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About Horror University

Horror University is one of the most successful and popular aspects of StokerCon™. We are proud to present another great series of live workshops for StokerCon™ 2024. Horror University furthers the Horror Writers Association’s focus on education with a curriculum run by some of the best and brightest in the horror field.

2024 Horror University Workshop Schedule


From May 30 to June 1, HORROR UNIVERSITY will present nine live, in-person workshops at StokerCon 2024 in San Diego, CA. HORROR UNIVERSITY is designed for horror writers interested in refining their writing, learning new skills and techniques, exploring new writing formats, or better understanding the genre. These workshops are taught by some of the most experienced voices in horror. Full descriptions and registration information for our STOKERCON 2024 Workshop Schedule is available in the Horror University School on Teachable:





Registration for each workshop is $65 for non-HWA-members. HWA members receive a 15% discount on individual courses or a 20% discount on registration for five or more courses. Log into the Members Only area of and check the discounts page for codes. General registration for StokerCon does not include Horror University programming; additional registration is required so that the Con is able to compensate each instructor for their workshop and support the cost of the program.


The StokerCon 2024 Session includes:


MAY 30

Exploring Invisible Disabilities in Horror, Instructors: Elle Mitchell and J.B. Kish, 4 P.M. PT

This workshop will explore autonomy, its importance, and the ramifications the loss of it can have on disabled and chronically ill characters. The instructors will walk through some of the best practices concerning writing disability as well as discuss how to avoid tropes and the low-hanging fruit. With both solo and group exercises, the authors should leave with a better understanding of writing disability, creating unique characters that will resonate with their readers without feeling exploitative, and be able to hold space for empathy and education in horror. Find More Information and Register here:



MAY 31

A Writer Prepares: Acting Tools for Writers, Instructor: John Palisano, 9 A.M. PT

How does one develop compelling characters? What happens when you hit a wall in a scene and you’re not sure what to do or where to go? What if you just can’t hear the character’s voice? How do you create several characters within a story that all seem to be distinct and memorable? This workshop will present useful tools with handouts for future use for developing memorable characters. Using his acting training as well as experience staging plays, working on Hollywood feature films with A-level talent, and writing multi-award winning fiction, the instructor will present a writing riff on the famous Konstantin Stanislavsky book and method for acting. Find More Information and Register here:



Bringing Cosmic Horror Down to Earth, Instructor: James Chambers, 11 A.M. PT

Cosmic horror looks beyond humanity to the outermost reaches of the cosmos to explore dark ideas and themes that dwarf earthly existence. It often focuses on inhuman entities or forces that dwarf the whole of humankind and cast it into utter insignificance. Often nihilistic, fatalistic, and bleak, cosmic horror offers unique opportunities for exploring the human condition and what makes human life valuable. This workshop will examine tropes in cosmic horror and techniques for establishing the grounded settings, well-developed characters, and troubling themes that make for effective cosmic horror stories. Find More Information and Register here:


Write Your Trauma: Harness Your Darkness to Create Compelling Work, Instructor: Mercedes Yardley, 1 P.M. PT

This workshop will discuss how to use personal trauma to create work that emotionally resonates with readers. Attendees will discuss works that do this well, receive insight and tips from the instructor, and participate in a brainstorming/writing session that will help them develop a concrete idea to pursue beyond the workshop. Find More Information and Register here:


Writing a Killer Series, Instructor: Jonathan Maberry, 3 P.M. PT

Whether you’re writing a series of novels, a series of connected short stories, or an ongoing comic book, it’s vastly different than writing a single tale. This workshop will deconstruct the process of building a successful series. It will cover crafting short and long character arcs; plotting a kick-off novel and then building it into a franchise; tricks for developing backstory that enhances each installment without requiring previous reading by fans; keeping a series fresh; reinvention and expansion; world building for a series; and much more. Find More Information and Register here:



World Building for Horror Writers, Instructor: Jennifer Brody, 9 A.M. PT

Worldbuilding is most often associated with genres like science-fiction and fantasy, but it is also a critical skill for horror writers. The process of building imaginary worlds and settings associated with a fictional universe is important to fully immerse readers into your story—and the horror elements that it contains. Writers must build a cohesive universe with history, culture, geography. This becomes even more true when writers introduce supernatural elements into their stories. Learn the foundations and keys to worldbuilding in this Horror University workshop. Find More Information and Register here:



Blood, Guts, Sex, and Violence: Writing Extreme Horror, Instructor: Tim Waggoner, 11 A.M. PT

Think before you slash! In this workshop, attendees will become more aware of the possibilities and pitfalls of writing Extreme Horror, enabling them to make more effective choices when creating it. They’ll improve their skills at writing the subgenre, whether Extreme Horror is the entire focus of their story or only used as an additional element. Find More Information and Register here:


Using the Tarot to Guide Your Writing, Instructor: EV Knight, 1 P.M. PT

This class will teach you how to use a deck of tarot cards to create well rounded characters, plot your story and/or breakthrough the dreaded writer's block. You will learn to intuitively read a card and use that knowledge to apply it to your work in progress or a brand new piece. You do not need to know how to read tarot to take this class. Many people shy away from the Tarot because it seems too overwhelming to learn the meanings behind each of the seventy-eight cards, but intuitive reading can be taught easily and quickly. By the end of class, attendees will have a basic understanding of the history and layout of the Tarot, know how to intuitively read cards at a basic level, learn several easy card spreads for writing characters, plot, and breaking writer’s block (as well as for divination), and use the cards and spreads as prompts to craft a story or aid in their current WIP. Class participants are invited to bring their own deck, but a deck will be provided to each attendee to use during class. Each attendee will also receive a laminated reference cards on a ring for quick keywords/meanings. Find More Information and Register here:


Writing Horror for Younger Audiences, Instructor: Justina Ireland, 3 P.M. PT

Introducing younger readers to horror is crucial to developing life-long horror readers, but surprisingly few writers target their efforts toward the middle-grade and young adult categories. This workshop will delineate the differences between adult, middle grade, and young adult categories while also highlighting best practices for writing horror for younger readers. Find More Information and Register here:


And don’t forget to check out Horror University Online’s amazing catalog of recorded workshops on a variety of topics here:

More classes available!

In addition to live classes transpiring at StokerCon, Horror University offers a number of pre-recorded courses and captured live classes from past sessions and conferences, all hosted in our virtual classroom at

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