Thursday, November 02, 2006

"The House of Many Doors" A snippet from the new WIP

I'm 12K into the newest story--a YA haunted house tale. The one I think of as 'A Wrinkle in Time meets Stephen King.' The protagonist is a young boy named Langdon Parker, Jr. It's told from his POV.

I'm having a lot of fun writing this one. It's my first foray into first person POV and I've been running much of the dialogue and voice by my two sons. At 10 and 13, (and avid readers) they are the audience I want for this story. Giving them 'advisory' roles has made them feel part of the process and encouraged their own storytelling.

Here is a brief snippet from the story.

The front door swung open. My heart rate tripled as if I was already running, but my legs stayed stubbornly rooted to the porch. A gust of wind pushed at my back, nudging me forward.

I stumbled over the threshold breathing heavily. The door clicked shut and the hallway flooded with light. I was standing in a foyer right out of a movie set. A tiered crystal chandelier swayed above my head, splashing prisms across the walls. My wet sneakers sank into the thick nap of a burgundy and gold Oriental rug. I shook like a dog and water droplets flew out from my hair and clothes. When they hit the carpet, they disappeared, leaving the plush surface pristine.

I stopped shivering and realized that I was warm and mostly dry. Outside, rain still lashed the mullioned windows.

"Okay. So I'm here. Now what?"

I felt a little silly talking to the house, but it was clear it wanted me here--it welcomed me and nothing catastrophic had happened yet. If it had wanted to kill me, I had the impression it wouldn't have dried me off or put the heat on.

It wasn't what I expected. It was beautiful. The lights glowed a little brighter and I got the feeling the house appreciated the compliment.

"It doesn't mean we're friends."

Ahead of me a wood paneled door concealed in the wainscoting slid open. A hallway stretched out in front of me and it seemed to go on forever, the walls never meeting at some distant vanishing point. Closed doors lined the hallway on both sides. I shivered and my teeth chattered.

An invisible hand pushed on the small of my back and I tumbled into the hall. I didn't have to look back to know the door to the foyer had disappeared.

Now it had both of us. A pair of Langdon Parkers. The complete set.

I clenched my teeth to keep from laughing or screaming.

One door opened.

As if I'd conjured him, my father came stumbling out of the doorway, tripped, and fell sprawling on the oriental runner. He scrambled to his feet and started to laugh.

I took a step backwards.


  1. Very suspenseful. I hope you have good luck with it. Do you know how it will end, or do you just write till it makes it's own ending?


  2. A little of both, Ava. I loosely outline, mainly have a sense of begining, pivotal moments in the plot, and end. I usually do a more in depth outline in sections of maybe 3-5 chapters at a time. More than that, and it feels like I'm imposing authorial will on my characters. Less than that and I don't have any direction to my daily writing.

    But I believe there are as many different processes as their are writers.