October 3rd, 2009


World Virus Appreciation Day!

October 3rd is World Virus Appreciation Day, the holiday where we celebrate the wonders of the virological world. If it wants to kill you, today's the day to rejoice in its existence...or at least to be glad that you don't have it. Yet.

I love the existence of this holiday, and—after considerable consideration—have decided that this year, once again, I'm going to celebrate my favorite virus of them all. No, not the Black Death, although it holds a truly special place in my heart. I mean Kellis-Amberlee, the hybrid virus created when the Kellis Flu met up with Marburg Amberlee, fell in love, and started having little zombie-making babies.

Yes, it's a fake virus. No, I don't care, because not only have I spent the last several years working on the virology behind Kellis-Amberlee, but it's been responsible for my learning more about real-world viruses than anyone outside the fields of epidemiology or virology ever needed to know. Seriously! Kellis-Amberlee was created sloppily and in about five minutes; it was refined over the course of almost two years, and involved auditing epidemiology and virology courses, talking to doctors from the CDC, and reading most of a library on infectious diseases.

Because of Kellis-Amberlee, I've learned about cholera (nasty), pandemic flu (actually nastier), Ebola (scary), and yellow fever (scariest bitch on the block). Before I started work on Feed, all I knew about smallpox was that we were missing a bunch of it, and that was probably bad; now I know exactly why that's bad. Miraculously, I sleep pretty well at night despite this knowledge.

I love viruses and diseases. I love Kellis-Amberlee. And today, I love World Virus Appreciation Day. Remember, if I sneeze, it's only because a droplet-based transmission is another way of saying "I love you."
the mourning edition

Word count -- DEADLINE.

Words: 4,416.
Total words: 56,706.
Reason for stopping: end of chapter eleven. Time for horror movies.
Music: oddly enough, lots of show tunes.
Lilly and Alice: lounging.

I sort of hate to stop where I'm stopping, because Deadline is currently one hundred and ninety-six manuscript pages long, and two hundred pages is another of those super-exciting milestones that I so enjoy. Ah, well. I know that I'll be able to hit it in chapter twelve, and I didn't sleep well last night, so my eyes are sort of crossing now. Continuing to work would be counter-productive, and I shall instead conclude my labors in triumph. I like triumph. It tastes of spending the evening watching shitty horror movies and eating tomato sandwiches.

Pacing is always interesting in the Mason books, because I'm combining a very medical thriller/science fiction plot with, well, zombie apocalypse and massive violence. I need to both make sure the "let's talk about droplet-based transmission" scenes don't dominate the book, and also make sure that I'm not writing a Michael Bay movie. (Not that there's anything wrong with Michael Bay. It's just that if I'm going to write a movie, I'd rather write a James Gunn movie, or maybe a John Carpenter movie. One of the good ones. Not Vampires.) It's a very delicate balance, and it sometimes takes me a little while to find my flow in a given chapter. Well, tonight, the flow was on.

Before it sounds like I'm getting too cocky, remember that the final manuscript for Feed came in at 145,000 words, roughly. So I'm only barely a third of the way there. And that's a good thing, because oh...

...you ain't seen nothing yet.