Zombie 2012 has been publishing the adventures of zombie killer Korben Shaw since July. We’re certainly proud of the story so far. Follow these steps to emulate our web-comic success. First: find a writer.
Step One: start with a strong image of your central character. Envision a sword-wielding Muay Thai ass-kicker wandering a land that’s been ravaged by zombies. Say that the story will be a log of his adventures. Make sure the character carries a civil-war era cutlass, because that’s what inspires you. Name this main character after your dog.
Step Two: find a writer, preferably someone you went to high school with, and describe your vision to him or her at a coffee shop. Notice that the writer didn’t even bring a piece of paper on which to write anything down. Watch him scribble notes on the back of a flyer instead.
Step Three: set a schedule of meetings and stick to it. Meet with the writer at Higher Ground in Kensington every Sunday morning, even though Starbucks has free Wi-Fi, because Higher Ground has two fireplaces and ginger-crème cookies. Buy the writer a Market Spice tea and split a ginger-crème cookie with him. Keep your receipts.
Talk about plot points, scenes that you imagine at work (like the Zombie in the Creepy Wine Cellar Scene), and supporting characters that you want to include. Also talk about the nature of the zombie infection and how to tie the story to the end of the Mayan calendar. Basically, go over the story in broad strokes. Do this for a couple of weeks. Notice that the writer hasn’t written anything yet.
Step Four: call up the writer and ask him if he’s written anything yet. Ignore the writer’s defensive tone when he tells you that he hasn’t.
Step Five: eagerly receive the writer’s first drafts. Read a story that does not include an ass-kicking guy or a sword or the word “zombie”. Instead read a depressing emo-story about a hipster guy and his zombie-fighting girlfriend who dies on page three. See that the writer replaced “zombie” with “undead” to give the story some kind of pretentious literary weight.
Step Six: swallow disappointment, and point out that there are some nice images in a story that otherwise has a passive and uninteresting protagonist.
Step Seven: eagerly receive a new story synopsis until you realize that it’s about a container ship captain who travels the oceans of India during a zombie attack. Again, notice that there is no sword and no ass-kicking protagonist. The captain’s more like Hagrid or Relic from “The Beachcombers”.
Step Eight: call the writer and say something like: “I’m trying to stay open, but this isn’t what we talked about at all” or “I’m being more open to your ideas than you are to mine”.
Step Nine: return to Higher Ground for the weekly meeting with a printed List of Objectives to address, including defining the main character, the two supporting characters, and the basic plot. Again, buy the writer tea and cookies. Listen to the writer’s promise that he is indeed “on the same page” as you are. Get it in writing!
Step Ten: receive a draft of a zombie-survival story starring a sword wielding ass-kicker. Scratch your head in wonder as the draft is written not in log-book form, but, inexplicably, as a screenplay. Listen to the writer explain how it’s “part of his process”.
Step Eleven: meanwhile, find an artist, preferably someone that you went to high school with.
Next: Find an Artist!
Josh Bertwistle of Zombie 2012