Writer's block

Advice, tips, and prompts to inspire your writing endeavors

Hell’s Half Acre is starting a new column where we offer prompts, tips, and comments to guide and encourage writers in the genre. As a managing editor, I see all manner of errors and issues with writing effective storytelling. Let’s start with the first and foremost:

Nothing scares off an editor more than poor punctuation, inconsistent voice and tense, and improper paragraphing, especially as concerns dialogue. A writer should know the rules and the mechanics of English, thoroughly review the work, and have other writers read it before submission. There are plenty of sources online for learning the ropes before getting hung out to dry on them by publishers. 

The devil of good writing is indeed in the gnarly details. Many stories lack establishment and embellishment. The reader needs to feel the setting and connect to the characters. Is the location dark and spooky or cold and creepy? The same goes for each character. Descriptive language is important, but it must be effective and not overblown.

But what to do when the words aren’t there? A pale, dead page is a writer’s most dreaded encounter. Here are some heartbeat horror prompts to get the blood gushing from the pen:

  • You are stuck in a tree because something deadly lurks below.
  • You are in an escape room from which there is no escape.
  • You encounter a creature that is a conundrum.

We’d love to see what you’ve dredged up from the dark recesses of your imagination. Please send your stories via the email icon at the bottom of the page.

Above all, keep writing and reading our magazine of all things horror by Maine writers. Follow us on social media. Send us your comments and ideas on how to feed and grow our literary monster and make it howl!

Laurie E, Notch, Managing Editor


Website update 7-26-2023

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