Wednesday, March 28, 2012

CSFF blog tour: NIght of the Living Dead Christian(s) Day Three: book proposal and "deleted scenes" (first chapters)

I thought today, in honor of all the writer's who aspire to be published, I'd share a couple of tidbits from the early days of Night of the Living Dead Christian (originally titled in the plural, "Christians"). First, I'll share a little bit from the book proposal, and then, at the bottom of the post, there's a link to the original opening section of the book, which will probably be most instructive if you've read the published version and can see how different they turned out!

Determined not to bore you with the entire proposal that my agent sent to Tyndale when we sold the book, I've included a small bit below. We already had relationship with Tyndale and a first book, so they actually bought the book before it was finished even though it is fiction (this is not typical, and all you new writers out there are not allowed to use this as an excuse to never finish your work in progress... I FORBID IT! AND I MUST BE OBEYED!). 

Anyway, here's the part of the proposal where I shared why I thought the book-buying public needed Night of the Living Dead Christian:

The cover article of this month’s Christianity Today says, “Evangelicals desperately
need moral and spiritual renewal – on that everyone agrees. But what do we do about
it?” Christians, on the whole, simply do not know how to become more like Jesus. We
are trapped in sin cycles, selfish, lazy, prideful or simply ignorant. And sometimes even
the best intentioned young believers can’t find anyone to give them a clear answer to the
simple question, “Can I become more like Jesus?” 
Night of the Living Dead Christians addresses this question in an entertaining and
thought provoking way. We claim to experience Christ’s resurrection power, but we
act like zombies – experiencing a resurrection that is 90 percent shambling death and 10
percent life. Werewolves can’t control their base desires. Vampires satiate themselves
at the expense of others. And through it all followers of Christ are longing to stop being
monsters and become truly human, but we can’t seem to figure out how. Many believers
are restlessly searching for a revelation of how Christ changes lives. 
While many people in their twenties and thirties desire deeper theological understanding,
they want it presented in an entertaining way. They aren’t going to pick up a book by
Dallas Willard to get insight into this question, regardless of his compelling answers. It’s
similar to the people who watch The Colbert Report. Colbert’s audience wants the news,
but they want it presented in an entertaining, humorous way. Likewise, many people
desire a conversation about God but they don’t want a textbook lecture. They want a
presentation that remembers that there is life, humor and satisfaction in seeking Him.
We ended up using bits and pieces of the second paragraph in different places along the way when describing the book in sales meetings and even in the book's description in some places.

Speaking of things that were cannibalized to make the new, monstrous Night of the Living Dead Christian, I thought some of you writerly types might be interested to read the ORIGINAL beginning chapters of NLDC, back when there was a group of marauding junior highers, the "Halloween Angel" and a pair of glasses that let you see monsters. Also, way more Lutheran jokes. All of these things were eventually removed, and I thought you might enjoy comparing the published book with the early direction the book took.

Here's the link to an early draft of NLDC's opening chapters.

Feel free to leave comments or questions about these things, and I'd be glad to interact with you about them in the comment section!


  1. Hey, Matt, thanks so much for being so involved in the tour. We've had just about everything you predicted -- including ... not an argument, per se but a discussion. If you haven't already done so, stop by Chawna Schroeder's site and see the quiz she made up to determine which kind of monster a person is. Creative.

    Thank you also for sweetening the pot for the winner of the Top Tour Blogger. That is awesome!


  2. I second that, Matt. I've been doing blog tours for quite a while now and I always get a thrill when a real live author leaves a comment on my blog as you did.

    Even though my review was not 100% positive (which I did in part to be interesting and make the blog tour better) I liked the book well enough that today I'm going to be sharing it with my therapist (who's a Christian pastor). When he's done with it, I will probably loan it out to my Evangelical brother and his family (probably, because I know I might never get it back, it's a big family).

    And I also want you to know I really liked the Lutheran werewolf thing. (I used to be a Lutheran, now I'm Catholic.)
    I hate this taboo in so much Christian fiction about mentioning denominations and certain doctrines, lest the reader suspect the author might be from a different denominational/non-denominational background than themselves.