Shifting Shapes: When Characters Transform

Some of the best moments in horror and dark fantasy fiction and film are scenes involving transformation – depicting how a “normal” body mutates, how a mind breaks down into madness, or how a human being morphs into a monster or something else, entirely unexpected. In this 2-hour session we'll discuss the scenecraft behind these moments of transformation, analyzing the methods in examples, discussing both the writing techniques and the subtle meanings behind them, and putting the lessons gleaned from class into practice. As a result, attendees should be able to represent change in a savvy and spellbinding manner...and perhaps their own writing skills will subsequently shift into an even stronger shape.

About the Instructor

Amityville-born horror writer Michael Arnzen holds four Bram Stoker Awards and an International Horror Guild Award for his often funny, always disturbing fiction and poetry. In addition to his creative books -- like the novel, Grave Markings, or the short story collection, Proverbs for Monsters -- he's published a helpful collection of "story starters" for dark fiction authors called Instigation: Creative Prompts on the Dark Side and co-edited the writer's guide, Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction. Arnzen holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Oregon and since 1999 has taught fulltime at Seton Hill University, near Pittsburgh, in their MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction. His past classes at Horror University have included such topics as “The Uncanny and The Abject in Horror Writing,” “Treacherous Settings” and “Making Your Reader Squirm.” Learn the latest at: