Sunday, April 7, 2013

Village Americana: Behind The Story

For once I wanted to give you readers a little Behind the scenes look into what happens when I create a new story. From conception to eBook.

In June of 2012 I was frequently visiting the local Starbucks. I was ordering a Mocha Frappe and scoping out my favorite seat; right next to the windows. It was raining that day and storming heavy. As the rain cascaded down, another storm was brewing inside my head. I wanted to write a novella. Something gritty. Something different.

As I slurped my drink, my brain went off on many different rabbit trails. One of them being of my old high school days. I began thinking about the books they forced us to read. Our class never gave us classics like Catch-22, Catcher in the Rye or Lord of the Flies. I read those later, when I attended college. We were stuck with Gang Member Memoirs and a book called Animal Farm.

Then, suddenly, an image arrived.

It appeared quite clearly, as if I were viewing it just outside the windows. I caught a glimpse of a hut and a young woman in distress, trapped. "Help me," she said. "Help get me out of here."

Then several other things popped into my mind.

A villain. 

A dead Uncle.

A resourceful man named Paulie.

To encourage the thought more, I flipped open the laptop and began a music video which helped me envision the rest of the story. Suddenly I had them: a cast of characters, a setting,  and a very gruff baddie. His name was originally Rufus. It was a quick name, just something to put down.

Slowly, the story began pouring out as I wrote the first lines:

Zach, the man who had led them to the hut, cracked the butt of his rifle on the Korean kid’s jaw, provoking a cry of panic from three of the others. This made him cock his gun and aim it at them. They fell silent, faces kissing the dirt, praying to mother earth for forgiveness.

From there came a chapter every three days or so. Every time I'd try to rescue my heroine  Brooke, I found she just got deeper into trouble. I think Kurt Vonnegut said it best when writing a story,  "Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them -- in order that the reader may see what they are made of."

So, I did just that.

For the first time in a very long time, I felt as if I were writing with the door wide open. And for some reason, I couldn't write at home. I always found myself gravitating toward the same Starbucks and chip away at the story five hundred words at a time.

After I finished it, it felt good.

I saved, clicked out of the document and forgot about it.

Nine months later, I decided it was time to unleash it out into the wild.

Things changed after some revision.

Now the Villain's name was Craig Hooks.

I kinda pictured him as Jeffery Dean Morgan.

Brooke became tougher.

Paulie had more of an arc.

But the story stayed the same.

I'm just glad it made its way to Kindle. Finishing a story is a fantastic high, revising it is even better, but the most potent high of all is sharing the story instantly with the click of a button. It's an exciting time to be an author in the digital age.

What's more, I had so much fun with this little experiment, I've decided to work on a few novellas I've been saving for a rainy day...

While taking a class trip to South America, sixteen friends are ambushed, captured and taken to a nearby village run by a mad man. It becomes clear that this is no ordinary village. It is a village of slaves, psychological warfare, and pure terror. With nothing but her wits and the voice of her dead uncle to guide her, Brooke Kylee must find a way to escape the horror while still maintaining the one thing she has left: her sanity.

VILLAGE AMERICANA is 10,000 word novella. Feel free to sign up on Amazon to receive email updates on new titles released in the future.

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