Behind the Scenes Don't Date the Haunted

Behind the Scenes of “Don’t Date the Haunted,” Chapter 10

Theo’s magic ability!
Also, for the guys who read chick-lit to better understand girls–this chapter is for you!

Can you believe we’re halfway through the book? I scheduled these blog posts out so we should finish the book about the time that the sequel is released. (Clever, right?) That said, PLEASE READ at least up to chapter ten of “Don’t Date the Haunted” before reading this blog post! In case you haven’t, I’ll make it easy and attach the Amazon link>>>

This chapter was full of fun comparisons and contrasts between genres. I had a lot of fun mixing and matching the emotions and physical responses to Hauntings and Romances.

…My heart raced like the adrenaline rush of a Haunting.  I felt alive and anxious for each moment.  My mind whirled at different possibilities and analyzed every detail, yet connected nothing.  The same questions raced through my consciousness:  Why was this happening to me?  What did I do to deserve this?
Every other time I’d felt this way, I’d also felt terrified for my life.  Everything flipped upside down.  For the first time, I wondered why something so nice would happen to me.

“Don’t Date the Haunted,” chapter 10

Funny enough, not a lot changed in this chapter from my first draft to my last . . . Except one major point:

Theo’s ability and what it means

I always planned on Theo’s ability to be seemingly useless. Again, I was reading the “Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians” series while writing this book, and I really liked the concept of a superpower that seemed pointless, but had hidden possibilities for awesomeness.
I played with a couple different ideas in the beginning. Some lasted longer than others. The options I considered for Theo’s ability were:

  • to turn invisible (but his clothes remained visible)
  • to have anything he touched automatically blunted
    • making him particularly annoying to blacksmiths and swordmasters of Fantasy.
  • to know when others lied to him
  • the inability to lie
    • I even wrote the scene of him proving his inability to lie to Pansy by telling her that he initially thought she was a witch. Don’t worry, this conversation has been revised and included in chapter one of “Don’t Marry the Cursed.”

All of these ideas were based on the idea that he was titled “The Trusted.” There were no runner-ups or second thoughts on his title.

Even when I settled on his ability to see auras, I still struggled to determine their exact meanings.

Okay, if you haven’t finished the book, SKIP to the next section on Girl Talk. Spoilers ahead! Ye be warned!
Now, supposing you’ve finished the book, you know that Theo’s ability isn’t useless. The lightness and darkness of the auras he sees show when a person’s in danger. This wasn’t always the case. There was a possibility of his auras showing which people he could personally trust. (But this became too complicated by the varying definitions of “trust.”) For the first draft, it was the lengths (not the shades) that demonstrated a person’s state of danger.

Then, the very basic reason why they still don’t know the meaning of the aura lengths was because I didn’t know either. At least until I finished book 3, and rewrote my third revision of book 2.
As for the meaning of the lengths . . . well, you’ll have to read “Don’t Marry the Cursed.”

Let’s Talk Girl Talk!

I know a few guys who read “Twilight” just to understand girls better. Honestly, that makes me cringe, and there are other girls like me who don’t want to be associated to the “Twilight” way of thinking. Instead, let me refer you to the “girl talk” between Pansy, Emma, and Heather. I’ve had many compliments on these scenes, saying;

“I really liked the melodramatic episodes between different roommates and the boys. It was a very funny and safe way to think about culture clash and misunderstanding. Those parts were probably the strongest written!”


“It was super fun to see your humor in the conversations and quips. I absolutely loved the different sections and the things that set them all apart.”


“Were you imitating our family?”

Tips on understanding or writing girl dialogue (from personal experience–but not hard rules):
  • We frequently change topics.
    • Did you notice that their one conversation changes topic within topics? They go from broad impressions about the hangout, to Heather sharing Jake’s interest in her, to Emma prodding for more info, to chocolates and the explanation of the “roommate boyfriend agreement,” to Heather accusing Emma of excessive cuddling, to Pansy confessing that she held hands with Theo . . . all within ten exchanges.
      • My roommates and I had the boyfriend agreement, but they went as follows: candy for first time holding hands, ice cream for first kiss, pizza for first make-out, and fancy dinner for engagements. I nixed the make-out for simplicity and to avoid all the different definitions between kissing and making out.
      • Speaking of changing topics and kissing, this chapter has Heather’s quote, “You only need two tries to determine whether or not someone’s a good kisser… [any] more before marriage is asking for trouble.” This is real advice I heard from a religious leader. I don’t know anyone who actually followed this advice.
  • We relate things to ourselves as a way to show that we understand.
  • We DO talk in code (whether we know it or not) as we often use slang and words with personal connotations.
    • Such as saying someone is going to be “trouble,” or using acronyms like the Dr. (AKA: DTR), or VL.
      • PS. I originally included the acronym and explanation of NCMO for “non-committal make-out,” but ended up simplifying the very “Utahn” term).
  • For some of us (particularly in my family – or other families with lots of girls), we talk over each other because it’s the only way to make ourselves heard.
  • Also, we tend to ramble or leave sentences hanging because we’re used to being interrupted.
    • I knew a woman who answered the simple question of “What’s your name?” by beginning with “When I was born…” She then went into her full life-story about every single time she changed her name (which was at least three times more than the average person).

That’s all for Chapter Ten. Continue on to Chapter Eleven for my inspiration on the masquerade!

PS. When writing the first draft, I threw out a bunch of random names and titles that sounded impressive for Theo’s brothers;
“My brothers are Orem the Fire Breather, Gregory the Wind Rider, and Emmanuel the Night Shade.  But what am I?  The Trusted.”
– Very terrible first draft.
Then, I wrote the sequel, and those brothers actually became important. So I changed their names and listed them from oldest to youngest:
“My brothers are Greggory the Wind Master, Dunstan the Night Shade, and Oswald the Fire Breather.”
Remember those names. They’ll be important in “Don’t Marry the Cursed.”

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