Project Final Write Up

The most important part of this writeup seems to be the comparison of the expections and/or initial plans for this project and the actual end product. On that note, my project succeeded in that it met the expectations presented by my proposal. The weeks were themed according to the planned list, and a sort of Antichrist was actually involved. Woo! Let’s break it down a little more in-depth.

Successes

In my proposal, I stated that this project was to be a modern-day, internet-centric epistolary novel of sorts. Obviously, as a blog, it was to be published in installments. This is exactly what it turned out to be. A few unique challenges were met and beat along the way. Explaining how both the power grid and internet stayed running throughout the duration of this (admittedly short, but otherwise typical) zombie apocalypse? Done. Detail dealing with the hordes and also revealing information about the virus/situation itself? Done and done, respectively. Crafting experimental fiction? Definitely. I haven’t read much in the way of epistolary (not that this is much of a detractor from my project as I know how they work), and, though I looked, I haven’t found much in the way of blog fiction online to compare my project to. But I have done what I assume must be a rare endeavor- using the blogging format as a story telling tool, not just a publishing platform. This is fiction that’s pretending it’s real, complete with real places, real business franchises, etc. I would like to think that some day, decades if not centuries from now, someone will find this digital artifact and think, “holy shit, there was actually a zombie apocalypse? That lasted five weeks?”

Even if it’s only some twelve-year-old.

Areas to be Expanded Upon

Did you think failures would come after successes? Ha! I never fail. However, there were some parts of this project that could be blown up. The first one I’ll mention harkens back to my proposal (is that how you use the word “harkens?”), and that’s that in it, I mention “characters.” “Week 1: Outbreak. The scenario is set up as the characters scramble to understand it.” While technically there were multiple characters ‘trying to understand the scenario,’ they were all single-appearance, one-episode-only types that we never saw again. Which, I admit, is not what I had in mind. Rather, it stayed focused on one character. But for the “do as I go” method I employed in writing, the singular focus was probably the way to go.

This also applies to literally all of Week 4, titled “Connections.” The description from the proposal states “Bloggers and internet users communicate on meeting up and how to keep the net running as more and more humans become zombies. Twitter is integrated more as the narrator dares to leave his house.” There are three things I obviously didn’t do from this: “bloggers and internet users communicate,” “how to keep the net running,” and “Twitter is integrated more.” It was meant to be like this “Oh, there are so many other people still alive, in town! (I dunno, say 8.) And they’re online! And we’re talking! I’m going to run around and meet up with them! And tweet about it! Also we need to make sure the net stays up!” This would have resulted in many a loose end, which is probably why the description for Week 5 was little more than “loose ends are tied up.” Instead of my original idea, I opted for a more focused, action-packed Week 4. It put the narrator in some real danger from other people, which was a delivery on a promise foreshadowed in Week 2. It was then overshadowed by the ensuing pet death, but delivered on nonetheless.

Other expandable areas include images, other character perspectives in the form of their own blogs, and Twitter. Images is kind of a choice- on one hand it’s realistic not to have them, but on the other hand internet goers can’t handle a page without pictures. This was the primary focus of criticism in Matt’s tour of my project. Ultimately, if I had images to use, I would use them, as the attention-grabbing is more important than “realism.” I mean, it’s a zombie apocalypse.

Other characters having their own blogs would be cool and make the plot huge and realistic, but making enough posts on each of them that exist prior to the outbreak would be time consuming, and the timing and content and everyone’s posts would take careful planning beforehand as well.

Twitter would be more useful to me if I were more popular on it. I found this out simply by becoming addicted to it outside of this project. It’s a sphere disconnected from the blog itself and would only really work well if you had loyal readers aware of the project and tuned into you on Twitter. I’ll use it more when I revamp this and repost it after I develop a decent readership/Twitter following.

Failures

There was one… ONE. Looking back at my proposal, I see that I basically came right out and said “I’m going to use Twitter.” I expected looking at my executive description to tell me that I nailed it, but there it was: “It will incorporate … disaster tweeting.” While I did use Twitter in conjunction with the project, it was mostly to announce posts. It was also inconsistent, but it was definitely not disaster tweeting. My bad. As I mentioned above, it turned out not to be that useful to me.

What This Project Means to Me

It’s definitely an internet-centric original work, which will be (especially with expansion and polishing) an asset to my portfolio/blog/whatever. “This guy does fiction, on the internet!” they’ll say. “And he even does ‘internet fiction!’” Yeah. It also serves as a “first try” for me as I plan on doing more things like this. For example, when I continue on to Seminary, I plan to write a fiction blog about demons running rampant on the seminary campus (controversial). This’ll be more realistic/believable as the plot doesn’t change the landscape of the planet, and I’ve already had a crack at this so I know what I’m doing now. I promise.

What This Project Means to Others… The Entire Internet?

This is how you fiction blog, people! So go do it! It’s cool. There’s nothing better than fiction that pretends it’s real. Ask Dan Defoe. Or that guy who wrote A Million Little Pieces and punked Oprah.

But it’s an artifact, too. Maybe in the future people will look back at this project and say “This was the true beginning of blog fiction,” or “the inspiring revival of blog fiction,” or, mostly likely, “People tried blog fiction right after the new millennium and it didn’t really take off. Then a decade later there was this one that was pretty good, but that was it. And it’s not like it was spectacular.”

Deep Shit; The Good Kind

You want some deep shit about life or meaning or literacy or something, so deep you can’t even see it? Listen to the Plague Lord (crazy, I know). Literacy is the ground you walk on. Without it, you’ll fall forever until you waste away. But it’s only ground. You need to cultivate it to sustain yourself, build on it to protect you. Use it. It doesn’t matter if you can read and write English if all you do is reblog the Huffington post and make “best of the week” articles because you don’t have any original thoughts, or are either incapable of vocalizing (writing) them, or too lazy to.

 

Also, zombies.

Advertisements

Still Human.

Hey, it’s Carly. He’s here.

A couple hours ago, every zombie in the area seemed to randomly decide, all at once, to march towards our house. Then, just as the first wave reached us, they once again simultaneously seemed to decide that they didn’t give a shit about us anymore and started walking off.

A minute ago Jared looked out the window and said Eric was coming back. I went and looked for myself. He was moving really slowly, but there was a massive wake of motionless zombies laying on the ground behind him.

He came up to the door and even though we knew he was a zombie, we opened the door and let him in. He growled at us like he was trying to talk to us, but he never attacked us. He looked each one of us in the eyes, one at a time. We had no idea what he was saying.

He pulled out his revolver and handed it to me, grip first. Then he stepped back, let his arms hang at his sides, and closed his eyes. We all told him goodbye and I pulled the trigger.

We’ll have a funeral in the morning. Jared may have been the genius behind our defeat of Simon, but Eric was a hero. He saved my life and ultimately the world. Below is a list, from beginning to end, of his adventures since the virus hit. And even though he turned into a zombie, even though we had zero idea what his growling could have meant, when he died?

He was Still Human.

Finally, it’s over.

I staggered over to zombie’s terminal, push his still corpse out of the chair, and sat down. Now I’m typing myself.

So Jared is pretty much the man, modifying this disease using only high school and community college science lab equipment, like a boss. I’m a zombie now! What will I do with myself?

I guess I’ll live out the rest of my days, reblogging the Huffington Post and making “best of” lists every week as the world gets back on its feet, until I’m so badly decomposed the keys start pushing my fingers up and my eyes melt and drip out of their sockets.

JUST KIDDING!

I’m totally gonna zombie walk back to the house, kill as many as I can on the way there, and growl goodbye to Carly, Tim, and Jared, after which Carly is going to put a bullet in my head.

So remember, kids! Don’t do drugs, stay in school, and don’t be a douchebag like Simon.

And kill lots of zombies. Lassie out.

LIGHTNING STRIKES

Like it did on the table after Jared injected me with his modified zombie virus, my mind kicks back on. I know better than to open my eyes, however. I gauge my brand new situation.

I can barely feel anything, as if my entire body is numb. It’s more a constant sensation of pins and needles. I check myself. Who am I? Eric Christenson. Lassie. The Storm Bringer. Still Human.

So Jared did it. I’m dead, but I’m still me. Except only my nervous system works (kind of shittily at that) and I really want to eat some flesh. He said my insides are also probably shitting and bleeding all over themselves, so there’s that.

One thing that’s weird is that I can hear the Wifi in my head. Simon’s Plague Net is able to reach me on some sort of psychic level. It’s broadcasting all kinds of different orders, everything from “maintain power plants” to “attack house at 428 Riverfront Way in 0o:48:11, 00:48:10, 00:48:09…” Oh yeah, I had forgotten about that.

I can also sense barely-functioning minds that are connected to the signal- other zombies. I reach out to the one that was blogging the play by play.

“What’s your name?” I ask it.

“Zombie,” it replies.

“What do you do?”

“Blog.”

I realize that, being that my mind is far more powerful than his, I can just control him. I can also see out his eyes. The Plague Lord is standing over me, just looking at me. Smiling. Creep. He’ll get his.

“I’m taking your fingers, zombie.”

“I am powerless to stop you.”

“Shut up.”

Then I typed everything you just read. I also shut off that “attack 428 Riverfront Way” command.

The Plague Lord finally takes his eyes off me, looks up, and around from side to side, grinning from ear to ear. I open mine, lunge up at him, grabbing him by the neck and throwing him to the ground as I rise above him to pin him to the floor.

I’ve never seen such a sniveling look of pathetic fear on a face before in my life. And I punched a lot of kids in school. I feel something in my throat, hock it into my mouth, and spit a huge wad of diseased blood onto Simon’s face. I could just kill him and let him turn into a zombie, but who knows what kind of modifications he might have made to himself. Instead I draw my .357 Magnum revolver, and put it right in his face. His eyes widen and it almost seems that sweat literally leaps out  of his pores.

“It’s over, motherfucker,” I try to say, but all that comes out is “Grrrarararsquelch.”

I pull the trigger and blow his face through his head, out the back and onto the floor. With difficulty, I stand up. I’m actually kind of proud of myself I even pulled off the lunging maneuver I just did.

I level my revolver at zombie.

“Zombie.” Looking through his eyes, I can see down the barrel of my own gun.

“Thank you for your service,” I say and blow his brains onto the wall behind him.

THE STORM – feat. zombie

Hi. I’m zombie. Let me just fill in the story between Lassie’s last post and now and everything will make sense.

The Plague Lord was sitting in the nicest office chair the building had, reclining with his feet on the counter across the lobby from the front door and munching on Milky Ways, as he usually does.

The front door slammed open, which caused the light to flicker. The Plague Lord looked up all nonchalantly like the faggot he is. I can say that, I know him.

The man drew a gun on the Plague Lord, leveled it at his face, and said “This is over.”

“Is that so?” The Plague Lord chided.

“Yeah. Right after you tell me. What the fuck?”

“Everything thinks the world is over. I killed 99% of the population. Some of them are now zombie bloggers, like the ones you see here in front of computer monitors. They reblog Huffington Post news and make stupid “best of the week” lists every week, just like mediocre always used to do. Everyone walks around with empty heads. Nothing’s different.”

“That’s a load of shit and I’m going to kill you.” The intruder pulled out a cell phone.

“What’s that for?” The Plague Lord asked.

“Oh. I’m going to tweet this,” The intruder explained.

“Don’t bother, I’ll just have one of my zombies post the play-by-play to your blog as everything happens. Do you want him to write from his point of view or yours?”

“No one can write from my point of view, so his.”

“Ok,” the Plague Lord said.

Doors open on either side of the lobby, letting half a dozen zombies into the room. The intruder begins firing on them, not missing even one shot.

The Plague Lord, taking his time, stands up, pulls a gun out of his stupid white lab coat, and shoots the intruder high in the chest. The intruder falls to his back and lies still.

The intruder had managed to shoot all the zombies before the Plague Lord shot him. Actually, the Plague Lord had probably waited until they were all dead. He walks over to the intruder’s corpse and stands over it, looking down at it and smirking.

I AM THE STORM BRINGER.

“I’m heading out,” I announced.

“Now?” Carly asked.

“Yes,” I declared.

“In the dark?”

“It should be epic,” I explained.

Her and Big Tim wanted me to go tomorrow. I told them I didn’t want to let this apocalypse go longer than five weeks.

“You taking a car?” Tim asked.

“Hells to the Yeah,” I slanged.

I’m on my way to the Frontier headquarters. Fitting that a world-ending douche like Simon would hole up in the former home of the shittiest Internet Service Provider I know of.

The silence is over, I’m bringing the storm.

SCIENCE.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, Jared filled us in on what he knows about the zombie virus(es), which happens to be pretty damn near everything. As it got dark every day, Carly and I went out on scouting missions to try and figure out our situation, what with the Plague Lord Simon seemingly being so close.

Thursday I took Jared across town for a little mission. It was actually only about 20 blocks round trip.

“Do you want take a vehicle?” Carly asked.

“No,” I replied. “We’d be too visible. We can go on foot and blend in the zombies pretty well. It’s not far.”

So we moved up Second Street, weaving around the occasional zombies, shot across Third Street (the busiest, biggest, most open one), and maneuvered between the houses toward the high school. As we approached the pool doors on the east side, we saw a huge work of graffiti on the empty wall: “NOW ITS THE SAME ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE SCHOOL AS ON THE IN-” followed by a large splatter of blood that extended into a smear right to the corner. I don’t think he was done but he got his point across.

I tried one of the doors. Locked. They all were. Obviously. Jared smashed out one of the tiny little windows and pushed the bar on the other side so I could pull the door open. The noise drew a few zombies in the halls toward us. Jared sunk his crowbar into the skull of one while I painted the wall with the brain of the other using my trusty Louisville Slugger. Yeah, the same one.

The room we wanted was not quite on the other side of the building. I scouted ahead a little ways, going down a few short hallways, around a few corners until I came to the first longish hallway. Strangely enough, a little more than half a dozen zombies were milling around in it. I looked past them to the glass wall of the cafeteria and saw even more. Like a lot more. I trotted back to Jared who was still near the exterior door.

“Let’s head down this hallway and check out the situation ahead of it. If it looks OK, we’ll keep going. Otherwise we can double back to this staircase and try the second floor.”

“Whatever you say, man.”

We headed down the first longish hallway toward the cafeteria, pushing away zombies that got too close. We didn’t want to kill any and make a bunch of noise. At the intersection by the cafeteria, we peeked around the right corner to check out the hallway running past the cafeteria’s glass wall and into the lobby.

There was another five or so zombies in that hallway and the lobby looked packed. I don’t know why there were so many in here but whatever. We went left instead, quickly to avoid the zombies seeing us, and ducked into a stairwell. Up the two flights of stairs and onto the second floor where there were far few zombies.

I edged around the corner that turns into the hallway that runs past the music rooms, both decently long and wider than any other, and there were only two. I signaled to Jared and we stealth-ran past them. Jared watched my back while I surveyed the next hallway, which tied for longest with its twin on the first floor. It’s probably at least a city block long.

I looked right, which was the end we were pretty close to and also not the way we were going to go. One zombie. I looked left. Eight or so? The entire length of it. And we didn’t have too far to go to get to the staircase.

We ran as quietly as possible for the stairs on the left. I went down one flight and peeked out into the lobby. Yeah, packed. I went to the other side of the stairs and looked left. The ones in the lobby had kind of spilled out into the hallway. Dammit. That meant we’d have to take the second floor all the way down to the end, come down, and head halfway to the lobby back up the hallway on the first floor to the science room.

I met Jared at the top of the stairs and we made our way carefully down the entire hallway on the second floor. We came to the staircase and there were like five zombies on the modestly-sized landing.

“Dammit,” I whispered. “Let’s hop over railings.”

I planted my ass on the wooden railing, slid to where it wasn’t too high to jump, swung my legs over the concrete divider, and dropped down. Jared, bless his heart, did it almost as gracefully and even managed to kick one of the landing zombies in the face. Thankfully, it didn’t seem to give a shit.

I looked around the corner down the long hallway toward the lobby. Other than the ones that had wondered out of the lobby, there were only a few. We booked it for the science lab.

The door was unlocked. I let Jared in and closed it as quietly as possible. Jared immediately set upon the microscopes and equipment as he pulled his petri dishes from his bag.

“Why didn’t we just break a window?” Jared asked quietly.

“I wouldn’t have known which one to break,” I said. “And now no one outside knows we’re in here.”

“Uh huh. I’m still going to break a window to get out. That was ridiculous.”

“Fair enough.”

I’m not really big on science and stuff so I couldn’t make heads or tails of what he was setting up. But I asked anyway.

“This virus that Simon supposedly made is also supposed to be really easy to modify,” he said.

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah. So I’m thinking if I can figure out how it’s constructed, I can make modifications pretty easily. We might be able to use it to our advantage.”

I couldn’t fathom how, but it sounded cool. After a while, he spoke up.

“They don’t have good enough equipment for me to finish this,” he said.

“We could try the community college,” I offered.

“That sounds good.”

And for fuck’s sake, I enjoy telling stories, but I’m getting restless. As far as our trek to the college, we went through the woods, which had very few zombies. Copy and paste the story I just told into your head a second time, with different turns and an equally oddly large number of zombies. I’m not going to tell you Jared’s idea or our plan, you’ll find out soon enough and I can’t have Simon knowing. I have shit to do.