Writing The Black Castle

It was raining hard. The rain was in Liz’s eyes. The lightening flashed again, almost blinding her. For a long moment Liz didn’t know if she had seen anything at all.

Then, the lightening flashed once more, and she saw it clearly.

It was 50 or 60 feet away, standing in a doorway. It was tall as a man. But there was something wrong with the way it stood. The legs were too short, and the arms were too long. The head wasn’t the right shape. The face was like the face of an animal.

Lightening flashed again. This time Liz saw an empty doorway.

The thing was gone.

That's from The Black Castle, something I put together for my adult street-borrower* who wanted more level 4-5 reading material with a strong narrative flow,* and some refective questions for writing work.

The Black Castle is actually a book I wrote five or six years ago. I'd made several copies, but gave them all away. I also had about a third of an interactive fiction game written in Q-Basic or somesuch programming language. There's still a copy of the book on a hardrive in my junk drawer, formatted in a Publisher 2, but the prospects of trying to recover it.... Well, it just seemed easier to write it again.

So, I did. But only Chapter One. I decided to see if she liked it before I went any further.

A few days after leaving it with her, we connected and I asked, "Well? Was it okay?"

"It was good at first, but I didn't like the way it ended."

"Oh. That's because it's only the first chapter. There are five more coming."

"Oh, okay. Well, hurry up."

I did, and now I'm working on a second, with the Hollywood title Return To The Black Castle. (Yes, I'm serious - you think you can do better, please go right ahead!)

I've complained before* about the lack of adult reading material at the upper 3 to lower 5 level - only one person paid any attention to me, so I won't complain again. Anyway, I'm about to start working with a half dozen other learners in this ballpark. So, I guess I should be grateful that this learner gave me a head start at creating books.

Maybe, down the road sometime, I'll get them all up online for others. (Although right now I'm scheming about how to get some funding agency to pay me to produce free adult learning materials. I'll let you know how that turns out, too.)

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