For a while now, I’ve been reading Chuck Wendig’s novel Double Dead, which is about a vampire trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. If you haven’t read it, get a copy. Wendig doesn’t hold back in his writing. The vampire, Coburn, is an asshole, comparing his human charges to cattle and calling them his herd.
But the reason I‘m talking about Double Dead is because the novel is, I think, the best example of one of Kurt Vonnegut’s rules. “Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them in order to see what they are made of.”
Last night, as I put in my six pages for Ain’t No Grave, I feared that I was losing interest in the story. If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you know that boredom means the death of any story I work on. So I need to follow Wendig’s example and constantly ask myself how I can make the situation worse for my characters. After all, they, too, are in the zombie apocalypse (minus the vampire).
I just wanted to make that little observation. Maybe I‘m just thinking out loud. I leave you now with an excerpt from Double Dead in which Coburn sums up his dilemma quite nicely.
“I’ve been through some shit over the last several nights,” he said, lips twisted sneer, fangs out. “Woke up. Ate a deer. Found myself in the zombie apocalypse. Fell off a building. Got chewed up by some zombie bitch in an ugly bathrobe. Got shot by an old man and then taken in by his sickly daughter. Got chewed up again by the same bitch-in-a-bathrobe except now said bitch is some kind of undead demon, then got shot by a totally different old man – those old men sure love their rifles – before I got burned up by the sun and had to eat my way out of a morbidly obese cannibal queen. But you know what, Ginger? This [being abandoned] hurts worst of all.”