Horror Writers Association Blog

Young Adult Horror [ 36 ]

Ambiguously Ever After: Ending the Children’s Horror Story

Ambiguously Ever After: Ending the Children’s Horror Story

IMG_20160821_211336There’s much handwringing in publishing for children about what is “right” or “appropriate.” There are many controversial subjects and editorial choices, but today we’re talking about endings. Do endings in books for children need to be happy? Or should writers of children’s books portray a realistic version of the world where things don’t always end well?

Critics and authors have come down on both sides of the issue. When the 2014 Carnegie Award was given to The Bunker Diary, it set off a flurry of controversy in the UK and prompted an opinion piece for The Guardian in which

And the Clock Strikes Three AM: Time and Timing in Terror, the Sequel

And the Clock Strikes Three AM: Time and Timing in Terror, the Sequel

cpt_1470618694673Last month’s terror-time about time-and-terror was firmly grounded in reality—creating timetables that work inside the book (natural character reactions to stimuli and logical story flow) and inside the reader’s mind (pacing appropriate for the specific audience’s needs, and avoiding shattering suspension of disbelief through overuse of techniques that, when used sparingly, should enhance tension). Immersion was the name of the game, with an end goal of a truer feeling story and the horror that relating to it as true-ish brings.

But before you go off and wed your story to reality at the altar of believability, there’s another variable. Unless

And Now for Something Completely Different: Adding Humor to Your Horror

And Now for Something Completely Different: Adding Humor to Your Horror

20160716_231210With the popularity of dark comedies, it should be no surprise that horror and humor can be a compelling mix. However, when it comes to young adult books, few succeed at the balance that keeps a funny horror book from losing its edge or appearing to try too hard. Here are a few humorous elements used in YA horror to enhance the story, characters, or setting without sacrificing their horror-ness.


WORD PLAYS AND PUNS
Puns and other forms of wordplay can range from clever to groan-inducing, and they are a little of both in Croak by Gina Damico. In the

And the Clock Strikes Midnight: Time and Timing in Terror, Part I

And the Clock Strikes Midnight: Time and Timing in Terror, Part I

Time and Timing in TerrorWhether it’s the beeping of an alarm clock marking a night over too soon, a school buzzer announcing the start of a test period, or the chime of a grandfather clock in an old house declaring the start of the witching hour, there are lots of ways that time can provoke dread. So, when writers look no further than flashbacks and verb tenses, they miss out on timely tension opportunities.

With a little attention towards the timing of the horrors in your story—pacing as well as narratively—you can save yourself time in revisions, time better spent dreaming up new nightmares …

Scary Out There with Kaitlin Ward

Scary Out There with Kaitlin Ward

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NOTE: Listeners, this was our first attempt at an audio interview. We know there is a slight echo and the background noise isn’t ideal, but bear with us as we creep into the world of audio interviews. Thanks for your understanding and patience!

Hello Horror Fanatics! Today Scary Out There is sitting down with Kaitlin Ward, the author of Bleeding Earth (Adaptive Books, February 2016). Listen as Kaitlin discusses how she came up with the idea for Bleeding Earth, why it’s important for children and teens to read horror, and more.

Kaitlin Ward grew up on a dairy farm in …

Young Adults “Write Now” Endowment Program

Young Adults “Write Now” Endowment Program

Horror Writers Association (HWA) announces Young Adults Write Now endowment program to fund teen-oriented writing programs at libraries.

The Horror Writers Association (HWA), the premier organization of writers and publishers of horror and dark fantasy and home of the iconic Bram Stoker Awards®, will be offering endowments to libraries to fund teen writing programs as part of its ongoing dedication to furthering young adult literacy.

The Young Adults Write Now fund will provide up to five endowments of $500 each per year for selected libraries to establish new, or support ongoing, writing programs. The program is currently open to United …

Roundtable 17: YA Horror (March 8)

roundtable_02Sun, Mar 8, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM —
At Google Hangouts On Air

Join distinguished guests and fellow writers live On Air for the March HWA Roundtable. We will be discussing writing horror for the Young Adult market.…

Scary Out There! A Blog on Horror in Young Adult Fiction: A Chat with Kami Garcia

Scary Out There! A Blog on Horror in Young Adult Fiction: A Chat with Kami Garcia

Welcome back to SCARY OUT THERE!

This week I sit down to have a chat with Kami Garcia, the #1 New York Times & international bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures Series and the author of Unbreakable, the first book in the Legion Series, releasing on October 1, 2013. Kami is fascinated by the paranormal, and she’s very superstitious. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found watching disaster movies, listening to Soundgarden, or drinking Diet Coke. She lives in Maryland with her family, and their dogs Spike and Oz (named after characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

Scary Out There! A Blog on Horror in Young Adult Fiction: A Chat with Rachel Caine

Scary Out There! A Blog on Horror in Young Adult Fiction: A Chat with Rachel Caine

Welcome back to SCARY OUT THERE, the Horror Writers Association’s new blog on scary fiction for teens. This week I sit down for a chat with Rachel Caine the #1 internationally bestselling author of more than forty novels, including the bestselling Morganville Vampires series, the Weather Warden series, the Outcast Season series, and the new upcoming Revivalist series. She was born at White Sands Missile Range, which people who know her say explains a lot. She has been an accountant, a professional musician, and an insurance investigator, and until very recently continued to carry on a secret identity in the

Scary Out There: A Blog on Horror in Young Adult Fiction – A Chat with Ellen Hopkins

Ellen Hopkins author photoWelcome back to SCARY OUT THERE, the Horror Writers Association’s new blog on scary fiction for teens. This week I sit down for a chat with Ellen Hopkins, the award winning author of nine NY Times bestselling young adult novels-in-verse, plus two adult verse novels. Before delving into fiction, Ellen was a poet, freelance journalist and nonfiction author, with twenty published nonfiction books for children. Ellen mentors other writers as the regional advisor for the Nevada chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives near Carson City, where she has recently founded Ventana Sierra, a 501(c)(3),

Scary Out There: A Blog on Horror in Young Adult Fiction: A Chat with Gretchen McNeil

IMG_7315_resizeWelcome back to SCARY OUT THERE, the Horror Writers Association’s new blog on scary fiction for teens.

JONATHAN MABERRY: My guest this week Gretchen McNeil who is one of those ‘does it all’ people. She’s an opera singer, writer and clown. Her YA horror novels include POSSESS, TEN, and 3:59 (debuting this fall from Balzer + Bray). Gretchen also contributed an essay to the DEAR TEEN ME, an anthology from Zest Books.

Gretchen is a former coloratura soprano, the voice of Mary on G4’s Code Monkeys and she sings with the LA-based circus troupe Cirque Berzerk. Gretchen blogs with

Scary Out There: A Blog on Horror in Young Adult Fiction – A Chat with Melissa de la Cruz

Welcome back to SCARY OUT THERE, the Horror Writers Association’s new blog on scary fiction for teens.Melissa De La Cruz

My guest this week is Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of a slew of critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including the BLUE BLOODS series, The AU PAIR series, The ASHLEYS series, Angels on Sunset Boulevard, Girl Stays in the Picture, and the Witches of East End series. She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for dozens of publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar,

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