‘On Writing Horror’ by Mort Castle

On Writing Horror

Revised edition of the handbook with contributions from Stephen King, Harlan Ellison, Joyce Carol Oates and many others. Exploring everything from what horror is, to how to avoid falling into the trap of rehashing old tropes, there’s something here for everyone.

I originally bought the paperback version of this, but due to the ridiculously small typeface, I ended up buying the ebook version too, just to be able to read the damn thing! While there is much in this book to appeal to writers in any genre, it is mainly intended for writers of horror. Annoyingly, and despite the so-called ‘revised and updated’ spiel, a lot of it is still aimed at American writers (writers’ groups, workshops etc in the US). There’s also a bit of an emphasis on the inclusion of Stevie King, even though his contribution is from an acceptance speech, rather than advice on writing, so not terribly helpful. (A search on YouTube will reveal an abundance of vids about the man and his work.)

Having said all that, there are some cracking good chapters in this volume. My favourites are David Morrell’s thoughts on dialogue and dialogue tags and the conversation with Harlan Ellison. There are worthy contributions too from Tom Piccirilli, Karen E Taylor, Jack Ketchum and an interesting piece on redneck horror by Weston Ochse.

A useful and thought-provoking volume for writers everywhere, but if your eyesight ain’t great, buy the ebook.



 
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  3 comments for “‘On Writing Horror’ by Mort Castle

  1. December 10, 2019 at 03:15

    I’d love to read this one, too, Colin, but like you, I can’t handle the tiny type anymore. Think big, people! 🙂

    Like

    • December 10, 2019 at 06:30

      Yeah, I don’t know what it is, but some publishers seem determined to make us squint!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. November 30, 2019 at 13:03

    Thanks for this review, Colin. I must get this one.

    Like

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