Paula, what is this crazy project of yours???

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Here are the highlights (For those with short attention spans):

1. This story was constructed using actual, unadulterated, archival material -- some dating back to 1776.

2. The story is best enjoyed if you click on the images and zoom in to see the details, preferably in landscape mode.

3. I will, on rare occasions, be creating original material to tie a few of the story elements together. This will be kept to a minimum and I will indicate it as such whenever I do this.

4. This is a Dialogue Story, which means that it's a group chat setting but the dialogue is more conversational, rather than "chat-like."

The Backstory (For those of you with more patience :-) :

So, one day, while I was -- well, I don't remember what I supposed to be doing -- but I stumbled on a cache of over 2,500 historic photos of the tiny town of Keene, New Hampshire (

Within minutes of perusing these photographs, I'd gotten sucked in. They had photos of farms, and families, and industry -- as one would expect -- but they also had photos of the blizzard of 1888, the flood of 1938, and the blackout of 1942.

And while wading through these images, I thought to myself, "I wonder what kind of stories are buried deep within these photographs, what secrets, what tales?" And even though I'd never know the true story of Keene, New Hampshire (since I'm not a historian and I don't live there), an alternate story began forming in my mind, especially when I came across an odd or unusual photo.

So, I got to wondering--what if I could actually stitch together a story, preferably a Young Adult Mystery, using only these old photographs?

It would be a Dan Brown-style tale, but instead of the Vatican as my primary source for grand conspiracies, I'd use the Keene Public Library and the Historical Society of Cheshire County. :D

Well, the idea kept gnawing at me and before I knew it, I was hooked.

As I began to ponder the plot, I decided to expand the parameters of the experiment to include any primary source related to Keene. And quite honestly, that's when the fun began!

I have to say, this project turned out so much better than I'd hoped for and I hope you enjoy it too! :-)

So, here are the rules I put in place for myself. If you've read Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, the artistic concept should be familiar to you. But the author, Ransom Riggs, pulled from a huge cache of historical photographs to build his tale. I'm limiting myself to those related to this tiny town in New Hampshire.

Essentially, these are the parameters I used:

1. The main storyline had to be driven and shaped by the primary sources I found for the town of Keene and its surrounding areas. I would occasionally be allowed to add contemporary, non-related Keene images, but only if it was in the context of an off-topic conversation between characters.

2. The only image manipulation I was allowed was: cropping, zooming for clarity, and the markups the characters made as a part of the story.

3. I would have to provide links for all the original sources for verification purposes and in case anyone wanted to learn more about the original image or document.

4. And I could, occasionally, invent a piece of material or create an image to use as a connector between the actual historical material and my fictional story. But I'd limit these to 2 or 3 items, max. (I think I actually only used one in the end)

As far as style, I wanted this to be chat story with 100% of the characters' interactions happening "online." Wattpad doesn't support a straight-up, group-style chat format, with different fonts and colors. And I was going to use an actual chat app or the Tap app, but I realized I needed the archival images to be "zoomable," so that wouldn't work in the end.

So, I decided to go with a "chat-style" format that's closer to the script style I'm using in my work, The Otherworlders. I guess you would classify this more as a Dialogue Story. Which means it'll flow much more like a script or a conversation than "chat speak" (you know, when folks use "ur" instead of "you are"?) But if you keep and open mind, I think you'll see it works for the story.

Last bit -- I'm using the symbols below before images to denote pauses while the pictures load or if there's a pause in a conversation:







Also, (...) for a continuation of the same speaker's text.

Okay, I think that's it! Let's see what I came up with, courtesy of the town of Keene, New Hampshire, U.S.A.!

P.S. - If you've read my super-short contest entry for the Midnight Sun movie contest, "What if..?" you'll see I not only borrowed those character's names for two characters in this story, but I've also included a little Easter Egg...sort of an ode to that story and a couple I just couldn't quite forget. :-)


The images are listed Under Creative Commons License - Under "The Commons," cultural institutions that have reasonably concluded that a photograph is free of copyright restrictions are invited to share such photograph under their new usage guideline called "no known copyright restrictions."

Story and Characters - Copyright © Paula G. (paulapdx)

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorised reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author.

Please report any violations of this copyright to either my PM or message board or directly to Wattpad.



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