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Writing in the Dark: The Workbook

Like Tim Waggoner's Bram Stoker Award-winning Writing in the Dark, a manual for how to write horror fiction, this workbook covers a wide variety of topics, ranging from monster, idea, and plotline creation to avoiding clichés and developing the art of suspense. The workbook, however, foregrounds practice over discussion to help writers master these concepts. Both texts stand on their own while working together to provide you with the direction and tools you need to maximize your own authorship.

The wealth of examples, exercises, and tutorials in Writing in the Dark: The Workbook are designed to inspire and stretch the imagination. Waggoner draws from his own experiences in addition to other professional writers, among them Laird Barron, Maurice Broaddus, Nadia Bulkin, Ramsey Campbell, Mort Castle, Tananarive Due, Christopher Golden, Grady Hendrix, Daniel Kraus, Joe R. Lansdale, Elizabeth Massie, Graham Masterton, Seanan McGuire, John Shirley, and many others.

Featuring an introduction by Michael A. Arnzen, Writing in the Dark: The Workbook will resonate with young authors who are just getting started on their careers as well as veterans of the horror genre and craft.

Praise for Writing in the Dark:

“I had a chance to read through Tim Waggoner’s Writing in the Dark this week, and it is excellent! Comprehensive, accessible, no-frills, and packed with the advice that writers like Tim and myself wish we had been given when we started.” —Brian Keene

“One of the best non-fiction texts on the art and business of writing horror-suspense since King's On Writing.” —Lee Murray, multi-award-winning writer and editor

“I felt more as if I were sitting in a dive bar, discussing secrets of the universe with my feet up. He can take the toughest topic — from theme to voice to motivation and conflict—and talk someone through it as if reviewing his favorite new movie. —Dave Simms, Cemetery Dance

“Tim Waggoner’s Writing in the Dark is an instant classic in the small canon of ‘how to books’ specifically directed at that special breed of authors known as horror writers . . .” —Michael A. Arnzen

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The Art of Writing Genre Fiction

Writing in the Dark Writing in the Dark

In this comprehensive textbook devoted to the craft of writing horror fiction, award-winning author Tim Waggoner draws on thirty years' experience as a writer and teacher. Writing in the Dark offers advice, guidance, and insights on how to compose horror stories and novels that are original, frightening, entertaining, and well-written.

Waggoner covers a wide range of topics, among them why horror matters, building viable monsters, generating ideas and plotlines, how to stylize narratives in compelling ways, the physiology of fear, the art of suspense, avoiding clichés, marketing your horror writing, and much more. Each chapter includes tips from some of the best horror professionals working today, such as Joe Hill, Ellen Datlow, Joe R. Lansdale, Maurice Broaddus, Yvette Tan, Thomas Ligotti, Jonathan Maberry, Edward Lee, and John Shirley. There are also appendices with critical reflections, pointers on the writing process, ideas for characters and story arcs, and material for further research.

Writing in the Dark derives from Waggoner's longtime blog of the same name. Suitable for classroom use, intensive study, and bedside reading, this essential manual will appeal to new authors at the beginning of their career as well as veterans of the horror genre who want to brush up on their technique.


"I was part of one of Tim's writing workshops more years ago than I care to acknowledge. Soon after completing it, I began to sell professionally. Coincidence? I think not!" —Dave Creek, author of 40 science fiction and mystery short stories and 14 books

"I still refer to handwritten notes I scribbled down as fast as I could during one of Tim's horror-writing classes. Absolutely incisive insights and practical know-how." --Tom Leveen, Bram Stoker finalist and author of Hellworld
"As soon as I heard Waggoner was creating a book on writing craft, I knew I was buying it. His insights are gold." —Jay Wilburn, author of the Maidens of Zombie Kingdom trilogy

"For some years now, Tim Waggoner's Writing in the Dark has been my go-to blog for sensible, actionable, sustainable tips for writers. Scarily good advice." —Lee Murray, author of The Path of Ra series

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Paperback & Hardcover


With Michael Knost

A collection of writing articles by Bram Stoker Award-Winners Michael Knost and Tim Waggoner. Each piece offers sage advice for writers working in any genre. Topics covered include Decreasing the Learning Curve, Showing and Telling, Writing Fiction for Anthologies, Writing with an Emotional Core, Creating Great Characters, Working with Agents, Networking, and many more!

Buy the Book:

The Art of Writing Genre Fiction