Writing Monsters: Start With What You Know by Karina Fabian
‘One maxim I try not to work by is “Write what you know.” Trust me, if I did that, I’d be bored and so would you. I prefer to write what I can learn about, sometimes learning as I go. However, it’s a good idea to start with what you know.
You know that you want to write a story with an imaginary creature in it. What do you know already about the story? Do you have characters, or are you looking for a character to fit a plot? I could easily imagine that Generation Dead started with Daniel Waters saying, “I want to write a YA about how hard it is for minorities or people who are ‘different’ to make it in society. Hey! What could be more different than zombie teens?”
Even when you don’t know much about a particular monster, starting with what you do know can give you direction. For example, when I was asked to write a zombie story that eventually led to the Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator series, I didn’t know much about them aside from some vague memories of Night of the Living Dead and the notion that modern authors were using zombies either as sympathetic characters and sickening corpses. I knew I preferred the shambling undead version, but I didn’t want to do scary horror.
You probably also know what’s hot and what’s been done. Waters probably realized that with Twilight being such a hit, doing his story with vampires would not be as popular (not to mention drive him batty with comparisons). However zombies were gaining new life in the fantasy scene. I knew that the apocalypse had been done in movies and books, so I wanted a different approach.
As a result, I made my zombies animated rotting meat with some curious residual attitudes and mental processes, and I made them rare enough that they were not a pestilence, but a pest. And who do you call to get rid of pests? Thus, Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator.
When you want to create a monster for your story, it can help to spend some time mulling over what you know about the legendary monsters and how they are being treated in movies and literature today. This will give you some starting points and direction for your research and imagining.’
If you are interested in learning more about monster creation, Karina Fabian is teaching a webinar on the subject, Oct 19, 7pm MT. You can register at here.
Curious about I Left My Brains in San Francisc, the second Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator book, available in audio by author Karina Fabian, and narrated by Becky Parker, form publisher, Damnation Books?
Here’s the cover blurb:
“Zombie problem? Call Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator–but not this weekend.
On vacation at an exterminator’s convention, she’s looking to relax, have fun, and enjoy a little romance. Too bad the zombies have a different idea. When they rise from their watery graves to take over the City by the Bay, it looks like it’ll be a working vacation after all.
Enjoy the thrill of re-kill with Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator.”
And here’s an excerpt:
‘Survival Hardware hadn’t seen such a rush of customers since the last Armageddon prediction coincided with Black Friday.
Manager Clint Sanders rubbed his hands with glee. Oh, Marley, if only you hadn’t gotten drunk and decided to go zombie hunting. Was it only last Christmas?
He hurried to Customer Service, crafting an announcement in his mind. “You want to live! We want to live! That’s why you are going to file calmly to the back if you need a suit.”
Yeah. Sense of urgency, plus that “We’re in this together” crap.
He got to the counter and nodded at Bitsy, who had rung up a chainsaw and a half-crate of bleach.
God bless survivors. Clint continued to the back. Out of habit, he checked the exit door, even though it was always locked from the outside. He needed to delete Marley’s old code from it.
He cleared his throat. “Listen up! You want to live! We want to live!”
The exit door clicked.
“That’s impossible!” he declared. The store fell silent.
“Boss?” Bitsy’s voice ended in a squeak.
“That’s not what I meant! Security team to customer service!”
He reached under the counter for a shotgun. Bitsy grabbed the chainsaw. They had filled them that morning—another example of the excellent service at Survival Hardware.
The door swung open, and the zombiefied remains of his late business partner, Marley, staggered through.
Clint to blasted him with the shotgun. The impact knocked the Marley out the door.
Clint used the gunsight to scan the parking lot. “He brought friends! Call Nine-One-One. I’m putting this place on shutdown.”
“Screw that! I’ve been prepping all my life for this!” With a howl of challenge, Bitsy dashed out the door. She swung low and decapitated her former boss before moving on.
Thundering footsteps signaled the customers following in her wake.
He gaped at the carnage while Dirk called 9-1-1. It’d be too late by the time they got there. All that’d be left was to clean up the zombie parts and get the customers back in to pay.
God bless survivors.’
More about the book can be found here. And if you’d like to know more about Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator, go here. The second book, I Left My Brains in San Francisco, is supposed to be out in audiobook – but unfortunately, it has been briefly delayed. For more info.
But do not despair! Anxious for some zombie humor? So are we, but I Left My Brains in San Francisco still isn’t up on Audible. BUT you can get the first 3 chapters free and a chance to win the audiobook of Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator, the first in the series. Go here now. Hurry! This offer goes when Audible finally posts the book!
About the Author: Winner of the Global eBook Award for Best Horror (Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator), Karina Fabian’s writing takes quirky tales that keep her–and her fans–amused. Zombie exterminators to snarky dragons, things get a little silly in her brain. When she’s not pretending to be an insane psychic or a politically correct corpsicle for a story, she writes product reviews for TopTenReviews.com and takes care of her husband, four kids and two dogs. Mrs. Fabian teaches writing and book marketing seminars online. You can find Karina Fabian on her Website, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads.
About the narrator: Becky Parker Geist owns Pro Audio Voices, serving clients internationally with exceptional voiceover for audiobooks, advertising & animation. She loves creating audiobooks with sound effects! Married with 3 adult daughters, Becky lives in San Francisco and New York, working Off Broadway regularly. You can find Becky Parker Geist on her Website, Blog, Facebook, and Twitter.
Thanks again to Karina Fabian for her guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests, Quotable Wednesdays, blogs from me, and more. Have a zombie-free day! – Vonnie