Thursday, 5 May 2016

Z is for Zombies

Z is for zombies. What else?

Generally speaking, I do not advise writing about zombies. Yes, they do seem to be popular, but is there anything more boring than yet another zombie apocalypse? They are as trite as an ancient evil stirring beneath a mountain. It is possible to do zombies and be original - for example, my friend Joseph Picard has done so, and done it well - but it's not easy. 

I myself once swore I wouldn't touch zombies with a ten foot pole. And yet, I too have jumped on the bandwagon. My short story, Danse Macabre, deals with them. I pride myself on being the only writer who's ever had a dancing zombie cockroach. If you want to read it, it's in the anthology 13 Bites Volume III, which you can get HERE

As today is Z day, the final day of my alphabet challenge, I want to do something to do with this story. The six months first publication rights have expired, so it is mine to do with as I will. What I think I will do with it is to put it in my second collection. My first collection of short fiction, Once Upon A Dragon, has received very good reviews and generally been a success. You can get it HERE.

So, today I sit at my desk and I look at what I've got to put in a new collection.  There is Danse Macabre, Authorised Staff Only and Sophie and the Frog, all of which have been published in anthologies and have now reverted to me. There are also two novellas, Operation Tomcat and No Such Thing, both of which are available as standalone e-books. I'm not sure about including them, especially Operation Tomcat, which is to be the beginning of a series. I may include No Such Thing. I haven't decided yet, but whether I do or no, I need at least another six stories. Once Upon A Dragon has twelve stories, and I think that's a good number. So, even if I include both novellas, I need another seven stories for my collection.

I look at what I have in progress. I was messing about with this last December, so I have a list of candidates. There are three stories with outlines done, one in the planning stage, and another one which I think will need to be a full-length novel. There is one drafted and in rotdown and two partly written. There are, of course, various other stories for which I've made notes. And then there is my new story, which I started work on yesterday. It seems sensible to continue with that pro tem, because it's already in my mind, and then when it's drafted I can go on with other stories in the list.

So, here we go on Cinderella. The first thing is to create an outline. I always outline with short fiction. Pantsing is all very well in the wide open spaces of a novel, but short fiction, I find, benefits from a more disciplined approach; the shorter the story, the more rigour is needed.

I pound away and come up with an outline. It's a little rough in spots but it's enough to get me started; as the story develops I think these rough bits will iron themselves out.

So that's it - the A-Z Alphabet work challenge. Completed!

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