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Saturday, 3 October 2020

WRITING IN THE DARK by Tim Waggoner

In this comprehensive textbook devoted to the craft of writing horror fiction, award-winning author Tim Waggoner draws on thirty years’ experience as a writer and teacher. Writing in the Dark offers advice, guidance, and insights on how to compose horror stories and novels that are original, frightening, entertaining, and well-written.

Waggoner covers a wide range of topics, among them why horror matters, building viable monsters, generating ideas and plotlines, how to stylize narratives in compelling ways, the physiology of fear, the art of suspense, avoiding clich├ęs, marketing your horror writing, and much more. Each chapter includes tips from some of the best horror professionals working today, such as Joe Hill, Ellen Datlow, Joe R. Lansdale, Maurice Broaddus, Yvette Tan, Thomas Ligotti, Jonathan Maberry, Edward Lee, and John Shirley. There are also appendices with critical reflections, pointers on the writing process, ideas for characters and story arcs, and material for further research.


Firstly, I want to thank Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi and Raw Dog Screaming Press for sending me a copy of this very cool book.

I don't go out of my way to read many books about the art of writing because with most, my mind starts to wander. I often start strong and eventually lose interest because I start to feel a distance between the instructions/suggestions and my brain. They're usually impersonal, too bland and even boring.  

There's a reason why my favourite book about the art of storytelling is Stephen King's On Writing. I loved that book because the author's approach was so personal and friendly. He revealed himself before he even started chatting shop. So, by the time he did, I was totally hooked and when he got serious about the craft, everything came across as straightforward.

Tim Waggoner does the same with this amazing book. Actually, he took it several steps further by adding helpful exercises at the end of each section. He discusses the different types of horror in a captivating way and packs this book full of stuff that will actually help hone your skills. He also invited fellow horror authors to add their own bits and pieces of advice, which was great because it peppered the experience with a variety of voices.

Not to mention the in-depth way he delves into the horror genre. His approach is raw and honest in a way that only a true fan of this wonderful genre can be. He really gets it, in a way only someone who understands the true meaning of horror can.

I enjoyed this book a LOT. It's interesting, packed full of great information and really makes you think. It's also written in a way that works for beginners, for those in the middle and even seasoned writers. No matter what your level of experience, or how many publishing credits you have to your name, you'll definitely get something useful out of this very crafty book.

Oh, and another thing I loved about it is the size. It's bigger than a standard trade paperback, and totally looks like a workbook/textbook.

I'm definitely adding this to my Keeper Shelf. And I'll be grabbing it (many) more times in the future because once is definitely not enough.

Do yourself a favour and grab a copy!


Writing in the Dark is available now from Raw Dog Screaming Press.


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