Today I posted the last chapter of The Old Mill! Below are some random thoughts about it.
When I wrote the little snippet of a story, Galvin, I had no idea where I was going to go with it. More than anything, it was just a quick character sketch of a small town oddball, what I’ve heard referred to as “a bit of local color”. Later I decided to revisit it. I used Galvin as a starting point, but it wasn’t long before I took it in a totally different direction. (Actually, I later added a chapter before Galvin, The Old Mill)
OK, time to step back for a minute.
Years ago, perhaps decades ago, I visited an early 19th century Federalist Mansion, The Barrett House. This house is in New Ipswitch, New Hampshire, home of the oldest mill in the state. I was very impressed with the place and its history and wrote a book in my head based very loosely on it. It was a ghost story about a woman who wanted the truth of her family to be known. It ended with a gruesome discovery from the early 19th century, at which time the ghost went away. I later decided it needed a kicker at the end, a bit of a twist, but one that made other parts of the story make sense.
This story was quickly forgotten.
The story that the ghost tells in the original ended up being the core of the story about the Goode family in The Old Mill. I even included the kicker. I came into it from a different angle so there were some changes. In the original, the ghost was in ways “the love interest”. At times you can see it in my newer version. Martha does flirt with Gill. But there are reasons for the flirting, which become clear (I hope) by the end.
I also didn’t like the end. I mean, it was OK, but anticlimactic. This story needed a tense ending that included all of the main characters. I came up with a few possibilities. I asked a couple of people what they thought of one or two possibilities and then made my decision. Hint, there are people who live that I was originally going to kill off.
I have to say that this was fun to write. In the beginning it wrote itself. I didn’t really have a fixed idea beyond memories of an old story, but then the characters spoke and I listened.
This is, I think, my fourth serial story and the second full length novel. OK, the Frank Series was “novel” length if you remember that it was aimed at 10 year olds. I will admit, I really like writing this way and am happy with the results. After I put out The Fireborn, I will take the first of my serialized novels, the Halley Branch, out and start the process of getting it ready to publish.
I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed posting it! And if you didn’t read it? It’s not too late to start, though like The Halley Branch before it, it will eventually be taken down.
Most of the photos used to head the stories were taken in Wilton, NH. I’ll admit that the fictional town of Amesbury is based very loosely on Wilton. There were also a couple of photos from Milford, NH and one from Hollis, NH. There was also a photo from my barn (the interior beam). And I used a drawing for Jessica in one story and another drawing for another chapter. See the photo gallery below.
I’ll admit that most people don’t want to read a 70K (plus or minus) word novel on line. I understand why not many did. But I hope those who did decide to read it had a great time with it!