Since January, I have had the great fortune of teaching a 15 week course in Horror & Suspense Writing at Seton Hill University. As their final project, the students were asked to create a multimedia story. I am happy to share the great results below!
- Tyler Carter, “The Lost Man” (short film)
- Sarah Lago, “Eradicate” (short film)
- SarahTantlinger, “When the Sky Turns Red” (short film)
- Michael Ingram, “Grave” (short film)
- Calvin Yoder, “Stuck” (short film)
- Jeannie Bujdos, “Germs” (short film)
- Jessica Walker, “Indulgence” (short film)
- Ashley Samek, “An Unexpected Guest” (short film)
- Brendan Monahan, “Sea of Bones” (short film)
- Jered W. Johnston, “The Nightmare Man” (short film)
- Sarah Last, “Project” (short film)
- Felicia Domasky, “Herrington’s Tragedy” (short film)
- Stephen Ray, “The Voice that was Silenced” (short film)
- Jade Woodridge, “Children of the Night” (short film)
- Kayla Lent, “Decomposed” (short film)
- Holly Reid, “Meat” (story trailer/vid)
- Esther Spurlock, “Murder My Tears” (hypertext story)
- Shelly Decker, “Convening with the Spirits” (hypertext story)
- Allyssa Yanniello, “Choices” (hypertext story)
- Angie LaVelle, “Killing Fate” (downloadable game)
My class had a lot of fun all term, composing all sorts of terrifying and insane tales. You can also see their drawings of monsters online, too, such as their interpretations of the character “X” from Matheson’s “Born of Man and Woman,” or their fun contributions to the Cthulhu mythos, based on the spelling of their last names backwards. I suspect some of their tales will also be published in various magazines and books in the near future for you to read, as well!
I’m presently wrapping up a full semester of teaching Horror Writing to undergrads at Seton Hill University, and we’ve been having a blast doing all sorts of multimedia work — especially work using SoundCloud for audio critiques. Along the way, I’ve been been playing with the site, too, uploading lecture excerpts and strange sound prompts and other weird things. I even recently gave a little presentation about the class experiments for a conference we held on campus called the iTeach gallery.
During the term, I discovered the above excerpt (from my article in the wonderful book for dark authors, WRITER’S WORKSHOP OF HORROR, edited by Michael Knost — who just edited a similar book on Science Fiction and Fantasy coming out next month). The exerpt had been a featured reprint in THE WRITER magazine and therefore available in our college library’s online databases in full text format. The database included an audio player for the visually impaired, so I played it and recorded the robotic voice reading my article so I’d have a copy…then I distorted the file on my computer to give it, well, some kind of aura of the strange. Here’s the result: a mini-lecture by the ghost in the machine, about writing in the horror genre, drawing from my favorite quote by Psycho-author Robert Bloch: “Horror is the removal of masks.”
Arnzen, Michael A. “An Open Book: Writer’s Workshop of Horror” in The Writer (Jan 2010). Excerpt from Knost, Michael, Ed. Writer’s Workshop of Horror. Woodland Press, 2009.
For the month of January, Raw Dog Screaming Press, Microhorror.com and Gorelets.com are joining forces to campaign on Kickstarter to make The Fridge of the Damned: a twisted poetry word tile set (based on something that old fans of this site will be familiar with) that will make any sticky metal surface even stickier!
We need your help. Kick in a few bucks and if our dreams become a reality, you can use these demented fridge magnets however you please… in fact, with a little creative play, they might “instigate” you to come up with poetry, stories, art or even novels all your own!
But even better: by funding the project at ANY level (even just a buck!), you’ll automatically reserve a free copy of Instigation: Creative Prompts on the Dark Side! This new ebook is NOT just a scraping together of all the “twisted prompts for sicko writers” you already find here at gorelets… it includes the entire collection from the infamous weekly column that ran in Hellnotes newsletter from many years ago, dozens and dozens of strange prompts from Michael Arnzen’s horror writing classes at Seton Hill University, and a battery of original material only available in this ebook: from new prompts “too hot for gorelets,” to activities intended specifically for writers in the muddlesome middle of their novels, to articles about writer’s block, advice for staying focused, and more. And all of it, intended to navigate you into the dark side, where the interesting stuff awaits. If you’re a writer, you’ll definitely want this.
The book is being published this March by my own imprint, Mastication Publications. Sign up for the Mastication newsletter, and you’ll get ANOTHER free ebook — “Meat Shots” — a collection of short shorts of terror — with design by our kickstarter campaign director Nate Rosen, in .pdf format.
It’s raining free books! Soak them up and get inspired to death.
I love my day job, teaching terror. This class in “Horror and Suspense Writing” meets the requirements for our new undergraduate “Certificate in Genre Writing” at Seton Hill University. [Got a BA and looking to write a novel? Then check out our MFA in Writing Popular Fiction!]
Recognize the image? That’s “The Dark Librarian” from my flickr gallery.
OCT 13 11a-4p | Frostburg, MD
Western Maryland Indie Lit Festival
Arnzen will attend with several Raw Dog Screaming Press authors, including Jennifer Barnes, John Edward Lawson, Heidi Ruby Miller, Jason Jack Miller, and K. Ceres Wright. The event, sponsored by the Frostburg State University Center for Creative Writing, brings together editors and publishers with writers and educators of the local community, and features panel discussions on various creative genres, DIY publishing, self-publishing, promotion and marketing, writing local, and reading and writing online. The event is free and open to the public, with sessions and book sales available throughout buildings in downtown Frostburg. Just follow the signs.
OCT 20 | Bowie, MD / Online
DogCon, Online Reading
Arnzen will make a ghostly appearance (via FaceTime streaming) at this exclusive party hosted by Raw Dog Screaming Press in launching their 10th Anniversary as a publisher. Some online access to the event will be available via Google+ hangouts. Details.
OCT 26, 4:30pm | Philadelphia, PA
Bruder Life Center, Neumann University, Guest Lecture on “The Popular Uncanny”,
Michael Arnzen visits the campus of Neumann University to host a discussion of his work on The Popular Uncanny. FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Books will be available for a signing after the event. Details.
Nov 10, 7pm | Greensburg, PA
DV8 Gallery and Cafe, 208 S. Pennsylvania Avenue, Greensburg, PA
Horror poetry reading with Arnzen and Stephanie Wytovich. Musical interludes expected. Details forthcoming.
The following is an excerpt from the front page of my Fiction Writing syllabus at SHU, which I posted to scribd and soundcloud as part of the course. I was surprised to find out tonight that it was highlighted as a “Featured Document” by scribd.com! Neat.
Here’s the audio version, recorded for the students in the class to respond to.
Teaching does take time away from my writing, but it’s just as rewarding to me, and it’s fun to share in the students’ creative spirits. Our class is going to be doing a lot of experiments with social networks, ipad apps, and more. Readers who have an interest in fiction writing might want to follow my academic twitter feed, where I’ll likely share the results.
Many see the Freaksicord as if it were a mirage when they first encounter it. It stands — astonishingly — like a walking stomach. Only as an afterthought does one notice the head, which dangles somewhere down below. Its head is so heavy with teeth, the neck can not bear its weight, and the head sometimes swings on its stalk like a pendulum between the beast’s stocky legs. Many presume that they might die between those muscular jaws, but what they don’t realize is that the neck, wings and head together function like a lever, lifting pray up into the air only to drop it back down onto the horns that protrude from a place near the bloated tic-like stomach. Blood is absorbed by the Freaksicord’s skin. It needs no mouth to consume you.
Thanks to Quinto Martin, who ran a teaching-with-technology training session this week at Seton Hill University on the subject of games in education. We installed Maxis’ free trial edition of the popular Spore Creature Creator. “You could have students make creatures and then write stories about them,” Martin suggested, pointing out the various character traits that can be manipulated in the software. He asked us to try it ourselves and submit what we came up with. The above was mine, which I thought I’d share here.
I think I was getting hungry when I wrote this. I also think the wings should be where ears might appear on the sides of the golf-club-shaped head.
Maybe I’ll try this activity next time I teach my undergraduate course in Horror and Suspense Writing.
Of possible interest to students and teachers: Over on my education-oriented weblog, Pedablogue, I posted a brief description of how I’m planning to use QR Codes to set up office hours this coming Fall at Seton Hill University. Pretty geeky stuff.
Locker room pictures on my office door, for the curious: haunting cover photo from Liberal Education magazine’s special issue on The Humanities, Winter 2010; portrait of Vincent Price with uncanny double-eyes by Kelly Hutchison; the QR codes mentioned in Pedablogue; the fantastic Einstein-Monroe Optical Illusion by Aude Oliva.
I adore this shot, featuring some (half?) of the great faculty who teach learning modules, run workshops and mentor grad student novel theses in our Writing Popular Fiction program at Seton Hill U. Click on their names to learn a little more about their writing. Almost all of these folks also appear in Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction (and will be at the huge book signing this Friday on the Seton Hill campus, 4-6pm…open to the public, so come on by!)
The new instructional guide for writers that I co-edited, Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction will have a massive book signing at Seton Hill University — a great opportunity for people in the area to not only buy the book, but get it signed by the many contributors in attendance. The launch will be part of a wine reception and book signing by Writing Popular Fiction alumni at the college. The event runs this Friday (6/23) from 7-9pm in the McKenna Center (look for the gymnasium) on the Seton Hill University campus on the hilltop in Greensburg, PA. Below you’ll find the official press release from Seton Hill University for more details.
This week I’ve been teaching heavily in our MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction, and tweeting lots of photos on my new “social networking” page. Drop by http://michaelarnzen.com to see some neat photos.
June 20, 2011
Kary Coleman Hazen, Director of Media Relations 724-830-1069 (work) 724-825-8505 (cell) / firstname.lastname@example.org
Seton Hill U. Fiction Authors Sign Books at Wine Reception 6/24
Celebration Launch of WPF Alumni “Many Genres, One Craft”
GREENSBURG, Pa. –More than 50 authors associated with the Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction program at Seton Hill University will participate in a joint book signing and wine reception on Friday, June 24, from 7-9 p.m. in Seton Hill University’s Katherine Mabis McKenna Center lounge located on the University’s hilltop campus in Greensburg, Pa. The event will launch “Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction,” a writing guide featuring contributions from Seton Hill University Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction Program faculty and alumni. This book signing event is sponsored by the Writing Popular Fiction Alumni Group. Both the book signing and wine reception are open to the public; the cost of the wine reception is $10 per person. For more information, contact Emily Heinicka at 724-830-1005.
“Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction” is an anthology of more than 60 instructional articles for fiction writers seeking advice on how to improve their writing and navigate the mass market for genre novels. The collection of articles is divided into three parts, craft, genre and the writer’s life. Each of the 60 contributors of “Many Genres, One Craft” is a faculty member, visiting author or published graduate from the Seton Hill University Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction Program.
Contributors to “Many Genres, One Craft” include Michael Arnzen, Rebecca Baker, Shelley Bates, Michael Bracken, Gary A. Braunbeck, Jennifer Brisendine, Crystal B. Bright, Sally Bosco, Christopher Paul Carey, Ginger Clark, Lawrence C. Connolly, David J. Corwell, Susan Crandall, Kaye Dacus, Penny Dawn, John DeChancie, C. Coco DeYoung, Matt Duvall, Natalie Duvall, Ron Edison, Elaine Ervin, Timons Esaias, Tess Gerritsen, Venessa Giunta, Leslie Davis Guccione, Anne Harris, W.H. Horner, Lee Allen Howard, KJ Howe, Russ Howe, Scott A. Johnson, Nancy Kress, Chun Lee, Patrice Lyle, Susan Mallery, Dana Marton, Lee McClain, Mike Mehalek, Sharon Mignerey, Barbara J. Miller, Heidi Ruby Miller, Jason Jack Miller, M.A. Mogus, Thomas F. Monteleone, David Morrell, Catherine Mulvany, Nicole Peeler, Adrea L. Peters, Patrick Picciarelli, Steven Piziks, Rachael Pruitt, Lynn Salsi, Mary SanGiovanni, David Shifren, Randall Silvis, Lucy A. Snyder, Maria V. Snyder, Victoria Thompson, Diane Turnshek, Tim Waggoner, Albert Wendland, Teffanie Thompson White, Karen Lynn Williams, Ryan M. Williams and K. Ceres Wright.
Additional authors featuring their work at the book signing include Diana Botsford, Marge Burke, Judi Fleming, Alexis Graves, Meg Mims and Linda Rodkey Ciletti.
Seton Hill’s unique Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction program teaches students to write marketable novels in popular genres like mystery, romance, science fiction, horror and fantasy. Additional specialties include literature for children and adolescents, and cross-genre blends like romantic suspense or young adult mysteries. Students attend two weeklong, on-campus residencies each year to master the core elements of fiction writing and effective marketing and to gain inspiration from faculty mentors and special guests, all published authors in genre fiction. Established authors mentor students one-on-one as they work toward completing a market-ready manuscript from home. Readings, classes and online discussion about the history, trends and techniques of genre fiction add depth to the student’s experience. For more information about the Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction program at Seton Hill, visit http://fiction.setonhill.edu or contact Seton Hill’s Office of Graduate and Adult Studies at 724-838-4209.
Seton Hill University, founded in 1885 by the Sisters of Charity, is a coeducational Catholic liberal arts university in Greensburg, Pa. Seton Hill offers more than 30 undergraduate programs, eight graduate programs, and four graduate certificate programs. For more information on Seton Hill please visit www.setonhill.edu or call 1-800-826-6234.