November 8th, 2016


Writing Excuses Bonus-02: Horrifying the Children, with Darren Shan

Writing Excuses Bonus-02: Horrifying the Children, with Darren Shan


Key points: What can't you do when writing horror for young adults? Set your be-careful lines for yourself. Sex and violence are big questions. Why write horror? Because we enjoy safe scares! Draw a line between fictional horror and real horror. Horror gives us a training wheel version of emotions and experiences that we need to think about and prepare for real life problems. How do you write horror? Organic process, use your gut instincts. Learn by doing -- i.e., write! Bad stories, mistakes, learn and improve. Advice for writing horror? Remember what it was like for you as a teenager, make it personal. Do stories that appeal to you. You can't control your ideas, but you do control the development of them. Ask questions, and see where those answers lead you. Why, why, why? You may not know your characters until you write, but at least get a guideline for your plot to start with. Ticking off what you have done can help give you a sense of progress, to get you through the desert of the big long middle stretch. Landmarks in the Sahara. Juggling books in multiple phases can be fun!

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[Howard] Who's got a writing prompt for us?
[Steve] I've got one from the crowd that says write a story about what scared you as a child.
[Dan] I like that.
[Howard] Okay. Reach back into your memories. Try and find the repressed ones. That's tricky. But that's where the big scare is going to be. Turn that into a story. Darren, thank you so much for joining us.
[Steve] Thank you, Darren.
[Howard] I really appreciated how much support you've given to a great many of the things that I've believed about writing.
[Howard] It's very nice to find out…
[Steve] He makes us sound so much more intelligent, too.
[Howard] It just means I feel like I'm on the right path.
[Howard] Anyway, thank you so much for joining us. Fair listener, you are out of excuses. Now go write.