I spent Tuesday and Wednesday night at Emerson College. Stacey Friedberg and Gangsters in Concrete (the school’s lit magazine) invited me to teach a 90 horror writing workshop and a follow-up open mic reading.
Tuesday night: I’ve taught math for more years than I care to admit, but I’ve never taught a writing class. I was excited and a little nervous. But I think it well. 27 students came to the workshop, which was great. These folks didn’t have to be there (weren’t mandated by their profs to be there), so it was cool and gratifying to see so many students interested in horror.
Despite it being the least commercially viable form of horror, we spent most of our time discussing literary horror. We talked about the best (or most effective, most memorable) horror being transgressive, and not being safe. We talked about treading carefully with tropes (including twist endings). The students performed a handful of exercises and my only regret is that we ran out of time for them to work in groups and compare the results of their last and most detailed exercise. I gave them a handout full of resource links, and answers to two horror-ific questions, the answers provided by my kind and generous writerly friends.
Wednesday night: I went back to Emerson to be the judge during an open-mic scary story contest reading. I was very impressed by Andrew’s stories (both of which were much better than most of what I’d seen in slush piles). I read “The Teacher” at the end, took some questions, then we spent an hour talking about favorite horror movies.
Big thanks again to Stacey and everyone at Emerson College for inviting me and making me feel so welcome on campus. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the spec fic issue of Gangsters in Concrete.