Behind the Scenes Don't Date the Haunted

Behind the Scenes of “Don’t Date the Haunted,” Chapter 15

What originally happened to Marcellette? How many characters almost died? And why THAT kind of Haunting?

Ah, man, I used to kill people in this chapter…I miss those days. And it wasn’t just Marcellette and Lord Rochershire. It was five strangers that Pansy barely knew.

Now, to make sure you know that I’m not insane, I’m talking about “Don’t Date the Haunted.” If you still don’t know what I’m talking about, look up the book! >>>
Seriously, read the book before reading this post. You’ll save yourself a big headache of trying to figure out what in horror is going on.

As it stands, Marcellette and Lord Rochershire have an argument because Marcellette was seduced and nearly killed by a Haunting, and Lord Rochershire is skeptical because she has no proof.

What originally happened here?

The very first draft (and didn’t last to make it to the second draft) had all five international students from Horror…dead. Yeah, remember those people I briefly mentioned in chapter two? They’re characters from “Twilight” . . . and I had them all drowned by Pansy’s Haunting. Because Hauntings are for killing, not dating.

For the longest time, I replaced those five people with Tiffany and her ken-doll date. Yep, Tiffany wasn’t meant to survive this book. In all that time, however, I had Marcellette in a specific role with the Haunting.

SPOILER ALERT: if you haven’t finished the book, skip ahead to the next section on Mr. E!
Okay, supposing you’ve read the whole book, then you know that Pansy’s Haunting is a poltergeist. They’re known for possessing people, so I originally had Marcellette possessed and be the body to kill Tiffany, her date, Emma, and Theo (almost).
However, she didn’t die. When they defeated the poltergeist, Marcellette was freed. If I allowed that, then that begged the question: could Sean have been saved?
I couldn’t allow that. Pansy needed to kill Sean.
So, I reconsidered the poltergeist’s capabilities and took away his power to possess others. That meant I no longer had a puppet to play with at the final scene in the basement.

I considered killing Hank too (since he’s just as guilty as Emma). You can thank my editor for talking me out of it, as she said it’s more tragic for him to live. Bahaha! Sucka! He’s gotta live with the consequences of his sins!
But seriously, whenever I felt like there wasn’t enough going on, my thoughts entertained the idea, “Maybe I should just kill another character.”

So many people have told me that the book wasn’t as scary as they expected. It’s probably because they expected a straight horror and not as much humor. Humor helps tone down scary scenes a LOT. Like, if I told them “This book has three on-screen deaths!” they’d probably need to seriously reflect to count them out. You’re not reading this section if you haven’t read the whole book, so yeah, there’s Emma, Sean, and the poltergeist. Technically four if you count Theo.

Mr. E’s True Reason for “Interviewing” Pansy

I actually struggled with this for a long while and didn’t come up with the Haunting Emigration Watch until the final draft. This, of course, completely changes Mr. E’s character. He goes from possible antagonist to helper. Which is good, because he’s the second-most capable person in their group–save for the fact that he doesn’t believe in Hauntings.

Hmm, I keep forgetting that the reader learns that the Haunting is a poltergeist in this chapter, because it used to be unknown until Emma’s picture. That’s right. It’s a poltergeist.

The main reason I chose a poltergeist is because of all the undead/monstrous Hauntings (not involving the typical madman), the demon spirit is the most popularly believed. The Old and New Testaments are filled with stories of evil spirits being cast out of people, and many other histories mention bad spirits in one form or another.

“‘Rule number one,'” Heather read as Jake looked over her shoulder, “‘abstain from drugs, sex, and violence.’ How positively crass!”

“Don’t Date the Haunted,” chapter fifteen

Oz’s number one rule was originally the heading for Chapter One (not Chapter Five, where it is now). Since most of my early readers were family members or close friends, I used this to warn people that it’s an adult book. It’s clean for adults, but I don’t expect to have book signings at Junior High Schools.

Speaking of material too much for kids, come back next week for Emma’s bathroom scene.

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