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.
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.
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.