I WANT TO MEMORIZE THIS BOOK. I was given an ARC e-copy of Where Nightmares Come From in exchange for an honest review — I found that less than halfway through reading the e-copy, I knew I had to have a paper copy for my shelf. Though I mention some of the authors that contributed to this book, there are many more—and even beyond those named in the Table of Contents, this book unfolds like an origami for many of the authors direct you to other sources, other authors, directors, stories, films, books, even YouTube videos.
Nightmares is a treasure for writers seeking to hone their skills, meet a few editors/publishers, and discover what those publishers hope to find when they look at mammoth piles of submittals. It’s also a gem for readers or film buffs who enjoy looking behind the stories, getting to know the authors, or hearing about the journey those stories took to reach them.
William F. Nolan welcomes us to Nightmares then Clive Barker sets the mood, and with that, Nightmares is off to a stellar start. As soon as I read Joe R. Lansdale’s article, I decided to re-read it before I begin any project, for along with advice and inspiration, he made me laugh so much I feel I owe him a drink. Don’t miss Bev Vincent’s interview with Stephen King and Richard Chizmar—I felt I was involved right from the beginning of their collaborative process in writing Gwendy’s Button Box when “Steve” sent “Rich” an email—maybe you’ll get that email next time—hey, check your spam!
Have you ever wanted to tiptoe up behind a famous author and watch them work [without getting arrested]? In Analysis of the Mechanics, The Process of a Tale, you can watch Ramsey Campbell [yes!] get up at 6 am [argh], and write a short story, then follow him through subsequent drafts. Mort Castle will take you through the creation of “Altenmoor, Where the Dogs Dance” from the first idea to his final doubts after the tale was completed [yes, doubts, even though it became a highly acclaimed story that has been widely published, in many languages, for decades—feel better?]. Craig Engler tells the story of how the movie 2011 Zombie Apocalypse that he wrote with a friend became the series Z Nation.
In Storytelling Techniques, Richard Thomas not only gives a detailed writing tutorial but also managed to terrify me even as he brought up my deepest fears, the ones I might tap into for my dark tales. Well done, Mr. Thomas. In Horror is a State of Mind, Tim Waggoner had me writing wow wow wow in the margins of my notes then going back and highlighting my wow’s. When I get my paper copy, all of his pages are sure to be yellow. He gave me a new way of looking at emotional states. In Great Horror is Something Alien, Michael Bailey not only tells us with specificity what he’s reading for as an editor, he’s marvelously inspirational. [Shocking Bonus! Everything you ever wanted to know about the genesis of the movie Alien—Mr. Bailey covers it here—you will be amazed—he knows every tiny detail. He does.] Marv Wolfman looks at What Scares You! — how can you create horror for everyone even though we’re all so different.
Apparently, this is Book One in Crystal Lake’s Dream Weaver series. I’m going to be clearing a shelf for them!
featured image copyright 2018 Mar G-A