Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Diary of The WRONG KIND of DEAD

I’m running these edits of Facebook updates, in which I probably reveal way too much about the coming attractions in the concluding book of my SAGA OF THE DEAD SILENCER trilogy, The Wrong Kind of Dead

My streak of post-depression/illness writing blazed white-hot for only a few days. Now it’s to take stock and make notes on what to elaborate on, what to cut, and where to go from here. And to make blog posts. And design promotional .jpgs.  Have I mentioned that the first book in my zompocalypse series, Bleeding Kansas, is on sale?

Anyway, here’s how you build the first act of a zombie novel, one to top the second and first installments in a weird and violent series:

Saturday, 23 August

Three beers. Three pages. That was Friday night. Gotta work on the ratio — should have more pages per beers — but last night was pretty special, given that I’ve been blocked all month long until now. Also, within those three pages, I, 

a) introduced a new character and set up the beginning of her arc (the theme of this book is “Fun with Multiple Character Arcs”) (last book’s theme was, “Creating Credible Romantic Frisson Between Two Damaged Characters”)

b) introduced a minor villain who precipitates the action (he’s really just a pawn in the Greater Villain’s game)

c) reunited my hero with some people he never thought he’d see again, creating emotional turmoil/another wedge between him and his new wife

d) brought back a character from Bleeding Kansas who will play a brief, but major role in setting up the main action (he’ll later explain what’s been going on with the Rest of the World since the Dark Resurrection — we’re going widescreen Technicolor Big Picture/the Whole Enchilada of Human Civilization in the Balance in this book).

Ladies and gentlemen, Dear Readers, you already know you get more happening in three pages of any one of my books than you do in 300 pages of lesser-written novels. In this case, my time off — largely spent wondering if I’d ever get the energy to just type again — seems to have done me worlds of good. Much love to the inventor of anitbiotics and whoever brewed up last night’s batch of Full Sail India Pale Ale. I had genuinely forgotten what it’s like to be me, doing the thing I do best. It truly is a good life if you don’t weaken.
Just gotta keep truckin’...zombie truckin’ down the line....

Sunday, 24 August

Remember those three beers and three pages I talked about? Between Saturday night and Sunday morning it’s now 21 pages. Orchestrating a full-on domestic dispute between a man and his two wives during a military evac in a zombie swarm zone is thirsty work. I’m hurrying through this because I’m looking forward to firebombing the city. It’s good to be at work on a Sunday.

I like how the nude woman provides the Uncanny Valley effect here. In actuality, a lot of dead people would already be naked or the next best thing, lying in hospital beds, etc. Most wouldn’t look so sexy though, as there would be voided bodily wastes staining their legs.

Monday, 25 August

I stopped last night at the bottom of page 25, the first page of Chapter 4. I’m a little hung-up at the moment orchestrating a massacre of “ferals” or “rat people” (scavenging post-apoc humans, as opposed to more proactive hunters/farmers) holed up in an apartment high-rise on 8th Street in west Colorado Springs, just on the other side of the hill from Manitou. 

They were just too handy, though. They permit my heroes to see what’s keeping the super-hungry, super-cray-cray zombies off their own asses while realizing just how messed-up these new people are, beaming drone footage of the massacre back to the Redoubt for the entertainment of decadent elites hundreds of miles away. It’s a chance to set up a Major Thematic Question (is civilization really worth saving? really?) while throwing down some major zombie gore porn to earn my stand-out cred in a very crowded genre. 

Ah, Monday. So long as I can bash out 10 rock-solid pages like I did over the course of yesterday, it’s good to be at work. Cynthia got another pot of coffee brewing, and I’m on the case. Tough break for those poor damn rat people, though....

Kibbles ‘n’ bits!

Tuesday, 26 August

Only four pages were finished yesterday (pp. 26-29), but they involved a massacre, including a lovingly depicted infanticide. Now the Family Grace learns they’ve been unwitting participants in a reality TV show (filmed by drones) while they’ve been fighting for their lives to survive the winter. Helicopters are all over Colorado Springs now for “the final packout” and the dead are going nuts. Derek Grace and his family know going with Col. Dietzen and his people is their best hope for survival, but now they taste another flavor to the evil they always knew was there among the elites who hid themselves in Wyoming while the dead rose to walk the earth for living meat. 

What horrors await my heroes on a Tuesday? I’ll need another cup of coffee and another square of 86% cacao dark chocolate to sort this one out. They’ve got to break camp and visit with the Abundant Life settlement (now run by people who hate the non-religious Grace and his free-wheeling family), but with luck I’ll have those fat incendiary clouds blossoming like dreams of 1945 Dresden over Colorado Springs in time for the evening’s ale consumption.

Hellfire missiles fired from Predator drones are an obvious choice, but I wonder if I can get away with some old-fashioned napalm for an Apocalypse Now wall-of-flame finish. It occurs to me I could also blow up the chemical weapons depot in Pueblo (a major real-life disaster waiting to happen down the road from me). Time to bust out the Sharpies and the desk-calendar paper; I’m going to need to outline this one.

Dead people no likey the fire.

As it turned out I wrote two more pages, and started Chapter 5. I made some cuts throughout the previous pages, posted some sticky notes indicating things I want to see punched up and possibly brought back, and did a lot of thinking under post-midnight gray skies about where the narrative elements I’d introduced in the first 32 pages might take the book.

Which brings me to today. I need to get this post up, and get back to finishing up Act One.  If I could only get Act Two done as quickly as this first one...well, I already know I can pound out the pages when I have a more-or-less clear direction.
Cue Patsy Cline’s “Walking After Midnight.” I need to do some myself.