Weekly Writing Exercise: Fantastical Fantasies

A day late, a dollar short as the saying goes. Although I’m a day late on this post, I don’t believe I’m a dollar short. Maybe a lot more than a dollar, but we’ll table that discussion for another day! My schedule was thrown off this week with having Monday off for MLK Day and so today feels like a Wednesday, even though it’s not.

But anyway, enough about me. If you’re reading this post, odds are it’s because you’re looking for a reason to write and not write at the same time. Don’t worry, I get you. You know you need to write today, you don’t know about what, so why not read a blog that tells you to and gives you ideas? Hopefully, it’ll also get you motivated to do the writing after you read it.

So this week I’m focusing in a bit on having the writing exercise focus around one genre. In a past post, I encouraged everyone to try and write a story outside of the genre they usually work in, knowing how challenging that can be. Well this week, I want to see you produce one work inside of one genre.

If you couldn’t guess by the title, that genre is fantasy. I myself don’t work to heavily in it, preferring to read and write science fiction and horror, but I do love watching it. There is just something about a world or realm ripe with monsters and adventure that can just lure me in.

So this week I’m calling on you to do the same! It’s time to create that adventure into a fantastical world full of beasts and creatures. One that is ripe with magic and full of princes or princesses to save. Create one where dragons destroy taverns because they’re jerks and goblins get the girls, because who doesn’t love a strange love story?

This exercise doesn’t need to be long or extremely well written, remember, it is practice after all. I’m certainly not expecting you to pull a Tolkien and create an entire language and map before starting (unless that’s your thing, then go for it!). Simply write a short story, poem, or whatever other medium you work in, that involves a fantasy world.

Once you finish, if you’re proud of your work, then keep going! Give it a few rounds of editing. Clean that new piece of art up and find a place to submit it! Regardless, if there is one thing to take away from this prompt, it’s this: WRITE.

That’s all for this week. Check out the bottom of my page to find me on social media where Facebook gets a heavy helping of writing memes, Twitter gets conversations with me whether you like it or not, and Instagram shows you my struggle to use that platform no matter how hard I try.

The Absence

Hello everyone!

Let me just say that I have missed writing for you all daily and I feel bad about my online presence disappearing for awhile there. So let me go ahead and explain what happened.

So from where I can see on my blog, I left with a writing prompt that I never officially did myself. No worries there, tomorrow there will be a new post that will allow you to see how I handled that prompt. Don’t worry, it is something that I’ve had done for a little while, I just need to re-read it and make sure that errors and other problems were cleaned up.

So why the sporadic hiatus? Well originally that took place due to me falling ill. A few weeks ago, I found myself with an inability to swallow, body pains, and a stubbornness to go see the doctor. After a few days I relented and went and made an appointment, only to discover that I had an upper respiratory infection. Luckily, getting over it didn’t involve any specific medication, just a lot of time sleeping and keeping away from a screen, hence why I didn’t return back to the blog for a week.

From there, the hiatus grew longer as I accepted a position at a new job and began filling out the paperwork and preparing to start. I had initially planned on returning to this blog after I had my first successful day, but found myself unwilling to get back to writing. Call it lack of ambition or enjoying being back to work, but either way I stayed away from writing something new.

But here we are and I have finally found my groove and need to write again. I believe at this point, looking at my blog and the successful, and oft times not successful posts, I have decided to keep the formula close to being the same. I will continually provide writing prompts for readers to do, show how I handled the prompt, and even provide some free creative stories once again.

However, I will be looking to add something new as well. Whether it is doing reviews, writing about something that has garnered my interests, or just a post like this, where I speak to anyone willing to listen, I will bring some kind of new writing to the fold.

So thank you to those that have followed my page and read what I have to say and start making a point to come visit these posts once again, I promise that you won’t be disappointed.

P.S. visit my Amazon page whenever you have a chance because within the next few days I will be releasing a new, non-fiction piece just in time for Halloween.

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!

Update On….ME!

Hey everybody, so I just thought I would just do a quick post today to give an update on me, myself, and I. It will basically cover what I’ve been working on and why there haven’t been as many posts as I usually do.

So to start things off, I would like to let everyone know that if you have the time and energy, I will be doing a book signing of A Monstrous Tomorrow in Peru, Illinois. Details are listed on my Facebook page. The event will run from 1-3:30 with yours truly doing a reading from the book (which story is still being determined) along with a Q&A session after. There will be a limited quantity of books for sale and will run $10 a piece. Please bring cash or make sure to try and get your copy of the book through Amazon ASAP.

Next order of business is the sequel to A Monstrous Tomorrow, or as it its known on this blog, A Book Has No Name. As it stands, I’ve only written one chapter since the last time I gave any information on the book. As a reminder, it will be a full length novel and not a collection of short stories this time around. It will feature one of the characters from A Monstrous Tomorrow, so if you’re interested in the second book of The Forsaken World Chronicles, I highly recommend reading A Monstrous Tomorrow.

Besides the book, there are two other projects I’m working on. One is entirely under wraps but let me just say, when it’s done, everyone will fall in love with it. The other is of course, Pantheon Productions. We have backtracked a bit and began filming short creative pieces again and look forward to getting those out to the public soon. In the meantime, I am continuing to try and strive towards making our three fiction towns feel as real as possible.

I believe that is it for now. As it stands, my focus over the past two weeks was first vacation and now my book signing. After this weekend, my focus will return to solely the blog and only my writing projects.

Make sure to come back tomorrow because I can guarantee there will be a new fiction piece up for everyone to enjoy!

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!

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.

The Dreaded Writers Block

It has finally happened. After a couple steady month’s of chugging along with my writing, I have been struck with the dreaded writer’s block. Now I know what you may be thinking, “How could this happen to you?!” and quite frankly, I don’t know. Another question may be “how are you writing right now if you have writer’s block?” Well that’s another great question and one that I have a bit of an answer to.

So for starters, I think part of the reason I’ve hit a block has to do with either my sinuses or allergies acting up, I’m not sure which yet. This may come off as a lame excuse, but when you’re having difficulty breathing and a headache to go with it, it makes life a bit difficult. Not saying that I shouldn’t be able to write because of this, just saying that it probably has a bit of an effect.

I believe my main problem is the weather in general. See with writer’s block, at least how I get it, it’s more of an inability to concentrate on creating what is in my head. I know the entire story. Hell, if I wanted, I could probably list how my current manuscript and the next few will go no problem. The issue is making hit the page with the write words and eloquent delivery. I personally believe that the new development of having fall-like weather, mixed in with a flurry of other things on my mind, has led to more a distraction, making it hard to just sit down and write.

I struggled to even get myself to the chair to write/complain about my block today.

I think the other issue is that I’m at a place in my novel where I want to move on. I know for a lot of writers, they are able to bounce around. If they don’t want to write any more scenes that help develop setting and character, they can bounce to another scene, one that is more exciting, and write that before headed back to those scenes. I, sadly, am not one of those people. When I begin something, I need to go from start to finish. I know that if I don’t, those scenes just won’t get done.

So yeah, at this point, there isn’t much more to really update on the manuscript. I am sticking with Dan Harmon’s philosophy on writer’s block, which is even if you have it, you need to continue to write. So that’s what I’m doing. I cranked out a whole two pages yesterday for the antagonist of my series and the page count is now up to 35 pages. I’ve done some editing today as well, so even with a moment of not feeling the manuscript, at least something was accomplished.

That’s got to be worth something right?