A reader, Howard Peacock, (you can find his blog here) who may be one of my biggest fans made a comment on my last blog entry about how he views my writing style. I’d like to address the comment in this latest entry.
Howard said he thought my style was very spur of the moment, he he is 100% correct. My episodic tale “Get Out of the City” which can be found on this blog is exactly that. I had this idea in my head of what I would do should a Zombie Apocalypse occur in my own city. How would I get out, what tools would I use, what route would I take. It was an idea I thought I might save for later, maybe after I finished Kodiak Rising. But as the blog began I realized I needed material for the blog. This was when I decided I would just go for the Zombie idea. I mean, why not?
When I sit down to write, I usually just go for it. Part One of Kodiak Rising had an outline that I stuck with for the first half of the draft. As I drafted it, I realized that I wasn’t giving my characters enough time to develop. I pounded through the first draft anyway, not really caring about all that because I had my November NaNoWriMo deadline to reach! When I reached it, the draft was not complete. It was then that I realized I needed to slow down the action, give my character time to understand what was actually happening around them, and that quite honestly, Jake (the main character) had no idea what he was doing.
I spent six months re-working the draft. I re-wrote entire chapters, deleted other chapters, changed how Jake regained his memories, even drove him crazy for a time being as he chased phantoms around his ship. Part One ended with a cliff hanger that actually occurred probably halfway through the first draft. The result was a more dramatic, well-rounded story that I am very proud of. I’ve had my mother look it over and help me with grammar, spelling, typos, etc.
Then, I got married and I put writing on the back burner until I returned from my honeymoon. When I came back, I decided it was time to take it all into high gear. The August edition of NaNoWriMo was around the corner, I was considering publishing Kodiak Rising Part One, and I needed to know if I had an audience.
So, this blog was created. I wanted to know if anyone out there would find my work interesting enough to keep coming back. What better way to build an honest audience than to do exactly what I do in private….write like I think! I don’t want to give all of Kodiak away, if I did why would anyone buy the book? But the first two chapters can be found here on this blog. I am hesitant to add anymore, because Chapter Three brings a great turning point of Jake that sets up the action for the rest of the book.
So, without wanting to spoil Kodiak, I needed something to keep me going that would be strictly for the blog…..thus Zombies. Who doesn’t love a good, old fashioned, Zombie story? On the plane to and from Maui (where we honeymooned) I read The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks. I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed the read. It is full of useful information on how to survive any kind of apocalyptic event. What a person needs to survive and for how long, type of weapons that might be useful, plans to get out of an urban area, even how to turn your own home into a fortress. It inspired me to think of how I might manage.
My friends and I often joke about the Zombie Apocalypse. Perhaps it is a generational thing. With the Zombie being rather popular in movies and fiction, it’s easy to find resources on types of Zombies. Really, you can do anything with a zombie and it evokes a sense of awe, wonder and terror all at the same time. Our generation seems fascinated with post-apocalyptic events. Usually things that are caused by man that ruin the civilization we created and how the human spirit will survive it to live another day and bring about a new generation. I am an Administrator of a facebook group “Zombie Watch 2012”. I created it after the Florida attack of the homeless man Ronald Poppo. In our group I share news stories of actual “zombie” attacks from around the world. I have a google e-mail alert for anytime the term “Face-eater” appears in the news. The group is partially joke, partially very real. I have surrounded myself with the people I know that I believe would be an asset should a Zombie Apocalypse actually occur. These people all have unique talents that would ensure survival.
Sometimes I ask my husband if he thinks I am crazy. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind having an emergency kit in the front all closet with a decent pair of hiking boots in case something happens and we need to get out of here on foot. He laughs at me and says “Of course not, Love.”
I think he thinks I’m crazy.
Anyway, I seem to have veered from the point of this post, but maybe that *was* the point. This is how my mind works! I start on a subject and I just go with it. Get Out of the City, as it appears on this blog is the rough draft. I’ve done little editing, minor proof-reading, and there is no outline I am working from. I just decided one day I would write it, and I did. As I make new posts, I realize that these post are getting quite a bit of traffic, which must mean it’s popular. So, I continue to write little snippets of a Zombie Apocalypse organically.
If I were to take this blog episode and turn it into a novel it would require far more work. I would probably spend six months on re-writing before I compiled it and sent it out to friends and family to read it. What appears here is the roughest of rough drafts of an idea I had one night while falling asleep.
I have noticed that since the August Edition of NaNoWriMo has begun this blog has suffered. It’s unfortunate, but necessary. I am 17K words into a rough draft for Kodiak Rising Part Two and Jake and his friends require my attention. They have been sorely lacking in it since April. When the rough draft is complete, I will go into phase two, the re-write. I’ve noticed that there are certain things that are missing in the plot that need to be added. I could just add them as I go, leave myself a little note like “This should really happen in chapter one.” and forge ahead, but really, I won’t know where these things are supposed to happen until I’ve finished the rough draft.
You see, these characters need to tell me where things need to happen. I’m just writing it as it comes to my mind, but a scene that occurs in Chapter Three could need to be pushed back to Chapter Ten, and something from Chapter Ten should begin the adventure.
I do appreciate readers letting me know if there is something about my writing that could be improved. That’s helpful to me as it gives me an idea of what people like to see when they read and not necessarily what I like to write. I can find better ways to explain action and intent. New words that can make a boring sentence make go from usual to extreme! It’s helpful to a budding writer who has never published a word shy of one poem in a middle school year book in 1998.
So please, gentle reader, keep those observations coming! Let me know what I can do to improve my work, while keeping in mind that most of the content of this blog can be rough. But it’s honest. And if you can enjoy my rough work, imagine what I can do with some real thought!