So I watched the opening episode for The Walking Dead the other night. Season 3, episode 1.
I thought it was better than the opener of the season 2 (and is it just me, or were there scenes in season 2’s trailer that were never shown? Take a look on youtube.)
But there were parts in there that made me reflect on what I’ve done with Mountain Man. Namely, parts I wrote into the book, thinking they were original, but then discovering TWD already covered that. While writing the three books, I stayed away from pretty much all things zombie with a few exceptions. Stephen Knight’s military vs zombie action thriller “The Gathering Dead” (and the follow-ups) and Brian Jarrett’s “Into the Badlands” comes to mind. I also think I read Griffin Hayes’ “Hive” towards the end of book 2.
Once I finished “Hellifax,” I decided to get the Walking Dead series, and whoa… binge read all 7 volumes in a week.
They were–are… wonderful.
But therein, lies two problems.
First, I think TWD the comic book series is so good, that anything I might produce will be reflexively compared to it. Kirkman’s set an almost impossible bar of quality with his work. It left enough of a shine on me to just sit back and go “Whoa. That was … whoa.” And it really made me question doing another zombie book after MM3.
The other thing is… story wise it’s all been done. Or it’s veeeery close to being done. There were details which are in TWD and my own that mirror each other, and we all know the feeling of thinking you have the only cool bike on the street… just as a kid with an identical bike rides by. Details once thought original aren’t really so. There are so many zombie/PA stories out there, that only now it’s hitting me that anything I do… it very well might have been done already.
I had an idea for a stand alone story set with a band of survivors marooned on a oil rig, but there are books out there already covering that, so (shrugs). I initially kept the reason of the zombie outbreak in MM a mystery, but I had a cause in my head, only to hear another writer already used it to describe his own outbreak. So scratch that. If you read Safari, you know there’s a new threat to Gus which I felt was pretty original—but I’m waiting for someone to tell me otherwise…
I only really had a three book series in mind anyway, but with the success of the books (hoping it will continue with MM3) I came up with the possibility of a fourth story, depending on if there was a demand for it. I have an idea for MM4, but I know the general concept has been done, so I wonder if I should even try.
There’s just so much zombie stuff out there that similar storylines are, really, inevitable.
I probably shouldn’t feel this way. Vampires have been done for years, but every now and again, a story comes along that makes it fresh, like “Let the Right One In,” “30 Days of Night,” and “Manhattan Undying” (don’t know this one? You will). I even have a vampire story in which I know the concept has been done before, and yet I’m still going to write it in a year or two. I should probably take the same stance on zombies–if there’s a story to tell, with (hopefully) interesting characters and situations, then tell it.
Zombies have been good to me. It’s ironic that what’s keeping me alive these days are stories about dead things. Still not sure if a MM4 is a definite possibility, but I think I’ll leave that to you folks.
And on that rambling note, tweaking of MM3 continues. Goes to the editor the first of November.