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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Discussion of...    Books  ›  Halls of Sorrow - A novel by Sean Elwood Moderators: Old Time Wesley, Chris_MacGuffin
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  Author    Halls of Sorrow - A novel by Sean Elwood  (currently 189 views)
Zombie Sean
Posted: June 17th, 2024, 5:03am Report to Moderator
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Hello everyone,

I've always loved writing screenplays, and even moreso have I loved telling stories in general, despite the format. While screenplays are my go-to type of writing, I love getting into the nitty gritty details of prose and fiction.

That's why I want to finally announce that I have finished the first draft of my upcoming novel HALLS OF SORROW.


Quoted Text
A writer loses everything he owns in a fire. A painter relocates after the death of her husband. A realtor struggles when he's fired from his career. And a house beckons for them to enter, ready to consume what’s left of who they are. Trapped within its halls of sorrow, they must face their deepest and darkest failures, insecurities, and regrets, before they’re lost forever.


Since March of 2023, I have worked diligently on this story, which is by far one of the most depressing pieces I have ever written. Come Christmas of last year, I had to take a break, as the story involves a sensitive topic that reared its ugly head into my life and completely put me off from continuing the story, at least for a while.

Alas, with writing being both a blessing and a curse in my life, I sat back down, pushed myself through my own sorrows, and finished the story. It was very rewarding to type 'THE END', and at just shy of 60,000 words (which, if I recall correctly, is the minimum word count for a book to be considered a novel), HALLS OF SORROW has officially been completed.

The main reason why I created this thread is not only to make my work known, but I was also curious to see if anyone here would be interested in reading what I have. By doing so, you'll critique the book to help flesh out the story, provide necessary details and remove the unnecessary ones, and overall tell me if it is even worth pursuing a publishing company to pick up this project.

With that being said, I'd love to share what I've created so far. Below you will find the book cover I made, as well as a teaser trailer, and a book trailer.

Enjoy!

Sean












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Zombie Sean  -  July 9th, 2024, 10:31am
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LC
Posted: June 17th, 2024, 6:15pm Report to Moderator
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This is a huge achievement. Congrats, Sean!

Would you consider posting an excerpt, you know like a promotional 'Look Inside'? I was looking for a link.


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Yuvraj
Posted: June 17th, 2024, 8:26pm Report to Moderator
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Amazing, Sean! Read the description in the teaser video; it sounds intriguing!

Good luck.


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Zombie Sean
Posted: June 18th, 2024, 6:28am Report to Moderator
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Thank you for your congratulations and interest, Libby and Yuvraj.


Quoted from LC
This is a huge achievement. Congrats, Sean!

Would you consider posting an excerpt, you know like a promotional 'Look Inside'? I was looking for a link.


Here is the prologue of the book:


Quoted Text
There is a difference between a home and a house.

A home is a sanctuary of the heart that brings comfort and ease to its inhabitants. It is an open book, waiting to be written; or a blank canvas, in which memories and experiences are eventually painted.

The other is a lifeless structure, a mere arrangement of cold brick and gnarled wood containing a darkness within. Uninspired, uninviting, uninhabitable.

Yes, there is a difference between a home and a house.

A home is sought after, like a beacon of light in the darkest of nights.

A house, however, craves life to fill an empty void, tempting those that heed its call, and consuming whoever enters, bones and all.


You'll notice it's the monologue from the trailer.

Here are the first couple of pages of the book (I removed the beginning of the chapter, as the post became too long for the thread):


Quoted Text
PART ONE: THE WRITER

Depression's a place,
A house where demons reside
And beckon you in


...

The Writer sat at the kitchen table across from his parents, quiet still. He could only look at his mother, and how the sadness in her face made her eyelids droop so low that it looked like she had no eyes at all. A woman no longer; no longer human, no longer an existence. Which made him question his own existence, as he had countless times before. He knew his mother loved him, and would die for him, but he’d convinced himself the opposite; that everything she ever said and would ever say is as much of a lie as what he was told by the demon that sat on his shoulders. It spoke in a thousand hushed voices with a hatred he would never be able to conjure up from his imagination. Always about himself, always about his existence; a darkness he held on to for as long as he can remember.

The whispering voice continued.

He tapped his mug of tea to no particular rhythm as he stared at the swirling steam.

“Have you written anything new?” His mother asked.

“I’m working on a few things,” he responded, uninterested in going into detail.

His mother persisted, “You’re such a great writer. I really think you could do something with your talent.”

He noticed his father’s eyes roll with the most subtle shake of his head.

“Thanks, Mom.” He didn’t believe her, as he never had. She was his mother, she was supposed to say things like that.

And with that, they were quiet once more. The thunder outside grumbled with a hunger that devoured the silence.

The landline rang. Immediately, his mother stood up to answer the saving grace, leaving him and his father at the table.

“Hello?” She answered with forced liveliness. “Oh, hi Sylvia. Yes, quite a storm we’re having.”

He kept his head down as he stared at his tea. His typewriter key necklace dangled above the mug, the ‘S’ twirling ever so slightly with the swirling steam. He could feel the burn of his father’s stare into his soul. Though his father had not spoken a word, the demon on his shoulders said everything he was thinking.

“Oh that’s wonderful, Sylvia,” his mother continued on the phone. “What did the other girls say?”

And with that, he knew his mother had found the distraction she needed.

He cleared his throat and stood, unsure of whether he actually excused himself to his father, but what would it matter? His father’s eyes were locked on him as he rose from the table, and the guilt he felt made his legs feel shaky from the weight. Guilty from what, he wasn’t sure. The demon had many things to say, but it quieted down once he left the kitchen.

His childhood home held a haze that fogged his vision. His feet hissed along the carpet while he dragged himself through the living room. The antenna television broadcasted a public channel that featured a live band jamming to an unfamiliar song. The lamps attempted to drown out the shadows that built the home. The vomit-green wallpaper followed him along his way down a windowless hall, a gullet that pushed him with invisible peristalsis. The door to his old bedroom was one of many that branched from the hall, which ended at the master bedroom where he’d rarely enter.

He pushed the door open to his childhood bedroom with a surprising amount of effort. It had remained untouched since the day he officially moved out, preserving the life of someone he used to be. Stunted columns of dark furniture filled the clean, empty space. Framed art decorated the walls, which were shadowed by the drawn black-out curtains. He flipped on the light switch to illuminate the neatly made bed with a spread the color of an angry ocean. The carpet looked freshly vacuumed from years ago. It was certainly cleaner than his current living space, which was cluttered with a disorganized library of writings, manuscripts, and records of a passion that’ll never truly be fulfilled.

He reminisced from the doorway, absorbing the memories that remained there. His gaze traveled to the writing desk in the corner where he’d sit every night with a pen and paper, and challenge himself to write as much as he could until he couldn’t write any more. It was his therapy, a means of escape—from himself. He’d hide it away as a personal treasure; a treasure of thoughts and feelings and stories of what if’s, future regrets, and self-discovery. Hidden away, until one day it was found by his mother. He had walked in on her sitting at his writing desk after coming home from school. She was crying. He was scared. But then she smiled. She apologized, and so did he, though he was unsure what for.

She gently grabbed his face. “Don’t be sorry for being beautiful,” she said. “I understand you now." She kissed his forehead, then walked out of the room.

From then on, she inquired about his writing, asked to read his stories, and pestered him to share what he was thinking whenever the two sat alone in silence. She spoke highly of him to his father, who discounted her in disappointment. One day he overheard them speaking softly in the kitchen. His mother was at the stove, faced away from his father who hid behind the morning newspaper.

“He submitted one of his stories into the school’s creative writing competition.”

His father didn’t say anything as he read the paper.

“The judges didn’t pick his, but he put his work out there. It’s a step forward.”

A turn of the page, and nothing more.

“Maybe if you asked to read it, he’d share it with you.”

He flipped another page of the newspaper, uninterested.

“It’s a short story, it won’t take long.” She persisted, claiming how talented he was.

His father stung deep into his conscience with one venomous reply:

He’s a failure.

That final word pulled a trigger to an imaginary gun pointed at The Writer’s head, killing whatever was left of who he was.

Yet he continued to write. Despite his efforts to quit his passion, over and over, believing the echo of failure being spoken into his ear, he would find himself at his desk once again. Bound to write, cursed forever and ever.

He wasn’t sure whether he’d lose his mind from the curse, or from the lack thereof.

A closet branched off the dark hallway as he made his way to the bathroom. It was oddly shaped, as if the house attempted to build a room itself, but couldn’t get it quite right. It was a deep closet, with the smallest nook in the darkest, furthest corner. But it provided a purpose, as every space of a house should. He would hide in the closet whenever his father got angry, squeezed within that nook. He felt protected, stuffed in the crevice and comforted from his father’s booming voice, like the hug of a thunder jacket on a dog during a storm. His father never opened the door to find him inside; or, never bothered to. He’d pace the halls, making nasty comments about him and his mother. She’d take the emotional beating, while he would wait in the closet. The demon would hang out in there with him, and it’d casually agree with everything his father said.

He remembered the pistol, hidden in a dusty shoebox in the closet, tucked away in the nook. It was his father’s, only used for the purpose of home invasions. He wasn’t sure why his father chose the hallway closet over any other part of the home, but thousands of thoughts thrilled his mind knowing that it was there. Ideas and ideations conjured and concocted, but were never once acted upon. One day, he’d always think.

He eyed his reflection as he washed his hands in the bathroom, diverting his gaze as quickly as he looked. He stepped out into the hallway but stopped shortly at the sound of his father’s voice, which seemed foreign to him. He was talking to his mother, who appeared to be off the phone now.

“He’s thirty-five years old and doesn’t have a real job?” His father asked.

“He’s thirty-two, and what does that matter?” His mother defended.

“Does he ever try?”

“Please don’t get angry.”

“Will you just make dinner?”

“You know he doesn’t visit often.”

“I wouldn’t care if he didn’t visit at all.”

“Can’t we just have a nice time?”

His father sighed, frustrated. He didn’t feel like arguing right now. Later, maybe, but not right now. The storm outside released his anger for him in a barrage of lightning and roaring thunder.

The Writer entered the kitchen to find his mother standing at the stove and cooking dinner. It was as if it were her place, whether she wanted it to be or not. His father remained at the table, glaring at his mug of tea that hadn’t been touched. None of them had been.

“I’m leaving.”

His mother looked at him, shocked. “What? You just arrived.”

“I want to go home.”

“But we haven’t seen you in so long,” his mother pleaded.

He didn’t say any more. He felt he shouldn’t need to.

“Okay,” she said with a breath, sad, unable to fight, too exhausted to argue. She ran her fingers through his hair, caressed his scruff. “I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

He looked at his father without a word and then turned to leave.

He sat silent on the entire drive back home. The rain pelted the windshield with a sound of static that filled his ears.

He pulled to the side of the road to let two fire trucks careen past, sirens blaring, horns honking. Then, he continued onward.

He stopped for coffee. They spelled his name wrong.

Still, he continued onward.

He wondered what his father was saying about him at this very moment.

Yet, he continued onward.

The demon was his backseat driver, and begged him to drive as fast as he could, to unbuckle his seatbelt and let the universe take the wheel.

But he continued onward.

He arrived at what was currently left of his apartment, a twelve-story inferno that spit-roasted the rolling clouds of the heavens above. It resembled a Renaissance painting: as the two fire trucks that had barreled past him were parked symmetrically in front of the burning building; as it expelled the fire from its windows in an attempt to extinguish itself; as those who’d made it out in time were hypnotized by the hellish flames that poured upward; as the storm brightened the undulating sky.

He sat in his car for the rest of the night and witnessed his entire life burn away. His belongings. His work, his writings, his manuscripts. His life. Him. Gone.

Forgotten.

As he watched, the demon watched with him, and didn’t say a word.



Sean


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Grandma Bear
Posted: June 21st, 2024, 7:33pm Report to Moderator
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Sean, I'm going on vacation tomorrow; send me the doc and I'll try to read it as much as I can. You know what happened at Christmas, but this time will hopefully be different.  


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Zombie Sean
Posted: July 7th, 2024, 11:42am Report to Moderator
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IT. IS. OFFICIAL!

I absolutely hate asking for handouts, and would rather attempt to do this on my own. But alas, this is the opportunity to get my manuscript in the hands of a publisher, and I need YOUR help!

$3000 is the pledge goal for the editing process of HALLS OF SORROW, my debut adult horror / drama novel. Now, that's a lot of money, and even I was surprised. However, this very important service provides not only an editorial assessment, but a line edit as well.

An editorial assessment will help develop the story and allow me to see what works and what doesn't, with the story, characters, pacing, dialogue, and structure. And a line edit will go line-by-line, fixing any grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure mistakes.

Once the manuscript has been properly revised and edited, I will be sending it to various publishing companies that I believe will be more willing than not to read and potentially publish the story into a bound book.

WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU

Various 'rewards' will be granted based on the amount you back up, from a personal 'Thank You' card, to art prints, to the dedication page, to a SIGNED copy of the book, and even having your name in the story as one of the characters!

However, I know that projects like these are always an "up in the air" pursuit, but the best practice you can do, besides backing up the project, is to SHARE THIS KICKSTARTER! Please spread the word, so that this project can garner as much interest as possible. IF you know ANYONE who loves to read, especially horror / drama / thriller / and mystery, send them this link for them to check out HALLS OF SORROW!

Below you will find the synopsis:

"A writer loses everything he owns in a fire. A painter relocates after the death of her husband. A realtor struggles when he's fired from his career. And a house beckons for them to enter, ready to consume what’s left of who they are. Trapped within its halls of sorrow, they must face their deepest and darkest failures, insecurities, and regrets, before they’re lost forever."

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO SUPPORTS ME IN WHAT I DO. I have a voice, and it's best expressed through writing. Please help me speak, with my work. I don't do it for fame, or money, or even popularity. I do it, because if I didn't write, and didn't share my writing, I would literally go insane.

If I wasn't insane already.

LINK TO THE KICKSTARTER: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/seanelwood/halls-of-sorrow-a-horror-novel


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Zombie Sean
Posted: July 9th, 2024, 9:09am Report to Moderator
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Update Day #2 post for the kickstarter (technically update #1, but it was Day 2 since the campaign had started).

You can read it here!: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/seanelwood/halls-of-sorrow-a-horror-novel/posts/4144598

Sean


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Zombie Sean
Posted: July 9th, 2024, 10:30am Report to Moderator
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Another update for Halls of Sorrow, involving promotional materials! Read the update here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/seanelwood/halls-of-sorrow-a-horror-novel/posts/4145614

I'll go ahead and post the images in this thread in case anyone is not interested in reading the post, but please help spread the word!







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