The Bookshelf Corner

A creative space for all things books and writing….

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Weekend Writing Prompt #15

Horror Themed Short Stories: Write a short story using one of the following prompts below to begin the spooky tale.


  • There’s a reason why nobody ever goes into the forest that backs the town.

  • A single bell is the last thing you hear before….

  • Forget everything you thought you knew about ___________. Its not as true as you’ve been led to believe.

  • It only took 10,000 years for the dead to finally march their way back to the world of the living.

  • Seeing is believing. But be sure to heed what cannot be seen.


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Writing Advice From Horror & Science Fiction Authors (w/ commentary)

Royalty Free Image via Pixabay | Edited in Paint

Image via Goodreads

Edgar Allan Poe

“Nothing is more clear than that every plot, worth the name, must be elaborated to its dénouement before any thing be attempted with the pen. It is only with the dénouement constantly in view that we can give a plot its indispensable air of consequence, or causation, by making the incidents, and especially the tone at all points, tend to the development of the intention.”

I do think it’s a good idea to at least have a synopsis or a complete summary of your story before beginning. It acts as a guide to keep you on track. It does not necessarily need to be specific on every plot point but prompt you to fully answer who, what, when, where, why, and how.

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Stephen King

“While to write adverbs is human, to write ‘he said’ or ‘she said’ is divine.”

This is something I learned later in life. I always thought the use of adverbs in dialogue tags was necessary (of course not for every tag). But now I see the divinity of ‘he said’ and ‘she said.’ It’s helped to make my writing more clear and characters more real.

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Sarah Langan

“What readers fear in their fiction is specific to their own experiences. It’s as personal as their senses of humor…It applies to the characters, too. For horror to pay, it’s got to hit home by messing with a character’s fears, ambitions, loves…Horror fiction ought to be exactly that personal.”

The reason we connect to a character or setting or moment in a story is because it rings true to a real life experience we’ve had. By tapping into those real human emotions and experiences, turning them upside down, and forcing readers to face that ring of truth do we create a story that sweeps readers off their feet and eventually return to the ground changed.

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Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

“Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of a void but out of chaos.”

I was once taught in a social studies class that “Necessity is the mother of invention.” “Out of chaos” comes a solution or an idea from which a character may use for good or evil purposes. A character’s wants and desires stem from somewhere. And we as writers exploit that very real thing and turn it into plot and conflict…a story. Every idea, every invention, has its roots.

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Octavia E. Butler

“I was attracted to science fiction because it was so wide open. I was able to do anything and there were no walls to hem you in and there was no human condition that you were stopped from examining.”

Imagination knows no bounds and it allows us to explore the possible and impossible without restraint. Truth is in the eye of the beholder.

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Ray Bradbury

“I absolutely demand of you and everyone I know that they be widely read in every damn field there is; in every religion and every art form and don’t tell me you haven’t got time! There’s plenty of time. You need all of these cross-references. You never know when you head is going to use this fuel, this food for its purposes.”

The more you read the more knowledge you acquire that can enhance your story’s authenticity – be it a real contemporary setting or some fantastical supernatural world.

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George R.R. Martin

“It’s different for every writer. It’s not a career for anyone who needs security. It’s a career for gamblers. It’s a career of ups and downs.”

We choose to play this game for reasons unique to the self. Most writers have a day job. The life a writer isn’t easy. But that shouldn’t stop you from writing to your heart’s content.

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Kendare Blake

“My advice is to let the characters do the heavy lifting for you. Know them, and know them well. If they behave true to themselves, it will read authentically, rather than forced.”

Readers want to read about real people. We introduced them to carefully crafted people shaped to be hated, loved or admired.

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Alastair Reynolds

“One of the big breakthroughs I had as a writer was when I stopped agonizing over every word.”

This I still struggle with. I can’t help but agonize over every word, every detail, every plot point because I want it to be perfect. The first draft isn’t perfect – good. The story will get to where it needs to be after many revisions, trash cans full of crumpled paper, and several cups of coffee.

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Andy Weir

“A story in your head isn’t a story. it’s just a daydream until you actually write it down. So write it down.”

I try to jot down (anywhere) ideas that come to mind, especially those that give me pause and excitement. The feeling that “Oh my goodness I love this idea and it would make a great story!” Memory – even the best – is fleeting sometimes.

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Weekend Writing Prompt #14 [Reflection]

Romance/Relationships In Young Adult Fiction: [Questions] In your opinion, what are the strengths and weaknesses of romance and/or relationship in YA Fiction? What impact does it have on readers? To you, what are the characteristics of a realistic romance relationship in YA?

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Writing Playlist #15: September Tunes

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It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi

Livin’ On A Prayer” by Bon Jovi

Ashes” – Celine Dion, Deadpool 2

See You Again” – Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth, Furious 7

Found Tonight” – Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Platt

Waving Through A Window” – Dear Evan Hansen

You Will Be Found” – Dear Evan Hansen

Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley

I Want It That Way” by Backstreet Boys

Shape of My Heart” by Backstreet Boys

Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” by Backstreet Boys

The One” by Backstreet Boys

Looking For You” by Kirk Franklin

Africa” by Toto

Finesse (Remix)” – Bruno Mars ft. Cardi B

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Why I Write (expressed w/ Hamilton lyrics)

So I thought of taking a creative approach to express why I write and want to publish books. It’s in part inspired by the retweets I see on the Hamilton musical’s Twitter account of people using modified lyrics from the show to express themselves. Whenever I’m listening to the soundtrack I sometimes get this feeling of recognition, of why I love writing. There are several lines that perfectly illustrate those feelings.

I hope you enjoy this post.

*Lyrics used (in part or full) are in blue text, modified where applicable to fit the narrative (but still identifying some single words indicators/hints), and cited at the end of this post. This is a post of self-expression through song only. No copyright intended.

I’m helpless. I must write the stories in my head. I will never be satisfied until I get them all written down.

I may not live to see this glory. So I’ll write while I can. And when my children tell my story they’ll tell the stories I have penned.

They say the price of writing a novel is a heavy price to pay. Some give up before even beginning. Heed not the haters who scream their criticism. They have not your interest at heart. Don’t let them lead you astray from pursuing your passions. You‘ll get love for your book. You‘ll get hate for it. But you‘ll get nothing if you don’t start writing instead of waiting for the words to come.

Look around! Look around! How lucky we are to be alive right now.

I am not throwing away my shot! Just like my country I’m young, scrappy and hungry and I’m not throwing away my shot. Procrastinate less. Write more. Don’t forget what you’re writing for.

But…let me tell you what I wish I had known when I was young and dreamed of glory: you have no control who lives, who dies, who tells your story. I’ve made every mistake and felt the shame rise in me. Sometimes I lie awake wondering if I can really achieve my dreams.

I don’t need a legacy. This not for the money but a chance to share my stories. That would be enough.

I don’t pretend to know the challenges I’ll face. It’s tough to erase and create the stories in your mind. But I’m not afraid. This is my passion.

So I write like I’m running out of time. Every day I write like I’m running out of time until the last page has been written because I am not throwing away my shot. But it’s important to remember that every now and again to take a break from writing, run away with friends for the summer to some magical place.

I don’t want to think when my time is up, “Have I done enough? Who will tell my story?”

I’ll reach my goal in the end – it’s only a matter of time.


Music & Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda


Bonus!: Can you name all the songs I referenced in this post? (see below for list)



Songs Referenced:
Aaron Burr, Sir
My Shot
The Story of Tonight
The Schuyler Sisters
Farmer Refuted
You’ll Be Back
That Would Be Enough
History Has Its Eyes On You
Take A Break
The Room Where It Happens
Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story

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Writing Playlist #14: Disney Edition (part three)

Royalty Free Image via Pixabay

Love Will Find A Way” – The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride

You’ll Be In My Heart” – Tarzan

When You Wish Upon A Star” – Pinocchio

Remember Me” – Coco

The Climb” – Hanna Montana: The Movie

I Just Can’t Wait To Be King” – The Lion King

Be Prepared” – The Lion King

For A Moment” – The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea

Once Upon A Dream” – Sleeping Beauty