Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Zombie Love

Do you know how hard it is to get a novel published? I'll tell you: WELL hard. My last three novels have been flat-out turned down by every publisher I sent them to. Some of them sent the manuscripts back unopened, others read them and offered constructive criticism ("Write more than 760 words"/"Replace your inkjet cartridge"/"Drawings unnecessary"). The advice I received was disparate and, for the most part, shit, but the one thing I have learnt from it is that if you if you want to be published you have to hit on a really good idea that people who aren't very good at reading will like with universal appeal. For JK Rowling the theme that caught the public's imagination was child wizards, for Stephenie Meyer it was sexy vampires, and for Dan Brown it was bad-style writing. Using all three as muses, I have begun work on my latest novel. It is a zombie romance called Undying Love. The story is that the main character, Elizabeth Valentine, is an eighteen (but looks sixteen)-year old virgin prom queen, who is about to marry her boyfriend, Troy Strongarm, who is the quarterback of the football team and has abs but is also really intelligent and kind and has really good hair. Anyway, before they can marry, tragedy strikes when Troy is knocked down by a bus while rescuing a cat or something. He dies in Elizabeth's arms, but vows that he will return, and they will marry, even though he is going to be dead soon. Sure enough, just days after his funeral, Troy returns...as a zombie. Determined to rekindle his romance with Elizabeth he wakes from the dead every night and, in the cover of darkness, goes round to Elizabeth's house to get off with her.

Spoiler: above image may reveal ending

Everything is going well...until Brad Darkness, Troy's old football rival, who has pecs and a good tan, gets in the way. When his attempts to persuade Elizabeth that she would be better off getting off with him, what with him not being undead, fall on deaf ears, he sets about destroying Troy, through fighting him/telling the townsfolk bad things about him. The following extract is where Elizabeth sees Troy for the first time as a zombie:

As he looked approximately twenty-five metres into the distance, he saw Elizabeth sitting on her porch, that same porch on which they had expressed their mutual love for one another on a nightly basis, just weeks before. That same porch where they had spent hours locked in kisses, kisses that tasted of hope for the future, kisses wet with romance. As he slowly got five metres closer to her, Troy saw a tear roll down Elizabeth's cheek and fall onto the floor, like a diamond rolling off a counter in a jeweller's.
Now only twelve metres away from her, a distance from which he knew his words would be audible, he said romantically, "Elizabeth, my love, I would love to pick up your every tear spilt and put it back in your eyes."
Elizabeth look up scaredly but curiously.
"Troy? Is that you? No, it can't be?" she said, cautiously.
"My love, it is me, he said, stepping beneath the glow of a streetlight, enough that Elizabeth could see the outline of his still-rippling form, but such that sixty percent of his face was still in darkness.
"But, but you're dead," she said, disbelievingly.
"No my love, I am undead. Like our love."
"It can't be..."
"But it is, you have to believe me."
Elizabeth rose from the porch like a cat standing up for the first time and began to walk towards Troy.
"No, wait, he said, before you come any closer, you should know that I don't look the same way I used to. You may not like what you see."
"My love, if that really is you then you know that my love for you is blind, and that you might look like the most gruesome ogre imaginable and I would still love you," said Elizabeth, reassuringly.
"Very well, my love."
Elizabeth and Troy each took a step forward in unison, like two old dancers performing a synchronised tango move, and now, as his face was illuminated fully by the streetlight, that revealing streetlight that left him with nowehere to hide, Troy was visible to Elizabeth.
Drawing in air sharply like an asthmatic sprinter, Elizabeth regarded Troy's visage. It was grey, like a television screen that has just been switched off, and his eyes, once blue, were now a whitey-blue. But his chiselled jaw still cut the night air like scissors, his hair still blew in the breeze like reeds on a river of love, and his cheekbones still pushed out through the darkness like hills in a 3D film. He looked more or less the same, but a zombie. She threw herself at him and they kissed, a kiss that knew no prejudice, a kiss blind to fear, a kiss that didn't mind that one of them was a zombie and one of them was not, a kiss of undying love.

That's all you're getting for now, but if you are a woman and fucking love the story so far, you should probably send me a cheque for £16.99 and I will send you a signed copy of the book when I have finished it. In the meantime I would be interested to know what emotion the story made you had. I was aiming for a mixture of sad/aroused/eager to part with £16.99. Do let me know if you felt any of these things.


  1. I love it, I'm writing a cheque as I type

  2. That's the sort of multitasking I like, Dame Charlie...

  3. Is there any room for some sort of global religious conspiracy somewhere in the plot? Maybe the 7th Day Adventists could get the Dan Brown treatment, as zombie forces unleash a terror-campaign against the Modified Presbyterians (got that bit off Wikipedia) and hasten the second-coming? Or something.

  4. I don't know how, Mr Bunter, but you've clearly got hold of chapter 3 already. Damned internet leaks...