The Way of the Word

4. December 2009

Novel in Progress: Revenge of the Walking Dead

Filed under: workblog,writing — jensaltmann @ 12:54
Tags: , ,

I have maintained a workblog on MySpace for quite some time now. On that blog, I wrote about writing Jahrmarkt des Grauens and The Coldest Blood. And, thus far, about writing Die Rache der wandelnden Toten.

Die Rache der wandelnden Toten is a direct sequel to Jahrmarkt des Grauens. The English translation of the title is The Revenge of the Walking Dead. For convenience’s sake, I’ll use that title in the future, if it’s all right with you. Revenge stars Christopher Price, who already starred in Jahrmarkt. He’s a horror writer who, in the course of his work, keeps getting drawn into supernatural problems.

If you’re not German, you’ll need to know that pulp horror fiction is very popular in Germany. The heroes are private investigators, secret agents, police detectives, reporters, sons of the Devil (yes, really) and paranormal investigators who fight supernatural evil. I didn’t make Christopher Price a horror writer because that’s what I know, I made him a horror writer because I asked myself, ‘What kind of person could plausibly get frequently  involved with these kinds of situations? That hasn’t been done very often?’

If you infer that this means that Christopher might just as easily have become a religious scholar or something, you’re right.

I’ve been working on Revenge for quite some time now, and I expect to have it completed sometime in February 2010.  At the moment, I am at approximately the halfway point. All the players are in position. The stage has been set, the curses invoked. The dead are ready to rise, apparently uncontrolled and unprovoked, to take revenge on the living. A moderately astute reader will already know what the zombies, the titular walking dead are going to take revenge for.

One of the things that I plan next is, I want to try to make the zombies slightly sympathetic. Before they were zombies, they were humans. Part of the point of why they became zombies is that they were pretty nasty specimens of humanity, people you wouldn’t have wanted to know in real life. As the zombies rise, I will spend one or two pages on some of them, spotlighting their lives and how they died. Why they died will become clear from that. Part of the point of this is also to make the horror of the situation clearer. (As if zombies attacking a small town in Louisiana isn’t already horrible.) But I think it will be even worse if you know that the zombie that kills a certain woman used to be her husband, or her son, or her father.

It’s the one thing I liked about Koushun Takami’s novel Battle Royale. Before he killed the students, he spent a couple of pages on them so that the reader had a chance to get to know them. I’m borrowing that idea, only I’m spending time with the zombies. “In life, he was…”

I’m not sure yet how many of the zombies I am going to spotlight. Definitely not all of them, that would pad the novel too much. But some at least.


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