Weekly Writing Exercise: Let’s Get Spooky

Hello one and all! Sorry for disappearing over the last four days, let me just say sinuses can be a pain. Literally. I’ve been dealing with sinus issues here in Illinois where our temperatures have gone from high’s of mid 60’s to highs of mid 80s, then back down again. It has lead to a lot of headaches and more. However, I know many of you don’t read my blog to hear about my sinus woes. No, you come here for the writing content. So let’s get to it.

If you haven’t seen from my last several posts, or have been hiding under a rock, it is October, which means several things. First and foremost, it’s my birth month (huzzah!), it’s SUPPOSED to feel like fall now, and of course, Halloween. Now if there is one thing that I’ve expressed in many of these weekly writing prompts, it’s that I love the genre of science fiction and horror. However, in most of my writings, I have avoided such things and for good reason. This is simply a practice session and practicing what you’re already good at isn’t much practice, now is it?

However, for this entire month an exception is going to be made, and every week we will be doing some kind of writing prompt that has to do with Halloween. So if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, I’m not sure what will.

So now you may be asking, but Ty, what are we going to be writing this week then? Well that’s an excellent question. This week’s prompt is going to focus on something very close to home for you. In fact, it’s so close that odds are while you read this, you’re already there.

We’ll be focusing on writing something that scares you in your home. One of the things that I find most terrifying in horror is when something takes place in a character’s home. I mean think about it, your home is your safe place. It’s your sanctuary and escape from all the things in the world that scare you. That being said, when something is written or said about your home that changes that perspective, makes it terrifying or brings a sense of unknown into your sanctuary, that can be one of the most horrifying things possible.

So scare both yourself and me. Write a short story or a flash fiction involving the character getting terrorized in their home. Remember to, the only parameters are that the story take place in the character’s home and that it’s scary. If you want your character to deal with a haunting, go for it! Or maybe a mass murderer is on the loose and stalking outside of your character’s house. Maybe the zombie apocalypse has arrived and the character is making a last stand in their childhood home. No matter what it is, make it terrifying and make it fun.

To help get you started, let me remind you of the famous quote from the movie The Strangers. In that movie, the characters, who are obviously murdered, ask why they were the ones targeted. The response: “Because you were home.” Same premise for this prompt. So let’s get to work!

Come back tomorrow to see what my story entails.

Weekly Writing Exercise: Something New

Hello fellow writer’s and welcome to Tuesday’s Weekly Writing Prompt! As always, I’m here to encourage you to make sure that you’re writing everyday. Not only is practicing writing a good habit, but will also make you better at it in the long run. That and reading, reading is also important. But I digress.

For this week’s writing prompt, I thought I would issue a challenge over something to practice with. I feel that it’s always best to try and find ways to improve your writing. Obviously, reading and practicing as I stated above will go a long way, but that isn’t the only thing you should be doing.

So here is my challenge: Break from your usual routines and read and write something unique and different. I’m talking a whole new genre for you. Many of us writer’s find ourselves in niches, certain genres and writing styles we love, and don’t worry because I’m one of those writer’s. If you check out my book, A Monstrous Tomorrow, you’ll quickly see my influence from H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, and more.

There is good reason those influences show up too: it’s because it’s the genre I love to read. Even looking at the bottom of the page you’ll see on my Goodreads that I’m currently reading more Lovecraft, some Neil deGrasse Tyson for science, and Leviathan Wakes for my science fiction. These just happen to be the genres I love and so I constantly look to them for inspiration.

However, just like I stated in my challenge, we as writer’s need to be able to work outside of the genres we love. That’s why I’ll also read books like I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, or Total Frat Move, both of which are comedies about college party life. Is this a lifestyle I personally lived? No. Is it one I wish I lived? Probably not. However, the books are comical to read and give insight into an area that I don’t know well and can transition into my own work.

So this week, first go out there and try to find a short creative work in a genre that’s new to you. It could be erotica, if you’re in the mood for that, or maybe a romance piece. Maybe you’ve stayed away from the horror genre because you’re worried reading it will make it hard for you to sleep, well just read it during the day! Find something outside of your comfort zone and just read it.

Then, once you’re done reading, I highly suggest trying to imitate the work you read and write in that genre. Even if you have a manuscript or a small piece you’re working on, you never know how this study and practice of a new genre may help you. Do you feel like two of your characters may fall in love? Then read a romance and see how an author handled a scene like that. Maybe you’re planning on having a character do something in the realm of science. Perfect! Read some science fiction and see how those authors handle science and then write it your way.

This week’s prompt is fun and easy. Find a new genre. Read the new genre. Write in new genre.

Simple. See you tomorrow with mine.

Weekly Writing Exercise: Weather

Hello everyone! It’s that early time of the week again where I force everyone that reads my blog to consider doing a bit of writing. For many people that read this blog, the death throughs of summer are upon us as autumn tries to claw desperately into the limelight, bringing promises of pumpkin spice, colored leaves, and of course spooky time events.

The reason I’m bringing all of this up is because I absolutely love autumn. Besides my birth month (October) being encompassed by this season, it also brings on cooler weather and my personal favorite type of drink, apple cider. However, that is neither here nor there.

No, as much as I would like to continue talking about myself and about fall, it is time to get onto this week’s writing prompt. What I think would be fun to do for any writer reading this is to to write a short piece about your favorite season and the weather that corresponds with it. Maybe you love summer and the hot 90 degree days that come with it. Could it be you love spring, a season that breaks from the icy death of winter and brings blooming flowers and warmer weather with it. Maybe instead you love winter, when time finds a way to stand still when snow gently falls.

No matter what, write a bit about your favorite season and the weather that takes place in it. The goal of this prompt is to really make your reader feel like they’re experiencing your favorite weather and season all at once. As always, I will be giving my take on the prompt, and if you haven’t pieced it together yet, mine will definitely be singing the praises of autumn and why it’s clearly the most superior season of them all.

Now get to writing!

Writing Writing Exercise: Favorites

Hello everyone! It’s that time of the week where I give a suggested writing prompt and you go out there and do it! For this week I decided to do something different. Instead of having a writing prompt that teaches like the world building exercise or character development one, I thought this time around the prompt could be something a bit different.

This weekly, my writing prompt is about YOU, which I guess that means there will be a lesson after all. I’m a pretty firm believer in writing what you know. Despite the fact that my book, A Monstrous Tomorrow, takes place in the future where major cities were wiped off the planet and monsters are terrorizing things, there is plenty of personal knowledge that went into that book.

For example, in order to create this world, I did heavy research into what nuclear fallout would look like, along with finding various animals that fit my setting. It took a lot of time and effort to make sure that things were right and made sense for the setting. And I know what you may be thinking, “but Ty, that’s research, that isn’t something you just know,” which is true, but after you research it, you know it.

Let’s not forget the fact that I also kept my setting in central Illinois. For anyone that hasn’t read my bio, I was born and raised in the same area. So a little bit of a teaser alert, my book is pretty accurate in describing what some people call “not Chicago” looks like.

In addition, some of my biggest passions in terms of genre are both science fiction and horror. I grew up reading and watching as much as I could in the two genres, which reflects in my book as well. This again is something that I knew and wanted to show my readers.

So what does all this bragging have to do with this week’s writing prompt? Well it’s simple: write a story about something that you love. What is something that is your favorite thing in the world? Is it sports? Maybe it’s a certain television series or book series. Maybe it’s a genre of music or musicals. Write me a story showing me what you love.

As always, I will be doing my own take on the writing prompt tomorrow and everyone is welcome to either send me what they wrote and I would be more than happy to read it and critique.

That’s all for today, have a good one and come back tomorrow to see my take on this writing prompt!

Weekly Writing Exercise: Vacation

Hello everybody!

So I’m not sure if anyone has noticed, but I took a bit of a hiatus over the last few days and haven’t blogged recently. The reason for this is the same as the writing prompt for the week! I took a 3 day vacation down to the Gulf Shores to help some friends move and get settled into the area.

So if you can’t guess, this week’s writing prompt is inspired a bit from getting to return to the Gulf of Mexico and enjoying the beach and sea. I also figure that since I want to write about it, most of you should join me!

So this week’s writing prompt is relatively easy. All I’m looking for you to do is simply describe your last vacation to me. It doesn’t have to be every detail of the vacation, heaven knows that could lead to a very long short story or even novella, depending on how much you remember. No, for this one, the idea is to bring a scene from that vacation to life.

With this prompt, it will help to try and bring in some of the practice from the previous ones I’ve given before. Who is the main character of this scene? Is you or somebody that went on vacation with you. What do they look like? What do they smell like? How do they act? Let me and your other readers really know about this trip.

Next, and obviously the most important part of writing a vacation piece, where did you go? Was it to a major city for a weekend or a getaway to a beach? Did you stay in the mountains somewhere, contemplating life or did you go camping instead, traversing with nature and all its beauty? Tell me about where you went!

Finally, make sure this scene has something that you or the person that’s your main character has an activity going on. Did you go swimming or biking? How about hiking or mountain climbing? Did you stay home and sleep all day? What was it about this last vacation that made it unique and special to you?

As always, I will write mine up and share it tomorrow for everyone to see how I handled my own prompt. Don’t forget, you’re more than welcome to comment on the post sharing your own prompt, just let me know! I’d be happy to give any feedback that you may be after.

Enjoy!

Weekly Writing Exercise: World Building

It’s that time of the week again folks! The time where I tell you what to write and you go ahead and do it! As always, I am always open to reading anyone’s prompt, so feel free to share it on one of my many pages. I’ll do my best to respond and give feedback to your work.

Anyway, onwards to this week’s prompt!

If you read yesterday’s writing corner at all, you’ll know that this week is going to focus heavily on world building. Why world building you may ask. Well for one, it’s important to really know the setting that you are going to be working in. As I stated yesterday, the more you know of your world and the mechanics that exist in it, the better the odds are of writing a greater story.

The other reason is simple. I’m struggling with my own setting so having a writing prompt that helps you, also helps me! It’s a win-win.

So this week we really want to focus on building your setting up. So go ahead, tell me a bit about your world! Does it take place here on Earth or does it take place on another planet? Maybe it is on Earth but in a different time period. Maybe it doesn’t even exist in our universe. Get creative and funky with it, tell me where your setting takes place.

While we’re at it, once you know the planet your on, tell me about the continent. Or maybe it’s one giant country. Tell me how the mechanics of your world come together. Then tell me the region your story takes place in. Bring that microscope in closer and show me a city. Or a town. Or hell, maybe it’s even just a home in the country.

Paint me a picture. Let me see the world that your characters in habit.

Don’t forget to tell me about the weather and environment as well. Is it always hot or always cold? Maybe it’s neither. Does it rain a lot or is it always sunny, like in Philadelphia. (See what I did there? It’s a really bad joke.) Is there wind and if so how much, if any? Is the world exotic and would be exotic by our standards or book standards.

When it comes to writing setting, there is so much that you can show a reader. So show me a bit of your world. Write a couple paragraphs that make me feel like I’ve just sat down and have been transported to your world. Make it fun and make it unique!

As always, check back in tomorrow where I’ll throw together my own exotic world for everyone to fall into.

The Writer’s Corner

Hello all!

Seems like I’ve had a bit of success as of late covering writing on my blog. In honor of that, I decided besides doing a writing prompt every Tuesday and Wednesday, I would also give some tips for writing. Some of these may be about writing fiction, while others may cover other topics in writing as well.

However, today’s is going to focus a bit on world building. As of right now, I write for my own group called Pantheon Productions while also striving to become a best selling author. Both of these things are new challenges for me and so it has led to my life being engulfed in the world of writing. With both Pantheon Productions and my novel still in the beginning stages, I find myself really in the midst of world building and I decided I would share some things that I’ve personally learned while doing it.

The first is to think as broad as possible. There is a reason that world building is called “world building.” When I went into my first book, A Monstrous Tomorrow, I spent more time figuring the state of the planet I was creating over the finer details. Much like character development, the more you know about your world, the easier it is to write things.

This has lead to me asking some of the more bizarre questions in my writing career. Questions along the lines of “if it’s hot on the northern side of the planet, is it naturally cold on the southern?” “How long are days versus nights?” “What kind of plants and animals exist here?” All of this has been fun to do so far.

With that world building though, there is also the decisions to make in how characters will react and how believable to make it. I love writing in science fiction and horror and one of my favorite things to do in both of those is to make it feel as real as possible. That’s why as my projects come out for Pantheon Productions, or exerts come out of my manuscript, you’ll find that a lot of it is written to have the reader as immersed as possible. I want the reader or viewer to feel like somewhere nearby, the events I write are happening.

That’s what I think makes good world building overall. This can be said to be the same for about every genre and that’s the main point. As a writer, if you go in and take the time to understand every detail of your world, to a point that it feels real even to you, then you’ve done a good job.

That’s all I have to say on the subject for now. Check back in tomorrow for an exercise to help begin creating your very own world.

Weekly Writing Exercise: Character Development

Hello one and all! Hope everyone that’s reading this is having a great Tuesday. Mine personally was very productive with cleaning around the house getting done and some writing and editing taking place. However, this post isn’t to talk about me, it’s about to talk about US and the weekly writing prompt I’ve come up with.

So one thing that I find myself sometimes struggling with, and it seems like a lot of people do too, is creating a character. Now just quickly coming up with any old character is easy. Simply pick a name, decide what they look like and what they do, and you have yourself a character. However, creating one that people will like and care about takes a bit more work than that.

To create a good character, one that people will understand and enjoy, there needs to be depth to them. If you don’t know your character as well as you know yourself, how are people supposed to care? Now normally what I tell people that talk writing with me is to make a list of everything they can about the character. Start with the description. What color eyes? What color hair? Any specific features that stand out? Scars? Tattoos? You get the idea.

After that, I recommend that you begin writing things down about the character, mainly there interests. Now I know this is where things can get difficult, as you may not know what they may or may not be interested in. So first take into account your setting and the things that are relevant there. For example, if you’re writing a fantasy novel that has a lot of magic, does that character like magic? Can they use it and if they can, do they like to use it? If you’re writing a modern piece, does that character enjoy sports? What about movies? What’s their favorite? The possibilities for what they may or may not like is endless.

So with all of that in mind, this week’s writing prompt will revolve around creating a character. Now this can be done in a variety of ways. You can make a list, just stating facts and figures about what they look like, the size of their waist, their hair length, etc. Your other option can be to write a scene that gives your reader a picture of what this person looks like. Find a way to create a scene where you can bring this character to life, describing their life and  what they look like.

Once you finish this, I would be more than happy to read it as always. Feel free to comment at the bottom of this post or wherever you read this blog post on social media. If you don’t wish to share as well that’s fine, just make sure you’re writing. Whenever you don’t, you hurt your chances of improving.

So stop reading this and get to work!

A Book Has No Name: Setting

Hello, time for part one of my two part update on the second book in the Forsaken World Chronicles. To get things started right away, I’m currently sitting at over 10,000 words, or going onto 35 pages, while still being at the beginning of the book. If I had to take a guess, this book is going to become one monster sized novel, no pun intended.

So with this update, I thought I might share what I’ve been working. At this point, I’ve got about three characters borderline established. As stated in a previous post there is Abraham, who is the main character and is accompanied by his fabulous partner Reggie. I feel both of them have their most important qualities outlined and as the story continues to unfold, they will continue to show more of who they are. Either way, I’m happy with where they are at.

In addition, my antagonist has had a nice introduction in the beginning. I still have my reservations with starting the novel with him, but I have a feeling he is what will really draw most of my readers into the story. I’ve currently been thinking a lot about this character and I have a feeling he will soon be showing himself again in my manuscript.

But, the important thing that developed in today’s writing session was the establishment of a little bit more setting. While I do not want to give too much away, I’m happy with how things progressed and turned out. While bringing some much needed description and explanation into how the world has been functioning on a more natural level, a few folds emerged that may become integral to the plot line later on.

In a way, I also impressed myself as well with some additional backstory that was created by just trying to find creative avenues to discuss the wilderness and weather. By trying to find a natural way to have this happen, I found myself presenting information on things people may ask about. Things like what kind of music or entertainment is in your future? How is it treated? What kind of things are allowed or not allowed? Questions that I would find myself asking if I was reading my own book were essentially taken care of.

Finally, this book is supposed to be an awesome blend of science fiction dystopia, horror, and a mystery thriller. One difference I have found while doing this on the scale of a novel over a collection of short stories is that certain elements require patience. There is nothing I want to do more right now than to scare the ever living hell out of my reader with the things I have in store for them, but I know to get that pay off requires telling a proper story. With that in mind, I find myself continuing to push through the things I may not want to write, but need to, so that my finish project will be a wild adventure for my readers to enjoy.

I believe that about sums up what I’ve completed for the day. My hope is to at least have two more chapters written and edited by the end of the week.

A Book Has No Name: Update

Another day, another bit of writing completed on the new book.

As I’ve stated in my previous posts, I’m currently working on the second book in the Forsaken World Chronicles, and as you can see from the title of this post, it still does not have a name. At this time I’m sad to say that it has not earned one as far as I’m concerned.

Now let me explain that when I say the book is not earning a title, that is different than saying it’s bad. When I say that my writing in progress, or WIP for short, hasn’t earned its title, I simply mean that so far a great title has not presented itself to me. This has probably happened for a variety of reasons but I believe that right now it’s because I’ve simply been doing more character building over the first few chapters over world building this time around.

To give it the official stats that I know some people would love to see, I’m currently at 3 chapters, including a prelude, or about 27 pages. If words are more your fancy on judging progress, than I’m just over 8,000. In my opinion, that’s not a bad amount of writing accomplished over a four day period. I’m hoping that as I begin to build a new routine of writing this book, it will help to move things along quickly and efficiently.

Right now my weekly writing plan is this: One day is spent on strictly writing and not looking back. I feel that I have a full story in my head and it is something that needs to make it into words quickly before the story leaves and I’m stuck waiting for it to come around again. However, I also understand that writing without looking back can lead to mistakes and errors, which has led to the routine I’m doing now, which is whenever I spend one full day writing, I spend the next day editing everything I wrote the day before. I feel like this allows for me to move fluidly through the writing process and doesn’t bog me down for a day of multiple pages being read and fretted over.

Anyway, onto the good stuff. Teasers. So right now there isn’t too much to give away as I’m still in the opening act of my book, but I am excited to share a little bit about my two main characters Abraham and Reggie. Now for those that have read A Monstrous Tomorrow, you’ll know that Abraham is the very last character in the book and that he faces down a major trauma while making mention of a few that took place before the events in What Comes Next. Rest assured, those traumas will be reopened and laid out for the world to see.

The other character, Reggie, is a nice fold to Abraham’s traumatic past full of loss. She’s a hacker and a hunter that works side by side with Abraham. She enjoys giving Abraham a hard time about his brooding and will push him to be more than just an upset character struggling through the burdens of life. There isn’t too much I can give away about her now, since she is just beginning to show off what she brings to the novel. Hopefully as I get a few more chapters done and get her more involved, I can bring a bit of her into my updates on my WIP to help get people excited.

As always, thank you for reading and stay tuned! As of right now, if you see the title A Book Has No Name, know that you’ll be getting some insight into my current manuscript.