Home » Horror » Ghost of the Writing Past

Ghost of the Writing Past

Today has been one of those that work well with my adage that writing is work, and if you want to get things right, you gotta do your leg work.  Or, as Chuck Wendig says in his piece on NaNoWriMo, October should be named “National Story Planning Month.”  Sit down and begin getting your shit together about what you’re going to dump upon the page for all of November.

Assuming you want to do it right, that is.

My NaNo 2012 novel is a follow up to my story Kuntilanak.  As that was a horror story that took place in Indonesia–specifically, the island of Bali–my new novel is a horror story that also takes place in Indonesia, this time in the city of Makassar, on the island of Sulawesi.  I’m moving around the archipelago a bit, sampling the local flavor, and I’d decided a while back that if I was going to do another story with my Fearless Indonesian Ghost Hunters, I would stage it in an urban setting.

Fortunately for me, I have a few connections with people from Indonesia.  Which means, for about three hours today, I sat in a Panera’s and talked about the city of Makassar with someone from there.  Picked up some information on conditions, locals, greetings, names . . . and learn a few about ghosts and weapons.  Yeah, weapons: because sometimes you just gotta rip up something magical with something sharp.

The last couple of days have seen a lot of work on the next novel.  While thinking about ghosts, I’m feeling the ghost of something I had a year ago . . . something that feels like what I had going a year ago.  I’m excited; I’m pumped.  I’m ready to jump into this work, and maybe I’ll make Indonesian ghosts famous at last.

I finished the time line yesterday about 6 PM.  I looked at it for a while, and in looking at it, I came up with ideas about the story, and even managed to dream up a detail that comes up as a major point.  At the same time, I figured out the motivation behind what’s happening . . . yeah, I’m like that.  Get the basic idea, beat it for hours on end, and eventually, you work it out.  One way or another.

So, what has come along?  Well, for one, the timeline has turned into this:

Yes, that’s twenty-four chapters and a Coda.  When you add the prologue into the mix, I’m looking at a total of twenty-six chapters.  If I do two thousand words a chapter, that’s fifty-two thousand words.  I expect I’ll write more than two thousand a chapter:  in fact, I’ve already set the Project Total in Scrivener to sixty thousand words.

And since I’m starting to move everything on the above timeline to Scrivener, here’s what that looks like:

That’s Part One of my timeline set up on Scrivener chapter cards.  This is how I work; this is how I write.  It might seem like a lot of work, but for me, it makes me comfortable.  It gives me the direction I need so I can perform “Thirty days and nights of literary abandon!”  Because with where I’m going with this story, if I simply jumped in and started slinging crap about the word processor, I’d end up with a manuscript that looks like hammered shit.

Not for this writer.

Anyway, that’s what I’m doing, and where I’m headed.  It feels like old times again.

It feels like writing.

8 thoughts on “Ghost of the Writing Past

  1. Will love any horror story I can read. If you’re interested in this stuff, try researching on Philippines’ traditional horror stuff. I love to watch their horror movies. For some reason, they’re scarier than American made ones. Ex. The Ring vs. Ring-O ( japanese )

    • I’ve seen the vampire woman who can split herself in half, though I’m thinking maybe I should write something based around Zsazsa Zaturnnah.

      And I do love Japanese and Korean horror. They certainly know how to tap into what really scares you.

      • Oh, really? You know about that? The monster is called ” manananggal” pronounced as spelled, and the only way one can kill the monster is to look for the lower half of the body, and sprinkle salt on it. Its favorite food are babies. Most amazing thing about this monster is that some people, especially those who live in rural areas, still believe it exists. And there’s ” tianak: ” monster babies, babies that turn into monsters and kill humans, then turn into adorable babies again. Sweet.

        • Yes, I found all of those while doing my research last year for my story, “Kuntilanak”. It’s pretty amazing the things you discover haunting Asia.

  2. I like your style! I’m just now learning Scrivener – more for putting my manuscript in ebook form so my readers will read it (they are so damn picky). Do you use the settings and character cards too? I am going to try to use it from the very start next time around, I’m sure I will get much more use out of it.

    Good luck with Nanowrimo – I may have to skip this year, but will live vicariously through your new story!

    • I use the character cards as well, and get my settings right for me. That way I have everything like I want it. Now, I need to build a template I can use all the time.

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