Author: Ty Drago

Being part of a Writing Group
Being part of a Writing Group

Scaring Children for a Living: Writing Horror for Middle Grade and Young Adult

Scaring Children for a Living: Writing Horror for Middle Grade and Young Adult

By Ty Drago

The release of my novel RAGS through eSpec Books in the coming weeks marks my fifth published horror novel targeted to YA or Middle Grade readers. RAGS tells its story through the eyes of 16-year-old Abby Lowell, who must navigate through one supernatural terror after another in order to save the people she loves. Her journey is harrowing, suspenseful, and often a bit gory. But that’s horror in the nutshell, isn’t it?

The challenge arises when the writer has to balance traditional horror elements with the demands of a younger audience. Miss the former and the story comes off as more of an adventure than true horror. Miss the latter and readers will shy away. 

Let me elaborate.

Traditional horror novels are paced slow. Don’t believe me? Have a gander at Stephen King (back when he was still penning the scary stuff). Then check out Joe Hill, Dean R. Koontz, and even H.P. Lovecraft. In horror, one builds tension by “filling in the reader’s blanks,” describing the texture of the air, the nuance of a thrumming heart, the bitter coppery tang of blood. Every sensory experience of the character in the thick of things drags the reader from scene to scene. Anticipation is the order of the day—and all else, including action, takes a back seat to it.

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What THIS Editor Wants…and Doesn’t Want

What THIS Editor Wants…and Doesn’t Want
By Ty Drago

 

Twenty-Four years ago, I founded the ezine that is, today, known as ALLEGORY (www.allegoryezine.com). Since that fateful day in June 1998, I have published almost 70 issues featuring at total of over 800 short stories and articles by new and established writers worldwide. In the process of doing so, my staff (which began as just me but now includes five senior editors and seven associate editors) has reviewed roughly 50,000 unsolicited submissions—or, to use the colloquial industry term: “slush.” If you don’t feel like doing the math, that averages out to about 2,100 slush pieces per year, about 175 per month, or somewhere around 5.8 a day.

That’s quite a lot, especially considering that we all are, and always have been, volunteers.

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