Zane is popular, smart and has everything going for him. Especially since he started dating Harmony, the new girl in school. Zane’s friends and family warn him away from Harmony, saying that she’s a bad influence, but Zane won’t listen. He knows that Harmony is special.
But it isn’t long until Harmony starts frightening even Zane with her odd behavior. At first, Zane blames himself. Surely Harmony’s vacant stare is due to Zane’s piss poor conversation skills… right? And the time he caught her tearing the flesh off Coach Thompson with her teeth was due to that crazy night of bath salts… yes? Harmony couldn’t actually be a flesh-eating zombie… could she?
Before Zane knows it, he’s fighting for his life. But even though he knows that Harmony’s bad news, he can’t help but ask her out for a bite…
(description by Erin Callahan from Forever Young Adult)
Finished on November 28th, 2013 with a word count of 50,052. It’s complete now at just over 54,000 words.
When one of my favorite YA blogs, Forever Young Adult, offered up a Nanowrimo challenge, I was game. The challenge was to write a novel based on one of their “Cover Stories”: a description of a YA book based solely on the cover. I chose the one for Lauren Barnholdt’s The Thing About the Truth.
I think this was the first year I really let myself go with a Nanowrimo in the seat-of-my-pants way Nanowrimo was intended. The result was a funny and gory zombie novel. I was one of only two who managed to complete the FYA Nanowrimo challenge so I won a cool t-shirt!
This is the first novel I posted on Wattpad. I don’t want to say it was a “throwaway” novel but I had it posted over on figment.com since completing it, and I’m not sure anyone read it. Since it had already been freely available online, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to post it someplace else. I like that Wattpad lets you see how many people have looked at it, even if they don’t comment or vote.
At first, getting readers was slow. I played around with the genre, at first posting in Horror and finally deciding, because of the humor aspect, to post in the Teen category. (I’ve thought about putting it in the Humor category, but since I consider it to be a general YA novel I figure Teen is better). I also changed the title from The Thing About Zombies (fairly nondescript) to My Zombie Girlfriend (pretty much tells you exactly what’s going to be going on plot-wise and tone-wise). I also changed the cover to something a bit more in line with the original (boy and girl near kissing) with the greenish tint to hint at the zombies.
Based on the feedback I’ve received, I added two new chapters. I’m finding Wattpad to be a big help in the marketing aspects of writing – it’s hard to know whether or not you’ve missed the mark simply based on something like the title or cover, and it’s fun to change them and see if the change results in more hits.
Cover Story & Working Titles
I designed the current cover and the cover for The Thing About Zombies via Canva. I’m really loving Canva. I’m not a graphic designer, so I like their mixes of fonts and designs, and also that I can easily switch out one of the not-free images with a free one from Pixabay (the image used in the above cover is this one). The My Zombie Girlfriend and The Thing About Zombies covers are both actually the same design – I just swapped out the background photo, keeping the green tint, and shifted the font to the left-justified.