The Benefits of Membership in the Horror Writers Association: A RavenCon Panel

by María Badillo

Many look at the writing process and declare it a solitary practice. Correction: the art and craft of writing involves a community of artists, editors, and publishers. Going it alone is nearly impossible and ill-advised. Thankfully, all the resources needed are well within reach.

At Virginia’s fantasy and science fiction convention RavenCon, one panel discussed just this notion. Members of the Horror Writers Association, Virginia Chapter, gathered to talk about the benefits of joining a community of likeminded literary professionals sharing their passion for the craft.

Bryan Nowak—Membership Coordinator of HWA Virginia—spoke about the resources on the HWA website. Members receive lists of agents, bookstores, editors, libraries, and markets seeking horror writers. Nowak also pointed out the wealth of information pertaining to writing contracts, promotional opportunities, classes for writers, a mentorship program, and much more. is the hub for everything a horror writer could need or want.

Dee Southerland—Chapter Liaison Officer of HWA Virginia—discussed the need for community. Bringing horror writers together provides support, encouragement, and accountability. These tools help an author to flourish. This is critical within a genre that explores the human psyche more than most. HWA Virginia offers a more collaborative approach to authoring darker tales.

María Badillo—Member of HWA Virginia—bridged these two points together. Badillo reasoned that writing organizations surround an author with countless teachers. Yes, an author will improve with professional aid (editors, mentorship, etc.). But anyone can teach us something, including authors and support members. Another’s technique has the potential to enlighten. Everyone is a teacher.

Moderator Pamela K. Kinney—Outreach & Convention Advisor of HWA Virginia—dug deep. She guided a conversation rich with advice: Never bite the hand that feeds you… Show up as yourself; people can tell if you’re faking… Be vulnerable; we’re all human and no one expects you to be put together all the time… Be honest about how you write; no one’s approach is better than another’s… As always, Kinney’s wealth of experience and her station as a fixture in the Atlantic based writing community was in full force.

When time was up, the panelists and attendees took their exit together. As they did, they continued chatting about how organizations create connections, the panel itself an example of how writing is, without a doubt, a team effort.

HWA Virginia would like to thank both the Horror Writers Association for supporting this chapter’s efforts, and the wonderful people of RavenCon for supporting this panel discussion.

Dee Southerland and Maria Badillo
Bryan Nowak and Maria Badillo
Sirrah Medeiros, Brad Center, Maria Badillo, and Pamela Kinney
Brad Center and D. Alexander Ward

One thought on “The Benefits of Membership in the Horror Writers Association: A RavenCon Panel

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s