Write Better. Right Now.



How To Write Horror
That Guarantees Sleepless Nights

Starts March 18, 2023


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as seen in...
Before You Proceed

What Joshua Sterling Bragg, Haunting Season Podcast has to say about Nightmare Fuel

“I took the class about 6 months ago and I feel like I'm still learning from the course materials...it's like a horror survival guide!”

Joshua Sterling Bragg
Creator of the Haunting Season Podcast


Before You Proceed

Nightmare Fuel: How to Write Horror That Guarantees Sleepless Nights contains content and exercises that may not be suitable for those of a nervous or sensitive disposition.

Writing the most effective kinds of horror can often involve trips to deep, dark places within yourself. Exercises recommended as part of this course involve introspective fear analyses that may prove traumatic for some individuals.

Horror is often a cathartic creative endeavor, but we do want to be fair and safe with you.
This is not designed to be therapeutic.

Please be sure you are 100% confident that writing impactful horror is for you. By registering for this course, you agree that AutoCrit, including its staff and contributors, cannot be held responsible for any emotional or physical distress suffered as a result.

As a virtual writing group, we all work together to develop ideas, explore themes, and elevate skills.
Interaction is key and we keep everyone engaging with the course, through assignments and discussion.

The Horror Writing Course With Bite

Welcome to Nightmare Fuel

Prepare yourself for the most comprehensive horror writing experience you could ever wish for.

From foundational practices to specific, scene-based methods, you’ll learn how to find inspiration and lay down the building blocks of deeply effective horror that packs a punch.

Nightmare Fuel offers a beginning-to-end journey that empowers you with everything you need to know about forging a career writing horror stories that people won't soon forget.

Your Tutors

Practitioners of Pain

Gareth Jones

Join our resident horror expert, Gareth – a genre journalist, writer, critic and creative consultant with over a decade of experience working with all things horror across the worlds of publishing, film, and games – for compelling video lessons and additional live sessions throughout the month.

Live session dates and times are:
Session 1 - Monday, March 18th, 2024 at 6pm Eastern US time.
Session 2 - Monday, March 25th, 2024 at 6pm Eastern US time.
Session 3 - Monday, April 1st, 2024 at 6pm Eastern US time.
Session 4 - Monday, April 8th, 2024 at 6pm Eastern US time.
Session 5 - Friday, April 12th, 2024 at 6pm Eastern US time.

If you can't make it to a session, don't worry recordings will be uploaded for you to enjoy at your own pace alongside the rest of the course!

Rayne Hall

Rayne Hall, our co-author, is a fantasy and horror writer, editor of the Ten Tales anthology series and author of the bestselling Writer's Craft series. Her short stories have been published in many anthologies, and some of her books have been translated into several languages.

Past Students Have Published With...

Nightmare Fuel

Explore the Full Curriculum


In this foundation-setting introductory module, we’ll walk you through:

  • Understanding the what, why, and how of fear itself – because if you’re going to wield your greatest tool with razor precision, it’s best if you understand its nuances.
  • How to quickly and easily find inspiration by turning common fears into aberrant, throat-gripping scenarios.
  • The surprising, and much overlooked, sources you can use to engage your muse, discover the stories only YOU can tell, and get cracking quicker than ever. It sure beats staring at the wall!
  • The GHOST Foundation process that helps you quickly and easily lay the groundwork for chilling tales that feel a little too close to home.

Planning can be a contentious issue for authors, which is why this second module probably isn’t what you think… Here, you’ll get a thorough understanding of:

  • The difference between knowing your story and knowing your plot.
  • Why you should engage your internal architect if you want to make your story more believable… and infinitely more easy to write.
  • How to handle the ticking clock, or throw time itself into the darkness – never to be seen again.
  • How to skillfully (and effortlessly) lay figurative “traps” for your reader, without them ever suspecting a thing.

Little is more important to the success of a horror story than the quality of its characters. In this module, you’ll undertake a complete exploration of:

  • How to quickly and easily generate wildly different characters, complete with realistic backstory, from your own fears and experiences.
  • The key elements of believable characters your readers will truly get behind – and feel scared as hell for once you put them in danger.
    Why misunderstanding of handling the “stakes” is one of the biggest failures you can suffer in genre storytelling, and exactly what you should do not just to get it right, but to use them as a tool to wind your reader’s anxiety to breaking point.
  • How to bring to life a villain your readers will love to loathe – probably the best effort-to-payoff ratio of any preparatory work you can do.
  • How to bring to life a villain your readers will love to loathe – probably the best effort-to-payoff ratio of any preparatory work you can do.
  • The secrets behind writing fantastical creatures that leap straight from the page and into the dark corners of the reader’s room!
  • The simple “Mixtape Method” you can use to conjure unique monsters and lore, even when your creative juices are running low.

Backed up with pre-made custom worksheets, this module will turn all of your character- and creature-building duties into a straightforward, resistance-free process.

No horror story is complete without a defined style – and while style can be a personal tool, specific to any given author, there are key concerns you should be aware of. In this module, you’ll discover:

  • How different Points of View affect your storytelling, and which kinds are best for an involving, petrifying story readers feel like they can’t escape from.
  • Why being a glutton for thrills might actually be your undoing
    How to translate the way we naturally interpret the world onto the page, so readers feel like they’re truly inside your imaginary domain – and face-to-face with death.
  • The correct way to build mood and atmosphere – and the lazy mistakes most aspiring authors make that leaves their work drenched in cliche.
  • How to bring to life a villain your readers will love to loathe – probably the best effort-to-payoff ratio of any preparatory work you can do.
  • The six core elements of any written fiction that you cannot overlook… unless you want your novel to get savaged by readers and critics alike .

In this module we take things closer… and lay bare the building blocks for a truly terrifying scene!

Whether you’re planning to write a story that’s 100% horror, or just looking to add a few isolated moments of shock and fear to your adventure, sci-fi, or fantasy tale, this is the module for you.

The nine crucial choices laid bare right here will make conjuring your future scary scenes as simple as 1-2-3 (4-5-6-7-8-9)…

Here’s a brief hint of something you’ll need to think about:

Are you frightened by what you’ve created?

Finally, no author’s toolbox is complete without a number of easily accessible utilities they can take into the action when and where the need arises.

In this last module, we round off with a series of tips and techniques that will add that final knockout punch to your prose – completing your transformation from a writer who struggled to frighten a skittish rodent, to an uncompromising architect of thrills, chills, and kills.

At last, you’ll be an author that horror fans know is guaranteed to deliver the sleepless nights they crave!

To get you started on the road to stardom, we’ve even included an expanded set of 66 exclusive writing prompts – so you can flex those macabre muscles right away.

Exclusive Supplement #1

Scene Autopsies

In addition to the examples contained within the core modules, you’ll further contextualize core teachings of the Nightmare Fuel course as we guide you, scalpel in hand, through dissection of selected scenes from works including:

Develop stronger insight into the storytelling techniques and psychological triggers at play within works from some of the most effective horror authors in the business – so you know exactly how and when to deploy them yourself.

Exclusive Supplement #2

The Fearsome Five

Created exclusively to complement your course, this unique collection of thoughtful tips and professional perspective includes original writing and ideas from genre heavyweights including:

Nowhere else will you gain access to this rare collection of knowledge – and it’s strictly for your eyes only.

All Killer, No Filler: Your Future in Fear

Activities, Guests, and Hours of Content

Horror-Focused Writing

6 modules of icy pure horror-focused writing (featuring video lessons, live classes, module assignments and peer review opportunity!)

Course Materials

Hours of pre-recorded course modules with activities to complete, plus weekly live sessions tackling additional topics and Q&As.


Easy-to-follow, building block worksheets - including the Character Creator, Creature Creator, Scary Scene Planner, and more…

Writing Prompts

66 killer writing prompts to fire up your imagination, plus dissected scenes from popular and bestselling horror novels.

Class Connection

Connect with like-minded authors and discuss course content.

Nightmare Fuel Survivors

What people who have lived through the course have to say​

Daryl M.​
Daryl M.​Author
Read More
The guest speakers alone are worth the price of admission. It’s like a writer’s convention in your home. Well worth the time, effort, and investment. ​
Molly A.​
Molly A.​Author
Read More
One of the things I most wanted to improve was the scare factor in intense scenes, really building up that fear. And I thought the class helped with that a ton!
Ryan P.​
Ryan P.​Author
Read More
I enjoyed this course very much, and it has helped give me new things to think about when crafting my own work, horror-based or not. Thanks so much for putting it together!​
Joseph P.
Joseph P.Author
Read More
I’ve never felt so welcome and valued in a course before. Both teachers and students were so graceful towards one another from start to finish.​
Guidance From The Author Of The Writer’s Craft Series

From Frightful Beginning to the (Not So) Bitter End

Nightmare Fuel is built for your success – and that means our guidance comes from tutors who actually live and breathe the genre.

Nightmare Fuel isn’t simply a “one and done” course. Once the four-week period is over, you’ll retain access to our learning platform and course materials, so you can work at your own pace and continue to reference everything you’ll ever need to know about crafting spine-chilling fiction.

Enjoy an extensive selection of modules from Writer’s Craft author Rayne Hall, covering:



Character Creation

Writing Setting

Gothic Writing

Publication & Launch

Special guest appearance

Join Author & Publisher Geoff Brown for an Exclusive Q&A

As part of your Nightmare Fuel experience, join special guest Geoff Brown for an exclusive live Q&A and group chat.

Author, editor, and publisher at Australia's Cohesion Press, Geoff has overseen the creation and growth of Cohesion's successful SNAFU anthology series  stories from which have been seen adapted as part of Netflix's Love, Death and Robots.

Take a seat with Geoff and pick his brains on anything from writing and publishing, through to editorial mindset and leveraging Hollywood connections, in this casual and candid group session.

Also included as part of your course is more than 15 hours of insightful conversation with successful horror authors from around the world – ready for you to enjoy at your leisure.

Past AutoCrit Guests Include...

Lee Murray


Jo Kaplan


David Haynes


Ramsey Campbell


Thana Niveau


Paul Tremblay


Rayne Hall


Activities, Guests, And Hours Of Content

The Nightmare Fuel Community

Alongside the Nightmare Fuel course content, you’ll also receive access to our members-only community forums.

Chat about all things horror, share your work, engage in creative writing activities with like-minded authors, and more.

Get involved, ask questions, and share a few laughs and cringes with some of the genre’s finest personalities - all included with admission.

If you miss an event, don’t worry – recordings are posted for community members, offering hour after hour of horrific expertise for you to slice into right away.

money back guarantee

Worry Your Readers, Not Yourself.

Nightmare Fuel: How to Write Horror That Guarantees Sleepless Nights is our biggest standalone genre course so far.
We think it’s scary good.

But if you don’t believe that anything you’ve encountered throughout the course has helped make you a better horror author, we’re not going to put you on the rack. Your purchase is an investment in your skills as a writer – so it’s only fair you expect an improvement in your abilities.

If you feel that hasn’t happened, just let us know within 60 days of purchase and we’ll be happy to offer you a full refund. It’s as simple as that. So don’t be anxious. Save that for the readers you’ll terrorize...

You’re Not Too Scared, Are You?

Register Your Seat Now


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