Posts Tagged ‘Writing’
World Building Blogfest: Religion, Food, Holidays, & Culture of Dead Sea Games
Today, I’m combining Days 3 and 4 of Sharon Bayliss‘s World Building Blogfest into one giant post-of-awesomeness. Day 3 was supposed to be Religion and/or Magic, but since my world has very little of either (at least from Jeremy’s point of view) I thought I roll these up into a nice little post about culture of the Dead Sea Games world.
The religions of DSG are not any different that what you’d find in a modern multi-cultural city. The people of the Colony are the survivors of NYC and its surrounding boroughs, so you have a smattering of almost every representative religion in the area. Though most of the ultra-religious flocked to Churches in the early stages of the Emergency and were wiped-out, a few remain in the ruins. Most of the survivors question their faith, and wonder how God could allow the devastation and atrocities to go unchecked. Jeremy’s view of God is in constant flux, as is the case for most teenagers. Sometimes he believes in nothing, other times he truly feels he is being protected by a higher power… to what end, he cannot guess.
Food and Drink
Ah, the meat and potatoes category (and the bathtub vodka made from potatoes category). Food is scarce in the Colony, but thanks to a little help from above and smart gardening it’s not hopeless. Early on during the conversion of the apartment buildings to safe territory, the Triumvirate council put a high priority on moving as much earth as possible to the rooftops to start planting fruits and vegetables. At the beginning of DSG, the Colony is at the height of the season and harvests of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash, beans, peas, and herbs are abundant. the survivors get a little help from air drops of supplies in the form of rice, flour, oats, coffee, sugar, and salt, but the “Western”-style meat is long gone. Survivors in the Colony hunt wild game in the form of alley cats and pigeons, but the primary protein is supplied by domestic rabbits and the occasional hen (that stops laying eggs). On the plus side, hard liquor is everywhere and easy to get… even for 13 year olds. At the end of the Emergency, though the grocery stores were wiped out, the bars and nightclubs were surprisingly intact and the Raiders bring in hauls of spirits to trade at the Exchange on a daily basis.
There are only two celebrated days in the Colony, one is Salvation Day, the other is Drop Day. Salvation day is the once-a-year celebration of the establishment of the first cell. Imagine a block party where everyone gets blindingly drunk and all inhibitions are thrown out the window. It’s a celebration of a day where everyone recognizes just how lucky they are to be alive. Drop Day is once a month and isn’t celebrated so much as marked with a huge release of anxiety when the air-dropped supplies finally show up. The entire Colony lives with the knowledge that one day those cargo planes might not show up.
What can you say about a culture built on desperation? If you didn’t think Americans–who are also New Yorkers–weren’t brusque, self-centered, violent, and paranoid enough, imagine those same people after living through a year of the zombie apocalypse. You quickly get a sense that even though the Colony has banded folks together, it’s still very much every man (or woman) for themselves. It’s a veritable Libertarian paradise!
Stay tuned, zombie fans! Tomorrow, I’ll close out the blogfest series with the revamped cover reveal, and a kick-ass excerpt from “Dead Sea Games: Exiled.”
Flash Fiction: “Outsourcing” for #MondayMixer
Here’s my first entry into Jeffrey Hollar’s new Monday Mixer flash fiction contest. Seems like a great contest with some wide open avenues for brainstorming stories. Follow along on twitter using hashtag #MondayMixer or follow Jeffrey at @klingorengi. Go join the fun and read the rules here.
“Do they know?”
Judge DeVille lounged on his veranda overlooking the Buenos Aires Spaceport. A sly smile of contentment played around the edges of his mouth. Each of the deep-haul freighters cost more than his sprawling mansion, but the fleet was money well spent. “They couldn’t. They’re fatuous trash and shipping them off this planet like garbage is what they deserve.”
“I can’t believe the politicians agreed to this. It’s inhuman,” Marilyn said.
“For these criminals, it’s justice. Besides, the convicts agreed to it.”
“Because your slick marketing worked. Who wouldn’t trade forty years in a cell for a two year hibernation at relativistic speeds? And at the other end, you’re dropping them into a meat grinder. Ten percent survival rate, the internal report said. ”
“Ten percent? That’s optimistic.”
Marilyn sighed. “For your Grandchildren’s sake, I hope you’re right. God help us if they ever decide to come home.”
Go read the other entries using the inlinkz connection and enjoy!
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.
Dead Sea Games: Adrift
Just in time for your Halloween reading. Get in the mood to smash some mother-flipping ZOMBIES!
It’s finished. Go buy the first episode of my new serial on Amazon NOW! $0.99 post-apocalyptic zombie mayhem. It doesn’t get any cheaper than that.
Lisa Hollar’s ZOMBIE RUN
Lisa McCourt Hollar (@jezri1) is running a nice little flash fiction contest over at her blog with one of my very favorite subjects. ZOMBIES! The rules are simple, 500 words, deadline is Oct. 30th. Complete rules here!
And my humble entry…
“You’re not an orphan?” The kid looked at Jeremy in disbelief.
How bizarre was the world, that he should hear that question. Where still having a living parent was an oddity, and not the norm.
“No, my mom lives in the Colony,” Jeremy said, waiting patiently for the signal. The rooftop were abuzz with kids—teenagers not any older than Jeremy’s fifteen years—waiting to cross over to the apartment complex on 3rd and Lake Ave. The kid fiddled with his harness, trying to get his hoodie under the rope.
“How do you know Bash…”
Jeremy smacked the eleven-year-old’s hands. “The rope is that way for a reason. You want to slip and die?”
“No,” the kid said. Jeremy thought he saw a sniffle escape from the kid’s lips.
A shadow from across the street flicked a spotlight off and on. A voice squawked in Jeremy’s earbud, “Street’s clear. Go!”
Jeremy slapped the kid on the back. The kid wiped his nose and rappelled quickly onto the street. A gaggle of teens with empty backpacks and emptier stomachs swarmed into the empty building.
Jeremy rappelled down, but he wasn’t going into the building. Not today.
He pulled out two lead pipes from his pack and walked calmly into the intersection of 3rd and Lake, taking out the last stragglers. Now it was his job to hold this end of the street until the five minute raid was up. He flipped the pipes across his leather-wrapped hands while he waited, trying to be calm.
Two minutes into the raid, screams erupted from inside the apartment building. Within seconds, the radio poured forth a cacophony of shouting.
“Get the fuck out of here! Abort! Abort!”
Jeremy hit his radio button. “What happened? Bash, talk to me. Where do you need help?”
“It’s too late. Someone opened the door to the boiler room and hundreds of those fuckers poured out. They’re everywhere!”
Kids with half-zipped backpacks of stolen goods ran from the building. Panicked, they climbed up the ropes and fire escapes of the safe building like fleeing monkeys.
“Get up there. Hurry up,” Jeremy shouted at the teens. When it looked like everyone was out, Jeremy turned to get himself to safety. That’s when he saw the shadow limping out of the building towards him.
A spotlight from above illuminated the bloody wretch stumbling towards the escape ropes.
It was the kid. His legs and arms were slick with bright red blood where huge chunks of his flesh had been ripped away by rotting teeth. The only thing standing between him and safety was Jeremy. The eleven-year-old held out his hands for help, gurgling and crying through bloody rasps of breath.
There was only one way Jeremy could help him now.
Jeremy choked back his tears and held out his hand. When the kid reached out towards him, Jeremy closed his eyes and swung the pipe as hard as he could.
“I’m sorry, kid.”
You can read more about Jeremy and the orphans in the upcoming “Dead Sea Games: Adrift” scheduled for release October 31st. Stay tuned for ZOMBIE DAY!