Writing is an ever-changing field and that can be off-putting for those trying to get their break in the industry. However, the constant morphing of the writing world could be a great thing for those looking for new opportunities.
Within the horror genre, there are specific skill sets that you’ll need, competitions to be entered, and paying platforms where you can gain exposure for your work. Whether you’re writing for film and television, for a podcast, or a more traditional novel, we’ve rounded up some of the best opportunities for those looking to turn their hobby of horror writing into a career.
Horror Film Roulette
If you’re hoping to get into the world of scriptwriting, Horror Roulette could be the competition that you’ve been dreaming of. Created by Erik Steele, Terri Steele, and Brandon Mata, this annual competition pits amateur filmmakers against one another to create a five-minute horror film.
The catch is that they must base their film on the genre that they spin on the horror roulette wheel. Similar to the wheel that you would use to play roulette online, be it free demo games or full-on roulette games for enthusiasts, the horror film roulette wheel has subjects instead of numbers.
You might specialise in ghostly scripts, but if you spin and land on slasher, then your choice has been made for you. Sometimes constraints are the driving force in the most creative scripts, so we think this competition has the potential to be really great for budding writers.
This competition usually runs in September so that the entries are finished, and the award ceremony can take place in plenty of time before Halloween. Entrants have just four weeks to complete their films, so don’t go blindly into these heavy time constraints. There are multiple awards including the viewer’s favourite, as well as the best special effects makeup and the best writing, so this could be your chance to get noticed.
Learning The Ropes
If you’re looking at the rules and the turnaround time to the Horror Film Roulette competition and thinking it all sounds a little intimidating then one of the best opportunities that you could give yourself is to really master your craft first.
We regularly write articles on how to improve your skills in the horror genre, from this piece on visual effects mastery, to how to begin a horror script. Reading up on interviews with people whose careers you admire is another great way to get inspired.
Practicing regularly, always being keen to learn about new concepts, and generally becoming a great big horror sponge is the best way to ensure that whenever you hear about a new opportunity, you’re ready to grab it with both hands.
Pay Per Word
Pay per word model is a great way to get your foot on the ladder. Competitions have tempting top prizes, but they only go to the winners. Instead, if you’re writing for a magazine, blog, or even podcast, then you’ll be guaranteed a set amount for your work.
You can find opportunities that pay anywhere from $0.01 to $0.08 per word at a beginner level. Of course, you’ll need to make sure that you always proofread your writing to ensure it’s ready for publication, and if you succeed, not only will you be a published author–you’ll be a paid one too.
There are lots of places where you can freelance writing work, some will want flash pieces of under 1000 words, and others will want short stories of usually below 7,500. It’s pretty unusual to find any magazines wanting pieces of 10,000 words or more, but they do pop up and can be lucrative if you land one.
Apex Magazine is a good place for writers who have a well-developed style and want to achieve closer to the $0.08 per word mark. They publish all kinds of horror writing each month and are constantly on the lookout for writers with something a little different about them.
The Screw Turn Competition
One final competition focuses on flash fiction horror writing. And the theme for this competition is usually Ghost stories. A true classic of the horror genre and one that many budding writers are very familiar with. This can mean that the competition will be extra fierce, but it also means that the quality of your work should be extra high. The finished piece needs to be super short, between 250 and 1000 words in total.
The team at Screw Turn really emphasises their love of original and unique perspectives and has specifically asked for a twist in the tale. Entry costs $15 and there’s $1000 up for grabs for the winner. If you’re going to enter then you’ll need to be quick as the deadline is the 31st of January, best of luck!