The book that helped me create 100 Nightmares

100 Nightmares is out there and is receiving good reviews so far. Thank you.

You know how passionate I am about micro-fiction. Despite the length, I want my stories to have everything– imagery, an intriguing plot… I want the limited length to enhance and not to take away from the reader’s pleasure. 🙂

I’m not even going to pretend that coming up with 100 concepts had been an easy task. Ideas may be cheap but not all of them work well as micro-fiction pieces. (which is why I continued to write longer stories even while I was working on 100 Nightmares) Halfway through the project, I was tearing my hair out, doubting myself and rejecting every single idea that comes into my head. You have no idea how many 100-word stories I’ve written for my book only so I could send them to the recycle bin. haha 🙂 I just didn’t want you to feel ripped off when you purchase 100 Nightmares.

I once mentioned in my Writing Process Interview that I write better when responding to a prompt. It’s because I like challenges… But also, it’s because some days, it’s just difficult to come up with great ideas.
It was sheer luck that while looking for prompts—and there are a lot of nice but used-up ones out there—I stumbled upon this gem.


Okay, it’s not a gem. It’s the whole damn treasure chest! INSTIGATION: Creative Prompts on the Dark Side consists of over 500 writing prompts, articles, essays, and helpful tips. As I read the intro, I knew immediately that I made the right decision in purchasing the book. That was the voice of someone who understood and wanted to help out. You’ll find that it’s like having a mentor.

As I said in my review:

“So I’ve released a book recently… with 100 stories. It would’ve taken me forever to do that had I not decided to invest in Michael Arnzen’s Instigation: Creative Prompts on the Dark Side.
Though I didn’t answer the challenges directly, the prompts have inspired me in so many unexpected ways. Sometimes, a sentence or a word from this book is just what you need to get you to start writing again.
These are not the kind of prompts that you can find just anywhere. The ideas are bold, bizarre, brilliant. They make you go to places that you never even knew existed…
This is a book that every aspiring horror author should have.”

Michael Arnzen, for me, is the god of very short horror fiction. I picked the prompts randomly, following Mr. Arnzen’s advice in the book. Some of the stories in 100 Nightmares were inspired by the 365 Sick Scenarios.

Here’s the greatest thing about the book—it doesn’t just teach you WHAT to write. It helps you ignite the fuel. It challenges you to step out of your comfort zone. At times, you don’t even have to really answer the prompts for an idea to start forming inside your head. You’re free to interpret– and misinterpret– each prompt, mix two or several prompts together, even create your own twist on the challenges. In the end, you’ll still have this sense of pride in having written something that’s truly yours.

To my blogger friends who love joining and juggling several writing challenges week after week, we all know how it feels like to run out of cool ideas. I noticed how many people—myself included—started phoning in, blaming it all on real life and day jobs and stuff… and when people are able to still participate but the quality of writing drops, that’s the saddest thing.

Whether you write weird fiction, dark fiction or straight-up horror, I sincerely hope that this book helps you as much as it helped me. (and it’s helping me still) Take note though, Instigation is not a guide on writing micro-fiction. It is also geared towards the writer who creates longer stories and novels.

It will teach you how to start.

It will teach you how to work with what you already have.

It will teach you how not to be boring.

I’m not asking you to take writing advice from me. I’m asking you to take it from a Bram Stoker Award-Winning author with many years of experience in the field.

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*And if you still want my advice, I’ll say only this: The book won’t work if you’re lazy. So grab a copy, read, pick your challenge, get your ass in front of the computer and do your part. 😉

Happy writing, my friends 🙂