Friday, 5 February 2016

Things a Writer Shouldn't Do. No. 42

A couple of days ago, I came to a bit of an impasse. I was having difficulty getting my brain into the right gear for writing about zombies. I knew what I wanted to write but couldn't get the words from my brain to my fingers. Frustrated, I went for a long walk.

Usually, I picture the scene, and play it out from each angle. Then I try to describe what I can 'see'. So, as I walked past the waterlogged meadow, I pictured Sholto and Helena (a teacher from New York who is the other principal hero of this story), walking through the woods of Pennsylvania. It just wasn't working.

The problem, I reasoned, was that I was only seeing the scenario from their eyes. What I needed was to think about the undead. Where had they come from. Who had they been before they were infected. What was their story? So, I continued my walk, this time imagining I was one of these predatory zombies. How did they walk. How did they move. What did they sound like.

I got a little carried away. I shuffled and shambled my way through the park, snapping my teeth, hissing, and gasping and... and then I saw the puzzled look on the face of the old lady taking her dog for a walk.

Well, I guess I'll need to find another park to walk through, but it worked. The scene got writ. The next zombie novel, the prequel story of how the outbreak began, and how Sholto tried to stop it, is moving on apace. I'm at 10 days after the outbreak, with 45,207 words so far. I'll probably trim that down, and get at least one more dose of writer's block, but I can say with certainty this novel will get finished.

I'm not sure whether I'll release this as a prequel to the main series or as Book 1 in a new USA series, and won't really be able to decide that for a few more weeks. So, as usual, the title may change from Zero to USA 1: New York. We shall see.

Have a great weekend, Frank.