Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Zombie Bookalypse: Story That Never Dies
(Photo courtesy of ZombieSurvivalCourse.com)
Okay, listen here... it's that time of year for ghouls and goblins, ghosts and gore. Yes, it's a mad cap world out there, dear friends, and October is the month to celebrate the rich, colorful traditions of Halloween.
Samhain and All Hallow's Eve, leading up to All Saint's Day. The time of year the world could be taken over with a Zombie apocolypse. Funny isn't it? The oxymoronish title of a History Channel program, Zombie: A Living History. Yes, in my quest to understand everything Zombie, I watched with eagerness as the history of the living dead revealed countless stories of brutality. One such story revealed Zeus' father, Cronus, ate his first five sons so they could not take his throne. Zeus, hidden by his mother, Rhea, at birth, eventually returned to kill Cronus and lead the Titan world into Legend. The first flesh eater?
Dating back to prehistoric times, man learned to surround himself with tomb-like walls in order to protect himself and his clan from danger. Throughout history, from Rome and Vikings, to Huns and disease, man grew to fear what happened to bodies after death. Interesting is the idea that we bury the dead underground, place bodies in tombs, and even arrange corpses carefully so that the undead cannot escape the earthy sarcophagus. Some ancient bodies were ceremonially buried with stones in mouths so the undead could not come back to eat living flesh.
Lots of important lessons on the History Channel. Even a lesson on how to kill the undead. Helpful tip: keep a machete or a sharpened shovel nearby.
For kicks and grins, check out Cracked.com for the 5 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Apocolpyse Could Actually Happen.
So after watching the History Channel, I got to pondering... (We all know how dangerous that can be.) In the writing world, how do you vanquish the book that will not die? I'm talking about the undead manuscript. One by one, books like these gather under writer's beds, collecting dust, forgotten on the carpet of neglect. Buried unceremoniously, these zombies disrupt dreams, steal thoughts away from new projects, gum the very tender flesh off the muse until only pulp is left behind. Like a world overrun by a zombie horde, there is always the thought, 'can this book can be saved?'
I've been wondering about this lately. A couple of my books have finaled in contests, but not gone any farther. I've had requests for partials and fulls and great revision suggestions on a particular book. I want to make it sing but when do you ceremoniously bury a book with stones so it can't come back to bite you?
How do you rid your bedroom of the Zombie Bookalypse? Surely a machete could be useful against the paper horde but what would that do to your feather pillows?
How do YOU kill a story that NEVER dies?