I proposed this idea to some of our horror hounds last week and an interest seemed to be there. So now I'm throwing this out into the main forum to see if it floats.

You may have seen (or even participated) in the horror monthly prompts before. Well, this is something a little like that...only not really.

One of the best things about the monthly prompt challenge (IMO) is that it pulls together a dedicated group of writers to work on something for a specific period of time, and then holds them (more or less) to critiquing one another in SYW--like a small critique circle.

A couple of the limiting things about the prompt challenge is that it seems to have morphed into a "short story challenge" (and not all of us want to write short stories). AND some of us don't need any new ideas. We are already up to our eyeballs in our own ideas.

So, what I'm proposing is a similarly structured monthly challenge that offers two things:

  • a dedicated group of critters
  • a focused topic (horror specific) that can be applied to ANYTHING you're working on (current short story, old short story, new short story, novel, scene, etc.)

What are the possible "elements" to be attacked each month? Greg started a thread many moons ago called Bare Bones of Horror. That's one place to see the type of things I'm thinking we'd work on. Except, rather than a discussion thread (as Bare Bones is), I'd rather us put these elements into action. Hence the title: Elements of Horror Put into Practice.

Some of the technical stuff regarding how it'd work:


  • This won't be led or facilitated by anyone.
  • It will rotate monthly as far as who comes up with the "element" to practice.
  • Greg (who has committed to reviving the BB thread) may or may not mirror us in any given month. So, there is a potential union between the two threads in that way.
  • There wouldn't be a voice of authority or an expert in the Elements of Horror Put into Practice challenges--just all of the participants weighing in on each others submissions to say whether it achieved what we were looking for that month...or not. And if not, we might share why and/or give suggestions for how to make it better.
  • If people want full-sized crits on all of the elements of their submission, that's fine, they can say that when they post in SYW--but primarily I'd like it to focus on just evaluating the ONE element we are focusing on. (actually, we'll probably choose from two elements each month, but more on that later...)


What "elements" would be practicing?
Aside from the large general "elements" like Horror specific Grammar & Syntax and Setting in Horror (two of the things Greg's discussed in the BB thread). I was also thinking of more basic things like:
  • This month work on a fight scene.
  • This month work on a death scene.
  • This month it's a vampire feeding/turning/whateverelse vampires/zombies/monster-of-your-choice do.
  • This month it's the whatever-other-key-element-that's-crucial-to-writing-a-horror-story.


...and so on.

No obligations and...misc. stuff I couldn't find a place for in this:

  • To be clear, there is no obligation to use anything out of the Bare Bones thread, or to participate in, unless you find it helpful.
  • There is no obligation to write for this challenge even if you are the person who picked the element that month. This is an important one for me--if you get selected (passed the torch) to be the one to pick the "element" for the next month, do not feel like you have to write something for it unless you want to. I don't want people to begrudgingly write something just because they were the one to choose the topic. Make sense? I want it to be fun.
  • This practice challenge may or may not overlap with the monthly prompt challenge, but it doesn't have to. That will remain a separate challenge. This isn't intended to replace it by any means.


Is there an interest from the forum at large?

You don't have to be a horror writer to participate. Maybe you just have something horrific in your story that needs some feedback as to whether it achieves the level of horror you're going for. And I think we realize that "horror" is kind of a large genre--with subgenres, so don't think you're not writing horror if you're not writing like Stephen King. There is room for everyone who wants to play with horror tropes, I think.

Est. Launch: March 1.

Questions? Comments? Suggestions?

Did I forget anything important?