Posted in dark fantasy, fantasy, horror, Muse, writers, Writing and Poetry

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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, humor & fun, Muse, Reading, writers, Writing and Poetry

Relationships in Horror

The Sandman was advertised as "a horror-e...
The Sandman was advertised as “a horror-edged fantasy set in the DC Universe” in most of DC’s comics dated “Holiday 1988,” an extra issue tying in with the Invasion! crossover, which was the last to involve pre-Vertigo characters such as Swamp Thing, Black Orchid, Animal Man, Doom Patrol, and Shade, the Changing Man, save for Worlds’ End’s loose connection to Zero Hour: Crisis in Time. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Relationships are Key to Horror

Traci Kenworth


For me, when writing horror, the relationships are the key. The ones between your characters and, most importantly, the reader. Because if the reader doesn’t care what happens to them, then the book’s just going to be tossed aside or deteriorate on the shelves. So how do we set off getting the reader to feel empathy for the people in our story world? We show them aspects of themselves in our fictional creations. The friendly, well-meaning neighbor who not everyone appreciates until the day something horrible happens near where you live. They’re always observant, always into what’s happening in the neighborhood. You dismiss them out of hand on a regular day. Until a zombie appears and they become you and your family’s best bet to escape the Apocalypse.

The disgruntled grandpa, no one pays much attention to anymore. His crazy ways are just not appealing—until when the count goes down and your life’s on the line and he ends up saving it. What about the bad example teenager no one understands, who ends up being your savior when the demons/vamps come out at night? The woman tortured and left by the roadside who triumphs over her abuser in the end? We read about these personalities because we’re hooked by a trait of theirs, with which we can identify. Who hasn’t felt out of place at a fancy party? Tongue-tied in a foreign area/country? A bit crazed when cut off on the roadway? Those are pieces we may not like to agree we identify with, but they’re there still.

We develop our characters for readers to both love, tolerate, or downright hate. Every emotion becomes important, a chance to communicate with the reader. When our heroine feels ruined by the loss of her home, we understand that. When a young boy wants to take an adventure and escape “everyday life” we want to know why, who he’s with, and why that relationship is important to the story. So what are some of the ways you use the familiarity in your own selves in writing to pull the reader in and “show” them that we all make-up a puzzle that once together, becomes our character/s?

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

Jan. 24, 2013 Update

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.






Posted in Uncategorized

Update on Progress


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.


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

A Journal of Ideas

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.

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

A New Award–I’m Honored!!

Thanks to Jenny Keller Ford, I’ve been awarded The Paperclip Award. Here are my questions to answer:

1.When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Famous. Lol. I just always wanted to be in the lime light–an actress, dancer, singer. I used to write my speeches out in acceptance of awards–who knew that I’d be accepting them today as a writer?

2. What is your ultimate favorite place to be?

At home with my family. I enjoy learning about their days and sharing precious time with them.

3.Name one famous person who inspires you (just one).

In a previous award, I named Stephen King, so I’ll go with Marion Zimmer Bradley. I just loved her fantasy novels and when I submitted to her magazine, she actually wrote encouraging words to me. That she took a moment of her time to do so, remains with me all these years after her death as do her intricate, magical worlds.

4. Tea or coffee? I used to revel in tea for my morning drink, but cappucinos came along and coffee has become my all-time favorite.

5. If you could be any other person for 48 hours, who would you be? J.K. Rowling, just to know how she approaches her writing, to learn about her as a person (I’ve heard she’s done some fantastic charity work), and to know what’s it’s like to live in a castle. Lol.

6.What is your earliest memory: Gosh, my memory is thatthick (lol). Um, I was convinced I was adopted. My family was just way to normal…lol.

7. If you could ask anyone, living or dead, anything, who would it be? And what would you ask? I’d ask my grandfather on my mom’s side about his family as I work on genealogy and it’s so frustrating to find such slim leads. I would about his Cherokee mother and her story.

8. What is the scariest thing you have ever done? Walk away from a world of violence.

9. What is your favorite book? Different Seasons by SK for The Body story within.

10. Briefly explain one of the weirdest dreams you have ever had.

Hm..Well, it involved cougar teeth, a creature that tore flesh of a skeleton ate it and also slurped up the blood. Yes. It’s where I get my ideas. Lol.

11. What song best describes you? (Feel free to post a utube video.)

The above song reminds me of growing up in the country. It’s sad though.

Then there’s this ones which lifts me up to being a little risky in life:

12. Pen or pencil?


13. Is 13 an unlucky number or not?

Not for me. My daughter was born on Friday the 13th.

And here’s who I’m passing the award off to:

Jody Hedlund

K.M. Weiland

Lisa Lail Green