Inside an Author’s Mind


(A Morning at the Dentist’s Office)


An exclusive look into the mind of one middle grade author. Read her ramblings as she faces terror! (i.e: sits in the dentist office, having her six-month cleaning and check-up—hoping that no new cavities have emerged in the interim.)


An author’s work is not limited to time spent before the computer or with a pen clutched in hand. No, some of my most productive creative time is down time, when I’m able to let my mind wander. It’s then that I often find answers to nagging plot problems or discover a new twist or—like today—uncover the truth about Monster Dentists!


In my upcoming middle grade fantasy, FROM THE GRAVE (October 18, 2016), I do not have a monster dentist as a character. However, I do mention one ancient vampire improving his bite with a set of new false teeth, so therefore, I know that monster dentists do exist in Uggarland—my monster world.


Today, as I sat in the infamous adjustable chair listening to drills and teeth scraping and moans (okay, maybe the moans were only mine and had nothing to do with pain but only with totally unjustified apprehension), I pondered a monster dentist’s workday. The following is what I envisioned:


The dentist’s name would be something like Dr. A. G. Ony or Dr. Lotta Payne


He would look like a cross between a mad scientist and a mangy dog, or she might be a skeleton in blood-crusted scrubs with a necklace of teeth dangling from her neck.


Tools would include a hammer, chisel, pliers, and a knockout punch, although most procedures would be administered with no pain relief. The louder the howling—the better.


The dentist would also have a file to sharpen teeth for better biting. Every Moanday, there would be a special two for one price on sharpenings. (always popular with the financially fiscal monsters like werewolves and trolls)


Cosmetic dentistry would include the application of teeth tarnishing gel, multiple tooth extractions for that gap-toothed growl, and a take home kit for halitosis—bad breath to the max.


Okay, there you have it. A writer’s mind at work—all while wearing a paper bib and drooling most profusely.


Now it’s your turn! (No, not to drool—to write!)

Open the door, if you dare, and let your imagination out for a bit of fun. I’ve shown you ways a dentist might “operate” in the goofy monster world that I’ve created for my #MonsterOrDieBooks.




  1. Choose a setting for your story. (Feel free to use my monster world if you’d like.)
  2. Create a character.
  3. Fill in the blanks on how he/she looks and acts.
  4. Now write a story with this character. Keep thinking until you discover a problem. Such as: What if the monster dentist had to extract teeth from a crazed werewolf during a full moon? (Check out the classic picture book Dr. DeSoto by William Steig to read how this author wrote a similar story.)
  5. Finally, tell how the character tries to solve the problem. Does she do it—or not?


Presto! You’ve written a story! That’s how you make magic happen—one word at a time!

I’d love to hear about some of your characters. 🙂

Here’s to monstrous reading & writing!!!

The BFG and Monster Food


Roald Dahl’s fantasy THE BFG is coming to the theaters on July 1. This is one of my favorite Dahl stories. I remember reading it to my two sons many years ago when they were in early elementary school. We would all laugh-out-loud at the antics of Sophie and her big, friendly giant. This was the type of story I wanted to write for children—one that would entertain and delight them.


Fast forward many years later, as I was brainstorming during a long car trip. An entertaining fantasy story started jelling in my mind. I scribbled down some notes about a world of monsters where a group of misfits was struggling to fit in. Originally, I intended to write FROM THE GRAVE as a beginning chapter book, but very quickly the characters informed me I was wrong. Their story was much too involved. These monsters needed a lot more pages to show off their stuff.


As an author, I knew better than to say “no” to monsters. Instead, I wrote their escapades into a middle grade story with humor, adventure, a fair share of gross-out factor—and plenty of heart as well. Plus, there’s more than a few monster curses thrown in, just to warn you.


I must say that I totally enjoyed the gross-out parts, particularly the monster food. The monster world in FROM THE GRAVE parallels the human world in many ways. But monsters have totally different palates than humans. Creating disgusting monster chow became a daily challenge as I wrote and rewrote the story. “Peppered innards” is one of my favorites.




What cooking in your monster kitchen???


Now it’s your turn to create some delectable (for monsters anyway) food. Pretend you are inviting all your favorite frightening friends for dinner. What will you serve? Perhaps Toasted Eyeballs for an appetizer. Chopped Lizard Gizzards with Gravy for the entry. And Bubbling Brains for dessert!


*Bonus: Write out the recipe for how to make your monster food.


*Bonus: Write a story that has monster food in it. Who’s making and eating the food? Throw in a problem to make it interesting. Remember a story needs:


  1. a Beginning (introduce us to your characters & setting)
  2. a Middle (things become worse instead of better)
  3. an End (wrap things up/solve the problem)

Watch the STIR UP A STORY slide show on my website for more help.


Starter Idea: Maybe a witch is throwing a party and she can’t get the fire going under her cauldron. What will she do? How do things go from bad to worse for her? Does anyone help her? (Remember: it’s good to have the main character solve her problem as much as possible.)


If you don’t like the starter idea, think up your very own story!

Have fun. Be creative. Don’t worry about spelling and punctuation too much on the first round. But if you want to earn a SUPER WRITER badge, try to correct as much as you can when you read your story over the second time.

Send me your BEST suggestions for monster food @CynthiaReegAuthor on Facebook or @cynthiaReeg on Twitter or comment below!


Be sure to find out what food is bubbling in the pot in FROM THE GRAVE by Cynthia Reeg. Coming to a cemetery near you October 18!