I wasn’t going to participate in National Novel Writing Month this year, honestly I wasn’t. I have so much going on, with two podcasts to shepherd, school to consider, and a dozen other things either in the hopper or getting ready to heat up. How on Earth could I even consider trying to squeeze in the composition of a 50,000-word novel in just 30 days?
And if all those reasons weren’t enough, how about the most obvious one: I didn’t have an idea. It’s particularly hard to write if you don’t have anything to write about. More than anything else, this is what was going to keep me sane this November. No idea, no feeling of inadequacy about not writing. Great, right?
Then, about a week ago, something terrible happened. I got an idea.
Like many of my best ideas, it actually came about when two totally unrelated ideas somehow married each other. One of the ideas is about two years old, the other older than that, and in fact they’re both stories I tried to write before. In both cases, the stories went nowhere because I realized all I had was an idea, not a plot. And, in fact, it was a third story that provided the glue to seal the two of them together.
In fact, it was a story you may have heard. It was “It’s Time to Play the Music.” While thinking about the stars of that particular story, I felt a tickling in my mind, a weird sort of literary magnetism, pulling two completely independent ideas that had nothing in common and making them… work.
At least… I think they’re going to work.
Here’s the synopsis of the novel, as it appears on the NaNoWriMo website. And warning — if you haven’t listened to “It’s Time to Play the Music” yet, the synopsis spoils the ending…
Tim Ferris and Casey King, two dead cops, are given a shot to get out of Purgatory and make it to the great beyond. All they have to do is go back to Earth and destroy a zombie so that the soul trapped inside can go on to its destiny. The only trouble will be finding the right zombie to kill, as their target sparks a plague of the undead during a Halloween festival full of all manner of things that go bump in the night.
Not bad, right? At least, I don’t think so.
What’s that? A title? Oh yeah, I’ve got a title. It’s actually rather unusual — most of the time the title is what comes to me last, after I’ve finished writing and re-writing and pulling teeth from my mind’s eye, and what a horribly mixed metaphor. But this time, the title is one of the first things to occur to me.
Opening Night of the Dead.
Catchy, ain’t it?
Wish me luck.