On Writing Horror: A Review

On Writing Horror
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“So where do the ideas—the salable ideas—come from? They come from my nightmares. Not the night-time variety, as a rule, but the ones that hide justbeyond the doorway that separates the conscious from the unconscious.” Stephen King

Want it? Click here: On Writing Horror

About the Horror Writers Association (HWA)

Founded in 1985, the HWA moved to professionalize the genre. Today they provide newsletters, scholarships, and conventions, among other services, and include writers such as Dean Koontz and Stephen King, amongst many other well-known and award-winning horror writers, in their list of members.

The HWA contributing writers for On Writing Horror hold quite an impressive collection of credentials, including the Bram Stoker Award as well as honors like the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contributions to American Letters and the International Horror Guild award.

In other words? You’re in good hands when you are reading this book.

About On Writing Horror

A collaboration of some of horror writing’s most potent writers, the featured authors relate their own strategies, struggles, and discoveries through analyses and anecdotes.

It is readable, uplifting (at least for me- I can definitely relate to the growing pile of rejection slips threatening to overwhelm my desk), and it offers a truly fascinating insight into the minds of accomplished authors of horror.

The book’s topics range from crafting and innovation to the business and marketing aspects of being an author. I found two sections in particularly useful.

1. Tom Monteleone’s “Workshops of Horror (and Seminars and Conferences).” I needed no convincing, but I found his argument for writers to attend such social engagements and convene with fellow writers persuasive and it acted to enhance our shared belief. I loved that he included a list of workshops that operate within the horror community. I definitely will be attending some of those!

2. John Everson’s “The Small Press: Filling Shelves with Rare Books.” Everson provides us with a list of 15 small-press publishers that publish horror. It gives me a direction to run in when I finally have my short stories compiled!

My Final Thoughts

When I decided to add this text to my burgeoning bookshelves, I had assumed it was a how-to manual or something akin to a horror profiler.

Yes, I judged a book by its cover. For shame, Heather, for shame.

Needless to say, I couldn’t have been more wrong. And boy, am I relieved.

I mean, if we are going to continue creating good horror, we won’t be doing it out of a play-by-play manual. Surely we can analyze what’s worked in the past, but that’s the past. Those things scared us yesterday and therefore they (probably) won’t scare us tomorrow.

So, rather than a manual, I found something far more useful.

In short, if you are looking for a flip-through, encyclopedia-esque text on writing horror, this is not what you are looking for.

If, however, you seek advice and guidance from the masters (something I think is far more valuable than the write-by-numbers option I was subconsciously expecting), this is the book for you!

Want it? Click here: On Writing Horror

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