Tuesday, November 22, 2011

About writing

I was just catching up on the nano mail and read this great pep talk by Chris Cleave, author of Incendiary.  It's a great message so I thought I would include a snippet here.  He's answering the question 'what keeps you motivated':

The answer to this question is always changing for me. When I started writing as a child I just loved the work of making good sentences and paragraphs - of playing with language. Later I was motivated by provoking strong reactions in the people I showed my work to. Then there was a bad time of several years when I was motivated by a desire for a certain kind of glory or glamour, without thinking too hard about what that meant. I think you need to get through that stage pretty quickly. 

After my first novel was published I was motivated to bring injustices to light with my work, and to help people concussed by bad TV to find real life interesting again. That had a kind of grandiosity to it, though, and I found that my writing improved when I learned a little bit more humility. Then, after my second novel did well, I was motivated for a long time by fear – the fear of not being able to do it again. What cured me of that was rediscovering my very first motivation – the love of working with language and character. 

I’d say that is what motivates me now. I simply enjoy sitting down in front of my screen and exploring my characters. I like the mental work of solving the problems of plot and structure. I like exercising my freedom to write as I please, for readers who have the freedom to read as they please. I like not needing anyone’s permission. I try to remember how lucky we all are to live like this. I see it as a temporary state of grace and I find that very motivating. 

What a great journey.  It spoke to me because I find myself going through versions of all three places multiple times a day.  It can be difficult for me to stay in a state for too long.  My mind does it's best to play tricks on me and psych me out.  I try to not to listen.  But it is, after all, my own mind.  Hard to ignore your very own thoughts.  

Nano is kicking my but this year.  I am definitely more productive than ever but I think I might need to keep working on multiple things at once so as to not ever get too attached to any one thing and then be soooo afraid of messing it up and making the wrong choices.  It's not the most productive way to work.  But there is a 'slowly but surely' rhythm to it.  I guess that will have to work for me.  For now.  Hopefully, this will all be a little easier in a few years when I'm not such a baby writer.  Then again, maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part.  

Here's to hoping.  

Happy reading and writing, all!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Forget pretty vampires, dirty zombies rock!

Okay, so I just wrote a short piece that will be included in an ebook by Rymfire Ebooks that has different authors talking about writing about zombies.  I'll link the title when it comes out.  And, yes, these words most definitely count towards my nano count as they will in fact be published (tho not by me).
Let me know your thoughts:

Forget pretty vampires, dirty zombies rock!

Unless you don’t consume any books, tv, movies, or video games (in which case, we have very little in common), you have probably noticed that zombies are steadily rising in popularity as of late.  They aren’t a ‘new’ fictional phenomenon by any means, having been around for roughly 50 years.  But compared to fictional vampires, they are the younger brother of horror monsters.

I’ll get to the vampire/zombie connection in a second.  First, I must mention the movie ‘28 Days Later’.  This was the movie that really modernized the zombie for me and made it a truly horrifying monster that I could identify with because honestly, the slow moving zombies of the Romero days seemed silly sometimes (except in The Walking Dead- but only because they have great makeup and can apparently walk softly).  I had nightmares for three weeks after I saw 28DL and my family to this day loves to come at me fast with a rabid, shaking head and zombie growl just to freak me out.  Yeah, I know, weird way to show love, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Though neither vampires nor zombies are new, the rise in popularity of zombie fiction is a pop culture answer to the uber popularity of vampires in the last decade.  Vampires went from being scary monsters that need your blood to live (blood that you, in fact, need to live-hence the conflict) to sparkly, sexy, human-loving beings.  The fictional vampire was wrested from the horror genre and put on a pedestal in the romance genre, instead.

Also, there is the science angle—it is way more believable in the age of SARS and H1N1 that a virus or neurotoxin or the like could get loose and wreak havoc on the human population.  Some are surprised this hasn’t happened on a massive scale, yet, given our huge population growth in the last hundred years as well as the rise of globalization.  Such an occurrence makes much more sense to most people than a population of vampires that descend hundreds of years back from a guy in Transylvania. 

This cultural archetype of infection is so strong in fact that there are vampire stories that are basically vampire zombie hybrids.  Their monster isn’t the debonair creature of the night (vampire) but also isn’t the tattered clothed, gray creature who may or may not have all of their limbs and can’t seem to form words other than ‘Arggghhh’ (zombie). They lie somewhere in between.  You see variations of these hybrids in the books ‘The Passage’ and ‘The Strain’.

Personally, I’m writing zombie fiction right now because it is just plain fun.  The breaking out of the traditional archetypes for our fictional monsters has made the possibilities very exciting and interesting for me as a reader and now as a writer.  It’s wide open right now.  Readers are enjoying all kinds of different zombie stories like the (instant classic) braided story of ‘World War Z’ as well as the numerous ‘zombie journal’ shorts popping up everywhere.  I’m exploring a different angle as well that you will be able to read about in my upcoming novel ‘Empty: Zombie Evolution Book 1’.

Until then, don’t get bit.

Kate Madison

5 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Apocalypse Could actually happen:

This is from cracked.com and is excellent.  Check it out: