Posted on Leave a comment

Write Apocalyse Now!

I’m just starting out on writing an “end of the world “ thriller and have been thinking about how these will compare to my dark fantasy adventure novels. The term apocalypse for me has always brought up great heavenly battles, four horsemen (updated to persons these days of course) racing across the sky, the world gathering at Megiddo and such like. So are the apocalyptic tales in the pandemic / zombie / EMP / natural disaster genres really any different.

One thing that comes straight to mind is that the old magical / fantastical element is gone. The days of a learned genius waving his hands and opening portals or creating hellfire will have to go and more pragmatic solutions will have to be found. This causes a greater emphasis on tactical or mechanical solutions, or simple butchering in the case of zombies. Transformations of people may have to be kept to a low variety instead of the many magical forms that characters take.

Another point spotted while reading these genres is the technical detail, sometimes far and beyond the grasp of many characters: you need to be an expert to survive. How far this is the case and how far the human spirit and determination will get you is another question but certainly the science (or at times pseudo-science) needs to be to the fore and loaded with the best bullets.

But overall this one thing remains although it has been lost in a few tales from the genre I have read. The character remains the thing. The human conflicts, the dreams hopes and aspirations and then the devices that thwart these goals, must not be simply there but must drive the tale. As I read across many genres, the best stories always resonate around the person whether it’s a woman stuck at a train station in the middle of nowhere (Absent in the Spring, Agatha Christie written as Mary Westmacott), a captain of the guard holding together a magical and manic city (Feet of Clay, Terry Pratchett) or a woman fighting to reunite her family after a nuclear holocaust (Point of Impact, Kyla Stone).

So whatever I come up with, it will certainly take my characters and break them as ever, only to have them claw their way back. But this time it will be in the midst of a pandemic, lawlessness and a country falling apart. It almost feels like home! My writing home that is, the Outer Hebrides hasn’t got to that stage yet!

Posted on Leave a comment

Looking for Myself I found a Zombie!

It was an exciting time to say the least. I had just sent my first e-Book to the publisher and it was then winging its way through the ether to various platforms, to be uploaded for purchase. Eagerly I got onto my favourite search engine and typed in the various sites using my name as a search. Well what a palava! One site has me lobbed in with Laurel and Hardy and other comedy classics. Another has me in with a baseball prospectus. But the absolute best was one that did indeed have my book and another of an apparently “similar” read beside it. The similar read was the sixth in a series all about zombies! My book: a book of poetry taking you through four of life’s emotions.

So I thought, can I get a proper cross over out of this. Do I publish the long awaited poetry book – Zombie life: The Four Primary Emotions? And what would they be? Well hunger for one! Could I manage such delicate material as the insatiable desire for the human brain? “Hair in my Pudding” comes to mind as a good title. Actually taking that through to its logical conclusion that puts us bald people more at risk. Disturbing! Other titles: “Why do I feel like I’m always in second gear?”, or, “My Sprinting Days Behind Me”. “Arm Ache Blues” also leaps out as a promising title. But I settled with this, see what you think?

I’m Stuck with this Moaning Crowd
I’ve got in with a really bad crowd,
Indeed sometimes they can be just so damn loud,
But it’s not like they party til dawn,
Instead they just drone on and on.
We all dance in the same stupid fashion,
Arms outstretched is our popular passion.
We all seek to be first at the head
But that’s where it’s at when you’re dead.
If you’re new and wonder how to begin,
We’ll all surround you and help you fit in.
If you keep pace with us through the night,
It’s farewell at the first sign of light!
Think I’ll stick with the living, it’s got fresher subjects!
Four Life Emotions is my book of non-horror poetry.
Posted originally on blogspot: 5th June 2014