Horror University

horrorunichapmanThe Horror Writers Association is proud to announce HORROR UNIVERSITY at StokerCon2016! Go Team Horror!

To further the HWA’s focus on education, we are devoting a significant part of our programming to a curriculum run by some of the best and brightest in the horror field. HORROR UNIVERSITY will be a series of workshops and presentations offered only at StokerCon2016 in Las Vegas. This is not your typical workshop experience and will go above and beyond what we’ve done with programming before.


Workshops will be hands-on, intensive, two-hour classes; Special Presentations will focus on offering a one-hour crash course in a special topic. There will be a small fee for Workshops; Special Presentations will be free to attendees.


Would you like to apply for The Scholarship from Hell? The application period will open on February 1st, 2016, and run until March 15, 2016; for more information, please visit our Horror Scholarships website. The winner of The Scholarship From Hell will receive coach airfare (U.S. or Canada) to-and-from Las Vegas, a 4-night stay at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, plus free registration to StokerCon2016, and as many workshops as you’d like to attend! Be sure to follow us on Facebook or Twitter so you don’t miss out!

More items and prizes will be added to the scholarship package as we continue…so brush up your essay skills and stay tuned to this page for more StokerCon2016 news as it becomes available! Go Horror U!

PLEASE NOTE: We are no longer accepting proposals for workshops. If you’d like to participate in another aspect of programming, please contact John. F. D. Taff. Thank you.



PITCH AND SELL: This workshop will focus on the realities, techniques and strategies for pitching commercial fiction in the 21st century publishing market. It will include query letters, verbal pitches (interactive), locating agents and editors, business etiquette, rules of the game, and more.


The writer is the brand. The writer is the face and voice of his/her business. Successful writers know how to create a brand that both sells their product but also protects their privacy. Act Like A Writer is one of NY Times bestseller Jonathan Maberry’s most successful programs. It teaches writers –however reclusive or introverted they might be– how to create the public version of themselves so that their careers have a winning and manageable face. This program includes business etiquette, branding, public appearances, readings, how to be a good panelist, giving interviews and more.

Jonathan Maberry is a NY Times bestselling author, four-time Bram Stoker Award winner, and comic book writer. He writes the Joe Ledger thrillers, the Rot & Ruin series, the Nightsiders series, the Dead of Night series, and the Watch Over Me series. He also writes the monthly comics V-WARS and ROT & RUIN, and has written extensively for Marvel Comics and Dark Horse. Two of his novels (Rot & Ruin and Dead of Night) are in development for film, and another (V-Wars) has been optioned for TV. He teaches Experimental Writing for Teens, is the founder of the Writers Coffeehouse, and the co-founder of The Liars Club. Prior to becoming a full-time novelist, Jonathan spent twenty-five years as a magazine feature writer, martial arts instructor and playwright. Jonathan lives in Del Mar, California with his wife, Sara Jo. http://www.jonathanmaberry.com/


lucysnyderTHE PLOT THICKENS — A discussion of the mechanics of various plots and narrative structures.


A basic introduction to the different types of short and long fiction and how and where to market finished pieces. Includes querying agents and editors and the basics of understanding and evaluating contracts. 3 hours.

Lucy A. Snyder is a four-time Bram Stoker Award-winning writer and the author of the novels Spellbent, Shotgun Sorceress, and Switchblade Goddess. She also authored the nonfiction book Shooting Yourself in the Head For Fun and Profit: A Writer’s Survival Guide and the story collections Soft Apocalypses, Orchid Carousals, Sparks and Shadows, Chimeric Machines, and Installing Linux on a Dead Badger.

Her writing has been translated into French, Russian, and Japanese editions and has appeared in publications such as Apex Magazine, Nightmare Magazine, Pseudopod, Strange Horizons, Weird Tales, Steampunk World, In the Court of the Yellow King, Shadows Over Main Street, Qualia Nous, The Library of the Dead, and Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 5.

She lives in Columbus, Ohio and is a mentor in Seton Hill University’s MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction. She also writes a column for Horror World. You can learn more about her at www.lucysnyder.com and you can follow her on Twitter at @LucyASnyder.
Photo courtesy of Ellen Datlow



lindaaPOETIC FORMS: THE SCARY WORLD OF STRUCTURED POETRY A workshop to play with the different constructs of poetry (haiku, sonnet, villanelles, free verse, etc.) to hear variations of ‘music’ that can add to your own creative voice. We will explore several poetry forms and their rules to understand how they are created. Some time will be available for attendees to practice writing.

Linda Addison is an award-winning author of four collections including How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend and the first African-American recipient of the HWA Bram Stoker Award®. She has published over 300 poems, stories and articles and is a member of CITH, HWA, SFWA and SFPA. Visit her website for more information: www.lindaaddisonpoet.com .


twaggonerBUILD A BETTER MONSTER Techniques for creating new, interesting, and exciting monsters.

Shirley Jackson Award finalist Tim Waggoner has published over thirty novels and three short story collections of dark fiction. He teaches creative writing at Sinclair Community College and serves as a faculty mentor in Seton Hill University’s MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program. Find out more about him at: http://www.timwaggoner.com/



asternsADAPTING FICTION TO SCREENPLAYS AND UTILIZING SCREENWRITING STRUCTURE IN FICTION: Let’s be honest, every writer’d love their work filmed, right? But even if you’re lucky enough to attract a producer, once you sell those rights you’re out of the loop. What better way to attract interest — and retain some control over your story — than writing the screenplay yourself? Though formalized, the screenwriting format and its adherence to an accepted structure isn’t as scary as you think. In fact, it can even be applied back to strengthen your own fiction. This is the workshop I wish I’d attended when I started writing twenty years ago.
AARON STERNS is an award-winning screenwriter and novelist, co-writer not only of WOLF CREEK 2 (best screenplay Madrid International Fantastic Film Festival) but also author of the 2014 Australian Shadows Award-winning prequel novel WOLF CREEK: ORIGIN. A former lecturer in Gothic and Subversive Fiction and Ph.D. student in postmodern horror, Sterns’ critical pieces have appeared in such publications as BLOODSONGS and HORROR 201: THE SILVER SCREAM, and his award-nominated short fiction in the anthologies DREAMING DOWN-UNDER, DREAMING AGAIN and GATHERING THE BONES. He served as Script Editor on ROGUE — Greg McLean’s follow-up to the seminal Aussie horror WOLF CREEK — and is currently advising on the New Zealand production RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE. He is attached as a writer to no less than six films in development, including an adaption of his upcoming visceral werewolf novel VILKAČI. His latest novella, the “Lovecraftian-action” ‘Vanguard’, opens the landmark anthology CTHULHU: DEEP DOWN UNDER. And, yep, it’s already been optioned too.He lives in Melbourne, Australia, and juggles his writing time with his two-year old daughter.*
*(I don’t juggle my daughter — unless she really wants it).His official website is: www.aaronsterns.com
Or follow him at facebook.com/aaronsternsauthor or on Twitter & Instagram: @aaronsterns


Should you pursue publication with a large New York publisher or focus on the small press? Write part-time or work toward writing full-time? There are many different definitions of success. This workshop will offer several specific written exercises to help you choose the publication goals that are right for you.

Shirley Jackson Award finalist Nicole Cushing is the author of the novel Mr. Suicide (published by Word Horde), the short story collection The Mirrors (published by Cycatrix Press), and multiple stand-alone novellas. Her work is noted for its use of horrific, surreal, transgressive and absurd content to explore themes of alienation and loss. Readers and reviewers sometimes liken her books to the early work of Clive Barker. They are not for the easily disturbed.

She has garnered praise from various sources in the literary and genre publishing communities, including Jack Ketchum, Famous Monsters of Filmland, Thomas Ligotti, John Skipp, S.T. Joshi, Poppy Z. Brite, Ray Garton, and Ain’t It Cool News.

Nicole has previously taught writing workshops at Context (Columbus, Ohio) and the Indianapolis Speculative Fiction Guild’s annual retreat.
For more information, visit her website: www.nicolecushing.com


swytovichPOETIC JUSTICE: VICE AND VIRTUE IN HORROR POETRY- In this workshop, students will learn how to create poems that pack a punch…and a nightmare. Through a careful study of line, structure, and imagery, this course will include case studies of madness and mayhem as students learn how to tap into their dark side and let their inner-monster run free.
Stephanie M. Wytovich is the Poetry Editor for Raw Dog Screaming Press, a book reviewer for Nameless Magazine, and a well-known coffee addict. She is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, an Active member of the Horror Writers Association, and a graduate of Seton Hill University’s MFA program for Writing Popular Fiction. Her Bram Stoker Award-nominated poetry collections, Hysteria: A Collection of Madness, Mourning Jewelry, and An Exorcism of Angels can be found at www.rawdogscreaming.com, and her debut novel, The Eighth, will be out in 2015 from Dark Regions Press. Follow Wytovich at stephaniewytovich.blogspot.com and on twitter @JustAfterSunset.
Website: http://stephaniewytovich.blogspot.com/



pfreivaldSAYING MORE WITH LESS – Writing styles are as varied as writers themselves, but a common complaint among editors and publishers of horror fiction is that writers use too many words to say what they mean to say. This interactive workshop will focus on squeezing every ounce of meaning from each word. Participants should bring a 200-300 word prose sample from a work in progress.

Patrick Freivald is the three-time Bram Stoker Award® nominated author of JADE SKY and BLACK TIDE, where he used the word “was” only in dialogue. His now-defunct blog, Word Soup, focused on boiling all the excess words from prose, and his beta reading group were a featured panel at the 2015 World Horror Convention. For more information visit his website: http://patrick.freivald.com/

(Photo credit: Seth Binnix, Messenger-Post Media)



jketchumWRITING FROM EXPERIENCE, WRITING FROM THE WOUND  An exploration on using your darkest secrets and fears, along with your past experiences to bring them to life in your work.

Jack Ketchum is the author of 32 books to date — novels, novellas, story collections, nonfiction, plays and poetry. Five of his novels have been filmed – The Lost, The Girl Next Door, Red, Offspring, and The Woman – the last written with Lucky McKee, their script for which won the Best Screenplay Award at the Sitges Film Festival in Spain. He is the four-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association and was nominated three times more. He was named Grand Master at the 2011 World Horror Convention. He lives in New York. Visit his website for more information: http://www.jackketchum.net/




JN2THE ART OF STORY STRUCTURE – Write better stories faster with this workshop on the art of structuring your novel. Students will learn the four key phases and three game changing moments of story structure and then will work to develop a new concept, beginning with an initial premise and ending with a working outline they can use to prep a new project. Focus will be on creating a purposeful structure that will provide a powerful emotional experience and deepen reader satisfaction overall.

Joseph Nassise is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than a thirty novels, including the Templar Chronicles series, the Jeremiah Hunt trilogy, and the Great Undead War series. He also writes epic fantasy under the name Matthew Caine.

In addition to being a novelist, Joe is currently a writing instructor at Arizona State University, where he teaches in the Your Novel Year program developed by the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing.  He is a former president of the Horror Writers Association and a multiple Bram Stoker Award and International Horror Guild Award nominee. Visit his website: http://josephnassise.com



facebook_1462908461795OF COURSE YOU’D SAY SOMETHING LIKE THAT: CHARACTERIZATION THROUGH DIALOGUE – Many writers, especially early in his or her careers, struggle with various ways to add depth and layers to their characters in order to create fully three-dimensional human beings with whom the reader can not only sympathize but empathize. One of the strongest tools available to these writers, whether they realize it or not, is dialogue — it’s not just a tool with which to present exposition; used correctly, dialogue can be the the best tool at the writer’s disposal for adding multiple layers to a character’s psyche without worrying that going inside the character’s head will make that character seem too intensely introverted.
There is a balance to be struck between what a character thinks and what that character says; ideally, one should always be a reflection of the other. Two-time Bram Stoker Award-winning writer Hank Schwaeble will be offering an intensive, 3-hour workshop on how to create in-depth characterization through the use of dialogue. The workshop will illustrate the different types of dialogue available for the writer, and attendees will all be called upon to participate by reading dialogue aloud. The workshop will culminate in a hands-on writing exercise in which everyone will have the opportunity to improve upon and enrich a character’s identity by fine-tuning a single sequence that Schwaeble will present at the end of the second hour.
Hank Schwaeble is the two-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author of the novels Damnable (Jove 2009), Diabolical (Jove 2011) and (coming soon from Cohesion Press) The Angel Of The Abyss, as well as the horror noir collection American Nocturne (Cohesion Press 2016). His short fiction has appeared in anthologies such as Alone on the Darkside, Five Strokes to Midnight, ZVR: No Man’s Land, V-Wars: Night Terrors and X-Files: The Truth Is Out There, among other places. Also a World Fantasy Award nominee, he is an ex-Air Force officer and military Special Agent, a practicing attorney, and a licensed pilot. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing guitar, catching bass and flying planes. He lives in the Houston, Texas, area with his wife (fellow author) Rhodi Hawk and their many animals.


THE MASTER PLOTTING CRASH COURSE- Learn Skipp’s ultimate tag team storyboarding technique! You’ll uncover more about your next novel or screenplay in two short hours than you can possibly believe, and walk away with huge chunks of your outline in hand. The tricks you learn in this class will last you a lifetime.
Course requirements: pack of 3 inch X 5 inch index cards (at least a hundred), one bold Sharpee, your best penmanship, and a story you’re excited to tell.

John Skipp is a New York Times bestselling novelist, two-time Stoker award-winning anthologist, and co-director (with Andrew Kasch and a host of others) on the feature film TALES OF HALLOWEEN. A born troublemaker and compulsive collaborator, his early work was at the forefront of the ’80’s splatterpunk revolution. His 1989 anthology BOOK OF THE DEAD laid the foundation for modern post-Romero zombie literature. And he continues to inspire and foment insurrection as acquiring editor for Eraserhead (bizarro), Deadite (cult horror), and his own Fungasm Press, dedicated to works of unclassifiable genre-breaking asskickitude. You can read his thoughts on the state of the art in his regular column, Nightmare Royale, at Fangoria.com, where he is noisily advocating for the noble cause of “Women In Horror Century”. He also loves teaching in the crash course format; and, as a multi-instrumentalist, can jam all night. His latest book is a solo short story collection, THE ART OF HORRIBLE PEOPLE. Follow him on Twitter @YerPalSkipp .



HOW TO WRITE SCARY – The focus will be on suspense and character identification, tension and atmosphere, but what makes a story genuinely frightening…and how do you do it? This question and many more will be answered in this Workshop.

Nancy Holder is a New York Times Bestselling Author and five-time Bram Stoker Award winner whose forthcoming releases include BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: SOME GAVE ALL (out May 23, 2015), THE RULES (out June 23, 2015), and BUFFY: DEMONS OF THE HELLMOUTH (out September 2015).  Follow her on Twitter @nancyholder . Visit her website: www.nancyholder.com



rgroveREAD TO SCARE!: HOW TO PERFORM YOUR WORK BEFORE A LIVE AUDIENCE – Have you ever quaked in fear at the thought of reading your work in public? Or maybe you’ve found yourself in front of a microphone, stuttering and stumbling your way through a disaster?In this hands-on workshop, professional actor Richard Grove teaches you the inside tricks on how to conquer stage fright, make yourself heard, and establish a connection with your audience. Richard will talk about everything from knowing how to adjust your mike to modulating your voice. Each participant will have a chance to stand before the class and receive direction and invaluable tips.
Richard “Ricky” Grove co-starred as “Henry the Red” in ARMY OF DARKNESS, and has appeared in dozens of other films and television series, including SCANNER COP, BABYLON 5, and THE OUTER LIMITS. He holds a Masters Degree in Acting from Yale, and also does voice work for animated films. He lives in Southern California. Visit his website for more information: http://rgrove.com/about-me/


A MASTER CLASS IN PUBLISHING – YOU ARE INVITED to join three veterans of the professional publishing industry for a two-hour seminar that will tell you everything you need to know about getting your work noticed—from the creative side of writing short fiction and novels, to the business aspects of selling your work to editors and publishers around the world.

This is a unique opportunity to discover what editors and publishers are currently looking for—specifically within the horror and fantasy genres—and how to get your work to stand out in an ever-more-saturated market. More importantly, our trio of industry experts will explain how you could be making real money from your work, rather than going the self-published, print-on-demand or ebook-only route.

These are the tricks of the trade that you need to know. This is the seminar that no prospective authors will want to miss!

You are advised to bring something to make notes on. The initial presentation will be followed by a Question & Answer session with the audience.

STEPHEN JONES is a Hugo Award nominee and the winner of three World Fantasy Awards, three IAuthor high-res #6 Best (c) Peter Colrebornnternational Horror Guild Awards, four Bram Stoker Awards, twenty-one British Fantasy Awards and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association. One of Britain’s most acclaimed horror and dark fantasy writers and editors, he has more than 135 books to his credit, including The Art of Horror; the film books of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline and Stardust, The Illustrated Monster Movie Guide and The Hellraiser Chronicles; the non-fiction studies Horror: 100 Best Books and Horror: Another 100 Best Books (both with Kim Newman); the single-author collections Necronomicon and Eldritch Tales by H.P. Lovecraft, The Complete Chronicles of Conan and Conan’s Brethren by Robert E. Howard, and Curious Warnings: The Great Ghost Stories of M.R. James; plus such anthologies as Horrorology: The Lexicon of Fear, Fearie Tales: Stories of the Grimm and Gruesome, A Book of Horrors, The Mammoth Book of Vampires, the Zombie Apocalypse! series, and twenty-six volumes of Best New Horror. You can visit his web site at www.stephenjoneseditor.com or follow him on Facebook at Stephen Jones-Editor.

JO FLETCHER, an award-winning writer, poet, ghost-writer and journalist, is founder and PublisheJo Fletcher (crop)r of Jo Fletcher Books, the fantasy/SF/horror imprint of Quercus (now an Hachette company). She was a Fleet Street journalist when she launched Headline’s genre list, and ran the two careers side by side for ten years. She published fantasy, SF and horror for Mandarin, Pan, then Penguin, before taking over the Gollancz genre list, leaving after sixteen years to start Jo Fletcher Books. Her authors have won every major award in the genre and many outside, and have included #1 best-sellers Sir Terry Pratchett, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, and Charlaine Harris, and European superstars Andrzej Sapkowski, Frank Schätzing, and Markus Heitz. She won the World Fantasy Award for her Fantasy Masterworks series of the greatest fantasy ever written and the British Fantasy Society’s Karl Edward Wagner Award for her contributions to the field. For more information about Jo Fletcher Books, please go to: www.jofletcherbooks.com or follow her on her blog at:www.jofletcherbooks.com/blog

IAN DRURY is a literary agent at Sheil Land Associates Ltd, London, specializing in several Ian Drury 2015genres, including fantasy/SF/horror and historical fiction. An agent since 2007, he has just celebrated thirty years in publishing. He read modern history at New College, Oxford, before going to work at a magazine publishing company in the UK. In 1994 he joined HarperCollins as Commissioning Editor, and he became Publishing Director of Weidenfeld & Nicolson in 2003, where he published the Sunday Times Top Ten best-sellers Real Bravo Two Zero by Michael Asher, Blenheim by Charles Spencer, Last Post by Max Arthur, and The Last Valley by Martin Windrow. As an agent, he has done four six-figure deals for best-seller Mark Lawrence (author of the “Broken Empire” and “Red Queen’s War” series from Penguin/Ace and Harper Voyager, which have now sold in twenty foreign languages), another six-figure deal for Peter Higgins’ “The Wolfhound Century” trilogy, and he has recently had great success with Aidan Harte’s “Irenicon,” Angus Donald’s “Robin Hood,” and Robert Fabbri’s “Vespasian” dark fantasy series. For further details of his agency work, see:www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/iandrury


This workshop will cover tactics for crafting imagery — appeals to the reader’s senses — that hit them in the guts. It will include a live writing activity with the aim of improving description of a gory or scary scene. Open to poets and flash fiction writers as well as novelists — or anyone looking to sharpen up their work.

Amityville-born horror author Michael A. Arnzen holds four Bram Stoker Awards and an International Horror Guild Award for his often funny, always disturbing fiction and poetry. His latest titles include the 20th anniversary special edition of his first novel, Grave Markings (Raw Dog Screaming Press), and a non-fiction study, The Popular Uncanny (Guide Dog Books). Arnzen holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Oregon and has taught full-time at Seton Hill University in the MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction, near Pittsburgh, since 1999. Dark Regions Press published his Stoker-winning story collection, Proverbs for Monsters, in 2007. Always experimenting, Arnzen’s work has appeared in everything from poetry magnets (Fridge of the Damned) to Palm Pilots (Gorelets) to Playing Cards (Play Dead). Learn the latest at http://gorelets.com/


KateWinter2016Kate Jonez is a Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson Award nominated author and chief editor at Omnium Gatherum. In the five years OG has been in business she’s worked with many authors to produce over 50 outstanding books. You can see them here: http://omniumgatherumbooks.com . This year two OG books are on the final ballot for the Bram Stoker Award (R). (Congratulations and
good luck to Ian Welke and John Claude Smith) Kate is also a freelance editor who has worked with many clients to get their books and screenplays in shape for publication or production.

“Having worked with Kate Jonez on multiple occasions, I can say with full confidence that she is an impeccable editorial talent: precise, clean, thorough, and devoted to nothing less than perfection. Her work has zero kinks or blemishes. She is always the first one I call.” –Eric Shapiro, Ghost Writers Central

Each editing package includes a critique of the manuscript with light annotation and line-editing. These discounted packages are offered as a StokerCon2016 exclusive to registered guests of the event.

$45 –  Short Story critique package
1. A critique of a story manuscript, up to 7,000 words. Includes light annotation and line-editing.
2. Recommendation about where to submit the stories.
3. A 1/2 hour meeting in Las Vegas to discuss your work. *Sunday May 15th

$100 – Novella critique package
1. critique of a novella manuscript, up to 15,000 words. Includes light annotation and line-editing.
2. Recommendation about where to submit the novella.
3. A 1/2 hour meeting in Las Vegas to discuss your work. *Sunday May 15th

$150 – First 100 Pages Novel package
1. A critique of a novel manuscript up to 25,000 words. Includes light annotation and line-editing suggestions.
2. A 20% discount on my regular rates if you choose to have me complete the
editing of this manuscript.
3. A 1/2 hour meeting in Las Vegas to discuss your work. *Sunday May 15th

We encourage you to share information about Horror University! Here’s a ready-to-use square logo for Facebook profile placement: