Saturday, October 15, 2011

All About Horror

On Wednesday night, Patricia Anderson, Cindy Carroll, Judy Emery and I attended the Inspiring Screams: Horror Writing workshop at the main branch of the Guelph Public Library. Teacher and writer, Erik Mortenson discussed the goals behind horror writing and how to get underneath people's skins.

A knowledgeable speaker, Mortenson referred to a number of films among them Jaws, Nightmare on Elm Street, Lizzie's Story, Carrie, Fatal Attraction, The Good Son, Psycho, Hostel, Pet Cemetery, Silence of the Lambs and The Stepford Wives.

Here are some of his tips for wannabe horror writers...
  • Readers are afraid of death and losing control. In your writing, play with the illusion of control and make the reader confront the unknown.
  • Fear inspires the most action.
  • Take the everyday and turn it diabolical. For example, in Stephen King's novel, Kujo, a dog gets rabies and starts attacking people. Keep in mind that any animal can turn.
  • Great horror is built on anticipation. In Jaws, the music played whenever the shark was approaching.
  • When you limit what the reader knows, he/she will fell helpless.
  • Anyone is capable of murder.
  • Effective horror tries to bring out lessons.
  • Play with...How much do we take for granted?...How much can go wrong?
  • To make an even greater impact, have no definite conclusion or closure. For example, in Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal is not caught. The unknown makes everyone uncomfortable.
  • If you are looking for a topic, ask yourself: What scares you? What do you fear?
  • Play with the idea of science going bad. For example, what could be put in food? How terrifying would it be to lose all consciousness?
Written by Joanne Guidoccio

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Happy October!

Yesterday evening, seven of us gathered at Symposium Restaurant to discuss our writing journeys and enjoy the wonderful food.

Welcome back to Dennis Fitter. We wish him the best of luck with his pitch for Mexico City at the Surrey Writers Conference later this month. Keep us posted!

Upcoming Events and Contests...
  • On Wednesday, October 12th, Erik Mortensen will facilitate a workshop entitled "Inspiring Screams: Horror Writing" at the main branch of the Guelph Public Library. The two-hour workshop starts at 7:00 p.m.
  • On Thursday, October 13th, Linwood Barclay, Maureen Jennings and Peter Robinson will read from their latest books at the main branch of the Guelph Public Library. The readings start at 7:00 p.m.
  • On Sunday, October 16th, Cindy Carroll and the Guelph Write Now group will conduct a workshop on pitches at Lucie's Restaurant. The workshop starts at 1:00 p.m. Visit the website for more information.
  • On Wednesday, October 19th, Kevin Nunn will spearhead the next session of The Sound of Writing at the EBar in the Bookshelf Cafe. Matthew Wren will be reading from his latest work. Email Kevin at for more details.
  • On Tuesday, October 25th, Maligie Koroma will read from his latest book at the main branch of the Guelph Public Library. The reading starts at 7:00 p.m.
  • The deadline for the CBC Writing Contest is Tuesday, November 1st. The First Prize winner will receive $6,000, courtesy of the Canada Council for the Arts, and will have his/her story published in Air Canada’s enRoute magazine and on the Canada Writes website. The 4 runners-up will each receive $1,000, courtesy of the Canada Council for the Arts, and their stories will be published on the Canada Writes website. Submissions to the short story category must be between 1,200 and 1,500 words.
Written by Joanne Guidoccio