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Weekly Writing Prompt: Let’s Get Spooky

2 Oct

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.

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Weekly Writing Prompt: BFFs

26 Sep

Well it’s that time of the week. The time of the week where I do my own weekly writing prompt and just hope that people love it. I won’t lie, even after doing some reading in a field I’m not use to, hello Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, I still wasn’t sure what I was going to write about. I was stumped to be honest. I found myself questioning if I can up with something that may be a bit too challenging?

I then decided nah, that wasn’t the case. This is just writing practice and practice is what every good author and writer needs. So I sat down, spun in my chair multiple times and thought about things that could be fun to write as I continued to get dizzier and dizzier. In the end, this is what I came up with:

Bob and Dan had been friends over the past thirteen years. It all started on a fateful summer evening, many years ago. Both Bob and Dan had made the mistake of dating two women that were secretly in to one another and were looking for a way to date in private. Both of the women’s families had disapproved of homosexuality in any form and so both of them were looking for a way to date without said families knowing. Enter Bob and Dan.

Bob had met his date while working in a local junkyard. He was a stout man in his early thirties and he was happy working in the yard. Bob had left high school to take over the place but soon found that his father did not think as highly of himself as Bob did, and so the junkyard business went to his older brother instead of him. However, Bob was not deterred and felt with enough work and dedication, one day his brother would get bored of the company and just give it to him. By the time Bob met his date for the evening, that plan still hadn’t taken effect yet. However, Bob’s inability to operate the crane correctly, which in turn saved the car his date was trying to rescue a lost bag out of, and his overall dim-witted charm, allowed for him to land his date for the evening.

Now in Dan’s sad case, many felt that his date had taken pity on him or was trying to use him to get a better grade in the course he was teaching out in the community college. Dan was a man with a plan that went down in a ball of flame. He went and got his doctorates and believed he would be a voice of real change in the world at a prestigious university. He had studied and devoted his life to history, wanting to find some error that historians made about World War II that make him the most prominent figure on the subject. Sadly, his life work went up flames as most people felt his research made him look like a nazi sympathizer over anything else. In shame, he returned home and began teaching at a local community college. In his time there, he packed on a hefty belly and watched sadly in a mirror as his hair left his head, only to reappear on his chest. Sometimes he would eat ice-cream in front of said mirror while having himself a good cry. His life was miserable and so that is why many believed his date wanted a better grade in his course over an actual date with the man.

So on that same evening thirteen years ago, Bob and Dan were introduced at a local bar and while their dates left them to go talk with each other, Bob and Dan slowly began their lifelong friendship. It started with Bob complaining about the bar having sports on because he didn’t really care and would rather be watching game shows. Dan launched in a bit on the history of game shows, since they were also a favorite pass time of his. Before you knew it, both men went from talking about game shows to their general disdain of sports, how they preferred mix drinks over beer, and how both had never been to Utah.  That summer night turned out to be a magical night for both the two men and their dates.

 

 

 

So that is just the start of a story and one that I may flush out and expand upon later on. The reason I decided to write about these two men is due to the fact that I plan on having similar characters show up in my current manuscript. Now the reason I did that is because my current manuscript is meant to be a dystopian horror novel but I wanted to be able to add a bit of myself to the piece.

Now with any writing, we all put a bit of ourselves into any work. With this example, it comes from a guy that ended up hanging out with me and my friends for an evening after his date ditched him. We didn’t become life long friends or anything like that, in fact, after that night I haven’t heard from him since, but nonetheless it did inspire the story. But anyway. The reason I say this is because with my manuscript I wanted to write to fun and lovable characters that could periodically appear throughout the series. Since most of my writing is dark and the characters more serious, this was the perfect time for me to try writing out a fun setting with some lovable losers.

So that’s basically how this story came to be. It was practice for me to leave my comfort zone of horror and science fiction, which is what this writing prompt was all about. What did you write this week? Feel free to comment below with a link and I’d be happy to read it and share my thoughts as well!

 

Weekly Writing Prompt: Something New

25 Sep

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 Prompt: Autumn

20 Sep

Sorry for the delay on my coverage of my own weekly writing prompt. I found myself a bit sick yesterday and dealing with a headache, which made it a bit difficult to stare at a computer screen for too long. However, I am back today and so here is how I handled Tuesday’s writing prompt:

A persistent gust of wind ruffles my brown hair, hair that I had carelessly forgotten to get cut over the past few weeks. A smile crosses my face as I shiver from the cold air that had taken refuge in that last gust. I pull my hoodie tighter around me.

Just a week ago it had felt like I was in a furnace, standing out back and playing fetch with my dog. I remember it vividly. My arm pits had been stained with sweat and the beads that were on my brow continued to roll into my eyes with each toss of the ball. I would look up into the sky, hoping in vain that a cloud would pass by or that the breeze that was dancing through the air didn’t feel like a heater set to 100.

And now I sit quietly in my front yard, watching as the sky fills gently with grey clouds. The temperature has dropped and the two trees on either side of me begin to shed their leaves. I watch as each gust of wind shakes the leaves free and they float down to their resting place in my yard.

I close my eyes and I listen as some of the leaves dance playfully down the street. Each leaf scratching the blackened asphalt, creating their own kind of music that can only be heard at this time of year. Another gust, this time cooler than the last. I pull the red hood attached to my shirt up over my head as I look above and watch as the first few raindrops begin to fall, the first rain of the new season. I smile again.

As the rain splatters the ground I begin picking up my chair to bring inside. I take my time, ensuring that I enjoy every second of this blossoming new season. With autumn finally arriving, bringing its refreshing temperatures, changing leaves, and tasty treats, I keep in mind what comes after. Always lurking in the shadow of autumn is winter, with its frigid airs and icy roads.

So I take one last moment as the cool rain sends goosebumps across my arms and appreciate the weather while it’s here. I can never get enough of my favorite season.

 

 

So as you can see in this post, I decided to add myself as part of the story again. I did this because I felt it was important to have some kind of character in the story to really relay the feelings of not only the weather, but the season as a whole.

One thing I did, albeit it was brief, was mention what the other seasons felt like. The reason I did this was simple: to have that compare and contrast. Both summer and winter can have harsh weather, so by showing what people hate about the two, it makes autumn feel even sweeter to both the character and the reader.

That’s all for today’s blog! Hope you enjoyed and if I have time keep an eye out tomorrow, I’ll be continuing Monday’s story then!

Weekly Writing Prompt: Weather

18 Sep

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 Prompt: DA BEARS

12 Sep

So as per usual, yesterday I released my weekly writing prompt which you can read here.  However, for the purpose of this post, I will do a quick highlight of it and say that the prompt asked for people to write about their favorite things. One of mine is the Chicago Bears. Without further ado, here is how I wrote the prompt.

(Btw this is quick take of last week’s game and how I felt)

The old boogyman had returned from the shadows of the locker room. We had thought we had crippled him, taken him out of the game. Chicago had unleashed their monsters in the first half, a destructive force that had been missing for the past several years. The boogyman had seemed frightened and wounded, hauled off in a cart while leaving his newest prodigy to be feasted on by the ravished monsters of the midway.

But then he returned, pumped full of magic juice that let him forget about the leg the monsters had tried to take. He stood their and fired off his cannon over and over into the helpless swarm of monsters. The boogyman had returned, garbed in his horrendous green and yellow attire, a color scheme only the most dimwitted of fans could admire, and he attacked.

And attacked.

The boogyman had returned to strike fear into the hearts of every Chicago fan, with every play leading closer to their fall. An all to familiar narrative began to unfold. The offense of the Bears, grizzly and aggressive in the first half fell to a whimper and soft swipes at the opposing defense. The monsters of the midway ran and hid as the boogyman sliced and diced his way through them, chipping away at their power.

There were a few valiant attempts by both the offense and defense in the end to slay the beast from the north, but they failed like so many had before. When the clock hit zero, the boogyman had done it again, he had ripped the heart out of Chicago Bear fans all over again.

Throughout their fan base, heads fell painfully into hands. Things were thrown and cussing ensued. A false hope had been born that this was the year the Bears would be feared again. Instead, a resounding message spread gently through the ether, “there are the bears we know and love.”

And with that message, a painful reminder was born. Win or lose, your favorite team will still be one that you’ll begrudgingly love. We’ll see you in December number 12.

 

 

 

 

And that’s my coverage of my writing prompt for the week. As you can see I decided to write on my favorite sports team, the Chicago Bears. However, instead of doing a traditional post following the format of “this is my favorite thing and here is why,” I decided to try and tell a story without a traditional way of reporting on a sporting event.

The main reason I chose to write it this way is because I know not everyone is into sports and so I wanted to make fun and interesting to read for those that don’t follow football. I made the opposition an enemy while trying to show the bears as a hero while still sticking with the fan base’s nickname for the Chicago Bear defense.

I hope you enjoyed the piece and check back in tomorrow to see what new content will be headed your way!

Writing Prompt: Favorites

11 Sep

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 Prompt: Gulf Shores

5 Sep

Hello! So usually I would give a big run up before showing what my version of the prompt is. This time, however, I’m simply going to write now and explain after. Enjoy!

Off in the distance, a flash of light in the sky accompanied by a warm breeze. In front of me, the water rolls and crashes, shoving everything in its path back to the shore. Silhouettes in the night stand in the water, laughing as its violent warmth washes over them.

I walk forward and into the water. It’s lukewarm, different than the Atlantic and Pacific, both of which are cold to the touch. Another breeze blows in, carrying with it another storm. The smell of salt water burns in my nostrils, bringing a childish smile to my face. Staring off into the distance there is nothing but darkness, mixed with white from the breaking of the waves. Flashes of light go off in the distance.

I wade further out into the water, getting to about waist high. Around me, my friends whoop and holler, fighting against the waves. In the strength of the sea and its never ending power, we become small children. We run around, laughing and tackling one another into it’s warm embrace.

The gulf is not gentle though. She pushes and pulls, rolling our bodies under the waves as they crash violently. On more than one occasion I can feel the sand underneath me rip at my skin as the water forces my body to rub across it mercilessly. As I come up for air I can see my friends facing the same fate. We take a moment to stand and relax, before fighting against the water once again.

This process continues for awhile. Us jumping and diving, letting the waves rush over us and letting everything fall aside. In the water I don’t think about the 16 hour drive we embarked on, one to leave our closest friends behind in this paradise. I don’t fret over what stories to read at my upcoming book signing or how many people will show. The worries of present slip away and it’s just my friends and I enjoying the ocean. It’s my fiancee and myself and embracing and sharing a kiss in the water, pretending as if the others on shore cannot see us.

Simply put, it’s a vacation.

 

So I don’t plan on doing too much of a breakdown on this piece as well. As you can see, I did a small of amount of setting, letting my reader know that I was at a major body of water but that it wasn’t the Atlantic or Pacific. I felt this was important because it allows the reader to imagine where I’m at without having to specifically been to the Gulf Shores.

I also chose to make myself the main character and leave my friends nameless. In as short of a piece as this is, I felt it was best to not have to try and describe and create everyone. By keeping it short and sweet, I felt I was able to show off a single aspect of my vacation and what it was like to be in the ocean again.

Finally, I decided to stay focused in on the ocean and its effects on a person. The main reason I chose this was two-fold. The first was that it was probably the best part of the trip. For anyone that doesn’t live near the sea, you’ll understand what I mean. The second is that the ocean is always something fun to write about and take on as a writer. There have been many ways its been written about and I’d be shocked if there weren’t more that came later on.

Well that’s it for now. If you have any questions or want to share your own work, feel free to leave it in the comments wherever you may have seen this post!

 

Writing Prompt: Vacation

4 Sep

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 Prompt: Aldaku

29 Aug

So for this week’s prompt I decided to quickly create a planet. Instead of writing a complete story for it, however, I decided to give it a detailed list. Now don’t get me wrong, you can handle this anyway you. For myself, I believe having a list compiled makes it easier to see all the features I want to add. As things begin to condense and the magnifying glass is brought in on the importance of this world, I will change it from a list to actual descriptions.

But for now, a detailed list will suffice. This should also show you that sometimes just writing out some ideas helps as well.

Planet: Aldaku

Location: In the galaxy of Habitau, in the system of Granskull.

Granskull: Was given name due to it the system being in the shape of a skull and having two suns that appear to be glowing eyes. Aldaku is located in a far outer orbit from one of them.

Aldaku is a planet of extremes that is known for only having terrible summers and winters. The planet spins quickly on its axis, creating quick seasonal changes.

This leaves the inhabitants of the planet as mainly a carnivorous group since the vegetation that grows on Aldaku has to be as tough as the people that live on it to survive.

Aldaku is made up of mostly land with only two major oceans existing on the planet. One thing that helps the people out is that the water is fresh, which makes it drinkable.

The planet itself doesn’t have much in the way of life, however. It’s rich in a mineral that the more habitable planets closer to the sun lack. Due to this reason, the people that live there are mainly mining colonies.

 

 

I could go on and deep into the details of this planet and the solar system it exists in, but you get the idea. This world building exercise is something simple and easy. Mine was simply creating names and zeroing in until I had a single planet pictured in my head. From there, I gave it a few defining traits and was able to begin creating a bit of a backstory for it and the galaxy.

So now it’s your turn. If you haven’t already, check out yesterday’s writing prompt and get to work. As long as you share what you create, you’re welcome to use to galaxy and solar system that I just described!

Enjoy!