Writing Horror: The Dark Side | UNB

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College of Extended Learning

Writing Horror: The Dark Side

Skeleton covered in cobwebs holding a book

The word "horror" often conjures images of masked, machete-wielding monsters doing unspeakable things to innocent teenagers. That's definitely part of it, but there's a lot more to the story.

Horror is a genre unlike no other. Its purpose is to unsettle, to elicit a strong emotional response from the reader through "safe scares". It's also perhaps the most misunderstood genre of all.

Horror is hack and slash, blood and guts. It's creepy ghosts and haunted houses. It's psychological thrillers, gothic tales, atmospheric tension, human drama, and of course, monsters. It spans generations and appeals to a wide audience - from Stephen King and Edgar Allen Poe to Neil Gaiman and R.L. Stine, horror brings joy (and scares) to kids and adults alike.

In this course, we'll dispel some of the myths surrounding horror, and explore the key elements including, what turns an ordinary story into a spooky tale, how to build and maintain suspense, developing strong characters (human and otherwise), how to write an ending with maximum impact, and more.

This course shares some basic elements with Crafting the Short Story, and emphasizes developing the craft through good writing practices and habits.

Writers of all levels welcome. Due to some subject matter, age 18+ is advised.

No materials required.

Course details

Dates: Mondays, Jan. 25 to March 15, 2021 (6 weeks - no class Feb 15 & March 1)
Time: 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Location: Offered online
Course fee: $165 (+ HST) *Save 15% if you register before Jan. 11, 2021*
Instructor: Joe Powers

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About the instructor

Joe Powers is a horror writer with a fondness for literary sleight-of-hand. He enjoys introducing the reader to flawed, believable characters and leading them on dark journeys with an unexpected twist. He has been a member of the Horror Writers’ Association, ArtsNB, the Writers' Federation of New Brunswick, the NB Authors Portal and the Short Fiction Writers' Guild, and is active in the local arts and writing communities. His work has appeared in various anthologies and collections worldwide. His debut novel is the western/horror crossover, Terror in High Water.

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