Book Review: Writing in the Dark by Tim Waggoner

The Best of How-to-Write Horror

I’ve read a ton of how-to-write-fiction books including a number of texts on writing horror, but Tim Waggoner’s Writing in the Dark is the best of them all.

Writing in the Dark by Tim WaggonerIt opens with an intro by Tom Monteleone of Borderlands fame demonstrating why Waggoner is qualified to write the book. He’s a prolific writer of both horror/dark fantasy and media tie-ins. In the preface, Waggoner reveals why he writes horror. We’re of roughly the same age, and his journey in many ways mirrors mine. (It’s great to meet a new member of the Horror Family. Weirdos unite!)

He progresses through chapters such as “Why Horror Matters” and “Things Unknown” and turns a corner with “Everything You Know Is Wrong.” He covers various subgenres of horror, generating unique ideas for stories, and building one-of-a-kind monsters. I especially enjoyed the chapters “The Horror Hero’s Journey” (Poor Bastard’s Descent into Hell) and the importance of including an emotional core relayed through immersive POV.

Every chapter is insightful, helpful, and entertaining. Each ends with exercises to enable eager writers to implement what they’ve just learned as well as three or four “voices from the shadows”—accomplished horror writers—who discuss what makes good horror and best advice for beginning writers.

Waggoner teaches college-level writing, so you’re getting a college course in a book. I love to study, so I consider it a textbook that’s also a tasty morsel of how-to darkness.

My rating is 4.6 stars. The book lost a few tenths because the type is so small. As I read through, I was hoping for a workbook that expanded the exercises. Well, Guide Dog Books/Raw Dog Screaming Press recently announced a companion workbook is coming, so I’m excited about that. I’ll be buying it, too, when it comes out. But I hope the type is a little bigger for those like me over fifty.

I can’t recommend this text highly enough. Whether you’re a beginning, intermediate, or advanced horror writer, you’ll get something useful to take your writing to the next horrific level.

Follow Tim Waggoner on Twitter @TimWaggoner. Check out his website at http://www.timwaggoner.com/.

My 2021 Writing Goals

Writing CalendarI hope it’s not too late to set some goals for the new year. It took me the month of January to get clear on some of them, but here’s what I’m shooting for in 2021.

  • I will master the art of storytelling. I will continue to study and apply what I learn to my writing process until I’m able to plan, plot, and write captivating stories with ease.
  • I will generate ideas and turn them into stories, writing prolifically. I will write story after story, mining my idea folder and #StoryStarter ideas I’ve posted on Twitter.
  • I will write faster. Having planned and plotted stories beforehand, I will be able to write them at least 2500 words per hour.
  • I will write to market each chance I get. Having mastered the art of storytelling and writing much and more quickly, I will write stories for open calls to increase my chances of getting published (instead of writing only my ideas and trying to place them offhand in markets).
  • I will write flash fiction. I will turn poems I’ve written into flash pieces or short stories.
  • I will develop and write a self-editing text, reading and compiling source notes, outlining, and writing chapters until I’m finished. I will submit a proposal to a publishing company.
  • I will revamp my backlist so that I win steady sales. This will include creating new covers for my one-off short stories and shorter collections.
  • I will learn how to market books on Amazon, including placing ads.
  • I will read a book on writing craft monthly. I will continue my writing studies, reading at least one craft text each month.
  • I will redesign my website and launch it. Leeallenhoward.com needs a facelift! Stay tuned.

I plan to make progress on all these goals in 2021. Have you set goals for the new year? What would you like to accomplish? Perhaps more reading? 🙂

Writing Update

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, so I thought you deserved an update.The Surefire Method of Growing Rich

I’ve been hard at work this year writing non-fiction.

I recently released The Surefire Method of Growing Rich, a metaphysical guide to living the abundant life.

Response to a Concerned Heterosexual ChristianThis month I’ll be coming out with a trade paperback version of Response to a Concerned Heterosexual Christian, which is newly updated for Kindle.

I’m also working on a biblical study of everything the Bible has to say about Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as a biography/social commentary on a hippie evangelist from the Jesus Movement, Lonnie Frisbee.

You must admit, I’m eclectic.

I’ll keep you posted as things get published. In the meantime, thanks for your support!

I still love reviews on Amazon and Goodreads!