How to Write Tales of Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy is another good read I found at the library. It’s a collection of essays from various authors, including the late science fiction author Ray Bradbury, who share their secrets on writing a good story, regardless of genre. Although this book was published in 1987, I think it’s still a relevant tool today.
There’s some good advice on what makes a horror story work, and it’s not just using scare tactics. Also involved is creating suspense and introducing characters with weaknesses to build empathy and fear. There are also some good pointers on what it takes to start a fantasy or science fiction story. Bradbury, for example, kept a list of nouns handy for ideas for stories, many of which gave him such inspiration that his stories practically wrote themselves.
Finally, there are essays on getting your work published and the advantages of having a literary agent. This part does seem dated as it describes typing out your manuscript and sending it via snail mail to a prospective publisher. I’m sure this process has changed since the arrival of the Internet.
Great book. I’m all inspired now.