Book Talk…11/9/18 On Writing Horror HWA Mort Castle

on writing horror cover

Book Talk…11/9/18 On Writing Horror HWA

Traci Kenworth


On Writing Horror Mort Castle Writer’s Digest Books 2007.


Amazon’s blurb: The masters of horror have united to teach you the secrets of success in the scariest genre of all!

In On Writing Horror, Second Edition, Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Harlan Ellison, David Morrell, Jack Ketchum, and many others tell you everything you need to know to successfully write and publish horror novels and short stories.

Edited by the Horror Writers Association (HWA), a worldwide organization of writers and publishing professionals dedicated to promoting dark literature, On Writing Horror includes exclusive information and guidance from 58 of the biggest names in horror writing to give you the inspiration you need to start scaring and exciting readers and editors. You’ll discover comprehensive instruction such as:

  • The art of crafting visceral violence, from Jack Ketchum
  • Why horror classics like DraculaThe Exorcist, and Hell House are as scary as ever, from Robert Weinberg
  • Tips for avoiding one of the biggest death knells in horror writing—predictable clichés—from Ramsey Campbell
  • How to use character and setting to stretch the limits of credibility, from Mort Castle

With On Writing Horror, you can unlock the mystery surrounding classic horror traditions, revel in the art and craft of writing horror, and find out exactly where the genre is going next. Learn from the best, and you could be the next best-selling author keeping readers up all night long.


My review: Everything you ever wanted to know about writing horror is here in this HWA digest. From Joyce Carol Oates to Stephen King and Ramsey Campbell, all the masters of horror are here and tell their stories, what makes horror work for them, how to cultivate it. It tells how HWA came about with Dean Koontz as its first president and how it has grown to include major writers.

I’ve learned a lot from this book. This isn’t the first time I’ve read it. I’ve gone back to it many times over the years trying to glean its secrets, what it could offer me. It’s like a gathering of the best of who’s-who in horror and you get a peek into their lives, into how they come up with their art. I really enjoy the book and I think others will as well.


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