J.'s Reviews > On Writing Horror: A Handbook by the Horror Writers Association

On Writing Horror by Mort Castle
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's review
Jul 20, 2012

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bookshelves: reference

Great Book, Needs To Be Modernized.

For the kind of reference book it attempts to be, this is a pretty good book. It's compiled well, has generally good advice by generally successful and well-received authors and industry professionals.

One problem with this book is that most of the people that supply the contend for the book are now senior citizens, many of whom are form the pre-TV generation, and don't have an entirely modern viewpoint on the publishing and promotional mechanisms available today. There is talk of the evils of vanity presses for example; which is silly, as modern platforms like the Kindle Self-Publishing Program render such things moot. Other examples are abound, but I won't get into it. The point is, some of the information in this book is both dated, and told from a dated perspective. Thus, if you buy this book, keep in mind that you don't have to take all of their advice literally, and that there are many, many more options available to you when it comes to publishing.

I'm not bagging on older people at all, mind you. I'm not saying that being a member of the pre-TV generation is a bad thing either; as a writer, it's a very good thing in my opinion. I just know that technology has opened about a half-billion doors that the people writing in this book aren't familiar with and haven't considered.

The other aspect of this book that I disagreed with is the great push for writers conferences and workshops. While there is a warning that they're not for everyone, the push is obvious. Why do they push them? It's not on-the-level, if you ask me. Many of those that write for this book have their own conferences and workshops that they sell as a service, so it's inherently biased advice.

Other than these small issues, the general advice in the book is solid. I really liked some of the suggested-reading and I liked reading the work by the authors that were name-dropped (whom I'd previously never heard of).

Take ALL writing advice with a grain of salt.

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