On a cloudy Saturday evening, a group of people met in a basement of a commercial establishment in an high-end area of the suburbs of Mumbai. They gathered to speak about something that is on everyone’s mind, but few people decide to put into action what they think – this was one of those rare occasions. Neil D’Silva, an Amazon bestselling author and Half Baked Beans came together to hold a horror workshop for those interested.
The venue was Leaping Windows, a cafe in Versova (you should check it out, scrumptious food and a rotating library). People from all walks of life made a beeline to the workshop.
Neil D’Silva – some websites call the scariest man in Mumbai -spoke at length about horror. He introduced fellow horror aficionados to the various genres of horror and the first baby steps towards bringing horror to paper – or to screen.
Here’s what the workshop was all about:
1. What horror really is. How is exists everywhere, even in our fairy-tales and mythologies, and why there is such an apathy towards the genre. But despite that, why horror books sell so well.
2. The basic elements of horror: character arcs, atmosphere, relatable settings, etc.
3. Advanced elements of horror: foreshadowing, close-up descriptions, internal monolog, the Law of the Indirect (a term I have coined), jump scares, cliffhangers, and more.
4. Writing to an outline vs. not. I prefer the latter, and I spoke about how horror SHOULD NEVER BE written to a strict outline.
5. A basic plot structure. The crux of the workshop was a plot structure I have devised, which goes beyond the usual Exposition-Conflict-Resolution. I talked about this structure with a 70K word novel as an example.
6. Discussion of excerpts from various celebrated horror novels from worldwide authors.
7. Participants wrote something too and two of them won Crossword vouchers.
The written feedback tells us that the workshop was a success. The attendees were more than happy with how they spent the evening. It all started at 3 in the afternoon and went on till 7 – and even then, the attendees wanted to spend just some more time with the author.
Mira Saraf, a sales and marketing executive who attended the workshop said that the facilitator was quite experienced and knowledgeable. She also said that she liked the way he tackled questions about the writing process.
And all the attendees were open for another workshop. The evening ended with a contest – an impromptu writing contest and the prize winners got a Crossword voucher worth 500 each.