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About Nuts & Bolts: Practical Advice for Horror Writers


About Nuts & Bolts: Practical Advice for Horror Writers

By Tom Joyce

First of all: thank you to everyone who responded to the social media team’s call for Nuts & Bolts interviews! If it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me, I’m sorry; I promise I haven’t forgotten you. I wasn’t anticipating such a wonderful response, but I shouldn’t have been surprised. Speaking as a newbie, I’m continuously blown away by just how welcoming and supportive the horror community can be.

Watch for upcoming interviews with some of horror’s most prominent professionals from a wide range of fields—everything from zines to screenplays to comics to haunted history guided tours.

Every month, Nuts & Bolts will provide practical advice that HWA members can use in their own writing careers. What qualifies me to write it? Nothing whatsoever! That’s kind of the point. I’m a new writer and affiliate member, eager to learn. Since others have been so willing to help, I figure the least I can do is pass along what I pick up in the hope it will benefit others, especially other beginners like me.

If you find the interviews informative or entertaining—even inspiring—that’s great! But my main hope is that you’ll find them useful. Here are just a few of the interviews already lined up, to give you an idea of what I’m looking for. Keep in mind that interview subjects don’t have to be HWA members or horror writers.

– The craft of writing: Watch for an upcoming discussion with horror legend Joe R. Lansdale on how he writes his signature fast-paced prose, including some of his favorite techniques from authors who influenced him.  

I’m also interested in story-telling techniques from other fields, which might be adaptable to writing horror fiction. For example, multiple-award-winning horror author Jan-Andrew Henderson has agreed to share some techniques that City of the Dead, the eerie historic walking tour he owns in Edinburgh, uses to keep visitors on edge.

– The business of writing: Don’t miss this month’s interview with Jonathan Maberry on social media for writers. Watch for an upcoming discussion with Jeani Rector, founder of The Horror Zine, about how she got started and what makes for a productive author-editor relationship. If you’ve ever thought about giving screenplay-writing a try, “Ghost Whisperer” creator John Gray gives some excellent advice here: https://horror.org/nuts-and-bolts-interview-with-john-gray/

Subject-matter experts: Do you know someone who can provide insight into some subject that tends to crop up a lot in fiction, particularly horror fiction? As an example, here’s a newsletter interview with legendary crime writer George Anastasia, in which he discusses the outlaw motorcycle clubs and Mafiosi he’s covered in his career: https://horror.org/private/newsletter/article/writers-and-riders-author-and-journalist-george-anastasia-on-writing-about-outlaw-bikers/

What topics would you find valuable as a writer or publishing professional? Feel free to contact me at TomJHWA@gmail.com and let me know!

Tom Joyce is an affiliate member and beginning writer trying to learn all he can about the craft and business of writing horror from people more knowledgeable than himself. Feel free to join him on this quest with “Nuts & Bolts,” a monthly series of interviews and features dealing with the practical aspects of writing. And if you have any suggestions for good interview subjects, please feel free to get in touch with him at TomJHWA@gmail.com.

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