The Horrors of Nanowrimo

Hello boils and ghouls! It's that time of year again where nightmares come alive! That's right! Nanowrimo 2016 is just around the corner! Now, you might be on the fence about whether to
participate or not, but let me assuage your anxiety. While it's certainly a crunch to meet that seemingly impossible 50k word goal, it may just be easier than you think! Let me tell you a little about my experience with Nanowrimo as a horror genre writer.

This is only my third year participating in Nanowrimo, but I've attended every camp in that time as well. Each November and camp so far, I've managed to reach my goal every single time, and plan to continue the tradition this year!

Let's be honest for a moment, horror is already a difficult genre to write. Less and less people are interested in reading horror each year, especially so when it comes to independent authors' works. Don't let this discourage you however! In the end, it's your passion for it that will inevitably draw in the readers, and word of mouth is certainly key!

Writing horror for Nanowrimo can be extremely rewarding and a ton of fun! My first year in Nanowrimo I reached my 50k goal with “Haunted Hospital”, but never got the chance to finish the novel due to having already been locked into a book deal for “The Mime”. So this year I'll be tackling it all over again to not only complete the novel, but to write the film script for “Mime 2”, which starts filming next year!

My second year in Nanowrimo I wrote and completed a collection of short stories called “Campyre Tales: Voices From the Dark”, coming out sometime in November! I actually had WAY more fun writing this one for Nanowrimo! I got to change up what I was writing every 4k words or so. While it was more challenging for sure, thanks to the “Harry Potter Word Crawl” I ended up hitting 70k words that year! Discovering the word crawl posts on the message boards for so much of my favorite fantasy and horror cannon was the best thing that happened to me! It was a way to entertain myself while I wrote, and really challenged me to sometimes quadruple my daily word count goal!

A lot of people ask my why I keep coming back, and that's an easy answer for me. I enjoy the challenge. Nothing has ever challenged m so deeply, where my writing is concerned, than Nanowrimo! The horror I've managed to produce every camp and every November are staggering! This is a highly creative environment where you're encouraged to share with others, trade ideas, and even challenge people with word goals! There's just so many tools to make sure you get where you need to go, and I've found nothing that comes close to this!

I'm part of a local Dayton,OH community where, for the most part, I'm the only one writing in the horror genre. While I've gotten a few amazing ideas from my group over the years, it's been paramount for me to stay active on other Nanowrimo groups, and ultimately the Nanowrimo message boards. The important thing to remember is that no matter what genre you write this November, there are other people out there writing it too. Just be patient with yourself and stay active! Nanowrimo is designed to make sure you get all the help you need to hit that 5k! If you're stuck, ask for help. I've done this a number of times, and always find the answers I need from peers.
I want to talk about some of the amazing things on the message boards more in detail for you horror writers out there! Looking for a monster of any kind? There are actually posts in the horror section where people list a number of them with various origins! Looking for a plot idea? You'll find that too in spades! Another great feature on the message boards are the adoption posts! You'll find characters, plots, writing prompts, and pretty much anything you need! Just make sure you give the proper credit when the time comes to publish that book! If you're stuck and need help, make sure you post on the message board about your troubles. People are always willing to lend a hand!

Another question I'm frequently asked is what inspires me to write horror? In all honesty it's something I was born into. When I was a child my mother worked in the horror industry, doing sfx for horror films. I was hooked at a VERY young age, and even in retirement my mother continued my horror education. I might have been the only kid at five years old rooting for Leatherface in Texas Chainsaw Massacre! By the time I was twelve I could do amazing things with liquid latex and house hold supplies, and had already created my first severed head effect. As I got older I worked for haunted attractions as an sfx artist and actor, and eventually graduated to playing various monsters and serial killers in the independent horror community here in Dayton,OH. The one thing I've stuck with entirely though is writing. That started around five or six, and by the time I made it to high school I probably had four or five nearly finished novels (that will most likely never see the light of day!). To me, horror isn't just something you wake up one day and decide to do, it's truly a way of life! If you decide to make the journey, be prepared to face your own fears! Some of the best horror writing is heavily inspired by your fears, imagination, and often times every day life. Humans are often the most grizzly and nefarious monsters of all time!

If I can give you any advice writing horror for Nanowrimo, it's this. Expect the unexpected. A great and well planned story will tell itself. If you're a pantser like I am however; you're in for many hours of research and message board surfing, which isn't a bad thing! Set the mood while you write, that's important. I do a lot of my writing at night for example, and listen to what I consider creepy music, and horror podcasts like No Sleep. I highly recommend that particular podcast and the musical stylings of Midnight Syndicate. Trust yourself, that's also VERY important! You're capable of more than you give yourself credit for! Use all the tools available to you and you WILL be successful! If you find yourself in a rut, you can find me on Nanowrimo at Raz T. Slasher. I'm always available to help fellow horror writers whenever possible!

You can also check me out on amazon to keep up with my writing at:

If Facebook is your preference just send me a message at:

I wish you all the best of luck!

Pleasant Nightmares,
Raz T. Slasher

Dayton, OH USA
3 year Nanowrimo participant


  1. Thank you, Raz! Horrifyingly inspirational words. Good luck with NaNoWriMo.

  2. Great blog post! So happy to see Horror represented here. I've been tempted to write Horror a few times, but I'm not sure I've got the chops for it. Although this year I'm challenging myself so maybe... maybe next year.

  3. Awesome! I am sad that fewer people are reading horror. I'm a big fan since an early age. It's nice having a local talent in the genre! Happy writing, Raz. You've inspired me, for sure. I've not felt ready to try writing more than short story horror stories but this offers great suggestions.


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