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Zombies, Beta Readers and an unfortunately good change of plans January 11, 2012

Posted by mattfarmer in Copy writing, writing.
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A long while ago I mentioned in one of my previous blog posts about Zombies being a writing totem, or a dream symbol of my writing for me. Well, I had another dream last night about zombies, and it is writing related. Related to my copy writing, actually. I wont relate the entire dream, although there were some very cool fight scenes in there, but just the two scenes which were the most important to me.

* Stuck up at the top of a very tall building, watching the zombie apocalypse out the window. I keep suggesting ways to escape, bu the people here are just sitting doing nothing. Most are scared, whimpering, and I know that if they do not do anything, something, then the zombies will come up here and kill them

* Have chosen to escape, with another survivor, female. On the way down the building there is a science lab with zombies in it, and I Hear an old man speaking a girl’s name. We go in there and I see an old man, blind, calling out for a girl. The calling out is what attracted the zombies. I put my hand over the old man’s mouth, he is startled to feel me, and we kill the zombies. We find the girl cowered in a little ball, shivering and sobbing. I explain to the old man about how his calls drew the attention of the zombies, and how we would now lead them both out, but he had to be quiet.

Down in the car park we have gathered another survivor, a guy who is mute, cannot speak. As we make our way to the car zombies come running (I hate the fast zombies, totally hate them). I tell the girl to go open all the car door. I start slapping the old man on the shoulder blades, left right left right, imitating running. He nods and starts running to the car. The girl has opened all the doors and is in the back seat. The mute ‘catches’ the running blind man and throws him in the car and jumps in after. I get in the driver’s seat and the other female survivor jumps in. Just as we leave I splat a zombie with my car door and I get splattered with Zombie goo (that last part isn’t writing symbology, but I had to add it in there because… well just because.)

** So, when I woke up, I connected with the scene at the top of the building immediately. I am trying to get action, get movement, do something. But the others just have given up? Are apathetic? This is me currently. I am having feelings of frustration at not getting any work. I want to work, I want to write copy for people, but it is frustrating me that each time I make some sort of movement, or offer, none is returned. I get that now, over Christmas and New Year there isn’t much work. I understand that not everyone needs it, or can afford it, or is working right now. But it is just me. I want to work. I want to write for people and show them I can do this. An idle mind…

So, the rest of this dream? When speaking with my wife about the dream, I mentioned how in my way earlier post I deduced zombies were a writing symbol for me. She then deduced for me that here I was, rescuing someone who could not see, someone who could not speak. So, is this me removing or saving the- no one can see me, or no one is talking about me, and taking control of them? She said it far more eloquently than I did. But it was truly awesome. Here is my subconscious processing my frustrations, that I want to move, to take actin, but no one can see me, no one is talking about me. So, my next question is- how to get people talking about me, and seeing what i am capable of.

And now on to my novel. I recruited 5 Beta Readers just before Christmas. I did put the pressure on them- get some feedback to me by the first week of January. Sadly I have only heard from 2 of them. Well, I heard from one of the other Beta Readers, and she had some uber-drama in her life, s.. okay. But… again, I understand, it was over Christmas and New Year, however I did ask- can you do this? So, I am a little saddened by the lack of return. But this is excited selfish writer me. They offered, voluntarily, and life can happen. So I will work with what I got.

And what I got so far is some good feedback from a reader, and some good feedback from an editor (who is trying NOT to line edit, ah ha.) I have been made aware of how the book reads, and also how there needs to be some more defined motivations and conflicts between characters.

What this has lead to is a realisation that, due to a lack of feedback, and some awesome re-write material, I wont have the full book ready for Valentine’s Day. This disappoints me, since I DECLARED a date, and as such nailed myself a time line. But, I am compromising. I don’t want to release a book and people go- yeah nice. I want a STRONG book which people will go- woah. So. I am going to release Act 1, as a free download. If I cannot deliver on my original declaration, then I will apologise and offer a free gift. And then get the rest of the book, in whole, up at a later date. I am thinking April 1st. I like funny dates.


working around work and zombies January 19, 2011

Posted by mattfarmer in writing.
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There is always zombies, right?

So, my work situation has changed slightly. Losing one member of my team means we have to make up gaps in the roster, since there is no budget to hire new people, and we think we can cover the gaps easily enough. It means I now move from a regular 9-5 job, to a rotating 6 day 4 day week working on every second Saturday, and some later starts, 11 to 7 shifts, even some 1 to 9 shifts.

My first reaction was- darn. Home late, irregular hours. But, and especially with the 11-7 shifts, I have now re-worked my thinking. I have decided that I will actually start work at 9, just, this work will involve sitting in one of three cafes near my office job, with my laptop, coffee, and possibly a pastry treat.

I often find myself at the end of the day with a weary head, tired and just wanting to rest the brain. I know that I have to take a deep breath and work in the time in between to get what I want manifest. Novel written, re-written, out there… I know I need to fit it into my time out of the 9-5 job. So now, I can do it. And it will feel like real work. Dont waste the time before work, use it to feel like a real writer.

So, I have been writing on the way into work this week, all three days so far, and at lunch. Not lunch yesterday though. It’s hard to write in the staff room. They need to watch Oprah on the tv, even thought the reception is awful. But, I am slowly grinding out the words. I am either gathering my forces together for the final push, or procrastinating in my novel with far too much dialogue so I dont have to get to the end yet. Not sure which. I have spent the better part of five years with these characters. And I am quite sure I will be spending many more years with them yet, what with publishing and editing and re-writing and ‘just one more book’ to make a little bit more money off the ‘verse. *smirk*

But regardless, I am recognising that I am slowing the pace down. So as soon as the final character arrives, I’m going to run a blitz and sack the quarterback! Heh, I have been watching some NFL finals. But yeah, I plan to pick up the pace and rush to the finish, bowl over some characters. Not everyone will survive!

I also did some brainstorming on my growing idea, my steam punk world. Havent got a strong story arc yet, just idea threads, but something brewing. Came up with some magic ideas, the corner shop mage, simple home brew spells, a good practical reason why there are round goggles in my verse. I mean, steam punk, without goggles? GOSH NO! So rather than forcing that trope into my verse, it now makes sense.

So, Zombies. One of my hobbies is dream interpretation. I love dreams and I love dreaming. Some of the crazy stuff that can be born from the unconscious and some of the grand stories that grow from this place are just wonderful.

Back in April 2009 I had a dream which had zombies in it. Piles of dead bodies, and zombie children chasing me down. I did some work on the dream with some friends, and I determined that for me, the zombies represented all these ideas that I have, but was doing nothing with. They were hanging around but not alive. And zombie children? My inner child, the source of my creative? Wanting life? Wanting my braaaaaaains…..

So, strange as it may seem, zombies are a kind of writing totem for me. I have my dragon, sitting up there watching me write. I have my writing hat, with its only one bell that rings (i really need to get that second bell replaced…), and I also have my zombies.

In the past I have procrastinated in real life, done nothing, said lots of things and planned many things, but gone no where with my writing. Okay, that sounds a little bit harsher than it should. I’ve written 9 novels through Nanowrimo, many short stories through my writing group. So, I’ve done stuff. But, I know, and others know, I can do more. So, for me, to have zombies as a writing totem kind of feels justified and warranted.

Sunday night I had another zombie dream. But this time, it was a positive zombie dream. Now there’s a sentence I don’t think you’d expect to hear. A positive zombie experience..

So my dream was set in the land AFTER the zombie apocalypse. So, its the world for me. The normal existence of many ideas not given life. But in this dream, the end of the dream had a load of symbology which I found crazy at first, but exciting in reflection. The planning of a new house, by my friend who is currently working 3 jobs to earn enough money to start her dream. So to be led, by her, in my dream was inspiring. The building of a new house, in dream symbology is a new place to dwell, which is where I wish to be.

There was also the symbol of ants eating a turtle. Industrious little creatures devouring a creature that likes to hide in it’s shell. Again, not such a pretty symbol, I know. But it made me feel, energised. Like my subconscious was getting annoyed and saying COME ON! LETS DO THIS!

Who knows. Maybe just by putting the intent out there, the universe is saying – I will if you will…