Why Horror: A Two-Part Mini on Haunted Tales for MG Readers

Online | Early Readers and Chapter Books, Novels
Join award-winning middle grade author Ally Malinenko for this short course in (as Ally says), "Crafting stories that show readers how to recognize the monsters on the page so that one day, when they inevitably come in real life, they know how to slay them!"

September 26 @ 7:00 pm - September 28 @ 8:15 pm




A Two-Night Mini Online Course

Middle Grade readers come to horror with wanting curiosity and endless expectations. This genre opens the door for readers to the real and imaginary horrors of this world.

Join award-winning middle grade author Ally Malinenko for this short course in (as Ally says), “Crafting stories that show readers how to recognize the monsters on the page so that one day, when they inevitably come in real life, they know how to slay them!”

  • Tuesday, September 26, 2023 (7pm – 8:15pm Eastern)
  • Thursday, September 28, 2023 (7pm – 8:15pm Eastern)
  • Webinar-style program with closed captioning available and limited interaction in the chat
  • You’ll have access to the recordings through October 31, 2023.

Why This Workshop?

Why Horror?

Horror holds vulnerabilities and power-structures, fear and curiosity, and facts and imagination within its pages. It is a genre that middle grade readers crave, and is a space for them to safely explore the greater lessons of our world.

Join Bram Stoker finalist Ally Malinenko to discuss:

  • How to subvert tropes in middle grade horror,
  • How horror handles tough topics,
  • How characters in middle grade horror have agency,
  • How to create safe spaces within the pages of your novel,
  • How to weave hope into horror,
  • and more!

Feedback Expected

  • None included in the course. There will be limited interaction in the chat feature of the webinar-style program.

It’s a Great Fit If…

  • You have an idea for a horror novel. While this course will share examples specific to middle grade novels, many of the ideas can be applied to all horror-themed chapter books and novels.
  • You are just starting to write for a middle-grade audience. Perhaps you’ve written for younger and older audiences. Turn your attention to the middle-grade market for genre writing.
  • You could use some direction on your story ideas. There will be a number of topics covered to help spark new ideas and/or develop your works in progress.
  • You’re looking for something short, sweet, and smart! This is not a full workshop. Instead it is two, 75-minute sessions meant to engage and build your understanding of why horror is a great match for readers!

Tentative Agenda

At registration: You will receive a Zoom link to use each night of the course.


If you are unable to attend either session for any reason, you’ll have access to the recordings (with closed captioning) through October 31, 2023.

Please note that if you register for the course after the start of the first session, you will not receive recordings immediately.  You’ll receive both recordings after the close of the last session, usually within 24 hours.

All Times are Eastern Standard Time.

Part One: Tuesday, September 26, 2023 (7pm-8:15pm Eastern)
  • What is horror? Tropes, tricks, and more!
  • Using horror to explore hard topics and support readers
  • Writing exercises
Part Two: Thursday, September 28, 2023 (7pm-8:15pm Eastern)
  • Middle grade horror: pacing & character
  • Horror & Hope, and why they are important
  • Open Q & A

How It Impacts Kids

Kids crave scary stories. This two-night mini workshop can help you bring meaningful haunted tales to readers.

Testimonials from Our Community

“I knew I could not attend in person but I signed up because you offered the recording. Having that option was invaluable.”

“Keep the mini courses going for those of us that can’t attend at the Highlights Foundation Campus! It helps us stay in touch and keep our skills growing!!”

Meet the Faculty


September 26 @ 7:00 pm - September 28 @ 8:15 pm




When you register for this course, you’ll receive information via email to confirm.

For mini courses (one or two sessions only), you’ll receive webinar links immediately to use on the day of the course.

For longer courses, you’ll receive an invitation to your virtual classroom as the workshop approaches.

Can't Attend Some Sessions Live?

That's generally okay!  We know that you are juggling other demands with your workshop.

Recordings are made available to all registrants for most live sessions, usually the day after the session.  Check your course description for specific details about session recordings, and when they are released.

We also try to suggest in the description how using the recordings may impact your experience if you can't attend live.  But ultimately, it's up to you!  Let us know if you need help.

Learn more about the technology that we use for our online workshops.

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