Writing Darkness: Horror, Mystery and Suspense Writing Darkness: Horror, Mystery and Suspense Writing Darkness: Horror, Mystery and Suspense

Writing Darkness: Horror, Mystery and Suspense

Electrify your writing by mastering techniques from the darker side of fiction, delving deep into atmosphere, fear and dread in a twelve-week course.



What do these levels mean?




12 weeks
  • Start Date
  • Time
  • Tuesdays 18:00 - 20:00

Places available


£200 / month for 2 months and a £295.00 deposit



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Write your own work of dark fiction

From Mary Shelley to Stephen King, horror in literature has always commanded a huge audience. Some of humanity’s oldest stories are dark tales, cautioning against a lurking threat, foretelling a coming disaster or telling of vengeful spirit’s wrath. During the course, we will examine why our relationship with the darker side of fiction has endured the millennia, and why there will always be a market for scary stories. We will create haunted places and people, stoke fear and fight demons in the pursuit of unsettling and evocative fiction.

Over the course of twelve weeks, we will consider how to write relatable fear, how to create a brooding atmosphere and how to make setting an intrinsic character in your fiction. Each session will include short tutorials on technique with practical exercises, peer and individual feedback as well as reading recommendations to help you enrich your own dark fiction.

By the end of the course, you will be equipped with the tools and techniques needed to write truly spine-chilling tales, craft characters which defy the conventions of the genre and create vivid settings. You will have a greater understanding of how and why the darkness in fiction represents the struggles of society and how this has evolved from campfire stories into the online world.

Is this the right course for me?

This course won’t just teach you how to write horror and mystery stories, but also how to employ the most powerful and evocative parts of the genre to add genuine depth to your places and your characters. You don't need to have taken any courses before but please note it is not designed for complete beginners and is best suited to students who have experimented with some form of writing before.

Whether you’re a committed horror denizen or are looking to infuse your genre writing with a hint of darkness, Matt Wesolowski’s electrifying course is for you.

    This course takes place on Faber Academy's brand new online classroom, with additional sessions via Zoom. Each session will last one week and provides material for you to work through at your own pace.

    Live sessions will take place on Tuesday nights throughout the course from 18:00 - 20:00 U.K. time. Two students every week will have a one-to-one with Matt in a breakout room, while the group workshops that week's exercises, shares their progress and talks all things spooky and mysterious.

Course Programme

Session 1

Opens Monday 23 September 2024

Introduction: Hooks & Characters...

Session 2

Opens 30 September


Session 3

Opens 7 October

Creating Antagonists...

See remaining sessions

Course Programme

Writing Darkness

Session 1

Opens Monday 23 September

Introduction: Hooks & Characters

What makes a compelling main character and what helps a reader get behind them and their journey?

Session 2

Opens 30 September


We’ll discuss our own fears and phobias: how we respond to fear and the physical reactions that genuine fear induces in us. We’ll look at some examples of fear techniques from some of the best in the horror genre.

Session 3

Opens 7 October

Creating Antagonists

What makes an antagonist more than just a ‘baddie?’ Why must we invest emotionally in the forces of evil?

Session 4

Opens 14 October

Unreliable Narrators & Red Herrings

Bluffing and double bluffing, controlling the narrative and leading readers where you want them to go, even if it’s the wrong path!

Session 5

Opens 21 October

The Rashomon Technique

Many views telling the same story, how this can play with the reader’s perspective.

Session 6

Opens 28 October

Atmosphere & Place

We'll look at some of the subtler techniques used in creating some of the most iconic and evocative places in horror fiction before looking at our own locations and thinking about how we can make even the most mundane place oppressive and frightening.

Session 7

Opens 4 November

Twists & Endings

The best and worst ways to draw your story to a satisfying close.

Please note, this session will run for a fortnight to include a reading week.

Session 8

Opens 11 November

Fighting the Devil

We’ll be discussing demons, devils and the occult - what is its place in fiction and how demonic imagery has been used as a metaphor for greater societal ills. We’ll discuss cautionary tales within different cultures and why these stories endure.

Session 9

Opens 18 November

Out of This World

Stretching reality and playing with science; the power of speculative elements in fiction.

Session 10

Opens 25 November

Ghosts & Hauntings

Why are ghost stories still relevant? We’ll discuss classic to modern tales of hauntings and why they are such an intrinsic part of culture and society. We’ll start thinking of ghosts as metaphors for grief and unspoken longing and the power of this motif in fiction.

Session 11

Opens 2 December

Making Monsters

We’ll look at classic monsters from vampires to zombies and the cultures that created them and why. Are we still creating monsters? We’ll look at modern phenomena such as Slenderman, Momo and The Backrooms; why are young people still making monsters with their friends?

Session 12

Opens 9 December

Solve the Mystery

Your chance to solve a mystery scenario written exclusively for this course. Utilise everything you’ve learned from the last eleven sessions to show what you can do!



Matt Wesolowski

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is a former English tutor for young people...

More About This Tutor
Matt Wesolowski

Matt was an exceptional tutor. His lessons were the perfect blend of hands on and hands off. He was supportive and encouraging. He provided excellent and pertinent feedback to each and every person on the course. As the first writing course I have ever taken at Faber I would just like to say I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed it. Anything else that Matt teaches I'm going to sign up to. Thank you Matt and thank you Faber!


Writing Darkness

It honestly felt like Matt was a magician weaving a spell so I could believe in my writing [...] It wasn't just the content which was excellent, it was the skilled way he brought out our creativity and enabled us to push ourselves and have confidence whatever stage we were at. I still don't know how he did it really, but it was exactly what I needed and a game changer for me.


Writing Darkness

Matt was an exceptional tutor. His lessons were the perfect blend of hands on and hands off. He was supportive and encouraging. He provided excellent and pertinent feedback to each and every person...

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