Writing in the Dark
April 30, 2023

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

Buy the Book:

Paperback & Hardcover