Redoing “Night of the Hellhounds” (Part 4)

Chapter 4: Turning the Short Story into a Novel

Sometime in 1998 I planned writing a novel based on a friend’s idea of a teenager moving to a new town where there are magic and weird happenings afoot. The concept was an overused one but that didn’t stop me from mapping the story and building the story and character arcs. I named the main character Serafina Jones, wrote several chapters, then deep-sixed it when the middle bogged and new projects came along.

Fast forward to 2012 when I pulled that old WIP from my desk and saw potential to breathe new life into it. I changed Serafina Jones to Verawenda Erickson and wrote a story about a 15-year-old girl developing psychic powers at the same time she and her family move in with her grandparents in a new town where a witch’s spirit and hellhounds cause havoc next door.

I finished the final draft in 2014, replaced “Night of the Hellhounds” short story at Amazon and Barnes & Noble with the novel, and said, “That’s that.”

Night of the Hellhounds, 4.0: The Amazon Novel

Enter the magical world of 15-year-old Vree Erickson who survived a deadly lightning strike. Although she lost her father and her home to the lightning, she can see and do things few people can because of it. But she doesn’t want these powers. And who can blame her once she becomes the interest of a witch’s spirit who wants Vree’s powers for self-serving ends.

Chapter 5: Title and Story Conflict

When I publish a story, I try not to read it later on. In my mind it’s perfect even though it has flaws. I reread Night of the Hellhounds a few months later and found a major flaw: Theme and Title. It didn’t take me long to see that the book’s title didn’t follow the story’s theme of a witch’s curse on a family that lives up the road from Vree. So…

Night of the Hellhounds, 4.1: Margga’s Curse

15-year-old Vree Erickson is destined to die this summer. Although she is a healthy girl, all the fates point to her demise. But despite what the fates have planned for her, every decision she makes over the summer will either change her destiny or leave it the same.

Vree and her family are forced to move upstate to her maternal grandparents’ home on Myers Ridge near Ridgewood, Pennsylvania after lightning strikes her, kills her father, and burns down her family’s home. To complicate matters further, the lightning strike leaves her with psychic powers. On the day of the move, she sees and hears mysterious invisible creatures and becomes a victim to an annual curse when the vengeful spirit of a witch returns to the property next door and reigns terror there. With the help of the boy from up the road, she embarks on a difficult journey to save her life and destroy the ghost witch who wants her dead.

Chapter 6: Putting the “I” In Vree

Flash back to 2013 when, soon after I published “Night of the Hellhounds,” I wrote and published Vree’s next chapters. In them she finds a green crystal that magnifies her psychic powers. The crystal also contains an imprisoned spirit that she accidentally frees. The spirit possesses Vree and all sorts of havoc breaks loose. These chapters appeared at Amazon for 99 cents per chapter because Amazon wouldn’t allow me to charge less (which is a major gripe of mine with the company). So I unpublished them at Amazon and put them here at my blog for free. You can find them above my header where it says Green Crystal Stories.

Soon after I scrapped those chapters I began working on a new novel for Vree. I have a habit of writing in first person point of view when I write a first draft, then change everything to third person point of view by the final draft. Because first person is a limited scope to work with, the third person draft is tight and has less head hopping.

Sometimes, however, the urgency of first person point of view gets diluted in the change. This happened with the second novel and has delayed publication. I wrestled with the idea of changing Vree’s point of view to third person, or leaving it at first person. The entire first novel is told in third person, so all of her stories should follow suit. Right?

But what if I changed her point of view in the first book to first person?

Night of the Hellhounds, 4.2: Margga’s Curse Rewritten

Instead of republishing the book at Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, Kobo, and the several other outlets it’s at right now, I have decided to post the story and its changes here, one chapter at a time. I hope you’ll come along for the ride. And I hope you’ll leave me comments, just to keep me honest if the story should bog.


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