Since the start of NaNoWriMo on Thursday, I got fourteen pages down for Ain’t No Grave. And now, those fourteen pages don’t mean shit. I looked over what ideas I had for the plot and didn‘t like what I saw.
Ain’t No Grave was originally supposed to be the opposite of the zombie road trip we’ve seen lately. It was supposed to go back to the idea of survivors barricaded in a single place. Two things worked against this. First, the plot had the refuge overrun by marauders from a nearby town, and I felt like it would be kind of a let down. It didn’t seem to have enough oomph even when it popped in my head.
The second reason was that the road trip appeals to me. It’s uncertain, episodic, and more importantly allows the reader to see different parts of the society being portrayed. By having the story set in a single location, I have to try and force various facets of the apocalyptic world to come to the survivors. The world doesn’t conveniently move for one man. The answer is to have the survivors move for the world. Do I feel like a poser? Yes, a little bit, but at least I’m a logical poser.
Another thing I didn’t like was the fact that the survivors were a rather large group – about fifty people – and not all of them were going to be introduced as even minor characters. They were going to be like those people you see in the background on TV, people with no importance whatsoever, people with less value than red shirts on a Star Trek episode.
If certain characters serve no real purpose, then the writer ought to get rid of them. And so I’ve rethought Ain’t No Grave to focus on three core characters: Donny Moran, Megan Greer, and Allen Freeman. Donny begins the story alone a month after the apocalypse until he finds Allen, an abandoned boy. After their hideout is overrun by zombies, they escape to a local farm where they find a lone survivor, Megan, and convince her that she’s not safe and would be better off joining them.
That’s really all I’ve got at the moment. If it seems rough and hastily put together, well, that’s because I jotted notes for it an hour ago. Without coffee.
Yes, it sucks that I’ve lost a few days of NaNoWriMo and fourteen pages, but setbacks happen in writing. They’ve happened to me. They’ll happen to you. Deal with it. Honestly, I never had any delusions that I’d reach the 50,000-word goal for NaNoWriMo, but if I can get to at least 40,000 words, that’s still quite a feat to me.