I’ve been writing on the latest What Zombies Fear chapter for over a week now. That usually means I need to delete the whole chapter and start again, going in a different direction. That’s what writers block always is for me, it’s my brain telling me that what I have written isn’t the right decision.
When I come to this decision in the past, I hit control + a and then delete. I have to do it mercilessly, no going back and trying to figure out what to change, no selective editing, I can’t even read what I’ve written one last time, just control + a, delete. Done. Fresh start.
The problem is that today I can’t seem to make that work. I’ve done that twice on this chapter. I’ve written it three times now, and it’s come out roughly the same. I feel like that means I have to say what’s in the chapter, but now I have to figure out how to say it. When I finish this entry I’m going to head over and start some selective editing, to see if I can narrow down what I’m stuck on or why I don’t like it. Maybe I can say what I have to say more succinctly, get it out, and then move forward with the story. Whatever it is, it’s got to get done pretty quickly. This story is burning a hole in my head. It’s consuming me.
I write because I can’t not write. If I have an idea stuck in my head, I’m unable to function in polite company or even hold a simple conversation until I get it out. It begins to consume my waking existence until I am able to exorcise it.
I have all these stories bouncing around in my head. Hundreds of them. The more I think about them the bigger they become. What Zombies Fear is a perfect example of that, it really started off as a story about a guy who dropped everything in his life to keep his son safe. It’s always been that, it’s always been Victor’s quest to keep Max safe. Instead of a 6000 word short story about a trip to a ‘safe’ place to a 300,000 word epic saga.
I have the story of Willa in my head. A young girl who grew up in the harshest environment, surrounded by people who love her who has to go through some extraordinary challenges when nothing is what it seems.
Then there’s the story of Will. I haven’t much talked about Will, but his story isn’t very nice. He’s a bad man, who does bad things. He is my “anti-Victor,” he lives for himself, doing what he wants when he wants to. Until… That story is going to be a fun one to write. I’m interested in the ways to write Will that make him likable, in spite of him being a bad guy, and what the effect of a zombie apocalypse would be on someone like him. When I write Will’s story, it’s going to be very dark and gritty and gruesome, very NOT What Zombies Fear.