I’m pleased to appear in this brand new book of advice for those who want to improve their horror fiction, called order The Writer’s Workshop of Horror (ed. Michael Knost, Woodland Press, Aug 2009). It’s focused exclusively and deeply on the craft of scary storytelling, with a stellar line-up of contributors that include the likes of Clive Barker, Joe Lansdale, F. Paul Wilson, Ramsey Campbell, Brian Keene, Elizabeth Massie, and too many more to list: from grand masters to rising stars, the book is a treasury of wisdom you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere. If the (also fantastic) Horror Writer’s Association guidebook, On Writing Horror, was your introductory course, consider this one your senior year textbook.
You can now order The Writer’s Workshop of Horror early from Woodland Press for just $21.95 and you’ll be among the first to get it in August.
Here’s a small excerpt from my contribution, called “Stripping Away the Mask: Scene and Structure in Horror Fiction”:
…horror is a striptease of suspense. It is an inherently exhibitionist genre, as much as it is the genre of fear. And this may very well be why horror gets a bum rap from the literati: horror can make a reader feel dirty, because it refuses to obey the inner censor that tells us that such-and-such is morally wrong, that such-and-such is ugly or grotesque, that such-and-such is perverse or unhealthy, that such-and-such is unreasonable or irrational, that such-and-such is dangerous or inhumane. Horror writers seek truth in the darkness. They remove the mask, to peer unabashedly at what it hides, horrendous warts and all….
If you wish to write horror stories, it is imperative that you understand this aesthetic. There are no “rules,” really, because readers only expect the unexpected when they pick up a work of horror. In place of rules, we just have a worldview that says: “Readers peek between their fingers. I refuse to look away.” We remove the mask.
Visit Woodland Press for more on this exciting guidebook to working on the dark side.