Mastering the Art of Fiction Writing
(Photo : Mastering the Art of Fiction Writing)

Anyone can create stories, but not all can craft a tale that everyone wants to read. Fiction writing is associated with fantasy and imagination. People with great imaginations are capable of writing stories with captivating plots and twists that keep the reader hooked. They are often labeled as dreamy ones, those who like living in self-crafted worlds. These are the people behind creative masterpieces such as Gone Girl, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Pet Sematary, The Exorcist, and many more.

J.K Rowling, Stephen King, R.L. Stine, and Gillian Flynn are renowned fiction writers who let their imaginations run wild. Among these is horror writer Lee Allen Howard. He is known for his novels The Bedwetter: Journal of a Budding Psychopath, Death Perception, and The Sixth Seed.

The 59-year-old writer has had a knack for writing since his early days. Howard started primary education at South Adams Elementary School in Berne, Indiana. During this time, he realized he liked reading and writing horror fiction. He wrote his first story in second grade, which his principal read and asked, "How could the preacher's son write a sordid tale full of skeletons, witches, and blood?"

Howard's next piece was "Eyeballs Only," which he wrote in third grade. Although it was never published, he unleashed his imagination in this story about a mad scientist turning into a monster that goes on a rampage to pluck people's eyes out and eat them. He continued his education at Hickory Grove Elementary School in Brookville, Pennsylvania, after relocating for the second time.

Howard graduated from Brookville Jr./Sr. High School in 1980 and continued reading stories by Thomas Tryon, James Herbert, Ramsey Campbell, and Stephen King. The work of these and other writers inspired him to write horror and eventually make it his life's work.

Deciding his career at an early age did not stop Howard from completing his studies. He entered the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), Indiana, Pennsylvania, and earned a B.A. in English. He worked at the Stapleton Library on the work-study program and graduated with honors in 1984. During these years, he read hundreds of novels, short story collections, and anthologies, and kept practicing writing until he improved his craft. He later completed a Master of Arts in Writing Popular Fiction, graduating in 2006 from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Study for this degree expanded his creative horizons as a writer. He wrote a supernatural thriller as his thesis novel, titled Death Perception, published in 2013.

Unleashing the Power of Imagination

Everybody has the ability to imagine, but imagination becomes truly powerful when one manifests it in writing. Imagination brews in the mind before it is typed into manuscripts, which is why some of the best movies in the world are based on novels. Lee Allen Howard's first novel, When the Music Stops, was released in 2002. Although not widely read, publishing this first book motivated him to keep writing.

Howard made use of his literary education and pursued a career in technical writing in the software industry to support himself while he wrote fiction. In addition to being a writer, he also wanted to become an editor and publisher. The continuous practice helped him gain expertise in these areas. His work as a dark fiction editor can be seen in Thou Shalt Not, released in 2006 through Dark Cloud Press, an anthology publishing house Howard founded. He also edited and published Tales of Blood and Squalor in 2017.

In addition to horror, Howard writes other types of dark fiction. He penned an LGBTQ horror short, "Stray," in 2012. The Sixth Seed, a dark paranormal fantasy, came out in 2013. Desperate Spirits (supernatural crime), "Mama Said" (dark crime), and Night Monsters (horror) were all released in 2013. His collected short fiction to date, Perpetual Nightmares, was published in 2017. His latest psychological thriller, The Bedwetter: Journal of a Budding Psychopath, came out in 2019. All of these books did fairly well and were appreciated by audiences and critics alike. 

Lee Allen Howard is an example of what one can achieve if they let their imagination go wild. His stories are a visual representation of his mind and how he perceives things. Currently living in western New York State, Howard continues to write and edit horror and aims someday to become a New York Times bestselling author.

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