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Joe Hill Tells You How To Write A Horror Novel

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Text Comments (114)
SafAri3 (14 days ago)
I'm on CH.5 for my book. I'm rooting for the human. Not the killer. Its like gonna have a suspense themed thing. Wish me luck that ill get to CH 10.
Platypus Culture (18 days ago)
I usually root for Jason cause the characters are bland. However, in Stephen King's IT, I almost cried when Georgie died just because he had so much likeablility already. He went to retrieve a boat and got killed over it, just because he was afraid that Bill would be very mad over it, and it breaks my heart that Georgie died. And the whole adventure I was rooting for Bill and the rest to take down Pennywise because of the injustice Pennywise created. You really feel that loss with Georgie, and I think that's what really made IT the movie classic that everyone knows and loves to this day.
Ethan John (23 days ago)
i loooooove aloft
I'm a writer here in Montenegro(country in east Europe) and I write book's about serial killers.I'm well paid and I can aford a 80 sguare feet house with one floor.I'm 27 years old and now I started writing a new book about Jefrey Dahmer and his life.I'm the first thriller writer here.I wrote books about imaginary detectives and killers,and I also wrote books about lifes of Ted Bundy,John Wayne Gacy,Charles Manson and one book about the case that happened here(not in Montenegro,but in area of East Europe) about a 18-year old girl that went missing,but she was found two days later,starved,beaten,raped.It turned out that the killer gave her water in which he masturbrated.It was a fucked up case,but my longest book.It had 250 pages.
Christianity Rules (1 month ago)
I mean Jason Voorheese loved his mom, he was deformed, we should be rooting for him, sympathizing for him tho
River (1 month ago)
I um Always root for the killertbh
Mannie Wray (2 months ago)
I like psychological thriller.
Mannie Wray (2 months ago)
I always root for the killer!
A Taco (4 months ago)
I have a idea for a novel called North Is South, the world is nonsensical and dark. But near the end the message unravels.
Princess Of Darkness (4 months ago)
I'm making a novel called, 'Lucy'. It's about a girl who thinks she's losing her sanity because she's hearing demonic voices speaking to her, and she's having Biblical dreams. She has no father, but her strange genetic afflictions don't come from her mother's side. These strange abilities she has include: Clairvoyance, and seeing the dead. It turns out her father is Lucifer, and she's a modern day 'Nephilim'. Her dad has been trying to reach her for years, but this was the first time he could actually get in her head and talk to her. Now she needs to find out how to actually see him and she gets to ask him all sorts of questions about why he's done what he has. Later, Lucy realizes she will ultimately end up like her father, unless she becomes a true believer in God. This tests her faith and sets her on a quest to find God.
Jeremy Jenks (8 months ago)
This Stephen King looking dude has me genuinely creeped out right now.
Tahsin Sabah (8 months ago)
Ask Men. Feminism triggered
Noelle Soto (8 months ago)
Horns sucks!
hillock10 (8 months ago)
Can you remake this video and drop the annoying background music? The listener seeks clear, uninterrupted advice on the topic. Missing just one word of your sentences because of the annoying music detracts from your presentation. If you were in a meeting with authors, discussing this topic, would you play a CD recording during the discussion? Alternatively, hire a professional editor before releasing a video.
Sylvia Bailey (8 months ago)
I'm still pretty convinced that he just goes by Joe Hill because otherwise he would have been Joe King... Get it? Joe King? Joking? I stole this joke.
A Few Wonders Conveyed (9 months ago)
1:41 I remember this guy with horns as a kid.
Richard (9 months ago)
I'm currently working on a horror story called The Afterdarks. It's about kids who didn't listen to the parents when they told them to be home before dark. Spoiler! A lot of these kids end up on milk cartons.
Gwyn Huff (11 months ago)
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your writing process.
Full Comic Alchemist (11 months ago)
Joe Hills heart shaped box do yourself a favour and read it this Halloween
D.L. Schindler (11 months ago)
Horns was a better movie than any of the movies adapted from your dad's stories. I've read most of his, but none of yours. Stop trolling me on the web boards of your dad's website under different pen-names. We are all adults so, uh, let's keep the rivalry for the King's crown civilized. With Crazy Swirling Eyes, D.L. Schindler p.s. If my breath smells jealy, it's because I had some peanut butter and jelly, not because I am a wannabe horror novelist. Also, I have been a member of that website for years and only log in to wish happy birthday and stare at the list of 200+ stories by you-know-who and wish I could have written maybe one or two that were that successful. I know you've never even visited those crazy swirling boards.
MarilynThePeaceMaker (1 year ago)
Thx so much
JP Alpha (1 year ago)
I'm gonna try that approach. I've always spent more time writing a complete timeline than writing the book, thanks Mr. Hill
Awesome dude3 (1 year ago)
I got an idea for a horror story, it is called "P.A.T" aka Paranormal Activity Team, it is about a Group of teenagers who are wanted by the police, they break into a government base and unintentionally freed every single creatures trapped there, the government finds the teens and they are forced to track down the monsters and return them, or they will be killed by the President's order and will be classified as "Missing",the Villains are the team of Monsters: Slender-Man: A Creature that strangles with his tentacles and you can die just from looking at him, he lives in the forest, chained to a wall, the chains is strong enough to stop him from teleporting away Weeping Angel: A statue of an Angel, Moves when your not watching it, Is put behind a Containment cell "The ShadowMan": the second most powerful, he is a human less shadow, name unknown, origin is unknown, wants to kill all humans, if he kills your shadow, you will die, Trapped in a Bright Cell, with no opening to the outside The Fallen Angel: Sighted by a Truck Driver, the Angel flew right through a truck,leaving a hole, was hit by an airplane, and was found unconscious on a bus, the least dangerous Wendigo: A Creature that lives in the woods, can grow in height at its will, and can transform others into it, found Crawling out a burning Cabin Ted: A being from a universe he called "The World Of Fear", He Is trapped in a Dungeon and is watched at all times, can do what he wants and can manipulate the world at his will, Hard to Defeat, most powerful being, the government created a weapon strong enough to Knock him out for a moment NightMare: A Ghost that can turn into anything it wants, is obsessed with ruining peoples life, and giving nightmares, can possess anyone who has the same passion of fear as he is, Was killed by someone, the most Vengeful and Angry Creature, is currently possessing a body, is trapped in a containment cell I am currently working on it
The Outlaw (5 months ago)
Awesome dude3 so how’s your book going?
JenJan RanJan (1 year ago)
Doesn't he look like his Daddy? Must be incredibly hard forging his own similar, but independent, career
Ryne Green (1 year ago)
Love Heart Shaped Box and Horns
Sayu Impercaela (1 year ago)
That was so helpful! :D
Jessica Walizer (1 year ago)
I like your vid
Jessica Walizer (1 year ago)
Plz don't say that not trying to bother you ok?Sorry if i'm being too picky
Presque vu (1 year ago)
So, he writes under a pseudonym as a pretense to earn his own readership based on his own merits alone, rather than ride on his father's name? Yet he uses his father's clout/collaboration/recommendations and connections to get published and recognised. Impressive.
Anne-droid (8 months ago)
Riiiiiight--because talent, hard work, good ideas, and lifelong commitment obviously had nothing to do with it. Better check the pH on those grapes.
Nuke Age (1 year ago)
I thought his first words were going to be "if you want to write horror you really need to have stephen king's face", then i read who he is lol!
thehoosierfortheUK (1 year ago)
I want to write a horror script that's disturbing and surrealist. No torture porn and no excessive blood and guts and sex even though the highlight will be sex or a romantic relationship
Lighting (1 year ago)
until you care for the characters the story isn't working figure out how your writing about think about what they'll do from scene to scene and let them loose like a wind up toy
Jazzy Boy (1 year ago)
I'm trying to make a sci if horror story, although I'm not sure what could make a good introduction. I'm thinking of making things calm in the beginning to let the the reader know the main character, but I have doubts that it would even be interesting for things to be calm in the beginning of a horror story. My idea of the story is set in space. In a lunar city on one of the moons of a planet from another galaxy. The main character is a normal simple man trying to earn a living as an engineer for his sick family member, who is ill from an unknown sickness that paralyzed the limbs of the person. The next following day, he woke up finding out that the city's power is nearly out, leaving the entire lunar city near pitch black. He tried to find out what's going on, until he found out the people in the city started acting strange and not themselves anymore, acting as if they are "controlled" by something and if under control long enough, will turn the person into a grotesque and humanoid being that simply wants the main character to "Join them and he will live forever for eternity". Is this a bad story idea?
Evolute Creator (10 months ago)
What's your explanation in the end? I could beta read for you if you wanted.
Evolute Creator (10 months ago)
I like it, personally, I think it could turn out well.
David Mouser (1 year ago)
Good except that the music was too loud. (good but distracting due to the volume)
Jasper Knight (1 year ago)
im writing a story about a group of people who get stuck on a island after there plane crash, but this isnt any normal island. this island is inhabited by the shadowy like monsters who only come out during the night.
Evolute Creator (10 months ago)
Oh no, I'm writing a similar one. 45 people are given a ten-day timeshare on a remote Alaskan island where it is always night (Arctic Circle) but it turns out that there are horrific creatures on the island, forcing the characters to be trapped in their cabins with little food or water.
JohnStephenWalsh (1 year ago)
Had to shut this off because of the music and popups. If you post a video of someone talking for less than three minutes, why not just let them talk so we can hear what they have to say? If it's not interesting enough to hold our attention on its own for three freakin' minutes or less, it shouldn't be posted.
Bridgette Jordan (1 year ago)
He looks soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much like his father. Wow.
theatrefilmgirl (1 year ago)
damn he looks like his dad
VS Horror (1 year ago)
Good points mentioned in your video. You should try reading the horror book Affliction I Have Seen by Trent Mills. I think you would enjoy it as have I.
Bomb.Throwing.Mayhem (1 year ago)
So this guy strongly disapproves of most of his father's novels?
Dorsey m (1 year ago)
damn,no mistaken him for someone else is son ! . some pretty good advice, I have a book full of horror ideas. I never do a first draft are anything. I write up my characters, and that's about it . once pen / finger hits the paper / key it just flows .
Diego Maria Cardona (1 year ago)
I'm currently reading his "horns" it's pretty good.
lazyrmc (1 year ago)
you should check out Nos4a2 too
wxstednxghts (1 year ago)
I ALWAYS root for the killer lmao
Macrocosm Cat (5 months ago)
Most of the time you are given little information about the good guys, the good guys always dive into the killer. You learn more about the killer than the good guys. The good guys are set as good by default, you don't care about them. Then you have a killer who was lead into that way, something happened, and has a thirst, an itch, a vengeance, etc. Then you end up caring for the killer, or the monster more than the "hero" or "good guys". For example, take a look at Daredevil TV series, the Kingpin, we are given way more information about him, more than Daredevil/Matt. We cared more about Kingpin and even rooted for him, but he wasn't that bad. He had shit going through since he was a kid, he has issues. He wanted to bring peace to the city, through a kind twisted plan, but he wanted to end crime and bring a good life, but he had to get his hands dirty. Sad thing was, his approach isn't that bad, in fact it is more realistic than what Matt wanted, he wanted to trust the system and trust people to do the right thing. In second season he started to fall apart cause he lost faith. We lost faith in the system as well.
Kieran Wilson (9 months ago)
wxstednxghts same, it wrong that I really enjoy people getting torched and killed
Jasper Knight (1 year ago)
i do too bro
ferbthe2gadgetguy (1 year ago)
thehoosierfortheUK no. The antagonists are always the great guys, who wants to root for the easy going guy in a cape that can fly, shoot lasers in his eyes and gets the girl? How about the guy who had a fuck up incident and is shunned by the world?
thehoosierfortheUK (1 year ago)
O-o you need help!
Jessi Please Stop (1 year ago)
Is it bad I was jamming to the background music the entire time??
Corvo@AZ (4 months ago)
@Jessi Please Stop Writing music for thrillers.
Nevena Gavric (1 year ago)
Jessi Please Stop sameeee
Mannie Wray (1 year ago)
Currently in the process of writing my first horror novel... 1. Haunting of the Asylum...
Zakle (1 year ago)
I'm writing my first horror novel as well. Currently, it has the working title of Umiko, Umiko. I'll likely change it.
Bimali Abeywickrama (1 year ago)
thank you. i love this. so helpful!!!
John Pugh (1 year ago)
might help for my sudden concept for a short story grounded in realism, sci fi and horror: A scientist is trying to find the formula to bring his deceased wife back from death, but apparently fails. In the days following, there are numerous murders, most of them people closest to him. It eventually dawns upon him, what if he was successful? And his wife could be out for vengeance against him, because he had killed her out of what he saw as mercy...
biffehn12 (1 year ago)
That's what I thought too! I am just going to start getting my newest concept written down(although it's kind of a horror/drama/thriller short story). It's about a police officer named Frank who gets transferred to another state to investigate the disappearance of a boy child. His wife took off with another man, so since he is divorced, his 15-year old rebellious daughter Sam has to move with him. However, all tracks the police could find during the investigation signify that the boy has been kidnapped by a young, well-known serial killer who was just set free from prison. How does that sound?
Tyler Sullivan (1 year ago)
Sounds like Revival you fraudulent, unoriginal fuck
Sheldon Butler (1 year ago)
Great concept, it sounds interesting.
lazyrmc (1 year ago)
Interesting premise
Conner Hoyt (2 years ago)
That was very helpful. From what I've been writing, when trying to add an element of horror, I've tried to quicken the pace of the reading, as if to emphasize how quickly the character is trying to get a hold of the situation. I do this in ways of not being as descriptive, not being as observant, possibly leaving some things out because if one were in such a situation they wouldn't have the time to do such so why should the reader? But from what you said, creating more of an emphasis on character development, is something that i'll take to heart.
Taryn L (2 years ago)
I don't care what movie/book it is, I always route for the bad guy...
Taryn L (2 years ago)
But... I liked Saw...
[Ɖeceive] (2 years ago)
Torture porn?
SAMCRO Till I Die (10 months ago)
Saw and Hostel are a sub genre of horror called "Torture Porn"
thehoosierfortheUK (1 year ago)
I hate torture porn!
Demigodz_365 (1 year ago)
I heard that too 😂
Breesvl_ (2 years ago)
Wow, I know what Joe Hill means about writing from character, rather than planning. Though I plan things out in my mind and sometimes in text, I feel it's so much easier to just write scene to scene and create from there.
Der Metzgermeister (2 years ago)
Not talking about Heart Shaped Box, then? Had literally no sympathy to the protagonists.
Shelby Parks (1 year ago)
Jackie I'm reading Heart Shaped Box now and I love the characters! Jude and Georgia are deeply flawed people, but you understand them and as the novel goes along you become very attached. At least I did.
Katlynn TenTen (2 years ago)
or a better woman...haha you know
Ibelieve Intheone (2 years ago)
Is he a relative of Stephen King?
Sam Fisher (7 months ago)
Ibelieve Intheone I can't imagine your face when you found they were ralated. I'm sure you meant it as a joke. 😂😂😂
Creepy Prez Gaming (2 years ago)
Yeah He is Stephen King's Son He is a Writer Too He Toke After His Dad
Pete Madrona (2 years ago)
+Dr. Gravedancer Holy shit
Ivory Moonchild Art (2 years ago)
+Ibelieve Intheone He's Stephen King's son :)
wasteyelo1 (2 years ago)
Christ, he really looks like his Dad here.
Tahsin Sabah (8 months ago)
wasteyelo1 yeah changing the name didn't hide it much
captainbrunch (1 year ago)
wasteyelo1 Talks like him too.
Red Red Owen (1 year ago)
wasteyelo1 Yes he does
James Passmore (2 years ago)
skevey? What does that mean?
Covin Kestner (2 years ago)
It means "unpleasant" or "distasteful".
生きる (3 years ago)
This is all absolutely correct. Also Stephen King and Joe Hill are my favorite authors of all time.
Platypus Culture (18 days ago)
Stephen and Joe are the best horror writers. I think this element of liking characters (especially with Georgie in IT) really makes their books and movies great.
Sharon Thornton (10 months ago)
Steven had been mine for so very long since way back in the late seventies all the way until like all liberals he began to use his stage and his books to viciously attack conservatives and our presidents and leaders simply because they do not agree with what he wants.
matthunterrlf (3 years ago)
this guy looks like Stephen King..
Katie Speakman (2 years ago)
yeh he's is his son, he doesn't want fame from his dad so he used a different name
Sophia (3 years ago)
Its his son Sort of....
Eddie Lopez (3 years ago)
+matthunterrlf it's his son I think. Freaky ass resemblance if he's not though.
Mean Green (3 years ago)
I have read all of your novels. I agree with what you preach. Now please make characters that I can get behind and actually like. Do not strive to make characters so gray that they lose the readers desire to root for them.
Nick Belliveau Stories (3 years ago)
This was a great video just word of advice lower the volume of the music it slightly drained out Joe's voice
Supervillain Writing (3 years ago)
"I follow the character". Like father like son. ) At least he respects planners. Steve does not such thing and too bad, 'cause a lot of good writers are planners. 
dotdotdot (3 years ago)
I suppose you could write a horror story from character. If you're writing fantasty however I can't see how you could do away with the outlining. There is so much stuff to remember when you create a whole universe that you are bound to make mistakes without it.
dotdotdot (2 years ago)
Bryan89 says: How much planning do you do when you're writing a book? Do you have a plan for each chapter, or do you write with a general outline of where the story is headed? Don't write outlines; I hate outlines. I have a broad sense of where the story is going; I know the end, I know the end of the principal characters, and I know the major turning points and events from the books, the climaxes for each book, but I don't necessarily know each twist and turn along the way. That's something I discover in the course of writing and that's what makes writing enjoyable. I think if I outlined comprehensively and stuck to the outline the actual writing would be boring.
dotdotdot (2 years ago)
oh, nvm, i found it. +michael flannigan
dotdotdot (2 years ago)
He doesn't write anything down about the universe and geography or nothing? Nothing on the Dothraki or the white walkers or valyrian steel or dragon glass or anything? I find that very hard to believe. Do you have any sources?
Down In Stones (2 years ago)
+kimeradon George RR Marting doesn't outline, so it is possible; however, if I was writing a fantasy novel I would probably outline. I hate outlining, but writing fantasy would be far too hard for me to do without an outline.
justice7219 (3 years ago)
terrific video. I agree with his take on characters in modern horror films, and I enjoyed listening to his approach on writing, building his way into his characters then working outwards.
Infinite Sky (3 years ago)
Totally agree. I have an idea for a horror screenplay called "Stormy Weather" I hope to get turned into the movie!
Anantam Bisht (1 month ago)
Infinite Sky acoolll
Anton Chigurh (1 year ago)
Infinite Sky Is it finished?
Yatukih001 (2 years ago)
Doing good...
CarrieAnne Atreides (2 years ago)
How's it going?

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