Archive for the ‘Ramblings’ Category
World Building Blogfest: History and Politics of Dead Sea Games
It’s day 2 of Sharon Bayliss’s great 5-day blogfest on the subject of world building. Today we’re supposed to focus on the history and politics of our world, in my case the world of “Dead Sea Games” (1st episode available now on Amazon HERE). Beta readers of the second episode, Dead Sea Games: Exiled, brought up a lot of interesting questions about the politics of the Colony which I’ll attempt to answer here without spoiling anything for the next installment.
Day 2: History and Politics of Dead Sea Games
For the most part, the history of the world of Dead Sea Games is the history of the US into the near future. The Emergency–as the outbreak was commonly known afterwards–changed everything. Although the events that started the Emergency are well known to the survivors, the history of WHY the five East coast cities were attacked and WHO planned and engineered the bio-warfare agent are cloaked in shadow. In Dead Sea Games: Exiled, Jeremy will meet someone who may fill in some of the blanks, if only he knows to ask the right questions.
After the initial terrorist attack on NYC, the city turned on itself. Panic, chaos, and violence engulfed the city as authorities initiated quarantine protocols. The government poured resources into the city to try and quell the rising tide of stage 1 infected, but the swat teams and national guard units couldn’t outpace the infection. Quarantine of the island failed and people fled like rats, spreading the infection to the outer boroughs. Desperate to slow the spread, the President authorized a total quarantine protocol that trapped a million souls on the streets on NYC and destroyed billions of dollars of infrastructure in the process.
By the time the dust settled, it was already too late. The infection was everywhere and government forces were fighting on every front, in every city, up and down the Eastern seaboard. The focus shifted from fighting the stage 1 infected to total evacuation and the survivors in the major cities were left to fend for themselves. NYC was declared a disaster area in public, but in private it was given up as a “Dead Zone” and all travel to the city was forbidden.
Fast forward six months and 99% of the population of Manhattan has been turned in flesh-eating zombies. The 1% scramble like rodents in the ruins, trying to stay out of reach of the hordes and keep from starving to death. Three small groups of survivors band together and focus all their efforts on one building. They destroy the stairs and fire escapes below the third floor and clear the building of zombies. With some clever fortifications and steadfast vigilance, their one building safe house holds against the Sea. Word of a safe haven spreads fast and survivors pour in to help the leaders of the three groups clear an entire block of buildings using the same technique, creating the first cell.
The Colony is established and the rule of law given to a council of three men, made up of each of the first groups’ leaders, called the Triumvirate council. The council spends the next three months setting up a working constitution and guard force that brings some semblance of order back to the liberated cells of Manhattan. After much deliberation and several unfortunate incidents, it is declared that only citizens of the Colony are allowed permanent habitation in the secured cells. To be a citizen of the colony, you must be at least 16 years of age and sign an oath of loyalty and service to the council. Each citizen extends their right of citizenship to their own children, and up to two non-related minors, with the express understanding that they, and they alone, are responsible for the care and actions of their charges. Adults suffer severe penalties for the missteps of their children.
The young children were quickly vouched for and taken in by the adults of the Colony, but the teenagers, orphaned by the Emergency, are a different story altogether. Too many of them took to the wilding streets of the Emergency with gusto, and there was no turning back for them. Civilization and the discipline of strangers was not welcome. They preferred to take their chances with the zombies in exchange for a taste of unlimited freedom. Now the gangs of orphans live in the periphery of the Colony, feeding on the remnants of civilization and fighting their own battles for turf, safety, and food.
Stay tuned for Day 3 and Day 4 in one super-post on Religion, Food, Culture, and Holidays of the world of Dead Sea Games.
TOP 5 REASONS YOU WON’T SURVIVE THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE
It occurred to me a few days ago that I haven’t written much about the zombie apocalypse lately. With the great reviews coming in on “Dead Sea Games: Adrift”, and the next installment, “Dead Sea Games:Exiled” coming up in a few weeks, it’s time to gin up some excitement and talk about ZOMBIES! Inspired by a recent Reddit thread where people grudgingly admitted that some skills that SEEM easy are actually damn hard. Prominent on that list were writing (it’s fucking hard) and surviving a zombie apocalypse. In my zombie-educated opinion, here are the top five reasons you’re not going to make it when the hordes rise.
1. Your aim sucks.
Been to the range lately? Do you have any idea how hard it is to headshot a moving target? Over and over and over and over again. Let’s get real here, 99% of you aren’t good enough marksmen with whatever it is, pistol, rifle, shotgun, crossbow, tomahawks, flaming bags of poo, to reliably get the headshots you need to survive. You’ll miss… then panic… then get eaten. What a shame.
2. You’re soft hearted.
“Please let us in! We haven’t had anything to eat in four days. My daughter is starving…” You open the door with the best of intentions and a shotgun is shoved in your face. Sucker. Most people are decent and kind and lots of folks will come together at the end… and get betrayed, bamboozled, and butchered by the assholes in the crowd. You’re one sob story away from letting down your defenses and inviting a serial killer into your fortress.
3. You have technology-induced ADHD.
TV is out. Internet is down. No phones, no papers, no magazines, and you’ve read that book twice. I know! Let’s go outside and poke around. That’ll be fun and keep us entertained. Annnnnnd, you’re dead. You’re going to have to learn to sit down, shut up, and be still for hours or days at a time to stay hidden and you’re just not up for it. And if you have young kids—“I’m booooored”—you might just throw yourself to the hordes willingly after a couple days.
4. You’re an addict.
Yes, you are. You’re addicted to something, whether it’s caffeine, cigarettes, sugar, food, twitter, porn, or whatever. Maybe it’s something you don’t even think about because you’ve come to accept it, like your anti-anxiety meds or two-ply toilet paper. But everything is going to run out sooner or later and you’ll go looking for your fix. Zombies are addicted too… to eating fools who leave their shelter looking for one more cup of Starbucks.
5. You give up.
Did you drop organic chem in college when it got really tough? Ever rage quit and call an electrician for that ceiling fan? Cupcakes and donuts didn’t even have to say a word for you to quit on your diet. When the apocalypse happens, life is going to go from bad to hell to worse to “FUCK THIS!” and you’re going to give in. All it takes is a few minutes of doubt and weakness and you’re done. The survivors will be those annoyingly stubborn a-holes who refuse to acknowledge they’ve lost an eight hour game of Monopoly. The zombies own Boardwalk and Park Place with hotels and you’re the Top Hat…in deep shit.
Disagree? Leave me a comment and argue your point. Will it change my mind? No, but when has that ever stopped anyone on the internet? Be on the lookout for “Dead Sea Games: Exiled” on Amazon in the next couple weeks.
Stay strong my friends!
Business Card Fiction: Short Goodbyes
Brainchild of J.D. Wenzel (@JDWenzel), Business Card Fiction is the newest flash fiction kid on the block. It’s got a cool premise, boundless opportunities for creativity, and great prizes. With the help of Ruth Long (@bullishink), and Lillie McFerrin (@lilliemcferrin), all the top flash writers will be on the trolley for this contest.
Here is my entry in their December contest.
Have a go at it yourself and be sure to read everyone’s entry!
NaNoWriMo 2012 Wrapup
National Novel Writing Month is over for 2012 and I lost.
Perhaps lost is not the best word to use in this context. Let me explain. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words of original material in one month. It can be fiction or non-fiction, any genre, any style. It can even be about zombies! But rarely does 50,000 words a novel make.
Last year I won NaNo and didn’t come out on the other end with a completed novel. I had 52,000 words of a first draft that only had about two-thirds of a complete plot. A careful examination of the piece in December showed that I had a main character I didn’t like, plot holes the size of a truck, and thousands upon thousands of words of complete crap. In an effort to pump out 1,600 words a day, I’d fallen back to bad writing habits that I’ve spent years trying to eradicate. I didn’t have all that work savaged by critiquers for nothing, did I?
Don’t get me wrong, on Dec 1st I felt like a million bucks. I was extremely excited that I’d reached my goal and put down some cool scenes. But after trying to edit, re-write, and generally jump start my new “novel” in January and February… and March, I had to put it on the shelf as a failed experiment.
So when I failed to reach 50,000 words this year, I wasn’t terribly upset. I was a little sad because I’m very goal-oriented. I like to set goals for myself and reach them, but this year I stuck to what I know works for me in my writing style. I’m a very consistent and predictable writer at around ~1000 words per day. Which means if I’m true to my project goals (producing readable fiction) I’ll always lose NaNo.
I’m OK with that.
I can live with it because I came out of November with 23,000 words and a workable 1st draft of “Dead Sea Games: Exiled”, the second installment in my zombie serial. No giant plot holes, a main character I love more every page, and some tightly crafted scenes that are going to buff out nicely. Add in a sweet bonus of meeting a lot of great new writers on Ruth Long’s Nano Facebook group, and I’m ready to sign up again for next year.
Some day–when my books hit it big (cue eye roll and snicker)–I’ll be able to spend more time writing in a single day. Maybe I’ll even be able to push my output up into that mythical 5-10K/day range that I saw some of my friends put out this year. No matter how much free time I have in a day, somewhere I’ll find my creative working limit and learn to put my foot down and walk away from the keyboard when the muse wants to go get a beer. You can bet I’ll be buying.
Congratulations to all the 2012 NaNoWriMo winners! And for all of the rest of us poor schmucks, don’t worry… there’s always next year.
Business Card Fiction: FIST
The brainchild of J.D. Wenzel (@JDWenzel), Business Card Fiction is the newest flash fiction kid on the block. It’s got a cool premise, boundless opportunities for creativity, and wicked smart prizes. With the help of Ruth Long (@bullishink), and Lillie McFerrin (@lilliemcferrin), this contest is bound to take off like a rocket and attract top notch talent in the flash community. There are multiple contests per month, a side-by-side showdown of the winners, and even a chance for authors and contributors to get in on the action and give away prizes or win coveted sidebar space to show off your latest pet project.
Here is my entry in their “Pick a Prompt” BETA event.
Have a go at it yourself and be sure to read everyone’s entry. POW!