Where Nightmares Come From #BookReview

Title: Where Nightmares Come From | Edited by: Eugene Johnson and Joe Mynhardt | Publisher: Crystal Lake Publishing | Pub. Date: 11/17/2017 | Pages: 366 | ASIN: B0776MT1LY | Genre: Horror, Non-Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 5 out of 5 | Source: Received from Crystal Lake Publishing for review consideration


Where Nightmares Come From

THE ART OF STORYTELLING IN THE HORROR GENRE

Book one in Crystal Lake Publishing’s The Dream Weaver series, Where Nightmares Come From focuses on the art of storytelling in the Horror genre, taking an idea from conception to reality—whether you prefer short stories, novels, films, or comics.

Featuring in-depth articles and interviews by Joe R. Lansdale (Hap & Leonard series), Clive Barker (Books of Blood), John Connolly (Charlie Parker series), Ramsey Campbell, Stephen King (IT), Christopher Golden (Ararat), Charlaine Harris (Midnight, Texas), Jonathan Maberry (Joe Ledger series), Kevin J. Anderson (Tales of Dune), Craig Engler (Z Nation), and many more.

The full non-fiction anthology lineup includes:
• Introduction by William F. Nolan
• IT’S THE STORY TELLER by Joe R. Lansdale
• A-Z OF HORROR of Clive Barker
• WHY HORROR? by Mark Alan Miller
• PIXELATED SHADOWS by Michael Paul Gonzalez
• LIKE CURSES by Ray Garton
• HOW TO GET YOUR SCARE ON by S.G. Browne
• STORYTELLING TECHNIQUES by Richard Thomas
• HORROR IS A STATE OF MIND by Tim Waggoner
• BRINGING AN IDEA TO LIFE by Mercedes M. Yardley
• THE PROCESS OF A TALE by Ramsey Campbell
• GREAT HORROR IS SOMETHING ALIEN by Michael Bailey
• A HORRIFICALLY HAPPY MEDIUM by Taylor Grant
• INTERVIEW WITH JOHN CONNOLLY by Marie O’Regan
• THE STORY OF A STORY by Mort Castle
• WRITING ROUNDTABLE INTERVIEW with Christopher Golden, Kevin J. Anderson, and Silvia Moreno-Garcia
• HOW I SPENT MY CHILDHOOD LOOKING FOR MONSTERS AND FOUND POETRY INSTEAD by Stephanie M. Wytovich
• BITS AND PIECES INTERVIEW WITH JONATHAN MABERRY by Eugene Johnson
• THE REEL CREEPS by Lisa Morton
• THE MONSTER SQUAD by Jess Landry
• WHAT SCARES YOU by Marv Wolfman
• PLAYING IN SOMEONE ELSE’S HAUNTED HOUSE by Elizabeth Massie
• CREATING MAGIC FROM A BLANK PIECE OF PAPER: Del Howison interviews Tom Holland, Amber Benson, Fred Dekker, and Kevin Tenney
• Z NATION: HOW SYFY’S HIT SHOW CAME TO LIFE by Craig Engler
• LIFE IMITATING ART IMITATING LIFE: FILM AND ITS INFLUENCE ON REALITY by Jason V Brock
• WHERE NIGHTMARES COME FROM by Paul Moore
• STEPHEN KING AND RICHARD CHIZMAR DISCUSS COLLABORATING by Bev Vincent
• CHARLAINE HARRIS DISCUSSES STORYTELLING by Eugene Johnson
• WHAT NOW? by John Palisano
This collection is perfect for…
• writers of all genres
• authors looking for motivation and/or inspiration
• authors seeking guidance
• struggling authors searching for career advice
• authors interested in improving their craft
• writers interested in comics
• authors looking into screenwriting and films
• horror fans in general
• those looking to better understand the different story formats
• authors planning on infiltrating a different field in horror writing
• artists trying to establish a name brand
• authors looking to get published

Come listen to the legends…

Cover design by Luke Spooner. Edited by Joe Mynhardt & Eugene Johnson.

Brought to you by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.


Where Nightmares Come from Review

A lot of writing “how-to” books can be very dry to read so a lot of beginning writers tend to shy away from them. This isn’t a “how-to” collection. Exactly. It’s a how-to, how-not-to, and just general solid advice from a lot of leading names in the field. It also does not confine itself to simply the mechanics of writing. There is a lot of great advice about the different medias available in the horror genre right now. Really, for all of the difficulties beginning writers think they have right now, there is not a better time to try to break into the market.

It may seem hard but self-published books get more attention than they used to. It’s no longer an automatic stamp of “Oh, this is going to be bad”. And it has grown fast. You can publish a book, short story, short videos, movies, almost anything. So what does this have to do with Where Nightmares Come From? Everything.

There are essays on short story writing, ideas, writing movie tie-ins, creepypastas, interviews with authors and so much more. There is some really solid advice that beginning writers (and, yes, some established ones as well) would ignore at their own peril. As I’m sure you guys know, at Sci-Fi and Scary we review a lot of independently published books, stories and a lot of other media. I can’t tell you how many times while reading this I kept thinking “Yes! That’s so right! Why don’t people do that more?”

Such as “The Story of a Story (with a number of digressions)” by Mort Castle. He points out that short stories need a main character. I can’t even begin to say how true that is, whether the main character is a piece of scenery or a monster, a short story needs a focus. I read a lot of short stories and the ones that usually get a low rating from me are ones that just feel…there. Like there’s no point to the story and I’m probably not going to remember it later.

Mark Alan Miller tries to answer that question that lovers of horror get asked so frequently but are very often unable to answer: “Why Horror”? Whether you read, write, watch or review horror eventually you’re going to get asked that. And Mark Alan Miller does a damn fine job of answering it. The whole time I was reading it all I could think was, “Yes, that’s it exactly!”

There are some contradictory opinions on ideas and the method of writing. Which makes sense because one writer’s process is not going to be another’s. The same with ideas. In “The Process of a Tale” it was very interesting to go through Ramsey Campbell’s writing process for a particular story. It was interesting to see it evolve and change with his changing ideas.

In “A Horrifically Happy Medium” Taylor Grant gives some very good advice on choosing which medium works the best for your particular creative bent. Maybe you want to be a novelist but your stories come out sounding like screenplays. Or, perhaps you want to break into movies but are daunted by the difficult looking process. Why not try short films? I can’t tell you how many great horror shorts that I see on YouTube and some of them have been made into feature length films. You never know. I was hoping for more on writing for video games, though. He says he wrote for some but doesn’t mention which ones. Video games are becoming increasingly more than just a basic shoot-em-up. The best games have great stories to go with them. The perfect ones blend awesome stories with fun (or nerve-wracking) gameplay. Also the place to look for great horror games is not on the big consoles or put out by AAA publishers. It’s in the indies. So some writing tips for that would be very valuable to those starting out in that direction.

It is also far from dry. And, with no disrespect to the other genres, I do find essays, bios etc. by horror authors more fun to read. They generally have a sense of humour that genres like drama and literary writers tend to lack. The item by Stephanie M. Wytovich was very entertaining (not least because I have a feeling our families would get along great) even though her subject was one that I generally take little interest in, poetry. 

This is a great book for writers, editors, and reviewers to read. Yes, reviewers as well because it gave me some different points of view on some things. In fact, if I were to make a humble suggestion it would be to get a few bloggers and reviewers in on it as well. I’m not suggesting us, exactly (ok, I am, I know, I know, ego much?) but in all honesty they are the ones who read the smaller guys. Stephen King doesn’t need another 5 (or 1) star rating to sell his books but that guy just starting out does. Trust me, we have advice to give that isn’t always possible to give within a review. 

Definitely a 5-star recommendation to writers, viewers and readers.

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