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

The Three Types of Premise

Image via Wikipedia

The Three Types of Premises

Traci Kenworth


As stated in How to Write a Damn Good Novel by James N. Frey, premise is a statement of what happens to the characters as a result of the core conflict of the story. Today, we’re going to discuss 3 types.

Type 1: Chain Reaction: This is simply a series of events that blast the character toward the finale. For instance: Darla, out on shopping rounds, finds an envelope of money with no identification to the owner (or perhaps there is and she’s just not saying), and no one but her conscious to tell her what to do. So she keeps the money, spends it even. Later, she learns of a young couple with a three-year-old daughter who has cancer lost their money at the store and is unable to pay for their daughter’s treatments. She is torn between what to do. Should she return the funds from her own pocket book, ignore the situation entirely, or admit that she took it and has no way to replace the money? The answer to this puzzle is the climax or solution. Let’s take this one step further and suppose that $5.00 from that envelope landed Darla the winning lottery ticket/ Now what is her dilemma? Will she make the “right” choice?

Type 2: The opposing forces: Love vs. hate. Wealth vs. poverty. Death vs. life. An example may be: a man of Biblical principles, in applying them to his life, finds himself challenged by the very things he believes. When a woman and her children enter his life under a false set of circumstances, he must decide whether to turn them in, part ways, or help them the best he can. Let’s say he learns she stole to provide for her children, he knows the family she stole from, and his conscious impresses upon him to expose her for the crime. And yet, his heart is at war because she did so to feed her children, to keep them off the streets, to give them a chance in life. Which set of values will win out? Will compassion cause him to cover for her and help her to get a new start? Will they all become, in turn, a new family?

Type 3: The Situational Premise: This is where the same problem affects all of the characters in the story. Example: Each character searches for an anchor. It destroys some, but saves others. This type can easily become a snag if the story becomes too convoluted. Because each might have their own story, you could end up telling too much of one’s and not enough of another’s. Your main protagonists become less. The story has to be cut carefully, set into type just so, if it is blossom into a beautiful tale. The story is Bill’s and Andi’s not the entire cast. That’s not to say the story doesn’t apply to all the characters, it just has to be more Bill’s and Andi’s than the town of Montville.

So how do you handle the above types of premises? I find most of my stories to fall under the situational premise. I just love to bring a problem to a town and drop it in everyone’s laps. Of course, my hero and heroine who have the most to suffer must embrace their strengths and bring about the downfall of the villain/disaster. It’s a tricky balance to keep your minor characters just that, but in the end, the story shines because of it.

Posted in #tanka #haiku #poetry, #tanka#haigu#senryu#haiku#haibun#cinquain#etheree#nonet#shadorma, blogs, Colleen's Weekly Poetry Challenge, Reading, SF, Short stories, Writing and Poetry

Colleen’s Weekly Tanka 2020 Poetry Challenge Theme Week Traci Kenworth

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Below are three haiku and a story inspired by the theme, “The Night Sky,” by Sally Cronin. The syllables are in the form of 5/7/5, 3/5/3, and 2/3/2.

Three Haiku and a story

Traci Kenworth

colored in eggshells
the dust of the ancients
hangs bright in the air

bright dots blink
stars and planets glimpse



Traci Kenworth

Ayian had been too long in the stars.



She wanted to go home but wasn’t sure there even was a home to go to. The stars blinked around her, their secrets lost to her after all these years.

Would the Captain still be there?

Would the boy she’d loved?

Why had she left? Oh, yes. He’d gone on to adventure first. She couldn’t stand the loneliness, the waiting. Out here, she thought she’d find the answer. Share the mystery and wonder of all the divinity. But if there were any gods, they were hiding. Now, she longed for the ship she’d spent her teen years on, learning, growing, finding love. The home she’d known before that was gone. Decimated by hunger and fear.

In the end, her people had gone mad.

If she stayed out here any longer, she feared she would as well.

She longed for the crew she’d journeyed with, the places they’d gone.

Out here, there was little adventure.

With those she called family, there was an oasis of worlds to explore.

Why had she left? Had she really been so childish as to want to nurse a heartache? Where had that gotten her? She could’ve seen her friends daily and eased the hurt over some ice cream. Instead, she’d pouted and gone off on her own, determined to make the best of things. Well, she hadn’t. At first, it’d been freeing. The unfamiliarity. Needing to work to survive. The Captain had warned her she would have to. Not that she didn’t believe him. She just didn’t want to think that far ahead. Not when the pain consumed her.

She brought the orb up and veered left. The ship should run into the coordinates the Captain left her at any time. From there she would hail him. She blinked. What would she do then? Join him in his retirement? Perhaps, he’d heard from the boy. Perhaps the boy was even now, waiting for her. She pushed faster. Could it be true?

Maybe but don’t count on it. He’d loved adventure more than her.

She fisted her hands.

Don’t remind her. He’d been so eager to go, so determined to leave her.

Like others through the years.

Only the Captain had been there for her in the end.

She’d waste no more time on the boy.

A signal flashed on her panel. She glanced down and recalculated. The Captain had picked up her arrival. She grinned. He was the father she’d never had.

She glided to the planet and docked at the port. Before she even made it to the ground, the Captain was there. He hugged her and commented how she’d grown lovelier than ever. Her gaze sparkled at his compliments.

Another figure moved beside him.

The boy. Grown into a man.

“He arrived just yesterday,” the Captain said.

She went into the boy’s arms stiffly.

“Ayian. I thought of you so often.”

She drew back and took in his dark hair streaked with silver, his blue eyes crinkled with age. “Are you even the same person?” she asked, direct and to-the-point as always.

He shrugged. “I’d like to find out if we’re the same couple.”

“But we were so young.”

“Love doesn’t age.”

“No, but it can grow stale.”

“I’d like a chance, just the same.”

She closed her eyes, thought of how they’d been, and nodded.

“Why don’t we start with a walk?” He directed her down off the plank with a touch of her elbow. She waved back at the Captain. He awarded her a smile.

Perhaps not everyone left her after all.

Her hunger dimmed.

The End.

Any one in need of a cup of tea?

Coffee more your thing?

A good book or two?

Posted in, #tanka #haiku #poetry, #tanka#haigu#senryu#haiku#haibun#cinquain#etheree#nonet#shadorma, blogs, Colleen's Weekly Poetry Challenge, Family life, Short stories, Writing and Poetry

Colleen's Weekly Tanka 2020 Poetry Challenge No. 168 Traci Kenworth

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Colleen’s Weekly Tanka 2020 Poetry Challenge Synonyms of Comfort & Torn

Traci Kenworth

Three Senryu’s on human nature along with a story.

Tom spent his days out in the barn. His night by the campfire. He couldn’t quite forget the way things had been when Judith had been alive. He missed her. He found himself growing impatient with the daylight. He wanted nothing more than to be done. He was worn. No comfort remained for him in his days. He closed his eyes, the saw laid to rest beside him. This then, was the end.

He awoke on a park bench, just south of Heaven’s gate. It took him all day and most of the night to get where he headed. He knew he’d find her there, waiting for him. She always said she’d park herself outside the gates and rest a spell till he showed.

It sure was beautiful here.

Look at all the happy faces.

He waved to a few and renewed his pace, energy bursting inside of him that he hadn’t seen in years. He’d been changed inside to a new version of himself, strong and true. He hummed to himself and continued on. Surely, he’d reach those gates soon. He came to a gate, but it wasn’t the pearly ones. It was ordinary and showed signs of life. He gazed at the white picket fence in confusion. He’d seen it somewhere before but where? He peered at it. Why—it couldn’t be.

His old house. The one of his first wedded years with his wife. They’d lived on a farmstead outside of town. Bellbrook, OH. He inspected the gate further. Oh, how he remembered the creak! He always meant to fix it but never found enough time.

His fingers splayed across the gate hitch. Another second and he was inside.

As he approached, he saw someone swinging on the porch swing.

He froze.

It was her. Judith. He smiled and waved.

She blew him a kiss. “Welcome, home.”

“Where’s my tool shed?” He scratched his newly restored hair.

“Take a gander out back.”

He did. The old shed was in need of as much repair as he remembered. He nodded to himself. Just right. He rejoined his wife on the bench and sipped a glass tumbler from the pitcher of iced tea she had on the tray on the table. She passed him a chicken sandwich. With a bite, he savored the quality. “Man, there’s no place like Heaven.”

“Heaven,” she said. “Why, Tom. You fell asleep on your tool bench again.”

He woke to the brightness of another lonely day. With a groan, he picked up his tools and started anew. His gaze went toward the ceiling as he at last set his saw aside for a time.

He blew a kiss. “See you soon, darling.”

The lights dimmed in the shed with a switch.

Maybe he’d enjoy some iced tea. A little reminder. A little promise. He reached for the pitcher and pain shot through him. He heard something shatter as blackness covered his vision.

He found himself before the picket fence. This time, he didn’t hesitate to go in. Judith laughed at the wrinkles fading from his skin. “It’s like we always imagined, isn’t it?” she said.

He nodded; afraid he’d wake again.

“Don’t worry. You’re home now. And about time. This place needs some tending to. Your tools are out back in the shed.”

He smiled. “Don’t nag me, woman. I’ll get to it after a drink of that tea and one of your famous sandwiches.”

The End.

scoured boots in the shed
tattered khakis faded perch
before the tool bench

saw rests in
impatience above
the concrete

the brand
cracked in shoes
by choice

Trying to keep busy? How about a book or two to occupy your thoughts?

Iced tea or lemonade is a great relief in these Spring-filled days.

What about a movie to lighten the stress? Or music. Or even a video game.

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

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Short Stories:












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

Writing on the Darkside

Front cover of Monster
Front cover of Monster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Writing on the Darkside


Traci Kenworth




A lot of people get nervous when I tell them what I write. I imagine anyone who writes scary stories or horror encounters the same reaction. Add to the mix that I’m a Christian, and the eyebrows raise pointedly. The truth is, there’s a broad spectrum across this genre, as well as other genres. Some stories are lighter than others, some impart a morality, others, go deeper into abyss of darkness. I like to focus on the fact that it’s a story and each has its own road it travels. I’m not out to glamorize anything or to invite people to the dark side. It’s no different than any other book, except for where it takes you, and no, I don’t mean straight to hell.


It’s about chilling your reader, giving each goosebumps, showing them a path that perhaps they should rethink. No, I don’t browbeat my readers with the aforementioned place or the road to such. There’s this character, such and such happens to them, and they don’t end up in a good place. They search for a way back to some semblance of normalcy and therein lies the tale. After all, would you really want to live in a world of zombies, monsters, etc. day after day? Writing on the dark side then, is about the journey back from there, or failing that, surviving, and building anew.


I read a novel by Robert McCammon  titled Mine early in the pregnancy of my first child. It was about a baby stolen from the hospital and the mother’s search for it. I grieved for the mother at her loss, rooted for her as she sought the kidnapper, and gnawed my fingernails at the terror that followed. You can be sure I spent more than a few tense moments worrying about such a fate happening in my own life. Books do that to you. They become friends. Every time I read one, I want to see the character/s walk/run away from the bad things. Frank Peretti writes excellent novels that deal with morality. I’m still spooked by one of his novels that involved a haunted house with a maze inside and couples who had to face not only each other but their worst fears to survive. Stephen King is a familiar name to all of us. From It to The Stand and all his short stories in-between, he’s a master at his craft. I think it’s because he knows how to be the elusive Vincent Price or Elvira waiting in the wings to take our coat, pull up a chair, and dim the lights for a story.


That’s what an author is: refuge for a weary person run-down from their week at work, health battles, and so on. We invite them in and spin a story worthy of their time. There’s no malaise intended, we just want to tell a good tale. What about you? What do you write? Do you find a stigma attached to its genre? How do you deal/not deal with it?


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

The Confident Writer

Writer Wordart
Writer Wordart (Photo credit: MarkGregory007)

The Confident Writer

Traci Kenworth


When I first began to take this journey to write for publication, I still viewed it through

the lens of an unsure writer. I lacked discipline, a regular schedule, and knowledge of my craft. I was ready to grow, I just wasn’t sure how. That’s why writing in itself is so hard to teach to another. It takes a drive, a confidence in yourself that builds over time through experience. What works for me, might not work for you and vice versa.

Something happens as you practice putting all those words together, into forming

sentences, and developing your writing. There’s no style at first. The story part is not quite there. You have the passion, but not the know-how to breathe life into your stories. Don’t give up. There’s untapped magic there waiting to be brought to the surface. Each of us will approach the study part of writing just like the journey itself.

I started with craft books. Tons and tons of them. A writing course here and there. They

helped but I still wasn’t seeing what I wanted to in my stories. I studied my favorite writers, even first-time novelists to find the key. What I discovered was this: there is no key. No one can tell you how to do it. Because the trials and tribulations we all experience are like life: no two paths are alike. They diverge at points sure, but the getting there happens different for everyone.

The next part of my journey involved cps (critique partners). I had some bad and good

ones. Those were more lessons that helped me grow. I was still unsure of myself at this point, not trusting myself to go with my gut about things. Along came one of the best things to happen to me as a writer: I met a wonderful cp who introduced me to a writing group called yaff (YoungAdultFictionFanatics). These ladies took me under their wings and taught me how to write a story, queries, etc. Some of which I didn’t realize were necessary in my earlier efforts.

Under their tutelage, I have seen my writing go from shoddy to better. I won’t say I’m an

expert. I doubt any real writer ever thinks their work is good enough. But I have seen the potential for telling a good story emerge over the last year. I can look at something I wrote a long while ago and something current and see a vast difference. The growth I was seeking is there. I’ve learned that I don’t ever want to stop learning. Perhaps, in truth, there is a key to be learned after all. It comes in having a confidence in yourself, in seeing a truth to what you put down on your paper.

You have to learn to let go, to let your writing happen, to trust that you’re doing what the

story needs, when it needs it. Talk to your characters, build those settings, but don’t forget: everything begins with you. Your life lessons, the study of your craft, and building writing relationships. Don’t try and be some other writer. Be yourself. You’re unique. No one will ever approach the story you’re writing the way you do. That’s where you find your voice, that’s where your path widens to draw in the things you’ll need to continue your journey. Confidence will grow inside you and that will help you face the rejections, the pitfalls, and the bad breaks then when you reach the horizon, everything before you will be blessed. Good luck on your journey.

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

To Wait or Not…


Writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


To Wait or Not…


Traci Kenworth




So, I’ve got this dilemma. Now that I’ve finished my first draft of my current wip, I’m


not sure how long to wait in-between drafts. I’ve gone a couple weeks already since writing “the end.” I’m wondering if I should wait another two, or perhaps longer. You see, when I start “tearing things apart” or as we like to call, “editing,” I tend to take a long time doing so. And before you know it, the holidays are going to be upon us. I’ve read that agents don’t like their e-mail boxes cluttered during that time.


I’m excited about this book. I think it could possibly be “the one.” The trouble is, I don’t


want to rush it. I get all butterfly-feeling inside when I think of doing things wrong. Yet, I know that I also tend to procrastinate when it comes time to query and hold myself back when I should be pressing forward. I don’t think there’s too much to be changed, as far as major plot points right now. Though that may change after I get the results back from my beta readers perhaps. I’ve already sent it the rounds through my cps.


This morning, I came up with a cool new idea for another short story(I’ve already


finished one.) I could start that while I’m doing the waiting game. It should be time to polish the finished short story after that. There’s things to do. It’s just a matter of whether I want to put aside LATWD longer or shove into the editing phase. The way things look, if I do wait and get caught in the holiday crunch, it may be next year before I can query it. I’m not sure I want to wait that long.


Opinions? How long do you usually wait before digging into edits? Has there ever been a


time you’ve felt you rushed it? Or taken too long to get back to it?






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

The Mysteries of Writing


The Hunger Games (film)
The Hunger Games (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Mysteries of Writing


Traci Kenworth




There are a lot of mysteries it seems when it comes to writing. If you look at the expert advice on the how-tos, certain things are clear: it takes hard work, a regular schedule, and constant openness to ideas and learning to succeed. There’s no getting away from the fact that you have to apply yourself to write. You can’t spend all day on the internet (unless you’re researching and even then, you should write a portion of that time) and expect to see results. We won’t even get into the business-side of it in this blog either. We’re just going to focus on the unknowns.


Like our Muse. What is it? Inspiration for sure. But how does it happen? What gets the wheels of it turning? Most of the time, luck, I think. Ideas happen all the time. Threading them together can make the difference between a ho-hum and a great one. Everyone goes about this in different ways. Some writers like music, others like television or the movies, still more, a good book. It doesn’t matter what it is, it’s all good. Just get those little flirtations started so that they can grow into the real thing.


So how do we pick and choose the right one? Again with the luck. It just happens. Do you think Suzanne Collins sat down one day and had the full-blown plot to the Hunger Games books right in the palm of her hand? No, she plotted. Plotted some more. And then got to the writing. I don’t know the trick to guaranteeing the best-seller, but I do know if I string together ideas, sometimes magic reveals itself. I hit upon the right plot points for a book by trying things out until I’m satisfied—and most importantly, excited about a project.


Then you just keep going until it’s finished. Revise. Revise some more. And ta-dah, you’ve got something to work with. No, it’s not easy and doesn’t happen overnight. Fame and fortune strike those it fancies. Were it otherwise, wouldn’t we all crack the code to millionaire land? The point is: no one can tell you to do this, this, this, and this and you’ll become an instant success. It’s all a mystery. We writers chase our dreams, hope, pray, sometimes go without a long time, and then one day our moment comes to shine. I don’t have a fast track to get there but I know it’s in not giving up.


No one can take those steps for you.   YOU have to do the work, learn your lessons, nail the story. It’s all going to be your road, your decisions, what works for you. You could walk away, sure but isn’t it worth more to dig your heels in and go that extra mile? Yes, there are mysteries of writing that can’t be broken down into a formula other than this one: plant yourself in the chair, and WRITE. That’s the best advice anyone can offer.


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

Book Review: Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

Cover of "Full Dark, No Stars"
Cover of Full Dark, No Stars

Book Review: Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

Traci Kenworth


Scribner 2010 Short Story Collection-Horror

  1. 1922

Hook: April 11, 1930.

A confession by Wilifred Leland James. He murdered his wife in June of 1922. His son, Henry, at 14, aided him although he beat fear into him over a two month period. All over farmland. Hears things in walls. This was a chilling and at times sympathetic story over a man trying to keep what is his.

  1. Big Driver

Hook: Tess accepted twelve compensated engagements a year, if she could get them. She writes books. This is her retirement fund. She takes a shortcut home thanks to the librarian. Trouble comes in the form of wood sprawled across the road and a giant of a man. Oh, this was a hard story for me to read. It was full of such heartache, pain, and the thirst for revenge. Brutal in tone, Tess is a survivor and deals with the situation the way many women perhaps wish they could deal with their attacker. She had me rooting for her all the way through and it was a satisfying conclusion.

  1. Fair Extension

Hook: Streeter only saw the sign because he had to pull over and puke. Diagnosed with cancer, he lives in Derry, and is a banker. In return for 15% for 15 years, possibly more, he buys a life extension from a guy alongside the road. The catch? Bad luck goes to enemy. He chooses to cast everything his best friend’s way because Tom and Streeter’s girlfriend fell in love when they were in high school and married. This was my least favorite of the stories written. Maybe it’s because Dave Streeter doesn’t really see what he’s got to be thankful for (a nice wife, great kids, good career). Instead, he pines for what he doesn’t have. Even in the ending, he shows no remorse for what he’s done.

  1. A Good Marriage

Hook: The one thing nobody asked in casual conversation Darcy thought in the days after what she found what she found in the garage, was this: How’s your marriage? Darcy’s life is happy until she discovers her husband’s a serial killer and rapist named Beadie. He claims that he’s haunted by his boyhood friend who died when he was a teen. Darcy struggles to decide what to do: turn her back on her husband or unveil his deeds. King really digs into the story here and shows what someone like Beadie’s other life might really be. It was haunting and gruesome and yet surprisingly had a heart to it you wouldn’t think it would.

This collection was everything a fan of Stephen King could want, maybe more. King always tells a fascinating tale and gets down to the nitty-gritty of things which is what I personally think makes him such a great writer. He knows people. And isn’t that the greatest compliment a writer can have? In his Afterword, he explains why he writes the stories he does and what he thinks makes a bad writer: someone who refuses to look the truth of the story in the eye and tell it for what it is. King has proven time and again that he’s unflinching in his portrayal of people and their humanness. We might not like what we see when the scab is ripped off, but we know that in doing so, he’s exposing all the pus beneath. Life isn’t always sweet. Sometimes it’s painful, heartbreaking, and unfair. How we each respond to that is different, unique. It’s what makes the tale true and the storyteller genuine. I heartily recommend this collection to all King fans and to anyone who loves to see the truth behind the mask of life.

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

The Questions I Thought I was Safe From…

Cover of "Stand By Me (Deluxe Edition)"
Cover of Stand By Me (Deluxe Edition)

Well, Yikici snuck up behind me and tagged me, so without further pause, here are the answers to the questions. To be followed by my fellow tagees…

1.   Where did the inspiration for writing your WIP come from?

A couple different sources. Once upon a time, a movie called Stand By Me (Yes, Stephen King’s “The Body” short story) inspired me to think, “I can do that.” In the movie, Chris Chambers tells Gordy in no uncertain terms that he is meant to be a writer. That it’s a gift and not to lose it, because kids lose everything unless they have someone willing to keep them at it. It was like his character was speaking to me. It’s the first time I said to myself, that’s what I want to do. Then I happened on a movie about angels. Things twisted together into a camping trip among friends where heaven and hell come into play like a chess match. Thus “The Angel” was born.

2.   Any interesting tales about your muse?

Hmmm….sometimes I can bribe it with chocolate, but mostly it perks up with coffee.

3.   Your muse; fab/frustrating/inbetweener?

All of them.

4.   Why do you write?

I used to do so for therapy but now, I would say because I love to tell stories, to take readers down different paths, to make them laugh, cry, cringe. There’s nothing more rewarding than this job.

5.   If you could enhance one of your senses, which would it be?

The sense of taste. Due to a childhood accident part of my taste buds were damaged. It always my least favorite sense to use in stories but I’m working on it.

6.   When you are not creating what do you do?

I’m a single mother of two.

7.   Ask yourself a question –now answer it.

What’s my favorite character I’ve written? I love them all but the one I’m editing at the moment for LATWD (Thomas Skyhawk) is so charming and funny, I have to admit, he’s got my attention. LOL. In fact, the entire yaff critique group loves him…

8.   How long is a piece of string?

Depends on where you cut it.

9.   What was the last dream you saw?

I was running–I don’t recall where–and I was tackled by someone or something.

10.  In a film about your life, which actor would play you?

Drew Barrymore

11.  What’s your motto in life and also your work ethics?

Be there for people. Keep the faith, do your best, and in the end, smile.

Okay, my 11 questions are for: Mina BurrowsRachel Morgan, Rek, Cindy Hogan, Jamie McHenry, RaShelle, J.C. Martin, SP Bowers, K S Collier , and jarmvee.

1. Daymare or Nightmare?

2. How many books/short stories/poems/songs etc. have you written?

3. What genre is your current wip?

4. Do you have someone in your live who keeps you on track with your stories? Give them a shout out!

5. Do you write what you know, or stretch your imagination, or both?

6. Who would you like to see on a coin/money?

7. What’s your favorite place to write and why?

8. What would you describe your “Voice” like? I.E. Southern gothic…

9. Do you mix genres? Which ones?

10. If you could move anywhere in the world where would it be?

11. What book (craft or otherwise) have you learned the most from?

There you have them! No tag-backs. Lol.