Writers Workshop Of Horror
Edited by Michael Knost
Woodland Press, 2009
Review by Shannon Riley, Southern Rose Productions
Writers Workshop of Horror edited by Michael Knost is the most practical and comprehensive guide to writing fiction I have ever read. Contributors include some of the most successful authors in the genre who explain point by point how to construct powerful stories.
In the chapter “Once upon a Scary Time: Creating Effective Beginnings,” Elizabeth Massy explains how to craft a story opening that grabs the reader’s attention and ignites his curiosity. With detailed instruction and examples from her own published fiction, she shows the writer how to create an opening that will keep the reader turning pages, hungry for more.
Michael Lamio continues with tips on constructing a strong middle, using the time factor and other elements to build suspense. He explains the use of foreshadowing and how to keep reader interest high as the story moves toward a satisfying conclusion. J. F. Gonzalez describes the different types of endings, what each accomplishes and how to create it.
These three chapters alone are worth the price of the book, but it includes so much more. Every aspect of fiction writing is covered. Gary Braunbeck instructs on building believable characters, Tim Waggoner writes about plot, Scott Nicholson describes different points of view, Thomas F. Monteleone covers writing successful dialogue, G. Cameron Fuller details the use of setting and description, Rick Hautala explains tone, style and voice and Michael A. Arnzen analyzes scene and structure.
In addition to chapters on handling basic story elements, writers like Ramsey Campbell, Jonathan Maberry, Tom Piccirilli, Mort Castle, Jeff Strand, Joe R. Lansdale and Deborah Leblanc cover special issues such as writing dramatic fight and action scenes, the use of humor, naming characters and using personal themes in fiction, and Lisa Morton provides insight into writing screenplays
Brian Keene discusses making time to write and Jason Sizemore and Brian Yount offer tips on the dos and don’ts of manuscript preparation and submission. Interviews with F. Paul Wilson, Tom Piccirilli, Ramsey Campbell and Clive Barker are entertaining as well as instructional. Editor Michael Knost includes an inspiring and enlightening article entitled “The Aha! Moment” in which various authors discuss the time when their writing came together for them.
The success of Writers Workshop of Horror is due in large part to Editor Michael Knost’s bringing together the best authors in the genre and having them instruct writers in areas in which they excel. Knost has also edited Legends of the Mountain State, Ghostly Tales from the State of West Virginia, Volumes 1-3 and Appalachian Holiday Hauntings.
Writers Workshop of Horror is a road map to successful fiction writing, an essential reference aspiring writers will want to keep, not on their shelves, but on their desks for easy access. Filled with useful information, concrete examples, and advice from authors who are the best in their field, Writers Workshop of Horror is treasure.