Building Roller Coasters
“The Girl in the Hotel” by Gregory French
“Wanna learn how to write an interesting story? Study haunted houses and rollercoasters.”
– Bo Danser On the Beach
For “The Girl in the Hotel” there were months of researching and gathering Ingredients and writing background sketches before the book was started. All my books have begun this way. I recently unpacked the manuscript boxes from the 1988 novel, “Cream of the Wheat,” with its one hundred typed index cards (Yes, as in use of a typewriter). There it all was, the design for a wicked rollercoaster ride for the readers.
The writing of all the Danser novels (the construction of the coasters) can’t begin until I’ve reviewed the ten to twenty thousand words of the Ingredients and submerged fully into the story: its theme, its cast, its Skeleton, which is the initial blueprint of the story, of therollercoaster.
There is one distinct difference between novels and roller coasters. Books rarely circle back to where the ride started (in my works, only “Danser” did. Sort of).
With the Danser novels, the Skeleton is planned to a greater or lesser degree, it doesn’t much matter. Why? Because the rails, the story, always go off in their own direction as the cast and events take over. This is one of the delights of the writing process – when the characters take the wheel and I’m reduced to a lowly member of their typing pool, another passenger along for the ride.
I hope you enjoy “The Girl in the Hotel.”
All the best,