WIHM 2022: An Interview With Briana Morgan
The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview With Briana Morgan
Briana Morgan (she/her) is a horror writer and playwright.
As of 2021, Briana is the author of several novels and plays, including The Tricker-Treater and Other Stories, Unboxed, and more. She’s a proud member of the Horror Writers Association and a book review columnist for the Wicked Library. When not writing, she enjoys gaming, watching movies, and reading.
- As a part of the horror community, what does the community mean to you?
I don’t know where I’d be without the horror community. In addition to boosting me as an author, the community has allowed me to create meaningful friendships with people all over the world. I love that no matter how different we might be from one another, we’re all united by our love of horror.
- In what ways has the horror community been positive for you both personally and professionally?
Without the horror community, I wouldn’t have believed in myself enough to publish my first book or to write all the others. I’ve met some phenomenal people and have had several exciting opportunities that came as a result of joining the community.
- In what ways do you think the horror community can improve?
We need to do better by authors of color. It’s Black History Month, and a lot of the women giving interviews or showing up in posts for Women in Horror Month aren’t Black, myself included. I want to see more books by diverse authors, more books from marginalized voices who seldom get called out or recommended. We need to promote more than just horror by white guys.
- Novels, plays, and operas… what goes into writing these different forms of stories?
Each medium takes something different to pull off. When I get the idea for something, I can usually tell whether it needs to be a book or a play. It’s hard to explain, but I just know.
With a novel, you have more flexibility in your methods to convey the story. You can use thoughts, internal debates, and different points of view. In a play, you must convey the story through visual means. There is no peeking inside the characters’ heads. Almost everything must be expressed through dialogue or action. Each of these mediums presents a unique set of challenges, which is why I love writing both.
- In addition to writing, you are also an avid gamer. In what ways does playing games influence your writing?
Playing games makes me a better writer. I gravitate toward games with a solid narrative that keeps players engaged and emotionally invested throughout. Games like BioShock, Soma, and Resident Evil: Biohazard have taught me how to create tension and stakes, how to make people root for your characters, and how to finish strong.
- On your author site, you mention fast-drafting a book before editing and sending to beta-readers. Can you expound on this process?
As a full-time author, I aim to write a first draft in a month. I put together a loose outline, figure out how many chapters I need (I write 1500-3000 words per chapter, so a 60000-word book would be about 20 chapters long), determine daily word count, and buckle down and do the work. I write in 20-minute sprints, setting a timer and not stopping until the timer goes off. I also let myself write a shitty first draft because I know I’ll clean it up later.
Once the draft is done, I read it aloud to myself to fix any glaring issues before recruiting beta readers. After I get it back from my betas, I’ll make more changes as needed before publishing the book.
- What does being a woman in horror mean to you?
Being a woman in horror means so much to me. I want to honor all the talented women who have paved the way for me to do this as a career, and I feel grateful and humbled to be able to do something I love for a living.
- How has your perspective of the horror industry changed since becoming more involved in its community?
I’ve become more attuned to readers’ interests and what readers care about in a book versus what writers think readers care about. The two are very different.
- What does the future of women in horror look like to you?
Some of the best horror out there has been written by women, and I look forward to seeing so much more moving forward. I would love it if “the next Stephen King” were a woman.
- Why have you gravitated to dark fiction throughout your life?
Honestly, I’m not sure! It’s been that way for as long as I can remember. I love that horror allows anyone to peek inside someone’s head and try to understand their motivations for how they respond to challenging situations. Horror also provides a great deal of character growth, which I adore.
- What is your favorite element of horror?
I love, love, love the idea of humans as monsters, or of people becoming the monster they’ve tried so hard not to.
- Where do you see horror trending?
Horror seems to be trending more “woke,” and I’m thrilled to see it. I enjoy horror that comments on social issues and inspires or challenges people to change.
- In what ways have you seen growth in yourself as a writer since beginning the craft?
I get better with every book I write. As it turns out, the best way to become a better writer is to write more books.
- What professional goals do you have?
I want to make six figures from my writing, get an agent, and get a film adaptation.
- What’s next for Briana Morgan?
I have a book coming out in March! It’s called The Reyes Incident, and it’s perfect for fans of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Into the Drowning Deep.
- About the Author
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Franklin Charles Murdock is a fiction writer from the Midwestern United States. Though most of his work is harvested from the vast landscapes of horror, fantasy, and science fiction, Franklin strives to spin tales outside the conventions of these genres.
His work has appeared in DarkFuse, Under the Bed Magazine, 69 Flavors of Paranoia, MicroHorror, Liquid Imagination, Yellow Mama, Heavy Hands Ink, WEIRDYEAR, Phantom Kangaroo, PrimalZine, and various other publications. Most recently, he’s been coauthoring the serial epic BEARD THE IMMORTAL on swordandportent.com.