How Horror Fiction Can Make Us Better Writers

I read Stephen King a lot as a teen and I’d like to think I learned a lot from his style of storytelling. I will have to check out some more horror novels and see what I can learn to improve my own writing.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Frederik Andreasson Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Frederik Andreasson

Since we are coming up on Halloween, I’d like to take a moment to talk about my favorite genre—horror. I can’t get enough of it. It is a genre that fascinates me simply because I believe it is the most difficult genre to write. Sure it was probably easier back in the days that movie audiences ran screaming from the man in a really bad plastic ant outfit. But these days? As desensitized as we have become? Unsettling people is no simple task.

That’s why I’d like to talk about it today because no matter what type of fiction we write, we can learn a lot from what horror authors do well.

Powerful fiction mines the darkest, deepest, grittiest areas of the soul. GREAT fiction holds a mirror to man and society and offers messages that go beyond the plot.


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Two Weeks Until NaNoWriMo


Time to panic?

Yes. Well, maybe.

A lot can happen in two weeks. A plot can appear from the ether in that amount of time. An idea can be scrapped for something newer and shinier in less than two weeks.

I’m just wondering if I can wrap up my WIP in less than two weeks.

I honestly thought I would be done by now. A weird combination of writer’s block and fear of success slowed my progress. I want to say I’m past that now, but I think it is safer to say I’m learning to manage those issues.

Usually deadlines are good for motivating me, but this time I’m doubting whether or not it is doing me any good to pile on the pressure. Those sort of doubts usually mean the deadline is working its magic. My mind is sneaky like that. If doubts start popping up my first instinct now is to suspect that I’m trying to get out of doing something difficult. I usually don’t set impossible goals for myself.

I’m going to keep going, of course. Even if I can’t do it for whatever reason I’ll be so much closer to the end if I’m racing towards it until November 1.

My only real regret is all the time I could be spending with my next project that is being eaten up writing the end of The Dreams. I still love The Dreams, but I want to spend some time with Inbetween without making my mind jump between two different worlds every day.

Speaking of Inbetween, I’ve officially committed to posting it day by day on Patreon. It’s going to be a perk available only to my patrons so be sure to sign up before November 1 if you want to watch my next serial novel grow from day 1.

How is your NaNoWriMo prep going? Do you have an idea for a story? An entire outline ready to go? Are you still struggling to come up with a name for your main character? Let me know in the comments!

What it Takes to Be a “Real” Writer

I love this. Real writers are people who write!

Pre-published writer is a much better term than aspiring writer. Saying you’re pre-published shows you have goals.

As for me, I think I’m in the very early stages of being a professional writer. I’m finding readers, learning to take myself seriously as a writer, and just barely starting to see results. Taking the leap from hobby to profession made all the difference in the world. I take myself seriously which boosts my confidence. The shift in mindset really did change the way I approach my writing.

Words have power so don’t be afraid to use words to describe yourself that make you feel confident and in control of your destiny. It can make a real difference.

Kristen Lamb's Blog


Since we are only a couple weeks away from NaNoWriMo, I thought this would be a great topic to discuss. If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is? You aren’t a real writer. Kidding! Calm down 😛 .

November is National Novel Writing Month and it’s a fun challenge to see if we have what it takes to write a novel (50,000 words) in one month. Though the challenge is geared toward newer writers, I can attest that writers of all levels join in and it is my favorite time of year. Even though I have written millions of words and five books, I love being part of the challenge because of the creative energy new people bring to the table.

Countless folks will join the challenge just to try and see if they have what it takes to seriously pursue the dream of going pro. Fifty thousand words isn’t…

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Writing Progress October 10 – 16, 2016


October 10

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 186,938
  • Today’s word count: 233
  • Thoughts: I did write more than yesterday, but I want to be back on track with my word counts already! I’m trying to cut myself a bit of slack because I’m not feeling 100% but I need to write more than anything else right now.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Get back on track with the writing.

October 11

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 188,457
  • Today’s word count: 1,519
  • Thoughts: You know, sometimes I saw I need to write a lot and I actually manage to do it. Those are the good days. Today was a good day.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: A little revision and more of the same with writing.

October 12

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 190,023
  • Today’s word count: 1,566
  • Thoughts: Wow. I don’t know how I did it. I had to stay up late to get the words, but I did it and here I am. It’s shocking. I’m exhausted, but it’s a good kind of exhausted.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Revision. More writing. I want to keep this streak going!

October 13

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 190,649
  • Today’s word count: 626
  • Thoughts: Not as spectacular of a word count as I would like. I did write plenty and I’m pretty happy with the progress I made, but I got distracted a lot today and hit a mental roadblock pretty late at night. Instead of staying up and trying to fight it, I decided to go to sleep and try again in the morning.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More of the writing thing. Continue to get this week’s chapter ready for posting.

October 14

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 190,967
  • Today’s word count: 318
  • Thoughts: Crappy, crappy writing day. I don’t know what happened. I guess I just didn’t work out the knot in the scene like I’d hoped.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Keep writing. Post chapter.

October 15

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 191,534
  • Today’s word count: 567
  • Thoughts: The pattern of having stuff come up over the weekend that distracts or takes me away from my writing continues. I can’t complain too much because I know these distractions are about the only thing I have going on to keep my life from being endless monotony, but combined with my self-imposed deadlines these weekend distractions really stress me out.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Actually get this week’s chapter posted. More writing. So much more writing.

October 16

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 192,316
  • Today’s word count: 782
  • Thoughts: I wrote more today, but not enough. I had the words in me. I could feel them! The problem is that I had those words at 1 a.m. and I did not have the energy to see the ideas that came to my mind all the way through.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing. So much more writing. I can only hope that the ideas will still be in the back of my mind waiting for me today.

The Dreams: Chapter Forty Six

the dreams cover

Cover by A. R. Shellnut

Sorry about this chapter being late! Being almost caught up to the point in the novel I’m writing is really messing with my revision mojo. Forgive me!

I hope that this chapter was worth the wait. As always, be sure to let me know about any errors in the chapter or any other issues you might have with it.

My goal is still to finish writing The Dreams this month. As of right now, it looks like the last chapter will be posted in either November or December. Starting on November 1, I’ll be posting the first draft of my next novel on my Patreon. Once The Dreams is finished I’ll start revising and posting the second draft here, but the first draft will continue to be a patrons-only thing.

With this chapter like every other chapter, I owe a huge thank you to my fantastic supporters. If you enjoy my writing please consider becoming my Patron.

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Endings are HARD!

I hate writing the end of stories. I know a lot of people have a hard time getting started, and I don’t think beginnings are particularly easy either. I find beginnings easier to handle because once you’re past a certain point the beginning is behind you and you can breathe a sigh of relief.

Endings loom in the distance. I know from page one that I’ll have to write an ending eventually, but for a long while it’s not a problem. Then, almost out of nowhere, it is time to wrap up the story.

Then I panic. I shut down. Endings are just too hard.

Everything written before has been building up to this ending. That’s a lot of expectations and a lot of baggage to deal with. Anticipation has been building for weeks or even months as I built this story up from a blank page.

I start to lose my nerve. I question my ability to do the story justice. Writer’s block sets in.

I can keep pushing forward, but every day is a battle. No matter what I won’t give up. After making it this far I have to see the story through. One way or another the story will reach its conclusion.

Do you struggle with endings? What do you do to help make endings easier to write?


Writing Progress October 3 – 9, 2016


October 3

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 183,444
  • Today’s word count: 1,259
  • Thoughts: I wrote a lot today. I’m pretty proud of the progress I made.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing, I hope.

October 4

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 183,451
  • Today’s word count: 7
  • Thoughts: I had an interesting day. I woke up at 5 and went with my mom to an outpatient procedure and spent the day hanging out with her because of anesthesia. Today I also learned that Dropbox is no longer supported on Windows XP so my tiny portable writing machine isn’t synced with my WIP anymore. I spent most of the day reading or too exhausted to write properly. My mom is doing great though so I’m happy about that.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Write. Write so much and make up for the lack of writing.

October 5

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 184,084
  • Today’s word count: 633
  • Thoughts: This is better, but still not a great writing day. I’m working on getting back on track with my writing momentum.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing and revising, of course.

October 6

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 184,787
  • Today’s word count: 703
  • Thoughts: I’m getting a little bit closer to reaching my target goal every day!
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Keep going! I’m not going to stop until I’m actually back on track!

October 7

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 186,369
  • Today’s word count: 1,582
  • Thoughts: I finally did it! It took me the entire first week of October, but I finally wrote 1,500 words in one day. Now I just need to keep it up.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing. Oh! And I’ll be posting a chapter. Can you believe The Dreams is up to 45 chapters?!

October 8

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 186,510
  • Today’s word count: 141
  • Thoughts: Today was interesting to say the least. Scrivener was throwing a fit for a while and stopped responding multiple times. I think I lost more than an hour of productivity to straightening that out. I did manage to get this week’s chapter posted though and I wrote a tiny bit too.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing. Hopefully a lot more writing.

October 9

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 186,705
  • Today’s word count: 195
  • Thoughts: I wanted to write a lot today, but I spent time with family instead. I had a great time and I hope it will leave me feeling recharged and ready to make a ton of progress with my writing next week.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Writing. Lots and lots of writing.