Writing Horror

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Overview

The craft of horror fiction has its own rules. Writing Horror takes you through the process of creating horror, including the art of suspending reader disbelief, the creation of atmosphere and believable characters, and the seven steps of plotting. Writing Horror gives you practical advice on starting and finishing your manuscript, getting a response from publishers, and cracking the pro market.
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Overview

The craft of horror fiction has its own rules. Writing Horror takes you through the process of creating horror, including the art of suspending reader disbelief, the creation of atmosphere and believable characters, and the seven steps of plotting. Writing Horror gives you practical advice on starting and finishing your manuscript, getting a response from publishers, and cracking the pro market.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781551802817
  • Publisher: Self-Counsel Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2004
  • Series: Writing Series
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 8.25 (w) x 9.74 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowlegments xiii
Introduction: So Who Wants to Be a Horror Writer? 3
Part 1 The Horror Genre 9
1 What is Horror? 11
The differences between science fiction, fantasy, and horror 11
Horror movies versus horror fiction 12
Getting a solid grounding in the genre 13
Avoiding what's been done to death 15
2 Horror Subgenres 19
Classic monsters 20
Selected authors and works featuring classic monsters 21
Vampires 21
Selected authors and works featuring vampires 21
Cthulhu mythos 23
Selected authors and works in the Cthulhu mythos 23
Quiet horror 24
Selected authors and works of quiet horror 24
Splatterpunk 24
Selected authors and works of splatterpunk 25
Psychological horror 25
Selected authors and works of psychological horror 26
Occult/supernatural horror 26
Selected authors and works of occult/supernatural horror 26
Dark fantasy 27
Selected authors and works of dark fantasy 27
Erotic horror 27
Selected authors and works of erotic horror 28
Dark suspense 30
Selected authors and works of suspense 30
Young adult/juvenile horror 30
Selected authors and works of young adult/juvenile horror 31
3 Story Format 33
Horror short stories versus horror novels 33
What works best for a tale of horror? 35
The scenic route versus the shortest distance between two points 38
Novel ideas versus short stories padded into novels 38
Writing horror comics 39
Writing horror screenplays 40
Writing horror poetry 40
Part 2 Writing Horror 43
4 What Scares You? 45
What are you afraid of? 45
Keeping track of your ideas 47
Ideas are easy; stories are hard 47
Turning an idea into a story 48
Writing what you know 51
Writing what you don't know: Research 54
Knowing where you're going: Outlining 55
5 Elements of Horror: The Blood and Guts 59
Getting started: Story introductions 59
Description 60
Character 61
Dialogue 62
Action 63
Letters and diaries (epistolary format) 63
Creating atmosphere: Setting the stage 65
What you write 65
How you write 68
Characters: People to believe in 71
Stereotypical characters 73
Sympathetic characters 73
Unsympathetic characters 73
How many characters do you need? 74
Plotting 76
The seven-step story 76
The seven-step novel 84
Themes: More than just a scary story 84
6 How Does Horror Work? 87
Suspension of disbelief 87
The threat is real 89
Sympathetic characters in peril 90
Point of view (POV) 91
First person 95
Second person 95
Third person 98
Omniscient/limited omniscient/objective 99
Showing versus telling 100
Exposition 102
Scenes 104
Dialogue 105
Symbolism 106
Grammar 106
Who's the monster here, anyway? 110
Jump tales 111
Just deserts 112
Going over the top 112
7 Young Adult Horror 113
Real kids in real trouble 114
Cliff-hangers and suspense 115
A wholesome theme (Do the right thing) 115
Humor 118
Does everybody get out alive? 119
The evil can (and will) return 119
Don't dumb it down 120
8 Revising and Polishing 121
Revising 121
Getting second and third opinions 122
Letting a story simmer for a while 123
Tightening 123
Polishing 124
Proofreading 125
One last read through 126
Part 3 The Horror Marketplace 127
9 Selling Horror 129
Marketing your short fiction 129
Market information 130
Selling to the small press 132
Cracking the pro markets 132
Mainstream markets for horror 135
Study and know the horror market 136
10 Manuscript Format 137
Looking like a pro in print 137
The basics of manuscript format 138
Other things to note about manuscript format 147
Listing rights 147
Paper quality 147
Print quality 147
Staples and paper clips 148
Contest format 148
Manuscript format for novels 148
Title page 149
Chapter openers 149
11 Sending Off Your Manuscript 151
Cover letters 151
SASEs 153
Simultaneous submissions 154
Rolling submissions 154
E-mail submissions 155
12 Getting a Response 157
Form rejections 157
Personalized rejections 159
Don't give up -- be determined 160
Network with others in the field 162
If all else fails, start your own small magazine 162
13 The Horror Marketplace 165
Short fiction 165
Small-press magazines 165
Semi-professional magazines 166
Professional magazines 166
Anthologies 167
Horror on the Web 170
Book-length horror 174
Novels 174
Media tie-ins 175
Novelizations 176
Markets outside the horror genre 176
Book publishers 177
Major publishers 177
Small presses 179
Print-on-demand 179
Electronic books 179
Where to find market information 180
Scavengers Newsletter 180
The Gila Queen's Guide to Markets 180
Writer's Digest Magazine Fiction 50 181
Annual Novel and Short Story Writer's Market 181
Writers' organizations and groups 181
Visit your local bookstore 182
Online resources/informative sites 182
Darkecho newsletter 182
Hellnotes 183
The Chiaroscuro 183
Darktales online horror community 183
Other online market listings 183
Trade magazines 184
Dark Regions & Horror Magazine 184
Fangoria 184
Locus, SF Chronicle 185
Rue Morgue 185
Parsec 186
14 Contracts and Agents 187
Copyright and copywrong 187
First North American and other serial rights 188
Work-for-hire contracts 190
Contract watch: What to look for 191
Where to get advice 192
When do you need an agent? 193
Getting an agent 196
Marketing yourself 197
15 A Final Word 199
Appendixes
1 Writers' organizations 201
2 Reference books 205
3 Seminal works of horror 209
4 Horror/fantasy awards 211
5 Horror authors you should know 213
A Few Words With...
On vampires 17
On writing horror nonfiction 22
On writing erotic horror 28
On horror novels versus short stories 36
On crossing horror with other genres 52
On writing horror short stories 75
On young adult horror 116
On markets for horror fiction 133
On editing horror antologies 168
On horror on the Web 172
On the value of the HWA to aspiring horror writers 194
Samples
1 Ten rapid-fire story ideas 49
2 Outline: Rock and rollers never die 58
3 Story openings 66
4 One scene/two points of view 96
5 "Dialogue," he said 107
6 Writer's digest fiction 50 131
7 Manuscript format 139
Table
1 The seven-step story 77
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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2000

    All the way out into the deepest darkness

    Edo Van Belkom's, WRITING HORROR seems to be THE book for all horror fiction writers. The contents page reveals that the book pays for itself, is so informative that it even helps you beyond understanding the genre and writing it. It also helps you to find viable markets for aspiring horror fiction writers like me. The book is sure to be an eye opener to many writers seeking to sharpen their skills. He takes you, leads you, the aspiring horror writer by the hand all the way out into the deepest darkness. Jack Dave, author of WILD FEAR@1st books.com

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