Category Archives: monsters

I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT

A lot of people, I might even go so far as to say most people—including me—lead pretty boring lives, all things being equal. We have certain routines with kids and spouses and work and bills, and other things that add … Continue reading

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A COUPLE DIFFERENT KINDS OF EVIL

When I talk about monsters in Writing Monsters and elsewhere I tend to start by first explaining that when I say “monster” I mean some kind of non-human creature, some kind of unknown animal or other force, usually not terribly … Continue reading

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ANTICIPATORY ANXIETY AND THE LONG PARAGRAPH

Even if they aren’t reading aloud, our readers tend to breathe as if they were. That might not look or even feel exactlythe same as reading aloud, though I have seen people reading in public moving their lips, eyes bugged … Continue reading

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WHY NOT POETRY, TOO?

For the better part of the last half of the twentieth century and all of the twenty-first, so far, the money for creative writers has been in screenplays. This is where you might actually make a million dollars selling a … Continue reading

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IN SEARCH OF THE MACGUFFIN

Apparently coined by screenwriter Angus MacPhail, maybe in the late 1930s, a MacGuffin is a story device that’s as old as stories themselves. Hell, the Golden Fleece is a MacGuffin. Let’s let Alfred Hitchcock, one of the all time masters … Continue reading

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DON’T BE BORING!

Genre authors have one enemy in common and it is boredom. Our number one goal, our Prime Directive, our First Commandment, our first principle is: Never be boring. Our readers come to us for a cure for boredom. I am … Continue reading

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LOVECRAFT’S NOTES ON WRITING WEIRD FICTION

For the first time ever, I’m turning Fantasy Author’s Handbook over to another author, and one who’s been dead for almost eighty-three years. Love him or hate him, H.P. Lovecraft is one of the undying masters of horror and dark … Continue reading

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THE FESTIVAL: EXPLORING WEIRD TALES Vol. 5, No. 1—PART 27

And finally our exploration of the January 1925 issue of Weird Tales has brought us to the magazine’s most famous (some will say infamous) alum: H.P. Lovecraft and his short story “The Festival,” which, though written in 1923, was published … Continue reading

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TOO WEIRD TO DESCRIBE

Let’s start with an often used (because it’s so great) example from the best known practitioner of “too weird to describe,” H.P. Lovecraft. Here’s his first person description of the shoggoths from his classic At the Mountains of Madness: “South … Continue reading

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BOOKS FOR FANTASY AUTHORS XXV: HORROR OF PHILOSOPHY

From time to time I’ll recommend—not review, mind you, but recommend, and yes, there is a difference—books that I think fantasy (and science fiction and horror and all other) authors should have on their shelves. Some may be new and … Continue reading

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