An Author's Haunting

October 31, 2019

With Halloween just around the corner, my husband decided it was time for the annual tradition of taking (dragging) me to a haunted house. He loves them, and I have a massive case of FoMo (fear of missing out). So, once a year, I subject myself to being terrified for his sake.

 

As I was wandering through this year’s house of doom with creepy dolls and plague masks surrounding me, I began to wonder what a real house of horrors would look like for a writer.

 

Like, if I were going to a writers conference and was in charge of terrorizing authors, what would my floor plan be?

 

Here goes.

 

You start in a room with a giant computer screen projected on the wall. Words begin to appear, telling a tale that would make HBO hand over a massive television deal, and the screen goes blank. A voice screams, "You didn’t save!"

 

You’re ushered into a cocktail party where everyone around you laughs when you say you’re a writer. A creepy man offers you a glass of wine and begins telling you about the book he wants to write―it takes place in the woods but might be too graphic for Amazon.

 

Next, you’re in an elevator with a Hollywood producer. He asks what your book is about, but fog fills the space. You cough so hard, you can’t get through your carefully crafted elevator pitch.

 

You stumble out of the elevator, and your phone rings. A distant relative is angry because a character is clearly based on them and you’ve exposed family secrets you didn’t know about to the world.

 

An editing error in your new release pops up on a Twitter feed.

 

Your also boughts have been populated by books on fly-fishing.

 

Your cover artist disappears.

 

You are kicked out onto the street, not to the sound of chain saws, but to a chorus of a hundred

readers leaving reviews declaring that your books are too much like Harry Potter.

 

You stumble home in tears.

 

So ends the author’s house of nightmares.

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Megan O'Russell

Fantastic Worlds. Unlikely Heroes.

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