While you wouldn’t think that kidlit and zombies have much to do with one another, you forget: I’m the guy who wrote, illustrated, crowdfunded, and published There’s a Zombie in the Basement, my bedtime picture book, inspired my son’s fear of my zombie artwork. So, when I found out about #kidlitzombieweek a couple years back, I thought it might be a good opportunity to promote myself, as did many of my writer friends who kept pointing me at this hashtag. Imagine my disappointment to find out that it had to do with bringing your kidlit manuscripts back from the dead, not children’s books with undead creatures in them.
But, after going to the Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators’ Florida chapter’s regional conference, I started to think #kidlitzombieweek might indeed have something to do with me. I’m pretty linear in nature, so I don’t particularly like to switch back and forth between projects, but as you can see from my projects page, I have quite a few stories in the hopper. Some of them sadly might fall into the category of dead projects, since I hadn’t worked on them in awhile.
Saturday morning of the conference, I attended the 7:30 am writers warm up session. The session leader offered us several different prompts to write from. Of course, as the competitive game player that I am, I decided I needed to use ALL of them. In the process, I found myself writing about Floaty and Scabby, characters that I envisioned being a great Early Graphic Novel tandem, inspired by a lost Band-Aid I saw floating in a public pool. I guess When Floaty Met Scabby wasn’t done with me after all.
On Sunday, Bruce Coville (Sixth Grade Alien) delivers the closing keynote, in which he talks about something he started in high school that was going to be his first big novel, and after several false starts and many rejections, he put it away. The point of this story to writers was to never throw anything away, no matter how awful you think it is. Fifty years later, he revisited that manuscript and lo-and-behold, it’s getting published!
I guess like any supernatural antagonist in a horror movie, some ideas just won’t die. And, if you believe Bruce, don’t “double tap” your zombies.