WORKSHOP INSTRUCTOR INTERVIEW #3: Michael Knost on his “Intertwining External Conflict With Internal Conflict” workshop
Tell us something about your StokerCon workshop that is not in the original description:
All too often, we work with the external story and do not focus much on the internal issues that are driving the externals. With this workshop I want to explore the relationship the external has with the internal, how they parallel at times, and how doing so will strengthen your story and better flesh out your characters.
What skills or achievements make you ideally suited to lead this workshop?
I have studied this subject for many years, and have worked with dozens of professionals who incorporate this technique into their writing. As an editor I have seen all too often where writers drop the ball with this and how their characterization and plot suffers because of it.
Why do you feel that your workshop subject is especially important?
As an editor and author in the horror genre, I understand how important this is in making dark fiction work best. As all too often young writers tell us why the monster is to terrifying, whereas the professional shows us the terror in the main character…and what is going on inside them that adds to the terrifying aspects happening externally. Also, I want to introduce something I call relational influence, and how it works within these parameters.
If you could participate in one other StokerCon workshop, which one would you choose and why?
Build a Better Monster by Tim Waggoner. Tim is one of my favorite writers, and he is a fantastic teacher. But the subject matter is what we all are looking to do as horror writers…even if the monsters in our stories happen to be human.
Do you approach the craft of writing horror differently from other genres?
Although I love to say writing is writing, I think horror writing has to do certain things that most genres do not. I still want characters that are perfectly layered. I want a good plot. I want the reader to be entertained, but I also want to lead them into the haunted house and build on the experience without dousing them in blood in the first room.
Apart from teaching your workshop, what are you most looking forward to at StokerCon?
Getting to see my family. The horror community is such a wonderful group of people, and to see them again is better than a family reunion. In fact, I have often said, horror conventions are like family reunions…only with people you actually like.
What do you most hope that those attending your workshop will take away from it?
An ah-ha moment that will change how the writers look at the process. And how important the internal is to the external…just as how important the external is to the internal. I think I just broke the space, time, continuum thingie…
Click here to register for Michael’s workshop or read more about our workshops and the instructors.