Interview with Horror University instructor Gretchen McNeil
Number five in our series of StokerCon 2017 Horror University instructor interviews is all about bestselling author Gretchen McNeil!
Have you read Save the Cat? Have you poured over Story? Can you quote passages from The Hero With a Thousand Faces, The Writer’s Journey, and Story Engineering? Are you looking for a new approach to plot? If your answer to these questions is “YES” then Gretchen McNeil would love to introduce you to Constantin Stanislavski. Known as the godfather of modern acting techniques, Stanislavski’s approach to character reaches far beyond the acting stage. Gretchen will demonstrate how she uses Stanislavski’s fundamental questions, super-imposed upon 3-Act Structure, to plot her young adult horror novels. The class includes a lecture, exercises and a crowd-sourced plot demonstration.
Gretchen McNeil is an opera singer, writer and clown. Her YA horror Possess about a teen exorcist debuted with Balzer + Bray for HarperCollins in 2011. Gretchen’s follow up Ten – YA horror/suspense about ten teens trapped on a remote island with a serial killer – was a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, a Romantic Times Top Pick, a Booklist Top Ten Horror Fiction for Youth, a finalist for Washington state’s 2015 Evergreen Young Adult Book Award and Vermont’s 2014-2015 Green Mountain Book Award, and was nominated for “Best Young Adult Contemporary Novel of 2012” by Romantic Times. In 2013, she released 3:59, a sci-fi doppelganger horror about two girls who are the same girl in parallel dimensions who decide to switch places. In 2014, Gretchen debuted her first series, Don’t Get Mad, also with Balzer + Bray. Get Even and Get Dirty follow four very different girls who form a secret society where they get revenge on bullies and mean girls at their elite prep school. Relic was released March 8, 2016 and I’m Not your Manic Pixie Dream Girl, a YA contemporary novel will be out in the fall. Gretchen’s novels have been optioned by Hollywood production companies, and have sold internationally in Chinese, Spanish and Turkish.
Tell us something about your Horror University workshop that is not in the original description.
What skills or achievements make you ideally suited to lead this workshop?
Why do you feel that your workshop subject is especially important?
If you could participate in one other Horror University workshop, which one would you choose and why?
Do you approach the craft of writing horror differently from other genres?
Apart from teaching your workshop, what are you most looking forward to at StokerCon?
What do you most hope that those attending your workshop take away from it?