Conveying emotions in your work can be difficult, but it’s an important part of the craft. Offering insight into your characters’ feelings helps your reader develop empathy for them. When a character experiences an event, you want your readers to feel something, too. How you choose to convey your characters' emotional responses can influence the way your readers feel about your characters and… read more
If you talk to other writers about writer’s block, a fair number will say there’s no such thing. Writer’s block is just lack of planning; someone once told me. Another said writer’s block just means I’m not trying.
But if you’re not writing, you have writer’s block, and whether that’s caused by an uncomfortable chair, a lack of ideas, or fear of failure, the end result is the same—you’re… read more
Whether it's a magical fairy tale like “Cinderella” or a well-worn favorite such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), classic stories continue to inspire both readers and writers alike. Works that are in the public domain offer a multitude of opportunities for writers seeking inspiration. This can be seen in the numerous retellings of classic myths and fairy tales as well as the… read more
The year 2022 was a banner year for retellings of classic stories, fairy tales, and myths, and it doesn’t show any signs of stopping. Recent and upcoming examples include Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s The Daughter of Doctor Moreau (a riff on The Island of Doctor Moreau), Nghi Vo’s The Chosen and the Beautiful (a fantasy remix of the The Great Gatsby), and Mary McMyne’s The… read more
When working in the subgenre of cosmic fiction, it is critical to remember that the atmosphere of creeping dread is key.
Real-world issues such as climate change, racial violence, and political upheaval work well in the realm of Lovecraftian horror.
It is the sensation of fear centered on the unknowable that creates this existential panic and madness experienced by characters who… read more
In 1921, American author Howard Phillips Lovecraft began publishing the first of his stories in what would later be collectively coined the Cthulhu mythos. Heavily influenced by the tradition of Gothic horror, H. P. Lovecraft found inspiration in the work of such esteemed authors as Edgar Allan Poe, Algernon Blackwood, Bram Stoker, Robert W. Chambers, and Arthur Machen. However, Lovecraft’s… read more
Once safely past the harvest season, winter begins, bringing with it a storytelling season that begins in November and runs through the end of the year. The Victorians especially delighted in the tradition of telling spooky tales during the darkest nights of the year, a custom that reaches back hundreds of years. After all, Shakespeare reminds us, “A sad tale’s best for winter” (The… read more
Storytellers today are indebted to early scholars who wrote down local stories and preserved them for future audiences. Without these records, many of our most loved stories would have been lost and forgotten.
Through the years, these traditional tales have inspired countless authors, and their structure and themes offer a wealth of ideas for a myriad of story genres and formats.… read more
As a genre, horror is deeply rooted in the traditions of Gothic literature. These tales express haunting reminders that there is no escape from the past. They contain a creeping sense of dread that is magnified through setting, one of the hallmarks of the subgenre.
Named after the European, medieval architectural style (characterized by cavernous spaces dominated by vaulted ceilings,… read more