You want to get into horror but you don’t know where to start. This is your sign. This is an intensive, boot campy, crash course 4 week program that will throw you head first into reading, writing, talking, screaming, digesting, sweating, and bleeding horror content. It’s going to be a blast!
We will meet on the following Thursdays: May 4, 11, 18, 25 from 7-9PM EST. Over those 4 weeks, participants will read a number of stories from various subgenres with the intent to identify tools and techniques used by the author. Implementing lessons and notes from class, students will workshop one story they’re passionate about over the duration of the course. At the end you’re going to have a story you’re proud of, but also you will have had a little tapas of what horror can be. Welcome to the fold!!
Week One: Building the Scary Premise and Your Scared Characters
After introductions we’ll talk about what brought us to this class and what stories (if any) are something we want to pursue. Through a series of generative exercises we’ll make your protagonist and the scary thing for them to encounter.
Writing: The first draft of your story!
Week Two: Setting, Secondary Characters, and the Talking about the Monster
We’ll workshop our pieces. Then we’ll go over the role of setting, the importance of characters for your protagonist to interact with, and how information can build suspense about the monster.
Readings after Class: “The Willows” by Algernon Blackwood, “Bulldozer” by Laird Barron
Write: The second draft of your story!
Week Three: The Villain’s Perspective and Your Character’s Agency
We’ll workshop your pieces again. We’ll discuss the importance of the villain’s perspective and how nailing it down can make the conflict clearer. We’ll also go over agency and what it means for your character being agentic vs. passive.
Readings: “The Cabbit” by Maria Dong, “No Matter Which Way They Turned” by Brian Evenson, and “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” by Joyce Carol Oates.
Write: The third draft of your story!
Week Four: One More Workshop
This is the last class! What a doozy! We’ll workshop everyone’s pieces and talk about what techniques and tools we enjoyed, utilized, didn’t quite mesh with.
Should You Have the Time…
Read: “The Jaunt” by Stephen King, “The Boogeyman” by Stephen King, “Rainy Season” by Stephen King, “Hairy Legs and All” by Stephen Graham Jones, “The Moths” by Elina Hawkinsons, “The Coward II” by M. Gira, with more to come.
Alex Gonzalez is a WGA screenwriter, author, and instructor. He teaches fiction writing at various platforms and teaches MFA level screenwriting at Long Island University. He is one of the creators of PoC satire site Flexx Magazine, horror-zine youarenotalone, and has been published in various magazines and anthologies, with his novel Land Shark debuting in 2020. He has been a consultant on novels, treatments, and screenplays. His feature script Negative Space is currently in development with Extra A Productions (The Giant, Little Woods) and his second novel is on submission through FinePrint Lit.