Sometimes it can be hard to write an effective back story or set down a premise, especially if you are writing a novelette and need to keep it tight. One of the major traps I find self-published writers fall into (from the ebooks I am sent) is too much exposition. What is exposition? It is a lengthy and comprehensive explanation and when handled poorly, it can come across as an essay slapped into the middle of a story. It’s jarring.
Anyway, I try to avoid exposition but I felt it necessary for my WIP horror comedy novelette about a zombie run. I posted a snippet a couple of months ago. Since then, I have written an intro and fleshed out this section a bit more but wasn’t sure how to get the race started and explain where they are running. After trying some dialogue as the race started, I decided to scrap that and came up with this short narrative. It’s the best one so far I feel.
There was once a village here, a name lost to history as it was never on any maps; wiped out during a plague – perhaps the time of the Black Death, but maybe before even then. Centuries long silence, they slept on… waiting for the right time to wake. The building remnants disappeared and it became a place for deer and rich men to hunt them. Later it was for cows and sheep, a monastic farm and a lucrative one too.
Then the Dissolution came and the land passed to another rich man who kept the sheep but not the cows.
Then silence. The land was empty again. They slept on until the time of the Civil War. Many died for the cause of who should govern them – crown or Parliament. It was all the same to the Sleepers, new arrivals are new arrivals.
Later still, a coal power plant and gas works built long after the memory of the battle. It brought jobs and still they slept on. That was until the new technology, the technology they made bombs with they soon discovered could power the country. A new power plant ten miles away and the gas works and the coal plant fell into disuse again.
They slept on.
The buildings and the land were sold to a company who would provide entertainment in the relics. Another phase, more people are here and the time for sleep is over.