Thursday, March 10, 2011

Saved by a Murder!

I have been trying to analyze this SLOWNESS of my Cozy... the pace has picked up... I am solidly at 1000 words a day, but that is still slower than I write, typically... but Crikey, I think I've got it!

My story centers on a 'Little Miss' Pageant which, because the theme is gardening, I knew HAD to be held outside, so my first layer of research was which outdoor venue might be best in Roanoke... It was a fairly easy determination. Right downtown they have a gorgeous park with an amphitheater (though I'm having trouble finding what they call it—Ann Arbor has a park with one that they call a band shell), so Elmwood Park was an easy decision.

Patrick Henry Detailing
Next step... where will the contestants STAY... I thought I hit the jackpot... historically registered Patrick Henry Hotel sits RIGHT THERE, but when I looked it up, I found it closed in 2007... it was purchased and is being renovated for high end apartments (USELESS!) but the bottom two floors will be used for businesses and office space... okay THAT I can work with...

I went on to find my hotels and start my plans, then... I stumbled across a JACKPOT... A website called Haunted Virginia lists the Patrick Henry as HAUNTED!!! (no surprise really—you SAW that lady, yes?)

Haunted I can work with... and did, a little... but it was slow (remember how this started)... and my MURDER wasn't getting there... there was too much that had to HAPPEN first...

How could I infuse my mystery with... you know... MYSTERY?

DUH!? Why to haunters HAUNT? I can't believe I didn't think of this... local lore, dead people... MURDERED people, maybe? At least a couple of them (though there seems to be a lady in a room upstairs that just died there and refuses to leave)... but the folks on the ground floor... (4, if I am counting right) and the man on the second floor (where the office is that they are using for the blasted pageant, no less!)--you heard me—6 rumored ghosts in one building. It is supposedly one of the more haunted places in Virginia.

And OTHER than the lady upstairs, the lore seems to be lacking as to who these people are, giving ME the ability to write a little stumble upon mystery that precedes (and spooks everyone) before the MAIN mystery gets underway!

Man, I've had fun with this idea of writing the ghost layer—not that I will take this paranormal, at ALL... I just think spooked people (for real reasons) might decide to look into (and solve) an old cold case. I don't want to give too many details, as I don't want to do spoilers... but I LOVE the adrenaline that is started... It has certainly breathed new life into this endeavor.


Okay... so that is what I have, as last night (when this as written) I spent most of the evening at my son's 'next year planning' at school—he will be an 8th grader and so it is time to start thinking seriously (they have a couple classes offered for high school credit) and my time is short...


Any of you have 'Breathed new life' moments you want to share?
What about ghost stories?

24 comments:

Charmaine Clancy said...

Sounds like you're on a good run :-)

Ca88andra said...

Its great that you are sounding so excited about your writing!

Old Kitty said...

A haunted beauty pageant in a garden setting!!! Wow!!!! Can't get more NAKED than that!! Take care
x

Jan Morrison said...

ha ha! I love this - cozy goes ghostly...
I'm writing a mystery set in a garden as my second Kitty McDonald book - it's called 'Earth Bound' and it is set in the Annapolis Royal Heritage Gardens. So much fun to murder out of doors really.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sounds like the spark of a great idea. I can think of several other cities that would provide ample haunted spots.

Cruella Collett said...

*snort* I just had to comment on Jan's comment. I adore that - "fun to murder outdoors". Ah - 'tis why we made you one of us ;)

As for the ghostly cozy (*giggles again*) I think it sounds splendid. You do a mean "scared community", Tami, so this ought to fit right in :)

Hannah Kincade said...

Well, I just finished my ghost story! Huzzah! I loved it so much. And yes, I ended up killing a few people...for the good of the story, of course.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

i don't read cozies, but i have to say i would TOTALLY read this. I love me some ghosts

VR Barkowski said...

Congrats on the inspiration! Whenever things get tedious, I do something completely unexpected. It loosens up the plot and allows me deeper into character. For example when my protag had sex with her remarried, philandering ex-husband. There was a lot of character reveal that went along with making her actions empathetic. I don't think I've ever had to cut one of these "surprise" scenes. They always seem to work. Maybe I should do it more often.

Hart Johnson said...

Yay!!! Thanks so much everyone for gorgeous comments!

Jan-love it that we're writing nice environmental murders at the same time *snort*

VR-I think that is great advice to keep in mind!

Carolyn Abiad said...

"writing the ghost layer"---ooo I like the sound of that! BTW, why does it matter if the hotel closed in 2007? Can't you set the story before then, say in 2005? Maybe your story is the reason it closed? Just rambling...don't mind me...

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That ghost-image is a very famous photo. I think I still have my ghostly hauntings book that featured it, too.

Colene Murphy said...

Oh that's cool! I miss the research stages. Good ol hotel research! I love the new ghosty aspect! That sounds really fun!

Cherie Reich said...

Um, can I say that I already like your story because it takes place where I live. *grins* And, if it is fictional, I agree you can change things up with the Patrick Henry Hotel, if you want. It can be in the author's note, so you don't get emails saying "no, the place was closed, blah, blah, blah."

Holly Ruggiero said...

That is so awesome. I absolutely love it when the switch gets flipped.

RosieC said...

Way to properly stumble, Hart! Nice job :)

Not sure breathing new life is the right description. I'm actually about ready to beat my head against the wall with some of my revisions. It's slow and I'm not loving it. What happened to my poor baby? :( I'm thinking I need to set it aside and work on something else for a while, actually. Grumble.

Mary Vaughn said...

We've been forced indoors door so long that everyone is headed outside to murder. These winters are scary for sure.
Good luck to all of you. I can feel the excitement on this page.

Hart Johnson said...

Carolyn-the book is the second in a series, so I can't change timing from the first one which doesn't have time SPECIFIED, but DOES have enough modern details, so I am sticking with current day.

Diane-Ha! That ghost image was just my favorite of 'lady in white' ghosts.

Colene-I can get thoroughly BOGGED in research. I actually do a good deal of it later, but location I have to do ahead so I don't really muck anything up. Glad you like it!

Cherie-HA! I may just email you for some fact checking! There is stuff I have a heck of a time finding! I have a couple Virginia friends, but no one in Roanoke, but the series specified Roanoke...

Holly-it really is nice to get all excited again--1500 words last night!

Rosie-nice to have a good landing when you fall, eh? And yeah... when you are hating it, it may be time to set it aside. You've reached to 'too critical' stage.

Mary-I would think people would murder FIRST and then break outside! A little cabin fever goes a long way!

N. R. Williams said...

Brilliant idea. There are so many possibilities with that line, I mean, those ghost. You have ghost hunters, a little old person telling ghost stories and with ghost you can fabricate so much. Way cool! I love it.

I'm working on my Delusional Doom Blog post today before I work on my own WIP.
Cheers,
Nancy
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium, Special .99 through April 30

hsoister said...

A haunted hotel is a great place to set a story!

I myself have never seen a ghost (dang it), but my sister saw one in a theater in Seattle. She was helping to stage a play when she saw an older man in a suit cross the upper lobby or some such place and go into doorway. Turns out that the doorway led no where -- the man just disappeared. My sister was calm when told she had just seen the "theater's ghost," but the guy she'd been working with freaked out.

Lisa said...

Yay for the turning of a corner! The ghost that haunts me is the one that warns that I will never finish writing anything.

LTM said...

ooo! I LOVE it! And how much fun you're making writing this book sound! I mean, I'm sure it's still WORK, but you make it sound so easy.

Clearly the mark of a pro~ :o) <3 xoxo

Deb and Barbara said...

Ooooh, sounds wonderful! I can feel the adrenaline off the blog! I think the whole ghost angles sound packed with potential.
B

Kari Marie said...

I love it when that spark ignites! Enjoy it.

I love ghost stories. When I got my smartphone I paid $2 for a cheezy "Ghost meter." It's hilarious! It supposedly tells me when the ghosts are around and reads their "Frequency" to tell me words they might be saying. Hah! I use it as a writing prompt. So fun.