Organized by topic for your ease and enjoyment

Photo: self portrait by Tantra Bensko, 2019

Welcome to my home!

Pull up a chair, kick off your shoes, and let’s have a jolly ol’ time.

Here’s our chance to get to know each other.

I write in South Berkeley, California, where I also enjoy reading what other people on Medium have to say in their posts. I used to be heavily immersed in the visual arts world: some of my art is barely peeking through the photo, as well as a Japanese Retro-Rockabilly figurine that a friend brought back from his travels. And you see books. Naturally, books. …

Music fit for life

Image by Alexander Antropov at Pixabay

Record numbers of people are turning to new hobbies. Music is getting a lot of us through these dark times. Want to better understand one of the largest music genres so you enjoy it more? Want to maybe take it a step further and join the huge Doom Metal community? What better form of music to express the angst of today? And if you think you don’t like Metal, you may be wrong. Doom is one of several genres that are different from the stereotype.

Interested in exploring the aching shadows of your musical self and listening to, or even…

Scenes, plots, structure, cliches, punctuation, and more

Image by ComFreak at Pixabay

Want an easy go-to list for writing narrative?

Well, here you go.

I have found that, from time to time, it’s useful to suggest one or more of these links to students or clients.

Have at it!

Elements of a complete scene

Dwight Swain’s Techniques of the Selling Writer is good to buy if you can, and if you can’t, there are summations of Scene and Sequel that can be found by putting those terms in a search engine.

In addition: There must be a shift from negative to positive or vice versa relative to the scene protagonist’s goal in that scene. There must be one: he or she must be proactive.

Story structure


Image by Saguari from Pixabay

Tantric sex has been used as a powerful tool meant for (among other things that may surprise you) the transformation of the psyche and body since ancient times. According to the claims of this form of yoga, we have at our disposal a pleasurable way to evolve ourselves through masturbation, Tantric massage, and exchange of sexual energies between people, with or without engaging in intercourse. According to the Tantras (a set of ancient encyclopedic books on many topics), our bodies have been designed with special pathways of electromagnetic energies through which sexual energies can be directed.

Sacred sexual practices are…

How people with unstable self-esteem treat you and why

Photo by Ryan Rader on Unsplash

Understanding Self-Esteem-People

It becomes eventually clear that, all along, their relationship with you has been primarily about enhancing their sense of themselves. They’ve been using you to get that dopamine high.

Self-Esteem People don’t love you. They don’t love anyone. Not even themselves.

They can’t help it. Almost everything in their lives is about protecting their easily-crumbling sense of self. It’s not about relationships. Or other people. Or true intimacy.

In contrast, a significant percentage of people do feel consistently fine with themselves as long as they behave morally, which might be the miracle to celebrate right there: this percentage statistically varies…

As a longtime aura viewer, I noticed this pattern

Image by <a href=”

Protective Layer Around the Self

As an aura viewer, I discovered something which I call the “scurf rim.” I’m using the descriptive term that has become somewhat popular due to the pseudo-science of iridology. Though iridology has been thoroughly debunked, I find the terminology useful to steal for this purpose. A scurf rim is the cloudy whitish circle around the edge of the iris said to form in people who are not releasing toxins through their skin properly. I noticed a similar film within many people’s auras that forms a protection against them being seen for who they are or what they’re currently feeling. …

Shaking up the default expectations of humanity

Messing with your mind

Obviously nearly all popular narratives will always be about people. That’s what you’ll write, because readers get excited about suspense regarding whether the protagonist will achieve his or her goals.

But if you like to play around outside the box in your stories, let’s release humanocentrism. This is a useful brief thought experiment, in any case, that will flip your mind around.

Try this experiment with your narrative

With a character you chose for a little innovative story you may write, how about breaking apart the old dusty definitions? How about going beyond the normal accepted routine ideas of what a character is?

It is easy…

Characters embody traits that you should familiarize yourself with

Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash

Why Not Just Study Writing Craft?

A great way to create characters and the subtext within their interactions is to study psychology. You don’t need a degree, but take advantage of the material of experts writing books and putting out videos, such as Richard Grannon on codependency and Sam Vaknin on narcissism, for example. We all know about introversion and extroversion, agreeable and not agreeable. Blah blah. But getting into the more twisted, though common, psychological responses to trauma leads to more intense character interactions and extreme plots. And the more exaggerated the character’s twists are in your narrative, the more memorable the characters; it’s great…

Brainstorming, Submitting, Joining Movements, Being Part of the Scene, and Changing the Conversation

Image by Florin Radu from Pixabay

How Can You Get Started Writing Something without a Formula?

Writing ideas can come from your dreams, from trying to approximate a mood half remembered, from spontaneously writing from a trance-like induced dream, not knowing where you’ll go, line by line, just settling into the delight of play, not trying to say anything with an agenda, but starting and letting the words create the story as you go, without conscious direction.

Fiction can come from memories that you get across in ways other than straight tales but with your honest feeling about telling the memories interjected into the structure. You may change the pace, let your emotions out in eccentric…

The clash of the past and present

Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

Imperialism created supernatural fears

True Gothic fiction always includes the clashing relationship of the present time with foundational history, usually in relationship to the occult, to make a statement about society: that’s one of the genre’s most core definitions.

The development of that type of fiction arose when England’s trade partners, slaves, harems, colonies and immigrants threatened the citizens’ old way of life, even while it created abundance and variety for a fancy few.

Imperialism created unease all around, and the sense of living in a precarious system built on oppression of others, as well as diluting the British ethnicity, disturbed Gothic authors, which…

Tantra Bensko

Gold-medal-winning psychological suspense novelist, writing Instructor, manuscript editor living in Berkeley.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store