Writing Horror: A Handbook by the Horror Writers Association

Overview

As a writer of the macabre, you know the only thing scarier than a good horror novel is the nightmare of seeing your hard work go unpublished. This definitive anthology enables you to learn from some of the genre's biggest names as they share their wisdom on developing horror that will shock and excite readers and editors alike.

From the Horror Writers Association, the most respected organization in the genre, Writing Horror is a comprehensive collection of 39 articles on the ...

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Overview

As a writer of the macabre, you know the only thing scarier than a good horror novel is the nightmare of seeing your hard work go unpublished. This definitive anthology enables you to learn from some of the genre's biggest names as they share their wisdom on developing horror that will shock and excite readers and editors alike.

From the Horror Writers Association, the most respected organization in the genre, Writing Horror is a comprehensive collection of 39 articles on the art and craft of writing to frighten...and on publishing to profit. You know the authors. You'll welcome their insights.

  • Joyce Carol Oates examines the appeal of writing and reading horror
  • Harlan Ellison shares a narrative essay on horror writing
  • Wayne Allen Sallee invites you to find you story ideas in the mirror
  • Nancy Holder helps you plot lean, mean short stories
  • Nancy Kilpatrick parts the curtains on penning erotic horror
  • Jill M. Morgan gives you the lowdown on writing horror for kids
  • Stephen King speaks in an interview about his serial novel The Green Mile

Plus, David Morrell on writing realistic dialogue; David Quinn and D.G. Chichester on horror comics; Robert Wienberg's must-read list for horror writers; Joe R. Lansdale on setting; Jay R. Bonansinga on action and pace; and J.N. Williamson on creativity and the horror writer.

Here you have it all: guidance on ideas, research and work-related reading; advice for creating the elements of story; and analysis of the roles of passion, sex and madness in powerful horror fiction.

Practical. Instructional. Inspirational. Don't let fear of the unknown keep you writing in the dark. Use Writing Horror to tear open the secrets of this exciting realm.

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Editorial Reviews

A Guran
For today's assignment, class, let's compare and contrast Writer's Digest's previous comparable book, How to Write Tales of Horror, Fantasy & Science Fiction, edited by J. N. WIlliamson and today's assignment, Writing Horror: A Handbook by the Horror Writers Association, edited by Mort Castle.

Both offer a number of writers with short essays addressing the theme. Both are edited by Writer's Digest instructors, gentlemen with formidable credentials as horror writers and teachers of writers. Both offer good basics, peeks into the creative process, and inspiration. The older book addresses all of the speculative field, it is still appropriate to horrorists specifically. The earlier book, without doubt, served as motivation and instruction for many of the contributors to the newer.

The essential difference can be found in the premise of the books. When the Williamson book was published science fiction (including fantasy and horror) was booming, horror was expanding, and new writers could more easily get published and paid for work in these fields than in others. "This book exists," the editor states in his foreword, "...to enlighten you about the ways you may take full advantage of such a golden opportunity." Castle makes not such statement and ends his foreword by inviting readers to "our realm of dark imaginings and enlightening realities." In other words, "we aren't in this for the money."

Although the opportunities offered writers may now be made of baser metal than gold, what Writing Horror gives the reader/potential writer/writer of horror something far finer -- love. The contributors to this book, all writing separately, love horror. Their passion comes through again and again. These are people motivated by the desire to create. Writing Horror: A Handbook by the Horror Writers Association is a non-fiction love story -- bittersweet, sometimes -- but true, nonetheless. I can't help but wonder: In what other "genre" would you find this kind of ardor?

Beyond devotion, Writing Horror: A Handbook by the Horror Writers Association, gives straightforward, helpful advice on craft, concept, field, and marketing. Maybe because it was written by writers in the trenches -- members of the Horror Writers Association, both established professionals and struggling potentials -- the essays speak directly to a writer's needs. The book is also as current as hard copy can get, touching on erotic horror, aberrant psychology, comics, theme anthologies, juvenile and young adult horror, multimedia, small press, online resources, and visceral horror.

And, true to its subject, truer still to the underlying passion this book perhaps inadvertently imparts -- editor Castle frames the content with essays that are evocations of the art and dreams of horror writing. Joyce Carol Oates writes sublimely on the freedoms and triumph of the dark imagination, the communal nature of the art. Harlan Ellison writes obliquely on the lonely burden of offering up the dreams.

Writing Horror: A Handbook by the Horror Writers Association profoundly reminds me of what first attracted me, personally, to this field, what keeps me involved in it -- truth revealed through imagination and the passion of the people who create it.
darkecho.com (Back to the Top)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780898797985
  • Publisher: F+W Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/15/1997
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword: The HWA: A shocking brief and informal history of the Horror Writers Association
Editor's Introduction 1
The Madness Of Art: The horror writer and society 6
A World Of Dark and Disturbing Ideas: Developing a useful premise 9
Mirror, Mirror: Drawing characters and stories from life 17
Dark Light Focus: Karl Edward Wagner 23
Honest Lies and Darker Truths: History and horror fiction 25
What You Are Meant to Know: A reading list for the horror writer 31
Such Horrible People: Creating believable, terrifying characters 40
Guerrilla Literature: Plotting the horror short story 49
The Horror, the Horror, the Horror: Plotting the horror novel 55
No Shield of Disbelief: Making the reader believe the unbelievable 60
A Hand on the Shoulder: Creating a setting from the places you know best 64
Keep It Moving, Maniacs: Writing action scenes in horror fiction 68
Dark Light Focus: Roger Corman 76
"He Said?" She Asked: Some thoughts about dialogue 79
Darkening The Mood: Giving the reader the creeps 87
Dr. Frankenstein's Secrets of Style: Finding and developing your unique voice 92
More Simply Human: Getting the psychoses, phobias and manias correct 98
Archetypes and Fearful Allure: Writing erotic horror 105
Dark Light Focus: EC Horror Comics 111
Breaking All Codes: Writing horror comics 113
Writing For the New Pulps: Horror theme anthologies 115
Capturing Kids: Writing juvenile and young adult horror 120
Something to Scare the Kids: Five Do's and a Five-"D" Don't 126
Pushing The Horror Button: The art and business of interactive horror 128
Splat Goes the Hero: Creating visceral horror 135
Innovation in Horror: What's new and what's not so new 144
No More Silver Mirrors: The monster in our times 151
Dark Light Focus: Forrest J. Ackerman 155
Werewolves: Bending the Legend 157
The Green Mile: A Conversation with Stephen King 162
Contemporary Lip Synching To Horror's Gothic Tune: Reworking horror's classic elements 166
On Horror: A Conversation with Harlan Ellison 169
Sharing The Creeps: Marketing short horror fiction 174
Dark Light Focus: Cemetery Dance 179
Online Resources for the Horror Writer: Using the Internet and the World Wide Web 182
Whither Horror: Editor's thoughts on the horror market 187
From the HWA'S FAQ Folder on "Agents": Answers to frequently asked questions 191
Specialists in Fear: The small and specialty presses 194
Quiet Lies the Locust Tells 204
Bio Notes 210
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