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The Easy Way to Write Horror That Sells

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Whatever your area of preference: short stories, novels, film and/or TV, there is an ever hungry need for thrillers and dramas using supernatural themes and settings. In short, horror fiction. All you have to do is to understand the conventions associated with this most prestigious of genres. Now, don't go thinking in cliches. Horror is not just Stephen King and Slasher Whatever your area of preference: short stories, novels, film and/or TV, there is an ever hungry need for thrillers and dramas using supernatural themes and settings. In short, horror fiction. All you have to do is to understand the conventions associated with this most prestigious of genres. Now, don't go thinking in cliches. Horror is not just Stephen King and Slasher movies! Horror and Dark Fantasy fiction also encompasses the likes of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, the Matrix series, and TV shows like Buffy, Charmed, Fringe, Bates Motel and The Walking Dead. Of course there are the classics to aspire to: Edgar Allen Poe, Lovecraft, MR James, and more modern writers like Peter Straub, Clive Barker, Graham Masterton, James Herbert. Stephen King describes Thomas Harris (Silence of the Lambs), James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell as closet horror writers too! All of the above writers know - and have profited - from the notion that scaring the pants off your reader not only makes you successful, it keeps readers coming back for more! Good horror is sophisticated. More and more writers, like Joe Hill and Jack Ketchum, are winding up in the literary section of your local bookshop or library. No longer is horror marginalized. It's increasingly seen as respectable and justifiably good writing. So, believe me, it's more than possible to make a very good living from writing horror and dark fantasy! Do you want success as a horror writer? And get to grips with a genre that will benefit all of your writing. Here’s what the book covers: * How to build suspense * How to create believable characters * How to come up with original and compelling ideas * How to create convincing monsters and psychological enemies * How to sustain a series of stories / books / movies * And much more! Part One: A thorough analysis of the horror genre from its origins to its place in the modern world. We will examine the various forms of storytelling in the past and in the present, identifying the roots of the genre and how certain functional characteristics have been carried over into the modern diversity of horror / suspense / mystery / thriller and crime genres. Part Two: Creating our own stories. We establish the parameters and the requirements of character, the horror conventions and ways to stretch the envelope. The emphasis is on creating strong durable protagonists with believable agendas at credible odds with the antagonist / monster / psychological threat. Part Three: The importance of setting, environment and the psychological landscape. We discuss the various ways in which authors use setting as 'the third character' - and how to create our own living, breathing locations. We also examine mood, tone and factors like theme, purpose and the overall feel of your supernatural stories in this context. Part Four: Plotting. How to take a rough story idea from inspiration to a full blown template for a novel. The importance of planning and organization. How to easily construct plots using the various forms of writing software available and other tried and true methods - card file systems, cut and paste etc. We also study pace, building suspense, tension and examine the fear factor. Part Five: The writing. How to sustain motivation and enthusiasm for your writing project and ensure it is written until it's finished. Procrastination, time and self-doubt are the writer's natural enemies. We deal with these issues head on - and head them off! We study time management and self-support systems in detail to help us get past any slumps, writers blocks or personal health issues.


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Whatever your area of preference: short stories, novels, film and/or TV, there is an ever hungry need for thrillers and dramas using supernatural themes and settings. In short, horror fiction. All you have to do is to understand the conventions associated with this most prestigious of genres. Now, don't go thinking in cliches. Horror is not just Stephen King and Slasher Whatever your area of preference: short stories, novels, film and/or TV, there is an ever hungry need for thrillers and dramas using supernatural themes and settings. In short, horror fiction. All you have to do is to understand the conventions associated with this most prestigious of genres. Now, don't go thinking in cliches. Horror is not just Stephen King and Slasher movies! Horror and Dark Fantasy fiction also encompasses the likes of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, the Matrix series, and TV shows like Buffy, Charmed, Fringe, Bates Motel and The Walking Dead. Of course there are the classics to aspire to: Edgar Allen Poe, Lovecraft, MR James, and more modern writers like Peter Straub, Clive Barker, Graham Masterton, James Herbert. Stephen King describes Thomas Harris (Silence of the Lambs), James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell as closet horror writers too! All of the above writers know - and have profited - from the notion that scaring the pants off your reader not only makes you successful, it keeps readers coming back for more! Good horror is sophisticated. More and more writers, like Joe Hill and Jack Ketchum, are winding up in the literary section of your local bookshop or library. No longer is horror marginalized. It's increasingly seen as respectable and justifiably good writing. So, believe me, it's more than possible to make a very good living from writing horror and dark fantasy! Do you want success as a horror writer? And get to grips with a genre that will benefit all of your writing. Here’s what the book covers: * How to build suspense * How to create believable characters * How to come up with original and compelling ideas * How to create convincing monsters and psychological enemies * How to sustain a series of stories / books / movies * And much more! Part One: A thorough analysis of the horror genre from its origins to its place in the modern world. We will examine the various forms of storytelling in the past and in the present, identifying the roots of the genre and how certain functional characteristics have been carried over into the modern diversity of horror / suspense / mystery / thriller and crime genres. Part Two: Creating our own stories. We establish the parameters and the requirements of character, the horror conventions and ways to stretch the envelope. The emphasis is on creating strong durable protagonists with believable agendas at credible odds with the antagonist / monster / psychological threat. Part Three: The importance of setting, environment and the psychological landscape. We discuss the various ways in which authors use setting as 'the third character' - and how to create our own living, breathing locations. We also examine mood, tone and factors like theme, purpose and the overall feel of your supernatural stories in this context. Part Four: Plotting. How to take a rough story idea from inspiration to a full blown template for a novel. The importance of planning and organization. How to easily construct plots using the various forms of writing software available and other tried and true methods - card file systems, cut and paste etc. We also study pace, building suspense, tension and examine the fear factor. Part Five: The writing. How to sustain motivation and enthusiasm for your writing project and ensure it is written until it's finished. Procrastination, time and self-doubt are the writer's natural enemies. We deal with these issues head on - and head them off! We study time management and self-support systems in detail to help us get past any slumps, writers blocks or personal health issues.

30 review for The Easy Way to Write Horror That Sells

  1. 5 out of 5

    Scott Springer

    A quick overview Many insights are gained in a short period of time by reading this work. The essence of the horror genre is distilled into several in easy shots. I’d say the sawtooth approach is the gem. Nice anecdotes about Stephen King too.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Martha Wickham

    Everything you need to write horror. Includes exercises and list of publishers. Got mine for .99. Rob Parnell also has his own online school.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brian Tubbs

    Would be great without the bigotry :-( Rob Parnell’s writing advice is solid. This book is full of practical information and advice for aspiring writers. Unfortunately… He basically ruins the book with pretentious anti-religious bigotry. Parnell categorizes men and women of faith, especially Christians, as insane and deserving of contempt. And he then adds that anyone offended by that shouldn’t write fiction. His rationale: “Fiction requires a more enlightened, objective and rational mindset.” Real Would be great without the bigotry :-( Rob Parnell’s writing advice is solid. This book is full of practical information and advice for aspiring writers. Unfortunately… He basically ruins the book with pretentious anti-religious bigotry. Parnell categorizes men and women of faith, especially Christians, as insane and deserving of contempt. And he then adds that anyone offended by that shouldn’t write fiction. His rationale: “Fiction requires a more enlightened, objective and rational mindset.” Really? So, I guess only non-Christian fiction writers are “enlightened, objective, and rational” and only non-Christians can put out quality fiction? Wow. Just wow. Tell that to J.R.R. Tolkien or C.S. Lewis. There are countless authors (both now and in history) who are (or were) men or women of faith. Sometimes deep faith. And many of them have been (and are) wildly successful. Ironically, Parnell makes the claim in this very book that money demonstrates talent. Literary critics aside, Parnell argues that if a writer sells books, that writer is successful and talented. Period. To a great extent, I agree. And Parnell does a great job defending Stephen King’s bona fides on those grounds. Well, if Parnell’s argument is correct, then his bigoted assertion that Christian authors shouldn’t even ATTEMPT to write fiction because they are inherently unqualified to do so is all the more astounding for its blatant defiance of reality. That is, unless he’s going to argue that writers like Brandon Sanderson, Frank Peretti, and Ted Dekker (to name just a few) are not successful and are too religious to be deemed worthy to write fiction. If Rob Parnell doesn’t want to believe in God or the Bible, that’s his prerogative. I am a big believer in religious freedom and the freedom of conscience. And if he wants to write a book on the subject of why he doesn’t hold to religious beliefs, so be it. I also believe in the freedom of speech. But when I read a book on writing, I want to learn about writing. I don’t want to be subjected to the writer’s contemptuous, baseless, and incoherent bigotry.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mikki Noble

    Good book with good advice. Some I agreed with, some I didn't but it has a lot of info that I found would be beneficial for a new writer, not just in the horror genre. Good book with good advice. Some I agreed with, some I didn't but it has a lot of info that I found would be beneficial for a new writer, not just in the horror genre.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    Good advice. In a nutshell, writing time is writing time. Thinking about writing isn't the same as actually writing. Prioritize writing is a mantra. Good advice. In a nutshell, writing time is writing time. Thinking about writing isn't the same as actually writing. Prioritize writing is a mantra.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Roger Alderman

    This book inspired me and drove me to write and self-publish my own series "Twistedly Terrifying Tales from a Twisted Mind." This book inspired me and drove me to write and self-publish my own series "Twistedly Terrifying Tales from a Twisted Mind."

  7. 4 out of 5

    Chris Mentillo

    “A great read as usual from Parnell.”

  8. 4 out of 5

    Roberto Lagos Figueroa

    Un libro conciso y concreto que va al punto de cómo escribir, y no necesariamente circunscrito al género de terror. Justo en esto me pareciera en que se queda algo corto en los tips sobre escribir relatos de terror. Tampoco usa muchos ejemplos ilustrativos, aunque se reconoce que sus contenidos son claros. De fácil comprensión.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    It's a pretty stripped down guide, about 70 pages, but there is some good stuff in that seventy pages for horror writers who want to be commercially-viable writers. None of it is particularly new, but the sections on plot and structure are good, and if you are a newer writer who is still trying to find a process that works, his would be worth a short to see if you are a "planner." It's a pretty stripped down guide, about 70 pages, but there is some good stuff in that seventy pages for horror writers who want to be commercially-viable writers. None of it is particularly new, but the sections on plot and structure are good, and if you are a newer writer who is still trying to find a process that works, his would be worth a short to see if you are a "planner."

  10. 5 out of 5

    Winter Bayne

    I'm currently writing a Horror short story and plan on using the process he discusses to plan it. Some of what is said may already be know to people who write or read horror, but I found a few techniques I had not considered. Quick, easy read. I'm currently writing a Horror short story and plan on using the process he discusses to plan it. Some of what is said may already be know to people who write or read horror, but I found a few techniques I had not considered. Quick, easy read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nadia

  12. 4 out of 5

    Michael McCormick

  13. 4 out of 5

    T.L. Hicks

  14. 4 out of 5

    Virginia Rand

  15. 4 out of 5

    Adam

  16. 5 out of 5

    Miguel

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jorge

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

  20. 4 out of 5

    Shah Wharton

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lois Grant-Eighmy

  22. 5 out of 5

    Keith Croteau

  23. 5 out of 5

    Adam Hall

  24. 4 out of 5

    Darren Wake

  25. 5 out of 5

    Greg Johnson

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jose Gonzales Jr

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

  28. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

  29. 4 out of 5

    Larry Sells

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dennis Yates

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