Posts Tagged ‘muse’

Journal of the History of Ideas

Journal of the History of Ideas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Journal of Ideas

Traci Kenworth


Do you keep one? Do you find it useful? I have both a journal and a jar filled with ideas. There basically just those that have come to mind either from dreams or jotting down notes and presto, they appear. The problem for me is I have so many continuous story thoughts that everything is brimming to the full. Does that mean that I’ve stopped writing things down? Not at all. Because today’s blast of notions might diminish or perhaps not even work out in the story I have in mind.

Yes, someday the well might dry up and if that happens, I want to be prepared. On that day, I want to be able to dip into the reserves and bring up gold. Not that I don’t skim through my concepts now, it’s just that with so many new ideas, I ration what I use of the old for now. Saving for that rainy day, perhaps. I believe I have so many possibilities because I try and write every day, at the same time, just like the pros do.

I think that continuous work toward my goal, inspires the ideas to open up and flow. Now, there might come a day when I face a dryspell, but that’s when I’ll reach for the jar or journal and plug away, doing my best to continue with a story. So how about you? Do you struggle with finding “enough” story elements? A bit of freehand writing might help turn that around. Just sit down and write what comes to mind no matter how silly or rough. Use that to develop your story.

One thing’s for sure: if you work your Muse, it will supply what you need. So keep a journal, a jar, even hints on a word document. They’ll be there when you need them, to help get the words down, to finish your story.

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Promotional image of Laura Vandervoort as Kara...

Image via Wikipedia

How I get Myself Unstuck from a Scene

Traci Kenworth


I’ve come up against walls more than a few times when it comes to scenes. There’s a recent one when I needed a character to have certain powers—I just couldn’t figure out what those would be, so I procrastinated about it for days until the answer worked itself out. This is not to say I avoided the scene all together for those days. I worked on this and that of it, chipping away at what I had, until finally a gem formed.

How did I figure it out? Well, I researched different powers. Well, not in the way I could say, “Hey, I’ll give her Supergirl’s powers.” No, I thought about the different elements, what related to her character, where I planned to go from here with her. And slowly, the answers came. And better than expected. Cryogencis. Lava. Avalanches. All these and more were investigated in the hope something would spark.

Another time, I had to introduce a character who has visions of certain events in my book. He was cursed with this by another character. I struggled with whether to write what he witnessed as first person or third. It didn’t quite work out with first as the story is told in first person to begin with and became too confusing for my cps, so I switched it to third and now it is sailing along. The reason behind this being, he has to “see” events through another character’s eyes. He can’t speak for them, he can only observe them.

So you see, there is a way to work through your difficulties. It just takes a new approach. Like I did with my latest book I’m editing. I totally changed the storyline for the female lead in the revisions from passive/sidelines to proactive, kickbutt heroine and it worked. She is now one of the most interesting characters I’ve written. All because I ran into a wall. Sometimes those blockages are good in terms of the story. They force you to work harder, to challenge yourself more.

Any tips you know on how to scale those walls? Doesn’t your story prove stronger/better for it? I think it’s really the Muse telling us to hold up, let’s look at thing from all angles, and then surprising us with its brilliance. So what has your Muse blocked for you lately?

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Traitor’s Gate

Traci Kenworth


We were loaded into the gate like a bunch of cattle. Jayse and I huddled together. My fingernails pinned his arms as we waited for water to flood the place. He flinched but otherwise didn’t pull away. “Cailen,” he said.

I raised my gaze to his, mine full of tears.

“I don’t regret this. Here with you now,” he said.

“But—because of me—you will die. A traitor.”

“In whose eyes? The King is a fool to listen to his daughter. She is the traitor.” He gently traced my lips. “I would die a thousand deaths to be with you.”

I shook my head. “Don’t say that. I’ve got to save you somehow.”

“You already have.”

The water began to rise.

People began to shriek.

I wound my arms around Jayse’s neck. “Our deaths will have meaning.”

At the last second of our lives, she appeared. Haughty and triumphant. And I cursed her though my words opened only to water. I clung to Jayse, even in death.


“Princess Ardelaine, the King will see you now.”

The princess’ hand froze on her hairbrush, unaccustomed to being summoned by her father. Usually, she had to approach his people for audience. She tried to keep her smile as she turned to the man and nodded. Setting the brush down, she followed him through darkened hallways, her stomach beginning to knit with nausea. Had he somehow discovered her trespass? She shook her head. No. She’d been most careful.

When she entered the throne room, she found herself alone with her father. She couldn’t remember that ever happening before. She greeted him with kisses to each cheek. “Father, dearest. How is your health?”

“Not well but then you knew this, Ardelaine. It is why you sacrificed one witch, and one who meant everything to you, isn’t it?”

Her hands shook. “Whoever has spread these lies shall die.”

“Oh, but they are already dead.”

She stared at him then two figures that appeared beside him, bloated and drenched.

“No, it cannot be.”

“Did you think the lands of Farael would fall to you so easily? That there would be no payment for what you planned? My only regret is that I did not learn of your treachery sooner and could’ve prevented their deaths. As it is, your hour is fast approaching.”

“Father, what are you doing?” she demanded as his guards took her into custody.

“Every kingdom has to make its sacrifices to keep their King young, strong, reliable. By striking down my advisors with your hatred and schemes, you have sentenced yourself to be a part of my resuscitation.”

“But I’m your flesh and blood.”

“And the results of your death will be most useful in regaining my health.”

“How will you explain this to your people?”

He laughed. “It might come as a shock, daughter, to learn that you’re not very well liked in the kingdom. Why would my people trade the lives they have led under my rule for your slavery?” He motioned to the guards. “Take her away.”






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Clarita from Morquefile.

The Stage

Traci Kenworth


My hand closed on the curtain leading to the stage. This was it. The big moment. Before I’d been a part of the audience, this time, the devue had come for me. At fourteen, I’d longed for the year I’d be chosen. My chance to escape from this nightmarish world. Death would be welcome, a gift from being a food for one of the hellish creatures, who roamed the American Republic. I shivered as a shove came from behind and literally tripped onto the theater floor.

A woman, most likely a pet of the Society that ran these auditions, dressed in an all-black costume that looked like something out of a long-ago, whispered fairytale. I’d been a first-grader when the third world war struck, two years later, the monsters had attacked.  Now the Society ran the 1/3 of the country not governed by the enemy factions. Slowly, they were working their way into the military areas as well.

I could hear the children in the cages below, begging, pleading to be me. I’d been in their shoes many a time. First when I watched my Momma and then my Daddy take that chair, draw their chance at a lottery to be free. No more feeding pigs to an army of darkness. I’d gazed at their broken, weary bodies and wished I were them. To have it all end. I couldn’t stand the sucking, the slurping, or the chewing. Most of all, looking into a face so—human—it was eerie.

Picking myself up from the platform, I staggered thanks to a twisted ankle, over to the chair in the center. Tears clung to my eyelashes. Would they turn me away? Repulsed by an offering not perfect? There came no warning bells, no whistles and I breathed a sigh of relief. I sat down, braced myself, and waited.

I heard the sound of ropes swaying above, imagining which of the creatures would descend on her. The dark lady in the costume introduced me. “Mereketh, everyone. She looks to be a fine morsel indeed.” She cued the buckets of blood to be dropped on me. Hisses and yowls came from around me in the faces of a human population gone wrong.

I waited for just the right moment, balling my fists, as they crept toward me. It would be so easy—to let go—but I continued to let them surround me. As they began to fight among one another to see who would be leader of the pack, I drew my hands forward and uncurled my fingers. The toxic fumes reached into their midst and slashed the flesh from their bones as they’d done to many of ours.

I heard the children cry out and then cheer, something they hadn’t done in forever. When I hobbled from the chair, not a monster was standing, they’d all succumbed to magic they’d long forgotten. A magic not always grown on the Akara Mountains, but sometimes, in the heart of people everywhere.


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Ardelfin at morquefile.com

The Three Faces of Death

Traci Kenworth


That summer came in early, wet and stormy. I danced in a few puddles, and then cringed at the thought of someone seeing me out here, acting so childish. Seventeen wasn’t an age to veer from your course, otherwise, you could end up backtracked to Antarctica when it came to the popular crowd. I’d just stepped into their midst, and wasn’t about to be banished again. All my life, I’d watched them, hated them, and envied them.

A horn beeped twice before the car pulled over, Jesse inside.

I smiled just the way any cheerleader had been taught. Models had nothing on us. We were the it deal and everybody knew it.

He patted the seat beside him. “Get in.”

“Sure,” I said as butterflies somersaulted inside my stomach. Jesse Andrews was the hot everything at Fairlawn High. I’d worked my way up through the chain of command to shine in a tiny yellow skirt beside him.

He took the curves fast, the open road even faster. Soon we’d left the city lights behind us headed for anywhere. Jesse ran his hand up my thigh and I giggled my encouragement. Everything was falling into place. This was the best time of my life. His fingers explored further. He swerved over into the other lane. We skirted another curve. The Neon appeared in the headlights moments before Jesse hit the brakes. He had time to curse and dig down into my skin and then the crunch of metal silenced all.

Everyone said I was lucky I escaped the crash without a scratch. At the funeral, I could see it all in my classmates’ gazes: the blame. It took me a good year to drown the sorrow and the pain. I mean, how do you get over something like that? I couldn’t bear to shut my eyes at night because the image of Jesse was always there. Except, now, he wore a black cape and visited others in my nightmares. At the end of every one, he’d swing around and wink at me. As if we shared some great secret.

Jenny Bartlett was the last of the popular crowd to stick by me. Mostly, I suppose, because she was the one who took pity on me in the first place and invited me into the circle. She was smart, funny, talented, an all-around loved girl. But her efforts to save those beneath her loosened her crown. Others whispered. Said it wasn’t right. They somehow convinced themselves that we were dragging her down into a pit she couldn’t crawl out of. The rumors began to prey on her. Her boyfriend convinced me to talk to her about getting help when the depression deepened.

Five months later, she committed suicide.

I was left alone for good. The hallways cleared when I walked down them, others spit on my tracks after I was gone. Cyber-stalking took on a new meaning when it came to me. I was nicknamed, “Death.” I transferred schools twice but the identity followed as did the dreams. Jenny had joined Jesse as a reaper. Both motioned to me to follow them but I didn’t know how. Until my Mom left.

What little was left of my world came crashing down. I tried drugs, drank harder liquor, shoved myself into danger again and again. One night I went so high, I was able to grasp their hands. They held on tight and wouldn’t let me fall again. Now, I walk through darkness, side by side with my friends. We are the haunts in your night terrors, the last faces you see before you die. We are everything perfect, and everything to be feared.

We are death. Three faces united, statues in the cemetery, sprung to life.

Rebekah Purdy

Kelbian Naidoo

Vanessa Barger

Miranda Buchanon

Jenn Fischetto

Kit Forbes

Joey Nichols

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July Musings

July Musings

Traci Kenworth


Spent the 4th down in the Columbus area with family. It was a treat to catch up on the happenings in each other’s lives and meet some new people as well. It was a country-fine time. We hit garage sales on the way down where I picked a small Home Exterior cowboy boot and a framed picture of a Native American on horseback chasing down some buffalo. A chief silhouette was in the background.  I have an Old West theme going in my house and love to pick up things like this. I also found some cute presents for my niece’s daughter.

The small town we go through has century homes in it that look so cute and charming. I just love their antique feel. They have one that is known as the Ferdona Mall and is just the one small building. Now, I grew up in a century village so it felt like home to me. My nephew, who’s a firefighter, makes the best sausage & gravy biscuits with hash brown and eggs. He also made a mean barbecued pork tenderloin on the grill. We rounded the meal out with potato, pasta, and fruit salads. Yummy.

Looking at this month, there’s a lot of busy ahead. Have to make more progress on revisions, research more agents, and take care of home life, of course. I have a couple of windows in my house to fix and a whole lot of little renovations to look into. As anyone knows, house repairs are expensive, so a small amount at a time is the way to go for me.

I am so blessed with a wonderful family and friends. I look forward to the next half of this year and getting things straightened out that need to be. So any musings you’re doing with the new month here? Maybe turning your eyes toward Christmas(yeah, I’ve done a little so far)? Planning to hit those books, wrap up your story, start a new one?




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  Photo credit jppi from morguefile.

The Gaming Hall

Traci Kenworth


I wasn’t supposed to be in here, to see what went on, but hey, when your sixteen rules are meant to be broken. Especially when it may attract attention from parents who act like you don’t exist anymore since the divorce. Not that I wanted them crushing my world further than it was, but I’d heard things about this place. Things I hoped were true.

“What’s your name?” the woman in charge of the dice asked.

“Madeline Grace Hill,” I squeaked.

“Do you prefer Maddy?”

I nodded.

“Well, this table you’re sitting at is special but I can see right away that you need this more than most.”

I leaned forward. “Can it really help me? Get the two of them together again? To fix everything?”

She smiled. “I can promise, if the dice rolls right, they’ll never be apart again.”

I took the dice in hand. They felt cold, slimy to the touch. I shivered in despite of the sweltering heat outside and in the room. The background around us seemed to fade, the noise of the crowd drowned out. There was only the two of us—and a wish.

“Choose your bet,” she said.


“Lucky sevens. Let’s roll.”

I wiggled the pieces in my hand and then let them fly forth.

The dice tipped and landed on—seven.

My hand went to my throat.

“A winner in the house,” the woman called. She glanced at me and her smile appeared a bit—toothy. And not the crooked kind of way, but gappy like a creature in a horror flick. “Go home, Maddy.”

I stood then paused. “But how will I know it worked?”

She tapped the dice. “The magic is in the dice.”

I hurried home through twisted, populated streets. Caught the subway and felt the splash as we went under the river above. I forced myself to put one foot in front of the other as I went to the door. A blood-curdling scream unlocked my hesitancy.

Inside, I found them.

Hooked together like Siamese twins.

On the sofa, the woman from the table stood. “You see, now they’ll have to get along.”

I stared in horror as each reached for a knife.

The woman shrugged. “Or maybe not.” She stepped toward me. “But, in any case, there’s a price to be paid for the wish.” She licked her needle-like teeth.

The End




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