Episode 343: Writing in the Dark: How to Write Horror – Interview with Tim Waggoner

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Tim Waggoner.

Tim Waggoner is a critically-acclaimed author of over fifty novels and seven short story collections. He writes original dark fantasy and horror, as well as media tie-ins. He’s also the author of a comprehensive book on writing horror called Writing in the Dark.

His novels include Like Death, which is considered a modern classic in the horror genre, and the popular Nekropolis series of urban fantasy novels. He’s written tie-in fiction for Supernatural, Grimm, the X-Files, Doctor Who, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Alien, and Transformers, among other properties, and he’s written novelizations for films such as Kingsman: the Golden Circle and Resident Evil: the Final Chapter. His articles on writing have appeared in Writer’s Digest, The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Writer’s Workshop of Horror, and Where Nightmares Come From.

In 2017 he received the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Long Fiction, and he’s been a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award, the Scribe Award, and the Splatterpunk Award. His fiction has appeared several times in the Year’s Best Hardcore Horror, and he’s received numerous Honorable Mentions in volumes of Best Horror of the Year. In 2016, the Horror Writers Association honored him with the Mentor of the Year Award. In addition to writing, he’s also a full-time tenured professor who teaches creative writing and composition at Sinclair College in Dayton, Ohio.

In this episode Tim and I discuss:

  • Where different kinds of horror writing fit in relation to other speculative genres.
  • How psychology plays into the crafting of a horror story.
  • Why horror is not just plot and what it’s really about instead.

Plus, his #1 tip for writers.

About Tim Waggoner

Critically-acclaimed author Tim Waggoner’s first novel came out in 2001, and since then he’s published over fifty novels and seven collections of short stories. He writes original dark fantasy and horror, as well as media tie-ins. He’s also the author of a comprehensive book on writing horror called Writing in the Dark. His novels include Like Death, considered a modern classic in the genre, and the popular Nekropolis series of urban fantasy novels. He’s written tie-in fiction for Supernatural, Grimm, the X-Files, Doctor Who, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Alien, and Transformers, among other properties, and he’s written novelizations for films such as Kingsman: the Golden Circle and Resident Evil: the Final Chapter. His articles on writing have appeared in Writer’s Digest, The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Writer’s Workshop of Horror, and Where Nightmares Come From. In 2017 he received the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Long Fiction, and he’s been a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award, the Scribe Award, and the Splatterpunk Award. His fiction has appeared several times in the Year’s Best Hardcore Horror, and he’s received numerous Honorable Mentions in volumes of Best Horror of the Year. In 2016, the Horror Writers Association honored him with the Mentor of the Year Award. In addition to writing, he’s also a full-time tenured professor who teaches creative writing and composition at Sinclair College in Dayton, Ohio.

You can find Tim on his website or follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. He also has a blog.

Writing in the Dark

In this comprehensive textbook devoted to the craft of writing horror fiction, award-winning author Tim Waggoner draws on thirty years’ experience as a writer and teacher. Writing in the Dark offers advice, guidance, and insights on how to compose horror stories and novels that are original, frightening, entertaining, and well-written.

Waggoner covers a wide range of topics, among them why horror matters, building viable monsters, generating ideas and plotlines, how to stylize narratives in compelling ways, the physiology of fear, the art of suspense, avoiding clichés, marketing your horror writing, and much more. Each chapter includes tips from some of the best horror professionals working today, such as Joe Hill, Ellen Datlow, Joe R. Lansdale, Maurice Broaddus, Yvette Tan, Thomas Ligotti, Jonathan Maberry, Edward Lee, and John Shirley. There are also appendices with critical reflections, pointers on the writing process, ideas for characters and story arcs, and material for further research.

Writing in the Dark derives from Waggoner’s longtime blog of the same name. Suitable for classroom use, intensive study, and bedside reading, this essential manual will appeal to new authors at the beginning of their career as well as veterans of the horror genre who want to brush up on their technique.

If you decide to check out the book, we hope you’ll do so via this Amazon affiliate link, where if you choose to purchase via the link DIY MFA gets a referral fee at no cost to you. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!

Link to Episode 343

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