Spooky! Learning to write horror stories?

What? Learning to write horror stories? Me?

I don't even read any horror story books. And I hardly watch any horror movies either.  But I wanted to learn how to write horror stories? haha! Spooky!!! 🙈🙈🙈 What was I thinking?

But I know I must sign-up for this "The 3rd Writing Workshop - Horror Stories" organised by Popular at BookFest @ Malaysia 2017 on 26 & 27 June 2017 when I saw a write-up in Malaysia Airlines' "Going Places" magazine on my way back from a recent business trip.

Reason? Because since I started blogging in September 2015, the love to write has grown. And I really want to learn more about writing. RM 80 for a very complete 2-day writing workshop taught by local established authors was truly value for money!

So, here I was - attending the very first writing workshop in my whole entire life. A workshop I never thought I would attend. And it's about horror stories?  ha!ha! I even surprised myself. 

The speakers / authors

Established local authors!! I really admire them!

It was my first time to be up close and personal with local English authors!! Wow! It was truly an unforgettable experience! I was so surprised to know that Malaysia has authors who write and publish horror story books!! Simply inspiring! Malaysia boleh!!!! 

  1. Megat Ishak, successful author, published in Malaysia and Singapore.
  2. Eeleen Lee, KL Noir, Blue editor and prolific writer
  3. Eeleen Lee, KL Noir, Blue editor and prolific writer
  4. Julya Oui, bestselling author of Here Be Nightmares
  5. Robert Raymer - 1st prize winner of POPULAR-The Star Readers' Choice Award 2009
  6. Kris Williamson, publishing consultant, author and editor 

Each of the authors / speakers brought wealth of experience with them to share with about thirty of us. They had their own styles of engaging with us. Some of them were very humorous too! I truly enjoyed their sincere and honest sharing with no holding back.

authors Julya Oui (top and bottom right) and Eeleen Lee (bottom left) in action!!

The topics

I found the topics covered were really excellent, covering not only how to generate story ideas, opening and settings, character development, twist creation at the ending, but we were also taught about rewriting and self-editing - even book publishing!! 
  1. Generating Story Ideas - by Megat Ishak
  2. Openings and Settings - by Eeleen Lee
  3. Developing the Characters - by Eeleen Lee
  4. Creating an Engaging Climax, with a Twist to the Ending - by Julya Oui
  5. Rewriting and Self-Editing - by Robert Raymer 
  6. Understanding the Market and the Business of Publishing - by Kris Williamson
Some of the horror stories / movies brought up as examples during the workshop were:

  • The Ring
  • The Exorcist
  • Dark Water
  • JAWS
  • 28 Days After
  • IT by Stephen King
  • Frankenstein
  • Pontianak
  • Dracula
  • Alien
  • Murder on the Orient Express
  • Triangle
  • Saw
  • Fight Club
  • Identity
  • The Others
  • The Mist
  • Source Code
  • The Orphanage
  • Twilight Zone series
I only watched JAWS and Alien movies before.  And I read NONE of the horror story books mentioned above. In fact, I have never read an English horror story book. That was pretty scary in itself! And I felt horrible!

I couldn't contribute much during the workshop but I could feel lots of excitements and energy from the participants. Some of them even shouted out the names, authors etc. I could tell they were all horror story lovers!! Full of passion lot! I really admired them for their passion to write and love for horror stories!!

Even though I couldn't related to most of the examples cited in the workshop, but the authors / speakers were very considerate to explain the story lines related to each horror story. Therefore, I could still enjoy the "spooky" part of the workshop!! 😱😰

The aspiring writers - young and old

30 aspiring writers - young and old.
Yes, that included a half-century old uncle - me!! 😛

I think I was one of the oldest, if not the oldest in the class. (s p o o k y! ! ! 😁)

The youngest aspiring writer was a  young 14 year-old boy who was aspired to be a writer and author!! 

I felt so old!! haha! But learning is a life-long journey! The hack with the big age gap! 😛 

Besides, one of the best selling authors Julya Ooi shared with us that her first book was published when she was forty plus. Very encouraging to hear that!! There is hope for me too I guess!!! ha!ha!

I was so glad I completed the 2-day workshop during the Raya public holiday. What I was hoping to achieve was rather simple - an exposure to the writing world, especially the process of writing - the technical aspect of it. 

This 2-day "The 3rd Writing Workshop - Horror Stories" really satisfied my learning desire. I have learned a lot of practical skills about writing a story and even a book. What I set out to learn before the workshop, I managed to come out a very motivated and satisfied aspiring writer! :) 

Thank you POPULAR Bookstore for this great writing workshop at Popular at BookFest @ Malaysia 2017 to feed the hungry souls who yearn to learn more about writing!!! I hope to apply some of the technical writing skills learned during the workshop to my blog article writing. 

Certificate of Participation - The 3rd Writing Workshop Horror Stories

Written by Vincent Khor on 3 July, 2017


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