Behind the Writing: “Epidemic”

So this is a new thing I’m pretty excited to try out! Basically, I’m going to break down what went into “Epidemic” so you guys can get an idea of where the characters and story came from, and how I go about writing something.

Ready? Me too.

So, I think the kind of “big reveal” for this one is that this is actually based off of a dream I had. I changed a few things, of course, but the dream was basically: I’m the main character, Evette, (no, that’s not my real name, I just like the name Evette) and there’s basically a full-blown zombie-apocalypse going on. Mom and Dad get infected, and I have to take the three little brothers to safety. My older siblings didn’t exist in this dream, because sort of the point of the dream (and the story) is of my responsibility to care for my younger siblings. So, I take the boys to a safe house, but zombies get into the safe house, and we have to run, but along the way we come to my parents, who I have to shoot to get myself and the boys to safety. Unfortunately, I don’t know if I actually got to safety, because I woke up right after I shot them.

I found this dream rather distressing, since I, you know, shot Mom and Dad in the head. I ended up telling a few people, including my parents, about my dream. You know what Dad said?

“You know, you could write this into a story. It could be pretty good.”

I thought that was a great idea.

So I sat down last weekend and started writing it out.

Evette and her family are entirely based off of myself and my real family.

I’m Evette, though I highly doubt that I would be as cool as she is with the whole “everyone she loves dying” thing.

William is Younger Brother, almost exactly.

Jake is Younger-er Brother, also almost exactly.

“But, you make them so annoying in the beginning; isn’t that kind of mean to your real brothers?” Yes and no. I’m not going to lie; I do find my brothers annoying. But, you’ll notice, toward the end of the story, when it counts, the boys are strong, courageous, and help me as much as they can. That’s the way my real younger brothers are.

Aaron is Youngest Brother, almost to the letter. Youngest Brother has his special blanket, “Big Blankie,” and a teddy bear named “Curly Bear.” I’d say the only real difference between Youngest Brother and Aaron is the name, and Aaron doesn’t act like a tyrant throughout the entire story, whereas Youngest Brother can throw a HUGE fit, and he often does.

Evette’s Mom and Dad are basically my Mom and Dad.

Matthias, though, was completely contrived with my own imagination. It made sense to me; Evette goes to the safe house, alone with three younger siblings to care for. Someone would notice and want to help, right? Thus came into existence Matthias. And, yes, he’s amazingly perfect and cute, but I’m a girl, so …

The story itself has been tweaked from the way it was in my dream.

There are no “zombies.” The virus functionally makes people zombies, yes, but there is no eating brains or dead people walking around. It’s just violent, bloodlusting, terminally ill people.

The “Zombie-Virus” is a rather simple, if not completely medically accurate, phenomena; the disease has been transmitted from rodents to people. The disease eats away at your brain, first attacking the personality and rationality, leaving a raging, violent monster before killing you. The disease is transmitted by bodily fluids, and when the diseased are extremely violent, blood tends to flow.

I also elaborated upon the idea of the safe house. In my dream, I was there for like, two seconds in the dream, which … isn’t really realistic. So I fixed it.

As for the actual writing itself, I sort of just sat down and wrote my dream. I then went back and added the details that make it better than the original dream.

Usually I plot out a story, no matter the length, because that’s generally a good formula for a relatively good story. But, since I knew this storyline in and out because it was my dream, I didn’t plot for this one. I just wrote it and then edited it several times.

That’s basically what happened. I sat down one weekend, and wrote a dream. I’m pretty pleased with it.

P.S. There may or may not be a sequel at one point, when the virus has died out. But we’ll see. I can’t leave you without a LITTLE anticipation. 😉

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