Going Static

My goal was to post three times a week with Mondays given over to posts about my personal writing  process, Wednesdays I would share those books I'd discovered during searches of the internet for my personal library, and Fridays would be devoted to creepy places.

You know what they say about the best laid plans and how they often go awry.

As I write this I'm 35,000 words into the Parasite manuscript, part two of the Shadows of the Past series, with a proposed release date of Halloween 2014. I've another 20 - 30 thousand words to go before the first draft is ready for rewrites. Tomorrow I'm going to try to whittle off another 10,000 words as it is the last day of my four day weekend.

In addition to Parasite I'm also working on a series of interlaced stories woven around the world twenty years after the Zombie Apocalypse. The stories will center on a place called Bordertown that appeared in my short "Don't Mess With The Pizza Guy," and will feature the main character from that story, Meat. Born during the Zombie Apocalypse his mother named him Meat. In her mind that was pretty much his future.

Taken in by a man he learned to call Dad his life was a roller coaster of ups and downs as they struggled to survive. Eventually they found Bremo Bluff and became a part of the growing community there. While others were focused on surviving Meat developed an interest in the history of the country that now lay in shambles and with two of his friends he set out to save the country's past.

I'd like to have the first set of Bordertown Tales ready by Christmas. Three to four stories centered around the main character and the place he calls home, packaged under one cover.

There are a number of other projects clamoring for my attention from short stories to novelettes that are crying out for me to work on them.

For the foreseeable future I will be devoting my time to my writing and letting this blog go static. I'll provide updates on my progress from time to time. To be honest I'm not a blogger, just a guy with a full time job and dreams that refuse to go quietly into the night.

One Thousand Words A Day

My goal as a writer is to produce a minimum of one thousand words a day. A big part of hitting that goal is my willingness to carve out the time to put those words on the page. It’s all boils down to conditioning the mind to respond to a certain stimulus. If you’re sitting at your desk every day at the same time with the intent to write, I’ve discovered the words will flow. And it’s not as hard as one thinks.

Every morning, without fail, I'm at my computer editing, marketing, or writing new stuff. I put aside the time, before work, to focus on my dream. Some mornings I don’t want to get up when the alarm goes off but I force myself to do so. For me writing is a priority in my life. One I take seriously.

I’m sure as a writer you have several non-writing friends, out of those friends I’m willing to bet one of them would also be writing a book if only they had the time. There’s always one thing or another cropping up to prevent them from doing what they want. The real reason they’re not writing is that for them writing is not that high of a priority in their life.

With a little planning and a willingness to commit ones self to a set time each day, anyone can achieve the goal of writing a thousand words a day. And while a thousand words alone does not sound like much, if you can produce a thousand words each day, on the same project, in three months time you will have a 90,000 word novel.

Fridays Frights: Ohio State Reformatory

Located in Mansfield, Ohio, the Ohio State Reformatory, also known as the Mansfield Reformatory is an imposing structure that immediately reminds one of an old German  castle. Constructed between 1886 and 1910 it opened to its first inmates in 1896 while still under construction and remained in operation until 1990 when a Federal court ruling ordered the facility closed.

A bit of a celebrity the structure has appeared in both films and television.

The Shawshank Redemption, based on a novella written by Stephen King was filmed in and around the area. The reformatory itself appeared in a long panning shot for the movie and the wardens office was used as the office for Warden Samuel Norton played by Bob Gunton. 

The reformatory also served as a stand in for the Russian prison that housed General Ivan Radek in the movie Air force One starring Harrison Ford. It has also been the setting for episodes of Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, and Ghost Hunters Academy.

While a celebrity, the prison harbors a sinister past. It is said the tortured spirits of inmates who died within its walls still wander the hallways.

In the administration wing where, Warden Glatkke and his wife Helen once lived, employees and visitors have reported paranormal events.

Helen died of complications after suffering a gunshot wound to the chest in an accidental discharge of the weapon. There are those who believe the warden was directly responsible for the accident. Ten years later the Warden suffered a heart attack and died at the same hospital as his wife.

There have been reports of the smell of rose perfume, Helen's favorite, filling the room when visitors enter. Camera shutters will suddenly quit working until they are removed from the area, leading one to believe the spirit of the warden is preventing visitors from photographing he and his wife’s quarters.

It is rumored The Chapel was once used as a torture chamber. Strange recordings have been made and numerous orbs have allegedly been seen in the chapel. Visitors have reported seeing the shadowy silhouette of a person who vanishes when they approach.

Other hotspots of paranormal activity include the Infirmary, where many prisoners spent their final moments, and is known in paranormal circles to set off EMF detectors. Clusters of orbs have seen captured in photographs, and visitors have reported feeling unexplained gushes of air passing them as they explore.

In the basement the spirit of a fourteen year old who had been beaten to death lingers in the shadowy hallways. The spirit of former Reformatory employee George is said to inhabit the same area.

Visitors have reported seeing objects move for no obvious reason in the inmate graveyard where the bodies of past inmates lay interred. In the library equipment will stop working for no reason.

The darkest spot has to be the hole where unruly prisoners were confined in dark cells and subsisted on a diet of bread and water. The walls of this area still carries the despair the prisoners must have felt and some visitors to the area have reported being overcome by a feeling of dread that forces them to leave immediately.

Now under the care of the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society the prison is open to self-guided tours from April 1 to September 1. Other tour packages are available. There is also the Shawshank Trail, a fourteen stop self guided tour that takes one to the filming locations from the movie. More information can be found at their website.

New Discovery: Who Goes There by John W Campbell.

I guess what I really should say is new 'old' discovery as John W. Campbell's novella Who Goes There, was originally published in Astounding Stories in 1938. It is purported that he wrote Who Goes There in response to H.P Lovecraft's novella At The Mountains of Madness that had been published in Astounding Stories in 1936, to show Lovecraft how a story of that nature should be written.

Campbell's story Who Goes There served as the basis for the 1951 movie The Thing From Another World, that John Carpenter remade in 1982 as The Thing.

What makes this release unique is that before John Carpenter became involved in the remake, Universal Studios approached William F Nolan, who had recently garnered a great deal of attention with the release of the movie Logan's Run for which he'd written the screenplay. The print version contains a forward by William F Nolan as well as his treatment of the proposed screenplay that Universal passed on in favor of John Carpenter's version.  Nolan's take on Campbell's story downplays monster elements in favor of an "imposter" theme, in a vein similar to The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney. The forward and treatment is not available in the kindle version, I purchased a copy hoping to find the treatment by Nolan only to be disappointed.

Click on the cover to grab a copy for yourself.

Issac Asimov called Campbell, "the most powerful force in science fiction ever,." and his novella Who Goes There proves the point.