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Writers: Want to Get Gothic with Me?

I’m leading a workshop on Halloween, in which writers will leverage desire to create dread in their fiction. Come play with me! Here’s more information:

Dread and Desire: Gothic Fiction Techniques to Lure and Horrify Your Readers

The gross-out and the jump scare are not the only ways to horrify. In fact, if your reader isn’t good and anxious beforehand, these moments in our fiction can come off as funny instead of frightening. To be invested in horror, the reader must first consent to being horrified—which means that, on some level, horror should be seductive. In this workshop, we’ll take a look at a sensual subgenre of horror—the Gothic—and mine it for tips on getting readers in the mood to be scared.

This two-hour workshop will be generative, and is designed for writers seeking fodder for new horror stories, or else trying to amplify the horror elements in an existing fiction project. Together, we will answer questions like:

  • What techniques do writers use to create dread out of desire?
  • What is at the root of our own fear, and how can we transfer our true anxiety onto readers?

To do this, we’ll take a close and critical look at passages from works of Gothic fiction (from Stoker’s Dracula to du Maurier’s Rebecca, and even The Shining by Stephen King). Then, we’ll work from prompts to explore the dichotomy of dread and desire within ourselves (or, if you like, within existing characters from your work). Finally, we’ll use one or many of these seed ideas, plus the techniques we unearthed, to draft a passage designed to create real fear, and follow up with sharing of work, questions, or take-aways.

Learning and Writing Goals

Learning goals: In this workshop, you’ll learn:

  • To identify and use the tools of Gothic fiction to create dread.
  • To mine your own experience of being human for truly scary settings, props, and situations.

Writing goals: During the workshop, you will:

  • Work with prompts to generate creative material that could serve either as seeds for new stories or enhance an existing project.
  • Write a descriptive scene that creates a dark, unsettling tone.

Live Workshop Schedule

This webinar runs on Zoom from 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM Eastern time. The schedule is as follows:

  • 60 minutes for lecture/close-reading/short prompts
  • 45 minutes for a longer writing exercise
  • 45 minutes for constructive workshopping and Q & A

Expect in-depth instruction and lively discussion.

You can enroll at this link!

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