Writing Horror Fiction 2024

22nd April 2024 7:00pm to 20th May 2024 8:30pm, Online

Back by popular demand, author Kirsty Logan is returning to W&A in 2024 to deliver this five-week online course dedicated to the craft of writing horror fiction.

From monsters to slashers, clowns to the gothic, horror stories have been keeping readers up at night for as long as we can remember. Writing Horror Fiction is designed to take you through everything you need to know to send chills through a reader's spine with your story. Attendees will explore how to develop the seed of an unsettling idea, discover - through plotting and writing techniques - how much one can leave to the reader's imagination, and analyse what makes a good horror story for the 21st century. You'll delve into conflict and common fears, narrative and writing style, to help you craft your own unique and terrifying creation.

Through a combination of discussion, analysis and plenty of fun-but-challenging writing exercises, you'll leave each class with more ideas to pursue. Come ready to think, discuss, create and write!

This course includes:

- Five online sessions, 1.5 hours in length, for a maximum of 20 students

- Practical workshops with takeaway exercises to be applied to your own work and put each session's learning into practice

- In-depth analysis of the horror genre, using books, films and TV shows as reference

- Course materials available to view ahead of each session, including stories and excerpts to read, plus catch-up recordings. 

- A private online forum, to share discussion and writing throughout the course

- A copy of the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2024

A horror fiction book bundle from Bloomsbury Publishing

As an optional extra at a cost of £50, you can get bespoke feedback from Kirsty on up to 2,000 words of original writing (one-page synopsis can be included) 



Week 1 - Monday 22nd April

Looking outwards: revisiting, reworking, reimagining

We’ll hit the ground running by analysing extracts from horror books, leading us into a lively discussion about classic tropes such as monsters, slashers, and the gothic. Where did these stories come from, and why do we keep returning to them? And most importantly, how can we use them to produce our own unique, original and terrifying work? In analysing what’s been done before, we can choose what we want the next steps in horror fiction to be.

Week 2 - Monday 29th April

Looking inwards: your psyche as story

We’ll dig a little deeper in week 2, asking ourselves: what are we really afraid of? What are the real roots of common fears? And how can we use that knowledge to construct vivid, compelling, emotionally real stories that will connect with readers? We’ll play with a combination of universal human fears and your own unique viewpoint to construct brand new stories.

Week 3 - Monday 6th May

Making it worse: conflict is story

Without conflict, there is no story. But how do we create conflict? The answer is that we don’t create conflict itself: instead we construct the characters, world and events in perfect opposition so that conflict is inevitable. We’ll explore how to move the sliders of the various elements of story to amp up tension, enrich the narrative world, and make characters live and breathe on the page. As always, we’ll do timed writing exercises to ensure you have a strong start to work on for the rest of the week.

Week 4 - Monday 13th May

What we really want to say: theme and meaning

A story always says something, whether we mean it to or not - so it’s important that we’re always in control of our stories’ meaning. We’ll analyse books and films to discover what they’re about - not what happens, but the underlying meaning of the story. Then we’ll play with some timed writing exercises, exploring how altering small details can drastically change how a reader understands the meaning of a story.

Week 5 - Monday 20th May

The actual words: prose and syntax

Now we know what we want to say - but how do we say it? We’ll discuss our favourite sentences and paragraphs, then explore words with our senses: sounding them in our mouths, forming them with our pens, looking at the use of blank space on the page. We’ll experiment with different writing styles to see what effect this brings to our stories. Finally, we’ll end by selecting our best idea from the many we’ve developed over the course, and discuss how to make it the strongest it can be. You’ll end the course inspired, prepared and raring to put the finishing touches on your brand new stories.

Speaker profiles
Kirsty Logan

Kirsty Logan is the award-winning author of seven books, most recently Now She is Witch, a medieval witch revenge quest. Her other novels include Things We Say in the Dark, a collection of feminist horror stories which was recently optioned for TV, The GloamingThe GracekeepersA Portable Shelter, and The Rental Heart & Other Fairytales. She also wrote and presented a 10-part series for BBC Radio 4, A History of Ghosts, and recently released the Audible Original The Sound at the End, an Arctic ghost story. 

Booking & payment

The course fee of £350 (inc. VAT) is payable in full online. Please note that payment instalment plans are available for all W&A events, writing courses and editing services. Contact W&A Admin on events@writersandartists.co.uk so that we can find a payment schedule that works for you.

If this event is Sold Out, please look out for other writing courses by visiting our Events homepage.

This is a live online course which will be presented using video conferencing software. Joining instructions and full guidance will be provided by the W&A Team a week before the event start-date.

To view our event refund and cancellation policy, please click here.

Accessible to All

It’s of real importance to Writers & Artists that our events and courses remain accessible to all.

  • Writers & Artists has made one bursary place available for this writing course as part of our accessibility scheme. Please visit our bursaries page for further information about how to apply. 
  • At the author’s discretion, event materials will be made available to attendees after the course.
  • A link to a recording of the course will be circulated each week. This will be made available to course attendees only, and for a time-limited period.
  • This course will include written text and visuals. Please contact us in advance so that we can make arrangements to be sure all documents appear in a format that works for you.
  • If you’d like to attend but have any questions or concerns regarding accessibility, then please email AccessWA@bloomsbury.com

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