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September 26, 2016

Writing About: Zombies


I'm over at Unicorn Bell with Dear "I'm the Worst Writer Ever!" Writer.


A zombie is a soulless human corpse that can walk, move, and act as if it’s alive. They have an insatiable hunger for fresh flesh.

Zombies are extremely popular in our culture today. Movies, TV shows, books, comics, songs…you name it.

Even though people say zombies are a cliché and are overdone, that’s not stopping people from contributing to this genre. I’ve started to write my own zombie story, but it’ll be a little while before it’s finished. For this WIP, I did a bit of research and found a lot Do’s and Dont’s that zombie fans feel can make or break a zombie story.



Here they are:

- Do consider how the zombies are made (virus, nuclear leak, disease (rats), a curse, voodoo, etc.)

- Do mention the smell. You characters should be able to smell zombies coming, not just hear them. These are dead, rotting bodies we are talking about.

- Do show us how your characters survive, get food, and find shelter.

- Do consider hygiene (soap, toilet paper).

- Do have your characters perform first aid whenever they have an injury. Even a scratch.

- Do consider the sewage system. No electricity and no water means no flushing toilets.

- Do give your characters a water purifying/filtration system. No fresh water supply will cause illnesses.

- Do include children characters. Kids won’t just vanish.

- Do mention pets and animals. Not just rats, maggots, and bugs.

- Do have your characters stock up on ammo.

- Don’t make it so easy for your character to get ammo or guns, though. Are the owners of these gun shops not hunkering down with their abundance of weapons? I would, and I wouldn’t let anyone near them.

- Don’t make your characters instant gun/weapon experts. Everyone needs to practice and learn.

- Don’t give your characters perfect shots every time. In a chaotic moment, this is impossible.

- Don’t have your characters go to heavily populated areas or take shelter in a mall or store that they can’t secure.

- Don’t decompose your zombies so fast. If they just died, their skin won’t peel off and their skulls won’t cave in with a single blow.

- Don’t have rotting zombies that are super strong. How can a zombie so badly decomposing tear down a fence or break down a door?

- Don’t let your characters be noisy and stupid. This will give them away. They should be smart enough to know to be calm and quiet.

- Don’t hide your character’s bites. They’ll put their friends and loved ones in danger.

- Don’t add criminal gangs or evil armies. Both have been done way too much.




QUESTIONS: Can you think of any zombie Do’s and Dont’s? Do you like zombie entertainment? What’s your favorite form of zombie entertainment? 

Mine is The Walking Dead, but I also love the Resident Evil movies.


62 comments:

Lidy said...

Zombies? It had to be Zombies? But helpfhelpful post as I do have a zombie short/novella idea filed away.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Love TWD, especially the earlier seasons. I always thought it was great that Rick already knows how to use weapons, that he takes Morgan and his son to the station where there are more weapons and ammo, etc. And showers. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I think you covered most of them.
Zombieland was awesome of course. Also a fan of Day of the Dead. Now that's a gore fest.

nashvillecats2 said...

Most interesting facts about Zombies, I could name quite a few....lol but won't come down to their level.
Yvonne.

Chrys Fey said...

Eventually iit was going to be zombie day here. ;)

Chrys Fey said...

That certainly gave Rick an edge to survive.

Chrys Fey said...

I haven't seem Zombielamd yet.

Chrys Fey said...

Zombies in real life. Ha! I think we all know a few. :p

Lux G. said...

Thanks for these. I think zombies are really an in thing for the millennials. It's always a hit be it movies or books.

S.A. Larsenッ said...

You've brought up some fantastic points here. Get's the brain going. (Oops, extra thinking shouldn't be done around zombies. Draws attention.) ;)

Christine Rains said...

Excellent do's and don't's! I still do like zombies, but something new would be refreshing. Goodness knows I'd get far away from civilization as possible if there were a zombie apocalypse!

Pat Hatt said...

Great list indeed. Have written zombies in a few times at my feed

Bish Denham said...

I've never gotten into the zombie craze. They just don't appeal to me. However, that's a great check list for those who write about them.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Actually armies can be good or bad depending on their goals, plans and mindset. Interesting list. Zombie stories can be told in so many ways.

Chrys Fey said...

That is up for debate, but bad military groups has been done too much for zombie entertainment.

Chrys Fey said...

I wasn't a fan of The Walking Dead until last year. :)

Chrys Fey said...

How can the Cat not write about zombies?

Chrys Fey said...

I'd be right behind you. lol

Chrys Fey said...

And drawing attention is bad.

Chrys Fey said...

Zombie fans can't get enough. :)

cleemckenzie said...

For now, I'm letting other writers create the zombie stories. I guess I don't have the mindset to do it.

Chrys Fey said...

And that's okay. :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'd say don't let all of your characters become zombies because that would be a really depressing story.

Chrys Fey said...

That would be a depressing story!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Good advice. Few people can fire a weapon with competence without some practice. And I never understand why so many of those zombie stories are set in cities. Wouldn't survivors flee?

Chrys Fey said...

I certainly would flee a big city.

Nick Wilford said...

That's a great checklist. We often tend to think of zombies having super strength, but it makes sense that wouldn't necessarily be the case!

Chrys Fey said...

I'm not sure where the super strength came from. I know "World War Z" and "I Am Legend" had strong zombies. I do enjoy those two, though, because they're different.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

I've never gotten into the zombie thing. I bought World War Z when people were first freaking out over how good it is, and I still haven't read it.

I did enjoy "Shaun of the Dead" and "REC" was creepy as hell, but overall I'm just not a fan.

Chrys Fey said...

I've never read "World War Z," but the movie is awesome, in my opinion. :)

Carrie-Anne said...

Zombies aren't particularly my thing, though my little brother loves them. He's done some zombie movie scripts for some friends with an indie film production outfit. In October, one of the two indie theatres in my city is doing a lot of zombie films, along with a few other Halloween classics.

Chrys Fey said...

I think that's pretty cool. I'd love to be a zombie extra. ;)

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I'm not crazy about zombies and haven't really read much about them.

Liz A. said...

Zombies *rolls eyes*. Sorry. Can't do zombies. Fine for others, but I've just never gotten into them. Except for the CW show, iZombie. Which isn't really about zombies anyway.

Chrys Fey said...

Zombies aren't for everyone.

Chrys Fey said...

I never saw iZombie. It's a different take on the genre.

Birgit said...

Ok, I read the definition of Zombie while Trump Stump was pontificating on the TV. He is a real zombie......describes him to the T. I am so over zombie shows. I just am tired of the zombie crap. If I did write a story I would show the zombies finding cloths, washing off some blood and mud off. Talking about their eventful day slowly walking towards their prey while the prey took off like a light. They sit back and watch TV, like Full House. They have lives too aside from eating flesh...except for Trump.

emaginette said...

I don't watch/read much zombie stuff but I did notice that they walk fairly slowly, and like the tortoise just keep going. That alone I find pretty scary.

Anna from elements of emaginette

sherry fundin said...

I don't watch much zombie stuff, but I do read some. I find I can 'believe' it more when it's written, than I can when I watch it. My blood and guts comes more from blowing someone's brains out than eating them. LOL
sherry @ fundinmental

Chrys Fey said...

Hahaha! Goodness. You are hilarious. Talk abut timing. ;)

Chrys Fey said...

Not much can stop them. Unless you destroy their brain.

Chrys Fey said...

Maybe because when we read, we can get into the world better. :)

Lisa Thomson said...

We actually have a zombie walk here in our city right before Halloween. My beau and I don't get zombies but that's because we're old. Haha. Great writing tips, Chrys!

Chrys Fey said...

I've always wanted to participate in a zombie walk. :)

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I must admit that I'm a pretty big scaredy cat; even authors like R.L. Stine scared me. So I haven't written anything about zombies, but it is interesting that stories about them have become their own genre.

Janie Junebug said...

Why do you think zombies are so popular these days? I wonder if it grew out of 9/11 and attacks in other countries that brought out fear of a godless horde attacking regular people.

Love,
Janie

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I have one big zombie question...if a zombie bites you- you get infected. If you spray zombie blood and guts all over you while killing one, you're fine. What's up with that?

Crystal Collier said...

That's a pretty complete list. Whew! I haven't written straight zombies, per say. Honestly, I don't like reading about them either. Watching them is a different story--but only because the hubbs forces me into it. *sigh* The things we do for love, eh?

Chrys Fey said...

I did enjoy R.L. Stine, but his books scared me, too! lol

Chrys Fey said...

I have no idea. I think it's the mystery behind them...and the gore.

Chrys Fey said...

It's apparently because the saliva carries the virus...like rabies. If a zombie's saliva gets into a wound, you become infected. Their blood must not have the virus. Or if it does, it would have to make contact with a wound and not just the skin.

At least, that's my reasoning. That's a great question!

Chrys Fey said...

LOL! The things we do for love, indeed. ;)

diedre Knight said...

Goodness! Your list is incredibly concise. I had visions as I read, of some poor old smelly thing learning how to shoot a rifle and hobbling off into the sunset after accidentally obliterating one of his stinky feet!

Jen said...

This is a wonderful list and one that I'll keep for future reference. I do have a zombie story but it's taken a backseat to one I"m doing now. And I do feel that zombies are waaaay over done in pop culture right now. When it begins to fade a bit more, perhaps I'll pull mine out and start working on it again.

Cheers,
Jen

Chrys Fey said...

Haha. That was vivid indeed.

Chrys Fey said...

My zombie story has taken a backseat, too. I'm thinking about doing the same, We'll start the zombie craze back up again. ;)

H.R. Bennett said...

All of the above are great things to think about and one of the exact reasons I've never been able to WRITE zombie stuff. A lot of my writing is just my imagination on page...but zombie survival and apocalypse is always so BIG I've never been able to compress it to a single story arc.

Chrys Fey said...

The survival aspect, and even how it starts, really is big. It takes a lot of time, research, and details. I think that's a big reason why I put my zombie story on hold...so much to know beforehand.

Romance Reader said...

Awesome advice and tips. Thanks for sharing!

Chrys Fey said...

You're welcome.

Mary Kirkland said...

I've never been a fan of zombies. I don't watch the walking dead and never understood the whole zombie craze. Just not my thing.

Chrys Fey said...

That's okay. :)