Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Update on the haunted houses book

Even though I'm writing my haunted houses book on the computer, I've come to realize something: I'm definitely going to have to create a file for it.

Specifically, an ACTUAL file -- and not one on the computer. I already have that. What I need a REAL file folder for is all the notes I'm taking for book research when I am AWAY from the computer. I don't do all of my book work on the computer, because I'm not on the computer 24/7. At any moment of the day, I could get an idea on something to add to a chapter, something to look up and some ideas for chapter organization. I may even get an idea for a whole new part to add to the book! (Right now, I have 4 parts: Real ghost and haunted house stories, working with a group and DIY investigating of haunted houses, haunted Hollywood and case studies. Am I missing anything?? I often wonder. But at least I have the time to come up with anything new while I'm working on it!)

So, for this reason, I need to get a file folder of EVERYTHING I've written down in my notebook. This would be ideal for the chapter "15 Famous Haunted Houses" because I would need to verify my sources and where I got my information, plus books used in research, and I have to keep the "summary structure" attached to each house I write about so that everything is consistent. (I've got 15 to keep track of! Aye! ....Good thing I lowered it from 50!) Putting EVERYTHING into one place will help me stay better organized.

And while I AM saving everything on my computer...I'd rather NOT rely on the computer. Knowing me and technology, that's not exactly a good thing! (As it is, my computer has been SO BAD this week, I have to constantly reboot the darn thing just to get into my email account. Gah!) Plus, I print stuff out to go over later (when I'm not working on the computer); like interviews and notes. I highlight passages and make a lot of marginal notes. So I'll need a file folder to keep all that printed stuff in!

In other news, I am waiting to get follow-up info from my contacts. Once that's done, I'll be able to write up the (hopefully) final draft of my chapter about the haunt industry. Someone commented that a chapter like that doesn't belong in a book about haunted houses, but since it DOES involve haunted houses, I'm keeping the chapter in there. At first I was dismayed over that comment, but in thinking on it more, I figured out how to slant the chapter to make it work. I mean, one thing I've learned is that a haunt attraction ended up being built at a location that was ACTUALLY haunted! So it's not like this chapter won't talk about a REAL haunted house! So, that chapter stays and I will just slant it to make it "fit" with the rest.

I've also been working on the "15 Famous Haunted Houses" chapter this week. I contacted someone who works at the Myrtles Plantation to get info on the architectual style of the house, because I couldn't find that info ANYWHERE. The guy who wrote back said that he didn't uinderstand why I had a hard time getting that info, because the houses's architectual style has been noted and featured in other books. (For you trivia buffs out there, the style of the Myrtles Plantation is French Colonial cottage. The style is unique because it was built before the interest in Greek-style architecture came into fashion.) I mentioned that I even checked the book written by Frances Kermeen, called THE MYRTLES PLANTATION, which I've read, and that info wasn't in there. He commented that they don't carry Frances Kermeen's book in their store, and that was all he said about it.

Uh-oh. I smelled a story.

I asked him about that and he wouldn't go into any details. (It's that Southern hospitality, y'all!) I'm not going to pester him about it, but I'm really interested in finding out why there's something "wrong" with that book, because I was planning to use it for reference and notes! In my summary, I include reported hauntings taking place at the house, and there's quite a bit of reports in this book. But now I don't know if I can even use it. On one hand, maybe they had some kind of past grievance with the author herself, and not her book. (Yes, I am guessing here! LOL) I just wish there was some way for me to find out. I was even thinking of contacting Ms. Kermeen to get quotes on the plantation for my chapter. Now I don't know if that would be wise. I mean, I'm working with people there who have issues with her and...to add her to the mix might reflect badly on that. If they see her in the book talking about the Myrtles, it might get ugly. So....maybe I shouldn't do that.

But I'd REALLY like to know what's going on between them! Not that I want to make that information public.... It's just that if I knew, then it would help me to figure out the BEST way to handle the writing of that particular haunted house. I was planning to list her book in the "further reading" section of that summary, as it is.

And, apparently, my contact seems to like leaving me in suspense, because he said something BIG is going down with that house on October 1st. Again, he didn't go into detail! ARGH! I'm going to have to hunt down a newsletter or blog or something to subscribe to so I can stay in the know about stuff going on at the Myrtles and find out WHAT the big October 1st event is. (Maybe it's something I can write about for Shadowlands??)
Well, not only has my contact gotten me interested in the architecture of the Myrtles, but now I'm itching to go visit there! I won't be doing ANY travelling until Januaryish, but I'm really interested in visiting the Myrtles now!

In fact....now I've decided I should go visit EVERY 15 haunted house I am writing about. Well, I can't visit ALL of them because one of them no longer exists! And another two are in England; that may be a little hard to get out to. (Ya think??) But I think it would REALLY be cool if I could do that. Might even add to what I am writing about them. But if I don't get to do that BEFORE this book is published, I'm definitely going to make it a point to do that after publication. Yay! A new goal!

I'm already planning a trip to visit haunted houses here in Oregon. (This is for ANOTHER book project.) Why not make a plan to visit the Famous 15?

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