Behind the Scenes Don't Date the Haunted

Behind the Scenes of “Don’t Date the Haunted,” Chapter 2

Want to know Pansy’s birthday? What about some songs that inspired this chapter?

Happy Thanksgiving (yesterday), and Happy Black Friday-That’s-Actually-Been-Black-November! Almost all my family and friends put up Christmas decorations the week after Halloween, so . . . what Thanksgiving? I work at a bookstore too, so we’ve been listening to “Joy to the World” since November 1st.
In any case, NaNoWriMo is almost done! Congratulations to those who have already finished! Keep it going to those who are almost done! And Don’t give up to those who fell far behind! I’m in that third category myself, but I’m still happy with what I’ve accomplished this month.

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I found this on and thought it was brilliant.

Now, about Chapter Two!

There’s so much to say about chapter 2, which used to be part of chapter 1. Yep, chapter 2 was half its current size, and that was with a deleted scene.

Originally, I didn’t give any details about the Horror Zone airport. Pansy wasn’t stopped by their version of the TSA or the Hauntings Examination. I don’t think Caroline and Gretta even had names. I wanted to get Pansy to Romance as fast as possible, so she initially arrived at the end of chapter 1, then met ALL her roommates AND international friends before the end of chapter 2.
Now you know why my chapters were so long and needed to be cut in half.

However, all my editors and readers wanted to know more about Horror. The best way to show the contrast between Horror and Romance was to let you see Horror for yourself (not just through Pansy’s memories/perspective). The thing is, I’m a pantser. I prefer the term “Discovery Writer” because I discover the story as I write it. Writing this chapter forced me to really put myself into the world of Novel, to look around and discover it with all five senses. If I may say, I really enjoy the additions to this chapter and how they built the world of Novel.

So what happened before the changes? Pansy stopped by Heartford University’s administration building to have her student ID printed off. The only point of the scene was to mention Pansy’s birthday and show the second set of awkward interactions between Pansy and Romantics.
Now, you might wonder,

When is Pansy’s birthday?

Good question, and since you’re awesome enough to read these Behind the Scenes posts, I’ll announce it to the public here for the FIRST time:

Pansy’s birthday is Oct. 30th. She’s a Scorpio, age 19 at the beginning of “Don’t Date the Haunted,” and a couple days away from turning 20 at the end of the book.

They say to write what you know…

I based the International Airport of Inferno, Horror, on my hometown airport. I live in the Tri-Cities of Washington state, and we have an airport . . . with six gates, one concession stand with snacks and travel accessories, and one driveway for all drop offs and pick ups. We don’t get fancy international planes here though. We get friggin’ propeller planes.
If you can’t tell, I grew up in a suburb bigger than these Tri-Cities combined, and I’m a definite city-girl. That’s one reason why I go into such details for the city of Heartford, Romance.

A few of my friends have mentioned that Heartford University reminds them of Brigham Young University. Well, that’s where I graduated. In full honesty though, BYU is the epitome of a clean Romance university (not New Adult erotica). At BYU, we joked about “ring by spring,” “BYUIdo,” and catching blatant PDA (public displays of affection) on campus. We had a couple dances like the masquerade, clubs for any type of group, and activities every weekend (if you knew where to look).
Of course, a huge part of the college experience is the roommates, and I’ll share more about that next chapter.

“If we give it all, reaching for our goals, they will reach back to-ward us, till right before our eyes, they crystallize!”

One part that remained pretty much the same (despite all the edits around it) was the scene with the old man and Pansy’s internal scrutiny of the word “toward.” I’ve only heard “to-ward” with two syllables in one place (countless times), and it threw me for a serious loop as I reconsidered the word as if hearing it for the first time. Hearing it that one time (and repeated weekly) inspired the entire scene between Pansy and the old man. Where did I hear it over and over? In a song called “Crystallize,” by Gentri, which we kept on our playlist at work to advertise their upcoming local concert.

“Take this weapon forged in darkness, some see a pen, I see a harpoon.”
“I’ll stay awake, ’cause the dark’s not taking prisoners tonight.”

Speaking of music, this chapter has a theme song. Every time I hear “Ode to Sleep,” by Twenty One Pilots, I think of this chapter. During the rap verses, I imagine Pansy in the International Airport of Inferno. Then she’s in the plane flying as the song sings the bridge. During the pop-style chorus, she’s walking wide-eyed and culture-shocked through Romance. I actually used this song as a muse when writing the rap that Pansy sings in the shower (chapter 13).

3 replies on “Behind the Scenes of “Don’t Date the Haunted,” Chapter 2”

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