Friday, 29 January 2016

Write your own version of The Walking Dead

Get your teeth into writing a zombie novel


I never expected to be able to write a zombie novel. I thought horror was best left to three of my favourite authors – Shaun Hutson, James Herbert and Graeme Masterton.


Then this image came into my head of a couple lying in bed when there’s a knock at the door. One of them pads down the hall, opens the door and finds his friend Archie standing there. Archie looks like he’s been mugged. Then they notice that his insides are dripping out…


And so Dead Bastards was born. 


Along the way I’ve learnt a few things -


1. Don’t concentrate on too many people’s stories.
This is a big mistake. Too many characters and too many stories distance the reader from the story you are trying to tell. You want to being everybody into the world you've created. 

2. Respect the genre. 
When it’s a genre that people are well acquainted with like zombies, you need to stick to the rules. By all means push the limits. I recently read a book by a well known author who gave one of his zombies the gift of thought. Bad enough, but he also gave them the cloak of invisibility. I threw that book across the room in a hissy fit. 

3. Make your characters distinctive.
People should know who’s speaking even without speech tags. This is tricky to do. 

4. Every step of the way, your characters must have a goal.
Simply surviving isn't enough. Just look at The Walking Dead. They always have a goal, whether it's to get revenge, find the rest of the group or help take Eugene to Washington because he says he has a cure.

For instance, in Dead Bastards they had to go to a shopping mall for supplies. There was no way out of it. Having goals creates conflict and brings your characters to life. Put your characters into a situation and see how they get out of it. 


5. Don’t do what writers of The Walking Dead’s did and get too bogged down with one aspect of your plot.
In the case of the hit show, they focussed too much on the Lori, Shane and Rick love triangle. In the end, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who got bored with it. If I wanted that kind of storyline, I'd watch a soap opera. 

In a zombie novel, the zombies must be king. 







Now for the zombies

Now yo've got the book sorted, it's time to think about what kind of zombies you'll have? 
Will it be the shufflers or the runners?

Will they be smarter zombies or the standard slow kind? 


Choose wisely, then run (or shuffle) with it.


Remember, it's your story and nobody can tell it like you can:) 




Why not check out my zombie novel? 

Check out the cover. It's pretty cool and is actually a scene from the book.






Dead Bastards is available in paperback and Kindle (although a book's probably better as a Kindle isn't much use against a zombie - trust me, I've tried). 

2 comments:

  1. Hello Jenny my name is Tyler and i live in New York and your tips on how to write a book about the walking dead were extremely helpful. Even though I am only 13 i am writing my own book about The Walking Dead. Even if it doesnt get published i thought it would be fun. I have yet to read The Restless Dead but i plan to very soon. Thanks again

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good luck, Tyler. Writing about zombies is so much fun.

    ReplyDelete

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