Writing Lessons Learned from 80s Horror Movies

Column by Jay Wilburn
1980 was over 40 years ago. 80s horror movies are now all classics or didn't stand the test of time. Either way, they can teach us a lot about good and bad writing.

On Revenge Fantasies, Male Toxicity and "Promising Young Woman"

Column by Ben Tanzer
A story about how men live and the world women are forced to negotiate because of their choices, presenting a conversation about the nature of sexual violence and just how commonplace it is.

10 Horror Novels You Should Not Try to Reinvent Unless You Are Awesome, Brave, and a Little Stupid

Column by Jay Wilburn
These 10 novels represent popular, important, or classic works of horror that might prove difficult for an author to reinvent, for a wide variety of reasons.

What Is A "Mary Sue" Character and Do They Actually Exist In Fiction?

Column by Christopher Shultz February 18, 2020
According to some, Mary Sues are everywhere...but are they? Or is there something sexist going on here?

Storyville: Finding Original Locations to Set Your Horror Stories

Column by Richard Thomas
How can you find original locations to set your horror stories? Here are a few ideas.

Stop Being Lazy and Write Different Types of Characters

Column by Jessica Marie Baumgartner
Stereotypes are played out. It's time to get REAL and write people the way they actually are.

9 Fiction Pet Peeves

Column by Annie Neugebauer
Everyone loves a good rant. How about some ranting about those tropes and recurring annoyances that pop up in books, shows, and movies? My top 9 pet peeves.

Dead Batteries and Killer Apps: Technology in Horror

Column by Gabino Iglesias
Technology rarely shows up in horror, and it's possessed when it does. How do we fix this?

The Subtle Beauty of A Quiet Place's Gender-Trope Upheaval

Column by Leah Rhyne May 7, 2018
The movie "A Quiet Place" is a great example of taking stereotypical gender tropes in a horror flick and turning them upside down.

Dystropia: The Threat Of Rape As An Agent of Fear

Column by Christopher Shultz
It's a trope so pervasive, you probably don't always register it when you see it...and that's a serious problem.

Elizabeth Bennet: The Original Manic Pixie Dream Girl?

Column by Leah Rhyne January 19, 2017
Let's dig into the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope to see if, perhaps, Jane Austen created the original: Elizabeth Bennet of 'Pride and Prejudice'.

The Call is Coming From Inside the House: Why the Home-Invasion Genre is Still Scary

Column by Max Booth III December 22, 2015
How to make old genre tropes new again.

Turkey Coma: Five Times Screenwriters Put Characters Conveniently to Sleep

Column by Bart Bishop
A look at five movies that utilize the convenient coma as a cliche to knock characters out of a narrative.

Five Situations Horror Characters Get Themselves Into (and What Would Happen in Real Life)

Column by Raine Winters October 8, 2015
Among the lessons you will learn: Karma's a bitch, don't piss off serial killers, and never under any circumstances enter a basement.

Fiction Shmiction: The Complex Question of Writing as Activism

Column by Rob Blair Young September 29, 2015
If we're all creating a broader social narrative and constructing damaging roles, does that mean we should portray the world as it should be rather than as it is? Tough question. Let's unpackage it.

Storyville: Avoiding Tropes in Horror

Column by Richard Thomas November 12, 2014
What are horror tropes, and how can you avoid them?

Bella Swan and the Art of the Audience Surrogate

Column by Leah Dearborn January 24, 2014
Despite being loathed by literate people around the globe, characters like Bella Swan still manage to move copies off the shelves. Is it just bad writing or something more?

Sci-fi & Fantasy: Out With the Old, In With the New

Column by Rajan Khanna January 10, 2014
We look at some of the tired, old tropes of Science Fiction & Fantasy and what fresh, new takes could replace them.

Dystropia: How The Damsel in Distress Has Evolved

Column by Troy Farah October 31, 2013
From ancient Greek myths to Snow White to today, Dystropia looks at the trope of the Damsel in Distress.

The Uncanny Factor: Why Little Girls Scare the Shit Out of Us

Column by Rob Blair Young October 23, 2013
Why do we use little girls as a way to scare people? This article gives a quick look at the concept of "the uncanny" and examines the trope of the creepy little girl.

Dystropia: Examining the Trope of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl

Column by Troy Farah July 19, 2013
A column in which we explore the various misgivings and strengths of girls that are Manic, Pixie and Dreamy.