Making ‘wicked’ progress on my next book

I’ve been researching at breakneck speed for my second book, “Wicked in Columbus, Indiana.” The book, which will be published by The History Press, should be out sometime early 2017. It focuses on some of the crummy stuff the city has experienced (although nothing more recent than 1980). I also talk about how some of this crummy stuff has been cleaned up.

I’m about 90 percent done with the research for three of the chapters, which center on a public fight between the oldest editor and the youngest mayor in the state of Indiana in 1877, the Ku Klux Klan’s presence in Columbus and Bartholomew County over the years, and a look at two doctors who were poisoned and the investigation into who did it.

Many more chapter to work on, including two areas of the city that were considered the worst slums the city has ever seen, a bevy of brothels in the early 1900s, as well as a few murders and robberies and a few other topics.

Click on the photos below to see caption information.

Wikipedia notices Buddy

I don’t know who posted it, but apparently someone has decided that Buddy Schumacher is worthy of an entry on Wikipedia. No, I didn’t post it, although I may have added a few sentences. Go here to check it out; I have a feeling the entry will evolve.

Now, when do I get an entry on Wikipedia?

Young authors event

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I had a great time helping inspire aspiring writers and illustrators on April 9 as part of an expert panel at the Young Authors & Illustrators Forum at the Bartholomew County Public Library in Columbus, Indiana.

The event was sponsored by the library and Pen It! Publications. The panel also consisted of Debi Stanton, president of Pen It! Publications; Korey Woods, an accomplished illustrator; Cheryl Jenkins, an author and writer who spoke on good editing; and Jeri Maynard, a young adult author.

We spoke on a great number of topics, such as getting better at writing and illustrating, who might want to publish your work, what kinds of places hire writers and graphic artists, and much more.

The event was free. I hope to be a part of another one of these before too long.

 

Photos from the White River library program

Thanks to everyone who came out to my program on Feb. 3 at the White River branch of the Johnson County Public Library. Here are a few photos to prove it really happened.

Come to my White River Twp. (Center Grove) library program

I’m looking forward to giving a presentation based on my book, “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher,” at the White River branch of the Johnson County Public Library on Wednesday, February 3, 2016.

The program is titled “Cold Case Files: Murder in Wauwatosa with Paul Hoffman”

Here are the details:

Location: WRB-Community Room (Whole room) at 1664 Library Blvd., Greenwood, IN 46142. See map to right. Click here to see a map of all Johnson County Public Library locations.white-river-map

Library phone: (317) 885-1330

Event Type: Adult Program
Age Group(s): Adult-Teen
Date: 2/3/2016
Start Time: 6:30 PM
End Time: 8:00 PM (or a little earlier depending on how everyone behaves)

Description: Want to solve a crime? Join Daily Journal Special Publications Editor, Paul Hoffman, as he discusses his book, “Murder in Wauwatosa.” In 1925, 8-year-old Buddy Schumacher was found murdered in the small town of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. The case was never solved, and the investigation had many inconsistencies.

Registration Ends: 2/3/2016 at 6:00 PM

Books will be available for purchase afterward (just $10 each, which saves you plenty over the retail price of $19.99 and the cost of getting me to mail you an autographed copy, which is $15)

If you’d like to register, click here.

Autographed copies of ‘Murder in Wauwatosa’ on sale!

Who doesn’t love saving money at this time of year?

From now through the end of 2015, you can get an autographed copy of “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher” at the ridiculously low price of $15 (shipping and tax included). List retail price is $19.99.

Send a check for $15 per book to: Paul Hoffman, P.O. Box 2611, Columbus, IN 47201

Or send money via PayPal to phof63@sbcglobal.net.

This makes an excellent gift for readers; fans of history, true crime, Prohibition and social justice; Wisconsinites or former Wisconsinites; as well as left-wing, right-wing and middle-of-the-road enthusiasts and people who just want to see me be able to afford to continue writing.

Hurry! Order before I run out of copies in my basement.

705BuddyPostcard

Author’s Fair this Saturday!

I’m looking forward to participating in an author’s fair at the Bartholomew County Public Library in Columbus, Indiana, this Saturday! Authors will give readings from their works, whether prose or poetry,  every 15-20 minutes. I’ll be reading from 12:15-12:30 p.m. Stop by if you can!AUTHOR'S FAIR

Screenplay update – The beginning and ending start to unfold

Learning how to write a screenplay, then fitting my story into the format, is fascinating.

I haven’t actually started putting any text into the fancy screenplay-writing software I purchased yet. But, I’ve been going over the parts of the Syd Field book, “Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting” that I marked up in yellow highlighter, and have been figuring out how the story of little Buddy Schumacher fits into Syd’s suggestions.

“Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher” contains the basic, documentary-style nonfiction stuff that I’m molding into another art form.

Here are a few items I’ve been working on and/or thoughts I’ve had about screenplay writing generally, and this project particularly, as I’ve been working:

  • Figure out the ending. You have to know where you’re going before you decide how to get there. I won’t tell you that part. It would ruin everything. Besides, I can always change my mind.
  • Figure out the beginning. You have to start somewhere. For me … for now … it’s the Hoffman family meeting Buddy’s father, Art Schumacher when Art sells Mr. Hoffman his house. From there, the next door neighbor lady tells a young Paul
    Art Schumacher, Buddy's father, in 1910.

    Art Schumacher, Buddy’s father, in 1910.

    Hoffman about “the Schumacher boy who was killed down by the river and the railroad tracks.” That sets the rest of the story in motion.

  • Place and time: The movie primarily takes place in Wauwatosa, a suburb of Milwaukee, in 1925.
  • Figure out who the movie is about: Art Schumacher, Buddy’s dad is the main character.
  • What is the main character trying to do: He’d trying to remain strong for his family in the wake of his 8-year-old son’s disappearance and murder.
  • Figure out what happens in the three acts of the movie: Act I sets everything up. We find out who the main characters are, what motivates them, how they interact, etc. At the end of Act I, Buddy disappears, changing everybody’s lives. In Act II, we see the main characters change as they are forced to endure all sorts of issues that crop up when a family member goes missing. Art’s quest to keep his family protected and sane keep meeting with obstacle after obstacle.The end of Act II may be when Edward Vreeland, a local hobo who had been identified as being with Buddy the day he disappeared, was let go after eye witnesses changed their stories about him. Act III resolves everything in a way you’ll just have to watch.
  • Working title: Blackridge (the name of the swimming hole Buddy was heading for when he disappeared.
  • Figure out everything I can about the main character: I have to know Art Schumacher (at least the screenplay version of him) inside and out so I know how he’s going to react when things happen in the movie. So, I needed to come up with answers to questions like: Who were his parents? What kind of socioeconomic status did they have? What kind of childhood did Art have? What are his attitudes toward love, family, work, politics, religion, etc.? What were his hobbies? Whom did he have conflicts with and why? What is he like at work, at home, in the community, when he’s alone? And then, figure out a lot of that stuff for the other main characters.
  • Here are a few of the character traits I’ve decided Art has when the story begins in 1925: He lives simply, with very few extravagances, but allows for “treats”  now and then. He drives a 1923 Ford Model T. He likes fresh veggies, hunting, singing, kids and God. He dislikes dishonesty, breaking laws and smoking. He likes meat and potatoes, creamed herring and a little stollen at Christmas.
  • Art confides his deepest fears to his brother, Louis. He also confides to a lesser degree in his pastor, his wife and his boss.
  • Figure out the dynamics between characters: Between Art and all the people he comes into contact with, between Buddy and his sister, between newspaper reporters and the community, the Wauwatosa chief of police and the suspects, etc.
  • How to introduce all the different theories of what happened to Buddy: Nobody really knows what exactly happened to Buddy, but there are a few main theories. I’m thinking we may show some of those theories during nightmares Art has while his boy is missing or shortly after he’s found.
  • Some of the themes that may come out: Even the best of men have their limits and do things they might not ordinarily do when subjected to intense stress.
  • I studied up on what kinds of food and activities you might see at a Lutheran church picnic in 1925 Milwaukee; what household appliance were and were not invented, and which may have been in common use, at that time; what sorts of music might a 12-year-old girl listen to then, and how that might differ from her 40-year-old parents; and more.
  • Noting that all people want to be loved, successful, happy and healthy. But that we have different ideas of just what these things are and how we achieve them. It is these differences that determine each character’s point of view, attitude and transformation (if there is one) during the screenplay.

When I was writing the book, I didn’t have to know a lot of these things; I simply presented as many facts as I could find, then added some questions that readers might want to ponder. So, I’ve been doing a lot more research.

And there’s lots more to do. Although I can see the time when I start putting words into the screenplay format isn’t all that far off now. I still need to read more screenplays of famous movies to see how the stories are written in that format before I really start writing in earnest.

Can cozies, bottle openers and stress balls … oh, my!

I picked up a few marketing items the other day.

Ordered myself a couple of stress balls that are really more of rounded-off stress cubes featuring the cover of my book, “Murder in Wauwatosa: MerchandiseThe Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher,” on one face.

Also got some bottle openers emblazoned with my website, http://www.PaulHoffmanAuthor.com.

And finally, some can/bottle cooler-like cozies with the book cover and my website printed on them.

I haven’t figured out what all I’m going to do with them yet. I might offer them for sale, might do some giveaways. I’ve only ordered a few of each right now. I’ll probably get more later.

Earlier, I got myself a mouse pad and T-shirt with the book cover on them. Those were for my own use, although I could certainly order more. I also gave my mom a coffee mug with the book cover on it.

It’s pretty neat all the cool stuff you can get.

If you were me, what would you do with them? Post a message here, go to my Facebook author page and post a note there or email me at phof63@sbcglobal.net.