View Full Version : Backwards World (Another Zombie Book)

March 4th, 2014, 07:27 PM
So, I am totally ADHD. I wrote 1 book. I have another 2 50% done. Another one 25% done. I just had the urge to start writing another. All different genres. What is good is I keep bouncing and writing and getting inspiration from each of them. I plan on finishing all 4 around the same time and have them polished up for release in the same time frame. I do have a small following (I get emails asking when the sequel of my first is coming out, and even post cards in the mail from the free samples I have sent).

Anyways, here is the first few paragraphs of my zombie book. Yes, I know, but at least it could worse....I could have written about vampires. It takes place on a more realistic case of a zombie outbreak. There is still power, running water, and a supply of food five months after initial conception of the zombies. That's where the book starts, and it will follow Apollo as he attempts to fly the apocalypse solo for a short period until things in the world get worse. It will show how he fights to stay human, and the temptation presented to him and how he handles it. The world is now "backwards". The rapist, killers, and thugs rule while the innocent suffer. Naturally, he will "allow" a few people to follow him, but he does not want to get too attached.

This is very rough. No editing has been done. Just need a verification on the flow so far.

EDIT: I cleaned it up a bit and restructured a part.

Backwards World

Chapter 1

Apollo stood, as he frequently did, in the middle of an abandoned house, trying to imagine what life once graced its halls. Were they happy? Were they a dysfunctional family? Were they alive somewhere? The reality still is shocking to Apollo. Things like this weren’t suppose to happen, but they did.

It couldn’t happen, they said. When you’re dead, you’re dead. It was that mentality that caught the world by surprise. In the beginning, many thought it was some sort of elaborate hoax, then to try to further reasoning what was happening as some sort of attack from some gang or third world nation. The images on the television and newspapers were blurred and edited for content, but with a little imagination or a simple web search would reveal the grisly truth. Footage taken inside of morgues showed bodies stir to life. At first, the bodies acted confused, like humanity was lurking somewhere beyond their murky eyes. They moved like the limbs were not their own, as if being controlled by some mind control. At first, the living dead weren’t violent. They were timid, and void of any emotion. They never slept. They wouldn’t touch food or water; they would just wander aimlessly around the cages created for them.

Cages. Some said it was inhumane to cage people up, even if they were technically dead. They had rights, some said; that they were clearly alive. Partially true. It was sort of ironic that those protesting outside the cages were the first to go. Apollo still gets a chuckle in seeing a zombie walking around with a “Zombies are people too!” protest shirts. The government held the zombies in cages as they decided what “human” rights they had while not so secretly experimented on them. At that time, they were no threat, but like any animal, the zombies learned. Nothing likes to be caged.

Apollo still remembered the first casualty. A foolish teen climbing the fence of a holding area, shouting for equality and mercy. When he slipped, slamming into the pavement on the wrong side of the cage, bleeding profusely, the zombies showed him no mercy. The blood drove them crazy; shark like. The zombies finally found purpose to “live” in this new life that was given to them. As the living dead tore into the screaming kid, the zombies hunger grew. There wasn’t enough of him to go around, and the frantic screams and pushing of the protestors stirred the zombies even more. People fell to the ground, trampled. Fresh blood. The gates and fences were overwhelmed easily by the inhuman strength of the once living. With no concern of personal bodily harm, one squeezed its arm through the chain link fence, peeling its own flesh off for the chance to taste fresh blood from some fool standing there praying. It wasn’t nature that turned against humanity; it was people who let it happen.

Since that initial “tasting” as the survivors called it, people in other towns that had containment areas became scared and began to slaughter the zombies. Well, in most places. Accidents happened. An idiot who never shot a gun in his life misses his target and hits a random passerby. Zombie smells blood, and they go feral. What was more concerning were those killed by the feral zombies came back with the same desire for warm flesh. They were evolving before the worlds eyes. Within a week, containment cities were evacuated into makeshift tent villages. The military were sent in to clean up the streets of the dead.

Two months after a joint global effort to cleanse the world of zombies, they were “successfully wiped out”, or so Apollo and the world were led to believe. It was too easy after all. Only several thousand casualties was not even a drop in the pool of life lost in books and movies. People tried to forget about it as scientist studied the corpses; trying to determine what made them tick. The close as they got was some sort of chemical reaction that the body created that made the dead into a sort of walking battery. Other than that theory, they couldn’t pinpoint the true cause, although it was and still is believed to be some sort of virus.

This invisible virus had one more surprise though. Unlike in the beginning where every one in ten dead would rise, when the next wave of revivals happened, everyone who died came back. The real human being came out then. Scared, protective, and violent. Greed and self preservation kicked in. The police abandoned their posts, looting the stations before full fledged panic ensued. Store clerks hoarded food and supplies in anticipation. Gas station owners turned off the pumps. The only ones doing their job were the media; them and the jazz hands preachers.

Five months after the reports of the dead first rising, and the world continued to plummet into hell. There was still power, for the most part, as well as water. The army stationed security near major power and water plants. Naturally, people gravitated towards places they feel safe. In the end it screws everyone over. Someone dies or is killed, turns, kills more, then next thing you know, the security and workers at these places are overthrown, or eaten if you want to get specific. A team has to go in, clean the place up, finds someone to back fill the position, and the whole thing repeats. It’s gotten to the point where there are frequent shots fired into the encampments of people looking for safety. They just don’t learn. Still, Apollo can’t blame them.

Civil liberties were all but gone. No one had the patience anymore to be a judge, or the law for that matter. Rapists, thieves, and murderers. It figured that those people thrived while the innocent suffer. It’s a backwards world we’re living in, Apollo frequently thought. He had witnessed a man gunned down for saying the word “share”. The problem was the other man didn’t want to share.

Apollo slung a messenger bag over his shoulder, the contents not as heavy as he had hoped. He was on the outskirts of Orlando Florida. The happiest place on earth. Not so much anymore. Up until now, and for the next few weeks, he assumed he would be fine on food. There were oranges everywhere, though he knew they wouldn’t last much longer. The winter chill had started to work its way south. It was already unnaturally chilly this time of year anyways. Mother Nature loves playing games.

Apollo walked towards the front of the abandoned house. It had already been ransacked, but hastily, most likely during the beginning. He grabbed a few rolls of toilet paper, lighter fluid, and a pickaxe from the garage. He was sure he could have grabbed more, but it would just slow him down. He had no real home now or a place to store a large haul. He preferred to stay low and out of site from anyone. It wasn’t that he was antisocial; he just didn’t want to be around when someone turned. Small communities have been wiped out overnight. That’s what he told himself anyways.

He quickly scanned the living room before he opened the door and peeked out. He stepped out on to the porch and closed the door gently. The row of houses stand defiantly in overgrown yards. Apollo had been rummaging through a house a day for the past week. Luck had been on his side so far, as he hadn’t seen a single person, alive or dead, since he arrived in the neighborhood. He still didn’t feel safe enough to bunker up for a night in one of the houses; he didn’t know when his luck would run out, and the last thing he wanted was to be cornered in a room.

He cautiously sprinted towards the tree line, glancing over his shoulder to make sure no one was following. He had made it maybe four houses down when he heard the roar of an engine and screeching tires claw at the pavement. He glanced at the tree line, maybe 200 feet away. He looked in the direction of the sound, and he could see an H2 barreling down the road. So much for conserving gas. Apollo dove behind an overgrown bush, concluding there was no way he would be able to make it to the trees in time. He now prayed under his breath, hoping they didn’t already see him. The vehicle came to a rumbling stop just in front of the house he was perched by.

“Damnit,” Apollo mumbled. He peaked over his shoulder to see if there was an escape route, but he just happened to choose to position himself between the only two houses that had a towering fence.

The door of the hummer opened up, followed by three more. Voices of men began talking excitedly, almost drowning out the cries of a girl. Apollo peered through the shrub, catching a glimpse of four men tugging a gagged and bound girl with rope around her neck. She couldn’t be more than fourteen or fifteen. He could hear her trying to say ‘please’ but it came out muffled and broken between the sobs.

“Shit,” Apollo cursed under his breath.

“This neighborhood has some good ass beds guys,” a cocky sounding guy announced. Apollo couldn’t get a good look through the bushes other than a basic figure. “I got me some tail after the first revival a few blocks down. Not as young as this one though. Hehe.”

“I get to go first this time because I found her, right?” a younger sounding man said. Late teens or early twenties Apollo guessed.

“Boy, you better be grateful we let you in on it at all,” a southern twang voice replied. “Especially after you almost got us caught when we nabbed her.”
Apollo heard a gun being removed from its holster.

“This house looks as good as any. I like the fences. Keeps shit out, you know what I’m sayin’?” the cocky man said. “Boy, you hold the girl while we go check the place out. And DON’T touch her.”

“Whatever, just hurry. I don’t want to stand out here. Puppets can come out at any moment,” the young man said.
“Chill, kid. We haven’t seen a dead person in miles,” the country man said. “It’ll only take a few.”

The group made their way up the steps, maybe fifteen feet from where Apollo crouched. At their angle, if they looked down, they would easily be able to spot him. Luckily, they were more focused on getting into the house, and by the sounds of it, a bed. The door was unlocked, as Apollo already knew because he had already paid the residence a visit. The door closed behind them, leaving the younger man holding the girls leash.

“Just don’t struggle,” the young man said. He was slouched. In the real world, he would have been labeled as a loser. He looked like a follower. He was a follower. There was almost sympathy in his voice, but also the determination to fit in. Besides, the man had raped before by the sounds of it. There was no going back as far as Apollo was concerned.

Apollo had a five second dilemma. He hadn’t been spotted yet, and this wasn’t his fight. In the old world, he would have stood up to people like this. That was when he had support of like minded people. These days, you never know what was on people minds. He had already concluded not to get involved, but getting away was a different story. He could test his luck and stay put until everyone went inside, or he could try and slip away.

He chanced a peek to the porch where the two stood. Apollo regretted that decision as soon as he saw the girl, even more when she met his eyes. He ducked back down, holding his breath, listening to the footsteps. After a few seconds, Apollo was sure the man wasn’t aware that he was there. The girl looked helpless. The image burned into his mind. The stranger seemed familiar. His heart sank, and he forced back the anger and hurt. She looked like his daughter. What she would have looked like.

March 5th, 2014, 03:23 AM
It's alright. But I stopped reading after you switched the narrative style. You begin telling a sort of history in first person. Then when this Apollo guy suddenly jumps into the story (that name has a lot of baggage from the movie Apollo 13 btw) the narration switches to 3rd person when you begin using "he"! The wording in the first half that I read is somewhat lacking in effort. It's somewhat too common and stereotypical to use "redneck" and "stupid".

Good, but rework it and think about how to transition from historical telling in 1st person and switch easily into your character and the current day world.

March 5th, 2014, 03:54 PM
Thanks for the feedback. I am aware of the tense issues and grammar. That's the way I speed write. I then go back and restructure it.

I have made a few edits since I posted this, one thing was taking out stupid and redneck. For most part I use them as a generic place holder if I know what kind of person I want them to be, I just can't explain it at that moment. This thing will be revised dozens of times and will end up completely different.

What I am looking for is believability in the world I'm building. Can you see that the world is slowly dieing, but there is still some form of structure? The zombies have not been introduced to the story yet, as far as character interaction, and I did that to catch the reader off guard in the following chapters. It begins with man vs man. Ethics. Then it will follow with survival and interactions with the zombies, while at the same time dealing with fellow man.

I want to stay away from the 1% of humanity that is overdone in the zombie world. I want to show two major sources of a characters struggles. You have the mindless zombies, but also intelligent thugs and groups who are thriving in the backwards world. Apollo will struggle with his ethics, and there will be a point where he questions if he is any better than the rapists, murderers, and thieves.

Apollo is also a place holder. the name pops out easier when I read. It's growing on mee though.

Jake Creamer
March 5th, 2014, 05:32 PM
Getting past technical issues, (since you are doing a hasty draft), what I think is missing is the hook. You've got backstory, but I really feel like I need something to make your story pop.

Perhaps a good trope might help?

March 5th, 2014, 07:07 PM
Getting past technical issues, (since you are doing a hasty draft), what I think is missing is the hook. You've got backstory, but I really feel like I need something to make your story pop.

Perhaps a good trope might help?

Thanks for the feedback!

I didn't want to start with a trope. I wanted show him as a loner, then learn to trust accept people (I plan a betrayal of course to challenge Apollo).

This is the first chapter. Second Chapter which I have not posted, introduces the girl, Amber. Chapter 3 they run into a couple, Amber throws a fit and jumps out to help them. Apollo, against his judgement and surprising himself, turns around and helps them out and they begin to travel together.

I have been burned by introducing to many characters in the beginning. I have also been burned with giving to much history.

I do know that Chapter 1 is missing the urgency, a hook as you say. I am thinking of shaving off what he grabbed during his haul, as well as the food situation. Jump more into the action. Then extend Chapter 1 to the escape.

Jake Creamer
March 5th, 2014, 08:00 PM
You've got the damsel in distress thing going on, which is a very workable trope. You've got the loner, making his way through the apocalyptic/post apocalyptic world, another really workable trope.
Some hooks, (revenge and redemption come to mind), are really great for the lone wolf. Having him break his successful but lonely pattern to change his ways is a great hook. You can incorporate that with damsel in distress really well.
The quest is a great way to hook readers in as well, maybe Apollo has a treasure map of some sort?

In my mind, I start going to really successful stories, movies, and games to seek out those hooks. I thank you for putting yourself out here, because now I get to go back to my own WIP and decide whether or not my hook works.