The Greater Rocky Mountain Horror Writers is an Amateur Press Association.
We define “Amateur” directly from Lovecraft’s own words:
“In considering the adjective ‘amateur’ as applied to the press association, we must adhere to the more basic interpretation, regarding the word as indicating the non-mercenary nature of the membership. Our amateurs write purely for love of their art, without the stultifying influence of commercialism. Many of them are prominent professional authors in the outside world, but their professionalism never creeps into their association work. The atmosphere is wholly fraternal, and courtesy takes the place of currency.”
Where we differ from Lovecraft, is that we welcome beginning writers, the novices, the unpublished, and the under-published as well. We believe that writers of all stripes in our genre should have a place to go to find support, community, mentorship, and constructive criticism. We therefore believe in hard work, not elitism.
We define “Press Association” also in the spirit of Lovecraft – not as a journalistic enterprise, but pirated to suit our own fiction-writing needs. APA’s have by tradition a participation requirement wherein all writers write and exchange that writing for critique via internally generated publications which can include photocopying, e-copies, or traditional publishing options. Lovecraft’s focus was upon the writing contained in the Weird genre/subgenre, and he believed that writing should be done for the sole purpose of personal and professional improvement – not in the pursuit of money. We believe writers should follow their own professional instincts, and there is a time and place for not-pursuing publication myopically.
Therefore, where we differ from Lovecraft is in the desire of the GRMHW to expand the APA process to include chapters of all genres/subgenres of Horror, and to provide vetted leads, contacts, and other assistance to working writers. Additionally, we also believe that those who seek to market their work should be able to find those markets and form professional and/or working relationships that include locating fellow independent contractors, agents, POD publishers, etc.
The purpose of the GRMHW is to provide a support network for amateur writers of the Horror genre. Within this network writers will be responsible for providing samples of their writing for local or chapter group critique and workshopping with a goal of improving their fiction. Future plans do include a website with forum, a Professional Marketplace where writers, artists, screenwriters, agents, and independent publishers can network, and where professional workshop opportunities and fiction market information specific to our genre can be located and updated. Additionally, we plan an Announcements page for self-published, POD published, and e-published authors where authors can list their work and a link for its purchase. The GRMHW intends to provide useful services for working amateur, novice, and paraprofessional writers who are outside of the traditional publishing paradigm and list that information all in one place.
The focus of the GRMHW, like Lovecraft, will be on education in craft, technique and storytelling. We intend to follow his APA model of publishing work internally and for members only as we hone our talents, and seek professional improvement. We do anticipate the eventual production of an annual publication with the best fiction arising from this critique process of the GRMHW, as nominated by its chapter members, which would also eventually be made available for public consumption. These are outlying plans contingent upon the development of a sustainable membership and the introduction of a dues structure not to exceed $25 per member per year.
We anticipate that the very focused genres of screenwriting, graphic novel/comics writing, general fiction writing, and subgenres such as Gothic, Ghost Story, Weird, and Psychological Terror may find a home here, working with groups that know the territory and relevant conventions. We do believe strongly that for constructive criticism to be effective, a potential critic should understand or have access to understanding what is expected in the relevant genre or subgenre. We also believe that we can elevate all Horror writing by helping those who need it, and sharing our hard-earned expertise for the good of the genre:
We are not afraid of competition in the GRMHW. We welcome it, for it raises the bar for us all.
We also expect our members to conduct themselves with the utmost respect toward all other members, even where in legitimate disagreement. All criticisms are to be delivered without verbal or written abuse, designed to elevate the writing of fellow members. Bullying will not be tolerated in the GRMHW. Bullies will be suspended from membership and barred from participation in workshops.
We also believe that within the GRMHW it will be natural for friendships as well as rivalries to surface, and that for reasons of location, subgenre focus, personal chemistry, or levels of professional polish, individual chapters may rise and dissolve as individual needs are revealed and/or addressed.
The Greater Rocky Mountain Horror Writers do not have a geographical or professional requirement.
We are simply a group designed to meet the needs of genre writers who need or desire community and writing assistance but do not qualify for professional organizations in our field. The GRMHW is located in the Colorado Front Range of the Rocky Mountains specifically because this region of the Western U.S. is not close enough to traditional publishing centers to take advantage of what the Northeast or West Coast have to offer. We suspect there are writers in various regional pockets experiencing the same sense of professional disconnect and/or isolation. We therefore reach out to all writers of the western states regions, including those of the Midwest, Southwest and Mountain West, who find themselves isolated and their needs neglected. However, no Horror writer needing assistance will be excluded, regardless of geographical location.
Currently, there are no plans for any form of annual meeting, although this could change. Travel beyond the member’s own local level is not anticipated.
Members are not required to have, acquire, or maintain any specific computer capacity or electronic access; it simply makes all matters easier. Work can be exchanged for critique by meeting in person, via snail mail or electronically, or using Googledocs as each group or Chapter prefers. However the GRMHW does not exclude members based on any financial or class criteria; those without electronic access are welcome and will be accommodated.
Our goal is not exclusively for writers to be published, but for good writing to find publication.
We do seek through the GRMHW for our region to be recognized as a viable cache of Horror writers coalescing to issue a challenge to the establishment – one that declares good writing happens when writers care about story and the tradition of story, created independently of financial reward.
Dues are not yet required to join the GRMHW. However we anticipate this to change within one year as chapters are established, a website is designed and maintained, and the publication of work internally is addressed. Again, dues will be set at $25 per member annually at that time, and a member portal installed to filter Marketplace and other professional information made available to paying members.
*The Rocky Mountain Horror Writers APA is in no way associated with the Horror Writers Association.