Plotting a New Novel

Is that blood on the wall?
Is that blood on the wall?

In my reckless days I used to start writing a book the second the idea entered my head.

As time went by (and the stack of failed manuscripts grew taller) I realized that ideas were more like bullets than stories, so I began planning the work ahead. Now I don’t write a word until I’ve got the important parts down on paper. It’s a good way of doing things, at least for me, and essentially it means that the frustration comes a lot earlier in the process than it used to. Right now, I’m in the middle of plotting a bunch of new projects and some are more frustrating than others.

The first is about a boy growing up in a funeral home.

This kid lives with his aunt, uncle and cousin Six Feet Under style and he’s dealing with some serious emotional issues. Many of his internal struggles stem from the incident that ended his childhood and left him feeling orphaned. (Sound a little like Luke Merrill, the lead in TiDP, right? Maybe, but this kid’s older than Luke Merrill and both of his parents are alive. Luke’s baggage is grounded in a distant father and this kid’s has more to do with bloodstains, the kind that never wash away…)

Anyway, the boy’s problems escalate when he finds a bloody kid wandering through Torinton’s Fairview Cemetery and from that moment the ride is on. I can’t give the story away, so let’s just say that death doesn’t always sneak up on us. Sometimes, the grim reaper gives us advanced notice of his arrival…

This story is coming together bit by bit. One of the challenging parts is creating the home environment, growing up in an old school funeral home, in a way that fits a horror story yet presents the death-care business in a respectful manner. Having stood at the graves of loved ones, I know that funeral directors provide an extremely important service. No doubt, it’s an immensely difficult job at time. It would be a disservice to the profession and this story to utilize only the gruesome elements of the work. Don’t you agree?

More on this story and the others later, I’m sure you’ve got some good books to get to. Thank you for listening. LL


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