry

Thankful for…


Thank You
Thank You (Photo credit: drp)

 

Thankful for…

 

Traci Kenworth

 

 

 

Today, I just wanted to give a shout out to those who’ve helped me along the way. Sometimes we don’t take the time to say how much we appreciate other’s help and this is my way on reflecting that I need to do so, with coming off of finishing another manuscript and getting it ready for subbing. To all my blog readers, to my critique partners (you know how much I love and respect all of you), and to those who’ve given me even the teeniest, tiniest bit of inspiration that sparked this book, thank you.

 

Posted in a bit of seriousness, dark fantasy, fantasy, horror, humor & fun, Muse, Reading, writers, Writing and Poetry

There’s Trees Out There, But What Else?


Tolkien's Cover Designs for the First Edition ...
Tolkien’s Cover Designs for the First Edition of The Lord of the Rings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s Trees Out There, But What Else?

Traci Kenworth

 

Sometimes it’s hard to decide what should be in your stories. A hidden brook? An enchanted forest? Elves? All can be fun and yet, just as discouraging. You don’t quite want to bring someone else’s tales to life. You want different. Unique. Where to begin? Listen to your characters. Is there a new twist you can put on giants or dwarfs? Maybe enslaving one or the other to a master who becomes a threat to both kinds? Someone who intends to use the populations to control the world? The possibilities are endless.

I love the LOTR world as much as anyone, but I want to make my take on the beings within unique. Thus, one of my monsters has hobbit feet. Hairy, bare, no-shoes-here ones. Although, from the rest of the creature’s make-up, you’d find a hard time finding anything cute about them. There meant to show the flaw in the design of the monster being able to assimilate itself into the human world.

I started out with small plans for my story background, but it grew more complicated, more complex along the way, until I had a world I love to explore. A world hidden among our own, with principles older than time. I’ve created a people who shouldn’t exist, but through our need for them, do. They are the guardians, the last protectors of mankind. Bursting out of the shadows, they save us from the evil that hangs onto the edges of society. Yet, they don’t want to be our saviors, but our teachers, to bring us back to what matters in our hearts.

I’m fascinated by their village, how it exists, who they are, what they mean to us. I know monsters and magical beings don’t usually mix in the same stories, but in my writing, they do. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m always excited to see just over the next hill, behind that Spruce tree, into the valley below. Magic exists if we wish to see it around us. I hope to bring you all along on those journeys.

Posted in a bit of seriousness, dark fantasy, fantasy, horror, Reading, Writing and Poetry

Finding My Way between Genres


Fantasy Faire 2009
Fantasy Faire 2009 (Photo credit: Monyokararan.)

 

Finding My Way between Genres

 

Traci Kenworth

 

 

 

I know I’ve said I write scary before, but it occurred to me recently that I also bring in the whole world-building of fantasy as well. I find myself teetering between genres. My stories definitely have all the horror elements but the world is steeped in the fantasy settings I grew up on. It’s because of this that I’m no longer going to focus solely on horror on my blog but add in fantasy as well. Call it my salute to LOTR.

 

I enjoy all the details of fantasy: the creatures, the people, the cultures, the magic, on and on. I was in heaven when I attended a Medieval festival a few years back. It was like stepping between the pages of one of my beloved author’s books. So, I’m going to start visiting topics on another genre I love.

 

I don’t know quite how the genres ended up mixing together for me. It’s taken me quite a while. I realized what I have isn’t strictly horror but a blend of the two. I’ve invited giants, ghosts, and the undead into my world. Why restrict myself to one element when I can discuss so much more? So from now on, I write scary with a bite of dark fantasy.

 

Posted in a bit of seriousness, horror, Muse, Reading, writers, Writing and Poetry

Hybrids


Fear terror eye
Fear terror eye (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

 

Hybrids

 

Traci Kenworth

 

 

 

Hybrids seem to be popular right now. In fiction, in writing, in life. We all want to be more than we are, more than what we were. The constant deal of always stretching into a new role or area can sometimes be fun and sometimes frustrating. I like to think I’m open to the possibilities, learning new things. I don’t ever want to become stagnant because that equates “death.” Today in horror, there are many different new creatures being created, but a lot of it is also something that’s come before: zombies, vampires, werewolves, etc. I think it’s time we shake things up a bit, give the reader something new to fear.

 

So mixing this legend with that and putting everything in a twist has become the way I write about creatures. I have traces/echoes of traditional monsters but I try and pull in something new. Something alien, something animalistic, something not quite in the ordinary slice of our lives. I think this is how most “creators” work. Look at Freddy. Who knew nightmares could take on a human-face? “It” with his innocent, inviting fun for children and then bam, he eats them. Curses that can come to life and kill. There’s something for everyone in this scare fest.

 

What do you think? Are today’s monsters scary? How do they compare with yesterday’s? Do you use twists in your own work, making things ordinary, nightmarish? Of course, we must never forget it’s the characters themselves that draw in the reader, make them care if poor Kevin survives or if Annabelle overcomes the demon inside her. I think it takes hybrids to keep a reader’s interest anymore, a brand new penny of terror.

 

Posted in a bit of seriousness, Reading, writers, Writing and Poetry

Things That Go Bump in the Night


Tobin @ Oakwell: 2010
Tobin @ Oakwell: 2010 (Photo credit: mySAPL)

Things That Go Bump in the Night

Traci Kenworth

 

I prefer the word Scary book to Horror. Most likely because most people think of horror as an abomination and although some of the things I write about, no doubt, are, I still prefer to leave the reader with something to think about on a day-to-day level and not just shovel out blood and guts. Not that all horror books do. I just prefer scary because it confides a reaction our reader will hopefully have while reading. I know people can be horrified by scenes in books too or what the theme implies but what I want to do is dig down into the ether of our souls and show what lies there. That, to me, is scary. Horror denotes a bucket of repulsion. Scary can be defeated. Horror lives on.

I don’t know about you, but I want to believe some of the characters will survive, triumph even, in the end. When there’s a mass slaughtering, I come away with a what’s the point question. I like chills as much as the next person but when it’s over and done, wouldn’t you sleep easier knowing that the boogeyman has been blasted back into the dark grave he crawled from? Or the police found the killer in question and he’s now behind bars rather than jet-setting to Europe to begin a new onslaught there? The horror that surrounds Jack the Ripper never ends. He’s real and even the best detectives couldn’t uncover his identity. I imagine his terror haunts many an alleyway, dark street, and parking lot at night still. Copycats abound.

When I suffer through my characters with some monstrosity, I want to believe they have a chance, a method to defeat the Big Bad in the end. To kill them all off would actually be easier than letting them win. It takes pain, it takes work, everything you’re got to go up against something that means to destroy you. Whether this be in real life or fiction, readers can take away a sliver of hope, perhaps, that they too can overcome. In The Stand, Stephen King re-built a future home for people in Colorado. Within The Watchers, Dean Koontz showed us that even the common man can defeat evil.  Even the worst of monsters, Dracula, met his fate at the end of a simple stake. So what are your opinions on scary versus horror? Do you prefer survivors or an all-out zombie buffet? Which would make you sleep better at night?

Posted in a bit of seriousness, Muse, writers, Writing and Poetry

Regulating Your Writing Time


A Writing Kind of Day
A Writing Kind of Day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Are You Regulating Writing Time to the Background?

 

Traci Kenworth

 

 

 

It’s so easy to let time get away from us. Letting time slip away that’s reserved for writing here and there due to errands, appointments, life is hard to get back. I know I’ve been going through this for a while now and it’s like being stuck in a whirlwind. You promise yourself you’ll make that lost time up another day, another hour. The problem is, every day we face the risk of losing more. Soon, it becomes a pattern, dare I say, even a habit to skip? Surely when life stops being so complicated, we can get back to our Muse. If we don’t put up a stop sign—even for just ten minutes out of our day—writing becomes less important to us.

 

Now, I know there are days we can skip on occasion, but when it adds up to weeks or even months, we’re ultimately hurting ourselves. It’s tough enough to make it in the writing world without becoming our own worst enemy. Not spending time doing something you love (and I assume you love writing, why else would you do it?), makes it easier to let it slip to hobby status and then just fall by the way side. It’s hard to say, “No,” you can’t do something when you’re a writer. After all, the majority of people in your life assume it won’t be a bother to you to take care of something. Your writing doesn’t account for bosses, time cards, and set hours. So letting things slide shouldn’t matter.

 

Oh, if they only realized. Writing is a business. If you don’t do it, you don’t get a chance to be published, an opportunity to be paid by your bosses (the publishing house/s). So don’t feel guilty for scheduling time to write. More time writing also equals more growth in your work. Take the time. Stick to it. Schedule appointments around it as much as possible. Now, this is not to say, emergencies won’t come up and I’m not saying to ignore them when they do. Just don’t let your set time become less and less until there’s nothing there anymore. Because getting the Muse to work again, takes a long time. That’s time that could be spent moving on to the next level in your career. Lesson learned. Now, to get back to it.

 

Posted in a bit of seriousness, humor & fun, Muse, writers, Writing and Poetry

When the Muse strikes…


A classic fairy with a wand
A classic fairy with a wand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

When the Muse Strikes…

 

Traci Kenworth

 

 

 

Often, if you’re like me, the Muse strikes whenever it wants to. Sometimes, it’s convenient, sometimes not but if you’re a writer, you learn to deal. Do I lose some fragments of ideas when I’m driving or at the doctor’s office? Sure. It happens, but most of the time I can capture those clues with the help of the pens I keep in my purse and various post-its, scraps of notebook paper, even napkins. Hey, whatever works. This weekend I was recovering from surgery when I had some complications hit me. Needless to say, I spent a LOT of time resting and while I did so, who should show up? The Muse fairy. She tickled her wings and voila, the solution to some of my world’s problems rested in my palms.

 

Things that should have been obvious in my character’s universe suddenly clicked. Not only that, I discovered the title and plotline to how the 3rd book (all of these written to be stand-alones) rocketed into place as well. Sometimes, it just takes a bit of quiet, a bit of reflection to uncover what will/or should be. I feel more on firm ground again and I’m ready to move forward. Happy writing, everyone.

 

Posted in a bit of seriousness, Reading, Writing and Poetry

Scary…to me


Combat Gear
Combat Gear (Photo credit: John Starfire)

Scary…to Me

Traci Kenworth

 

I considered many ways to write this blog but I couldn’t quite pinpoint what I wanted to say. We can define horror in many ways: evil, savage, beastly, to name a few. The fact of the matter is, the types are endless. When I write scary stories, it’s not to invite anyone over to the dark side, or gross someone out so that they lose their lunch. I’m interested in what scares you and me and finding a way to combat those fears. I can think of a lot in this world that terrifies me: the loss of freedom, safety, and loved ones. I’m horrified at some of the real life events that happen. In my stories, I want the reader to find hope, a reason to go on when everything is numb, and quite simply, when there are no words.

My heroes and heroines aren’t perfect. They have flaws just like you and me. They love, hate, and sometimes struggle to forgive. Life is difficult for us and fictional characters. I wish that weren’t true in our case but I’m glad it is in theirs because it forces our story people to come up higher. They find the strength, hope, and courage. With everything in them, they fight to save those they love. Sometimes they have to learn to let go too. Bitterness, anger, hatred, these can crush a person. It’s only when they overcome this darkness the light shines into the cave for them and all the bats rush outside. So, I suppose you could say, I like to bring my characters back from the brink of death, just to show them, it’s possible.

Over and over, we hear that those that do something horrible showed few signs of what they were capable of here on this Earth. In fiction, I sometimes smudge those gray areas as well. Villains love their wives, pets, even their dolls. They seem like us and yet, there is a pocket of pure evil within them that we can’t begin to understand. It forces us to confront them, ourselves, in an attempt to blot them from existence. We don’t want to see the cannibal living among us, the abuser, or the monster in the shadows. Somehow, we think if we don’t look, they aren’t there. Horror fiction to me, exposes that under seam of life, that certain nasty we want to ignore. It drives the protagonist to stab that vampire through the heart with a stake. Perhaps this same protagonist is attempting to atone for what he is himself: a bystander who takes no action against a savage act, until someone he cares about is harmed.

I don’t want to get all morally superior here and determine what is and isn’t good horror. There is certainly material out there that I find as objectionable as the next. But this is about what I write and why. Sometimes it’s because I’ve been the one in hiding, running for my life. Others, it’s because I want to show to that young girl or boy or even older reader, there is a future, a bright one, and you can triumph over evil. It’s not easy. But someday, someone will take your hand and lead you into the daylight. That’s why I write scary. So that, by doing so, I can shatter the demons around us.

Posted in a bit of seriousness, humor & fun, Muse, writers, Writing and Poetry

Update Feb. 7, 2013


English: Street scenes of fall
English: Street scenes of fall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Update Feb. 7, 2013

 

Traci Kenworth

 

 

 

I’m still in the editing/rewriting stages on my wip. Although it may not seem like I’m making much progress (it feels like it’s been forever doing this), truly I am. My story has undergone such changes that will make it better, stronger, hopefully more fulfilling for the readers and that’s what matters. I know each time we query, we need to present the best story possible for us at that time. It takes a lot to get it to that “ready” stage. I’ve rushed in the past and found myself putting forth less-than-perfect entries and that’s not good. We want to earn an agent’s notice for writing well, not by something we should stuff inside our desk drawer as “lessons learned.”

 

What I’ve been working on with the book are the creatures. There’s different kinds and within one group, different levels. It’s tough to come up with something totally “unique” but I’ve tried to with mine. I’ve thought of the things that scare me and built on that in the development. What scares the characters also went into the consideration. It has to be a combination of both, I think, to get the “monster” to be at its worst.

 

You know from the last time, one of my characters went from being a brunette to a blonde. Well, I took a look at the rest of my cast as well and fixed those I needed to. Her brother is still dark-brown-haired but I’ve added glasses for him and more of a “stiffer” personality to accord his lawyer aspirations. His girlfriend is still a redhead, but more of a tomboy which will allow some conflict between them. Not to mention, the brother is torn between all that he’s learning about the legal world and the fact that his family is on the run because of his sister’s supernatural abilities.

 

The excitement is brewing is regards to this project and I’m so thankful. It really helps to love your story, your characters, what you’re doing. When you’re miserable, it shows. Right now, I’ve added another two chapters with the creatures pursuing my characters. I wanted to show not only their terror but how close to losing everything they love they are. I think that’s a key to horror. They have to not only be afraid of their lives ending, but the lives of those around them as well. When they care about someone other than themselves, it keeps the reader spell-bound. It shows what kind of character they really are: others come first.

 

I hope your own writing/editing is coming along well. Happy writing.

 

Posted in http://rebekahlpurdy.wordpress.com, Muse, Reading, Writing and Poetry

Wednesday’s Yaff Muse–The Gears of Time by Traci Kenworth


This is a short glimpse of the “Muse at Work” inspired by a pic provided by YAFF (YoungAdultFictionFanatics):

The Gears of Time

Traci Kenworth

 

My creator had left me here to be pulverized. I stared at the flesh overlaid on one cyborg hand. Once I had been needed. Loved even. Now, I was no more than a network of parts, discarded. True, my fall from grace hadn’t happened quickly or easily for him but when he walked away, he hadn’t looked back. It was like he figured I was just a dandelion in the wind. I blinked. But, I was more than that. And I intended to show him. So what if society had outlawed my kind? He could’ve fought harder, hid me even. To just let go—

I shifted on the hammock. Well, I couldn’t accept that.

My perfect vision peered through the walls of junk built around me and settled on the gears of some long forgotten clock. He’d wish he could turn that back before I was done. I heard the grind of the machines chewing up and spitting out blocks of useless things. Soon, they would reach me. Move feet. Carry me away from here. Why don’t you listen? Have you ceased to know how? Hurry. The commands refused to process. Had he damaged me somehow without me realizing it? He said he was doing this for my own good. I no longer believed that. It was all her idea.

 She’d been part of the team that decided my kind had to go. It hadn’t taken much more than a flick of her hair, a touch of her skin, a kiss to break him of his resolve. Oh, why couldn’t I curl my hand? Had all the basic information been deleted from my body? Dangerous, that’s what she’d called me. I was an opportunity to turn his back on humanity. Instead, he’d chosen them. Well, he’d be sorry. Oh, yes, he would. Boys and their toys were hard to separate. And this toy would prove that truth.

The compacters came closer, their hunger for my crushed existence insatiable.

Uncross your legs. Get up. Zip past all this. Sweat slipped down my brow. I could taste blood swelling in my mouth as the mass around me pressed in. Why hadn’t he turned off my intelligence all together before he left? Had he—wanted me to feel pain? Surely, he hadn’t been malicious by leaving me turned on? Or had she wanted that? I remembered the curl of her lips while she took in my appearance. I’d been blonde like her. Soft-skinned. A hint of color. My eyes were blue unlike her green. While my fingernails had been kept clipped, hers had grown long. Her nose had been smaller than mine, more designed.

More leftovers sunk into the jaws of destruction.

Break these damned high-heels he liked off. Roll down this swamp of metal. Freedom waited. Go. Still, the directions wouldn’t compute. It wouldn’t be long now. Those teeth would close around me and I’d be—gone. Erased. Forever. No. I wouldn’t let him forget me. I wouldn’t let her destroy me so easily. Deep within me, my motherboard hummed to life. I slipped down the pile of garbage, my hands gathering beneath to push me to my feet. The garish sight of braces shone through my peeled lips. Time for a visit to him and her. Afterward, well, the gears of time would take me where fate wanted. For now, it was enough I was reborn.

 

The End

 Amber Jade Rain Photo Credit YAFF MusePhoto Credit: Amber Jade Rain

Other YAFF authors with stories:

Rebekah Purdy