Author: Horror Tree

Guest Post: Dreadfully Comforting: Finding Solace in Horror

Dreadfully Comforting: Finding Solace in Horror


This past year has been my horror homecoming. I took a deep dive into Hannibal and The Haunting of Bly Manor; in my reading, even when I turned to romance, the pieces I picked up had thorns, darkness, and deceit. The bodies piling up in the news tumbled into my writing. Many of the guests I’ve spoken with on my podcast in these grief- and panic-ridden times have expressed the same thing. Art–particularly fantasy and science fiction–is typically seen as escapism. So why, when we tear ourselves away from doomscrolling through horrifying headlines, do we descend into a different darkness?

Horror is an honest genre. It pulls no punches about our likelihood to survive, or what could happen to us. Some tropes might lead us to believe that if we don’t sneak off into the woods with that blonde we’ll make it to the second act, but more often than not we’re just as doomed. When we’re bombarded with reminders of how dangerous our world is, how uncertain our futures are, escaping into a perfect world can feel unrealistic. Our suspension of disbelief breaks. As a reader and creator, there is freedom and peace in knowing nothing is certain, and it’s a relief to enter a world that doesn’t lie to us. (more…)

11 Movies You Didn’t Know Were Book Adaptations

Famous movies leave an imprint in the audience for its superb plot and impeccable lines. There are movies that live with us with these memorable lines, only to find out that the great plot is from a book. 

Although some of these books are living in the shadow of the film, it is worthy to mention how the pages of the novel have come to life through these screen adaptations. Here are some movies you didn’t know were based on books.

1. Die Hard


Top Horror/Fantasy/Science fiction Games

As an author, sometimes we all need to turn our brains off for a bit. At least, the part we write and create with. There are plenty of options to do that. Going outside, television, reading, and, of course, video games. Today we’re going to take a look at three games that will really let you get lost in them and hopefully expand your creative side by admiring their world-building while taking a break from creating yourself.

When it comes to the field of horror games, it seems as though our desire for newer, better titles simply can not be quenched! Whether zombie shooters or chilling titles that rely on jump scares aplenty, players now get to choose from more horror, fantasy and science fiction video game titles than ever before.


From Resident Evil to Silent Hill and everything in between, the joy of horror games is that they provide some serious scares that just keep us coming back for more.


In this article, we will take a look at some of the top horror, fantasy and sci-fi games. We will look at old games and new video games and slot titles, as well as games that can be enjoyed across a wide variety of consoles.

WiHM 12: Top Ten Ways Reviewing Books Improved My Writing

Top Ten Ways Reviewing Books Improved My Writing

By: Nico Bell

In my years as a book reviewer, I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the cringeworthy. Writing is hard work, and anyone who takes that for granted might be unpleasantly surprised when a review of their work gets published. But as I’ve spent time both as a writer and reviewer, I’ve realized that reading and critiquing piles of books has given me insight into what works and doesn’t work in my own writing. Here is a list of ten things I’ve learned as a reviewer that helped make me a better author. 

Invest in Cover Art. It might seem odd that the first thing I learned about writing as a reviewer has nothing to do with writing, but I can’t stress enough the importance of a professional cover. It may not seem like a big deal, but the cover is the first impression. For self-published authors who have complete control of their art, it’s vital the cover be a high-quality visual representation of the novel. Of course, cover art is expensive. It’s tempting to take a photo and add your own font and text, or try your hand at watercolors and oil pastels, but unless you’re artistic and you have a natural eye for the visual arts, I highly suggest seeking the help of a pro. 

Hire an Editor. As a writer, I understand the desire to have my critique group act as an editor and skip out on hiring a professional, but as a book reviewer, I’m quickly reminded about the absolute necessity to work with an editor to polish a story, not only in terms of grammar, but in terms of story and character development. A developmental editor can turn a good story into an excellent story and an excellent story into an award winner. I’ve reviewed novels with non-realistic characters, plots that drag with no tension, dialogue with no purpose, character names that were accidentally changed and then changed back, and I even reviewed a book containing a sentence that stopped mid-way through. Editors fix this.

Proper Formatting. I recently read a novella with teeny tiny font. No, really. Teeny. Tiny. Font. It took several attempts for me to get through the first chapter because every time I opened the book and saw those microscopic words staring back at me, heat raised in my chest and a fury built in my core. Okay, maybe not that dramatic, but I was pretty annoyed at the self-published author who allowed this book into the world with a font size that literally made me squint. I can understand the desire to keep the page count low, since more pages equals a higher overall publication price, but it must be readable. Also, formatting includes proper margins, appropriate spaces between sentences, and professional and properly placed images before a chapter heading or within the text. Format correctly!

Work with a Sensitivity Reader. This is something that can be done for free (similar to beta readers), and if a book contains sensitive material and trigger warnings, it’s a good idea.  Unfortunately, many people have experienced some sort of trauma in life, and it’s important to be respectful when presenting sensitive material in a plot, especially if writing about something you have not personally experienced. Sensitivity readers provide a candid and unique insight that will be valuable to both you and your reader. I can usually spot the books that lacked a sensitivity reader or ignored sage advice, so it’s important not to fall into that category.

Know Where the Plot is and Follow It. This is easier said than done, and it’s something I often struggle with as a writer. It becomes obvious as a reviewer when an author has veered off track. Readers are led down longwinded tangents or made to trudge through backstory to find the action. As writers, we get very possessive of our words, but at some point, it’s important to take out that red marker. Every single scene should move the story forward, whether it’s an action or reaction scene. Every dialogue should reveal something about the characters or plot. Every sentence should have a purpose.

Don’t have Multiple Characters with Similar Names. It’s such a small detail, but it matters to readers. It’s confusing to read a story with a Caleb, Callum, and Chris. Twins with similar or rhyming names become frustrating to follow. I once read a book where the name of the town was only one letter off from the name of the main character. The author may have done it for personal reasons, but it’s important to think about the reading experience. Variety is always a safer option.

Make Dialogue with a Purpose. Talking in real life is different than having realistic dialogue in a book. For example, a real life conversation may go something like this:

Mom: Hey, kiddo. How was school?

Son: Fine.

Mom: Fine?

Son:  Yeah, fine.

Mom: Nothing exciting happened?

Son: No.

Mom: Really?

Son: No, it was fine.

This is life dialogue and shouldn’t be in a book because it doesn’t move the plot forward, says little to nothing about our characters, and frankly is boring. I’m guilty of adding life dialogue to my books and later taking a red pen and slicing it away to get to the heart of the conversation, but it’s easy to slip back into this sort of everyday language. Beware and remember the reader wants tension, emotion, and action.

Know Where to Start the Book. Oof, this is a big one. Full disclosure, I’m awful at this. My poor critique partners over the years have had the honor of trashing many of my opening chapters in an attempt to find the actual starting point. It’s hard but necessary. Books start around an inciting incident. There’s usually a bit of “normal life” before getting to that big catalyst but knowing how much normal life to put on the page takes practice. Keep at it! It’s important to get it right in order to capture the reader’s attention as quickly as possible.

Become a Wordsmith. When I first started writing about nine years ago, I won a writing contest. The prize was a first chapter critique by a well-know and well-respected author. She kindly marked my work and when it came back, it looked like it had a gnarly case of chicken pox. As a side note, she encouraged me to take time everyday to simply sit and observe the world around me. What did I see? What did I smell? What did I taste? She suggested I keep a journal and explore different areas of my town, writing every little detail during these brief sessions, making sure I include the five senses. She wrote, “With a solid year of practice, you’ll be at a good starting point.” Well, that was humbling. It also was one of the best tips I’ve ever received. So, I did what she said. I still do it. I don’t know if I’m any better. I think that’s for readers to decide, but I have recognized a growth in my adjectives and a diversity in describing the same thing over and over. Authors that put in the work shine on the page. They’re a joy to read, they suck you into their stories, they make you see, feel, hear, smell, and taste a new and fascinating world. They are Wordsmiths, and I’m almost certain if I asked these writers how they got started, they would admit to some form of journaling like I described, because mastering words takes time and practice. Be patient and diligent, and you’ll get there.

Nico Bell


Nico Bell is the author of Food Fright and editor for Shiver: A Chilling Horror Anthology. She is a book reviewer at Publisher’s Weekly and Scifi And Scary and a horror writer whose works have been included in The Second Corona Book of Horrors and the Gothic Blue Book Volume 6: A Krampus Carol. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram @nicobellfiction, and her website

Top Five Tips To Write a Bestselling Novel

Books and a coffee cup on a windowsill

A great story and good writing are the two of the most vital ingredients, which are mandatory for a novel’s success. However, as is evident from many bestselling authors’ works, reaching the milestone of having published books take prolonged hard work.


To write a novel, you need to put in a lot of patience, planning, and time. Unfortunately, many writers do not even get to writing until they feel reasonably sure about the structure, theme, characters, and plot. The most crucial element of writing is knowing your main story. Once you have figured that out, you are a step closer to writing an impeccable novel.


Steps to create a phenomenal novel


If you search through the internet, you can find hundreds of tips to guide you to write a bestselling novel. However, with a long-standing experience in writing and publishing, here we have come up with a set of tips that will work 100% and enable you to craft a bestselling novel. Let us get started and take a look at these tips one by one.


Set aside your writing time


A few authors like to set aside the time for their writing sessions, while others prefer to continue writing till they fulfill their daily word count quota. The book writing process will take a long time, especially if it is your first novel, comments Jenna, an assignment help provider with TFTH. Giving yourself a certain goal or setting a block can prevent the risk of feeling overwhelmed and help you prevent burnout. It also motivates you and keeps you going till the end of your novel completion. 


Affixing a writing space can be quite helpful. You can designate a quiet space where you can sit down and undertake your writing and produce one of your best works. Having an atmosphere where you can be productive can ensure that your thoughts flow without any distraction. 


Plan around


Next, you need to plot out as much of the book idea as you feel required to avail of a sense of the story structure and the key plot points. The process of writing is different for everyone. Raina, an online precalculus tutor who is also a published novelist, explains this further. She says that there are a few authors who like to meticulously put in every detail, while others like to maintain a looser approach throughout.


In the latter, authors tend to get to the first rough draft and then put down their thoughts and ideas in a single place while continually organizing this process and the chain of thoughts. 


Regardless of your preferred style, both professional writers and novelists must be fully aware of their story idea and where they think their story will go.  


Build around 


When writing fiction, you need to create a universe for everything to take place, especially if you are writing science fiction or fantasy. Be aware of the limitations and the rules of what is possible or not in this world that is created by you. You need to establish a boundary and ensure that there is a stable foundation to build your writing. The more believable the universe is, the more time your audience will want to spend in this universe.


For this reason, many writers tend to have worldbuilding as the commencement point for their novel. On the other hand, there are also writers to tend to extrapolate the details as and how the premise unfolds, wherein they reform and rewrite as they progress with the book.


In our view, it is always preferred to leave some room, which gives a breather and an imaginary ground for the readers to fill in this world created by you.


Write characters that are believable


Fiction writing comes in a myriad of flavors. However, regardless of your book’s genre, the characters must show some reality, even the antagonists. For this, it is essential to give a backstory to the central character. The reader needs to feel like they could exist in the real world, and then you have to plan their character development accordingly. The more relatable you make the character, the more empathetic a reader feels towards them. It makes them feel emotionally invested in the book and your characters, thereby amplifying the reading experience.


Have a clear point of view


Mia, an associate who offers finance assignment help services, says you need to have a clear mind of how you address the characters while writing. See, we will explain what Mia is trying to say here. She means you need to decide whether you will be narrating your story in the first person, second person, or third person.


Having a clear point of view means having a narrative voice or the eye via which you express your story. It is quintessential because when writing a book, you need to have a clarity on who is telling the story to your readers.


There are two ways to go about it. The story can either be told by a character who is a part of the story or by an onlooker who knows all the story characters but is not a part of the story.   


Bottom Line


So, these are five of the essential tips that can help you create a bestselling novel. Please know, if your book has a definite beginning, cliff hangers, and plot twists, you will be able to carve an impression on your readers.


Lastly, after you are done with the first draft, read, rewrite, and make it better to ensure that when your book finally reaches the readers, it is perfect.