Hello, NaNoWriMo, meet The Devil’s Playground.
NaNoWriMo was when I buckled down and wrote my first draft of Fallen Star (2015) and when I wrote the entire manuscript of Dollar Deal: The Story of the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers (2013). This year, as I am working on the rewrites on Fallen Star, I considered using that as my NaNoWriMo project for 2017 but decided that would be cheating myself.
Also, I know that I can’t write another novel for NaNoWriMo – not while I am still working on polishing Fallen Star for a trip to the editors.
But, I wanted to do something.
28 years ago, I began to explore the countryside of Yukon, Oklahoma, with my friends and we found a ton of fantastic locations. Stoner Bridge was where we would meet up and just hang out. However, that was the starting point.
From there, we discovered The Devil’s Playground, Brakefield Mansion, The Witch’s House, and Five Mile. Each of these spots in the country contained an urban legend or haunting, and each had its own story to tell.
A man killed a playground of children and still haunts the now abandoned playground to this day. A man murdered his family in their mansion, and their spirits remain there to this day, unable to cross over to the other side.
Devil worshippers head out to a five-mile strip of land and offer up sacrifices for power. An old woman lives alone in her home, never leaving, and bringing damnation to those who dare disturb her. An old cemetery, the newest grave almost a century old, contains graves of young children who died in the same year and if you lie on top of their graves, they will try to pull you into the earth with them.
An old abandoned bridge rests above a creek, and if you are quiet at night, you can hear a sobbing sound in the distance. Crazily, that last one turned out to be a famous urban legend and haunting in Oklahoma – a variation of the Crybaby Bridge urban legend.
As a young man, not yet 21, this was thrilling and got my creative juices flowing.
The Devil’s Playground
I wrote a short story in the early ’90s based on The Devil’s Playground. I included some exact descriptions from the area – the church down the road, the creek surrounding the old playground like a mote, the bridge that once led to the playground hanging, useless.
People would read my story and then we would take them out there, making sure to hit all the landmarks I described in the story. By the time we got there, they would be scared silly, and then we would take them to the playground itself and – more often than not – all end up running back to the cars by the time the night concluded.
When I started college in ’94, I was majoring in business because I didn’t’ know what else to do. Then, I re-wrote and turned in The Devil’s Playground as an assignment for an English Comp class. My professor pulled me aside and said I was wasting my time in business classes and should major in writing – suggesting the journalism program at the University of Oklahoma.
The rest is history – but it all started with The Devil’s Playground.
My New Book
That leads me to my NaNoWriMo project for 2017. It is titled The Devil’s Playground and will include short stories based on these urban legends, including a brand-new version of The Devil’s Playground.
Don’t expect to see this book for at least a year. I plan to write each of the short stories and then pitch them to magazines and anthologies through 2018 before collecting them as a book to sell. However, expect to see a short story in the book from the world of Fallen Star, one that I might make available in a special promotion after that novel is released.
I will keep you guys posted here as I work on the new NaNoWriMo project so stay tuned. Also, make sure to check out my reviews over on Goodreads where I am starting a journey through the works of Stephen King – the books and the films – in order of the publication date of the book.
First up there, Carrie.