Monday, January 16, 2017

Inspiration for my YA horror story "The Waiting"

By now many of you have been able to read my short story, The Waiting, which appears in the AAYAA anthology, This Moment When. The collection is FREE and is available at various ebook retailers. The story is about Amber, a teen who loves urban exploring and spends many hours at the closed-up psychiatric hospital across the street from where she lives. She's met a ghost there, Sebastian, and when she visits he has a surprise for her. One she may at first like but will quickly change her mind when she learns what he has in store.

First, I'll share this little known fact about my story. "The Waiting" was originally titled "The Haunting Season" which won Honorable Mentions in three different writing contests in 2016. I re-titled my story because I envision it as a longer work, a novel perhaps, along with a prequel story about the antagonist's backstory.

The great thing about inspiration is that it can hit you anytime, anywhere. My inspiration for "The Waiting" struck months after I toured and photographed an old psychiatric center about twenty minutes from my home. I've been living in the Hudson Valley for over 20 years and I've driven by this site for so long and have been intrigued by it every time. One day my daughter told me she'd been there and knowing that I'm into these types of places, she said we should go together.

I took her up on the offer. With our cameras in hand, we spent four to five hours on a gorgeous, warm August weekday walking the property. We took in the various sights, capturing images, while imagining what life there was once like. We weren't chased away and remained respectful of our surroundings. There wasn't anything 'spooky' about the place, but I did think I saw movement behind a window once. I figured it was the play of sunlight off of the branches of nearby trees.

Here are some of the pictures I took which later inspired me when writing the setting for "The Waiting."

This is the inspiration for the
Administration Building Amber enters. 
A stairwell Amber has to climb to enter.

Could this be Amber on one of her numerous trips
to Templeton?
Since then the property has been purchased and is now in the planning stages before it undergoes a severe transformation. Some buildings have already been razed.

I understand the need for updating lots but this property has some significant historical buildings on it designed in the Kirkbride Plan style which need to be preserved. I only wish that when hospitals such as this one were slated for closing that some kind of plan for reuse had been created and followed so that they could remain open instead of being abandoned and left to rot. They became canvases for street art and ripe for vandalism, instead of being re-purposed immediately.

Luckily there is a non-profit group called The PreservationWorks that is actively involved with this site's planning and I hope they are successful in their venture.

Perhaps this is one of the walls inside
 the Administration Building?
Could Sebastian look out this window
and see Amber approaching?

An outside stairwell which I used as the model
for the one Amber runs down. 

1 comment:

  1. What a grand old structure. I agree. It's such a waste. Looks like you found your inspiration!