Secrets to Scare

I was in search of a good book on developing characters, when I stumbled across a gem in the local book store.  I squealed with excitement when the title caught my eye.  My Fiancée blushed with embarrassment, removing himself immediately from the area.  This is a horrible trait that I have.  When I see something that excites me, I usually make some sort of “Eeeeeee” or “Oooooo” sound, point in the direction of the object, and then make a sudden bee-line to it to pick it up.  Usually by the time I get “bee-line” part, I am standing by myself, and strangers are looking at me.  If anyone is in my path, they usually get knocked over.  It is sad to admit, but I go into a sort of a trance and nothing will stand in the way of me and that object.

Anyways, what caught my attention on this day was the book “On Writing Horror” by the Horror Writers Association (yes, the same association that some of the Horror greats like Joyce Carol Oats, Ray Bradbury, and Stephen King belong to… “Eeeeeee”!).  I cannot believe that I have allowed myself to not know that this book existed.  Have I been blind?  Have I been dumb?  Have I been on another planet this whole time?  Here I am, suffering and struggling with my writing, stuck with stories that are creepy, but are lacking “something”.  Then, there is this book that exists which can help me out of this slump, give me a swift kick in the behind, and encourage me to pick up the pen again.  And I turned a blind eye to its existence –

Well, I am just going to chalk it up to everything happens for a reason at the right time… right? Yes, I am using this cop out! 

“On Writing Horror” by the HWA is phenomenal.  I have been completely inspired by the text.  So much so that I have read the book twice… and I just bought it this past Sunday.  The text is a collection of short essays from some the greatest Horror writers (ones who are currently breathing).  The book sums up every aspect that is needed to create a mortifyingly macabre horror fiction.  It is split into eight sections to formalize a story’s development (e.g., intro to the genre, education of the genre, concepts, crafting, marketing, etc.).  Each author gives the book their own unique presence and knowledge.  The essays are fluid and chalked full of information in concrete terms to help solidify the Horror writing process.  No topic is covered twice, and the essays flow into each other.  When one essay ends, the next seems to pick up where the other left off.  Such an amazement since each essay is a different topic written by a different author.  It is no wonder that this book is a Horror writer’s new best friend.  It was written by the HWA, a professional organization who thrives off of scaring the wits out of people through literature.  

So yes, love-of-my-life, my squeal of excitement over the sight of this book at the bookstore is justifiable.  You will just have to come to terms with your embarrassment. 

©2011, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivative – visit  Amanda Headlee — It is Always Darkest Before the Dawn for the original source of this content.

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