Friday, October 4, 2013

How a Zombie Movie Enlarged my Brain

Over the years, I’ve learned a few things. Most have withstood the test of time. Some haven’t. Up until recently, here are a few things I thought were true:

1)       As a writer, my neat little system for researching works well, so why try anything new?

2)       Facebook sucks you into a time-vortex and spits you out hours later, all slumped over. That can’t be good.

3)       Zombie movies are not my cup of tea.

Sorry, zombie fans, but for me, the rotting flesh, dead eyes, drag-legged walk, and cannibalism, especially where they eat human brains, are so not my thing.

However, because I love my daughter, and because she asked so nicely, I went to see a zombie movie with her. 

There were some good things about it.

The special effects and imagination were fantastic. (Zombies forming a human ant-pile in order to scale enormous walls? Wow.)

The tension-raising music worked. (You know that cliché everyone hates in YA novels: half-moon cuts in your palm from your fingernails? Yup, I did that.)

However, other than that, this movie was becoming a serious test of my patience . . . until, during a super-intense scene, I received a ‘light bulb’ moment.

You see, I’ve had a book idea for a year now. I haven’t written it yet because I still needed a crazy (crazy is the key word here) but compelling reason to use the setting I wanted. So, while I watched this zombie movie and thought very atypical thoughts, a new idea for my story exploded out of nowhere. Sure, it was half-baked, but it was finally coming.

I didn’t mind the rest of the movie. (Actually, I was so busy brainstorming, I’m not sure how it ended.)

On the way home, when my daughter asked me how I liked it, I answered honestly that it was enlightening. Okay, okay, you zombie fans, it was actually pretty good . . . for a zombie movie.

Now, onto my previously erroneous belief about Facebook. My kids have been dragging me very slowly into the current century. They insisted several years ago that I make a Facebook account. I did, but found it was very bad for me.

Confession: the moment I log on, time changes. One minute it’s 8:15. The next it’s 11:28 and I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. I don’t know about you, but time and health are already in short supply, so Facebook is dangerous. I have to use it sparingly.

Well, back to my point here, the morning after the movie, I went on Facebook. A few minutes (probably an hour) into perusing, I clicked on a video clip a friend posted.

Then smoke started pouring out of my ears. I’d seen this clip before, but pared with my already percolating story idea – thanks to the zombie movie – I now had a complete and believable reason for my choice in location.

So, to neatly sum everything up, here are the three morals to this story:

1) Inspiration comes (sometimes) from stepping outside your comfort-zone – it can send your thoughts spinning in crazy new directions. And (sometimes) that’s good.

2) Facebook can (sometimes) be good for you.

3) Zombie movies, although still not quite my cup of tea, can (sometimes) enlarge your brain.

Happy October and have a lovely Halloween!


  1. Thanks, Jonene! It is true that sometimes I get steam coming out of my ears because certain people are facebooking when I thought they were doing their homework, but it does have its good side. I recently read an article about a girl who made a goal to write facebook messages to five friends every day telling them what they liked about them. Isn't that great?
    Glad you got your story kink worked out. Full steam ahead!

  2. Thanks, Rebecca! If only the Facebook time-warp thing wouldn't happen (to me, or my kids - who are usually supposed to be doing homework, too). I love it when people use it for cool quotes or interesting things (which is what helped me) or family events, rather than a gripe-session for a momentary glitch.


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