I gave birth to a beautiful, bouncing novella . . .

We did it! You and I, together . . . it was a lot of sweating and screaming but once it started to crown we POPPED that sucker right out and into the world. There was much rejoicing. And exhaustion.

And then, the little novella got sent off to the interested party, which is the primal scream of any manuscript. After that, you wait around for the doc to tell you if the kid is alright or if it’s gonna need some extra love. You hope for the best. Either way, it’s your responsibility, now. You brought your new book into the world and you’ll take it out, if you must.

At The End of The Day I Burst Into Flames had a pretty wild trajectory, as far as these things tend to go. Usually, you have an idea and then it’s off to the races, so to speak. And at the end of the ceaseless typing, you have a manuscript that more or less represents your initial intention. Oh, but not this one.

Not. At. All.

At The End of The Day . . . is absolutely nowhere near what I’d intended. And the germ for the story came to me years ago. Back in 2012, maybe? Maybe even before that. It was originally going to be a zombie story for a zombie anthology, but I put the kibosh on the manuscript after developing it for a month or two. I wasn’t going to hit the deadline, nor was the narrative going to fit within the confines of the word count. It was a story that found itself exploding into any number of directions. Instead of barreling through, I shelved the piece (originally titled “The Infinite Zombie Hypothesis”).

Years later, I’d found a home for Necrosaurus Rex and was looking to develop another, longer project while I worked on short fiction. I did then what I’d always done, which is to take a stroll through the “Writing” file on my desktop. Now, I don’t know how everyone else manages these things, these ideas, but I get them quite often and usually right in the middle of working on something else.

If an idea intrigues me enough, I’ll spend a little time jotting down notes and scenes, maybe some dialogue so that I can get a sense of the character’s voice. It’s kind of like a first date. You and your idea are feeling each other out and seeing if you want to spend more, if any, time together in the future. Sometimes, everything works out and you have a good time, but occasionally you see crazy for what it is and you steer clear of that shit.

Go with your gut, I guess.

With “The Infinite Zombie Hypothesis,” there were aspects of the relationship that I really liked, especially the characters and their voices, but the narrative was total junk.

Meanwhile, I had rediscovered a much earlier draft of two different manuscripts, the narratives of which worked as one whole story.

And PRESTO! These three different ideas/drafts came together, and with relative ease, to become a whole new thing. There were days of heavy lifting, to be sure, and the first draft had about four thousand words cut out of it (though it’s still longer than Necrosaurus Rex by about two thousand words), but when it came to wrapping the whole thing up, I can’t complain.

Most of the book was written in January and February of last year. I stepped away from it when it came time to work on Now That We’re Alone, and then worked sporadically on it through the end of last year, and finished it this past weekend.

As soon as something comes of it, I’ll post it here!


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