Behind the Scenes Don't Date the Haunted

Behind the Scenes of “Don’t Date the Haunted,” Chapter 17

THE BIG TWISTS, and what happened six months earlier

Get ready for some twists!

Okay, seriously, if you haven’t read “Don’t Date the Haunted” up to this point DO NOT READ THIS POST. I’m not as much of an anti-spoiler as my husband (he doesn’t even like to watch trailers), but this time I’m serious.

If you haven’t read “Don’t Date the Haunted” yet, remedy that BEFORE reading this post. Here’s a link to the Amazon page.

“Don’t spoil stories!” Wit said. . . .
“That’s not how this works,” Wit said. “It needs drama. Suspense. Surprise.”

– “Rhythm of War,” by Brandon Sanderson

Okay, supposing you’ve read the book at LEAST through chapter 17, let’s get into it.

When talking with people who finished “Don’t Date the Haunted,” I often asked if they predicted any of the twists. Several of them predicted one twist, but not the others. Many of them suspected Mr. E to be the Haunting. Some even considered Theo. When Mr. E was cleared, a couple caught on that Sean was the poltergeist (in a way). Very few people predicted that Pansy had killed him–that she actually was guilty of Mr. E’s accusations. Even though part of Pansy’s introduction says:

With a deep breath, I lied to myself on more time–Sean’s death wasn’t my fault.

“Don’t Date the Haunted,” page 2

Of course, she blames herself for his death…because he died by the poltergeist’s power and her physical hands. This twist probably seems bigger than Mr. E’s revelation and Sean’s appearance because it’s a secret that Pansy kept…and the whole story’s from her head. That’s what English teachers call “unreliable narrators.”

Flashback to Six Months Earlier

Even when I had the prologue in place, Sean’s death wasn’t explained until this scene. (If you’re wondering “What prologue?” because you’re coming in later to these Behind the Scenes posts, I highly encourage you to take this link to the prologue, then read through the following chapters. Enjoy the deleted scenes!)

The only real changes in this scene are the powers of the poltergeist. Confession: villains are hard for me to write. I just want to say “they’re evil,” and leave it at that. It’s hard for me to explore their backstories because I don’t want to try to understand them. Ulysses Dethrage (the poltergeist) is a tortured soul. He was a madman who killed his girlfriend when he caught her cheating on him. The boyfriend got his revenge by killing Ulysses, but his spirit was too angry to rest. He was a wandering and lost soul when Dr. Hyde caught him (pretending to be a hero). After spending time in Sci-Fi, Dr. Hyde experimented with poltergeists to try to give people kinetic powers (as that’s a common trait for poltergeists).

In come Sean, Pansy, and Blake Washington. The three of them had survived a werewolf Haunting together, but that was over six months ago, and the anniversary lined up with their planned high school graduation. Sean and Pansy also planned to marry after graduation, so they did not want a Haunting for that time. Blake convinced them to search out a Haunting to force themselves into remission during their graduation and wedding.
To lure a Haunting, they broke the rules.
They went into the mountains and camped for a couple nights.

First, Blake disappeared. Then Sean. Pansy searched for Sean and found him in Dr. Hyde’s cabin basement. They killed Dr. Hyde by shooting him in the heart and head, then turned on the sprinklers.

The Hauntings Investigations Unit set the entire cabin on fire, sending the souls with prayers to the Supernaturals for mercy.

“Don’t Date the Haunted,” chapter 17. (Just in case anyone wondered if the fire element was a plot hole)

I’m nearly done with the novella that goes over that whole story in deeper detail. (You’ll get another sneak peek into that prequel novella in “Don’t Marry the Cursed.”)

The flashback given in “Don’t Date the Haunted” was supposed to be their “happily ever after” time…but the Haunting wasn’t finished with them yet.

Personally, I find this scene scarier than the Tower basement scene, but that’s probably because one of my biggest fears is creepy guys. For reals, the scariest part of “Twilight” was the Port Angeles scene.

And the Truth Comes Out

So, Pansy lied to Mr. E because she knew that he wouldn’t believe her even if she told him the truth. In case anybody was still confused, I’ll clarify here; Pansy is a virgin. She did not break Horror’s #1 rule. Yes, I’m an old-fashioned religious girl, so that’s how it is.

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