More than a place--it's a writer's muse.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Zombies of Writing: Ideas that Just Won't Die

Okay, so I had absolutely no idea what to blog about today and although a pal suggested zombies, I'm just not that into them. BUT. Instead of people and animals that just won't die, what about ideas that won't quit either?

You know, that nagging little voice in the back of your head that sits in the Internal Editor's classroom, eager hand raised shouting "I have an idea! Oh! Oh! Pick me, pick me!" (I have a mental classroom filled with those little buggers.) They can be eager little zombies. They have only one thing on their minds (no, not braaaiinnss) and that's getting their idea in front of you. Oh, man. They're just like us and editors!

You have gobs of choices when dealing with an idea that just won't die.

Here's what I had to do recently...

  1. Pause with your other writing to quickly zip the zombie idea down on paper or notecards (this helps shut 'em up--errm--appease them). Seriously. Write it down even if it seems lame or incomplete.
  2. Give yourself a full day of just mentally poking at that zombie idea (I've found that if I don't give it some attention it'll try to grow and wiggle its way into my other stuff regardless of if I jotted the bare bones down).
  3. Write a scene or snippet of the idea that helps demonstrate the voice or mood you feel it needs so you have that as a reference later.
  4. Try and figure out why that zombie voice is so insistent NOW. Has it figured out that this idea could actually jigsaw into your current project? Is there a date or event that your subconscious realizes is coming up and this might be perfect for if you pursue it now? Be open-minded. Zombies can surprise you.
  5. Decide if there is a legitimate reason to switch gears entirely from your current project to the zombie suggestion. If there is (like the idea has emerged fully formed from your skull like Athena poppin' outta Zeus's thick skull), pursue it. If you aren't sure, run its general appeal and the reason you think it's the one to pursue past a CP or beta.
  6. Then get back to planning, imagining and writing.
You never know when you'll want to thank that zombie for that idea. So go ahead--hug a zombie today (and then take a shower and launder--or burn--those clothes). ;-)

UUUnnnnGGGGhhHHH! Umm... Take care!


Jennifer L Hart said...

My God, all of my ideas are zombies! That explains so much! Including the torch bearing villagers on my doorstep!

I have a brain recycling system where the zombies spin around and around until the centerfuge goes so darn fast they spin out into the nexus of my word document. I was supposed to save the mind reading gig for the H.U.B.B.A. series, but Brennigan and Ellie stole Brant and Marissa's thunder.
Squeaky wheel gets the grease and all that jazz. Darn good post for a panster!

SarannaDeWylde said...


I've actually got a zombie on the back burner. I felt dared to use lepers. I bet I can do it.

Gail Hart said...

Hmm... once I put the zombie on paper, the Internal Editor would probably club it to death. Yup, sounds like a plan! ;-)

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