A couple of weeks ago, I said to myself, “Self, Halloween’s just around the corner. You really need to stop watching old episodes of ‘Ghost Adventures’ and saying “Dude, something touched me, bro”, break out the haunted pen and write a short story in celebration of All Hallows Eve.”
Inspiration came while watching an edition of “Most Terrifying Places in America” on the Travel Channel. At first I wasn’t going to give it the time of day as I thought it was going to be a trip to the Kardashian mansion, but I was wrong.
The program highlighted various haunted hotels, motels, prisons, hospitals and asylums, but one item in particular really got my interest. I’m not going to say what the feature was, or where it is, but I saw more than enough to set my creativity into overdrive and write “Purgatory Road”. It’s a ghost story with what, I hope, is a twist at the end. The story will also be part of my Evil Autos collection.
My creative process is still being refined as I search for a writing method that suits my style. I like to outline before starting my stories, but I seem to constantly edit as I type. A word here, a phrase there until, eventually, my creative flow dries up. I know the first draft is never perfect, but I can’t get into the habit of just writing.
For this story, I tried something a little different. All the outline notes and plot points with written with pencil and paper. I even treated myself to a pack of very nice haunted Pentel pencils and leads for the occasion.
It pleases me to report that this method worked really well. The first few hundred words were also handwritten and gave me a great base to work from, maybe I’ve unlocked my secret formula, who knows? I’ll definitely be using this method again to see how it works out.
Last Sunday (Oct 23) I spent the morning at my local Panera Bread. I fired up my laptop and, fueled by several cups of coffee and a French Toast bagel, I worked on my story. I was over the moon to add nearly 1,500 words in around two-and-a-half hours to finish it!
After a little tightening, Purgatory Road is now in the hands of my editor, Kathy, who is also my wonderful wife and biggest cheerleader. The finished story will be live on the website on October 31. Hope you enjoy it and leave a comment on the website.
When I write, I listen to music. I find it a vital ingredient and I tend to migrate to the same artists/songs depending on the mood of the story. My playlist for Purgatory Road was the excellent “Immortalized” album by Disturbed.
I’ve been a long-time fan of the band and David Draiman’s voice has me in awe every time I hear him sing. He shifts effortlessly from gentle melody to extremely powerful on “Sound of Silence” then rolls out what I call his angst voice on “The Vengeful One”. If you haven’t heard either song take a look at the videos on YouTube and see what I mean.