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From John Irving’s The Hotel New Hampshire to Robert Bloch’s Psycho, hotels have long served as intriguing settings for books (and movies and books-turned-movies). Master of horror Stephen King has a particular affinity for hotel-based narratives, most famously with The Shining, which was partly inspired by a one-night stay King and his wife had at The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. Now, the Rocky Mountain resort is hoping to inspire the next generation of horror writers with a week-long hotel residency for students enrolled in an advanced horror fiction writing course through the University of Colorado Boulder’s Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies.

The month-long course (which will kick off on January 3, 2017) will mostly take part online, with a six-day residential component beginning on January 8. Acclaimed horror writer Stephen Graham Jones — whose nearly two dozen novels include such titles as Zombie Bake-Off and Growing Up Dead in Texas — will lead the class of aspiring horror writers through a series of workshops and discussions on “building suspense, scaring readers and incorporating gore, disgust and revulsion into their plots,” according to the university.

“The course is both reading and writing, but we’ll start with the reading and address what’s scary, why it’s scary and how it’s scary,” Jones says. “Once we’ve got a handle on that, the class will start trying to scare each other on the page… Well, the page is where it starts. Where it ends is when you finally turn the lights off at night. Or, when you don’t.”

Jones couldn’t have picked a more appropriate location to challenge one’s fear factor. For more than 100 years, stories have circulated about The Stanley’s haunted history — including strange happenings in Room 217 (where King stayed) and sightings of the original owners, F.O. and Flora Stanley, throughout the property.

Whether or not students will witness any paranormal activity with their own two eyes is yet to be determined; ghost sightings aren’t included in the $3,250 tuition — but a single-occupancy room (which normally runs about $250 per night in January) plus a continental breakfast and daily boxed lunch is. The deadline to register for the class, appropriately, is midnight on October 31, 2016.

H/T: Daily Camera

Featured image courtesy of Phillip Rubino /

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