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Posts byjchambers - Horror Writers Association Blog [ 203 ]

Depictions of Mental Health in Fiction by Edward P. Cardillo

Depictions of Mental Health in Fiction by Edward P. Cardillo

The Importance of Getting It Right

“It’s okay, officers. I’ve got this.” Dr. Max Power, psychologist, cocked his shotgun as the police surrounding the dilapidated house parted, deferring to the hostage negotiator. He strolled up to the front door, opened it, and entered the house.

In the living room, he found the serial killer watching the live news coverage of the standoff, with a knife to a woman’s throat. “Back off! I’ll kill her! I swear!”

“Take it easy,” said Dr. Power. “I’m here to help.”

The serial killer pulled at his scraggly hair with his free hand. “It’s the

13 Reasons Horror Should Put On A Happy Face by Nzondi

13 Reasons Horror Should Put On A Happy Face by Nzondi

Horror & Urban Fantasy Literature’s Effect on Health Awareness

In Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning performance in his portrayal of Batman’s most notorious villain in The Dark Knight, he said, “As you know, madness is like gravity … all it takes is a little push.”

The film, the actor and real life, orchestrated a cacophony that sends a chill up my spine to this very day. When I used to run the ScHoFan Critique Group in the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society, I remember a time when I introduced a story with a suicide narrative. It was then that I learned …

Out of the Darkness: A Conversation by Lee Murray and Dave Jeffery

Out of the Darkness: A Conversation by Lee Murray and Dave Jeffery

Lee Murray: I write horror. I also suffer from anxiety and sporadically from depression. Most of the time, I’ve managed to keep this to myself, but, in recent years, I’ve tried to be more open with friends and family about my mental health. The interesting thing is, in doing that I learned that a lot of my horror colleagues are also pacing to and from at the ramparts checking for danger or engaged in all-out battles with kaiju of epic proportions. Was it time to open a discussion about horror writing and mental health? I consulted my friend, Forever Man

This Is All of Us by Mark Matthews

This Is All of Us by Mark Matthews

“Humans, as a rule, don’t like mad people unless they are good at painting, and only then once they are dead.” ~Matt Haig, the Humans.

If it’s true that some of the greatest horror fiction comes from the deepest personal pain, that the torment of the writer weaves itself into fiction, then Horror, the way it shines a light on the darkest parts of humanity, is in a unique position to look at mental health.

Throughout the month of May, the Horror Writers Association will be honoring Mental Health Awareness Month. The HWA is providing a downloadable list of resources …

The HWA Supports Mental Health Awareness Month

The Horror Writers Association is pleased to announce a new program to show support to those in the horror community and beyond facing mental health issues or helping friends and family members who are.

You are not alone. No matter how dark or haunted the house may seem a light is always on in the window.

Mental health issues affect people of any age, gender, or ethnicity—and in any profession. Writers are no exception. Spending as much time in isolation while working as writers do, though, it can be easy to feel cut off or alone, especially when struggling with …

Halloween Haunts: A Condemned Man, A Halloween Memory by Steve Rasnic Tem

Halloween Haunts: A Condemned Man, A Halloween Memory by Steve Rasnic Tem

Back then, for me, it was all about masks.

For Halloween, sure, but I’m also talking about day-to-day.  This all started with the perception that people seldom said what they really felt about anything.  I wasn’t sure why, but apparently there was something impolite about frankness, and politeness was something we took pretty seriously in my part of the South.  The only person I knew whose face invariably expressed whatever passed through his head was the town’s developmentally disabled fellow who sat on a bench by the drugstore when he wasn’t out with his burlap sack collecting roadside treasures.  Whether …

Halloween Haunts: Halloween Defines Fall, At Least for Me  By John F.D. Taff

Halloween Haunts: Halloween Defines Fall, At Least for Me By John F.D. Taff

I have found, in 25 years of fiction writing now, that the surest way to a feeling of verisimilitude in a story is to process the experiences in my life and put them down on paper.  I refer to this process as strip-mining my childhood, and so far, it’s been very good to me.

Not only has this practice helped me to work my way through past experiences, both good bad, it has also lent an air of reality to a lot of the scenes I have written.  Write what you know is, perhaps, the oldest saw in the art …

Halloween Haunts: Emotional Realism in Extreme Horror Fiction by Nicole Cushing

Halloween Haunts: Emotional Realism in Extreme Horror Fiction by Nicole Cushing

 

First things first: let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room. Extreme horror fiction hasn’t always enjoyed the best reputation. Despite the commercial success of books like Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho and Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door, the field is often seen as only catering to a niche audience. Despite a pedigree that arguably extends at least as far back as the Marquis de Sade, the field is often seen as a playground for recent generations of subliterate hacks.

Perhaps that’s why so little has been said about how to write extreme horror fiction skillfully: so many …

Halloween Haunts: Exorcism for Fun and Profit by Loren Rhoads

Halloween Haunts: Exorcism for Fun and Profit by Loren Rhoads

I read The Exorcist early in high school.  My mom was a school librarian and didn’t place any limits on what I read, figuring that if it was too mature for me, I just wouldn’t understand it.

She limited what I could watch, though.  I wasn’t allowed to see The Exorcist in the theater, but I could read the novel.  Long after everyone I knew was terrified – or claimed they were terrified – by the movie, I checked the novel out of the public library.

The part that struck me more than anything else was Blatty’s introduction, in which …

Halloween Haunts: The Real Creeps, or How to Create Horror Non-fiction Shorts by Lisa Morton

Halloween Haunts: The Real Creeps, or How to Create Horror Non-fiction Shorts by Lisa Morton

One of my favorite pieces of advice for new writers looking to make more sales is to consider trying some non-fiction. As an author who is known for both fiction and non-fiction, I periodically get requests for articles from editors who tell me that for every 300 short story submissions they receive, they get…well, zero non-fiction submissions.

I think many writers have this notion that non-fiction requires a different skill set, or doesn’t provide the emotional satisfactions they get from fiction. My answer to that: Then you’re doing it wrong. Certainly some non-fiction is intended to be first and …

Halloween Haunts: It’s Not a Season, It’s a Lifestyle by Greg Chapman

Halloween Haunts: It’s Not a Season, It’s a Lifestyle by Greg Chapman

chapman_hollowhouse_cvrchapman_nightoctober_cvrYou all know my tale of woe. I am forced to live without the true spirit of Halloween because I live on the other side of the world. 🙁

But instead of crawling into my coffin when October comes around and crying myself to sleep, I bring the Halloween alive through fiction and art – all year round.

I may live in a town without any bonafide haunted houses, or urban legends (yeah pretty boring right?), but that doesn’t mean I can’t create my own.

I paint and draw and write all year round. Mostly I do it to relieve …

Halloween Haunts: It Was a Different Time by JG Faherty

Halloween Haunts: It Was a Different Time by JG Faherty

_cd07475Recently, I had the opportunity to go on a vacation with a group of friends. Five couples, and 2 of them had their daughters with them, ages 17 and 19, respectively. One day, while sitting on the beach, conversation turned to the topic of Halloween. I mentioned that “back in our day,” Halloween was very different. Sure, we went to parties, dressed in costumes, and as kids even got into our share of shenanigans on “Gate Night” or “Mischief Night.”

But even growing up in the 1970s and 1980s was a very different time than now. We had no fear …

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