I’m currently taking a course titled “Advanced Horror Writing” at the Writer’s Digest University, as I firmly believe you should never stop learning, and I want to improve my own work. Philip Athans is the instructor, and he is very good, for anyone who might be considering taking a course on their own.
Looks like an interesting assignment for the week ahead… I have to write a short story up to 3000 words following these guidelines:
Below are vague bullet points describing bits of basic action. Take those bullet points as an outline and write a short story (up to 3000 words), with your own characters, setting, and other specifics. The first set of bullet points should put the emphasis on suspense (long sentences in the fewest number of paragraphs—no breaths, anxiety). The second set should invoke a sense of terror (short sentences, sentence fragments, multiple short paragraphs—hyperventilating, panic).
POV Character is dropped off at the door of the home of a Friend.
POV Character and Friend haven’t see each other for a very long time.
The house is not what POV Character expected.
POV Character is shown to a bedroom.
The next morning, Friend asks POV Character if anything disturbed them in the night.
Friend says that someone else who lives in the house often wanders around at night.
Friend reveals a distrust of this other person, who argued against Friend’s efforts to remodel the house.
The previous owner of the house was rumored to have kidnapped children.
Strange noises are heard in the house.
A decision is made to search the house.
A hidden space is discovered in which lurks a monster or the One Weird Thing.
Efforts on the part of POV Character to resolve the issue.
And the banned words list from Session One still applies!
The banned words have to be avoided to make the story show those emotions in a more visceral form, rather than just say something is scary.
I’m planning on writing a first draft today, as this assignment is due one week from tomorrow. If I can get a solid first done today, I’ll have ample time to revisit, edit, and tweak it to where it needs to be, then turn it in on time.
Maybe I’ll post the finished story up here next week on the blog? Could be, we’ll see.
But for now,