Sometimes a ‘how-to’ writing reference guide comes along that will knock you off your feet and give you that much needed ‘kick in the pants’ to get words on the page. Horror 101: The Way Forward: Career Advice by Seasoned Professionals is one of those guides. Edited by Joe Mynhardt and Emma Audsley, and published by Crystal Lake Publishing, this Stoker Award nominated reference anthology hosts essays by some of the best in the horror fiction business.
Covering nearly every aspect of horror fiction such as defining horror, editing your story, screenwriting, ghost-writing, comics, and dealing with writer’s block, this book is for those just starting out to published authors needing inspiration, and anyone in-between. The table of contents reads like a who’s who list of horror greats, featuring Graham Masterton, Jack Ketchum, Ellen Datlow, Iain Rob Wright, Jasper Bark, Tim Waggoner, Weston Ochse, Shane McKenzie, and many, many more. The emphasis with this book is not to teach you ‘how’ to write horror fiction, but to guide you through the many questions and pitfalls writers face in their careers. The writers were all chosen because they have made a career of writing, and it’s their experience in the industry that makes this book so valuable.
A few of the chapters to definitely check out in the book are “The Journey of Rudy Jenkins Buries His Fears” by Richard Thomas, in which he breaks down the publication of one of his short-stories, “Avoiding What’s Been Done to Death” by Ramsey Campbell, which is more about knowing the massive horror fiction legacy that’s come before us and finding inspiration to take those classic tropes and make them fresh again, and “A Beginner’s Guide to Setting Up and Running a Website” by Michael David Wilson, who should be familiar with everyone here. The topics are as varied as the voices delivering them, with excellent pieces about creating a series, writing routines, and agents. This is one of those books you can literally turn to any page and find helpful and concise advice about this old horror business.
Another thing about this guide is that most of the advice comes from writers working in the business right now. This isn’t some fifty-year-old reference tome; it’s timely and up-to-date, which is especially refreshing for the up and coming writer just making a splash. Horror 101: The Way Forward: Career Advice by Seasoned Professionals is also easy to get your hands on and quite affordable, available for a super low price for your Kindle, and under $10 in paperback. With fifty plus essays on the horror business, all from authors well-established in their careers, this is one reference writing guide you can’t miss.
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