Horror Writers Association Blog

On Writing [ 15 ]

Evil Teachers and Beyond: 5 School Scare Sources

Evil Teachers and Beyond: 5 School Scare Sources

Scary school bus

The days are getting shorter and cooler, and ravaged store displays are picked-over, having only straggling survivors among the pencils, notebooks, and backpacks. Children and teens have mysteriously vanished from public places on weekdays… It’s Back to School season! In honor of returning yellow school buses, here are five school aspects to be mined for your horror stories.

1) Mind Control

Kids in classroom

From preschool to high school, kids spend a large portion of their day having someone else tell them what to do. Wear this. Eat now. Do this work now. You need the bathroom? The break’s in 15 minutes, so

Writing Prompt: A Family Fear

Writing Prompt: A Family Fear

Young Horror brings you writing prompts to energize your week with spooky idea inspiration. Are you writing picture books, chapter books, middle grade, or YA? Your next great idea could be sparked right here. Check back every first Monday of the month for inspiration. Share your ideas and discuss in the comments below. Look out for our September feature article: Found Footage Horror, on the third Thursday.


Parents can pass on their own fears to their children. Do you jump every time you see a spider in the house? Little Jimmy is picking up those cues, and he’ll …

Writing Prompt: Wicked Watermelon

Writing Prompt: Wicked Watermelon

Young Horror brings you writing prompts to energize your week with spooky idea inspiration. Are you writing picture books, chapter books, middle grade, or YA? Your next great idea could be sparked right here. Check back every Monday for new writing prompts. Share your ideas and discuss in the comments below.


In this final installment of summer treats, let’s twist a familiar tale for our wicked purposes: watermelon seeds growing plants in your belly.

It’s funny to picture at first, then absolutely horrifying. Reminds me of a rather hideous Garbage Pail Kid: Walter Melon.

Parents often tell this

The CreEpy Catalog: Frozen Charlotte

The CreEpy Catalog: Frozen Charlotte

In order to write great children’s horror, you must READ great children’s horror. To help you out with this, we’ve invited our very own middle school librarian to take you into the deepest, darkest corners of the stacks to see what frightening fiction kids are reading. Welcome to the CreEpy Catalog!


Everyone who knows me knows that I have a soft spot for dolls. Even the ones that look “creepy” find a home with me because I can’t bear to have a representation of someone’s childhood go abandoned and unloved. I love reading horror stories that feature creepy dolls, and

Writing Prompt: Ice Cream Truck

Writing Prompt: Ice Cream Truck

Young Horror brings you writing prompts to energize your week with spooky idea inspiration. Are you writing picture books, chapter books, middle grade, or YA? Your next great idea could be sparked right here. Check back every Monday for new writing prompts. Share your ideas and discuss in the comments below.

Writing Prompt: The Ice Cream Truck

Ice Cream Truck

Last week we discussed beating the summer heat of these dog days by eating popsicles. Popsicles with dire consequences! Another source of scorching heat relief is the always creepy Ice Cream Truck.

Driven by a stranger. Driving slowly down residential streets. …

Writing Prompt: Dog Days of Summer

Writing Prompt: Dog Days of Summer

Young Horror brings you writing prompts to energize your week with spooky idea inspiration. Are you writing picture books, chapter books, middle grade, or YA? Your next great idea could be sparked right here.

Check back every Monday for new writing prompts. Share your ideas and discuss in the comments below.

Dog Days of Summer

For today’s writing prompt, turn on the sprinkler, because we’re in the dog days of summer. These “dog days” point to the rise of Sirius, the Dog Star. Sirius ushers in the hottest 40 days in the Northern Hemisphere. Time to avoid heat

A Flash of Fear: Why Write Short-form Horror

For many (if not most), the first introduction to horror doesn’t come from a book or movie, but from a brief scary story told to them, perhaps around a smoky campfire in lonely–or are you alone after all?–woods. Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories collections include many of the selfsame creepy jewels of storytelling’s oral tradition, and have inducted many a child into the ranks of the horror lovers.

Sometimes, what readers really need is unfiltered, filler-free horror delivered directly to the brain.

Short horror is also popular in amateur circles, via various user-driven websites and podcasts. So, even though word counts …

Writing Prompt: Knock on Wood

Writing Prompt: Knock on Wood

Young Horror logo

Young Horror brings you writing prompts to energize your week with spooky idea inspiration. Are you writing picture books, chapter books, middle grade, or YA? Your next great idea could be sparked right here.

Check back every Monday for new writing prompts. Share your ideas and discuss in the comments below.


“Superstition is foolish, childish, primitive and irrational–but how much does it cost you to knock on wood?” -Judith Viorst

Your superstitions are much older than you. If you take that moment to knock on wood, you’re joining in on an activity to ward off anger and

Q&A for The Frightful Ride of Michael McMichael

Q&A for The Frightful Ride of Michael McMichael

It’s Friday the 13th–the perfect day to reach down into the grave dirt and resurrect the Young Horror (formerly YA Horror) blog and to talk about NEW BOOKS.

Hop aboard the Thirteen bus and drive through the brand new spooky picture book The Frightful Ride of Michael McMichael (Candlewick 2018). Author Bonny Becker and Illustrator Mark Fearing give all the gory details to HWA YH blogger Shanna Heath below.

Whether you write horror for young people, or want to share more horror stories with the kids in your life, check in every Monday for Young Horror Writing Prompts and every …

“So, Who Wants to be a Horror Writer?” by Edo van Belkom

© 2000 by Edo van Belkom
(From the book WRITING HORROR)

Whenever I give a talk on the craft of writing (whether the talk is on horror writing, fantasy writing, short story writing, or just plain creative writing) I always begin with a question. And even though this is a book on the subject of writing, it has the feel — to me anyway — of a long talk. So, I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t begin the book any differently than I would a talk, although I will make one concession and modify the question …

“The Horror of It All” by Tim Waggoner

© 2000 by Tim Waggoner

Want to write horror? A lot of folks do. The mainstream publishing industry
may have momentarily turned its collective back on the genre, but the
small press scene is thriving, not to mention the burgeoning number of
horror ‘zines on the Net. Unfortunately, a great many stories published
in these markets are uninspired (to put it kindly) and just plain bad
(to put it honestly). Want your work to stand out from the rest of the
lycanthropic pack? Want to start selling to larger and more prestigious
markets? Want your horror stories to be so …

In March: “Found Poetry” with Terrie Leigh Relf & HWA Poetry Showcase Announcement

In March: “Found Poetry” with Terrie Leigh Relf & HWA Poetry Showcase Announcement

Poet Terrie Leigh Relf talks about “Found Poetry” and shares a little bit of herself and her own work this month. Personally, before reading this article, I’d never heard of “Found Poetry” and it’s a fascinating literary field. Special thanks to Terrie for pulling back the curtain a little on a lesser known form of poetry.

What Is Found Poetry and Where-Oh-Where Can It Be?
by Terrie Leigh Relf

While on staff at Alban Lake Publishing, one of our regular contributors and a writer friend, Lauren McBride, asked me about found poetry. When she requested an article on this …

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