The Annoying Ghost Kid

Humourist and inspirational writer Robert Wilson publishes a ‘scary’ book for 8- to 12-year-olds, expanding on a yarn he spun for his own sons at bedtime

By Robert Evans Wilson, Jr.-

When my sons were little I would tell them a bedtime story every  night. We would all climb into the bottom bunk with the lights out  and I would make up a story from scratch.

Some nights when I was tired, I would need a little help coming  up with a subject. I would ask them, “What do you want to hear about  tonight?” One night they said, “We want a ghost story.” “Really?” I  asked. And, they said, “Yes, a scary one!”

So, I started weaving a spooky tale with creaking doors,  rattling chains, and a moaning ghost coming through the walls. I  wasn’t but a couple of minutes into the story before one of my sons  said, “Stop Daddy, you’re really scaring us.” I chuckled and asked,  “Well, what kind of story would you like instead?” “We want a funny  ghost story, Daddy.”

“OK,” I said, and began a story about two boys, who were three  years apart in age. The younger boy, Duke, loved to play pranks on  the older boy. The remarkable thing about Duke was  he happened to be a ghost, and because of that he was able to play some extraordinary tricks on Corky, the living boy.

They laughed and laughed as I told how the ghost kid would hide  in the mailbox and startle Corky as he stopped to get the mail on his  way home from school.

The next night they wanted to hear it again. Then again the next  night; then again and again, night after night. So each time I would  add more to the story and before long Duke was getting Corky in trouble at school. Unfortunately, Corky was the only one who could see Duke, which made him one very annoying ghost.

The story continued to grow, and my sons told their friends about it. When their friends played at our house, they would ask me to tell the story about the annoying ghost kid. Word spread, and when I did volunteer work at the school, I would be asked to tell a ghost kid story. It started with a few kids around a lunchroom table, before long I was telling it to entire classrooms. This went on for months – my story simply would not give up the ghost. 😉

One day during lunch on a school field trip, I found myself standing in the gazebo on Roswell Square telling ghost kid stories to the entire fourth grade. A few weeks later, on a Cub Scout camping  trip, thirty boys sitting around the campfire started chanting, “Ghost Kid! Ghost Kid!” until I told the story.

At that point I knew I was on to something, and it was time to  write it on paper – this story had more than a ghost of a chance to  succeed as a book. 🙂

Once “The Annoying Ghost Kid” was written, I was concerned with whether or not children would still enjoy it. So, I printed dozens of  copies and test marketed it with my target audience – kids age 8 to  12. The reviews were all positive and several parents told me their  children read it more than once. Then I asked some teachers to read  it to their classes, and again positive reviews – their students  loved the ghost kid.

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