Thursday, 2 October 2014

surviving the zombie apocalypse: a writing exercise

I'm using the fact that it's October as my excuse for this one, but I'm wondering how long you reckon you'd survive the zombie apocalypse?

And if you survived, what would you do?

I've put a bit of thought into this, ever since a writing exercise in my old writing group that went wrong.  

Here's what you do:

  • Think of 6 crisis situations, and write them down
  • Number them 1-6
  • Roll a dice. You have to go with the one that is selected.
  • Now write an account of one character coming home after a terrible incident has occurred (connected to the crisis). YOU MAY NOT MENTION WHAT HAPPENED.
  • Add a character
So what went wrong? Well, I had five crises, but couldn't think of another, so I asked my husband. He reckoned I should put in 'zombie apocalypse', which I shrugged off, much to his disgust. Reluctantly I conceeded, and then rolled a six.

So I created Laura, bringing in the shopping from the landie and slamming the door shut behind her; having to explain herself to her sister-in-law, Julia. They were living on an old farm with few animals and lots of wigwams (the wooden shed variety).

Because it was early days in my writing Laura and Julia were directly plonked in from people I know called Laura and Julia (apologies ladies), but they've changed since then. More stories have come out of the situation, but I still don't like zombie stories, and I haven't mentioned one yet. Do you think I could write a whole book about them without mentioning them?

Anyway, how to survive the zombie apocalypse? Laura is the woman to go to; she could survive anything. This is what she'd tell you:
  • If you are in Britain, go to Scotland, or possibly Wales, at a push. Leave England at all costs. Elsewhere in the world, think rural...
  • Speaking of rural, leave the motorways, leave the cities, head for the hills.
  • Find yourself somewhere like a farmhouse. You'll need room to hide things, and to gather other survivors, some animals (but not too many), and ideally have somewhere with a generator and stores of fuel. An Aga is also useful.
  • Set somewhere up to use as a cell, just in case.
  • You will need a landrover, knowledge of where to find landrover parts, and mechanic skills (or a mechanic).
  • How to survive? Run for the hills.
  • Don't be overly sentimental. People will die. Surviving means moving on.
Of course, the best thing about a zombie apocalypse is that it's so flexible; it could be some horrible sickness, rather than the traditional zombie, and there are lots of things you can do to tinker around the edges (but please, don't make them fast).

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