Behind the Scenes Don't Date the Haunted

Behind the Scenes of “Don’t Date the Haunted,” Chapter 6

What inspired the scene that gave me (as the author) the most compliments? Or the roommate pranks?

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you’re all with your families, stuffing your faces with delicious foods, opening a present or two, and sharing the true love of Christ!
If you’re not Christian, Happy Holidays! I still wish you the best of love and charity!

My gift to all of you is a simple one, but I want you to have it all the same. I want to share some Christmas secrets about the making of my book, “Don’t Date the Haunted!”

Though, to be honest, about now is the time that if you haven’t read the book, then I don’t suggest you read this blog post. Or any following “Behind the Scenes” chapters. Without reading the first five chapters, I can’t expect anyone to have a grasp of the world, its characters, and their issues.
Or how those issues came to be.
To begin, this chapter didn’t change very much from its very first draft. My most common compliment from my Alpha readers was how fun and natural the conversations were between Pansy and her roommates.
This scene could have come from one of those writing exercises to take three very different characters, stick them in a room, and see what happens.

As a direct continuation from chapter 5, I gave Pansy a church-going personality because it seemed appropriate for someone trying to stay as far away from Hauntings as possible. This was actually one of the reasons I wrote her story. Horror is one of the few genres that can blatantly teach morals with severe consequences. Someone’s unfaithful to their spouse? They’ll die. Someone’s an evil maniac? They’ll die. Someone’s just trying to do the right thing? They’ll live or die a hero.
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have some high standards and wanted to write a character with similar morals without being preachy. Pansy’s still pretty blatant about her standards and expectations of others, but instead of religion as her cause, it’s because of her culture, upbringing, and experiences.

In chapter five, we see Pansy’s first real bonding moment with her roommates Emma and Heather. As a “discovery writer” (AKA: Pantser), I really came to know their characters in this chapter. Heather’s a Regency Romantic, but she’s also forward minded for seeking an education. Then Emma floats in from experiencing love at first sight with Hank.

As an introvert who’s very good at pretending she’s an extrovert among friends, I’ve been pulled into similar double-dates via the influence of my friends. One of my very first dates was a triple date with the younger brother of my older brother’s fiancée. My older brother and his fiancée joined us. Who was the third couple? Their married friends. Thankfully, it didn’t turn out as awkward as I feared. Like Pansy, I didn’t have an active dating life, but I was surrounded by others who did. Somehow, I became a listening guru because they all talked to me about their relationships and would ask for my advice.

Then came the pranks. Though we never did the fruit-punch-in-the-shower prank (as Pansy almost had), I had a prank war with my roommates. Ours were simple pranks like moving kitchen supplies to other drawers, plastic-wrapping beds, and leaving messages to be found. They were usually marked with Red John’s bloody smile, from “The Mentalist,” or dinosaurs. We even had a white board to keep count of how many days we had without a dinosaur incident…
It usually stayed at 0.

This was a small prank I pulled on two of my roommates. I drew the Red John smile and quoted “She’s the Man,” and William Blake. Then I simply pulled out their bed curtains over their beds. They were so scared to check under the curtains when there was nothing underneath.

I have so much to say about Mr. E that I’ll save him for Chapter 7’s post.
I’ll end this one with a quick note about the scene breaks:

I created this on a whim during the final frantic hours of formatting my manuscript for paperback (when I was supposed to be packing for our week-long family reunion that began the next morning with a ten-hour drive). I wanted a small picture that embellished both horror and romance. So, using only Paint tools, I drew two scythes, then connected them with my favorite flourish. (Yes, I have a favorite flourish. Don’t you?)

2 replies on “Behind the Scenes of “Don’t Date the Haunted,” Chapter 6”

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