Posted in Emotions

Story Tension

Tension within a story is the sense that something ominous/foreboding is around the corner. What are some ways you can create tension within your story?

Forms of Tension

  1. Increase conflict between your characters.
  2. Make the situation worse for your character(s). Ahh, the tension of the task. Don’t make what your characters have to do easy. Don’t allow them to get what they want right away.
  3. There is tension in surprise. Readers like to be surprised, whether it’s good or bad. Prolong it. Keep stringing them along until just the right time.
  4. Create an air of mystery. We all love a mystery.
Posted in Short Stories

Carousels and Nightmares (Part I)

The Present

Sheila Baye stood propped against the sliding glass door as she looked from the balcony off her bedroom. Next door the police swarmed in an out of the house. She assumed they were searching for….what….clues? Clues to what? She noted the gloves they all wore. Maybe one of the Mason twins was killed. Maybe one of them or both stole something and hid it. Given the number of officers, it had to be pretty serious, she surmised.

Her attention drew to movement in the far left corner of the house’s property out back. To Sheila it was a blind spot, even being up high on her balcony. But a couple of heads bobbed up above the wooden fence then lowered. She sauntered to the outer corner of her balcony and stretched her neck hoping to gain a better view. Then one of the heads was joined by a hand waving someone down from inside the house. A plain clothes detective, she assumed, rushed out of the house and over to the two bobbing heads.

“What have you got?” asked the detective.

One of the officers who had been digging, moved to the side and gestured toward the hole. It was a body.

(To Be Continued)

Posted in Fiction

Choosing a Genre

Whether you are writing a book or reading one, you’re choosing a genre.

  • Genre: The dictionary definition of genre is as follows “A class or category of artistic endeavor having a particular form, content, technique, or the like:” It involves, “a kind, category, or sort, esp. of literary or artistic work.”

Nonfiction, fiction, and poetry are the three main literary genres, but there are many subgenres within each of these three. I’m going to pick on fiction and list some of these subgenres below.

  • horror
  • mystery
  • fantasy
  • legend
  • thriller
  • science fiction
  • crime
  • romance

Let’s say you want to write a short story, but you don’t know which kind you want to write. Well, what interests you the most? If you are an avid reader of fantasy fiction, then chances are you’re familiar with that subgenre. In that case choosing fantasy would be best. But what if you wanted to challenge yourself and write in a subgenre you are not familiar with? Then choose one outside your comfort zone. If you do that, make sure you do your homework and read a few books or short stories in that unfamiliar subgenre and do some reading up on it. Trust me, they all have their particular rules one must adhere to when writing in them.

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to choosing a genre. It really is up to you and what your goals are.

Posted in Fiction

An Eerie Scent of Roses (Part V)

Later that evening, the Detective called me back.

            “Miss Blake, I checked on that janitor. He said he had forgotten that he had taken Mr. Dodge’s key off his ring so that he could get a new one made. Apparently, the old one wasn’t opening the door. So, it looks as if Mr. Dodge is our culprit.

            “Oh, thank God. It’s over. Thank you so much, detective.”

            “Don’t mention it.”

            “Did you arret him at work?”

            “No. Early this morning before he left for work. I made him call in sick.”


            Back at the precinct, a Detective Blanche was questioning Mr. Dodge about the phone calls. “Why did you terrorize Amanda Blake?”

            “I’m telling you that I didn’t.”

            “Oh ya? You said you were inn your office at the times those calls were made, correct?”


            “Then you made them.”

            “No, I didn’t.”

            “Okay, smarty pants, then tell me how you didn’t make phone calls from your office when you were there.”



            “You heard me. Computers. Somehow you can make it look as though a phone call is coming from somewhere else other than the real place they’re calling from. It’s done through the computer using the phone lines.”

            “How do you know all this?”

            “I watch a lot of television.”

            “Damn. Back to square one.”


            I went to bed early that night, to get caught up on my sleep. In the middle of the night, I woke up to a scratching noise. The clock display read 11:00 pm.

            “Brandy, is that you chewing on paper again? You’re a good dog normally, but when you wake me up, it’s another story.”

            “Noooooooo, iiiiiiiit’s meeeeeee. You are mine. I must have you,” the voice slowly whispered.

            “Who is it? Who’s there? Whoever you are, get out of my house,” I said, as my voice shook with fear. I could smell that eerie scent of roses that came with that note yesterday.

            “I seeeeee youuuuuuuu. I am in your mind, and I am part of you now.”

            “No, no, no, no! You’re in jail, the police arrested you. Leave me alone.”

            “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha… It worked like a charm, didn’t it?”

            I couldn’t quite place where the voice was coming from. I got up out of bed and frantically felt my way in the dark for the light switch by the door. Finding it, I turned it on. But there was nobody there. From somewhere in the house, I heard a faint tap, tap, tap. I tip toed out of the room and into the hall. Again, I heard tap, tap, tap. Where was Brandy? As I got to the living room, I turned on the light, but then shrank back in horror at the sight of Brandy’s bloody body on the floor. In the corner, hanging from the ceiling, was a dummy that looked like me. It was holding a dark red rose in its mouth. In its hand was a note that read:

You’re next, Amanda

            Tears began to stream down my face. Just then, I noticed a car coming up the driveway. Who could that be at this hour? A few minutes alter the bell rang. I quickly put an afghan around me and opened the door. It was Dan. I looked at him suspiciously and said, “What are you doing out so late?”

            “I was on my way home from the football game between the Sea Hawks and Miami and thought I’d drive by to see if everything was okay. Now that they caught the guy. Amanda, you’re crying. What’s wrong?”

            “Help me, Dan. He, I, he… My dog is dead.”

            He ran past her and into the living room.

            “We have to call the police. Here, sit down and try to stay calm. I’ll go call the police.”

            “Ask to talk to Detective Blanche.”

            “Detective Blanche please.” Silence. “Yes, detective, someone has been in Amanda’s house. They’ve killed her dog.” Silence. “Yes, Detective. Yes… yes… Okay, bye.”

            He sauntered into the living room with a big grin on his face.

            “Are they coming?”



            “You see, I really didn’t call them.”

            “What do you mean. I heard you. Wait a minute. How did you know that someone had been arrested? I mean, no one knew that accept me and Detective Blanche. It was you, all this time. But I just saw you drive into my driveway. You couldn’t possibly have just been here, and you said you had just come from the football game.”

            With a devilish grin, he said, “You’re so gullible. I parked my car around the corner of your house. Perfect, don’t you think? And now, since the police have their man in jail, no one will be able to help you now.”

            I wanted to run, but my legs wouldn’t move. I wanted to scream, but my scream was silent. He moved over to me and gently caressed my cheek. I wanted to tell him to stop, but m lips were frozen. I was trembling with fear. Finally, I found my voice. “Leave me alone!” I pulled away from him and started to run to the door, but he blocked me.

            Slowly, he walked toward me.

            I moved back.

            I could hardly breath.

            My heart was beating fast.

            My legs were rubber, and I couldn’t move fast enough. I tried to make a run for the back door, but still he caught me. He turned me around to face him and threw me to the floor. I tried to get up, but he was on top of me in an instant, ripping my clothes off and hitting me as I tried to fight him hopelessly.

            At that moment, both the back and front door flew open. Detective Blanche and his men poured through the doors with guns in their hands.

            “Hold it, buddy. Stand up and put your hands on your head.”

            Dan just sat there.

            “Do it!”

            After Dan arose, I got up and, in a hurry, put the afghan around me.

            “Detective, how did you know? He said he didn’t call you?”

            “I never took the tap off your phone. We heard that call he supposedly made to me. It was obvious that he wasn’t talking to me, so I figured something had to be up. By the way, I took the liberty of contacting your Aunt Helen. I told her to come over here, that you might need her.”


            The next day I didn’t get up until 12:00 noon. When I walked into the kitchen, Aunt Helen came over to me and gave me a big hug. “Detective Blanche came over this morning to see how you were doing. I told him you were still asleep and shouldn’t be disturbed. He also told me something very interesting.

            “What’s that?”

            “He said that after arresting Mr. Hastings, he ran a check on him. Apparently, he’s wanted in California for rape, and that his real name is Doug Frier. He’s also wanted for illegal computer hacking.”

            “So that’s how he got my new phone number.”

            “That’s right.”

            The thought of last night ran a chill up my spine. Aunt Helen saw me shiver and said, “Oh, come now, love. You’re going to be just fine.”

The End

Posted in Fiction

Writing That Stings

Photo by Erik Karits on

What is it about a piece of writing that keeps you glued to the pages? Is it just one particular writing element that does the job, or is it more than one? I’m currently reading a mystery thriller series by Jeff Carson. It’s the David Wolf series. If you haven’t checked out these books, I highly recommend them. In less than a week I’ve finished the first five books and am on book six right now. What is it that keeps me reading them?

  1. Characters–The characters are unique and lifelike. Each of them have their own set of problems, likes/dislikes, habits and quirks, etc. You don’t end up liking or disliking them because you’re supposed to. You do that because these characters are very three dimensional. They jump off the page. They are real. You want to be ‘around’ them.
  2. Description–The setting is richly described and also jumps off the page. The reader is able to see the environment and be a part of the story. The author does this though without being too descriptive. It doesn’t take away from the story. If you read these books, you’ll find that the descriptions add to the story and provides clues.
  3. The Story–YES, the story itself is extremely compelling. You’re eyes/brain will be glued to the pages. The cause and effect of the plot structure is expertly done. Everything happens for a reason, whether you the reader thinks so or not.

So, you see, drawing a reader into your story is done with various tools, not just one. But, essentially, how you do that is up to you. After all, it’s your story.

Posted in Fiction


We’ve all heard the mantra ‘write what you know’. Well, what do you know? You might get stuck here, and the reason I say this is because you may not think you know enough. Trust me when I say, you do. You have a whole lifetime of experience to use in your writing. You don’t necessarily need to know anything about any one thing in order to write what you know.

In my book The Triunix of Time I have lots of real life experiences included in the story. No, I’m not going to tell you which ones (LOL). There is also included in the story dialogue from conversations I had with others; snippets. Then, the icing on the cake, embellishment. Yes, use what you know and have fun fictionalizing it and building on it.

Here’s an example:

We’ve all had at least one favorite summer; maybe more than one. What made that summer your favorite? Maybe you spent it at the beach most often and you met a new friend, or maybe you spent two weeks of it with a cousin on a farm. Yes, lets use the farm experience. Cousins are a lot of fun. If you have cousins, and I’m sure you do, you know what I’m talking about here. Let’s say you want to write a mystery, but you don’t know what to use as it pertains to setting, characters, etc. Use your experience with your cousins on their farm. Let’s say you and your cousin found a wallet in the barn while cleaning the stalls. It ended up being your uncle’s wallet. Let’s fictionalize that a bit. Maybe you and your cousins were in your early teens. Write a YA mystery involving a bag of wallets you found in a hay loft in a small barn you were both told to stay out of. You were caught by your uncle’s friend when he walked in and heard someone up in the loft. You and Johnny in your haste put the bag of wallets back in a rush and call out. “Just getting some hay for the horses’ stalls.” And on the story would go. Do you see how you could create something wonderful from one experience? By the way, feel free to steal this idea.

Photo by Lachlan Ross on