All Hallow’s Eve (with Zombies)


Here it is, the eve before National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo,) sort of an ongoing joke started by Chris Baty where tens of thousands (150,000+ this year) of people line up like entrants of the Bay to Breakers marathon, and pound out 50,000 words of prose.

This month I throw my hat in the ring, with a manuscript loosely based on the great western classic, Deadwood Dick, the Prince of the Road.

At the moment I’m up to my armpits in research. Did you know that in 1860, Sir Richard Francis Burton wrote about a trip to California on the Overland Stage? Burton has an amazing ear for Western experience, slipping into dialect and salting his narrative with tall tales along the way. The book, written one year before Samuel Clemens made the same trip, is remarkably similar to Roughing It, written by Clemens 12 years later. Burton’s book is more philosophical, while Twain’s is more humorous. Together they make good bookends for era.

What to do until midnight when I can unleash the muse and begin my own marathon dash through the English language? I suppose I’ll brave the zombies of Halloween, go out and get a Black Jack taco and a fifth of frontier whiskey and settle down to write at the stroke of midnight.