Despite the ominous title, this is actually sort of an optimistic post. I was working on my newest project and wrote this sentence into a synopsis:
“Due to the unnatural deaths, the victims are transformed into jiangshi, the hopping undead zombies of Chinese myth.”
At which point, I stared at the words “hopping undead zombies” and said to myself, “Jeannie, now you’ve really joined the funny farm.” That other stuff, that Tang Dynasty multi-cultural romance stuff, was a hard sell, but what the heck are you thinking now?
But a year ago, I didn’t know a thing about what would sell. All I had was a belief in my story. It’s foolish to think that now, a year later, that I have any better of an idea. I still don’t know. I think that’s a possible albatross of having sold a book, you start to think that maybe you have some idea of the market and then put undue pressure on yourself.
On the other hand, I may pull the phrase “hopping undead” from the synopsis. The jiangshi are still in the book, but my sister will be extremely upset. She’s insisted to me that Asian zombies hop. She’s warned me that she’ll be very put out if I make them bite. (Some accounts do have them biting.)
They’re actually quite creepy. There’s something very unnatural about the rigid limbs and lurching hop of the jiangshi. But you know, maybe it’s a cultural thing.
When I stop doubting the craziness of it, this story is actually quite fun to write. I haven’t encountered any jiangshi yet. They’re waiting for me, arms outstretched, about two chapters away.