Horror Roundtable

Get yourself a drink and pull up a seat. Put your feet up. Welcome to the Roundtable, a public discussion about all things writing–a monthly virtual horror panel that will be run right here on the HWA Blog.

If you have an idea for a topic for discussion or would like to participate, please contact Marty Young on martyyoung2002@yahoo.com. We’re always after new topics–and guests!

The Next Roundtable:

HWA Horror Roundtable 16 (the Roundtable can be accessed by clicking HERE)

When: 23 February, 2014
Time: 8pm EST (use the Time Zone Converter to find your local time)

Horror History 101

Who are the founding fathers of the horror genre, and what is it about their work that allows it to stand the test of time? Let’s look at some of the iconic figures in the horror fiction genre, books and short stories that are required reading for all those who love the genre. But let’s do that from a global perspective. We will go as far back in time as we can, and then fly forward to the present day, illuminating along the way crucial moments and writers in the genre. It’s a history lesson 101.

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Special Guests:

James Doig works at the National Archives of Australian in Canberra.  He has edited several anthologies and single author collections of horror and supernatural stories by early Australian authors, including Australian Ghost Stories (Wordsworth, 2010) and Ghost Stories and Mysteries of Ernest Favenc (Borgo, 2012).  He has also published articles in journals like Wormwood, All Hallows and Studies in Australian Weird Fiction on forgotten authors of horror and the supernatural such as Lionel Sparrow,  “Keith Fleming”, Reginald Hodder, H.T.W. Bousfield, Helen Simpson and R.R. Ryan.  He has a Ph.D in medieval history from the University of Swansea, Wales.

Douglas E. WinterPublisher’s Weekly has hailed Doug Winter as “the nation’s most accomplished critic of horror, dark fantasy, and dark crime.” His books include the only authorized biographies/critiques of Stephen King (Stephen King: The Art of Darkness) and Clive Barker (Clive Barker: The Dark Fantastic); the Book of the Month Club’s “Best Suspense Novel of the Year,” Run; and the best-selling anthologies Prime Evil and Revelations. Doug’s short fiction has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award and the Bram Stoker Award, and has twice won the International Horror Award. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and has contributed more than 300 articles and reviews to major newspapers and magazines in the United States and Europe.

Yvette Tan didn’t know that she was writing horror until people started telling her that her stories gave them nightmares. Her first book, ‘Waking the Dead,’ is a collection of short fiction in English, while her second, ‘Kaba (Fear),’ is a collection of flash fiction in Tagalog. She has been noted as one of the people who popularized horror fiction in English in the Philippines.

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Here’s how the HWA’s Horror Roundtable works:

1. The Horror Roundtable will run every month right here on the HWA blog. There will be an active link to the Roundtable set up on this page just prior to the start of each Roundtable. You do not need to register to follow the discussion, or to post comments/questions.

2. For each Roundtable, a group of special guests will be invited to participate in a discussion on a selected topic. Our guests’ profiles will be posted on the Dark Whispers blog prior to each Roundtable, along with the topic of discussion.

3. The Horror Roundtable will begin with our guests discussing the topic.

4. After the first half hour, the Roundtable will be opened for the general public to comment/ask questions, while our guests continue their discussion.

5. After one hour, our Guests will leave, unless there are lots of comments and questions from the audience, in which case they will remain for a further half hour. After that, our Guests will check back in from time to time during the week to provide further comments on anything posted in that time.

6. At the end of the week, the Roundtable will be closed, but it will remain online so people can go back and read it at their own leisure. No further comments will be allowed.

7. An announcement about the next Horror Roundtable, including the next set of guest profiles, will be posted towards the end of each month.

The HWA Horror Roundtable was the brainchild of Weston Ochse and is managed by Marty Young. If you would like to take part or have a topic that would make for an interesting discussion, please contact Marty at martyyoung2002@yahoo.com.

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Past Roundtables

Note: due to gremlins in the system, we are in the process of reconstructing past Roundtable discussions 1-4. Please check back soon to access them.

Horror Roundtable 1: Is Cross-Genre Writing More Popular Now?

When: June 4-10, 2012
Special Guests: Nancy Holder, Christopher C. Payne, and Weston Ochse.

There was a time when publishers were stumped on how to market works that conformed to more than one genre. Not only did they not know how to market something that was both science fiction and horror fiction (for instance), but with bookstore chains having separate shelves for each, they weren’t sure how to provide shelving guidance. But recent science fiction-horror smash hits such as Justin Cronin’s The Passage and Stephen King’s 11/22/1963 have demonstrated that readers want more genres. Books such as Daryl Gregory’s The Devil’s Alphabet (science fiction and literary fiction) and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (historical fiction and horror fiction) have also found critical acclaim. Cross-genre fiction is now what readers want; should we give it to them? What are the challenges of writing cross-genre works and how are those best dealt with?

Horror Roundtable 2: Ray Bradbury – an appreciation.

When: July 8-14, 2012
Special Guests: William F Nolan, Mort Castle, Sam Weller, and Jason V Brock.

Ray Douglas Bradbury (August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012) was, and will remain, a legend. He was a prolific writer whose works included Fahrenheit 451, ‘The Martian Chronicles,’ ‘The Illustrated Man,’ and Something Wicked This Way Comes, amongst hundreds of short stories, almost 50 novels, plus poems, essays, operas, plays, and more. He was nominated for an Academy Award and won numerous other awards through a highly distinguished career that spanned more than seventy years. His work has inspired many writers, and will continue to do so for a long time to come. He was, as The New York Times stated in his obituary, “the writer most responsible for bringing modern science fiction into the literary mainstream.” He died during a rare transit of Venus and left behind a legacy that will never be matched.

Join us as we celebrate the man and his work, and the inspiration he has been and will continue to be to generations of writers.

Horror Roundtable 3: Author Promotion.

When: August 6-12, 2012
Special Guests: Jonathan Maberry, Scott Sigler, Roy Robbins, and Theresa DeLucci.

There can be so much author promotion now that we almost don’t see what’s being advertised or pay any attention to it anymore. We will explore how a writer should (or could) go about successfully promoting themselves and their work, and how much promotion is too much. We will also look at what the best platforms are for promotion, and how much a publisher does, or should do. Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about promoting yourself, we’ll discuss it.

Horror Roundtable 4: The Darkness of Being Human

When: September 10-16, 2012
Special Guests: Lisa Morton, Rick Hautala, Christopher Conlon, and Joseph Nassise.

How do you create characters that end up walking down dark and dangerous paths? Also, taking it a little further, what makes a good villain or ‘bad guy’ in fiction? We’ll cover some memorable antagonists and discuss what makes them so good—or bad. Like that saying, a madman who knows he is mad, isn’t, some of the best ‘baddies’ are those who don’t know they’re bad, or who aren’t bad but aren’t exactly doing good things.

Let’s explore the dark side of a character’s humanity, in all its shadowy guises…

HWA Horror Roundtable 5: The Editor and The Writer

When: November 18-24, 2012
Special Guests: Ellen Datlow, John Joseph Adams, Jason V Brock, and John Langan.

What’s it like, as a writer, to have your work selected and shaped by an editor? And as an editor, what are the perils and rewards of editing the work of others? Are writers under any obligations to self-edit and get work into a professional shape before they submit anywhere? What about editors who compile versus editors who use a more hands-on approach? What are the lines delineated between writers and editors, and where are they blurred? How can a good editor help a talented writer?

HWA Horror Roundtable 6: Screenwriting

When: February 11-16, 2013
Special Guests: Michaelbrent Collings, Signe Olynyk, Matt Lohr, Brad Hodson, and Pen Densham.

How to get involved in the industry, the pitfalls and problems, the success stories. Screenwriting is a natural extension of story writing, but it is also a completely different art form. Let’s look at how it differs, and how difficult it is to create visual scenes for filming. And the end result; is it always how you viewed it would be? Are there any tips or suggestions you can offer for those just starting out, things you’ve learned along the way?

HWA Horror Roundtable 7: The Future of Writing

When: March 18-24, 2013
Special Guests: William F Nolan, Taylor Grant, Brad Hodson, Peter Giglio, and Christopher C Payne.

Technology has surged ahead over the past few years and technological advances show no sign of slowing. We’re living in the future. What does this mean for us writers? Does it open new pathways to success and unlimited options to explore our imaginations and present these worlds to our readers, or will it have an adverse effect? If there are always stories to tell, how will they be told in years to come? Will the written word alone be good enough?

HWA Horror Roundtable 8: Writing a Series

When: May 11, 2013
Special Guests: Kelley Armstrong, Nancy Holder, F. Paul Wilson, and Kim Newman.

What do writers owe their readers when they write books in series? Or do they not owe anything at all? The readers are the people who buy the books and “pay” the writer with eventual [we hope!] royalties. The people and situations in a book and a series are the writer’s creation and for themselves foremost … but if a writer isn’t thinking of potential readers, then why bother sending the book to an agent or publisher? Why try to get it published? And … what does a writer owe her own characters? Did she form them and breathe life into them only to cut things off in a matter of a few books? Of course, we can think of Sherlock Holmes who died but was brought back after Doyle got a lot of Victorian flak.

HWA Horror Roundtable 9: The Future of Agents

When: June 10, 2013
Special Guests: Joe McKinney, Doug Grad, Richard Curtis, and Robert L Fleck.

Do you think all the recent technological advances in publishing are sounding the death knell for the literary agent? Agents used to be the gatekeepers in the classical publishing model, deciding who gets through and who remains in obscurity, but that barrier seems full of holes now. If literary agents are to remain part of the publishing process, how will they need to adapt?

HWA Horror Roundtable 10: The Long Hard Road

When: July 17, 2013
Special Guests: John Shirley, Benjamin Kane Ethridge, JG Faherty, and Tim Waggoner.

One thousand and one (or perhaps a few less) lessons learned along the long hard road to publication. Tips and suggestions that might help other writers get published, things you’ve discovered the hard way through trial and error–or should these mistakes be withheld from new writers so they can ‘earn their stripes?’ Let’s cover the gambit, from writing classes and critique groups, submitting via the top down approach or to ‘exposure’ markets first, replying to rejections, hounding editors and other writers at cons–the list goes on…

HWA Horror Roundtable 11: The Master: The Continuing Impact of Stephen King

When: 11 August, 2013
Special Guests: Rocky Wood, Bev Vincent, Michael Collings, and Douglas E. Winter

Carrie, Salem’s Lot, It, The Shining, The Stand, The Dark Tower, Under the Dome, Joyland… Movies such as The Shawshank Redemption, Stand by Me, Misery, The Green Mile, The Mist… The comic American Vampire, plus all of those wonderfully chilling short stories… Stephen King’s impact on not just the horror genre but the writing world in general is immense. Let’s delve down into it and see what this impact is, and why his name will forever remain indelibly imprinted upon the world of literature, and continue to influence generation after generation of writers.

HWA Horror Roundtable 12: The Nuts and Bolts of Self-Publishing

When: September 12, 2013
Special Guests: Joe Nassise, Michaelbrent Collings, Graeme Reynolds

This is not another discussion (= argument) on the merits or otherwise of self-publishing vs traditional publishing, but an actual nuts and bolts chat covering how you go about self-publishing. What things should you look at, what needs to be done, to ensure your book is as good as it can be, and available in all the right places? What mistakes do some self-published writers make that hurt their careers and turn others off going down this route?

We will be starting this Roundtable with the view that you are planning on self-publishing, and will take it from there.

HWA Horror Roundtable 13: For the Love of Comics

When: October 19, 2013
Special Guests: Taylor Grant, Charles Day, Greg Chapman, and Mike Dubisch

Are comics more popular now than ever before? Let’s explore the industry, the names to watch out for and the publishers fighting the good fight. And let’s look at how a writer might go about having their story turned into a comic or graphic novel; how do they find an artist, and then where/how do they get the final product published. Is there money in comics or is it more for the love? And why is it that horror stories work so well in comic format? We will look at it all.

HWA Horror Roundtable 14: Audiobooks

When: 18 December, 2013
Special Guests: David Niall Wilson, Scott Jacobi, Jeffrey Kafer, and Kevin Pierce

The digital age has seen the popularity of audiobooks skyrocket; it is now a billion dollar industry, with a >30% growth rate in past few years and no signs of slowing. In a busy world, audiobooks are providing a way for us to get in our reading time even when we can’t sit down with an actual book; now we can ‘read’ while driving to work, working out at the gym, cooking dinner, or even doing the housework. And cooler still, you can synch from your ebook to the audio-version seamlessly. But how do authors and publishers get quality audiobooks made? What’s involved? And what are some of the pitfalls to look out for? Our guests for this roundtable have been involved in all aspects of audiobook creation, from narration, production studio engineering, to publishing, so come along and find out what they have to say.

HWA Horror Roundtable 15: Sexism in Horror

When: 16 January, 2014
Special Guests: Ellen Datlow, Lisa Morton, Gary A. Braunbeck, Jason V. Brock, Sephera Giron, and Lisa Mannetti

With so many brilliant female horror writers (think Anne Rice, Shirley Jackson, Daphne Du Maurier, Lisa Morton, Nancy Holder, Sarah Pinborough, Lisa Tuttle, Sarah Langan, Kaaron Warren, and many more), why is it that few of them–if any–ever appear on lists of the ‘best horror writers’? Is that the industry’s fault, or the fans? Is there sexism in the horror genre, a bias towards male writers, or is it just that there are more male writers? If a magazine gets 300 submissions for an issue and the majority is from males, isn’t it likely that the final Table of Contents will contain mostly men? Is that the magazine’s fault for not actively pursuing female submissions? And what if they’re then bullied into putting out a ‘women only’ issue; is that fair? If sexism is prevalent across the horror genre, what can be done about it, and where does the fault lie?

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2 Responses to “Horror Roundtable”

  1. Penelope Crowe says:

    Thanks for this.
    I appreciate this idea and look forward to the meeting in Nov. I am just finding my way around the HWA.
    See you the week of the 18th.
    Penelope Crowe

  2. Daniel Clark says:

    Looking forward to it. If the slimy witch that haunts my laptop doesn’t try to stop me, I’ll be there. Oh my God! She heard me! I’m sorry…please…no…Slimy can be a compliment!