Dear aspiring horror scribe,
Let's just get something out there first of all, with which I'm sure you'll agree.
Writing horror that really puts the frighteners on folks is hard.
Maybe you've had a go at it in the past – spent hours slaving away over every word, designing shocking sequences and spine-tingling revelations you were sure couldn't fail to unleash the cold sweats...
But then you passed your hot new slice of fear to family and friends, and the 'usual' experience began. All questions and slight praise...
It was... good!
What was your inspiration?
This seems really personal.
So you're scared of spiders, then?
What are you trying to say with this?
Before long, that sly grin of yours is a mask of disappointment – because the truth is...
Your story was about as scary as a dime store Halloween costume.
It's a harsh reality to come to terms with, especially when what you really wanted to hear is...
"I couldn't get to sleep, and I hate you."
A loving hate, naturally (unless you wrote some really horrible stuff!), but it's secretly what we horror misfits want to achieve, isn't it?
You want them to blame you for their sleepless nights – for the creeping dread they feel as they lie awake, wondering if that shadow in the corner really is just a shadow.
Truth be told, that's exactly what fanatical horror readers also want. But giving it to them is no simple task... because to succeed, you need to really get into their heads and under their skin.
And boy have they built up some pretty thick skin over the years.
You'd be forgiven for thinking that maybe writing horror just isn't for you, even when you'd love nothing more than to make a success of it. When, for the umpteenth time, your latest attempt at literary terrorization winds up slightly less unsettling than discovering an old piece of fruit behind the bread basket, well...
It's easy to get discouraged.
Yet just take a look at Stephen King. What does he say about rejection and discouragement?
"By the time I was fourteen the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing."
That's what he did... and for decades he has remained one of the world's most successful and admired authors – an author who, to this very day, still enjoys chart-topping positions and regular film and TV adaptations of his work.
Horror Never Dies
But then again, maybe you just tell yourself it isn't worth the effort. After all, we're constantly being told that horror is dead. That it's out of style. That nobody cares to read that kind of pulpy nonsense anymore.
Yet it doesn't go away, does it?
That's because horror continues to enjoy one of the most enviously dedicated, consistent, and ravenous fan bases you could possibly wish for – ensuring those authors who strike it big with genre readers will never find themselves short of demand.
Horror never dies.
And neither should your will to crack it, if you want to enjoy a shot at this very special kind of niche following.
As a seasoned master of the genre, King knows things that directly empower his words.
He's put in the decades of painstaking work perfecting the angles, techniques, formulas, and sneaky little tricks that let him catch you off guard and plunge you headlong into an inescapable, breathless nightmare.
His contemporaries know these things, too.
And now you can join them – with the help of a brand new online course dedicated to helping you understand the intimate nuts and bolts that put paralyzing terror on the page.
Better yet, it won't take decades to kit you out with the skill to thrill.
Topped up with input by genre stalwarts and legends from around the globe, the course in question is...
Your six steps to horror mastery
Throughout the course of six separate modules, plus a diverse selection of exercises and references, Nightmare Fuel: How to Write Horror That Guarantees Sleepless Nights will walk you through the tried and true principles behind any successful terrifying tale.
From foundational practices to specific, scene-based methods, you'll learn how to find inspiration in fear and lay down the building blocks for your stories – plus when and how to deploy your cunning ambushes like a seasoned pro.
Featuring stimulating quotes from genre luminaries, handy example text, and real-world illustrations from celebrated authors such as Brian Keene, Jack Ketchum, and Tim Curran, Nightmare Fuel will help you keep your eager victims turning the pages no matter how much punishment you dish out.
That's right. No longer will your attempts at horror be any laughing matter, as the tortured squeal of ancient gates welcomes your arrival into...
Module 1: Fear Warmed Up
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 and get cracking on new stories quicker than ever. It sure beats staring at the wall!
Module 2: Planning
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 hidden internal architect if you want to make your story more believable to read... 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...
Module 3: Humans and Monsters
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.
- The secrets behind writing fantastical creatures that leap straight from the page and into 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.
Module 4: Horror with Style
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 cliché.
- Why you should have your own barf bag ready if you're going to paint the town red with gore...
- 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.
... and more!
Module 5: Writing Nerve-Shredding Scenes
With the foundations set for your overall understanding of horror fiction, 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.
Backed up by our custom Scene Planner worksheet, the nine crucial choices laid bare in this module 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?
Module 6: Killer Tips and Tricks
Finally, no author's toolbox is complete without a number of easily accessible utilities they can bring into action when and where they need to.
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 with your ghastly new skills, we've even included an expanded set of 66 exclusive writing prompts – so you can flex those macabre muscles right away.
Additional Resources: 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:
- Jerusalem's Lot by Stephen King
- Afraid by Jack Kilborn
- Heathen by Shaun Hutson
- Open Season by Jack Ketchum
- The Ritual by Adam Nevill (now a major motion picture)
Learn at your own pace, wherever you go
One of the first rules of education is that different people learn best through different means.
That's why, when you purchase Nightmare Fuel: How to Write Horror That Guarantees Sleepless Nights, you'll get all of the primary course materials in multiple formats.
However you best absorb information, and whether you're at home, perched in the office, or out on the go, you'll have ideal access to your entire course whenever you may want it.
Printable PDF documents for every module and worksheet, plus complete and unabridged video and audio editions of the key course modules are instantly yours.
It's the horror course of your
Prepare to face The Fearsome Five!
Purchase Nightmare Fuel today, and you'll also receive a free bonus copy of our exclusive supplement: The Fearsome Five.
Featuring all-new custom articles and insights from five of horror's signature voices, legendary and new, this unique report is strictly for your eyes only as a student of Nightmare Fuel.
Join genre heavyweights Tim Curran, Greig Beck, and Scott Nicholson, plus supreme horror masters Ramsey Campbell and Graham Masterton, as they walk you through their own personal tips and perspectives on bringing fear to life on the page.
Nowhere else will you gain access to this rare collection of knowledge.
In addition, The Fearsome Five also includes a never-before-seen sneak peek at Graham Masterton's upcoming 2018 novel, Ghost Virus!