In my final semester of high school, when I should have been more focused on graduating, I was planning on making a low-budget zombie movie with my friend. We considered ourselves zombie film buffs and very knowledgeable to all things undead. We had studied the greats: Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and 28 Days Later. We’d even gorged ourselves on lesser quality flicks, my personal favorite being the redneck-infused Hide and Creep. It was this last movie which made us go, “Hey, we can make a movie this good.”
And so, we set out to make movie history.
But, we didn’t.
We didn’t even get close.
I have several loose pieces of notebook paper scribbled with our conversations, a progress report with a failing grade on one side and marketing notes written on the other, two different story outlines, several pages of script, and one short story. All of these documents prove that we had dreams.
Dreams that were crushed by the little thing we like to call:
I’m being dramatic. (I am a writer after all.) We could never really work up the funds to buy any kind of equipment, we graduated, I went to seminary (another story in itself), and well, time got the best of us.
So, our little zombie movie went into a three ring binder and dissolved into the past.
Flash forward five years: It’s Christmas and all I want is an iPad. (I already had my two front teeth.) I knew it was a long shot. I’m not sure if you know this or not, but those things are freaking expensive!
I open my gift from my wife: A Kindle.
I wasn’t let down, because like I said, the iPad was a long shot. I love reading, so while I couldn’t do all the fun stuff an iPad could do, I could at least read a lot of books. That’s a win. This was nowhere near the disappointment I felt the year we received a Nintendo Wii. (To a hardcore gamer like me, this was the human equivalent of the cone of shame.)
I take to my Kindle like a librarian takes to the Dewey Decimal System. (That means I liked it.) One of the things I fall in love with is that there are tons of free books.
Did you hear what I just said?
Free books are like crack for bibliophiles. So I began downloading tons of free stuff. In the beginning, most of it was classic theological studies, but after some time, my love of the living dead brought me to free zombie books. But I didn’t read much of them because I came across something much more profound than free zombie books. (Yes, you heard me right.)
You could publish your own books to Kindle.
I had written stories all my life. (I wasn’t so good at finishing them, but whatever.) Of course I had dreamed of writing a book one day and having it published, but I just never thought it would be possible. What did I know about getting a book published? Yeah, I could string together a decent story, but was my prose up to par to be printed on paper? (See all those p’s? That’s alliteration. Boo yah.)
I made the mistake of downloading the publishing guide for Kindle Direct Publishing. Big mistake. It was a mistake because I realized how easy it was to publish an ebook to Amazon. (I say “easy,” but anyone who has done it knows it can be a lot of work. “Do-able” is a better word.)
So, now that I knew it could be done, what would I write? The Doom fan-fiction I wrote in high school was never finished and I knew I’d run into copyright issues. Other than that, what stories did I have to tell?
Well, in the same notebook of my Doom rough draft, I had the outline for a low-budget zombie movie that never got made…
Tune in next week for the rest of the story!