Saturday, March 14, 2015

Review: The Writing Dead: Give Feedback Talking Terror with TV’s Top Horror Writers by Thomas Fahy


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Conversations with the creators, executive producers, and writers of today’s top horror shows
The Writing Dead features interviews with the writers of today’s most frightening and fascinating shows. They include some of television’s biggest names—Carlton Cuse (Lost and Bates Motel), Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies), David Greenwalt (Angel and Grimm), Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead, The Terminator series, Aliens, and The Abyss), Jane Espenson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Battlestar Galactica), Brian McGreevy (Hemlock Grove), Alexander Woo (True Blood), James Wong (The X-Files, Millennium, American Horror Story, and Final Destination), Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files and Millennium), Richard Hatem (Supernatural, The Dead Zone, and The Mothman Prophecies), Scott Buck (Dexter), Anna Fricke (Being Human), and Jim Dunn (Haven).
The Writing Dead features thought-provoking, never-before-published interviews with these top writers and gives the creators an opportunity to delve more deeply into television horror than anything found online. In addition to revealing behind-the-scene glimpses, these writers discuss favorite characters and story lines and talk about what they find most frightening. They offer insights into the writing process reflecting on the scary works that influenced their careers. And they reveal their own personal fascinations with the genre.
The thirteen interviews in The Writing Dead also mirror the changing landscape of horror on TV—from the shows produced by major networks and cable channels to shows made exclusively for online streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Studios. The Writing Dead will appeal to numerous fans of these shows, to horror fans, to aspiring writers and filmmakers, and to anyone who wants to learn more about why we like being scared.
Thomas Fahy, New York, New York, is associate professor of English and director of the American Studies Program at Long Island University, Post. He is the author of numerous books, including the young adult horror novels Sleepless and The Unspoken, and editor of The Philosophy of Horror and Alan Ball: Conversations (University Press of Mississippi).

MY TAKE:
I wouldn't consider myself a horror fan, but this book certainly had me reconsidering my preferences.

In The Writing Dead:Give Feedback Talking Terror with TV’s Top Horror Writers, readers get to learn more about some of the best writers and showrunners in the business and their thoughts on the shows they created and wrote for.

Most of the shows these writers wrote for were not new to me, even though I've really only seen one episode of Grimm, and maybe a couple or so seasons of Supernatural. When the writers were asked about their inspirations and characters, there were moments when I drew a blank on who they were, but for the most part, I was able to follow along and enjoy their answers. It helped that the questions were the kind that helped fans learn more about their favorite characters while non-fans still get insights on the genre.

The writers were also asked questions about when and how they got into writing, as well as what the best criticism they received was. The amazing thing I noticed was that a lot of them mentioned Stephen King as an influence. Also, they tend to agree that the best horror writing is when characters are well fleshed-out and viewers care about the characters and what happens to them. I guess I never really thought about it, but I'd have to agree with that.

Overall, I'd say this book is worth a read, especially if you're a fan of any of the shows these writers have done. Even if you're not, you may want to still read this. It's a fascinating take on what makes good horror television. It's also made me seriously think about watching more Grimm episodes.

Thanks to NetGalley and University Press of Mississippi for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. It provides plenty of insights.
  2. You get a behind-the-scenes look at some famous television horror series.
  3. It's an interesting read. 

THE BAD:

  1. The format is really just transcripts of interviews, preceded by a paragraph about the person interviewed. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You're a fan of any of the shows the interviewees have created or written for.
  2. You are a fan of horror, in general.
  3. You want to learn more about television production. 

RATING:
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