• Reader2writer

Books Every Horror Writer Should Have!

As a writer I have become fascinated with words, the familiar ones as well as the far removed, more obscure ones. Even more amazing still, are how words can originate in a particular order within a person's mind, form a cohesive thought, transfer to paper to be distributed out for the world to experience a version of those same thoughts.

When I first stepped into writing, I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to write. All I really knew was that I had a true enjoyment from storytelling and was drawn to writing spooky stories, but I lacked any kind of proficient skill. Some of the best advice that I have been given as well as given out to other aspiring writers is simply, writers write. Daily horror writing increases skill, creativity, and offers a method of controlled management of manuscripts. However, writers also need to read. I am not just talking about books or material within a genre of choice, I firmly believe that we should read books and materials on craft or about other authors that we view as successes. Below are a few book recommendations that I feel ALL horror authors should have on their shelves.

I first came across Stephen King's book, "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft" when I was in graduate school. The individual presenting the book raved about the simplicity of the techniques on writing, the crafty backstory of how King came into writing and the challenges inevitably present themselves as one embarks on the journey of writing as a profession. Though I am recommending that all horror authors have a copy of this book on their shelves, it is important to point out that this book will serve any writer well. If there were to be one one book to read prior to stepping into the writing arena, "On Writing..." would certainly be my choice.



Come to class! I start by saying that not because I am a school teacher, but more so because Stephen King presents "Danse Macabre" as though the reader has enrolled in a college class to explore the horror genre. Called a "Nonfiction Masterpiece" this tour of the genre delves deep into the things that scare us all and is just as engaging as his works of fiction. No horror author or student of the genre should be without this book. I cannot recount the number of times in which I have referenced this book, not only to enhance my own knowledge base about the major archetypes of monsters, but also to enhance my ability, in a craft sense, to describe these monsters that I too incorporate into my manuscripts. No other nonfiction book is as complete and offers such a clear and disturbing vision into the fragility that exists between death and our own mortality.


"Reader beware, you are in for a scare!" Not really, but I had to start this way because in every audio version of a Goosebumps book, R.L. Stine preludes with this line. I have to mention his memoir, "It Came From Ohio: My Life As a Writer" partially due to the fact that he went to The Ohio State University, but more so that R.L. Stine outlines everything that he has done in the publishing world. Whether you want to write scary stories for adults or children matters very little when considering this book as part of your repertoire. He is a master at what he does, and this comical rendition of his writing career is applicable to all writers. Not to mention he has written over 350 books in the best-selling children's series of all time, "Goosebumps." A true student of the craft will find this memoir refreshing and lighthearted. Who knows, it may act as a source of great inspiration.

~Brian Hershey~


Don't forget to check out the podcast, "They Call It Horror", now available on Spotify, Google and Apple Podcasts!








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