12 October, 2008

Prepping the living dead for NaNoWriMo 2008

This is my third year doing NaNoWriMo, and I am very excited to be participating. Last year I didn't do so well, bombing out somewhere just around 10,000 words. The year before, I managed to make it, but the end result today feels like it needs a complete overhaul before I can even think of using it. This year, I've got my basic plot established. I'm having a zombie apocalypse.

Revealing major plot details to the general public always feels like telling people what you wished for when you blew out the candles on your birthday cake, so I will only say this: I am charged about the overall plot I'm working on. I'm about to start creating the host of characters and a small outline to go off of once the massive writing fest begins. I've never been a big fan of outlining, but you can't dive into NaNoWriMo without a good plan.

The inspiration started mid-summer, when I began working on a zombie-inspired short story. Right after I had established the early plot elements, a great How To opportunity came up on Mahalo: How to Survive a Zombie Attack. Hello? Kismet? Is that you? So I took on the assignment, and like the Solanum Virus, zombie fever was in my blood.

Before I could start gnawing on the nearest human being, I reached for Max Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide, and the zombie fixation escalated. Zombie films have been a staple in our household for years anyway, but it was time to have massive marathons. I also had the desire to dig up a series of books featuring zombie short stories from the 90's, but have yet to unearth them from the dusty past. I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a John Joseph Adams edited short story collection that just came out near the end of September entitled, The Living Dead. Featuring short stories by Poppy Z. Brite, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King and a host of other phenomenal authors, it promises to be a fantastic read.

So the research period has begun. Over the next couple weeks don't be surprised if my blogs take on a strange, survivalist undertone, with tips on where to find underground water, how to identify edible plants and fungi and improvise cookware on the fly. I mean, let's face it, when zombies attack, how long you survive is going to depend on a host of things like:
1. How fast you can run.
2. How well you can plan and think under pressure and depression
3. Your wilderness survival skills

Because there are so few people living in the wilderness, the zombies will probably not venture too far into the woods in search of food. Wilderness survival knowledge is going to give anyone a major leg up in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

I'm excited about this coming NaNoWriMo competition. I can't wait to get started, and I'm avidly devouring research, both of which are very good signs. Stay tuned throughout the coming weeks for more details, and of course, once the competition begins I will be logging my progress as often as I can.


Jacquéline Roth said...

I always seem to bomb out on NaNoWriMo. I still have the story I started last time I tried it and it's not done. I don't plan to participate this year, but I'll be cheering everyone on.

Morgan Mandel said...

I've never tried NaNoWriMo, but I do need something to get revved up. Maybe that's the answer.

By the way, your video and your stuff about zombies is making me more hungry.

Morgan Mandel