Okay, so writers know that they have to build characters that you (constant reader) care about. Unfortunately, being in the horror business, some of these lovable folks have to die. We’ve read this article/this advice before. Now, how about this? How about we write our “real” friends into our horrible, macabre masterpieces, and then we murder them for you?
This is another true tale from the creation of my debut novel releasing later this month, The Haunted Halls.
So if you read my previous post on the long journey this novel took to come to fruition, you know it started as a short story for the serial novel site, JukePop Serials. Well, once that first chapter (which turned into the prologue) went live on the website, I needed to write what happened next. I needed a story, and I needed characters–some cool characters to make you care about that story. Who could these people be? I honestly had no idea what I was doing when I started this book. I’d written one novel, one novelette, and a handful of short stories. I wasn’t sure where I was going, but I had that idea. The old “haunted hotel” trope. How do I make it my own? The first thing that occurred to me was I’ll use my friends! Who do I know better? Who do I already care about? Without telling them, I went about creating these “characters”. And eventually, they had to start dying.
Once I started putting the first few chapters together, and my real friends (including my wife) started taking on characteristics of their own, I felt compelled to share with these fine folks just what I was up to. I PM’d them on Facebook. They were all stoked! And after posting about it, I had other friends raise their hands, “Kill me, kill, me, kill me next!” Now, this happens quite a bit. I’ve seen writers big and small offer to add their friends into their stories. Some do it at a price, some run contests. I’m not being uber-original here, but I think my friends will see how true to them I tried to stay (before I had their eyes poked in, or their skin torn off).
Anyways, I had a lot of fun killing my friends. And I’m sure they felt the same about my literary treatment of them. I hope if and when you decide to walk down my haunted halls with me, you get to meet and love these guys and gals, too. You can even root for them to make it through! Maybe your favorite will survive, maybe they’ll be the next spattering of brain matter and skull fragments on the in-room microwave. Whatever the case, and however it turns out, I hope you’ll join me in my debut novel. Maybe I’ll kill you in the next one.
For Kurt, Geoff, Rhiannon, Eric, Jimmy, Lee, Tina, and Meghan–Thank you for letting me fuck you up.
For my latest novel, Becoming, I decided to keep the trend going 😉 Check it out sometime. Michele would appreciate it!
Stay tuned for more madness!
The Haunted Halls is available here: THE HAUNTED HALLS
Eric Gentry is the lead vocalist of the pop pink band, The Adorkables. He still dabbles in music and has mad love for Phantasm.
Kurt (Costello) Baker is a well-respected rock ‘n’ roll machine. Check him out!