Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Progress Report

I thought I'd take this opportunity to discuss the novel I'm currently working on. No, I don't yet have a title(although the working title is Haunting), but most of my stuff usually doesn't get a title until it's finished and I have a better feel for the overall work.

We've all heard ghost stories, whether around a campfire or spun by our favorite author, but how many of them tell the story from the ghost's point of view?  While reading The Shining, I wondered what the motivation of the Overlook Hotel was.  Surely it had to be something beyond "I'm just evil and want to kill everyone."  That spurred me towards thinking that a story told from that angle might interest people.

The protagonist in my novel is an 18 year old high school senior who expected to be heading off to Carolina the following year for college.  He had a family that he sometimes got along with, a steady girlfriend who he wanted to get more intimate with, and a car that was a piece of garbage, but at least it gave him some sense of freedom.  However, all of his dreams were cut short when someone crossed the yellow line and forced him into a metal pole(and the metal pole forced his mangled body onto the sidewalk).

He gets met by a spirit calling himself a designated mentor and promising to show him the ropes of the afterlife so that the main character can move beyond Earth and to his eternal resting place.  However, being killed so unexpectedly in such a violent manner has thrown the main character's spirit out of balance.  In order to achieve that balance, he must avenge himself on the one who caused his death.

That's the basic premise.  Instead of talking about eerie noises and ghostly footprints, I thought I'd examine what the ghost is doing to create that kind of stuff.  What does he factor into things, and what mistakes does he make along the way?  I'll be throwing in a few twists and turns to get to my endpoint, and if nothing else, I'll have a different take on the normal ghost story.

I'm writing it from a first person point of view and have categorized it as YA(Young Adult) paranormal.  The most difficult part of that is making sure my language, which is usually worse than a sailor's, doesn't cross the line.  I'm also going to try to keep the final product to around 65,000 words(half the length of my first book, and two-thirds the length of my second).

I've completed the first five chapters(roughly 10,000 words) and am sending it off to a friend without comment on what I thinks works in it and the parts I've struggled with.  I need candid and honest feedback on what I've got, so imparting any preconceived impressions would defeat the purpose.  With luck, I can finish this work by the middle of the Summer and have it ready to go for the Pitchapalooza that'll occur in Hawaii over the Labor Day weekend.  Who knows - maybe this'll be the first novel I've written that breaks through.  Keep your fingers crossed!

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