You’ll never work in this town again!

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.


  1. Dara
    Mar 31, 2010 @ 10:32:49

    Interesting! It makes me think of all the creepy things in Japanese mythology, especially the Gashadokuro, which is a massive skeleton that eats human heads. They are supposedly the remnants of those who died of starvation and the only way you know if one is coming is by a ringing in your ears. Creepy.

    Anyway this new book of yours sounds quite fascinating.

  2. Jeannie Lin
    Mar 31, 2010 @ 11:14:39

    That is creepy. Chinese mythology has some bone demons too. I’ve read some I’ve never written a horror flick type scene so I’m already thinking of how that would be done. Should be fun!

  3. Jax Cassidy
    Mar 31, 2010 @ 18:48:48

    Between my Asian Vampires and your Hopping Zombies, we’re going to scare the heck out of audiences. LOL

    I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  4. Katie Reus
    Apr 01, 2010 @ 07:48:18

    I like it!! Very creepy. I think they should bite though 🙂

  5. Victoria Dixon
    Apr 01, 2010 @ 07:51:30

    Jeannie, I think there’s a Jackie Chan movie out there that has hopping zombies in it and while the movie is bad (I can’t remember for sure if Jackie’s in it, but if he is, it was an early movie.) the zombie scene is CREEE-PY. It’s been awhile since I’ve done any horror. I should give it a go again. Maybe for Halloween. ;D

    Jax, your Asian vampires sound wonderful! Is it a book or short story?

  6. Jeannie Lin
    Apr 01, 2010 @ 08:48:27

    Katie – the funny thing is when my sister and I were discussing, we had to ask ourselves…what would they do if they caught you? The jiangshi would chase after people and you sure as heck didn’t want to get caught, but…what if you did get caught? We always knew it would be very, very bad…

    Victoria — there’s also a Tsui Hark film, translated as Vampire Hunters or Era of Vampires, which features jiangshi. The hopping zombies are actually quite different than vampires, but you know, Hollywood influence and all. You know I steal/borrow all my ideas. 🙂

  7. Sarah Frantz
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 07:55:53

    I teach a Vampire lit course every now and then and I make my students do a group project (groan!) where I assign each group a different foreign vampire and make them do a presentation on what the vampire is, what they look like, what makes them a vampire, what they do, what defeats them, etc. One of my most vivid memories is a student in a halloween fright mask hopping around the entire lecture hall, moaning and howling, with the other group members running screaming in front of him. It was AMAZING! I love that project. 🙂

  8. Jeannie Lin
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 16:59:27

    Sarah – That is the best project ever!