October 6 (Part II)

Several years ago, I started a blog series where I planned to cover, in great detail, the process behind my novella Kutter as I wrote it. A beginning to end look at the creation of the book. But I fell way behind in writing it and quickly abandoned this idea.

Now I’m trying again. We’ll see how it goes.

The novel I intended to do after Bang Up isn’t the one I’m writing. That’s been pushed back a book or two. That novel has a much larger scope, while my next book is fairly intimate, and they’re both in the “creature feature” genre, so it made sense to swap the order.

As I said in Part I, the concept is “zombie animals.” But I didn’t say to myself, “You know what I should write about? Zombie animals! KA-CHING!” The inspiration was a small character moment that occurred to me out of nowhere last month, one that involved a big burly guy revealing vulnerability in what I thought was a sweet and funny way. Mostly it was one line, “But I don’t even know how they work!” (referring to a baby) that appealed to me.

I thought that if this moment was in the first chapter of a novel, the reader would like this guy right away. And if I can find a way to make you root for a main character very quickly…well, he’s somebody I should put in huge amounts of horrific peril.

I brainstormed more ideas about this guy and decided that he’d be perfect for the “under siege” genre. A burly, no-nonsense, off-the-grid survivalist guy and his (now 18-year-old) niece, trapped in their cabin in the woods by the danger that surrounds them.

What kind of danger? Screw it, why not zombie animals?

I’m definitely not the first person to come up with the idea of zombie animals, and it wouldn’t be the big marketing hook of the novel. To me, it’s like saying “I’m writing a werewolf novel!” I might not even keep that idea. It’s still early.

Anyway, I wrote 442 words of that story while on vacation (not even getting to the “But I don’t know how they work!” line). I came up with a very loose structure for the book that’s essentially two parts: “How do we keep them from getting in?” and then “How do we get to safety?” I have a strong idea of how I’m going to do all of the character setup, but not many details beyond that.

I have the Women in Horror Film Festival today, Bang Up tomorrow, and on Thursday I’m beginning the long-ass drive from Georgia to Massachusetts for the Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival. That leaves Monday through Wednesday to get a good start on this book. However, when I’m in the final stages of writing a novel, a lot of other stuff gets ignored, so I’ve also got a lot of catching up to do during those three days. Most likely, I won’t fully dive into this book until mid-October.

But you can read all about the process here!





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