#SamWIP: Another WIP That Involves Sharing a Small Space with a Corpse

Sam av

Plot bunnies are fierce, and thanks to my newish policy to indulge them all, I have indulged yet another.

Unfortunately–or fortunately, depending on your perspective I suppose–I spent my Monday evening researching and planning with my roommate, who is starting to put together his first NaNoWriMo novel. I intended to make a vlog after I was finished, as I had so much exciting stuff to talk about, but I got so into it that I forgot.

I guess that’s a good problem to have.

This idea is a doozy. I’m so excited about it that it has eclipsed all other ideas and I can’t wait to start writing it. The concept came about during a department meeting at work. Here’s how it went down:

  1. The parking garage at the hospital was closed over the weekend, so at the meeting, my coworkers were discussing the proper way to get in and out when the garage is shut down. It involved using a certain elevator.
  2. The elevator discussion transformed into a conversation about the location of the morgue (one of my coworkers used to work at the hospital).
  3. An out-of-town coworker who works at a different site was a bit shocked; she had never thought about the hospital morgue.
  4. Our conversation morphed into one of body transportation–how the dead are moved from the morgue to the funeral home, parking, etc. My out-of-town coworker was…captivated.
  5. One coworker remarked that they transport up and down the elevator to the garage.

And that’s when the idea struck me. I thought

Oh my God…what if you were transporting a body via the elevator and the elevator died and you were just stuck on the elevator for days with this random dead guy?

Because that’s how I roll, apparently. Morbid curiosity, dark humor, and the irreverence of death.

So in another round of what I call “Writer Googling,” which is a lighthearted way of saying “Please don’t arrest me…I swear I’m not plotting a murder…” I looked up the following things:

  • How long can a person survive in an elevator?
  • How long can a person survive without food or water?
  • Reasons to evacuate a hospital
  • Really long names that are hard to pronounce
  • How long does it take for a body to stink?
  • Procedure for picking up a body from the hospital

Bonus: I found quite a few stories from nurses and porters about hospital deaths and moving bodies. I’ve learned quite a few fascinating tidbits.

I’ve also come up with concepts for the characters–yes, even the dead person. I’ve thought through the evolution of this poor guy’s thoughts as he’s trapped in a confined space with a cadaver (for several days…yikes!).

There are so many things going on here…and I’m just…blissful. This writing process is going quite similarly to how THE BLOOD OF NERYS did. I got a strong idea, I feverishly plotted, and then I wrote fast and furiously until it was finished.

I don’t think it will be a terribly long, book. I want it to be amusing, thought-provoking, and easy to finish in a weekend.


I’ve now created a binder that I’m going to start using as a resource manual. I found this set of 30 colored, numbered dividers that we were going to throw out at work. It is now a 30-section resource guide with a table of contents that now includes “dead humans” and “Japanese mythology,” but I intend for it to grow. “”Poisons and plants” will have to be another tab, I think.

My roommate worked out his timeline and has started to make sense of terminology, time passage, seasons, and setting. He realized worldbuilding was more involved than he first thought, but since he got into it, he’s having fun with it.

So yeah.

Sorry about the late update. I know we’ve had quite a few of those lately. But at least that’s mostly for good reason, besides the typical “Hey, sorry…too busy to blog!”

Thanks for following!

S.K. Balk lives in the frozen wasteland of Northern Michigan. She is the author of the dystopian medical sci-fi THE BLOOD OF NERYS (also available in print).


About oneofthedragons

Samantha K. Balk and F. R. Donaldson met on An Archive of Our Own, one of the many fanfiction sites online, when Sam asked Frankie to illustrate the fanfiction that would one day lead to Sam's first novel. They've been friends ever since! This blog was created as a way to share the oftentimes difficult journey any new author experiences on the uncomfortable quest of an introvert for attention to his or her most personal work. It is meant to remind you that authors don't just appear fully fledged like a George R. R. Martin, that all of us start out unsure and feeling inadequate. Feel free to ask us anything. Sam: sammykaye9@gmail.com Frankie: reluctant.fraggle@gmail.com

Posted on September 13, 2016, in #SamWIP and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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