Posts Tagged ‘Kenworth’

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.

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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.


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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

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Garden flower

Garden flower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Jan, 24, 2013: Update


Traci Kenworth




Editing is going well. I tend to pick at things writing-wise and it takes me longer than getting that first draft written which, I suppose, is as it should be. Editing takes times. It’s about looking at things and making sure you have everything where the camera-in-your-mind wants it. There is usually some pruning (whether it’s taking out a character/s, changing a situation, rewriting a scene) and some juggling (switching everything around to improve the flow), not to mention tweaking of material to get it just right.


In the past few weeks, I’ve concentrated on the people in my story more than the events happening around them. I’ve brought them front-and-center and shown how life around them bulldozes them or makes them stronger. You see, I’m learning the story is about the character with the problem not the problem itself. Now, there are writers out there who focus on the plot and not the protagonist and they’re skilled at the twists and turns, but for me, I “love” the story that brings me into the world of the hero/heroine and shows me who they are and how they react to the situation they’re put in.


I was having a particular problem with one heroine who I couldn’t get to “care” about the situation she was in. Turns out, I had the “wrong” character in mind for her and had to crush her and begin from scratch again. Her looks changed from a brunette to a blonde and I “cast” a different actress to play her. Instantly, the world opened up around her from my ability to see   how she’d face things, to who she was as a person. Sometimes it takes a bit of shaking up to get a character just right. Now, I know not everyone pictures particular actors for a part, but I feel it helps me if I can zoom in on their facial expressions, how they walk and talk, how they encounter a problem and persevere, or not.


Other unexpected things happened. My hero found out some things about the people in his life that he wish he hadn’t which took him to a darker place. Grief does that. As in reality, some people disappoint us, while others surprise us. It all works together as a whole, to enrich our story. Sometimes I think that’s why certain ones take us longer to write: we haven’t grasped the concept of what they’re all about yet. So, yeah, my work’s not done yet, I still have to continue on with the tweaking, doing all the things mentioned beforehand, and seam things back together but I’m happy and that’s what it’s all about: bringing your story to fruition. Good luck out there with yours.






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The other side of the Story

The other side of the Story (Photo credit: mumchancegaloot)


First Update for the Year


Traci Kenworth




I intended to post this early this morning but got sidetracked by black ice and a fall. I’m okay, my knees are just a little banged up and hand and legs hurt but otherwise, A-OK.  Just wasn’t expecting the ground to slip out from beneath my feet, lol. I think that sometimes happens in our writing life too. We’re sprinting along on a project and then bam, something happens to set us back. I had plenty of that for the last 3-4 weeks with editing. Most of it involved not being sure of where I was going but some of it was a sneak-attack that left me crawling over a puddle of ice, trying to reach solid or stable ground.


I have learned SO much from The Other Side of the Story and taking the approach of having my character/s face a problem in every scene, usually stemming from something’s that’s gone before like little ripples on a pond.  It’s really shaped my story up nicely. Now, I’m not just giving them just ANY problem but one that relates either to my main plot or is an off-shoot of one of my subplots.  I can’t tell you how much stronger my characters are for doing this. I’ve had to step back and dissect each scene and figure out the heart of them. The result is amazing.


Never stop learning your craft. It’s so important to grow as writers. When it comes to my stories, I want to always reach beyond the ordinary. I want to make the reader laugh, cry, sing, dance, all the emotions available to us, but most of all, I want to leave them with hope. A hope that light can shine into the darkness and beat it back. My characters have gone from stick-figures to people you can almost hear breathe. That’s no accident. It’s pushing myself that stretches those boundaries, moves me into the next level. Don’t be afraid to reach for the seemingly impossible. You’ll love where it takes you and your work. Good luck and happy writing.


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Book Review: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

Traci Kenworth


Tor Books 2012       332 pages

Hook: I think I killed a girl who looked like this once.

Spoiler Alert for Anna if you haven’t read.

This is the sequel to Anna Dressed in Blood, of course and Theseus Cassio Lowood is back as the ghost hunter with the athame who only sends ghosts that do harm to others. He, Cas, is on a date thanks to Carmel, but all he can think about is how Cait reminds him of Emily Danagger, a dead girl he killed four years ago. It was when he was younger and more easily rattled before a ghost named Anna Korlov saved his life. He’s a pariah at school as others think he killed Mike (Anna did due to curse) and Will and Chase (a ghost who murdered his dad did) last year.

The date goes bad and he and Carmel end up leaving and meeting up with Thomas, whose become his best friend over the year he’s been in Thunder Bay. Both accompany him on a hunt in Grand Morais, Minnesota. The ghost almost kills Carmel. For the first time, he didn’t worry about where the ghost went when it died (the athame has been cleansed of the Obeahman).

While the athame is being purified, he worries that Carmel and Thomas shouldn’t be around him anymore. It can get them killed. Also worries that he heard Anna’s laugh in the ghost he killed. Carmel calls Cas on his hesitation to wield the athame. He tells them he can’t give up on Anna until he knows she’s at peace. He says he wants to cool things for a while.

One of his mom’s clarity candles breaks at his feet and later at the mall he sees a mannequin step off the platform wearing Anna’s dress. Carmel and Thomas say he was shouting. Some of her crowd is around and looks shell-shocked. He’ll be the gossip of the school tomorrow. More and more episodes happen with Anna until Cas realizes she’s with the Obeahman in a hell where he’s torturing her. He searches for a way to free her.

This book was every bit as promising as the first one. There’s action, heart-break, love, and redemption. The trio of Cas, Carmel, and Thomas is at times tragic and endearing to watch. I really like that the grown-ups aren’t out of the picture in this either. Not that they tell the story or take over anywhere, it’s just nice to see that they’re not the sometimes uncaring individuals in some books out there. They feel real. Cas and company feel real. I wholeheartedly recommend this book!! Can’t wait to see what Kendare Blake has planned for us with Anti-Goddess, I’m unsure if this next one is a Cas book or not. We’ll see, I suppose.

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Flower & pot

Flower & pot (Photo credit: Vijay Sonar)


Progress Update


Traci Kenworth




Things are going well so far. I’m digging deeper and deeper into edits and the changes


and questions that have come up. So far, I’ve changed one character’s gender and ethnicity, tweaked the background, and considered whether to leave-in or take-out the brief backstories I gave my two main characters. All the while, reading, and discovering that things are not as bad as they could be at this point. I like the story. It needs chipped away at still to become what it will, but it’s off to a good start.


Lest you should wonder if I’ve read the whole thing in its entirety yet, the answer is no.


I’m only on chapter four and still jotting down notes. Most of what I’m doing at this point, is absorbing what needs to be done to make things better. I’m enjoying myself though. Yes, that’s right. I used the right word. Lol. Editing is a tool used to shape the possibilities. A writer should learn to like the process if not love it because it helps to bring everything into focus for the story.


Good luck with your own stories, I’ll update from time to time as I go along.


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