Why I Wrote a Self-Help 101 Novella About Halloween.
The Self-Help 101 series started with my desire to write a Christmas novella. I’ve seen plenty of other people put out various holiday-themed novellas, and I thought I’d give it a go. I also knew I wanted the series to be funny and enjoyable to read, and the main character Dani ended up being a lot like I was at her age--an awkward writer who thrives on sarcasm and coffee.
I finished that first novella, Self-Help 101 or: How I Learned to Take Over the World Through Tolerating My Family, and released it. That was all I’d planned on doing. Then my husband made an off-handed comment about how I could write more novellas, each one taking place on a different holiday. Within minutes, I knew I needed to write one for the 4th of July (there’s a lot of potential for disaster in a holiday with explosions going on all over the place), Halloween, and New Year’s Eve (which makes for a fitting end to a series because of the reflective nature of the holiday).
Why did I decide to write a novella for Halloween, though? There are plenty of other holidays to choose from. However, there were some holidays that didn’t seem like they had much narrative potential. What could have been the main conflict for Columbus Day? Perhaps Dani needed to mail a letter and was irritated that the post office was closed. Yeah, it didn’t feel like I’d have much to work with there.
Halloween, however, has lots of narrative potential. Dani, having just started college, gets to experience old traditions in new ways. There are costumes, which are a lot of fun. There’s trick-or-treating. Imagine how trick-or-treating with full-grown adults might go. There are parties, which always have the potential for crazy antics. How could I pass that up?
I also love Halloween, and I’m sure that influenced my decision. If I think writing a particular story sounds like fun, then I’m going to write it.
“No. Most of the comments on my blog are relatively nice. I’ve only got the one troll. Oh, and I’ve been told three times in the last two days that I can make $87 an hour from just sitting in front of my computer. Judging from the state of my wallet, I don’t think it’s working.”
“If you do figure it out, let me know. I’m all for benefitting from being lazy,” Ruby said around a mouthful of chocolatey cereal. She crunched away thoughtfully for a moment before continuing. “You could always try doing vlogs instead. They’re more popular since most people prefer watching a video to reading a post.”
“As a writer, I find that rather depressing. Probably true, but definitely depressing. Besides, doing a vlog means getting dressed.”
Ruby shook her head. “That may not be entirely true. A lot of them could be recording without pants on, and no one would ever know.”
I shuddered. “Gross. Thanks for the mental imagery.”
Title: Self-Help 101 or: How to Select a Costume to Help You Deal With People
Author: L.G. Keltner
Length: 29,000 words
Cover Art: L.G. Keltner and Jamon Walker
Release Date: September 27, 2016
Book 3 in the Self-Help 101 series.
Dani Finklemeier is adjusting to life in college and the realities of living away from home for the first time. She’s also learning to deal with the criticism that stems from sharing her writing with the world. Some of the online criticism is even spelled correctly, which somehow makes it worse.
Fortunately, she has a Halloween party, a group of friends, and a supportive boyfriend to distract her from the things that are bothering her. Of course, a holiday celebration wouldn’t be complete without something going wrong. Between an unpleasant confrontation with an infuriating classmate, some shocking costume choices, and a bizarre fraternity stunt, the evening will be anything but dull.
Dani’s detractors may not like it, but she’ll definitely have enough material for another book.
L.G. Keltner spends most of her time trying to write while also cleaning up after her crazy but wonderful kids and hanging out with her husband. Her favorite genre of all time is science fiction, and she’s been trying to write novels since the age of six. Needless to say, those earliest attempts weren’t all that good.
Her non-writing hobbies include astronomy and playing Trivial Pursuit.
Add it on Goodreads.